How to Navigate the Flow of Change Mindfully

Our culture moves fast and is outwardly focused. We are driven by our goals and our to-do lists. Sometimes it feels as if we can’t see the forest for the trees. We tell ourselves that we will rest when we complete what we have set out to do.

Of course, not everything goes smoothly, no matter how diligent, disciplined, or organized we are. Things can turn out differently than expected, and life takes us on detours. When this happens, what matters is how we manage ourselves.

For example, you may be well into your new beginnings. You waited a long time to change a few things and step onto a new path. You are excited, highly motivated, and open to what comes next. You have a good plan in place, and you are moving full speed ahead.

Lately, you have been feeling tired and maybe a bit anxious. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something is amiss. Self-doubt has been creeping in ever so slowly. What is going on?

The voice in your head is urging you forward. “You can’t stop now! Keep going. You have waited for this for a long time. You worked hard to get here. Keep moving, and you will feel better!”

In the meantime, your heart is uneasy, and your motivation is sluggish. What now?

What if you took the time to pause, even for a short while, and take in the view?

A few years back, I visited the cliffs of Puye in New Mexico. It was a spontaneous trip with a friend at a time of my life when I was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. I remember standing on top of a cliff, outside a cave-dwelling, looking out. The view was vast, clear, and powerful. I was overpowered and humbled by the landscape. For a few precious moments, time stopped. There was nothing else except standing on the edge of that cliff, surrounded by this magnificent landscape.

How often do you give yourself permission to pause and take in the long view, and why does that matter?

When we pause to take in the view, our eyes adjust to the distance, our breathing becomes deeper, our body relaxes, and our mind rests. Serenity, inspiration, and a sense of limitless possibilities begin to surface. Our view of life expands, our perspective changes, and we come to understand our emotions and how to manage ourselves more effectively.

I recently listened to a conversation Krista Tippett had with Sylvia Boorstein. At some point, Sylvia Boorstein talked about the GPS in her car. She said, “I was thinking about the GPS in my car. It never gets annoyed at me. If I make a mistake, it says, Recalculating. And no matter how many times I don’t make that turn, it will continue to say, Recalculating. The tone of voice will stay the same.”

Taking the time to pause is not a setback. Don’t ignore your instincts if you are getting strong signals that you need to retreat and rethink. Take the opportunity to survey the landscape, recognize what is going on, and reevaluate your goals, direction, and motivation. Recalculating!

During our gathering this month, we had the opportunity to meditate, reflect, journal, and talk about what it means to find a place to moor temporarily. There are times when we may begin to feel unmoored and uncertain. The wind may quiet down, and fog comes in. We may lose our sense of direction. We need to take a short break to refuel, reaffirm our primary goals, reevaluate our action plan, and chart a new course. It would be unwise to continue traveling when all the signs point to the need for pause.

It is said that,
A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for,
and I understand that.
A ship is meant to embark on open seas,
and face the elements on its way to faraway places.

But like all sayings that stir our imagination
and fuel our actions and resolve,
this one too has its time and place,
and we need to be attentive to what our ship needs.

There are times we are called to seek refuge and safety,
to moor at port, and wait for the tide and winds to change,
and become more favorable.

These are the times when we pause to care for the ship and
come to know the port that provides refuge, rest, and safe passage.
Because although a ship is not built to remain safely at port for too long,
it is not meant to be left unmoored for too long either.

Yota S. – On Traveling Well

What constitutes a safe harbor for you? What rituals work for you when you need to pause and reaffirm your direction?

When I feel distracted and unmoored, my daily rituals provide a safe harbor and sustain me. I meditate, journal, and engage in conversation with myself on the pages. I ask questions and let the answers bubble up. I go for a walk or take a long drive. I listen to my favorite podcasts and music. I make time to be alone and stay open to receiving guidance and inspiration. I pay attention to my dreams. I garden and cook and do what is in front of me. My daily tasks help me be grounded. Over many years and through trial and error, I have learned to trust my instincts and listen to myself.

You are the only person who knows what you need. You know what puts you at ease and what overwhelms you. You know how your body feels when you are in a situation that makes you feel anxious and uncertain. Pay attention to the signs. Trust your instincts and give yourself the chance to recalibrate.

Choose a time in your day when you can be alone and quiet and try the following exercise.

Choose a comfortable spot to sit. Pick up your journal and set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Below are some questions you can use as prompts. You may find that you would like to work with the prompts over a few days. Do whatever works best for you.

Put pen to paper and begin to write. Let whatever is lurking under the surface come up and speak to you. Do not edit. Write down everything that comes up. You never know when you will hit gold. As you write, you may find that you are going in a different direction. Go with it. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

  • How have I been feeling lately?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I enjoy doing? Have I neglected that?
  • What do I feel the least comfortable with?
  • What is overwhelming me?
  • What is not working?
  • What are some adjustments that I can make?
  • What do I need to do so I can feel more at ease?
  • Where do I begin?

Let me know how the prompts worked out for you. You can scroll and leave a comment below or reach out and send me a private message.

If you need more clarity about a project, a direction, or a relationship, go ahead and sign up for The Power of Clarity and Intention, a 4-part course delivered directly to your inbox. It is FREE for my newsletter subscribers.

I put together this self-guided course to help you find clarity and a renewed sense of confidence in the area you choose to focus on. I think you will find it helpful.

Here is what one of the participants shared with me recently.

I signed up for Yota’s newsletter and began to receive The Power of Clarity and Intention. Since I work better with pen and paper, I printed the units and took my time working with the exercises and processing. This course is making me aware of crucial aspects of myself and my surroundings and is helping me to make choices and decisions from a place of clarity, authenticity, and clear intention. I am deeply grateful and strongly recommend it.” – J.C.

4 Comments

  • Kathleen

    Thanks, Yota–Such a lovely message this month. It struck me how important patience is to this whole process. And trust. During those times when my GPS keeps “recalculating,” it helps to remember that the destination isn’t the goal.

    • Yota Schneider

      Thank you for bringing up the importance of trust, Kathleen!
      Trust in ourselves, trust in our life’s blueprint, and trust in that voice that reminds us that much is happening under the surface and we need to pay attention.

  • Linda Samuels

    As always, you give me so much to contemplate. And you know what? I LOVE that about you! I had the great joy of attending your monthly retreat where we thought and wrote about some of these questions and ideas. In reading your post, there are a few messages that standout.

    First, listen to the cues your mind and body give you. To “hear” them, we need to quiet ourselves long enough to pay attention. Because if we’re caught up in the rushing/busy cycles, it’s impossible to sort through the noise. So whether you find quiet in the early morning hours before others wake or on a long hike in nature, making quiet time intentional is important. The cues are there when we are still enough to sense them.

    The other idea that resonated is this push-pull I often feel between pushing to reach that next goal and feeling held back in some way. The resistant could happen for many reasons- fear, lack of confidence, being unsure, exhaustion, and a host of other things. So when do we keep pushing and when do we pause to figure out what’s going on? No right or wrong here, but simply that we have options to chose either. There are times to push ahead and times when its essential to pause and reflect. I love how you encourage that pause, dear friend.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for bringing up the push-pull we so often face in our lives. Yes, hesitation and resistance can happen for many reasons. Sometimes we are asked to keep going, and other times we are asked to pull back.

      Figuring out which is which can be challenging. We do become better with practice and as we get to know ourselves. We always have the choice, and like you said, there is no right or wrong way.

      If we choose to push forward when the better choice would have been to take a break, life will let us know in the form of burnout, lack of motivation, or getting frustrated and not getting the results we were hoping to get.

      If we choose to slow down when it would have been better to push through, we will be given the guidance we need in the form of insights, inspiration, increase in energy, aha moments, and input from others.

      Either way, we will continue the journey and arrive at the right place and in the right time.

      Like you said, the key is to take the time to pay attention.

      Always a pleasure exploring these themes with you. 💜🌷

Share your thoughts

%d bloggers like this: