Updated: Sep 8
Right now we are living in what appears to be uncertain times. Consequently, it might feel like we are holding our breath as we await something to change so that we can finally and confidently move on with our lives. We hesitate to make long-term plans, we question where the economy is going, and we wonder if we will be relegated to our homes for indefinite periods of time due to more rules potentially imposed by our governments. Unfortunately, for many of us, what this is doing is causing us to feel undue anxiety, stress, panic, fear, and ultimate uncertainty, which is leaving us in a sort of limbo state where we find ourselves regularly asking, “Now what?”
But here’s the thing. When our sense of security solely depends upon outside influences behaving in a certain way, that is when we end up feeling like we are out of control. When we rely only upon outside factors to give us permission to live our lives as we choose, or to feel the happiness that we seek, we are essentially giving all of our power away.
“But outside factors do affect the choices we have available,” you might purport. Like, if the economy has tanked, that affects employment opportunities. Or if travel is banned (or there are imposing rules that make travel difficult), that affects our ability to travel to where we might want to go. So, yes, external factors can seem to control the types of options we have available to us at any given moment. However, in truth, they do not limit what is actually possible. Allow me to explain.
Let’s start with our perceptions. Every situation “is what it is,” however, how we choose to perceive that situation is completely of our own choosing. We can choose to see it as a limitation, or we can choose to see it as an opportunity. The way in which we view the world will reflect the kinds of experiences and options we will have available to us. So, no, you might not go swimming in the clear waters of the Caribbean tomorrow or visit Machu Picchu by next Wednesday, but if you change your perceptions, other equally enjoyable options might come to mind as an alternative for now. Maybe you will fall in love with another activity. Maybe you will find other ways to entertain yourself that feel equally as good, even if in different ways. That doesn’t mean that one day you won’t get to travel to where you want to go. It simply means that you can use this time to explore other interests that you might not have otherwise considered, only to find new hobbies that you end up loving just as much. Remember, even if your lifestyle has typically been more akin to adventure and freedom, you can still use this time for reflection, for sometimes in our rush to get somewhere else, we miss the moment right in front of us.
Same goes for the economy. Unemployment might be at an all-time high, but what if that causes you to start thinking outside the box? What if the dream business you had been putting off can finally now become a reality? What if you open your eyes to other possibilities that you previously hadn’t perceived? It might not always be easy to shift perspectives, because as bills pile up creativity may be harder to come by (like if you are preoccupied with worry, for example). But the more you try to see things from a different angle, the more other possibilities will inevitably come to light.
When we have hopes, plans, and dreams and then something shifts those dreams in a way that feels beyond our control, it can certainly feel disheartening. But when something happens, such as the changes that have occurred in the world in recent months, and our plans go to shit, what do we do? Well, if you are like most people, you’ve probably been sitting on your couch, glued to the TV, worrying about the state of the world, and waiting for things to get better as you go about your “new normal” as best you can. But how long are you willing to wait to feel free and happy again? Because if you solely rely upon outer conditions to change so that you can finally be happy, unfortunately, you might be in for a rude awakening. And whether you are waiting for instructions, forecasts, predictions, money, or the "all clear," waiting leaves you in no-man's land where nothing can ever truly feel stable.
Now, this is not meant to scare you or depress you even more. On the contrary, it is meant to inspire you to become more self-empowered. You see, we cannot guarantee how quickly or how slowly external changes will occur. And we cannot fully control what others outside of us will choose to do. But what we can control is how we respond to it, how we adapt to it, and how we choose to move on from it, keeping our hopes and dreams always in mind.
The universe is infinite in its possibilities. And so, if one way seems blocked, there is always another way right behind it that can be equally as good, if not even better. Our ability to fulfill our dreams and to be happy again is completely within our reach; but we have to reach for it, we have to allow it, and we have to become aware that it is there for us to experience. We have to see the opportunities within the chaos and notice the options that we likely would have ignored or missed were it not for the chaos in the first place.
Could it be that what you planned wasn’t as good as it could get? What if your initial plans were actually an under-estimation of the joy you could actually experience? What if this external experience right now is showing you a better way forward (one you might not have otherwise considered) by allowing you more time to contemplate and assess what you truly want? Plans can change, but that doesn’t mean you are necessarily any worse off for it, for what may appear as a set-back could actually be a blessing in disguise.
There is often a status quo into which each of us falls. That means we get into a sort of routine that can often feel like Ground Hog’s Day. We get up, we get ready, we go to work, we come back home, we eat dinner, we go to sleep, then we do it all over again. Maybe on occasion we go out somewhere new and perhaps we take a vacation one or two times a year. But for the rest of the time, it’s the same old, same old. Now, there’s nothing wrong with living our lives in this way if we truly enjoy it. However, most people will admit that they have greater ambitions and greater dreams, yet they were always too busy with this or that to actually do anything about it. When things are “comfortable,” why rock the boat, right?
But what happens when the whole ocean moves and suddenly a rocking boat is the least of your worries? Your whole world as you knew it has been flipped on its ear, and even your status quo is no longer a safe harbor. So what do you do now? Well, if you’re like most, first you respond with shock and awe. Then comes the sadness for things you think you’ve lost. Then comes the anger and frustration, followed by impatience and hopelessness. And now, you don’t know which way to turn. Do you go right? Do you go left? Do you make plans? Do you wait and see? One thing’s for certain: nothing seems certain anymore.
So what do you have left? Well, you have your ability to be the co-creator you have always wanted to be but perhaps were too afraid to be. You have your own intellect and fortitude and resilience to be able to move mountains, and then some. You have a creative spirit that will think of a multitude of solutions if you simply allow yourself to dream and wonder without distraction. You have the tools of action and surrender as you take one step in front of the other, knowing that the next step will reveal itself in perfect time. And you have faith in yourself and in the infinite nature of the universe to guide you through.
Now is the time for taking risks. Now is the time for thinking outside the box. Now is the time to take your desires by the helm and make them happen. Your life might have been shaken to its core, but what if that’s actually a good thing?
So, before you judge your world as out of control, and before you determine your life as you knew it as no longer having any meaning, look within. Ask yourself what you truly want. Ask yourself where and how and who you have been ignoring all these years as you were going about your day-to-day. And question your desires in order to figure out what truly feeds your soul.
Ultimately, nothing stays exactly the same, as every day we are renewed. These times will pass. Your desires can still happen. But stop waiting and, instead, start being. Start thinking. Start exploring. And start feeling happy once again because you know inside that nothing is impossible when you truly believe in yourself, and when you have faith in the very life force that created everything that you know and see all around you.
And remember, change doesn’t have to be a bad thing, even if it appears like it is in the interim. You might break up with someone, only to find the love of your life elsewhere. You might be denied financing on a home, only to find out it wasn’t in an ideal neighborhood. You might lose your job, only to find yourself with your own successful business down the road. And you might feel forced to move out of your city, only to later realize that it was one of the best decisions you had ever made. Don’t be too quick to judge, for your circumstances as they are today may be the exact catalyst you need in order to find your soul’s true happiness and best direction.
Be in the now, use what you have in front of you, make the best and most of the situation, and look for ways to work around any apparent outward limitations. Then you will find not only ways to make things work, but also ways that work perhaps even better than you had previously imagined.
So stop waiting to live your life, and stop waiting for permission to be happy. There are options all around you if you would only lift your head up high enough to see them. Your life is waiting for you to stop waiting. So get up off your butt and start living the creative life you’ve always wanted to live because, in truth, no one and nothing can truly hold you back from what is rightfully yours to enjoy.