Getting Comfortable with Chaos by Renee Peterson Trudeau, Life Coach/Speaker and Author

crop-options.inddLast week I gathered with a small group of friends in my home. They shared that they’ve been feeling a sense of sadness—almost a mourning—that the world as we know it is gone. It feels as if we’re headed into a brave, new frontier and are literally creating the tools for navigating this new unknown landscape moment to moment.

We’re facing unprecedented levels of change, uncertainty and chaos. In this time when economic and political volatility has become a mainstay, we’re juggling parenting our parents, managing dual-income households, navigating globalization and living farther away from our families, fighting off digital overwhelm, dealing with fallout from natural disasters and the list goes on. In addition to all these outward changes, we’re also being called to transform internally.

For many of us, living in the unknown can often feel worse than receiving actual “bad news” (i.e. news that is contrary to what we want). It can conjure up the old “waiting for the other shoe to fall” feeling. It can feel unsettling, elicit overwhelm and challenge the illusion that we’re in charge!

After putting our son to bed last night, my husband and I discussed this theme. Yes, we agreed, change can bring up all types of fears, but if you’re willing to keep breathing and stay with this feeling, there is also a place within the unknown that is exhilarating, fresh and filled with potential and re-birth. If you can move out of “paralysis by analysis,” living in the unknown can be an incredible opportunity for spiritual, personal and professional growth.

Sometimes I think we need the reminder that it’s okay to outgrow your old clothes and try on something you never thought was your style. Who knew there were gifts that could come from swirling uncertainty? Living in the unknown can provide you with the opportunity to:

Examine your values (what’s most important to you) and be willing to explore life from the inside out. Practice gratitude: giving thanks for all you do have; a daily gratitude practice shifts your mood faster than anything else!

  • Define what happiness really means to you (your answer may surprise you).
  • Identify your anchors and what you need to truly rejuvenate and deeply nourish yourself.
  • Live more in the present moment (right here, right now is the only true stress-free zone).
  • Explore your contemplative side: step back and take time to reflect and examine your fears and barriers to success.
  • Pause and examine how you see things (do you play the “what if” up game or the “what if” down game; are you an optimist or a pessimist)?
  • Build a support network: get comfortable asking for and receiving helpImagine the possibilities: are you open to expanding into an even better life/job/relationship/business than you ever imagined?
  • Serve others, volunteer: nothing pulls us out outside of ourselves faster that working in a soup kitchen.
  • Embrace your body: breath work, yoga, conscious movement are essential tools for navigating uncertain times.

Are you willing to explore the gifts that come from being in a state of limbo? Life is continually shifting: chaos, order, chaos and so on. This week I’m playing with the concept of being just as comfortable with the wild unknown as I am with those forces in my life that ground me.


Renée Peterson Trudeau is a life balance coach/speaker and author. Subscribe here to weekly blog, Live Inside Out. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Mothering and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning curriculum. Her newest release is Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 11 year-old son. Join Renee this January for her new 2014 life balance telecourse, New Way of Being: Learning to Go with the Flow. For more, visit: