Living in Uncertainty

This week at SMUS has been Brain Awareness is my favourite week for so many reasons...mostly because the whole school (K - 12, parents and wider community) participates in events that help us all understand more deeply the health of our brains. We were especially fortunate to bring back for the second year in a row, Lynn Lyons, author, speaker and amazing person, who worked with all school groups throughout her 2 days here, helping us to better understand our anxiety and to build skills that will foster resilience. Her messages were simple and profound and all levels had aha's.

GCP's - she talked about GCP's - thoughts that are Global, Catastrophic and Permanent. These are thoughts that we have that can immobilize us. Global thoughts use words like always, never, no one, everyone and take a small idea and make it huge... "you never remember to put out the garbage!" Catastrophic thoughts always come up with the worst case scenarios... like when you leave your phone in Costa Rica and think you will never see it again! Permanent thoughts tell us things will never change - so we think 'why bother'. Together or separately these thoughts can keep us in a place of anxiety, limiting our responses and ultimately our lives.

Be a cooked Noodle - when she talked to the kids, she gave them pieces of uncooked spaghetti and asked them to tie it in knots - you know what happened...and so did the kids. She then talked about things you could do with cooked spaghetti - tie it in knots, use it as a mustache, ...or even a hair band. She told us that flexibility is one of the greatest contributors to healthy minds and living - that if we can bend like cooked noodles, we will have greater resilience. Rigidity, the need to keep things all 'just so', will make us much more fragile and possibly cause breakage.

Living in uncertainty - another important point Lynn talked about was how much uncertainty exists in our worlds. If you are going to do something (go on a trip for example), and make a list of things you are certain about and beside that, what is uncertain, you will soon see that lots is uncertain. We live with the illusion that we know and things are certain...and yet so much isn't. Learning to play in uncertainty and not be daunted by it, allows us to engage more fully with the life we are living. At one point, she and I were chatting in my office, and she looked at me as we talked about my next few months, and she said "You, girl, are living in uncertainty...embrace it!"

I continue to be amazed at how our thinking can drive our experiences, our relationships, our life and its outcomes. It has been so rich as a community to all have had similar important messages and to be able to share our reactions and responses together.

So, as I continue to wade into the uncertainty that is my next phase, I will be careful to remember and try to embrace whatever unfolds.