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How to Control a Life Skid (and avoid a crash…)

October 14, 2010

Throughout our lives, most of us experience crises, typically painful turning points where we must choose to leave our past behind and strike out in a new direction.

The mid-life crisis is rife with cliches: the balding man with a faux tan, a red sportscar, and 25-year old girlfriend, for example.

And often our crises feel like head-on collisions, pile-ups on the interstate of life from which we stagger, stunned, wounded, and alone.

I’m here to propose that perhaps it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.

See, I believe that crises, or crashes, occur when we go through life unconsciously. When we put our spirits on automatic pilot, and fail to check in with ourselves on a regular basis to make sure we are truly living the life we want.

Unconscious living can look a million different ways: an unfulfilling marriage, a monotonous job, isolation and loneliness, or too much TV watching. These patterns of behavior creep into our daily lives like fog, until one day we look up and realize we can’t see our hands in front of our faces anymore.

The crash comes when we wake up suddenly and want immediate, dramatic change. If we have lived unconsciously, the change we choose will mirror our past, more immature selves: dump the partner and find  a new one just like the old one; engage in extravagant consumerism; develop an addiction.

But if we are conscious, if we fully embrace the idea that we choose the circumstances of our lives, then the crash can be avoided altogether.

I propose learning to create a controlled skid. In motorcycle education classes, riders are taught how to handle it when they feel their bikes begin to slide beneath them. Staying calm, centered, and mindful, riders can turn a potentially fatal situation into a manageable one.

By becoming conscious, by developing awareness and appreciation for our feelings, intuitive urges, and bodily wisdom, we receive plenty of information beforehand about dangers just ahead on the road, and we can plan to handle them, rather than crashing headlong into the guardrail at 90 mph.

I say all of this because I am currently engaged in my own life skid. I have no idea what my life or career will look like in one year. I have no idea how all of this will work out. But I have just enough savings to feel secure financially. I have just enough work to keep some structure in my life. I have an amazing community of supportive people around me. I am in control of the structure of this change, so that life can safely upend me and take me in a new direction.

So what do you know about yourself so you can prepare for your own controlled skid? How can you avoid that crashing feeling we all dread? And what can you do today to prepare your spirit for what is next?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:49 pm

    Thank you, Cyndi. Your words, as always, inspire, offer insight, calm the spirit, and redirect. You truly have a gift to make others feel alright.

  2. October 14, 2010 8:56 pm

    Wow. Great post. Yes living unconsciously is what many of us do. Its a funny thing though – when you are unconscious – by definition, you are not conscious of it. So sometimes it does take a mid-life crash to wake you up!!! I didn’t know I wasn’t. Luckily a dream woke me up. Literally. Its what got me started on a more conscious path. As I continue on this path I realize that being in control is highly overrated. Being in control means missing out on the parts of life that can connect us with the “awesome”.

  3. October 15, 2010 8:55 pm

    I love this Cyndi–and love that you’ve chosen to consciously ride out your ‘skid’. An important part of doing this for me has been not only doing it consciously, but not panicking! That is, having some faith or trust in oneself and the Universe –not that things will turn out in some ideal fantasy way, but that they’ll turn out right for *you*.
    Thanks for sharing your journey and wisdom!

  4. October 19, 2010 12:13 pm

    wow, i wish i would have read this 3 months ago!! this explains things very well.. i was living unconsciously and very nearly crashed. But I am upright again, scraped up a bit, and instead of crashing i will learn the controlled skid this time…maybe this explains why i spontaneously got my lip pierced this weekend? 🙂

  5. Rhonda permalink
    October 24, 2010 2:59 pm

    My friend Anne Grace provided the link to your blog. Thank you! Best wishes.

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