By a show of hands, how many of you are finding yourself in more than your fair share of messes or uncomfortable situations or things not going as you planned?  That’s what I thought – I’m in good company!

I have a push and pull relationship with the universe – my Virgo side makes plans and the Universe laughs.  Sometimes my plans prevail, and then there are weeks like last week….

Nothing went as planned.  Nothing.

To top it off, I’ve had one huge, consuming, too often overwhelming project on my plate for 2 years.  It has caused me more emotional grief than I’m willing to admit.  Every time I get close to thinking I can wrap it up, some other piece of it gets resuscitated and keeps it alive and breathing, stirring up new trouble on my plate.

Last week, I had the finish line in my sights. I was so confident this was the end.  I had the red bow ready and the champagne chilling.

Then I get the email – it’s not happening.  I’m not wrapping it up and now I have to navigate a new set of conditions.

I lost it.  Not a little bit.  One of those total lose your sh!t days.

The kinda day you grab your phone and just start calling everyone on your “Recent” list to walk you off the ledge. No one was available.

No One.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, when no one is available to take my call when I’m looking for help, I know with absolute certainty this is the Universe telling me this is my personal life lesson and it’s not meant to be resolved by anyone else but me.

Damn.  This is one of those lessons.

Fortunately, when humans are off the table, animals can come to the rescue.

I took my dog, Rolo, on a walk to the park across the street. We usually play ball in one particular place, but there was another dog in “our” spot, so we had to change up our routine – which changed my perspective.  Ahhhhh….

My Aussie Shepherd Rolo lounging in the park with his ball

Meet Rolo

As I tossed his ball, I noticed the trees, the tree line, the roll of the park – the same trees I always see, but from a totally different view point.

Hmmmm …

Which then reminded me of the hawks I used to see in Napa at the dog park and during my trail runs.  After seeing so many of them, I finally looked up the symbolic meaning of hawks: they are a reminder to look at something from a different perspective; rather than looking at an issue head on, rise above it and look at it from a bigger, broader, higher perspective.

I was paying attention. How could I shift my perspective? What wasn’t I seeing because I was so stuck in the middle of it? How could I rise above and see a bigger picture with different possibilities?

Once I had this opening, I could step back, get out of the emotion and consider alternative perspectives with curiosity.

After spending some time shifting perspective and getting back on solid ground, I showed up at one of my sacred mastermind groups to gain even more diverse perspective from people I trust.  They helped me sort through the situation and they deeply listened to me.  Then, they provided insights, stories and offered a sacred session, created on the spot just for me, to help me navigate the lessons I was learning.

Bottom line, they wrapped me up in wisdom and love.  If you don’t have a sacred group like this – I HIGHLY recommend creating one. Or two. They are difference makers.

By Saturday, life opened up, clarity returned, new understandings surfaced, ideas flowed, possibilities came alive.

For those of you who raised your hand at the beginning of my story – don’t give up!  There’s hope!  If you feel stuck, are working your way through a challenge or obstacle or find yourself getting the same lesson over and over again, stop for a beat and take a couple of deep breaths (breathe in for a count of 5, hold it for a count of 5, release it for a count of 5, hold it for a count of 5 – repeat until calm).

Step out of any emotion that may be trying to hijack you.

Pose the question: What is here for me to learn from this situation?

Get Curious.

Then, try on a new perspective.  Go outside, move to a different room, drive a different way home, walk in nature (my favorite is standing with my back against a tree and anchor into it and imagine roots growing from my feet to stabilize me), meditate, rise above it and see what it looks like from a macro level, if you’ve been at the macro level, dial it down and drill into the details.

Bottom line – change it up!

Once you’ve dedicated time and attention to learn what there is for you to learn, THEN turn to trusted colleagues, friends, advisors, mentors or coaches to brainstorm.

It’s important to remember we’re never in this alone – there’s always someone who can help us.  And it’s equally important to remember – you have a personal responsibility to yourself for your life – don’t give away your power when the going gets tough.

Carpe Diem!

Rolo & Joan

My Aussie Shepherd Rolo and me looking at each other


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Carpe Diem!

Joan Jakel

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