First of all, thanks to each of you who have told me you read my blog and get something good out of it – YAY IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY! 😀 Thank you. I have wanted to start writing for a long time and it feels so good to be writing and sharing.
Today I want to talk about struggling, something we all do at some point in our lives or another.
Now, there are different types of struggling, to be sure. There is the struggle of an important relationship ending, the loss of a loved one, illness, letting go. And there is also the struggle of wanting to be happy, finding better work, of simply living a meaningful life – which doesn’t always feel as simple as we want it to. There is even struggle that can come from witnessing the pain and suffering that exists in the world – the homeless person down the street, the children without food, near and far.
We often have a vision in our minds and hearts of how we want things to go, and life takes interesting twists and turns, throws curveballs and knocks us flat on our asses at times. If you’ve never felt sh*t outta luck in your life, felt growing pains, endured loss, or struggled, please write to me, I want to study you:)
So, what do we DO, how do we COPE in those moments where life just SUCKS, when we feel ourselves squirming and struggling to be who, where and what we want to be.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way…
1. Start where you are. What is true for you now? Can you take an honest look, see and accept yourself and your situation, and honor the process of life you are facing. However simple or complex, challenge yourself to write it down or draw it out so the problem gets outside your own head. Drawings are often particularly telling.
2. Chomp the bit. Now that you’ve recognized your struggle, move into it. Feel it, express, move, cry, scream, write a letter, draw another picture, recognize the struggle and do anything that will help unload. We often want to futurize or escape the place we are in – through fantasy, through drinks, drugs, food, distractions, busyness, too much tv, some form of avoiding the presence of the shittiness or discomfort. Please, I beg you, grab a friend, a therapist, whoever can hold loving space for you and honor the shittiness. When you are disappointed, distraught or overwhelmed there is a feeling there that needs to be honored. Once you have cried your eyes out, vented, written in out, or run it off, take a moment to reflect. When we feel these types of feelings it is often because something is important to us.
3. Find the golden nugget. Inside the pain or discomfort is something meaningful – we only get upset about things that mean something to us. So ask yourself: What is important to me here? Recognize this importance. Is it important that you have a partner to share your life with? Is there someone important in your life who will be leaving? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you don’t feel will be possible? Choose to make this meaningful thing a priority.
4. What can you hope for? Our minds are wired to look for threat and to try to solve problems, which in many ways serves us. However, when we get stuck in the negative it becomes a problem in itself – one to be solved!;) Look for possible ways things could get less shitty. Tell yourself, tell the universe, tell another person involved THIS IS WHAT I WANT, this would be the best possible outcome, or a less than shitty outcome. Even if it is or seems impossible. Can you tell someone they are important to you? Can you be present as you say goodbye? Can you tell your friends, or yourself, that you really do want a long-term relationship or more fulfilling work? Can you admit to yourself that you are an artist, an explorer, or that is some goal that you do really want to achieve in your lifetime?
5. ACT. Even if you are shaking in your boots or your voice cracks, do what is within your power RIGHT NOW. Start letting the healthy desire grow, rather than masking the shitty feeling. Maybe you want to run your own business – find the ways you have leadership in your current job or in your life. Maybe you want to be a full time musician and you decide to practice once more a week. Maybe someone in your life is dying but they are here right now. Notice what you have right now and exercise recognizing it, appreciating it, and letting the desire or love within you come up and out.
6. Lastly, GET HELP, GIVE HELP. When you’ve gone through the steps above and it’s still too much to bear, be with people who have or are making it through your struggle. Find a mentor or mentor someone else (best way to learn is to teach!). Share in the mysteries of life and connect to find compassion, empathy and human support.
People succeed in life and heal after massive drama, trauma and bullshit. Why not you?
Last sage words of inspiration, straight from Tupac’s mouth: Keep your head up. Thanks, Pac. Now, this one’s from me – Just because you are struggling does not mean you always will. Sure, you’ll keep growing, but emotional overwhelm often gets most intense when there is a breakthrough around the corner. Brighter days can and will come, and they often shine more brightly when we can do some deep work while we’re down.
I confess, starting this blog itself was a struggle for me! I’ve seen darker days but this was a new form of resistance to conquer. I had to hire someone to help me set up a basic website, even though I knew I *could* do it myself, and worked with a coach (the fellow Bruin badass Jenny Blake;) to get into writing habits. I’ve promised myself that I will post every two weeks (a fancy fortnight), on a Wednesday, and that is the only reason these posts have made it before your eyes, instead of into some dying word doc in a folder saved for later. I still have a long way to go but these steps outlined above were key for me in this and in other times of struggle in my life.
Now I want to hear from YOU! Post a comment and share! What shitty storms have you weathered? What insight or action has helped you move through? Is there a silver lining to your stuggles that stays with you? Also, did you know you can get these posts delivered straight to your inbox..?!? Technology these days, I tell ya! Enter your email in the box at the upper right and you’ll get these posts every fortnight, on or close to a Wednesday (depending on your time zone:).
As always, sending lots of love, strength, inspiration and cajones to each of you… it takes balls to live life!!
Big big love,
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