Updated: Sep 28
This human experience comes with many aspects of the unknown, which sometimes tap into the realm of mystery. Things we never expected to happen. Experiences we can’t easily make sense of, we are invited to live through. Plans that we are so ready and excited for progress in another direction.
Perhaps we find out that we didn’t get into the school we wanted, that our flights are canceled, or that the adventure we thought would be so fun was botched from the beginning. Maybe we face the shifting or dissolving of what was once a deeply connected relationship, the death of a loved one, person, or pet; a move, a breakup, or another form of unsteady ground...
This life is full. A cornucopia of experiences that invite us to move through a range of ups and downs, each with its own varying level of intensity. At times, it feels like a one-off. Others are more chronic, like years. Facing these moments doesn’t always come easy and, depending on the circumstance, can be monumentally hard.
This year has unfolded as a woven mix of beauty, magic, challenge, and change. The experiences that have met me have invited me to surf waves of great height, requiring new levels of immersion in lifestyle medicine practices founded in mindful self-care.
Through this, I’ve been reminded that when facing the complex, it’s essential to go back to basics; meeting the complex with simplicity is an incredibly effective way of engaging deep support.
Think: Connect with the breath, take things one step at a time, and practice mindsets founded in trust and love.
An insider view from my experience:
I stood there amid the upheaval, steadily connecting to the present moment. Surprisingly tuned to the sounds of birds, water view, open sky, and age-old trees. I was aware of place, the beauty surrounding me, and the gift it was to be here. I was aware of the people that I was living near. I felt a deep appreciation for the opportunities to connect.
Engaging in this practice of mindful awareness opened space for a steady connection with the present, allowing me to be more deeply attuned to my surroundings. In that space lived openings for appreciation of the beauty of nature and the gifts that surrounded me despite the internal sense of shake.
These openings became like solid ground. Leaving me an observer of paradox, where the complexity of challenges existed, wrapped in such beauty it couldn’t be unseen. It was as if something greater was holding space for me to see the potential of being with the entire experience - the upheaval and the beauty - as if they were one. And in and of themself, a gift.
From this up-leveled optic, I steadily practiced this potential day in and day out. Intending to remain aware of the moment, the felt sensations of the breath. Over time, a knowing arose: this upheaval was actually supporting me in opening a phase of life anew.
What if the upheavals we experience are, in fact, making way, leading us to the uplevel?
Upheavals shake us – sometimes more, sometimes less.
They shake our thoughts, actions, habits, and routines.
They shake our sense of self, our vibrational energies.
Imagine the universe taking us by the shoulders, giving the who that we were a good, steady shake.
At times, we call this in. Knowingly or unknowingly, our spirit may already sense we are ready for the uplevel. Perhaps we’ve been acting directly to activate new thoughts, asking for change.
We’ve all been there, though, me included, where amid the upheaval, the discomfort and challenge of the experience itself take center stage, magnetizing our focus, narrowing our view, and limiting us from seeing how the shift from our plan is potentially serving.
Queue our steady practices of Participatory Lifestyle Medicine™ (PLM).
It is this regular engagement that allows us to have access amid the most monumental storms.
Through the intentional engagement of mindful self-care, we pause, breathe, connect to our body, and connect to our surroundings, at times opening the window for new possibilities and considerations. Here, I invite you to play a bit with keeping a few rhetorical questions at your side, ready to be raised in moments of upheaval and doubt. Such questions can be used as tools, like cracking a window in a stuffy house – making way for insights, openings, and freshness.
Here is an example of how, internally, meeting an experience with the tool of a rhetorical question may sound:
Rhetorical question: "How is this experience serving me (or working in my favor)?"
If all events could be serving us in some way, then this experience, despite how much it is disliked and challenging, cannot be excluded. Sooo, how could this experience be serving me, too?
Holding a rhetorical question is quite different from shifting into the figuring mind, which tends to dig for answers, striving for ways to find relief. (Which, of course, when experiencing dis-ease, our first instinct is to seek relief! What happens when this strategy is put to work, but relief doesn't come?)
Working with this practice is like witnessing a hawk gliding through the air. Imagine taking the question and just resting it there. Feel into the moment, allowing the idea to percolate while holding space for all the things. While doing this, it can help to turn the attention to the felt sensations of the breath as an anchor for supporting the self in otherwise remaining steady and strong.
Through such practice, space is opened, offering room for upleveled perspectives to set in.
New attitudes, behaviors, and energies are engaged. The old and familiar fall away, and before we know it, we have entered the space of experiencing an aspect of self-anew.
Supports to consider keeping by our sides:
Authentic talks with family and friends
Time in nature
Following structure in my day
Focusing on wins and what is going well.
Let's keep it going... Reach out and share, which of your favorite go-to's should be added to this list?
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