Being in the Unknown

Lately, we have all been hearing these words repeated, “We are in unprecedented times…”. Its true, we are currently living our lives in a way that the people of the United States have not had to in a very long time, if ever. We are being told to not leave our homes, to keep ourselves physically distanced from each other, and to pay meticulous attention to our hygiene.

For many of us, this is new territory and for many of us, new territory can be a frightening place. It can bring up a lot of anxiety, fear, overwhelm, depression, shut down, denial, and more. We are being asked to make a lot of adjustments to our daily lives and some are easier to make than others.

How are you managing all the changes?

If you have been to a grocery store in the last couple of weeks, you were probably hard pressed to find an aisle that was fully stocked or without a line to get in and out of the store. Some people are moving through the store slowly as if in awe, others more frantically and with gusto.

How are you making the adjustments you are being asked to make right now?

Are you finding you have too much alone time? Not enough alone time?

We are all in a place of uncertainty and unknown and how we respond to that is full of information about ourselves. We are in a rare window of opportunity to learn a lot about who we are and how we respond to our changing environment.

How Are You Living Yourself?

Transitions are abound. Obvious, big ones, tiny, subtle ones and everything in between. How you are moving through the transitions plays an important role in what kind of experience you are generating. Are you moving at your usual pace or are you playing with how fast or slow you move and how that creates a different kind of experience of life right now?

How you are “living” yourself in these “unprecedented” moments is a great question to keep in mind as you navigate these new waters. Whether you are moving from working in an office to working at home – or not working at all, adapting to different ways of exercising, spending time outside, having more/less family time, of practicing our hobbies and creative outlets, or connecting with long time friends and family are all things being affected by our current environment of living in quarantine.

Are you continuing to take your well developed habits of how you were living and trying to apply them to your new environment?

Are you allowing yourself enough time to metabolize these changes and all that is changing in our larger environment? How do you know the time you are taking is enough?

The Upside To The Stay-At-Home Order

Some of us are experiencing heightened anxiety, overwhelm, and exhaustion. Staying at home has even brought up a flurry of emotions in other areas of our lives where its unusual to experience them. Increased tension, internal pressure, restless minds are surfacing right now as the world “slows down”. Is this an indicator of how we normally operate or is it in response to the world slowing down? Its an interesting question to consider. What’s it like when how you are living yourself is out of sync with the environment around? What expectation(s) do you have? How do you adapt?

Some are finding a silver lining to our newly imposed quarantine life and are embracing the benefits to this new “stay-at-home” order Governor Gavin Newsom declared on March 19, 2020. In purely happenstance observations, people are reporting enjoying things being simpler, quieter, and slower in the current environment. They are focusing on their health, they are eating better, exercising more, learning that it is helpful to limit their news media intake, and are overall, realizing that they have limits to how much time they want to spend working in their day. In other words, they are being kinder toward themselves and in the process exploring new unknown ground upon which they currently stand.

Being In The Unknown Takes Practice

Being in the Unknown is challenging for a lot of us. We often take for granted, the structures we have in place to keep us stable and on task. Think: typical hours of your workday, school or day care schedules, social visits, date nights, etc. When those structures are eliminated or changed, we can respond drastically and often irrationally to those changes setting off a whole host of behaviors and thoughts we don’t normally identify with.

Being in the unknown takes practice. Practice develops mastery and mastery breeds capital C, Confidence. When you are, or at very least, feel confident you can move into the unknown with a semblance of yourself that is familiar. How does one do this, you ask?

Try the following exercise:

  • Find a quiet place. Eliminate ALL possible distractions. Set aside all “devices”.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Draw your focus down further into your body and notice what other sensations are there.
  • Stay with at least one of the sensations for a full 15-30 seconds.
  • Notice what you notice.
  • Don’t try to change what is happening. Just observe what IS happening.
  • How are you relating to what is happening? Do you feel anxious? Impatient? Calm? Relieved?
  • Bring your attention back to the sensations. Do you feel tension? Tightness? Are the sensations moving in some way?
  • What happens when you take what is happening and do it less?
  • Allow yourself time to explore this “unknown” way of being with yourself.
  • How does this influence you overall?

Take a few minutes a couple times a day and practice this exercise. Notice how you can influence yourself into a new way of being. Notice – what it’s like to explore being in the unknown on a small scale.

How might this effect how you are moving through your transitions and current circumstances?

By taking the time to explore the unknown in yourself, you are building a muscle of how to be in the unknown out in the world. When that muscle is readily available, being confident in the unknown is right around the corner!

_________________________

If you are intrigued and want to learn more like, share, and follow this blog. If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to schedule a session, contact me directly at erika@spiraltoyourcenter.com.

Photo by Dale Brooks from Pexels.

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