3 Tips for Dealing With Life’s Unpredictability
Sadly, I keep hearing about people losing family members to opiates and heroin, and this week another friend had to face that loss. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug overdose deaths involving any opioid, including prescription and heroin, has risen in the last ten years from 18,515 deaths in 2007 to 47,600 deaths in 2017.
That’s a shocking statistic; it’s made me think about the unpredictability of life and how vulnerable we all are.
I can relate to the pull of addiction. There was a time in my life when I was couldn’t imagine giving up cigarettes. I wanted to quit, but got very good at telling myself that just one more hit wouldn’t make a difference. Cigarettes felt like a trusted friend, always there for me. They made me feel like life was less unpredictable, and I truly believed that they were helping me deal with things. But I was avoiding the feelings behind why I was smoking.
Smoking was the ball and chain; I was the prisoner. When I finally gave up the habit, I had panic attacks for six months.
In retrospect, I can see that all I really wanted to do was to breathe, to inhale life. But I had become so disconnected from my body. I didn’t understand that emotions are nothing more than energy in motion, that they need to be felt and allowed to move.
Like most people, I was afraid to wake up to the truth that I’m not in control.
Life is unpredictable.
Nature reminds me of this with extreme weather changes, earthquakes, and floods. I see it in my personal life as well:
I’m surprised by an expensive home repair.
I pick up my daughter and she has a meltdown.
My family vacation doesn’t go as planned.
In these moments, I remind myself that no matter what’s going on outside me, there are always at least three things I can do to find my own peace.
I can become present by tuning into my breath.
I can stop trying to control the situation. When my judgment tells me that something is wrong, my inner experience becomes one of discomfort.
I can change my environment if necessary, knowing that it’s ok to remove myself from people or situations that are challenging.
There seems to be a misconception that lightworkers are all calm, cool, and collected. I know from experience that that is absolutely not true. Even those with strong spiritual and self-care practices struggle and feel discomfort. If there is a secret that lightworkers share, it’s knowing that to be emotional means to be alive.
We are all trying to cope with the unpredictability of life in the best way we can. For me, recognizing that much of my life unfolds beyond my control leads to a sense of grief. I’ve written a lot about grief recently because I believe it’s a complex and especially difficult emotion. In my healing work, my goal is to help my clients in facing not only grief but whatever surprising, overwhelming, confusing mix of emotions they may be facing.
I hope to support others who also want to inhale life but are looking in the wrong places.
Please consider exploring the predictable power and peace of your breath by joining me for the Breathing Beyond Grief™ workshop this September.
Breathing Beyond Grief™
September 27 - 29
Led by Jen & Carter Gronbach from The Clearing Center