Last Thursday evening–the night before my son’s 18th birthday–we were in a near-fatal car accident and my car was totaled. The next day I learned my keynote addresses and retreats for the spring were all cancelled due to the pandemic. Now here we all are: swimming in a global economic and heath crisis and more chaos and uncertainty than we could have ever imagined.
Like many, I’m feeling a wild tsunami of emotions and have been asking myself daily, “How can I best serve and help people right now?”
While I have many tools/resources that nurture me (here are my top ones for this week), the practice that I believe can be most helpful right now is cultivating the ability to BE WITH WHAT IS.
When I trust and “let go” of expectations, timelines, outcomes and my news feed–even for a bit—I am able to relax into this vast sense of peace. And the reminder that right now, bathed in my own breath, I am fine.
One of the main reasons I meditate before I begin each day is to gain perspective. My perceived problems don’t vanish after 20 minutes of silence, but they take on a different hue and diminish in their sense of urgency. And, more than anything, I become more comfortable being with what is. (Read my tips for starting a meditation practice.)
Over time, I’ve come to realize three things: 1) if I can accept where I am without trying to change, it can provide a sweet sense of freedom, 2) I won’t die, drown or implode if I allow myself to truly feel what I’m feeling; it’s key to healing and 3) joy and bliss–just like pain and fear–come and go, too. Don’t get too attached to any one feeling; they’re all here today and gone tomorrow. Kind of like the constantly changing weather. Everything is impermanent.
Some of the things that help me learn to be with what is, include:
Having a strong support network, a tribe, that can provide support and validation for the incredible, messy journey of being human. It’s so key right now to stay connected and to reach out via phone, Skype, Zoom or walks in our neighborhoods.
Practicing self-compassion and being gentle with myself especially when I know I’m “triggered” and navigating intense emotional terrain. I often place a hand over my heart when I need to invite in self-acceptance and ask, “What do I need?”
Keeping the big picture and doing things can help me pull back and up to gain perspective (I’m lucky to have a car and fortunate my son and I are still alive!).
Breathing and conscious movement: whether it’s through pranayama (balancing breath work), yoga, qi gong, Nia dance or walking a labyrinth–these practices help us process and release strong emotions, which are simply “energy in motion!”
When discomfort arises (which it will, again and again), I keep returning to this reminder: remember to breathe, stay present, feel what’s coming up and continue to ask, “Can I be with what is right now and be ok?” Yes, I can.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Schedule me to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more energized, creative and resilient in 2020-2021! My primary work is speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance, release stress & cultivate resiliency through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s a 50-minute keynote, 90 minute interactive workshop, a webinar or a half-day leadership retreat, this is where I shine. Learn more here.
- Ready to embrace new ways of being in 2020? Join me for a self-renewal retreat. I’ll be at the gorgeous 1440 Multiversity in the Santa Cruz Mountains July 17-19 and at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (MA) in October: nourishing, healing, transformative and rejuvenating! Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and mindfulness teacher Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.