No question about it, we are in some challenging times. All of us on some levels are experiencing great upheaval, uncertainty, and change. There is no use pretending that we can go back to what life was like at some other time - say before Covid started in 2020 or even before 2016, a time of seismic political shifts in the United States. All of us have experienced loss in recent years so wanting to go back to those pre times can make sense from that perspective.
Yet though change can be excruciatingly hard, it can also be wonderful and miraculous if we are open to what is possible for us while life shifts and rearranges. What this requires is to stop putting our attention so much on the outside, on events around us, and worrying about what we should do and re-balancing toward our inner awareness of a peace that is an integral part of us because we are a part of the greater life energy.
The most essential way to strengthen yourself in these times is to make a place of peace amidst all the swirling.
As Deepak Chopra says: “The real promise that we should all explore is this: Being is more meaningful than doing. The ultimate healing, the end of all fear, including the fear of death, is contained in that simple axiom. Being is more meaningful than doing…Settle down in yourself, meet yourself in silence, appreciate the silence, and accept the peace that is part of existence.”
You can’t get that peace from outside of yourself, certainly not in the news (though that has its place), not in focusing on all the stuff that has gone wrong in our world, not in entertainment or escapism, not even in your to-do list, but only deep within yourself will you find that place of peace. The Hindus call it bliss-consciousness. This is not about pretending things are not hard in our human life, or about denying that grief is real, but about acting from a place of knowing that those hard things are only a part of the story. Where you put your attention matters right now. A lot of my clients say they do not have time for quietness but even a few minutes a day of quiet and tuning into your breath and your heart center help to fortify us.
You know this unchanging peace when you are in nature and see and feel the beauty and the harmony. This morning as I watered my plants in my backyard, a hummingbird came to play in the spray from my hose. That alone lifted my spirit and lightened my burden today. Ralph Waldo Emerson described these experiences with nature as revelations,” announcements of the soul,” which are attended “by the emotion of the sublime.” We absolutely have access to this healing presence of nature and the way it leads us back into the peace that already exists within us even in the darkest times.
Another way to strengthen yourself now and into the future is to do radical self-care.
If you are exhausted, rest, if you are not as productive in your work as you used to be, so be it and increase your relaxation time. When your body needs to walk, run, move, stretch, make the time for that. Keep your immune system nourished through eating fresh vegetables (ideally organic) and other healthy foods and lots of sleep. If you need time to process your grief over losing a loved one or shifting relationships or needing to let go of a workplace, give yourself the time for that. Stay up to date on getting help with any medical challenges or check-ups that are needed. And take plenty of time to be with friends and family and be nourished by these connections.
A third way to strengthen yourself right now is to get clear on what difference you want to make for others.
Ask yourself: how am I going to show up as a beneficial presence on this planet right now? At this time in my life, how would I most like to have an impact, leave my mark on the world, or be a force for good? This is a central question for you within your work, job, or career. Who do I want to be in my work/with my co-workers/with my clients and customers? Some are being called to a new work expression or wanting to make a transition to a new position or company or way of working, so if that is you, listen to your inner wisdom and take any inspired actions.
Our way of contributing to the world naturally shifts and changes throughout our life so allow a new vision to come forth if that is what is wanting to happen. The difference you want to make in the world may come in your volunteer work or with your neighborhood, community group, or spiritual community. Maybe it is being a grandparent or in several arenas at once. Whatever it is, recommit to it because you are a blessing to all around you.
Stay strong using these three strategies and know you were made for these times!