Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Some thoughts on staying strong

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life - J K Rowling. 

This is now a well known saying from the UK's most successful modern day author. Often, we only see the final result - in J K Rowling's case, millions of book sales and worth millions. But she has been through a heck of a lot along the way.

And if you want to make a difference in this world, chances are you're going to be tested to your limits, maybe go through times when you don't know how you can carry on, times when you have to turn to friends and/or God. This is certainly not pleasant!

I am out of work and not totally sure where to go next .. in fact I could do with a bit of a break from everything as I feel quite fragile - but we'll wait and see what happens - maybe I will feel better soon. Whilst I think it's good to take risks, I have learnt that sometimes, it's best to be precautious and weigh up the extent of the risk. If I'd thought about things a bit more carefully, I might have come back to the UK earlier .. and I've been a little hard on myself for the mistakes I made, and wondered what is the point of even trying.

Picture by Live Life Happy
Often, people will tell you to stay strong during the rough times. And I'm sure I've told people this too. It has got me thinking - what does it mean to 'stay strong?' Sometimes you feel anything but strong when turbulence hits. For me, a better way of putting things might be 'keep the faith' or 'don't give up'. I guess in some ways this is the ultimate form of strength - not giving up and keeping going when your feelings are screaming at you. How do I feel I need to 'stay strong' right now?

1) One day at a time - As Eckhart Tolle says (paraphrased) 'You can always cope with the present moment, but you can never cope with the future - nor do you have to. The answer will be there when you need it.' I have been having anxieties about things that have not happened yet - all part of the journey of being human. But I am able to cope with the present - in fact part of me wishes time would stand still so that I don't have to face things I don't like :)

2) Connect to God/Universe/Angels - in other words, spirituality and faith is very important to me during tough times. You don't have to believe in a male being up in the sky. But it definitely helps if you believe in some sort of higher power.

3) Friends - As the song goes 'I get by with a little help from my friends'. When you're in a bit of a crisis, it's important to talk to someone - better to see them in person, but if this is not possible, Facebook or Skype are still great ways of connecting. Thank goodness for the Internet.

4) Belief in myself and who I am - Whatever your bank balance, whatever your health, whatever your relationship status, whatever your employment status - you are still the same person. You are YOU! Okay, it's hard if not impossible for your self-esteem not to at least wobble when you go through a tough time. But the way you see yourself is important. Even if you cannot love yourself at this moment, start by accepting yourself or trying to accept yourself. Or if you cannot do that, set an intention to start accepting yourself when you are able to.

5) Allowing things to be as they are - When things go wrong, when other people don't give us the job we want, when money problems arise - it's all too easy to freak out and fight against the situation and curse God and curse life for allowing us to go through such unbearable s**t. I'm not saying you should be in a state of bliss. Sometimes things can freak us out, to the extent that we might feel like we cannot carry on and want to die. When these feelings come, accept them as much as you are able to. Meditation or deep breathing are good tools to quieten the mind a bit when things are going haywire. Perhaps life is testing us at times, to see how we react to hardship.

6) Good books/quotes/articles - I find that reading helps a lot when my mind is running a bit wild. Pema Chodron's book 'When Things Fall Apart' is an excellent read. Books contain information that can help you going during the tough times, and that can give you new insights about a situation.

7) Being in nature - Sometimes, just going for a walk into the countryside and sitting on a bench is just what the doctor ordered. Nature is a healer.

I hope I am able to help people through this post, God knows there are people going through some seriously tough times right now, maybe this universe is going through a major shift right now in order for some of the man made structures to be demolished. Or maybe life is just giving us a wake up call!


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