What to Do in Times of Crisis

Sometimes the only right decision is to stop making decisions.

When we’re in a state of crisis, we often try to fix things with certainty. We want answers.

But this state of being is akin to quicksand: The harder we try to climb our way out, the lower we sink. The only way to survive is to make no sudden movements, to get comfortable with the discomfort, and to find peace without answers.

We can never glimpse the end of a path, but if we squint hard enough, we can see the next step. We squint by being still and quiet for a few minutes every day, through prayer.

We ignore the big decisions, knowing that they’ll make themselves, and we focus on the small ones. The ones right in front of us.

Crisis comes from the word meaning “to sift”. During times of crisis, if we let it all fall away, we’re left with what matters. What matters most cannot be taken away.

And maybe what we don’t know, we’re not supposed to know yet. More will be revealed. So we just do the next right thing, one thing at a time.

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Stillness

Learning to sit with conflict and uncertainty is a skill, much like riding a bike.

When you feel like you’re falling, steer into the fall. Lean into it instead of away, and you’ll be alright.

Have you ever tried making decisions when you’re upset or uncertain? It’s extremely trying.

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stop making decisions altogether. To learn to just sit and listen to the still, small voice that’s says don’t run. Don’t lean away. Take each day as it comes. One at a time. Lean into the not knowing. Carry on, because everything is going to be okay.

Grief, Acceptance, and Grace

This past week has been a hard one. Filled with losses that don’t make sense.

A baby left in the car.
A sister’s body found outside an apartment building.
A dear friend who jumped into a lake and never resurfaced.

I think during such times of unexplainable tragedy, it’s natural for us to want to make sense of what happened.

How do you forget your baby in the car for 8 hrs.? How did you not see him on your way to work? How did your sister die? Why was she lying outside of an apartment building? Who was with her that night? How could such a good swimmer dive into a lake and not resurface? Why were there not cuts, bruises, or abrasions on his body?

What happened?
What happened?
What happened?
Why?!

I think of the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think that they must have left out the stage of wanting to make sense. Or is it part of denial?

I think about my dear friend in his last moments. About the baby. About the sister. In that moment, just before death, when time is frozen and all is quiet, what was he thinking about? His family? His life experience thus far? Childhood memories? Did he think, “Ok I’m going to die now”? Was he scared? Was he peaceful?

Questions. Questions. Questions.
These are what we’re left with when our loved ones are snatched away from us without warning. Questions to which we likely will never know the answers. “I don’t know,” being the sole answer we must carry forth.

I don’t know why.
I don’t know how.
I don’t know.

I think how as humans it’s against our nature to admit that we don’t know. It’s against our nature to accept that we may never know. That some things will never make sense. That maybe not everything is supposed to. Acceptance.

Acceptance invites faith, freeing the chains of uncertainty that bind us to the dark. Acceptance and faith, I realize, go hand in hand. Together they form the sliver of light in our stormy sea of darkness.

Acceptance is our freedom.
Faith our guiding hand.
And grace our greatest gift.
This much I know.

Highs and Lows

Why is it that when things are going good we worry that at any second they could go bad…yet, when things are going bad, we forget that at any second things could turn good?

Highs and lows are an inherent part of life’s cyclical nature. By now, we’re acutely aware of this. So why are we still trying to change this basic, natural law?

Why would we want to disrupt the flow of life?

There is no cure for highs and lows. We cannot “fix” it. And who are we to say it needs fixing in the first place?

If we can stop trying to escape the inevitable alternation of pleasure and pain, we can simply relax and be fully present for the wonder that is our lives.

Faith

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” – Brene Brown

Thought for the Day

Just because I liked something at one point in time, doesn’t mean that I’ll always like it, nor that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change; to consistently challenge who I am and what I believe. The only thing of which I am certain, is uncertainty. And this is a good thing because it means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.