Navigating an Uncertain Future: Guidance for the Unpredictable Road Ahead ~ Alan Seale

It seems that with each passing year, the pace of change is quickening, and there are no signs that it is going to slow down any time soon. Along with rapid change comes unpredictability, and often volatility at every level of society—family, community, business, and government.

2012 is not likely to be any different. Numerologically, 2012 is a “5” year. In a 9-year cycle, it is the “middle” year. Archetypally, the number 5 represents unexpected change, uncertainty, and re-balancing of energies. So in case things haven’t been uncertain enough for you in our world, just hang on—chances are, it’s about to get more intense! So my inquiry is, since it could be a year of unexpected change anyway, what unexpected shift in the mass consciousness and collective action might be possible if we focused our energy and attention?

We can choose to struggle against the uncertainty or to take it as an invitation to discovery, new learning, and growth. We have no guidebook for today and tomorrow because the world has never been where we are now. So how do we navigate our unpredictable future? How do we prepare when we don’t know what we are preparing for? How do we ensure that we will be ok? In this article, I outline nine skills, approaches, and perspectives that could serve us well in navigating our uncertain future.

First, we can look at life as energy and learn more about how life works from an energy point of view. Everything is energy and that energy is always in motion. Life is energy in motion. Relationships are energy in motion. Family, society, business, and government are all about relationships and how the energy is flowing in those relationships. And in order for relationships to be healthy and productive, there cannot be winners and losers. Everyone, on at least some level, has got to win. The energy must be flowing in such a way that serves everyone. Therefore, we must be aware of how our choices, decisions, and actions are impacting others and look for the choices that move everyone forward.

Secondly, we can be willing to let things get messy for awhile. Although some might fear that things have to get worse before they can get better, a bigger-picture view usually helps us understand that the “getting worse” is just a necessary breakdown or unraveling that must happen before a new pattern or creation can form. Therefore, the messiness is actually serving a purpose. There is huge momentum in the evolutionary flow. We are on our way from where we have been to where we are going. If we fight against that flow and try to maintain control and keep things orderly, the ride is going to be even rougher than if we just trust that the messy period is a natural part of the evolutionary process.

Which takes us to number three. In uncertain times it is important to be able to perceive potential before it fully emerges, and then to follow that potential and let it show us the way forward. Focusing on solving problems slows us down and puts us out of sync with the rapid pace of evolution and change. A problem is not something to be solved; it is a message to be listened to and a potential partner with which to co-create. Problems are just symptoms that something is not working. And when something is not working, that is because something else now wants to happen. What may have worked at one time is no longer working because the situation or circumstance has evolved.

Culture and society are evolving at ever increasing rates. If we try to “keep up,” we are doomed to failure because we’re working too hard at trying to figure out how to keep up. However, if we choose to ride the wave and let the powerful flow of rapid evolution carry us and show us the way forward, we discover an enormous energy that can sweep us to the next place. Synergy and synchronicity kick in when we follow “what wants to happen.” Miracles start to become the norm. The problems then seem to disappear, become irrelevant, or solve themselves.

When things are moving fast, our focus must be on what wants to happen and where the wave of evolution is taking us next, not on fixing problems that belong to an old paradigm that no longer serves. Focusing on fixing problems keeps us stuck.

Let me make a point of clarification here. I fully acknowledge that we have crises in our world. And when a crisis occurs, we must, of course, respond in the short term to take care of immediate needs. When people need food and shelter, we must take care of that immediate need. However, as quickly as possible, our bigger focus must be on “what wants to happen here? What is this situation trying to show us? What must be our next big step forward?” One part of our awareness may need to be on taking care of the short-term needs, but some part of us must also be focusing on the bigger picture and what wants to happen.

A fifth skill for navigating uncertain terrain is the ability to step beyond judgments of right or wrong, good or bad. Again, everything that happens has a message—it is trying to tell us something. When we get caught up in labeling something good or bad, right or wrong, we can miss the message that the circumstance is trying to convey. If we step beyond the judgment into a place of listening, observing, and intuiting, there is always a message. The sooner we can hear and respond to the message, the more things will start to flow.

All of this is not to say that just following the energy and paying attention to the message will make everything easy and fine. Sometimes the message feels like it actually just makes things more complicated. Or doing what the message is asking may seem impossible. Our challenge here is to accept not having the answers. All we can do is listen, observe, intuit, and take one step at a time while following the potential as best we can.

The sixth skill that can serve us in uncertain times is knowing how to be both visionary and strategist. The unpredictable road ahead challenges us to live in the intersection between being and doing, between intuition and intellect. In Transformational Presence work, we talk about the vertical and horizontal orientations of awareness (see my latest book, Create A World That Works, chapter 4). Most of us default to one orientation or another. In these volatile times, we need to be equally at home in both.

A seventh helpful skill is knowing when to act and when to press pause. The Hermetic Principle of Gender says that the creative process must always have both masculine and feminine energies. This means that inspiration and creativity must be met with strategy and action. Yet it also tells us that there are times for moving full-speed ahead and other times for pausing, reflecting, and intuiting the next steps. A related principle, the Principle of Gestation, tells us that all things come in their own time. The cake will not be baked until all of the chemical reactions have occurred in the oven. In an evolutionary flow, things take as long as they take, and some things are out of our hands. (For more on the Hermetic Principles, see Create A World That Works, chapter 11.)

Which leads us to the eighth skill: the ability to access greater wisdom. It is one thing to have a lot of knowledge; it is quite another thing to have the wisdom of how to use that knowledge. Or even to know when to admit that our knowledge is based on an old paradigm and therefore we really don’t know anything about where we are now! The invitation in those moments is to trust that there is a new paradigm emerging that requires new knowledge and skill sets, and that our job now is to learn fast.

Wisdom also brings clarity about what is yours to do and what is not yours to do. This is a really important awareness skill in times of uncertainty. You may be tempted to try to take care of everything. You can’t. Use clear discernment to know where you should actually be focusing your energy, and then give it all you’ve got.

Wisdom is not something we learn; it’s something we grow in to. However, we can certainly invite it in! Just the recognition that knowledge isn’t enough and that there is a bigger awareness to tap is already a start. On the unpredictable road ahead, there will not always be time to learn all there is to learn or to carefully craft a plan. When things are moving fast, intuition and inner wisdom, along with the wisdom and support of those we trust, may be all we have. It is important to cultivate that wisdom when things are calm so that it is there to serve us when we are paddling hard in the #10 rapids.

Finally, the ninth skill is presence. If your aim is not just to survive the road ahead, but to truly make a difference in your world, then it is important to develop a personal presence that is inherently transformational. Transformational Presence is a result of living in the partnership between intuition and intellect, soul and ego, being and doing. Transformational Presence is an embodiment of all that I’ve written about here and more. It is about showing up to life in such a way that creates the optimal conditions for transformation to occur. Transformational Presence means closing the gap between what you know and how you live. It means being in touch with a deep and profound inner wisdom and letting that wisdom guide you.

Navigating life is an art. What kind of artist you are becomes evident in uncertain times when all you have to fall back on is your craft and skill in artful living. Know and respect your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Take good care of yourself, because, when things are moving fast, you are the only one who can. And take advantage of the quiet times to continue growing yourself.

2012 will likely bring more uncertainty and challenges on all levels. However, we also can influence how the year unfolds by our thoughts, attitudes, intentions, and actions. As 2011 draws to a close and you prepare for the dawning of a new year, I invite you to spend some time listening to what the evolutionary flow is asking of you in the coming year. What is the vision you feel called to give energy to? What unexpected change could actually serve a greater good? How can you support that unexpected change? Just because something doesn’t appear to be possible today does not mean that it will not be possible tomorrow. Everything is changing quickly. And these unexpected times call us each to step into great wisdom and to learn how life works in a new era.

Listening to that evolutionary flow and partnering with it can take courage. It might mean challenging the conventional wisdom of the day and standing for new perspectives and approaches. Heading into 2012, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from poet and activist Audre Lord:

When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision—then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Who might you be in these uncertain times if you forgot to be afraid? What might you accomplish if you used all of your strength and skills on manifesting a vision that serves a greater good?

Much has been written about the Mayan calendar ending in 2012. It doesn’t mean that the world ends in 2012. It means that up until now, in a sense, our story had been written. From 2012 on it’s up to us to write our story. The page is blank. What story will we as a collective write? What is the story that you choose to give energy to? And what is yours to do in order to manifest that story?

Whatever that is, live it now. The world can’t afford for you to wait any longer

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