Living Golden 2016: When the Storms Come


A few weeks ago I traveled to Jackson, MS. While there I awoke to a darken room. Needless to say I was a tad disoriented. Then I heard the clap of thunder. The power was out as a result of the storm. Last week I was in Milledgeville, GA. This time I was awake when the power went out. I actually heard the click right before I heard the clap of thunder. I lay there in bed, somewhat amused, as my travels seem to match the story of my life.


The storms outside matched the storm I was experiencing inside.


I’m not being melodramatic when I say that my life is undergoing change. Some change is invited, but 90 percent of it is just life happening. Some days I hear the click before I feel the fear, dread…. of the change and some days it’s here and I simply become aware of it.


But there are also these beautiful moments, coexisting, of pure bliss mingled in with the fear of the unknown. It’s like the moment during both my visits that happened between the storms. The sun literally, and figuratively, came out.


This made me think critically about the coexistence of emotions when the storms come. What do we do? How do we live in the darkness and in the light?


Dealing with the Storms


For me, I had to confront some questions. These might not be the questions you need to ask, but I’ll share what I asked myself.


  1. Why am I afraid?
  2. Why do I perceive change as “bad” or “negative”?
  3. What narratives am I using and are there alternatives?
  4. How do I understand my sense of safety and security?
  5. What’s available to me as I encounter this storm?


Living in and with the storm


I could no more manipulate the storm that was happening internally than I could manipulate the storms occurring outside my hotel rooms.


So, what does that leave me? I had to jump into the unknown. Can I tell you, this was not easy. I’ll share a few strategies that are helping me.

  1. A practice of contentment

During the month of March I consciously engaged in a practice of contentment. Every day wasn’t golden. But I can say that the practice did bring me to a place of consciousness where I could honestly ask myself “why am I doing X or Y?” It allowed me to move beyond some self-judgment. And I think that this is key for making it through the storms of life. And I’m not talking about getting rid of self-judgment, but asking yourself how you want to use it and if at all.


  1. Not running from my feelings and not allowing my feelings to determine my actions.

Some days, I’m courageous and feel really prepared for what might be coming. And other days I’m questioning if I’ll be able to make it through. The key for me is to recognizing that neither of these thoughts has to result in action. They are just thoughts. So I journal. Then at the end of the week I look over the journal and see if there is a dominant emotion and then I ask myself—Do I want to do anything with this? This gives me some distance between the emotion and action.


  1. Accepting that I’m going to mess up. But realizing that messing up is not the worse thing that could happen to me.

According to Mo Seetubtim, throwing oneself into the unknown could result in a “complete sense of freedom”. For me this complete sense of freedom results from recognizing and accepting that I’ll make mistakes along the way. I don’t dwell on my errors. But I also don’t deny them. So again there is this coexistence that I’ve found about living with my storms.


So my final take away is that living with the storm involves finding comfort in the coexistence of emotions.


How will you find your space of coexistence? Share your thoughts with us.


Peace and Blessings.


Julia Jordan-Zachery



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Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery is a life/career coach who specializes in working with women of color and women of color in academia specifically. I am here to help you move from thinking to doing!! Send me an email so that we can start your journey to the place you want to go:


{Photo Credit: Chris Lawton}