Hello beautiful you!! This is a picture of me last night on my cozy couch. Doesn’t it feel so nice when you are warm and cozyon your couch at the end of a cold, hard day? Maybe you have a blanket, a snack, a pet or a partner right there warming your feet. Your favourite TV show or music playing. Maybe as you relax you feel a moment of pure bliss and contentment. Imagine though, if you had to stay that way. On that couch with nothing changing forever. Not the TV show, the snack, your position, the music…. That bliss and contentment would pretty quickly turn to boredom and irritability, your body would start to cramp up, smell bad and atrophy, things would get pretty gnarly pretty fast. It’s the same in life though isn’t it? We go along minding our business, enjoying ourselves and feeling like stuff is in control. And then bam pain! Discomfort! Chaos! Ugh?! Why?!!! NO! “What’s wrong with me?! “
Here’s the message I have for you: PLEASE DO NOT MAKE YOURSELF WRONG BECAUSE YOU ARE IN PAIN! Pain is so helpful! It’s an impetus to pivot and grow! Pain, sadness, anxiety and discomfort are nudges toward growth and course corrections. Don’t sit in pain wondering what is wrong with you, wishing that you didn’t feel pain. Acknowledge it as a messenger. Ask pain what it wants you to do in order to move toward joy, growth, peace. Ask the darkness to point the way toward the light. Maybe it will just give you the tiniest first step. That’s all you need. You just need that first direction…. not the whole map. Listen to that simple first direction and GO THAT WAY. That’s the work. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it does take a willingness to take one step. Maybe you just need to get up and wash your face and then see what the next direction is and do that. You are so loved! You are not in pain because you are hopeless and a lost cause! The opposite of that is true! There is so much more for you on the other side of this pain. Just follow the directions. Take the first step. And then the next. Take a deep breath, lace up your walking shoes, drink a big glass of water, cue up a grounding meditation on youtube. Observe what is around you and speak out loud that you are grateful for them.
The other day I was so wracked with free floating anxiety. I took a deep breath and the first thing I saw was power lines. “I am grateful for power lines” I said woodenly and automatically. Then I thought about power lines and what they mean to me. How comfortable they make my life. And the gratitude felt real. Suddenly I was reeling off things I was grateful for faster than I could even see them. My entire mood shifted from overwhelmed and panicky to serene, grounded, thankful. It felt like a literal miracle. For me that was the next best thing. Just make the gratitude list. This got me energized and focused enough to go on a run.
I got the feeling I should listen to a podcast on my run rather than a play list of running music. I cued up a comforting old favourite but two minutes in I got the sense to switch to another one. Within the first 2 minutes I had a clear answer to a question that had been stressing me out. The woman tossed out a throwaway comment and honestly I don’t even remember what it was but suddenly something that had been blurry and confusing became super clear. This is how a series of “next right things” is all we need to do. That’s ALL WE NEED TO DO. One thing at a time. All the way home.
Circling back to the thought I had at the beginning about overstaying our welcome in our comfort zone. I don’t think that we necessarily need to be jolted into a state of anxiety and depression to move forward but the fact that I was feeling those feelings was a clear signal to me that I was out of alignment and I saw those feelings not as a personal failure but as a CUE to do things to get back INTO alignment. I didn’t take those feelings as I used to: as a clear signal that sadness and despair were going to be my bedfellows forever no matter what I did. I took them to remind me that I have to be more careful and disciplined about my energy. I need to stay devoted to the things I know bring me peace and stability and alignment and that I had been neglecting those things. I acknowledged the uncomfortable feelings as my friends warning me to get back on track.
In summary: Life is hard, shit happens, people can be awful, brain chemicals can go out of whack, bodies can let us down. Sometimes everything is good but we just feel bad. It doesn’t mean we are bad and it doesn’t mean our life is bad it just means we need to shift course, we need to pivot we need to reach for another better feeling. And then another after that.
You got this. Yes you do. Carry on.