Three months ago I realised that I was in, what feels like, a big transition. A time of uncertainty, unknowing, unknowable, instability, and significant change. I was feeling unsettled, jumping from one thing to another, my days filled with client work, teaching and study for my own professional development. Visiting and supporting my parents individually where I could, attending to our daughters different needs wherever they were in the world, and together with my husband, travelling overseas for volunteer projects.
Living in transition
Living alone, my elderly Dad’s chronic kidney disease is deteriorating more rapidly coupled with severe arthritis in both his knees rendering difficulty in his ability to walk has caused him to have recent falls. Listening to him and his needs propelled me into arranging more care assistance, beyond the palliative care team, uncertain and unknowing of the unexpected as we navigate this chapter of his life to honour his dignity. I am humbled and grateful for the support we have for him.
“Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent”
The company my husband works for is under new ownership and is going through a huge global restructure. His role is at risk and is in the process of seeing what opportunities emerge either inside or outside the company. Being with, noticing and listening to him process his thoughts is important for me as we navigate the impact the opportunity and change this creates for him and our family.
Our youngest daughter, coming to the end of her gap year, is beginning to focus on leaving home for university in September – or perhaps it is me who is preparing for her leaving home for university, both physically and emotionally! This means both our daughters will be living away from home – some call this ‘empty nest’, others ‘a time to reclaim your own life’. There will be some re-adjusting for us all.
“Never be so busy as not to think of others”
What daily practices can I nurture to navigate this time of transition with ease?
During this time, completing a 3-day ontological coaching coaching and leadership course with the wonderful facilitators Karen White and Jeremy Stunt, helped me to slow down. Take time out for me. To pause, to reflect, to write down questions that were on my mind and to recognise the world I am living in – one that is filled with rush, urgency, pulls from many directions wanting my attention, growing list of things to do and people to contact. A world of uncertainty, unpredictability and rapid change – sound familiar to you too?
One of the questions I asked myself was – What daily practices can I nurture to navigate this time of transition with ease?
Listening to learn
During a conversation with my husband he asked me how I felt about the transition I mention above – a thoughtful question which deserved a meaningful answer. I thought about it for a little while. Observing my body posture, listening to the language I was choosing and what I was sensing, I felt a sense of acceptance. Accepting where we are now felt freeing and an opportunity for growth. Given our emotions are a pre-disposition for action, from this feeling of acceptance and opportunity, I began to move, with more ease into each situation with renewed strength, gratitude and compassion.
During this time of transition I feel I have been granted a profound gift – the gift of slowing down. Slowing down to listen to and observe the choice of words I use (language), feel what I feel (emotions) and giving attention to my physical posture (body). From this place of learning has enabled me to be more present in every moment – more present with and for myself, others and my environment and to respond from a place of choice rather than simply react.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”
Daily practices that help me to slow down and navigate transition with ease
- Being in nature. Walking and cycling both on roads and off road gravel tracks has helped clear my mind, think creatively, and boost my energy. Being in nature helps to let go of the busyness life presents us with.
- Turning my phone off. It seems that with our phone on and within easy reach, we are on 24/7, always plugged in. Being unplugged, or having my phone on silent and not always within reach has given me more focused time to accomplish what I set out to in that time and gain greater joy in the process.
- Taking an intentional pause. Taking a minute or 5 minutes in my day at certain intervals to pause. To listen to myself with compassion. To notice what I see, feel and think.
- Listening to others free from interruption and judgement, with empathy continues to deepen my being present with them. Giving my undivided attention to another and witnessing their resourcefulness and idea generation fills my heart and soul with wonder, appreciation and joy.
- Adding some white space to my diary. Simply seeing the space in my diary frees my mind and body. Knowing that I am more easily able to attend to the last minute calls and needs from family at this time in particular creates more ease in my daily life.
- Saying No more often. This is not easy for me, given my values of learning, serving and nurturing. During this time of transition, I have learned that slowing down and being mindful of what I say ‘Yes’ to has enabled me to devote more time to the things that matter most in serving others and creating environments where people feel nurtured and cared for to step up to and into who they are meant to be.
- Practising gratitude. My dear friend and Gratitude Master, Kevin Monroe, shares that ‘hope grows in gratitude’ and so my daily practices of gratitude continue to sow seeds of hope for my family, friends and clients as we all navigate this life which seems to be characterised by uncertainty, unpredictability and unknowing.
Living in this time of transition, slowing down has enabled me greater peace, calm and joy, in more ways than I could ever have imagined.
“Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life”
As human beings we have the capacity and capability to adjust, adapt, learn, grow and develop. These very capabilities are what help us to thrive, not simply survive in times of transition and change. Slowing down, listening to and observing our body posture, the language we use and the emotions we feel are available to us all as indicators from which we can learn.
In our listening we learn, in our learning we grow, in our growing we become who we are meant to be.
What daily practices might you nurture to navigate times of change with more ease?
Thank you for listening!
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