Challenges. Everyone has them from time to time. Sometimes they’re challenges you feel equipped to meet; you take a deep breath, walk into the moment, and find your way through. Yet sometimes it can all feel like too much. You struggle to find the energy and strength to go on. And so, the question: how to stand tall and keep going when challenges keep coming?
One of my favorite sayings from Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön is:
You are the sky.Pema Chödrön
Everything else is just the weather.
This simple saying helps me remember that what is happening in the moment is just what’s happening. And that, while I may not have the power to change that situation, I almost always have the power to choose who I will be within it. I have the power to choose how I will show up and the role I will play going forward.
That said, I admit that sometimes I lose my footing. I get swept up in the increasing intensity and chaos and drama of a situation and forget who I am. I forget I am the sky. I get lost in the weather. Maybe sometimes it happens to you, too.
So how can you turn this around? How can you recover quickly and find the energy and strength to go on? And perhaps more importantly, how can you reclaim who you are in your authentic truth and presence, find your confidence again, and feel good about how you navigate life in all its ups and downs?
A simple exercise adapted from one of our Transformational Presence frameworks can be a good place to start. Take a moment to read through the steps below first, and then come back to Step 1 and do the exercise. If you would like a little more support, I led this exercise as the free Monday Meditation on March 20th. You can find the 20-minute recording here.
Consider a challenge or a situation where you could get swept up in the energy of what is happening and lose your anchor in yourself. It might be something in your personal life, in your work, or in your community. It could even be something that does not involve you directly yet still impacts your life and those you care about.
Look around your space and choose a spot to represent that challenge or situation. Do not go to that spot yet—just identify it. We’ll work with that spot in a moment.
Continuing on, look around to choose a different spot that can support you to stand in your authentic power and strength. Then go stand in that spot. Take a moment to breathe and settle into yourself. Breathe into who you know yourself to be at your best. Take your time.
Imagine a vertical column of energy that goes from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Feel your whole system come into alignment. It may take a few breaths—it’s ok. Take your time.
Then let that column of energy extend deep into the earth. Feel your grounding.
Still feeling your deep grounding, extend that vertical column from the top of your head out into the universe. Let your feet and legs be rooted deep in the earth while your head and shoulders are with the planets and the stars. Become aligned with earth and sky—with something bigger than yourself, however you choose to define that. Remember who you are in the fullness of your being. Stand in your authentic power and strength.
Standing in your authentic power and strength, look to the spot that represents the situation or challenge. Staying anchored and aligned, walk slowly into that spot. Walk into the challenge anchored in your truth, in your strength, in your authentic presence. Be fully present with what is happening in the situation, yet not entangled in it. Remembering Pema Chödrön’s words, be the sky, not the weather. Take your time.
What shifts in your perspective and understanding of the challenge when you stand in your authentic strength and presence?
When you are ready, walk back and forth between these two spots—the spot where you are fully aligned in your authentic power and strength and the spot representing your situation or circumstance. Keep reinforcing who you are in your authentic power and strength—in your truth. Practice walking into the challenge while staying in that alignment.
What is shifting in your relationship to the challenge?
Keep walking back and forth, finally lingering in the challenge space as you start to feel more secure there. When you are ready, take a few moments to reflect on what you have just experienced.
Again, if you wish to be guided through this process, you can listen to the 20-minute Monday Meditation recording.
When we stand tall in our authentic presence, next steps begin to show themselves
Reflecting on your insights and discoveries from the exercise, what are you learning about yourself and how you meet the world? What do you sense is your next step?
When we get swept up in reactive emotions or are overwhelmed by all that is happening, it’s hard to find our way forward. Yet when we stand tall in who we know ourselves to be at our absolute best—when we stand in our authentic power, strength, and presence—the way forward starts to show itself.
Challenges are part of life. If we choose, they can become our teachers. They can help us learn more about who we are in our authentic presence. Sometimes we even find that we have greater strength, courage, and authentic power than we ever imagined.
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Related Blog Posts:
- Eight Powerful Coaching Questions to Cut Through Complexity and Get to What Really Matters
- How are you living your purpose right now?
- When Your Heart Can No Longer Be Silent
- The Power of the Space in Between
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