Day 7: Managing Change in Times of Uncertainty
Welcome to Day 7 of 21 Days on the Mountain. Today our Power of Pause practice focuses on managing change in times of uncertainty, something that so many of us are dealing with right now.
Often when we feel disconnected from ourselves, each other, our environment or even our sense of purpose, fear becomes our predominant emotion. Our brains are hardwired for certainty, and projecting our thoughts into an unknown future can trigger worry and anxiety.
One of the Leadership pillars of Mindful Command is Fearless Compassion – the ability to acknowledge, accept and release fear in ourselves and others, and act with courage and compassion even when we can’t clearly see what lies ahead.
So join me from the tranquility of our Alpine garden for today’s video, as we reflect on the nature of change and the importance of being fully present in the moment, rather than trying to control the uncertainty of the future.
Hello and welcome to 21 Days On The Mountain, a chance for us to pause together for a few minutes. So this is Day 7 and I’m sitting on the deck, in front of a space that we created in our garden a year or so ago that we use for meditation and yoga and Qigong and other movement and any workshops that we offer to individuals or groups here. Sometimes known as our garden room, or our studio, it’s a space that we’ve come to love.
And I’m sitting at the moment looking into the space with my back to our garden. And I’ve been sitting for a few moments reflecting on the nature of change. What better place to think about the nature of change than a garden. Those of us who live in temperate climates will experience four seasons, changing normally quite gradually. So here in the French Alps, as winter slowly recedes, air temperature warms up and the buds and the flowers start to appear, this year earlier than usual, I think we’ve all experienced that.
And I’m looking down on my left here at a bank of golden daffodils, you might see the forsythia there just behind me, and here a walnut tree which won’t bear any fruit until October and has yet to form any leaves, but it’s starting to wake up.
And as I was thinking about change, you know, change is nature, nature is change, and yet in our often disconnected lives, disconnected perhaps from each other, disconnected sometimes from our purpose, and certainly disconnected from nature, we try to control as much as we can. We try to bring certainty into our lives. In fact we’re hardwired for certainty.
And yet this goes against the nature of things, doesn’t it? As we try to bring more certainty into our lives, we start to plan scenarios for the future. In these very uncertain times it’s almost easier to know that something awful is going to happen so that we can adjust to it, than to live with the uncertainty of whether or not it’s going to happen. It’s the uncertainty part that makes it really really hard for us.
So what can we do about all of that given that actually we often don’t have any real control over whether something’s certain or uncertain? Whether something’s going to change or not change? Change is always happening in our bodies, every atom of our body is changing constantly.
We only have to look up at the sky just for a few minutes and even on the clearest blue day see the changes that happen as we look up or look down. A breeze can suddenly change the face of something, A fly, buzzing bee, a wasp. Just when we think that things have calmed down, something unexpected can happen at any moment. That is the nature of things. So if it’s hard to be certain, and if planning for the future may often be wise, but not something we can rely on, what’s the answer?
Well I think, and I’m not the only one to think it, but what I’ve found is that when I can be present, when I can let go of the past, when I can stop thinking about the future, and when I can just be here in this present moment, with what is, letting go, and fully accepting and embracing this moment right here, right now, then life is somehow easier.
So let’s pause together and perhaps in our two minutes of silence today, as we pause, bring our focus inside and breathe, perhaps we might reflect on the nature of change, and accept what is, as best we can.
So I’m going to close my eyes as I always do to help me concentrate, and bring my hand to this space beneath my sternum and above my navel, the solar plexus. And I’m going to follow my breath into my body, allowing my breath to be what it is, making no attempt to force it or control it, simply observe it, allow it to be. Breathing in, allowing my breath to be as it is. And breathing out, allowing my breath to leave my body, as it is. So now for a couple of minutes in silence let’s pause together.
And when you’re ready, on your next breath, gently open your eyes.
So it sounds as if our neighborhood has suddenly woken up. Our neighbour’s children are having a lovely time playing up and down the path I think. And one of our neighbour’s sons is building a little hut. I’m also aware that beneath us runs a stream that you might hear in the background. Much as I would love to control the silence, I can’t.
Thank you for joining me here today. Please join me again tomorrow, and have a lovely day. Thank you.