Thriving Through Life’s Ups and Downs
Jul 29, 2020 01:23PM
By Thea Litsios
Some say the best way to ride a roller coaster is to relax and allow your body to move with the motion of the car. It can be unnerving to be thrown, not knowing which direction you’ll turn next, unsure how to prepare for what’s coming. However, if you allow yourself to relax, let go of the need to know and go with the motion of the car, the ride can be exhilarating!
There is a lot of similarity between riding a roller coaster in the dark and navigating our world these days. Many have found their lives irrevocably altered, and are striving to reinvent and rebuild their lives while still surrounded by the great unknown.
Whether you are dealing with huge changes or small ones, knowing a few ways to deal gracefully with uncertainty can be very helpful. Here are some strategies to smooth the ride:
Remember to relax. While it doesn’t seem natural to relax while life tosses you around, it’s the best thing you can do. If we tense up and go rigid, we are less able to navigate quick changes in direction. Practices like meditation, tapping or walks in nature can help you relax and quiet your mind.
Allow yourself a laughter break. Whether you prefer a movie or a comedian, laughter can be great medicine during times of change and a balm for stressed nerves. Don’t avoid your responsibilities, of course, but taking a much-needed break for some belly laughs can be restorative.
Learn how to improvise. If you’ve ever watched a great musician improvise, you know there are many years of study and practice behind what looks like an effortless flow of notes. But years of study alone won’t ensure great improvisation. You also must learn to be in the present moment. If a musician is worrying about how they played at their last gig (the past) or about how the next performance will go (the future), they lose the ability to simply let the music flow. Similarly, you must be present in the moment to improvise your life. When mastered, this skill helps you navigate life through quick decisions and directional changes while appreciating the joy of now.
Use your imagination. Were you chastised in school for daydreaming? In fact, our imagination is one of the most powerful tools we have to create change in our lives and deal with uncertainty. When faced with horror in the concentration camps of WWII, Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and author, used his imagination to continuously envision himself dressed in a suit, addressing a large crowd, speaking on surviving the death camps. His vision eventually became a reality. Your present challenges are likely not as daunting as Frankl’s, but his example is a powerful one. Use your imagination to envision the future that you wish for yourself, no matter how improbable it might seem in the present moment. Time spent in your imagination envisioning your desired future is time well spent.
Ask your dreams for guidance. In Active Dreaming, teachers share a technique called incubating a dream, in which you request a dream in answer to a question. Keep a journal by the side of your bed to record any dreams that you might have. Then, repeat a question – either in your mind or written on a piece of paper that you can put under your pillow. Your question should be about a challenge, dilemma or simply an inquiry, such as “What direction should I go?” or “Should I take that job?” Be open to receiving a dream that directly answers your question. It might not happen the first night, but repeat the process every night for a few nights, and make sure you record any dreams as soon as you wake.
Be willing to reinvent yourself. If you don’t want to stay stuck over time, have faith in yourself and be determined to succeed. Remember that reinvention requires a willingness to let something go in order for the new to arise, and this can be the most difficult part. Make sure you allow yourself time to grieve what has been lost, so you will be more prepared to take a leap of faith into your new future.
If your life feels like you are riding a roller coaster in the dark, remember to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the ride.
Thea Litsios is a certified transformational life coach, a certified hypnotist, and a teacher of Active Dreaming. You can reach her at TheaLitsios.com or [email protected] See Community Resource Guide listing, page 36.