by Laura Lynch, LCSW, Life Coach
Change is in the wind. I tend to be a optimistic type by temperament, but the uncertainty feels stronger in my personal life, and permeates the news. For many of us, the recession led to a so called “new normal” of reduced or at least changed expectations. But a sense of optimism can make way for gratitude when worry nibbles at the edges of my mind. I suppose I must have faith in the future, since I just adapted a third dog.
I am grateful that I work in a profession of helping people, and I can now work full time, while also consulting for a new agency, and have my tiny mental health practice, plus help my spouse build our business. Grateful for family and friends. Grateful to be alive, to be living in times when I can potentially connect with many others, and more importantly, be inspired by others. So my unease is calmed a bit by these reminders of gratitude.
I am also grateful and humbled because I know how much worse it could be, given the clients I have worked with over the years, those who suffer from serious and sometimes scary mental illness, and also struggling with limited financial and social resources. I was also inspired by some people I met while working within a jail, who had decided they would finally make the changes needed, no matter what. Talk about unease – how about intense discomfort.
We do live in uneasy times, uncomfortable times. Long term job or career security is hard to come by for many people. We are told we have so much freedom, and so much choice – but are we fooling ourselves? Is this just an illusion? Besides, so often the choices seems to be between security and freedom. When people feel fearful, they often choose security. Of course the folks I helped at the jail had lots of routine and security, along with with that ongoing fear. Freedom is often interpreted as individualism. But what about a sense of belonging and community? Can you truly figure out your identity on your own?
In order to grow, you need to move out of that rutty spot, and you may have to tolerate some discomfort. (You know, getting out of that comfort zone). As you notice, life in general seems set up for periods of rest and movement, birth & death, centering & reaching, learning & teaching, and so forth and so on. Move too fast, you don’t notice anything. Too slow, you’ll totally miss it. There is a reason why people often talk about timing. As long as you don’t start doing the woulda coulda shoulda.
As a life coach, I have been through these same transitions, and I am not going to pretend that 1) I have all the answers, or the one answer 2) That I don’t have fear sometimes or self doubt 3) That like you I have my habits and ways 3) Or feel disgusted, discouraged, or down. I do feel generally that all of us have potential to be tapped, that life is funny and so ridiculous but also often touching and inspiring.
I do like taking a pragmatic, workable approach. I have come to really appreciate that aspect of my beloved, late mother. (As a teenager, I most certainly did not appreciate that approach!) She was creative and positive, and she practiced the wisdom of using every scrap in her kitchen to make a good homemade soup. She collected many many recipes, because it is good to have clear instructions and some inspiration, but she also knew how to cook by taste and smell, and cooking is after all for eating. In life coaching, we will take every scrap we can get from your life (your experience, attributes, desire, and dreams) and start taking those steps toward a life that is fulfilling, healthy and enjoyable.
Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. There’s some change blowing in the wind. If you do feel some unease, let that motivate you. Better some uneasiness than rigid certainty. (As the song says, it’s so easy to be hard). So open up, be vulnerable, be strong, and get to work on the project (ingredients?) of your life.