10 Step Survival Guide for Uncertainty and Change
As we all navigate through the discomforts of uncertainty and change this year, I share some insights that you might find relevant and helpful in your own life. When we have the right tools to stay well and resilient, life flows better, even during the challenging times.
My life has been a total surrender experiment leading into the fall while living a nomadic life! Below you will find the top 10 life lessons I learned along the way to thrive instead of just survive during times of change.
Ian and I packed up our cars at the end of August to hit the road in the direction of British Columbia. We had faith that the right place would reveal itself for us to live for the next year. After several weeks of working full time on the case we found a house in Departure Bay, Nanaimo, BC! Happy dance on this end…
Synchronistically, I had just read "The Surrender Experiment" by Michel Singer earlier this summer unknowing that the principles the author described would come in handy as we navigated through this transition! By the way, I also love his other book The Untethered Soul. Both are well worth reading.
Michael Singer’s words rang in my ears daily. Keep letting go and trust the process of life. Stay in motion. Follow the flow of what life brings each day. I am always amazed how the right people and messages are put on our path to lead us to the next step. It helps to pay attention.
Each successive step on our journey was revealed as we stayed in action and made choices even when they were blind ones! The pieces of the puzzle came together to design this interesting adventure of exploring where we would land next until we found a more permanent place. Every day became an act of faith and trust in life. We learned to get still, feel it out and make a choice. Each choice, even if they weren't always the "right" ones still offered insight and growth. Like any change in life, many elements are out of our control. If we wish to stay well from the inside out, the only thing we can control is our attitude along with caring for our well-being throughout the transitional process.
I have learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and to embrace the totality of each experience with kindness even when I had no idea what was going to happen next.
As Ian, Shiva and I navigated through uncertainty and change at times, we kept our focus on the basics to find emotional and psychological comfort: shelter, fresh food to eat, good air to breathe and clean water to drink along with the support from close friends and family who checked in on us which kept our hearts happy. When I am away from the comforts of home I am even more grateful for these essential elements.
Other essentials that help me to stay centered and grounded:
1. Every day I take the time to close my eyes, breathe deeply, and get quiet within especially when I feel emotional turbulence when things don't work out the way I thought they might, I witness my inner currents and let the energy move.
2. Even in the noise of a city I find nature trails to connect to what is real.
3. And no matter where I am, there is always room to unroll my yoga mat for some delicious movement!
Feeling vibrant is so important to me, I am intuitively aware of what I need to feel my best and if one of these pillars is off kilter, then it takes more effort to be the best version of myself!
Move well, rest well, eat well, think well to BE well.
So even if the mattresses aren't like home, or the environment is not our preference, and the stress was a little higher than usual, choosing healthy food and engaging in lots of stretch breaks was a game changer while living life on the road.
Soooo from air bnb's to doggie friendly motels we look forward to booking a few days in the woods to recalibrate before accepting the keys to our new place in Nanaimo, BC on September 20th. Then it will be time to prepare and get back in gear in our new virtual studio to share fresh inspiration at the School of Happiness.
See you on the next part of the journey!
Laura’s 10 Step Survival Guide for Uncertainty and Change
1. Take stuff off your plate. You can’t do everything!
When I received the news that my US visa was expiring and I needed to get back to Canada by the end of August, I redirected my focus. I couldn’t possibly do every task on my own and stay sane. I consulted with a friend and mentor who eased my mind and made some suggestions. I canceled live-streamed classes and appointments and rescheduled them for later in the month.
2. Ask for support. Who’s got your back?
It is helpful to have a fresh perspective and someone to encourage you along the way. I had a few good friends send me emails of encouragement, they called and stayed connected to check in on me, their insight kept me aligned and strong. They directed my attention to focus on the best possible outcome instead of allowing myself to drop into a state of overwhelm.
3. Mindset coaching is a game changer
My friend and SOH faculty member Janice helped guide my mindset the week before leaving which left me feeling more positive and empowered as opposed to fearful and anxious. I let go of what I could not control and focused on what I could control – my mindset and attitude. We can make ourselves feel better or worse by the thoughts we think.
I decided to keep a growth mindset and to view this adventure as an opportunity. I was reminded to maintain an abundance mindset vs scarcity mindset: The perfect place was on its way. Keep the vision of what I wanted, not what I did not want, she said “you’ll feel it when it is right.” that was true.
4. Put things in perspective and be present – Am I safe? Do I have food, shelter? Am I breathing?
It may sound silly in this day and age to ask those questions, but our brain is designed to keep us safe and can easily launch into fight or flight mode if it feels threatened. By tuning in to the present moment and checking in with ourself, a sense of calm can be restored quickly as long as we don’t allow the oscillation of the mind to jump endlessly between past and future thoughts. ‘Stay here and now’ was my mantra.
5. Do one thing at a time. Stay focused on what is important with an eye on the end goal or vision. Today is all that matters. Each day I reminded myself to align and direct my thoughts and choices towards what I wanted and not on what I feared or did not want. The brain records everything we tell it and we attract what we consistently think about. When I had moments of feeling uncertain or frustrated I reeled in my thoughts and re-focused on what I could do in that moment then directed my actions towards looking for a house to live in!
6. Stay in your heart. This one is HUGE and makes each day flow more smoothly and gracefully. No matter what is going on around me, when I am centered and peaceful in my heart everything flows better. I know for sure that if I neglect keeping an attitude of gratitude, I can be more impatient and frustrated when things don’t go the way I planned. Being grateful for what is good in our life has the power to shift our inner state and primes our mental and emotional state towards feelings of joy and well-being. When we feel calm and harmonious within ourselves, life flows better on the outside too. I noticed, when I remained in a grateful state, I had the ability to perceive new adventures as being fun and exciting instead of being disruptive and unsettling.
7. Remain in motion, lean into the vision. Keep moving forward even if you have to course correct. You can’t figure anything out through inertia. Life moves. While navigating any form of change, keep your eyes on the vision – work with the end goal in mind even when the going gets tough. There will be moments of uncertainty, no one has everything all figured out when embarking on a new journey. Life is about trial and error and the lessons learned through all the ups and downs are enriching. Keep your chin up and keep going.
We love the West coast lifestyle and chose to be in an uplifting environment to work and live. Even though I was not always fond of nomadic living, I kept my focus on the purpose and it got me through it.
8. Self care is a must! The three main pillars of well-being include: proper rest, proper movement and proper nutrition. I know this to be true for me. The human body is designed to move. I stretch each morning, practice rhythmic breathing exercises, walk our dog and do some form of movement usually Pilates or yoga later in the morning. We eat foods that are closest to nature to fuel and recharge our bodies. If my digestion is out of whack so is my mind and mood so gut health is key! As for proper rest, my granny used to say “put your feet up dear” take a pause to clear the mind and evacuate stress daily. Getting a good night’s sleep helps provides a fresh outlook and the energy needed to manage long days.
9. Stay calm. When I am calm and relaxed, I make better decisions. I also notice that I am more receptive to intuitive inner guidance which promotes living in a state of flow. When we are calm and more relaxed, our bodies repair and regenerate more quickly to keep us healthy and vibrant. We have a greater ability to conserve our energy and make better decisions. I can validate first hand, when I am stressed or mentally agitated, my energy is consumed more rapidly creating a state of fatigue or being tired and wired. Not fun.
On days when I miss a meditation practice, I will do my best to be still for at least 5-10 minutes, and practice inner listening. I also like to face the sun and imagine the light filling my body leaving me feeling expansive, peaceful and energized.
10. Trust and have faith in life.
This one is easy to say but not always easy to do when you are confronted with the “not-knowing-what’s next” syndrome. It does not mean you sit back and do nothing. I know for sure practicing faith also requires following every previous element outlined so far in this blog including setting an intention or vision.
Once we know the direction we are heading, the pathways getting there can be numerous. There is more than one way to Oz! Faith speaks to me through the little whispers of insight and nudges me to stay in the flow of life. Having faith even when we don’t know exactly where the currents are taking us is an act of surrender. That means letting go of what we have no control over and trusting there is a greater force of nature at work including correct timing for everything. I also trust that within every challenge lies an opportunity for growth and goodness.
One particular affirmation I adopted lately: “today I will assist the flow instead of resisting the flow.” This awareness allows me to tune in to the support and resources that surround me. When I surrender and trust that there is a higher power orchestrating the “how”, a feeling of peace and comfort expands my heart. That is faith at work.
“sometimes you have to let faith lead the way even when you can’t see where it will take you.”
How do you stay vibrant when you are out of your comfort zone during times of change?
Be well friends.
Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness, which crafts methods for wellness by integrating tools from ancient teachings to today’s cutting-edge research. School of Happiness is an online fitness and wellness platform that guides people to cultivate a resilient body, a clear mind and a happy heart following their eight essential elements to health and happiness.
Laura is a passionate wellness educator and leader in mind-body-heart integration. She offers retreats, classes and workshops live and online.