Navigating Volatile Times

Things are changing and evolving, again, aren't they? From my perspective, it appears to be unraveling faster now. Fires, hurricanes, political turmoil, economic uncertainty, etc. 

Here are a few thoughts that may support you in dealing with the whirlwind. 

I was doing this constellation practice once, where everyone in the room kept moving around, while you were supposed to maintain an equidistance between two people chosen at random. What one noticed, by the end, was that there was never a static point; as soon as you found your ground, someone you were attached to moved, and the whole thing shifted again. 

Life is like this. 

The constant permutations of reality can get uncomfortable, to say the least, in proportion to how adamantly we cling to the familiar. What we cling to is completely arbitrary, by the way. The more you think about the more you'll realize that every tradition is the product of its times, just as our times are birthing other traditions. Think of a father or a grandfather wearing the same style of shoes or dress for their entire lives. There's nothing inherently wrong with groping for certainly, unless it limits your life experience. 

We're indoctrinated into rhythms that repeat, the same yet different. Sea waves, seasons, moons, classes, etc. And through those experiences, we eventually learn that “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change ", as Heraclitus put it. Most people don't fathom it as a visceral reality. They sort of intellectually waft around it, still blindly clinging to the things they refuse to change. 

It is liberating to know that countless cells are dying and being reborn every second; that we are literally showing up to a new moment, and certainly a new year, with a body that is mostly new. And yet we think we are one way because we showed up that way in the past. Or maybe someone told us we were one way, though we've never set foot in that way of being, and we take it on as part of our identity. 

Free yourself. 

Teaching people how fluid we truly are has been of the great joys of my life. I stumbled upon this as if by accident... accidents ushered in by the mercurial oceans. I don't believe in accidents anymore. I do believe in miracles, and in many cases all they are is letting go of the way we think things are supposed to be. 

When I hear someone say 'I am x or y,' I usually correct them and say 'you used to be x or y. Perhaps you were in the past, or once or twice, or even five minutes ago. However, you cannot carry that story into the future and let it go at the same time. So leave the future open.' 

Monks and the homeless spend a lot of their time in the unknown; not knowing where they'll sleep at night, or where they'll find their next meal. The context shifts everything; the why. For instance, for a wandering homeless person, thinking that they are compelled to spend time in that state due to circumstances, can easily suffer a psychological breakdown (as I've witnessed with a close family member). Schitzophrenia often correlates with this lifestyle. The monk, by contrast, has an overarching compass, the spiritual affinity, that keeps him on track. He has chosen the path as a way of purification. And so, layers of awakening or enlightenment are closer at hand than insanity (though it is amazing how closely those two often dance). 

"It is in the realm of uncertainty that fulfillment is found." - Tony Robbins. 

Changing the story around why something is happening is pivotal to the breakthrough. A breakthrough is a change of perspective. An accident is a gift we've yet to embrace. Brilliant investors navigate the waters of uncertainty in an intelligent way, while maintaining their equilibrium. Great artists take forays into the unknown, and verge on total collapse before they come out triumphant. They court risk. Think of a great musician launching into an unknown solo in front of thousands of people, or an abstract expressionist taking the painting to the edge of destroying it before the finishing touch, maintaining enough objectivity to know when to pull back and stop. Insofar as sensations go, excitement and fear are almost identical; it is the label that determines the outcome. 

Most of us lose touch with our core during moments of intense uncertainty, because we are not accustomed to it, and we 'go away' and wait for it to pass. The partner is not acting like they used to, or the conversation is taking an unexpected turn, or life is delivering up outrageous twists. 

Disconnecting in those moments is a supreme irony. Because, on the verge of collapse, the essence surfaces. What we truly are suddenly has space to show up. We simply don't know. We find ourselves by losing ourselves. 

I've facilitated this by encouraging clients to go into the unknown and remain there, until the whole body was shaking, and the deep peace finally descends. In the aftermath, the compassion and love naturally arise again. The fear of the pain is almost always worse than the pain itself. I've seen footage of Werner Erhard shouting into the face of a crying woman... 'why do you need to keep it together?!' Though perhaps there are more compassionate paths, the armor is eroding. 

Belief systems and 'knowing' often limit the life experience. Life happens in the liminal spaces; the rapture floods in between conceptions. Unknow. Spend time in places that are unfamiliar, around languages you've never heard. Take up an art where you are a beginner, so you can do it free of the ego. Or use your left hand where you always used your right. Sleep outside with the unfamiliar buzzing insects. Forgo the soft familiar bed for the floor (which also can rebalance the spine). 

So the equation: Become intimate with uncertainty = dramatically enhance the quality of your life. 

It's wise to do this proactively, instead of waiting until a massive catastrophe relocates you, or strips you of someone you love, or rips away your next egg. You build up your nervous system to withstand the 'slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.' The highest attainment is not to 'get through' the unforeseen events, but to revel in them, and to discover the gifts. After all, accidents are gifts that you've yet to embrace. I keep thinking I may find an exception, though I haven't yet. 

In 2002, I read Alan Watts, the Wisdom of Insecurity. I remember the multiple occasions when I grimaced and wanted to throw the book across the room. That's what you want, in the end; expansion. I'm grateful to Alan Watts and all of the others who helped and continue to help me erode conceptions and misconceptions; they are the liberators. 

Love and bloom,

Steven Budden
Budden Enterprises

PS. Bloom is coming to San Francisco in March, 2018; a weekend of radical aliveness and dramatic healing. If you're curious about joining us, go here

Soon, Bloom will be in ... Los Angeles, Miami, New York. This is the unknown future revealing itself, and the future of what I do. 

If you're curious about one of those venues, email me and I'll keep you updated regarding details and dates.