Embracing The Future or Bracing For It?

 

Are you bracing for or embracing the future? As I write this, there are just over 60 days to the end of 2020. For this final stretch, are you up for influencing how you feel going forward?

We have become accustomed to the request, following most interactions, for a star rating and review, I’m surprised that someone, somewhere on the internet isn’t asking for people to review of their pandemic experience, (and yes I googled to see if it was an option). Understandably, I recognize this interaction isn’t complete, so I’m obviously premature.

 

Image of star rating scale

How would you

rate & review your

pandemic experience?

Rating your experience thus far, isn’t to do with how your local or national leaders handled things, nor am I interested in a mask debate. Rather I’m asking about how you have been, amidst the pandemic, what worked and what you made work for you. If we think of it as a bit of a debrief on lessons learned to this point and is it possible we could be better able to embrace the future rather than brace for it?

 

Shifting Perspectives

In July I was did an interview with my amazing friend, Helen Joy Butler, we chatted about a host of things, including how we approached and what our pandemic experience was to that point. At that moment I could reflect and appreciate all the positives I had experienced, then something shifted for me come September…

 

Helen Joy Butler Podcast cover
Listen to the podcast

I came to the blunt realization that my positive attitude, about all the change, that Covid-19 brought to the world was also deeply influenced by the fact that we were leaving winter. Inherently, I know that I can handle ALL things more magnanimously in Spring and Summer.

Like clockwork, when my coveted sun starts showing up later and leaving earlier, I still relish the warm days but feel the reality that autumn is upon me and winter is approaching made me turn on my heel. (Think tiger trapped and pacing in a cage).

Relief came when I read this thread on Facebook via Twitter.

 

Regardless of never having heard of Dr. Aisha Ahmad, I was immensely affected by and tremendously grateful for her words. Grateful as in the tiger was now having a cup of tea, feeling calm and contented in the sunshine. Because in one fell swoop I had begun the process of bracing myself and overthinking about how and what turns the pandemic was going to take leaving summer and returning to winter.

 

And isn’t that the superpower of anxiety, going on a tangent about the future and about things that neither my or your overthinking can change!

 

Time To Pivot

 

When I think back to those couple days of mentally bracing for what could potentially happen before the end of 2020 I can literally feel my body clench up at the memory.

Do we or will we have enough toilet paper? What if and when will the second wave come? What will that look like? What if we have to shut the economy down again? And will winter be endurable or prohibitive and so on.

Intellectually I understand that in March, we did things from a place of reaction. Our center of gravity was knocked off kilter, as the world wobbled.

The difference is that six+ months in and looking forward, we have a lot more information to work with, yet it still would be impossible for us to anticipate all that ‘could’ happen.

It is 2020 after all.

While calmly drinking my tea I started to focus on how I could shore up my foundation, in order to be better able to respond to whatever the future brings. Since, now that we know better we can do better.

 

The Key Elements

Rather than focusing on the things I don’t know and am bracing for in the future, I redirected my attention on reinforcing what I do know to get back to embracing the future.

1. Centering

What does it feel like when you are feeling centered or grounded? My go to mind clearing and centering tool is to declutter, because it has become a form of meditation for me. Which creates space for me to make some inquiries within:

  • What do I want my experience to be?
  • How do I want to feel going forward?
  • What evokes that feeling?

Describing that essence, attitude and energy that fuels the feel good? The list can be as long as you want. Give yourself permission to muse about it.  Include any and all thoughts that come into mind.

I want to be more…

I want to be less…

I want to do more of…

I want to do less of…

I want to feel more of…

I want to feel less of…

 

Is there a theme? Take a moment and read through your list. Feel what it would feel like to have those things in your life. Immerse yourself in the feeling of your list. Close your eyes and visualize yourself absorbing all of those words on your list…

Feeling grounded or centered is a physical feeling and further anchored with your empowering words. Choose the words that best describe you feeling centered and that can evoke that feeling.

Make it your mantra, whenever you need to re-establish your connection to center, recite those words, or the list, to feel being on stable ground.

 

2. Knowledge & Self Cultivation

Reflect on all the things you have tried, learned, taught, felt, experienced and grown from that inherently makes you who you are. And not just in 2020. What worked for you and what did you make work?

Are there things you ‘wish’ you had done or tried back in the beginning of 2020 and even further back?

Choosing to learn something new or expand on what you already know, is tending to your personal growth. How would learning, doing and trying what you want support your feeling of being centered?

If you are accessible to the materials or supplies in order to have them at the ready, would it be possible for you create the opportunity and start now, rather than one day in the future?

 

3. Wellness Toolkit

Being restricted in March meant not going and not doing. This was a disconcerting turn of events. Both our physical and mental wellness felt the impact and continue to feel the jolt.

In order to protect our health and that of our family, we were all together, under one roof, all of the time. Idyllic at first potentially, but in practice, perhaps chaotic.

Taking an inventory of what works for maintaining your mental, emotional and physical wellness is essential to keeping centered. Keeping your toolkit at hand and adding new tools can help you feel better equipped when you enter a low spot.

Choosing to be curious and open to new ways of coping and thriving can be beneficial.

In addition to actively engaging and using the tools and positive habits to maintain wellness.

 

4. Communication

How many of your conversations have been dominated by the current state of the world? I can’t confirm this, however, I think it would be a toss up between covid and the weather!

There is no more asking what someone is doing on the weekend, because everyone is mostly not doing anything.

Without fresh experiences and stories to share, you may be experiencing a lag of conversation starters.

Checking in with your circle may be effectively done via text. However, engaging in actual conversations allows the door for an organic flow to open.

Social media and messaging has its place, however video or phone calls are more tangible. Seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice doesn’t replace being together, but that is our best alternative at the time.

 

5. Gratitude

It can be a challenge to be grateful for what is, when you are feeling off center. The superpower of gratitude is that is can be the very thing that can act like a GPS to get you back to your center.

Choosing to consciously notice the things in your immediate environment, then expanding your awareness beyond, can help in calming your nervous system and changing your state.

Alternatively, fast forward five years.

What is the story you would like to tell about your experience during this time?

Name what your future self grateful for?

How did your future self embrace the future?

How can you use that information and implement it so that you can start living that now, so you can tell that story then?

Going Forward

The one thing that we can actively do to embrace whatever the future holds is to ask ourselves, “What will I have ‘wished’ I had done during this time?”

Or what will you wish you had done differently or had done better.

Answering those questions may be the key for you to unlock the elements of centering, reflection, your wellness, communication and gratitude.

Let's chat!

If your experience with the 2020 is weighing on you, let’s chat about how letting go of this year with love and peace can positively impact how you embrace the future.

 

Author

Sherry Trentini

As a Life & Grief Coach, I love helping people let go the hard stuff to make room and create the good stuff. I have a healthy respect for the resistance to letting things go, while knowing the liberation that comes from doing just that. I am all about helping you navigate through and towards your future. Additionally, I'm a gratitude junkie, a decluttering advocate and loves to do burpees as exercise!

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