When events of global impact occur, you may feel confronted by the limitations of your control in the physical world. You may find yourself questioning your power or feeling uncertain about your future. The vacation trips you planned, conferences you scheduled, playdates/events you arranged—everything suddenly halts, and it is as if time itself has come to a sudden stop.
It is within this in-between state of things that is precisely the right time to turn inward and plant seeds with the lessons you're learning. It’s a time to learn so much about what is important to you and who you might become.
A Lesson from Improv Comedy
In 2016, I was living in Washington, D.C., and effectively experiencing a quarter-life crisis while working at an environmentalist organization. I felt as if I let life fly by while being too afraid to chase my dream of being a professional artist and entertainer. My job sent me to a content marketing conference in Cleveland, Ohio, where I sat in on a session about creativity in business. In the session, a comedian explained to us the difference between someone who is incredible at improv and someone who struggles with it. He told us, “The comedian who is incredible at improv silences the fear in their mind.” Improv is all about stepping into the unknown with curiosity and enthusiasm; the game asks its players to agree to whatever is happening in the scene and to build on top of that.
The comedian who is great at improv has an idea and they bypass their fear of, “Will this be funny? Does this make sense?” They simply move into the idea on stage and perform their next action, whatever their comedic contribution is to the scene. A great improv comedian makes a choice to transform that moment of uncertainty into an opportunity to explore and create. A pro at improv answers the question of “What will happen next?” with a determination through humorous thought and action.
Moments in your life may sometimes feel like improv scenes because you share this world with others, almost like characters in a story, and you impact others but you don’t always know what’s coming next. I left that conference session with a lot of questions about the future of my career. The truth is, I had been afraid to ask myself, “What do you want?” There was a fear of failure and the uncertainty of success that made my heart pound. But there, in Cleveland, I found myself listening to the comedian daring me to be courageous.
3 Questions for Self-Transformation
In the session, I scribbled in my notebook as much as I could about the advice he gave us. When I got home, I meditated using lavender oil and cosmic music. I breathed naturally and closed my eyes. I asked myself, “What do I want? Who am I? Who do I want to become?” Images of a joyous me, a secure me, a me that is reassured about who she is and where she is in life—that’s what I saw before my eyes. I cried and asked myself aloud why I didn’t feel that way already—and I wrote it down. Then I began journaling regularly, “How do I feel right now? How do I want to feel a year from now? What experiences will create that feeling? What can I do right now?”
I followed the answers to these questions. They included things like wanting to feel at peace and whole, seeking experiences of community and support. I discovered that I needed to pour my love into the world if I wanted the world to pour love into me. I wrote poems to my loved ones, words of affirmation for the universe and myself, I took the time to listen to strangers. And while I quit my job and left D.C. without any certain idea about what would happen next, I still found myself in places filled with care and among people who received me with love as I made my way to living in California.
From Chaos to Peace
Now when I come across any defining moment in my life—a crisis, major transition, or advancement—I ask myself these same questions. I breathe. I visualize. I dream.
And it feels as if in an instant, the uneasiness of uncertainty dissipates. I return to my higher self, back to wholeness, and back to love. If you seek beauty, love, abundance, and peace, you will find it. Even in turmoil.
There is no doubt that suffering is happening as people seek appropriate healthcare, children are out of school, and people make ends meet to feed their families. There is also a great awakening happening inside of us. We are awakening our power of compassion, gratitude, and creation. Over the last month, air pollution in Los Angeles has cleared up, fashion designers have shifted their production from couture gowns to facemasks, and even certain CEOs have forfeited their salaries to make sure that their employees are supported.
In Portland, where housing costs have been trending upward for years, a landlord has elected not to collect rent from his tenants for the month of April. And in fact, when he discovered that one of his tenants was in need of food to feed her family, he surprised her with groceries on the front porch. In New York City, an advocacy group called Transportation Alternatives encourages people to donate unused bikes to essential workers. These are just a few of many stories that have emerged through this time of uncertainty.
It is easy to look at today’s circumstances and simply see what is lacking. But these people have seen the situation for what it is, and they visualized ways to contribute something meaningful, something that would make a difference. What they’re doing is something that you have the capability to do. You have the power to transform chaos into balance, it simply requires intention and practice.
The next time you become aware of uncertainty, ask yourself, “How can I help? How can I contribute? What gifts may I offer?” Watch what happens next. Soon you’ll find yourself creating ideas and giving support, feeling empowered. The uncertainty will dissipate, and a vision of love will arise in its place that will help you rediscover who you are meant to be.
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