This month, I am endeavoring to crystallize the important key findings that are emerging from my interviews (47 conducted to date) with women nationwide who have overcome professional crisis and transformed their lives and work (the study is Women Overcoming Professional Crisis: Finding New Meaning in Life and Work, co-sponsored by The Esteemed Woman Foundation). These interviews have been so inspiring, and have deeply expanded my love and admiration of women the world over. It has become even clearer to me all the many ways women strive to expand their lives, and to support and improve the life experiences of others.
This week, Laurie, a dear friend and colleague, was reviewing my research findings. In doing so, she shared with me a process that she has found to be essential in thriving through change. Her words were very meaningful (and true!) for me, so I’d like to share them with you.
“I have discovered that it is critical to trust that the circumstances in which you find yourself are exactly where you are meant to be. It seems that this experience [of embracing fully where you are] is precisely the catalyst for change. There is tremendous power in not resisting where you are, and in relaxing and being ok with not knowing what your next move will be, or where it may take you. Often in the midst of desperately wanting to make a change, it is very challenging to create a list of meaningful goals, objectives, etc., especially when you really don’t know where to “go from here.” My personal discovery was that when I didn’t think too hard, and just let it go and trusted that the universe would help me to see, I was in a far more liberating space.
There is great power in rewarding yourself for not knowing what’s next. This experience of not knowing perhaps might even be one of our goals. This open space allowed me to continue to “talk out loud” until I led myself to the path that was right for me. If I tried too hard to make a change it never came to fruition, because it wasn’t from my heart.”
What helpful advice Laurie gives. I, along with Laurie and many others, have found there is great positive energy and power in being OK with the present, even (especially) in the chaos. This “not knowing” state represents that we are willing to fly by the seat of our pants, be authentic in our words and actions, process our experience fully, and firmly trust in ourselves and in the creative power we share and hold.
I would add that when we move too quickly to reduce our own discomfort of the moment, we often bring about our own suffering, and our actions misfire. I have lived this experience quite a few times in the past. Now, when I am deeply uncomfortable or worried, I allow myself to feel it fully. I DO NOT take concrete action until I feel more able to move forward from a sense of balance, acceptance, and understanding of what is.
Both Laurie and I agree that being OK with not seeing the next step requires daily practice. The wonderful news is that the more we practice, the easier it is to own it and when necessary, realign and correct our path and our thinking, so that it continually comes from the heart and from a rock-solid belief that there is an ultimate perfection to all of it.
Thank you, Laurie, and all my colleagues, research participants, friends, and fellow transitioners, for your wonderful insights and wisdom. What a brilliant and inspirational group you are!
So…what is difficult for you to “relax into” right now?