Navigation and Cultivating a Balanced Flow
If you’ve decided to tune in, today I’m going to be discussing resilience, and how to find your own flow when things aren’t feeling so great. While I’m not on the trail yet, I’m still learning and growing with my day to day experiences and getting better at my life navigation skills just like the next person. On the trail or off I think this is fairly relevant to about any future hiker trash or human being, soooo let’s get to it!
I’ll be honest: it’s messy sometimes. But sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes days and people are kind. Sometimes it’s wanting to scream at the top of your lungs with frustration. Sometimes it’s simply acknowledging the inner ten year old inside of you that’s throwing a tantrum as you’re driving to work another 12 hour shift in a row (before the sun comes up) when all you want to be doing is waking up with the sun, feeling the breeze on your face, and hearing the whisper of the trees. It’s easy to get lost in where you want to be when you’re not feeling content with where you are currently.
The tricky part of this scenario is that things don’t necessarily get better on the other side, simply because you are there. It’s like the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.” The grass might be greener, but are you actually any more content inside with how things are going? If you keep fighting the status quo, keeping dreaming of better days, it doesn’t really get you anywhere unless you commit to the whole ordeal. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to improve upon your circumstances, or make things better, because you definitely should. But if you think that changing the circumstances, but not changing your internal framework is going to work, you might be settled in for a bit of a disappointment.
A Guide to Navigating Rough Times
Contrary to popular belief, holding everything inside until you burst and burn down everything in sight might not be the best course of action. I’ve tried it before, and it’s never really worked for me. Instead, I’ve found that just being honest about my current life happenings has been a better way to provide comfort for myself when I’m not feeling happy. While things have been yucky, I’ve also found this sort of protocol that seems to serve me well in navigating through the suck. What is this protocol exactly? Keep reading, folks.
First, acknowledge why you’re not feeling happy. Be honest with yourself. When you do this, it’s important to leave the judgement behind. Don’t shame yourself for feeling the way you do, because clearly you do. You can’t help how you feel. And you can either choose to support it, or fight it. And in my experience, when I fight it, I always end up making it worse and make it an even bigger deal than it actually is.
Then sit with it. You acknowledge the discomfort. You allow yourself to be upset. You acknowledge how unhappy you’re feeling about things, and how you wish they could be different. If you need to mope for a few days, do so.
Then take baby steps to moving on with life. Be gentle with yourself here. Sometimes this means taking a day off, or letting yourself off the hook for not being completely on your game. Sometimes this means allowing yourself not to partake in extra things that make you feel exhausted, or treating yourself to a coffee or a piece of chocolate during the day. Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can. When you have been gentle and feel a little more like yourself, you can begin the process of realigning yourself with your priorities. Baby steps. Make a list. Cross one thing off a day. Sometimes, even just cleaning can make a world of difference in your brain and your day. Know that you will not be in this place forever. Know that the next place you find yourself in might not improve unless you can find a way to make peace with yourself now.
Lastly, find gratitude in each moment. Pay attention to the little things. The sun continues to warm your face every morning. The birds greet you as you walk out to your car at six am and head to work. You get a text during the day from someone special that helps you get back in touch with why you are here. Life provides as much redemption as it does experiences to learn and grow. If you have a bad moment, or a bad week, remember to keep looking for the sun and the moon, shining their light so that you can see your way through the darkness. They will always be there. Remember to thank yourself, too. Thank your vessel for carrying you all of this way, and for holding you in your moments of heartache. Thank your support system, the people in your life who constantly show up for you no matter the times. Thank the trees and the woods and Mother Nature for always providing you solace when you’ve felt completely inconsolable.
I’ll be honest that things haven’t been a walk in the park here. Everything has felt incredibly challenging these past few months. I’ve found myself again and again in moments of unhappiness, fumbling around trying to figure out how to navigate through and find my own balanced flow moving forward. Each time I stop to ask myself, “how can I find comfort and balance here?” And while these times haven’t been my favorite channel of reality, I’ve found moments of joy and an abundance of things to be grateful for that have helped shift these past few months into a fairly pleasant experience.
Things aren’t always great. But I don’t hate life every moment either. I can still find reasons to smile every day, and I’m still laughing at my sometime-witty-sometimes-awful jokes, so I think I’m doing all right. Throughout this experience, I’ve kept coming back to this idea of building my resilience. Sometimes things are going to be hard on the trail, just as they are challenging now. I’m choosing to believe that these experiences are preparing me for the trail mentally. And so as challenging as they may feel, I am grateful to be growing and preparing for my next adventure. Here’s picture of me attempting to go with the flow. When all else fails, silliness and giggles seem to get me through.
Until next time…
Love and snap peas,
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