Keeping Our Balance Now

When analysts are explaining stock market drops, even in regular times, they blame it on “uncertainty” as a bad influence. I applaud people in finance for trying to believe there is certainty some of the time! The truth is that no one can predict the economic future with certainty. The people who do best are the ones who surf the waves and are not expecting waves to act like land. They are lucky when their educated guesses pay off. Now, no one can predict exactly how our lives and societies will unfold.

This human condition, of wanting stability while experiencing change, is a source of stress. We are thrown to different ways of managing the stress: blame someone, come up with all kinds of predictive models to give reassurance, freeze up and become unable to act, fall into addictive behavior to pass the time and distract ourselves. All of which are passive behaviors, i.e., not solving the problem of uncertainty when it truly exists in the world.

Some are pointing out that we are in a time of transformation and that we don’t want some of the old certainties back. Do we want to use the destabilization to rearrange priorities and set a new and better social order in motion? When the boat is rocking, it is hard to see that if we tip it over we can climb on top and get a much better view of where we are.

One way to channel our feelings of stress and worry is to allow ourselves to feel them, to have conversations with ourselves about what we really want, and to settle what isn’t peaceful within.

There’s potential for a cracking away of the old shell, some of it painful, some economically difficult, and potentially exciting and joyful.

The metaphor of log rolling seems most apt here. We must keep moving as the logs jam and then free up and float downstream. You can’t focus on the one log rolling under your feet or you’ll go down with it. You have to look farther and keep those nimble feet moving in a direction. The logs are real and the danger is real, and only by being light and above it will you get to a safe harbor.

This is very hard work. In these weeks, we need to look up and beyond, and go within to find the compass for the new territory – or new rapids — as the case may be.

We don’t get to control what’s uncertain all around us. We have to move in the direction we want to go without waiting for solid footing. We get to invent. Coming from a joyful and challenged place can bring forth our best, as well as that of our colleagues and teammates. We find our linkages to be the best stabilizing force for thriving on change. Some of the best inventive conversations are happening now.

If you are not in inventive conversations already, perhaps you can reach out and start some. Several of my best connections are Robert Gilman’s Bright Future Network, which offers both education and networking for moving from the era of empire to the planetary era, and the Presencing Institute with Otto Scharmer of MIT and its offshoots, such as the GAIA Journey. These connections inspire, inform, and introduce like-minded people from around the world into dialogues.

I know we are inundated with suggestions of how to use our time. Some of us are busier than ever.  By nurturing the network and keeping connections alive I find I keep my balance better.

I am grateful to those who have unexpectedly reached out as well as those I stay in touch with anyway. With thanks, and encouragement for invention and balance, I reach out to you, witnessing our shared uncertainty. The wise thing is to accept it and practice log rolling.

(How are you doing with all this? Leave a comment below to let us know you stopped by!)

—Lucy

13 Comments

  1. Dr. Michael Brown

    Thanks again, Lucy, for your always timely and meaningful insights. This is indeed a time of reckoning and pause, where we have an all-too-rare opportunity to dig deeper into ourselves in light of a new and challenging reality and both think and sense ourselves to a renewed understanding of who we are now and where we choose to go on our future path. I’m grateful that you are always there to shed some light on my path, wherever I choose to let it take me.

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      So true. And thank you for your kind words.

      Reply
  2. Barbara

    Lucy, I like your log rolling metaphor! It does seem to both survive and thrive, we need to choose action in several directions, perhaps mostly uncharted directions while not feeling or experiencing solid ground or solid footing. As Pema Chodron mentions, get comfortable with groundlessness. We probably step into the unknown everyday more than we realize. We are already skilled and skillful at navigating uncertainty, if we can realize that. Admittedly, I want deep water for the log practice!

    Reply
  3. Cathy Katz

    Thanks Lucy! This is great!

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      Thanks, Cathy!

      Reply
  4. camille smith

    “Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ : Tina inspired post. thanks, Lucy. i’m sharing this with clients.

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      Thanks for the sound track. Rollin’ with the river, we are!

      Reply
  5. Martha

    The log-rolling metaphor is great. There are so many ways we need to keep our balances. Carrying around joy and grief is one of mine — always has been, probably always will be. And then there’s the difference between saving the day and savoring it, a la E.B. White. So happy to see you yesterday. I am proud to be among your most loving and loyal friends.

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      Thank you. I like your comment about joy and grief. Yes, lifelong friends!

      Reply
  6. Bobbie Barry

    Thanks for your thoughts. I am someone who doesn’t like uncertainty, and I would like to pass along a comment from a former colleague who saw things differently. I don’t remember how the conversation started. I just remember being struck when she said, in a tone of interest and anticipation, “I wonder what will happen today?” So different from my mother’s comment, “Something (bad) always happens”. It is not that my colleague was saying that something “good” would necessarily happen, but that whatever happened, the newness of the outcome would make it at least interesting. As you said, she had the ability to come from “a joyful and challenged place”.

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      Hi, Bobbie. What a great frame of mind to think about. I wonder what WILL happen today!!

      Reply
  7. Samah

    I love this line that outlines our passive behaviors, “blame someone, come up with all kinds of predictive models to give reassurance, freeze up and become unable to act, fall into addictive behavior to pass the time and distract ourselves.” It is a jolt to read that and remind myself not to be passive.

    Reply
    • Lucy Freedman

      Good point. Owning it is a great step, and a reminder of the power you have to choose your response. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply

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