Sometimes life throws a grenade into your world, causing everything to shift and change. Something happens that stops you in your tracks, distracts you, takes up all your time and attention, and all the work you’ve done on your dreams sits in a corner gathering dust. It happens to us all. Life is unpredictable and full of surprises…some good, some God-awful. It could be a new job or new child or an amazing inheritance. Or it could be illness in you or a family member, a loss, a disaster that rocks your world.
Be gentle with yourself, rearrange your life to deal with the disruption as much as you can, take great care of you if it’s a stressful change and do the best you can with what you have. When shit happens, you do what you’ve got to do. If you have a mom in hospital and sick kids and 3 jobs and a hubby working away, this is perhaps the time to focus on taking care of you so you can juggle the mayhem of life.
Once things settle, or you start to get into a routine, you can get back to your dreams. I know you may not want to hear that – but you’ve only got so many resources available to you, and trying to do it all will wear you out.
And sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to press pause.
I know when I’ve had loved ones in hospital, or lost family members, I don’t have the bandwidth for Big Dreams…I am just trying to get through each day with my sanity intact.
When I was in those situations, sometimes I tried to keep going…and it was a waste of time. I didn’t have the capacity for it, the energy for it or the mental and emotional ability to do it. So it was a kindness to myself to allow myself to let it go…just for a little while. Not forever. Just until the crisis was past…or the grief lessened and I had room in my brain and my heart for more than sadness.
Be patient and take great care of yourself. If you’re in an unusual or crisis situation, it will pass, but until it does, breathe deeply and be patient. And make sure your self-care is excellent – you need to be at the top of your game when life gets mad. Depending on what exactly is getting in the way, you may be able to just scale back a bit and keep the engine running on your dreams.
I had a client whose mom was in hospital, so on the drive on the way there she listened to inspiring audios and if her mom was asleep while she was there, she’d whip out her notebook and make notes of what she’d do when she had the time. She also started to accept help from friends and neighbours so that she could keep her business going while also visiting mom, taking care of her kids and husband, and working full time.
Which brings me to possibly the most important thing when life hits you with a seismic shift…get help and support. Just as you would hate it if your friends struggled on alone, they don’t want you to put on a brave face and wear your underwear over your trousers. They want to help you. Let them. Give up any ideas of being superwoman and let someone cook for you, or take the kids, or get a bit of shopping for you.
Often when life turns upside down, the smallest kindness can make the biggest difference. Learn to receive with grace when you need a bit of help and let other people enjoy being generous and kind. But don’t expect them to guess what you need – they may think what you most need is a shoulder to cry on when actually someone taking care of your laundry would be the best thing in the world. So tell people what they can do to help.
At some point, the disruption will cease, ease, or it will become your new normal and you can get back to the dreams you were chasing. Be sure you’re ready…if you’ve had a truly earth-shattering interruption, it may take some time for the dust to settle. Also, take the time to check back in with what you want…it’s amazing what clarity comes from a seismic change in life.
When I lost a close family member, many of the things I had thought were important to me just dropped away, making my vision for my life and business a lot simpler. So take the time to re-clarify your vision. Then get back to taking action…perhaps at a slower pace, perhaps with greater wisdom, perhaps with deeper perspective, perhaps with a new drive or direction.
Seismic shifts often bring to the surface new dreams and new ways of being. The pauses in our dreams they demand can act as a filter, getting rid of old patterns and ways of being. So be sure to let the dust settle and reassess what you want from your life before continuing on your old paths…you may find the horizon has expanded and something new is calling.