There I was, going through one of the most difficult periods of time in my life, and sitting in a movie theater watching a new release. A character complains that uncertainty is unfair and frankly quite scary, and another replies, “Oh, honey, that’s life.” This year, it seems that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and whenever I express this sentiment, that exact response is what I get from most people. In fact, I had never really noticed prior to this year how frequently people seem to respond to uncertainty with, “Well, that’s life.” Things go wrong, and people remind you that life is, frankly, uncertain, and things almost never go exactly according to any plan. Change is inevitable, and sometimes, well, it sucks. But I find that many times, the change we didn’t want or didn’t expect is exactly the change we needed so long as we pivot at the right moments and roll with the punches.
What do I mean by pivoting? Well, when life throws you unexpected curveballs, it’s important to react to them, but how you react defines not only who you are, but can also influence the course of your life. You can choose to get hit by the ball and sulk or you can pivot around it and take a route that, perhaps, you weren’t planning on originally. And sometimes it’s those unplanned paths that end up leading you to the most welcome—even magical—destinations imaginable.
I find that many times, the change we didn’t want or didn’t expect is exactly the change we needed so long as we pivot at the right moments and roll with the punches.
When I get those curve balls and need to pivot, I find that collecting my thoughts in meditation and using that personal time to regroup is essential for me. It’s not easy. If something devastating or even just mildly irritating and unforeseen happens, the last thing you want to do is take the time to sit down and find peace, but sometimes it’s the most important thing you can do. I try to find somewhere comfortable to sit, preferably in a sunny or bright spot, and focus on my breath to calm down. Then, I meditate with the Expand app and use the timer tool to meditate in either Focus 12 or Focus 15. I find Focus 15 helpful when I need a detached perspective to intense current problems. I then lay out the problem in my mind. I see myself reacting to it in different ways and imagine how outcomes could go based on my reactions. Meditation can be an essential tool for planning out the grand scheme of our lives if we allow for it. You can’t typically anticipate those curve balls, but having a soft plan in place to achieve whatever you wish to experience can help you pivot toward it more gracefully.
That’s why I prefer to do weekly check-ins with myself in meditation. I see the life I have as it is and visualize plans I’m considering for changes I may want to make. I continually check in on perspectives I have on my life and my worldview, and I try to make sure I’m consciously aware of what’s going on around me. By doing so, I’m more prepared to pivot when things don’t go my way. And meditation is, like always, a valuable tool for this.