A Reminder for Terrible Days

You can have a really bad day while still acknowledging that you have a mostly wonderful life. You can even have a long string of really bad days and still know that you have a blessed life.

But when you’re having a terrible day, the last thing you want to do is remember the way you feel when you’re not having a terrible day.

You are allowed to feel miserable. You are allowed to feel like everything is going wrong. And you don’t need to be saved from those feelings. You don’t need anyone telling you that you shouldn’t feel that way. All you really need is the time and space to feel them, and then to know that there’s a chance you won’t feel that way the next day.
IMG_20150708_200501
That’s all anyone needs.

Divine Timing, Prayer and Worry

This morning I happened to turn on the radio just as The Steve Harvey Morning Show was starting. He was talking about divine timing. This is something that those of us in the metaphysical field both make fun of, but also deeply believe in.

The idea is that all things happen with divine timing no matter when you want it to happen. Surrendering to that truth is what brings about peace and harmony in the day to day because there’s an undercurrent of total trust. It’s tough. It’s really tough to maintain, but that’s why it’s important to practice it whenever you can remember, and that’s also why it’s so valuable. It’s one of those beautiful sentiments that can completely envelope you in a feeling of total security at all times.

I’m paraphrasing, but he said something like “You can either pray on it, or you can worry about it. If you pray on it, don’t waste your time worrying about it. If you worry about it, don’t bother praying about it.” I just thought that was so beautifully articulated.

crystallize

So many of us carry crystals with us and keep them in our pockets or among our belongings. We even wear them. This is one of those sentiments I’m going to crystallize and bury into my spirit. I hope you can too. <3

Surfacing Through Depression: A Personal Story

Today I’m going to tell you a short personal story about how I turn something not so great into something good for myself. I’m inviting you inside my head to sort of see a process I go through in the hopes that maybe you might be inspired and excited about examining your own process.

I consider myself to be a well-adjusted person. I have some wonderful periods of time when I feel incredibly connected to my sense of purpose in life, the people I love and an overall perspective of contentment. Life can be especially challenging in the valley of those peaks. There have been long and tiring periods of great despair and depression. I’ve learned the hard way that grief isn’t just about death, and that even after you feel like you’ve dealt with it, it can still show up uninvited at your heart’s doorstep. After weeks of letting it sleep on my welcome mat, I finally let it in. And, I confess, it sucked.

This powerful emotion spent some time sledgehammering through what I thought and hoped were previously healed towers of pain, leaving a very dangerous mess. It’s dangerous because, for me, this mess turns to quicksand, and I step into it, and I drown. When I drown on the inside, I sloth on the outside. For the record, slothing can be pretty amazing when done in a balanced way. There’s calmness to doing less, and shutting off your brain. As I allowed myself to go through what I call a ‘contractionary period’, most days, it felt like a huge accomplishment to even get up and go to work. Eventually, a few days turned into a few weeks, and then a few months. Weight Gain. Exhaustion. Sadness. Binge eating. Isolation. Anger. Frustration.

When you choose to follow a path of growth and connectedness, the challenges you face along the way often threaten to shrink your spirit and disconnect you from everything and everyone that strengthens you. This week, I spent much of my free time contemplating why this happens, and why it will continue to happen. I’m reminded of something a personal trainer once explained to me about how our bodies build muscle. In order to get stronger, the muscles have to go through some level of breakdown and then there is momentum gained from the body overcompensating during the rebuilding process.

It’s like sinking down to the bottom of a pool and then using your sinking body to push against the floor to jump out of the water. Let’s say that it is your soul’s goal to reach a particular point of ascension.  In order for that to happen, you might keep going through this process of rising and falling. And you might feel so frustrated with yourself, and your progress, and the distance between you and your soul’s goal that you fail to notice how the floor of the pool has elevated slightly. The cycle continues again and again, and every time you rise back up, to jump out, you’ve reached a new height of growth. And the next time you fall, you’re still higher than you ever were before. That’s the secret. That’s the piece no one ever tells you. I’m telling you right now.

Part of the frustration I felt with myself also came from an expectation I placed on myself that I should be ‘better’ than I am. If I should be better, does that mean that I’m not good enough right now? Am I really just saying that I’m not good enough when I’m overweight, or lethargic, or depressed? Am I unlovable in this state? Am I repulsive when I’m sad, or grieving? These are all really important variables to consider because they can feel like bricks, weighing me down in the bottom of this pool when I try to jump out.

So here is what I did.

I cried. I ate. I slept. I hibernated. I went shopping. I watched a lot of television. And then I considered how nice it was that I was giving myself permission to all of these things without any expectation of stopping at some point. There came a point where I finally felt tired of feeling tired. I went for a walk and paid really close attention to how my mood had shifted afterwards. I watched a documentary about juicing and thought it might be fun to try. I got back into the kitchen and started to cook for myself and remembered how much I love to create. I sang at the top of my lungs in the car. I savored simple moments with my dogs. I took a few deep breaths whenever I was alone to remind myself that I’m alive. As the momentum upwards continued, I found myself wanting to clean the house, and reach out to people to hang out. I started making healthier choices for myself again. And none of this happened overnight. It was little by little.

It’s so important to know what activities and thoughts anchor you to the bottom of that pool, and what actions and feelings help you to jump out. I knew that cooking and music were really big helpers for me. I knew that fresh air and light exercise also helped. There were so many little things I figured out as I went searching for ways to jump out. But the biggest of all of these was compassion. Compassion is the most important gift we can give ourselves when we are going through pain. It’s the key that helps us unlock the door to allow grief to leave our bodies.

surface

I invite you to consider your own process for growth, how you tether yourself to your pain, and how you can show yourself compassion as you push up to the surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, Cookies = Self Care

I bruise pretty easily.

There’s usually a moment after I accidentally walk into something where I think to myself, ‘Yep, that’s going to bruise later’. After some time passes, you can feel the soreness set in, and not too much later, the colors start to show. Black and Blue. Or in my case, Purple.

Many of us do a good job of acknowledging that there’s pain because we can quickly locate it because of that bruise. We can identify the source of that pain, and sometimes we can even remember exactly how we acquired it. But what about the pain you can’t see? What about those bruises?

Though I didn’t realize it at first, my weekend was all about self-care. As a sensitive person, I go through a lot of highs and lows depending on whatever is going on in my life and sometimes the best remedy is to do absolutely nothing. Friday’s lousy mood moved right into Saturday morning, so after taking care of my pets and eating some leftovers for breakfast, I crawled right back into bed and slept. I woke up a bit later in early afternoon hours, took care of the pets again, prepared a snack of falafel chips and pretzel chips (it’s all I could find in the pantry), crawled under my couch blanket and watched a movie. I really didn’t get up from the couch very much, so once evening had settled in, I had to make a choice: Do I get off the couch, shower, and go spend some social time with friends? Or do I commit to whatever it was I was doing here? After canceling plans with my friends, I continued to marinate in my sloth like state, interrupting myself only to bake cookies, and then eat several of them.

Chewy-Soft-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

 

I admit that when I went to sleep very late that evening, I felt like I had wasted the day.

It wasn’t until I woke up Sunday morning that I realized how valuable my Saturday of hibernation really was for me. Though my energy level didn’t start out particularly high, I did notice that the more accepting I was that I needed Saturday, the easier it was for me to find a path to productivity on Sunday.

I recognized that there was a bruise. Although there were parts of me that felt very ‘self-hatred’ and ‘self-judgment’ oriented, I didn’t shut those parts down. I gave myself some time to feel it and acknowledge it, and then I made room for the other parts that felt ready to invite a different kind of self-care.

A wave of inspiration came over me and I packed a small bag and walked over to the community pool. Despite experiencing some significant body-consciousness, I chose to allow myself to take up space however I needed to, and took my first steps into the pool. After a few laps, I settled into my lounge chair and read for a few hours. On my walk back home I realized that I hadn’t done something like that in a very, very long time. Soon, I felt the urge to do some much-needed laundry, and some mild house cleaning. But none of this felt like a chore! It actually felt like self-care. I took pride in all of it, and by the time evening rolled around, I was ready to leave the house and spend time with loved ones.

This, of course, is a very simplistic example of how self-care can factor into everyday life. Acknowledging the bruise, and feeling the pain is so important, even if there’s no one else who can acknowledge it with you. I tend to isolate myself when I’m in pain because it’s easier for me not to have to consider others. Sometimes that means I have to cancel plans. Sometimes that means I have to sit at home and do absolutely nothing, or eat cookies, or watch Netflix for hours upon hours. But giving yourself permission to take care of your own needs no matter how messy that might look is a first step to finding a path back to a better state of being.

Too often we ignore our needs and push onwards; we ignore the bruise.

So instead I say why not let that bruise be seen, even if it’s just by you? After all, if you let yourself feel it consciously then at least you’ll have some control over how you care for it. The unconscious alternative of letting it handle you isn’t really a recipe for success and it just leads to more unhealed bruises.

Try it! It can’t hurt. 😉