Have you ever woken up wondering, what the hell is going on with your life? Lots of people do. It happens to all of us at some point in our lives, and often multiple times. Joseph Campbell assured us of this uncertainty saying, “”If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”
Between everyday life responsibilities and the daily upkeep of simply living life, it can seem like we don’t have the time or space to examine the direction of our life – that is, until we are forced to. We may be going about our business when suddenly we are struck with misfortune. We lose our job. Someone close to us gets sick or dies. We are faced with some kind of major loss that is often unexpected. Our lives aren’t the same and now we are faced with making new choices. What can we do when life changes suddenly, or when we know, it’s time to change?
There are plenty of phrases for these occurrences in our lives. Call it “mid-life crisis, a personal breakdown or a spiritual awakening,” I believe major life changes are invitations to grow. They are times that require us to move beyond what we know, into the unknown, and to expand who we are. It makes us go deeper, wondering, “Who am I? What is my true purpose?”
During these times, we may be at a total loss as to what to do next. Life is uncertain. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s not necessarily a bad place to be. Of course our ego likes to “know” everything and be in control. But when we realize this isn’t true, we might find ourselves back at square one. When we’re at a cross roads, transitioning into a new phase of our life, it’s important to be totally honest with yourself, feel your true feelings, and let yourself unwind and let go. Life changes are a time of healing and self-introspection. Gaining perspective is key. It often makes the difference between resisting or accepting the new changes that are happening in your life.
Here are 10 ways to help you get perspective:
1) Get Away: Consider taking a break by going on retreat or traveling somewhere new. Being away from the content of your everyday life helps you get out of the rut and gives you space to clear your mind. New faces and fresh experiences do wonders for gaining perspective. Take time to drop-in, reflect and enjoy yourself.
2) Treat Yourself: This is not to be confused with retail therapy or maxing out your credit card. This is about practicing true self-care. What experiences would allow you to feel greater self-love and nurturing? It could be a 2 hour nap or a lazy afternoon at the beach. What feels most healthful and loving for you right now?
3) Look at Your Trajectory: Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine what your life would look like 10 years from now, 20 years from now? What would it look like if you had stayed on the same path? Notice how you feel, does it give you a sense of happiness, excitement or peace?
4) Be in Good Company: During life changes, it’s important to surround yourself with pure-hearted spirits who will genuinely support you in your path. This includes yourself and your own self-talk. If you were your own best friend, what would you tell yourself? Would you berate him or her, or offer words of encouragement?
5) Spend time in Nature: Nature is the ultimate healer. It has a rhythm of it’s own that is deeply nurturing. Take long walks. Take your shoes off and lie down on the ground. Let yourself be alone in nature. Notice what you observe through nature, how you feel and what arises in your consciousness.
6) Do something fun: Allowing yourself to enjoy and receive pleasure in life creates new pathways for openings and inspiration. It elevates your mood and energy, giving you greater perspective on what happened and what’s possible. It frees up stuck energy.
7) Take a Bird’s Eye View: 1,000 feet above, imagine taking a snapshot of your past/present/future in all directions. What are the pathways and patterns you notice about the direction your life has taken? Look at your whole life as though you were watching a movie, staying detached and neutral. What would you tell yourself 300 years from now about your life situation? Is it terribly serious?
8) Tune-In: Take time to be quiet and meditative. Open yourself to receiving any guidance or new information about your life. Simply having the intention to be open to receiving guidance can often set off a new stream of experiences naturally leading you to your next steps. Trust in the process of life. Trust what feels right in your heart.
9) Be healthy: When we’re under great amounts of stress, it’s easy to fall of the bandwagon, stop exercising and eat heavier foods. This can throw us off balance. Staying healthy can help us make the right decisions. Notice exercise sounds a lot like “exorcise.” Moving can help us purge our tension and inner demons. Being healthy keeps us in flow.
10) Spend Time Alone : When you’re going through major life changes, being alone may be the last thing you really want to do. Often times we want to fill up any empty space we feel with TV or an overly chatty friend. Being around too many people and ideas can drown out the still, inner voice that resides within you when you are quiet. Solitude gives you the space and clarity to see what’s really true for you.
Life changes as we change. It’s a natural part of life. Accepting these inevitable changes are instrumental to our personal health and happiness. Making new decisions can be challenging. We tend to fear whether or not we are making the “right” decision, as if the decision we make would spell the end of our life and career. However, it is less about the result of our decision, than it is the quality of presence and care we take for ourselves through the process. Learn to nurture yourself through life changes. Forgive yourself and anyone else for what’s happened. Let self-love be your guiding principle. Ask yourself, “if I really loved myself, would I choose this.. ? Is this what I truly want?”