Ruth Landstrom,Ph.D.                                                                                                                         

Fall 2008                                                Volume 2, Number 4
We are living in uncertain times, with major changes in the world affecting all our lives.  Many of us are, or soon will be, thrown into transitions.  Such times of change call for the courage to keep taking steps forward day after day without knowing how they will turn out.

Stepping into the Unknown
When you come right down to it, we never know what the next moment will bring.  We never know what the world will do next, or what thoughts and feelings will emerge in us in response. 
Despite the opacity of the future, we manage to create some sense of predictability in our lives, through our memories, self-image, relationships, habits, routines, possessions, etc.. 
If you begin to challenge deeply rooted habits, though, you begin to dismantle this stability.  Suddenly, you realize you don't know what life is going to be like without this habit.   You don't even know who you will be without this habit.  The actions you take may seem small, but when they go against a time-honored habit, you are yanking out part of the fabric of your life.  
Now, a little openness to the unexpected can feel relaxing and refreshing.  A little openness helps you to notice the everyday surprises you might otherwise miss -- the changing light, chance encounters. 
But challenging a cornerstone habit, no matter how small, can be unsettling and disorienting.  It is truly stepping into the unknown.
Expect a Little Muddiness
So don't expect the way to be crystal clear and always invigorating.  Expect a little muddiness; expect some confusion.  If you're going through any change -- whether by choice or force of circumstance -- expect to feel a little off.  Or very off.
Such feelings, though uncomfortable, are not a sign that you are doing anything wrong or that you need to do anything differently.  They are natural reactions to change.  They arise whenever you let go of safe, familiar habits and make room for something new to happen. 
If you're in a state of uncertainty, or if you're only just muddling through, don't worry.   Just hang onto your hat, keep moving forward, and find out what happens next!   
"When we commit to a vision to do something that has never been done before, there is no way to know how to get there.  We simply have to build the bridge as we walk on it."
Robert E. Quinn   
Building the Bridge as You Walk on It: A Guide for Leading Change
(John Wiley & Sons, 2004), p. 9


Day to Day

My teenage daughter' spends half her time looking in the mirror, bemoaning how ugly she is, and trying to make herself more beautiful.  I keep wishing she could see herself as I see her -- beautiful, just the way she is, inside and out.  
And then my husband informed me that I'm just like her -- except I spend my time gazing in the spiritual mirror and trying to do a spiritual makeover!  
Do you do that too?  Do you try to straighten yourself out -- to be more happy, or more successful, or more compassionate, or more whatever -- like my teenager straightens her hair?
This fall, I have been challenging this self-judging habit.  I'm trying to stop the demand that I prove my worth at every turn, that I make myself somehow more.  I'm trying to let myself be.  
Though this sounds simple, it has been surprisingly unnerving.  I keep watching my mind hunt around for my latest achievements.  I watch self-doubt arise. What exactly am I trying to do again?  What use is this?  How can I tell if I'm on the right track?  Don't I need to be out there doing something more?
Of course, all these thoughts are just my old self-judging habit reasserting itself.  Each time I let them go, I step into new, unfamiliar territory.
When I used to hear meditation teachers talk about the value of "beginners mind" or "don't know mind," I would get an image of a relaxed, transcendent, enlightened kind of "not knowing."  Now I find myself thinking:  Wow, they're really talking about not knowing.   



"Happiness Through Thick and Thin"

Friday, December 12, 2008
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Yoga for Well-Being
2 Industrial Drive, 2nd floor
Florida, NY


The Habits and Happiness workshops take place once a month.   Each workshop includes a talk, meditation, and discussion.  

This month, we will discuss how meditation and coaching can help us to find ease and relaxation, no matter what is going on in our lives.   

Coaching and psychotherapy
Ruth is available for  both coaching and psychotherapy in Warwick, NY and New York City.   Coaching is also possible by phone.  Call 1-866-788-4526 or email to set up a free consultation

I'd love to hear from you!  Please e-mail me your comments, questions and requests.  If you or someone you know would like to explore coaching or meditation, you can contact me for a free phone consultation at 1-866-788-4526 (1-866-RUTHLAN) or