A Return to Settledness

What happens when plans change? Do you sigh with relief, feeling an expanse of unexpected time and space opening up before you? Do you feel yourself tensing, a creeping awareness that you’ve just lost your projected future? How do you return to the life that existed before your plans? How do you return to what was?

My goal for a long time has been to create a life that I am happy to return to. I’ve sought to nurture a settledness that launches me out, into adventures, into challenges, into plans. But recently I’ve seen how that settledness also welcomes me home when my plans change.

What does it feel like to be welcomed into your own Settled Life?

It feels like returning to your ‘flow’.

Returning to my life-before-plans feels as easy as breathing. I know how it works, how to balance its variables, how to spend my time, and I’m good at it. Returning to my Settledness is to live within my giftings, to notice my competencies, to notice my accomplishments. Here, I feel good at life.

It feels like self-care.

Not the paint-your-nails type of self-care, but rather the accepting your own needs/preferences/desires type of self-care. The self-care in which you care for your innermost self – affectionate and loving who you are. Returning to a Settled Life feels like returning somewhere so secure that earning worth is no longer necessary. Instead, in Settledness there is an acceptance of self that is full and complete and, oh, wonderful.

It feels like joy, hope and creativity.

If a Settled life offers security and self acceptance, then it becomes the springboard for joy and hope and creativity. Joy from the freedom to just enjoy one’s life, as it is, not as it was to have been. Hope for a life that will continue to be wonderful, hope because you hope in you… in your capacity for wholeness. Creativity because our energies are redirected from striving (for the life we should have had) towards utilizing the wonderful range of resources we offer our future (by living the life we have now). A Settled life sparkles with giggles of sheer delight.

It feels open.

Returning to my Settled Life has demonstrated a duality I didn’t expect. Rather than closing me off from plans (that should have been) it offers me a grounded sense of my own Self, that then nurtures an openess to present joy and future possibilities. I can be both grounded here, and open to there. I can experience now fully, and live expectant of what will come next.

Returning to a Settled Life is like coming Home, to my Self. And it’s marvellous.


  1. Dan says:

    “A return to settledness” . . . what a useful, insightful concept. It (the points you made) hit me amidship this morning, turning my mind to how my winter years are playing out so differently from what I’d anticipated. Oh, the plans I made for retirement. Sometimes a great disappointment results when I ponder how physical factors have made these golden years a little more like lead years. More and more I need to accept what is, and move forward in that settledness. Helpful thoughts to ponder, indeed, Dr. Rachel. I will certainly be coming back to this essay to drink deeply, to ponder, to ground my needed attitude adjustment.


    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      Thank you Dan, you have no idea how your comments have encouraged me! Thank you so much for reading. It is so so so hard when life doesn’t play out as we imagined it would. Yet somehow, while living in the ‘real’ is painful at times… it’s where the peace is at… and it’s where we keep growing.

  2. Heylane says:

    I love your idea of feeling comfortable with returning to settled life if things dont go as you planned. Settled life as a spring board to other things (and if they dont pan out, you can always return).
    It makes me realise it is ok to settle in (again). And that it doesnt mean I have given up, but that it means I am preparing to live again, to enjoy being.
    Thank you for sharing that.

    • Dr. Rachel Cason says:

      Thank you for reading, Heylane! And yes, it’s a relief to begin seeing Settledness as a goal in and of itself, I think… rather than just a second best state. It’s good in itself. It is living, not giving up! 🙂

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