Blog by Alan Seale, August 30, 2021 | Transformational Presence
It feels good to be writing again after a summer pause. Through these last months, I’ve reflected a lot on the last year and a half—18 months of uncertainty, upheaval, transition, and challenge, as well as unexpected perspectives and opportunities—18 months that became about a lot more than just COVID. Through that process, I discovered three touchstones for navigating uncertainty, going deeper within, and recognizing possibility. Working with these touchstones is shifting my relationship to all that is happening in the world and deepening my understanding of where I am, and we are, right now.
Everyone has their own stories from the last 18 months. Some have thrived. Others have learned to navigate and been able to maintain a somewhat stable life. Yet many have struggled, and some are just barely holding on. For me, these 18 months have brought gifts and challenges, loss and liberation, changes that I hadn’t expected and others that I intentionally chose. I’ve been at times heartsick and aghast, yet at the same time grateful that so much that has been hidden is now being revealed. Oddly enough, I am increasingly hopeful for the long path of our collective future. The short path is likely to be rough, yet the long path holds promise.
I’m learning more about the power of liminal space—the importance of staying present and working with the “space in between” or the “waiting time” instead of fighting against it. Perhaps better said, I feel like I’m learning something more about the partnership of presence and action—sensing when it’s time to pause and observe, and when it’s time to move. And sensing how critical it is to remain incredibly present while in action.
In a particular moment of personal uncertainty in late July, these three touchstones emerged in morning meditation. Since then, they have been at the center of my daily practice. The touchstones came to me in the form of awareness prompts:
- I am…
- I trust…
- I invite…
These touchstone prompts have given structure to my inner process. They are taking me deeper in my awareness of whatever is happening and bringing clarity to my presence, my thinking, and my choices and actions. I use them primarily as “pondering prompts” for reflection and discovery, yet they can also be powerful journaling prompts.
The touchstone prompts have been incredibly helpful in exploring big transitions currently unfolding both in my life and in our world. They also help me find a sense of focus and purpose for each day. Don’t worry about where to begin. Just start with the first prompt and see where it takes you. Each prompt will open the door to the next.
Let this touchstone prompt help you identify who you are and what is going on inside of you now. You might complete the prompt with one or two words; on the other hand, you may find that there is more waiting to be expressed. What words name or describe who you are within the context of whatever is asking for your attention. As your first thoughts, feelings, and words come, let them be whatever they are without judgment. And then go deeper. What’s underneath? Who are you in the heart of your being? In your bones?
Trust can be a complex topic. It can have many layers. Yet let this process be simple. Take a deep breath into the heart of your being. What do you truly trust within the context of what is happening? Perhaps it is some part of you; perhaps it is another person, or an organization or a social structure. Maybe you trust in a higher power or in a greater good. Or perhaps you have a fundamental trust that somehow you will be taken care of. There is no right or wrong. You may be surprised at what, in fact, you do trust, and what you don’t. Step beyond judgment and see what is waiting to be discovered. It’s all information. What is asking for your attention?
Having become clearer about who you are right now, where your trust lies, and what feels important to pay attention to, what do you choose to invite into your life or circumstance now? Perhaps you invite love or courage to be with you, or honesty, or playfulness, or creativity, or strength. Maybe you invite non-judgment or compassion into your space. Or you might ask resolution to somehow make itself clear in the next hours or days, or invite a spirit of cooperation or understanding. Making a conscious invitation is another way of setting intention—of creating intentional space. What is the intentional space you choose to create? What will you invite to be present with you now?
Give yourself time
Give yourself time with each touchstone prompt before you move on to the next. Allow it to work on you rather than being too quick to “figure out” what words should come next. Listen, sense, and feel into your whole system—let your deeper awareness speak. Proceed at the pace that is right for you. It will vary from day to day.
Use your Three Intelligences to help you go deeper. And if feelings and emotions have taken over and are keeping you from getting to the essence or to what is real, then use the Four Levels of Engagement (the third video in this link) to help you cut through the noise and confusion.
Give yourself breathing space. Allow space for whatever comes up. And then check in again later. More may come to the surface. This kind of exploration is a process and a practice. As you continue your practice over time—days or weeks—your system will learn how to respond.
Practice when things are good. Then when challenges arise, these touchstone prompts will be there to help you find your way. And if things are already hard, then start where you are. Use these prompts to help you come back to your center. You can do it.
I am…. I trust…. I invite….