How do you cope with sudden change and not knowing what the future will bring?

Photo by Ross Findon

Photo by Ross Findon

After my last blog post about letting go of what you think life should look, I received emails with questions about coping with change and how to let go and get unstuck. These were great questions and useful for us all to consider as we all experience and have to find our way through change.

When life changes very quickly it can feel like the rug is swept out from under your feet and you don’t yet know where you will land.  When the sudden change relates to our living arrangements our sense of security becomes threatened and can trigger our fight, flight, freeze response. A sudden change in our circumstances or expectations can initially shake everything up creating confusion and an inability to see the way forward.  In time when the mud settles, there can be more clarity.

If even just reading this makes you feel uneasy, take a moment to ground yourself in the safety of this present moment.  Feel your feet on the ground, look around you where you are and name what you see, notice your breath and see if you can slow it down and make it deeper and remind yourself that you are safe.

Like you, I’ve experienced a lot of change in my own life. Mine include changes in living arrangements, to redundancy, to relationships and friendships ending and deaths of loved ones. I experienced all the emotions that go along with change: shock, disbelief, anger, confusion, grief, sorrow, uncertainty, fear and eventually even curiosity and excitement about new possibilities.

Packing up my life to travel for a year (which turned into a prolonged period of living between Melbourne and Thailand, travelling and adventures such as walking the Via Francigena) meant that I have spent a large chunk of my life with my belongings in storage and without a permanent home.

Having a home gives us a sense of security and safety, as does having some certainty in our working and personal relationships. A change in our life circumstances can make us feel unsafe.

In my experience, not having a permanent home and travelling meant I had to trust that somehow everything would turn out okay, that I would find a roof over my head and work when I needed it. It helped me to grow my courage and my trust in the universe but I also experienced a lot of fear and shed many tears along the way.

A great example of this trust and courage was my experience when I was walking the Via Francigena and I arrived in Gy, a small town in eastern France with a population of just over 1,000 and was unable to find accommodation. I had been afraid that this would happen.  You can read the whole story here, but here’s the very short version.

A little pot of panic simmered in my stomach and started to boil as I worked through my list of accommodation options and couldn’t find anything. But a very firm voice within me told me to “Keep calm,” which I did. Eventually I found a Bed n Breakfast in Choye, a town 4 kilometres away and after making a phone call speaking only in French with my limited vocabulary and comprehension, I found a room for the night. I was so happy and relieved and even victorious.

That night I wrote in my Via Francigena blog…

“Everything always works out.  We end up exactly where we are meant to be.”

For me this continues to be true, although it doesn’t always feel like it in the midst of change or uncertainty. It is at those times that I find it most useful to reflect on my life, at the path I’ve travelled with all the change, fear and uncertainty I’ve experienced and how life turned out at those times and the gifts it gave me. That is, I give myself a reminder of how everything has worked out okay.

I find that when change comes, my life turns out in ways I could never have imagined.

If you are experiencing a period of change and transition in your life with all of the fear, grief, uncertainty, frustration and confusion that may entail, may you connect deeply with our Mother Earth who supports you with every breath and may friends and loved ones hold space for your uncertainty and unfolding.

With love and courage, 

Kym xx

PS I love to hear from you, so if you have a question or a comment get in touch!

What do do when you don't know what to do

There will be times on the journey when you lose your way, lose your vision, become directionless, disoriented, confused and you don’t know what to do, who or where to turn to.

Don’t panic.

Don’t rush to take the first step that comes to mind to get you out of your experience and away from where you don’t want to be unless the house is on fire or you are in some other kind of immediate danger.

You don’t have to scramble to retrace your steps to find out where you went wrong to end up in this place for nothing is wrong despite what you may think.

Instead, take a deep breath and rest exactly where you are.

Melt into this place of stuckness, confusion, unknowing, uncertainty and visionlessness, deeper and deeper with each breath you exhale.

Another breath will come without you having to do a thing.
You are alive and life is supporting you exactly where you are.

The discomfort you feel isn’t a sign that anything is wrong nor is it something you have to escape or even figure out.

The flow that you may have had and lost doesn’t need to be rediscovered right this very moment.

Slowly you will adjust to what at first felt uncomfortable and made you want to scramble to find your way again.

You will find that you can look around at where you are now with curiousity, love and compassion; the fog will lift, the mountain may dissolve.

You can listen more intently and hear more clearly what is arising from within you.

You will discover that you are standing on sacred ground, that being stopped in your tracks or the way forward disappearing beneath your feet came to serve a sacred purpose: a time for rest, renewal, reconnection or redirection.

This sacred pit stop may help you strengthen and recommit to your vision or allow a new one to arise along with a new path to walk. Or may be you discover that you really did take a wrong turn and you can retrace your steps to that point and continue on, but not before opening the gifts of your wrong turn.

Don’t jump ahead and miss this step.  

Don’t be in a rush to carry on and arrive.

If you were really meant to be there already, you would be there.
If you were meant to know what to do, you would already know.

The fruits are always in the journey not the destination.

Slow down and just be here where you are, with your palms open in gratitude and receptiveness for the knowing to arrive in its own divine time and way.