We all succumb to the darkness life offers every so often. A good friend came to me recently struggling at such a moment in his life.
I didn’t know what to say. I listened and after he was done venting, I momentarily felt helpless.
Driving home I thought of what I had learned in the face of the darker times of my life and wrote this down to share with him:
1) I opened my heart and mind to the principle that:
” The Darkness does not eliminate the light – it defines it” .
One sleepless morning I went for a walk and as I photographed the sunrise, (that’s the pic I took above) I became aware of the simple truth noted here and began to embrace the darkness as what highlights the intensity of my own light.
2) I decided to get up and “move” to the rhythm of the ethereal beauty of music, (nobody other than me would actually call it dancing ).
This taught me to get in the flow with all of life-both the fun stuff and the situations that made me feel less than comfortable.
“I chose this song but choose that one song that always gets your fingers and or toes tapping” I encouraged my buddy.
3) I wrote 5 things I was grateful for every morning, as well as limiting my “to do” list to only 3 things that I wanted to take on that day.
I learned to be gentle with my expectations of myself, because sometimes I loaded too much to compensate the feeling of “less than”. So I became mindful to “crawl, walk, run” in that order.
4) I learned to position my view of self from the perspective of a third party and and treat myself the way I treated “someone I love” .
This took practice, but it really paid off when I remembered to.
This is where I learned that idea :
5) I began to work with others.
I forced myself, to get up and do something for someone else or listen to someone who was struggling or even just drive someone somewhere.
The goal was to get out of my head for a little while every day and make someone else the focus of my thoughts and actions.
So armed with these 5 tools, all that was left was to define a purposeful intention.
So I decided that I was ready to accept that:
A) I wanted to get better
The sweet pleasure of pain was no longer working for me.
B) I needed to simplify my life.
I held my accountable only for the 5 practices noted above “on the daily” and I worked hard to practice them to my best every day.
with progress not perfection as my target I prevented myself from experiencing feelings of failure when I missed a day. Instead I just restarted my practice of the same five things the next day.
What other choice did I have ? I mean yesterday was gone and we all know we can’t really “create a better past – right? 😉
“Rest, simplify, get a routine, build a practice, and make re-establishment your only true birthright” I told my friend.