Staying Afloat in Troubled Times

SS Birdie by Robin Hallett

Wow, are there ever times when life hits us with some rough waves!

Whether it’s a personal issue, or more of a global one, it can feel challenging to stay afloat in troubled times.

How do you make space for what is happening?

How do you allow for life to happen as it does, even though you’ve got other plans?

QuestionHi Robin, I am going through a pretty traumatic break up and the holidays are coming. There is not a lot of energy for decorating, or gift buying, or even baking.

I feel anxious, and I cannot relax. I haven’t been sleeping well. How do I hold it all together, and keep to the status quo? How do I go to the parties and act as if it’s all fine?

Please help. It’s all feeling pretty difficult right now and I’m in need of major encouragement!!


Oh wow. I am really sorry to hear that life is feeling pretty overwhelming for you right now. Reading through your letter, I can imagine how difficult it must be. I can completely understand how you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

In fact, you are not alone. I know there are a lot of people feeling the way you do right now. I’m glad you wrote and I hope that this answer will bring some measure of comfort to you and to anyone else who might need a little love and light 🙂

I want to take this moment to remind you that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.

What’s coming up for you is okay. What you’re experiencing is real, and it hurts. It’s important to make space for what’s happening without trying to fix it or ignore it.

I hear you asking how you can hold it all together and keep on keeping on.

Your expectation that you carry on with the original plans just doesn’t feel realistic. Maybe no one has ever taught you that disturbances take precedence.

When you’re upset, you just are and it’s very hard to act as if nothing’s wrong. When you try to hold it together, there is a part of yourself you aren’t taking into account… and the one who is suffering (inside) gets ignored.

Give yourself plenty of permission to do what you want to do, and leave what you don’t. This is not the time to worry what people will say if you don’t keep up the facade and act the part.

What can you do right now to make some space to process what’s happening? This is the time to drop unnecessary tasks and make room for walks, baths, naps, journaling, talking to trusted friends and family. It’s a time for prayer and reflection.

My own take on things

I believe that life happens for me rather than to me. The subtle difference there is that I am open to learning from what’s happening. I trust that there is a higher wisdom at work in my life and I want to make space to be open for that.

Some of the most challenging events in my life taught me how to grieve and how to love again. I learned how to take good care of myself. I learned to be kind and gentle, and to take my needs into account.

When an upset in my life happens, I need to make space for what’s happening. I need time to process it and time to heal.

I’ll ask myself what it is that I need from moment to moment, and I pay attention to the answers that come.

If I decide it’s best for me to change my plans, I do that. My friends and family will understand. People who truly have our backs do that.

We are not here to perfect the art of spinning plates while jumping on one foot and singing the star spangled banner.

I don’t believe it serves me or anyone I’m connected to when I pretend that nothing is going on while my heart is breaking. When I act like everything is fine, while silently collapsing inside, it hardens the very pattern I am working to break.

Sometimes I really wonder about the greater unconscious energy we all share around not allowing what IS to be present in the moment. There’s a fake pride in seeming strong that masks the fear of being vulnerable.

I am here to tell you that your vulnerable parts are beautiful. Your vulnerable parts are real.

Being kind and gentle with yourself is part of the process to becoming whole.

Wholeness has everything to do with making space for what comes up in your life.

Perhaps in listening to the feelings, longings, and sensations coming up for you, you can do this season differently, in a way that feels authentic to you.


As far as I’m concerned you don’t have to attend the parties or bake the cookies if you do not want to.

If you cannot find a part of you that genuinely would like to do these things despite what’s happening, I think it’s best if you honor where you are at.

People will get it or they won’t. It’s not about that anyway. You need to give yourself plenty of permission to do what you want to do right now.

And, if you can do that, the next right steps will come to you all on their own from the little voice inside that is your authentic and true self–a little spark of the Divine.



Read my recent interview in Mystic Magazine here: