A New Way to "Settle"
I know, the idea of “settling” is somewhat abhorrent in our world. I mean, who wants to “settle” for something, right? I completely understand. Generally speaking, in the context of reaching for your dreams, or achieving goals or leaving your legacy, the idea of “settling” isn’t something I would advocate at all. One of the things I’ve come to learn, however, is that there is a different way to approach the concept of settling, one that actually allows for growth and progress. Let me explain.
Sometimes in your life, you will experience turmoil. This might be painful in nature, or it might simply be uncomfortable. It could take the form of life accelerating at the speed of light (more or less) and then coming to a rapid halt, leaving you feeling somewhat lost. It could be the feeling that arises after having immersed yourself in a project, giving it 100% of your energy, and once it’s completed you find yourself at loose ends, wondering what to do. It could be the sudden news of a health concern, for you or a loved one. Whatever it is, the feeling is often a sense of swirling overwhelm -- what I’ve come to refer to as “the swirlies”.
The best advice ever received for dealing with “the swirlies” was from a trusted teacher of mine, Karen Kimsey-House. Several years ago I found myself in this very situation, the situation of experiencing “turmoil” following my attendance at a week-long retreat. She likened “the swirlies” to being in a fishbowl, and having someone take their hand and swirl the waters around. The experience I was having, she said, was just like being in the midst of that swirling water: I couldn’t get grounded, couldn’t see the path to follow. And yet, running around trying to figure things out was only serving to keep the waters swirling. What I needed to do instead was STOP and allow the world around me to settle. When I did this, all would come into focus. Things would likely be unfamiliar at first -- after all, things rarely settle in to exactly the way they were before – but they would settle, my surroundings would be visible, I could get my bearings and go confidently in whichever direction felt right.
I have held on to this lesson ever since. What I know for sure is that when things get murky, or scary, or otherwise confusing for you, your instinct may well be to scurry around as fast as you can in an effort to regain your equilibrium. This really doesn’t help. Instead, force yourself – remember, this might seem counter-intuitive and so a little “forcing” might be necessary – to slow down, stop, breathe, SETTLE (or allow things to settle) and then move forward.
Bottom-line: There is a big difference between “settling” in the sense of “giving in” or “giving up”, and “settling” as in “allowing”. The former is deflating and contrary to living your life as fully as possible.The latter is empowering and allows you to live boldly.So go ahead; stop perpetuating the frenzy. Settle and allow things to settle, so that you can move forward with confidence.