It was like one choice became 10,563 choices overnight.
We had made the big decision—choosing which city in Spain to move to—with a level of clarity neither of us was expecting. But then came the onslaught of tiny details that quickly amounted to implications upward of $150,000.
Like fruit flies in the kitchen, one popped up, and then all of a sudden, 15 more were flying around.
“I guess this is why so many people don’t take the leap and move,” he said to me one afternoon.
“It probably explains why so many people look at us like we’re crazy when we tell them the timeline,” I responded as I grabbed a hazelnut butter cup from the pantry.
When tackling such big life pivots, it helps when clarity is felt deep in your bones.
Fortunately, we still have the clarity.
But I’ve noticed that stress and anxiety creep in when we start chasing certainty.
The certainty that the kitchen cabinets will be installed in time, the certainty that we have a tax plan that works for both our businesses, the certainty we’ll find a moving company that doesn’t specialize in egregious extortion for moving Geoff’s solid wood desk.
When we chase certainty instead of opting to trust in the next dose of clarity, the mind has a way of taking over and introducing all sorts of unhelpful and unproductive thoughts.
What if we’re overpaying? Is this going to be worth it? Are we ever going to experience a date night where we don’t utter the words “logistics,” “moving,” or “LCL container” ever again?
If you pulled up “comfort zone” in Merriam-Webster, the example sentence would be, “They were undoubtedly expanding their comfort zones by moving to a new country.”
And while I love bucking the status quo and stepping into a new adventure, my mind loves control, safety, and sending 90,000 thoughts per minute through my mind to make sure I don’t forget that unpredictability and possibly a giant tiger lie ahead.
This is when my years of degrees, certifications, and a general obsession with human behavior become helpful.
It’s when I get force-fed a dose of humble pie, and the Universe reminds me that I must practice what I preach.
As a firm believer in being my own best client, I’ve whipped out some of my most useful tools recently.
One of the most sanity-saving tools I’m revisiting right now is something I like to call Observation Station.
It’s the practice of pretending you’re zooming 10,000 feet above the situation and looking down so you can see the situation and your reactions playing out like a movie.
If you dive into the spiritual world, you might recognize the practice as witnessing. If you’re a self-help skeptic, you can think of it as getting a bird’s eye view of the situation.
It helps because how you experience a situation is never going to be exactly the same as how someone else experiences the situation. We’re never really experiencing reality 100% objectively.
As a result, it’s easy to get caught up in the stories we tell ourselves. Stories that are informed by past experiences, ways we learned to cope, and what our great-grandma told us about life on her deathbed.
But just like there are 74,233 ways I could have written this article, there are an infinite number of ways we can tell a story to ourselves.
Hence why Observation Station is such an important and powerful tool.
Here’s the scoop on Observation Station:
Imagine the observation deck at The Grand Canyon—a monstrous glass floor pitting you out over the canyon below so you can see everything without actually having to gear up for a hike or smell a donkey for hours on end. From high above the canyon, standing on the glass deck, you’re able to see what’s happening below clearly.
The same happens when we can visualize heading to the observation deck in our minds.
You can do this by closing your eyes and imagining yourself floating up and up and up until you’ve landed on an observation deck high in the sky, and you can see yourself, your reactions, and the situation playing out down below you.
(If you’re having a hard time doing that, sometimes I imagine strapping on a pair of black patent leather stilettos that shoot rockets out the heels and have the power to propel me up to the observation deck). 🚀👠
From there, as you allow yourself to just watch the situation you’re contemplating unfold below you, you begin to feel the intensity of emotion melt away, the racing voices muffle and you can look down to really explore and discover what’s creating the confusion.
When you’re ready, you can float back down into the present moment and open your eyes.
When we zoom out, we gain a new perspective. Often, that’s enough to help us restore our inner peace—which is more sacred than front-row tickets to a show on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.
When situations feel cloudy, miscommunication abounds, and our minds have a tendency to take over as we try to navigate the turbulence. However, there are myriad ways to get back to clear skies—Observation Station is one of them.
It’s been helping me shift the desire for certainty and embrace the uncertainty that comes with a huge life pivot.
As I’ve floated up and down from my own observation deck dozens of times this week, I’ve been reminded clarity is experienced in my head and heart, whereas certainty is just an idealistic dream of my mind (like my dream of every restaurant serving gluten free desserts that aren’t also vegan).
When I go to the Observation Station, I see how eager I am to get to Spain and how until I’m actually there, I’m fearful that something will go wrong. With that awarness, I’ve been able to adjust the conversations I’m having with myself all day long reminding myself that even if more obstacles pop up, I have the resources to navigate them.
You have more control than you realize over your inner weather patterns.
With so much love,
P.S. If you’d like me to guide you through this practice so you can experience its power to restore clarity for yourself, I opened a few spots on my calendar. Snag a spot for yourself (it’s 100% free).