We can learn through the innate wisdom of youth when we don’t try to put them in the box of our making. My kids were the catalyst for this observation years ago.
As a family, we’ve made some massive moves back and forth overseas. Naturally, these have created much uncertainty in all aspects of our lives. Each move taught me something or highlighted something I knew but needed to step up and claim.
The first thing is we innately make the right decisions for ourselves when we don’t second guess the initial path we set out on. This is different than pivoting and course-correcting along the way.
What I mean is shortcutting the fear that we’ve made the wrong decision. There are no wrong decisions and when you pull back and observe the larger picture, it’s just an opportunity to pivot, to perhaps see a better path, and move on.
Did you see what I did there? I didn’t look back and critique the decision, but looked forward and shifted from the path I set out on.
This is also perceived differently in your body, instead of judging and shaming yourself up for being wrong or making a bad decision, its an assessment point to keep moving forward. This turns into a point of trust between you and your body so the next time when you make a split-second decision, you will know its the right one.
This also shortcircuits any external criticism you may get as well and help you build autonomy between your body, mind, and soul.
Now for the wisdom of kids.
Every time we’ve made a big move, they’ve let go of something or shifted something naturally. These may seem like little things but to a kid they are big.
The first was they decided to give up juice and drink water instead. They did this on day 2 after we moved. They didn’t want it anymore. They still choose water 14 years later even with the zillion options that come in a can. The other very significant one was something that bugged the shit out of me.
When we lived in Dubai, my partner would take the kids when they were little to McD’s on Sundays to have happy meals and play in the air conditioning. This was a huge deal when it was 40ºC at 9 am. I didn’t like the fast-food idea but I got the point.
After we moved stateside, they didn’t want it anymore and again, to this day don’t eat fast-food which makes me very happy. OK, I admit they moved on to Starbucks and coffee drinks on the weekends. I honored their decision, and they sorted that one out, in the same way, the next time we moved.
These are just 2 examples, but its when I noticed they naturally made massive changes on their own when we were outside of our routine. When times feel challenging, I make sure I take a look at underlying patterns that need to be interrupted and purposefully make changes.
These don’t have to be things you need to get rid of or patterns that need to be broken or busted. That always has a feeling of subtle deprivation.
Instead, when it’s a time of change, uncertainty, or upheaval, I ask:
- What do I want to do differently?
- What do I want to incorporate where I’ve been inconsistent?
- Where can I respond and not react?
- Is there a typical emotional response that I can slightly shift for a different outcome?
- Is there a thought pattern or cycle that I can shift to experience less anxiety and more focused calm?
- Is there an “I am” statement I can reframe to “I feel”?
- Are there people I need to stop listening to or let go of that are clouding my vision forward?
These are times of uncertainty. I don’t have to name all that we are experiencing, you know. You know what the past few years have unveiled. We can’t bypass, put our head in the sand, or pretend that life is all love and light. It isn’t; we are in transition. What we can do is look at ourselves and ask some of the questions above.
It is so much easier to make lasting changes for yourself when you are already shifted out of your routine. Your ego is already experiencing a state of uncertainty, and it’s an opportune time to use as a catalyst to explore other ways of being and doing. The key is to resist going back to the way you did things before.
Your ego likes routine, it’s safe even if it’s painful. When it’s already pushed out of its zone of comfort, you can accelerate shifts in other patterns.
Of my most recent shifts, the ones that stand out that I feel comfortable sharing, are taking up a new area of study in 2017 when things felt precarious ant the end of 2016. I did this again in 2018 with a health diagnosis. That forced me to look at how I managed my mental and emotional health even though the diagnosis was physical.
Yes, we all want things to be different, but how can you make subtle shifts in yourself to change the way you are experiencing these times of uncertainty?