When Nothing is Stable

In our first three months in Mexico, we shared the house with ten others on five different occasions, we stayed at a hotel in Cabo for a week due to house guests needing our room, and we flew to the States for a wedding. Not to mention learning to deal with a new language, a new culture, new money, new ways to get everything done, and dodging two hurricanes.

Our lives were in flux.

chaos post hurricane scareWhen a friend visited us during this time we were asked, “How is it?” Meaning how is our new life in Mexico. I couldn’t answer because I didn’t yet know what “it” was. We had not settled in. We had no routine. The landscape was constantly changing. We were striving to be entrepreneurs when those around us were on vacation. Every day there were new rules and new players. We had moved, but we still didn’t know what we had moved into.

To a recovering Type A, this is near hell. We love our routines. We love stability and predictability. We love control. I had none of these. Honestly it was a very difficult time.  But I did learn some tools to survive instability.

Let Go: Let go of your usual rules, expectations, and the desire for control. Whether it is a flurry of different houseguests or a shifting landscape at work, the truth is we are not able to dictate or predict how things will be. Holding on to expectations of how everything should work or how things will pan-out only causes stress. Let go of the feeling of responsibility for procedures and outcomes. Become aware of the pattern developing on its own and find ways to work within this new setting.

Acceptance: Many of us Type A’s believe in very stern black-and-white ways to be. The truth is not everyone is like us. Becoming angry and upset at others’ way of living will not change the situation. Peace can be found in recognizing the uniqueness of each individual. Acceptance also relates to accepting the flux. It is scary to be without control and routines, but the truth is you are without regularity. Fighting this reality only causes anxiety. Accept the craziness of your current life as the new norm.

Find Refuge: Find a safe haven and give yourself a timeout on a regular basis. Create some safe spaces away from the chaos to relax, breath, go to the State of Gray, and get back to center. We can not always control the instability of our lives, but we can always control the stability within us. Use these time outs to find your inner stability in the midst of outer chaos.

Look for the Lessons: Being thrown outside our norm is the prime way for us to really examine some of our life lessons and challenges. When we are safely in what we know, these lessons do not always rear their heads. During chaos notice what triggers you, how do you react, and what is scary for you. In these answers are incredible gifts where you can work to become an even better version of yourself.

As we move full force into the holiday season, look at your busy ever-changing schedule to see where you need to bring some comfort to yourself in the midst of chaos.

If you are looking to shed your need for control and want to begin living a more flexible and joyful life, make a New Year’s Resolution to jump into the 21 Day Kick Start!

2 comments

  1. I think that this is great advice, but it is not going to work for everyone. I suspect that you have a strong constitution, which is better able than others, to withstand this kind of daily challenge over a long period of time. But not everyone has such a sturdy nervous system, and for them, this simply might be untenable.

    What I’m curious to know, is, how did you in fact, manage to do your work and take care of yourselves in these conditions?

    thanks for sharing with us, fascinating!

    1. Great question Leigh! I didn’t always have “such a sturdy nervous system” and in fact, during some of this disruption I was not at my best. My first piece of advance is building a strong base for yourself before the chaos hits. With a normal routine of State of Gray, gratitude, intention, and affirmation one trains their brain to stay out of stress-mode allowing more cognitive control of our emotions. This routine helps build a sturdy nervous system. Second, during difficult times it is important to remove yourself completely mentally, physically, and emotionally from the fray. When we continue to replay the chaos over in our minds it makes things worse. Turn off the replay of the story at least once a day to help you get back to center. Does this all make sense?

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