Living with Uncertainty
Hurricane Florence is the cause of lots of angst and uncertainty in the Carolinas. Analyzing radar maps and searching for the latest weather updates is a frequent daily practice. A long-planned river cruise along the Rhine is at risk for us due to possible flight cancellations and our reluctance to leave a home susceptible to power loss, flooding and fallen trees.
Is it OK to be grateful when your good fortune leads others to suffer?
The news a few days ago that Florence’s path had shifted south brought a wave of gratitude and relief. Within minutes, however, Dave and I realized that our good fortune meant other people had assumed the risk and potential for loss. What was the appropriate emotion in this situation? Can gratitude and compassion hold the same space?
So how do you balance being grateful when you know that your gain is someone else’s loss? This happens all the time in life. You get the job or promotion, someone else doesn’t. You win the negotiation, someone else loses. But when we see life in this way, we’re seeing through a lens of lack and limitation instead of abundance and unlimited possibilities.
Do you live with an expectation of lack or abundance?
The reality is that there are other jobs, other companies, other assets to be acquired, and no limits on what we can collectively create. Even in the case of loss, we get to rebuild and to experience the deep-rooted love and support of others. And we’re reminded of the many reasons we have to be grateful.
I talk a lot with my clients about the contrasts in life. For example, how do we know what success really feels like if we haven’t experienced failure? How to experience pure joy if we haven’t felt despair? Life is a series of highs and lows, gain and loss, happiness and despair. And if it wasn’t, it would be flat and monotonous.
You need tools to embrace the contrasts
We still need to give ourselves tools to help with the difficult times. To heal from the loss of someone close, overcome a huge disappointment, and move through a difficult challenge. Meditation, journaling, and affirmative prayer are tools I’ve used for over 10 years and that I share with my clients to help them work through their losses and disappointments.
One of the benefits of meditation I shared in an earlier issue of Leading for Success is that you’ll be better prepared for difficult times. Below are questions and reflections to help you use meditation as a tool for whatever difficulty you’re facing right now.
You’ll be better prepared for difficult times: Meditation has both short- and long-term benefits. The process of going within where you access your peaceful, calm center will keep you more grounded and less anxious when times are challenging. You’ll also have a reliable tool for finding relief and release from a stressful environment or situation because meditation reminds you that you are safe, resourceful and determine your own destiny. From a place of calm and focus, you can reassess a situation and see it differently.
- What tools and practices do you use currently to help you through difficult times?
- How well do you handle stress? Other than time, what tools do you have?
- When you’re facing a difficult conversation, tense team meeting or other challenge, how do you prepare yourself? How do you manage your physical responses (racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, brain freeze) of stress?
- In what way is your ability to perform and achieve impacted by stress and anxiety?
- How important is it for you to find ways to feel peaceful, centered and in control?
- What affirmations (positive statements to help you shift away from negativity) are you currently using to help shift your thinking in positive ways?
Stop living with so much stress and anxiety. Meditation is a tool that will help you, in good times and bad. Give yourself this gift. Start today.