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What to do when you can’t figure out what to do

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I’m not proud to announce: I’m currently lost and confused about what’s next for my life. What I thought was next is no longer possible, and now

Neville is completely stumped, and tbh, he’s being a bit of a dick about it.

I’m writing this from a hammock, overlooking rolling green hills, sea, and cows munching grass.

I’m enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside, after a busy few weeks flying back and forth to Melbourne, Sydney and Northern NSW, running corporate workshops, attending weddings, and dancing until I got whiplash (not for the first time) at a friend’s birthday party.

In hindsight, 5 flights in 4 weeks may have been a little excessive.

As I lie here I’m partly resting after some great sessions with my 1:1 clients, partly enjoying the sound of crickets,

and partly ruminating on what the fuck I’m going to do with my life.

It feels almost fraudulent to admit that I’m feeling lost, being that one of the main things I help people with in my 1:1 coaching is finding clarity when they’re feeling lost and stuck.

A good friend texted me the other day: “I would absolutely love to workshop something with you because I’m feeling super confused and you give me more clarity than anyone I know.”

I laughed to myself. I’ve come to realise that one of my skills (learnt through thousands of hours of coaching) is to help people slice through their mind chatter and get to the heart of what they want really quickly.

But can I do the same for myself?

No sirree.

Currently, I’m in just as much of a pickle as I see many of my clients in.

The old saying “we teach best what we most need to learn” springs to mind. Cheers Richard Bach, ya bastard.

Bloody Good Bloke has been given the opportunity (via a radically courageous career change, incredibly hard work, and an excellent brain) to work on groundbreaking mental health clinical trials while also doing his PhD on said groundbreaking trials — all of which means he will now be locationally bound to Melbourne for the next 4 years at least.

Having spent 8 years working my feet off to build a business that is completely location-independent and allows me to travel and live where I want,

this is something of a rather large spanner for me.

I couldn’t be happier for him having his dreams come true… while also feeling rather distressed for what feels like the end (for now) of one of my dreams.

Last year we decided to live part time near (not in) Byron Bay, and part time in Melbourne — blending the best of both of the worlds we love — the vibrancy and fun of Melbourne, and the peacefulness, friendliness, and nature-ness of regional NSW. I’ve been dying to move up here for many years, and finally it became possible.

In 2022, this won’t be possible anymore, unless I fly back and forth constantly, or live away from BGB for long periods of time, neither of which feel particularly fun.

I feel so happy and at home up in regional NSW, surrounded by beautiful friends and so much nature and inspiration, walking on the stunning beaches most days, enjoying being WARM (ohhh how I love to be warm!), and loving being around people who have similar values and priorities to me.

Our relationship is far more important to me than where I live, but the only option seems to be that I have to give up on my dream of living up near Byron, which doesn’t feel like a particularly great option!

So, while Neville runs around trying to work out this pickle, I’ve been feeling really rather shit.

I know that letting the mind ruminate on anything is A. unhelpful (in my experience, no solutions are ever unearthed by overthinking), and B. makes me feel horrible, and therefore much less likely to be inspired to find an alternative solution.

But yet, Neville has taken over anyway and has been doing what he does best.

Chaotic overthinking with a touch of woe-is-me thrown in for theatrical value.

I’ve been in this spiral for a while now, and only in the last day or so have I felt a semblance of calm ebbing its way in between Neville’s ranting.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know one thing for sure.

When I’m confused, anxious, worried, trying to solve the seemingly unsolvable — there is one thing that always helps me.

Presence.

The thing that I teach all my clients comes back to slap me in the face once more, this time with a little more pizazz than usual.

In the present there are no problems.

When I remember this, I can go from a thought spiral of “what will I do” to calm in a matter of seconds.

In this moment, everything is ok. And the next moment, and the next. Even when I’m feeling difficult emotions in any particular moment, everything is still ok. As long as I’m present with it.

I can’t foresee the future moments of this year, but I can bring my attention back to where I am right now. I know by now that I can only generate useful ideas and access wisdom when I’m in the present moment, not when I’m wrapped up in stressing about the future.

So I’ve been bringing my attention to exactly what I’m doing or feeling in each moment that I remember. Maybe it’s the weighty sensation of dread in my chest that I noticed this morning. Maybe it’s the surprisingly calming sound of grass gently ripping as the cows around me munch it from the ground. Maybe it’s the tingling feeling of cold zapping up my spine as the wind cools my slightly sunburnt skin.

Like the psychologist who first introduced me to mindfulness 12 years ago told me: “Touch a leaf, and feel the texture of it between your fingers”.

To which I responded (in my head)

“What the fuck lady, how is feeling the feeling of a leaf going to help with my problems??” 😂

Alas, she was right.

When you’re lacking clarity, not sure what’s next, ruminating and trying to FIGURE IT OUT…

Remind yourself to come back into this split second of a moment – right now.

Clarity is waiting for you in the silence between your thoughts.

Sometimes, you just have to wait.

Pst — for more tips to help your mind calm the fuck down so you don't jitter through your day like an anxious hampster, download the free g-book here: How to Stop a Bad Day in its Tracks  It’s free, and brill.

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