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“What do I do?” “How do I fix this??”


Last night I watched a portion of the  gripping British television series with which my mom has been deeply enamored. The show regales the adventures—and misadventures—of a modern day London legal chamber full of barristers, solicitors, clerks and the dramatic cases they are hired to try. Several times over the course of last night’s episode, I witnessed each barrister stuck in a quandary over how to proceed with their case. The breakneck pace and scope of their legal world caused them to read over the evidence and wrestle with possible defense strategies in their mind before beseeching their client for instructions on how to proceed; for instructions on what type of strategy they needed to employ. 

Inevitably, they would implore, “What do I do?? What do I do??”

The more I watched their frantic scramble to formulate a plan of action—the more I heard the panic stricken nature of their plea—the more I realized how often I have done something very similar in my own life. Just last month, the workshop that I had eagerly anticipated facilitating had to be cancelled due to an unforeseen conflict. The sudden loss of opportunity, income, and connection with the participants involved made me immediately start to ask myself, “What should I do?” I scrambled to find an instant contingency plan to reschedule for the next day, a different time, a different virtual platform. 

“What should I do? What should I DO??”

I had been whipping my mind into a frenzy with trying to figure out what action I needed to take in order to rectify the situation, when what I truly needed to “do” was PAUSE, FEEL, then—like the London lawyers—wait to RECEIVE INSTRUCTION.

So often, we distract ourselves from feeling the emotion evoked by a situation or provoked through another person by immediately jumping into action. We ignore, deny, dismiss our feelings in the moment by, instead, asking, “what should we do?” With every repeated plea, we take ourselves out of the present moment and try to predict, manipulate, wrestle our future into being by deciding on a course of action. We try to nail down some sort of certainty in order to relieve or escape feeling uncertain. As I scrambled for “what to do” out of desperation in wanting to immediately reschedule the workshop and lock down a date and time on the calendar within the week, I felt myself yearning to create certainty out of an unexpected change. 

What I was truly trying to reconcile through frenzied action, however, were my feelings of responsibility for the participants’ time and money, the disappointment over not having been able to do what I love for that group, and the loss of my expectation of what fun it would be to experience the anticipated opportunity. The reason I couldn’t figure out what to do—and each proposed scenario felt mediocre in its fix—was that I had not yet FELT my way into the present moment. I had not felt my way to my own empowerment—the quiet “now” state of being in which I could listen for and receive inspired instruction from my inner self, my higher self. 

We have all had times when decisions feel hard; when we grapple with what we should do. And, conversely, we have all felt the flow of inspired impulse when our own inner guidance meets opportunity and a perfectly timed solution presents itself. Perhaps, instead of reverting to an immediate action for a quick—and often insipid—fix, the first question to ask is, “how do I feel?” 

This simple step inserted into our problem-solving process can allow us to decussate our obstinate resistance with a satisfying solution. Being willing to switch on our sentient awareness so that we may acknowledge, express, and reconcile our underlying emotion ushers us into a state of alignment. Taking a beat to get present with the whole of who we are allows us to receive inspired instruction so that we may move smoothly, seamlessly, even effortlessly to a brilliant solution. 

After I had paused to take stock of what feelings the cancelled workshop had evoked within me, the perfect solution ended up unfolding without me having to force a single thing. The new date allowed for even more participants to join, and the extra time allowed us to offer a more in-depth and relevant workshop to those who were eager to engage. 

And, once I looked beneath the urgency, it all unfurled in perfect time...