Finding a new way: accept and adapt

She came out of the woods and moved down the bank to where the river flowed. Wild and free, the river was roaring with spring run-off and yesterday’s rain, filled with its annual cleanse, unaware and uncaring of what was in its path. Behind her came two babies, knocked kneed and hesitant, moving carefully behind their mama. From under a nearby tree, I watched their careful descent to just where the water began. A quick switch of the tail seems to express their dilemma: the river was too high to cross today. The way was blocked. But their daily feeding ground was on the other side.

Like the deer, we, too, find our usual ways have been blocked during this transformative time. For the past year, the wild, swollen, COVID river continues to cascade across countries, flooding our towns and streets, gushing into our homes and relationships. At first, we may have felt disbelief, crisis, or chaos, because the changes in our life happened so fast and encompassed so much.

Now, however, the real work of transitioning to the world with Covid is occurring. For many of us, the way may seem even more difficult now than it did when our communities first closed. 

As a professional nature-connected coach and psychologist, I have had a lot of people ask me how to manage this transition; how to manage emotions which can range into anxiety, despair, and anger, how to manage new demands and fewer resources, and how to manage hopes and dreams for the future that now seem more uncertain. 

My response for all of these things is the same: 

Accept and adapt. 

When we look to nature – and aren’t we nature? – the evidence of healthy, thriving, living during life-and-death stress is there. The deer follow their same, daily, march along the trails they have well-established until suddenly, spring floods block their way. For a few minutes they may stand there, observing the rising river, but then they find their new path to new pastures and green spaces. They are not burdened with grief for lost rituals. Nor do they feel affronted by the turning of spring, or imagine a future of defeat. 

They accept and adapt. 

The hawk circles then dives, crashing his body onto the ground, raking the grasses. But the mouse ducks, weaves, and flings itself into its hole. The hawk returns to his high perch over the field, and preens so as to be ready for his next flight. He lives without judgment or anger at the mouse or his own empty belly. 

He accepts, and adapts.

I don’t know what you are facing. I can’t imagine the challenges you have before you right now. I only know that they are very real, and very hard. I also know that when we are in a place of pain, acceptance may seem like surrender. Adaptation may feel like it is giving up. But they are not. Acceptance is actually total, honest, full, awareness. Adaptation is creativity, potential, and transformation. 

My hope for you today is that you can take a few moments away from the daily hustle, away from the news, and your own racing thoughts, and really see. See without grief, without self-judgment, without anger or fear. Then trust. Trust yourself, your own abilities and creativity, your own deep knowing and courage. 

I know, even if you doubt, that you have the ability, the intuition, and the strength to make it through this. Take a breath. Accept. Take a breath. Adapt.

If you need help changing your life, reach out to Dr. Lisa Dahlgren today.