From the Editors / Giveaways / Ocean of Dharma / Pema Chödrön / Shambhala

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

How do we work skillfully with rough times?

How do we transform our lives during times of upheaval and unpredictability?

How do we broaden our tolerance for uneasiness?

It seems that these questions are becoming increasingly relevant as our world faces a whole array of troubles: social, political, economic, and ecological. Now more than ever we are challenged to find the strength and bravery inherent in the human heart.

Pema Chödrön, beloved teacher and author of many books of dharma wisdom, will be teaching a retreat to help us find the tools we need to begin to answer those hard questions. The retreat, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, will be broadcast via live stream from the Omega Institute on the weekend of October 28 to 30, and will be available for on-demand viewing until December 31. Learn more about the program here.

Because many of Pema’s teachings resonate strongly with the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa, Ocean of Dharma and Shambhala Publications are giving away a free ticket to the online retreat.

What does it mean to live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change?

Please contemplate this question and share your thoughts in a comment below. On October 14, we’ll select one person to receive free access to the online retreat with Ani Pema, and four runners-up will receive a copy of Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chögyam Trungpa.

Congrats to Daz, Kathryn, Nadine, Nirmala, and Shala! Daz has won free access to the retreat, and the others have won a copy of Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa. Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Please come back soon for more giveaways and updates!

90 thoughts on “Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

  1. It is in times of uncertainty and change that I see people, all of us, pulling our love back inside, being selfish, to protect ourselves rather than radiating even more love outside to help others; to me, living beautifully in such a time means being able to allow oneself to give up the safety of turning within and being willing to give our love to others even as we are struggling ourselves.

  2. To live beautifully with uncertainty and change means staying in a place of respect, for self, and others. When uncertainty arises, we may feel rocked, unsteady, off balance. Living beautifully means riding those rocky waves, while smiling, and looking around, not fearfully down at our feet. Uncertainty and change means new opportunities, yet unfortunately, many times, a big boat load of fear is present, and may cause, or be an excuse for: disrespect, faithlessness, shallowness, and closing in. To live beautifully in these times, we must first breathe, and take note of where we are, and what we feel. Living beautifully is smiling gracefully at all that comes, remembering to see the beauty in each moment, for this moment is all that there is.

  3. To be fluid in your thoughts and actions and to go with the flow, wherever it takes you. Being able to deal with the current, the rocks of hard times and other beings also being tossed by the current.

  4. Living beautifully with uncertainty and change is to strive to experience and perceive life from a soul perspective which is motivated by love. To understand that fear is an ego-based illusion. To realize that EVERYTHING is a gift. Uncertainty is an inherent part of change. Resisting change does not stop it. Ultimately if one strives to move from a place of acceptance into an embrace with change, we do just that – encircle change with a loving presence.

  5. Like good earth, to remain open and receptive to the roots of life’s experience, letting everything be exactly as it is, enabling the nutrients of compassion, joy, equaniminity and lovingkindness to release through you.

  6. To live according to Dharma teachings and drop all our selfishness, ego, and look forward searching the benefit of all the sentient beings. Apply the mindfulness to live with compassion and kindness…

  7. IT is to live simply, with awareness and sensitivity. It is to not flee from difficulty, but to face it, breathe, and be with it. It is to spend time in silence, listening for the voice of inspiration. It is to have the courage to smile at fear, and step forward with a joyful acceptance of the beauty of transitions, and the wonder in new beginnings. It is to bring hope to others in times of crisis, with gentleness and compassion.

  8. To live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change means to live the love you love, be true and virtuous to yourself and others, give with all your heart, and maintain an inner peace that helps those lost in the maze of uncertainty and change find an end to their suffering.

  9. To live with the knowledge that uncertainty and change is in fact natural; at any moment we can live with a deep sense of the sacred and gratitude towards life itself and allow the best part of ourselves – our loveliness, uniqueness and magic to shine no matter what the circumstances.

  10. Wow, what a simple question with so much ineffable meaning within it. Beauty, for me, conjures up thoughts of grace, gentleness, and transience. Times of uncertainly and doubt conjure up thoughts of fear and doubt. So navigating the waters of uncertainty and change with beauty could mean facing fears, chaos, and change with dignity, trust, grace, and the willingness to continue with our lives’ journeys.

  11. Beauty for me, is finally accepting who you are as a person – the whole totality of your personhood, without pushing it in a certain direction and without placing harsh judgement on yourself. Being patient and gentle enough with yourself that you don’t need to be perfect all the time, that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you are moving in the right direction by learning from them. Allowing yourself the time to mature and grow from life experiences, rather than beating yourself for things you have done or things you have left undone. Realizing as much as you believe that you must have everything a certain way, right now, may change dramatically when things are put in perspective. Right Intention and Pure motivation is alot more important then the result or end effect. When you consider life from this standpoint, you can see how you are a truly beautiful spirit.

  12. I don’t have any beautiful or eloquent answer; however, I’m in the midst of a tremendous amount of uncertainty and change — a pending divorce, leaving my home, uncertainty at work, grief of losing a marriage and all that entails. For me, it means finally being able to accept the situation as it is at the moment, not looking ahead or behind. Being present. Being mindful. Taking care of my physical and emotional needs as they are at the moment. And above all, learning that this does not mean you are stuck.

  13. Every moment is an opportunity to see real beauty as it is. Fresh. Raw. Uncluttered. Unfiltered.

    All things have a natural beauty in there own right. If I don’t see the beauty, it’s a clue to me to change my perspective.

    This perpetual wonder is a beautiful journey of discovery.

  14. Being able to realize the lessons and insights that difficult times give us is important. It helps us realize, to see, the falling away of the ego. To see what we have built our identities, our lives, around. While painful, and challenging, I TRY to always remember to give thanks for everything in my life. And stay focused on the present moment. Namaste

  15. Living beautifully with uncertainty and change is nothing more or less than praying the intention to live with openness and integrity moment by moment, one breath, one step at a time. (In memoriam aeternum, dearest Claire, 1930-2011, teacher-mentor-friend)

  16. For me living beautifully with uncertainty is recognizing passion and aggression, and turning my thoughts toward curiosity. But then it’s also the tender heart of sadness, compassion, and recognizing we are one.

  17. It doesn’t mean anything really. Not if you allow that all the concepts in the question are constructs. Rigid duality masking itself as “higher”. Even the pretty words. Sorry. Won’t fall for it.

  18. What a wonderful possibility to follow the thoughts of Pema Chödrön and also Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche by broadcasting this teaching via internet – highly appreciated and thank you so much. A pity only 1 person will be chosen for free acess. But anyway, I will also be happy to pay for this event of course!

  19. To live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change is to live openly, with open heart and mind, to live in flow, to be present, aware, conscious, and conscientious…(quoted from a wonderful friend)

  20. First we have to accept the fact that the only thing that is certain is uncertainty and security is a myth. Once we have that view, it enables us to have compassion for all including ourselves who are clinging to memories, things, ideas and beliefs to try to find that non-existant safe harbor.Or likewise running away from the things that only exist in our minds.From that compassion we can realize that if causes and conditions were different, we could be the drunk on the street or the crazy in the homeless shelter. In this way we can work for improving the world, one step, one moment at a time; not by hiding or retreating from the world. But by fully engaging, even if that means not pleasing everyone.

  21. What does it mean to live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change?

    “A time of uncertainty and change” is a great definition of life itself: Charles Dickens once wrote; “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.” Both phases are about life’s contrast of infinite possibilities and our perceptions on what we choose to view and interpret in our world.

    Living beautifully is when our minds, bodies, and spirit are in harmony of transcending itself through love in the present moment and not in conflict of each other in the past or future through fear.
    Living every moment to the fullest, through love.

    The human heart’s natural state of being has the infinite ability to love, only our own resistance of our unconscious minds, restricts this natural flow.

  22. I am very new to this, and would like to learn more. My times are very uncertain, in a world that is just as uncertain. To me it waould seem that it should be in times of certainty, as well as not. To me it sounds like to live beautifully means in a state of balanced awareness of all things, to remain calm in the storm, to live the best life that you can, and to always help others do the same.

  23. For me, today, right now, living beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change means that it is ok for me to sit with the fact that I just don’t know the answer.

  24. To me living beautifully means to never lose your Self; your center, regardless of what is swirling around your periphery. This requires practice and determination of will. It asks that our hearts remain soft and accepting rather than hard and rejecting; that we soften to change rather than force it; that we challenge and question everything our mind tries to sell us and yet sit quietly detached; that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open and yet have healthy boundries in all relationships; that we cultivate compassion for all beings most especially ourselves and have acceptance of our very own humanity. It asks for our constant presence and awareness. To live beautifully, during uncertain times is to witness the cycles of love; the beginning, middle and ending phases of everything in manifistation, without resisting these changes. When we remain in the center – we are able to connect with the eternal – our true nature. Then all becomes a play and we become the unmovable; the unchanging witness – pure love.

  25. To live beautifully in times of uncertainty and change is to live fearlessly with compassion for one’s self. By seeing that the painful pieces of our life are just as beautiful and unavoidable as the pleasurable pieces, we can turn to them with a compassionate, kind, and open heart and see them for what they truly are. Compassion and a open heart and mind cultivate fearlessness to navigate through uncertainty.

  26. Gently but ruthlessly dismantling, piece by piece, that which creates the illusion of separation. Welcoming every experience as it unfolds, as a unique opportunity to progress in this practice.

  27. To live beautifully in times of uncertainty and change is to live with an open heart. To be willing to turn toward our emotions, feelings and experiences as best we can and feel what is going on. By allowing ourselves to genuinely experience ourselves and our lives we can interact with others and make decisions from a place of openness and compassion versus a place of contraction and fear.

  28. As we continue through this period of upheaval, tensions in the air in so many ways, in so many places, living beautifully requires us to do, what needs to be done. To be the greatest of observers and accept the situations at hand, not getting caught up in the analysis of what should we do and having to make choices, but simply trust in ourselves to act with love and compassion.

  29. What does it mean to live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change? To live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change.

  30. What does it mean to live beautifully in a time of uncertainty and change?

    Live each moment mindfully…meet every moment with all of your senses and with the freshness and the newness of each second. So if you go for a walk, then “go for a walk” becoming fully aware of your body and its presence in the moment, your feet and the solidity of the ground beneath them….the breeze gently making the trees wave in the wind….the richness,vibrancy and wonder of the present…..One moment at a time because that is all we have…

  31. Living beautifully… times of uncertainty bring with them that sense of groundlessness we hear so much about. Habit would encourage us to get smaller, present a smaller target perhaps. But the teachings would tell us that these are the very times to live fully, creatively, “beautifully;” taking advantage of every moment when literally anything can happen. Opening up instead of closing down. Easy to say (or type out on my keyboard), but less easy to put into practice.

  32. I think to live beautifully in uncertain times has a great deal to do with paying attention and to engaging with the present moment, as it is. So much of our discomfort is related to what might happen later today, tomorrow or next year. All the “what if’s.” If we can step back, pause, and be curious rather than feed our tendency to catatrophize, we give ourselves breathing room. If we can also scan the past for the other challenging, scary and uncertain times we have lived through and learned from, we can have confidence in our ability to survive this new crisis or possible crisis when and if it comes to pass.

  33. I must admit that when I first think about this question I have tough time seeing beauty in the world. People have proved endlessly that the beauty of love, peace and strength should be ignored or even possessed. My body aches as I grow older and I’m quitehappyto let otheers know what a arrior I am as I deal with all my problems. A man cut me off on the freeway and gave me a look to invite me to, well, you know. So where’s this beauty I’m supposed to miraculously see through all of these troubles as I struggle to meditate on things I’d really rather ignore?
    “Do we have music today, my music teacher?” Two small arms squeeze me unexpectedly and strongly around my knees and hold on tightly!. I look down and see it. A widely smiling grade 1 music student.
    At last my narrow eyes see it – a beautiful, shining, face that always sees the beauty right now! A surprise where it’s always been.

    I must admit… There is so much beauty in this world. But not always at eye level!!

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