And it seems that this year, for a lot of people I know, has started particularly shitty. It seems like everyone is going through some epic stuff.
Now I know that I was all geared up for an epic start to the year; I was bursting with creative ideas for blog posts, meditation classes and was getting geared up for the launch of my self love club. Then my mother in law went into hospital on boxing day. My mother in law has become very, very special to me over the past few years. She is/was one of the few places of pure unconditional love and acceptance in my life and seeing her in such distress and hooked up to various machines was a great shock.
The month of January passed in a blur of text messages, phone calls, family visits and hospital visits. We all spent time sitting with her, holding her hand, and, in my case, sending her reiki. Finally at the end of the month she passed away and we moved into the grieving process and caring for our father, father in law.
A week to the day after she passed I got the phone call that my brother's struggle with cancer was drawing to a close. He had been battling for 15 months and was now on a downhill slide. Again it was around of phone calls and texts but this time no family visits as I am estranged from most of my family of origin (Foo). He passed away yesterday with no fanfare, no funeral and for me no family gathering but at least I got to say goodbye.
And I am not the only one.
While my mother in law was going through her turmoil her daughter was dealing with a breast cancer scare. My sister in laws brother has been diagnosed with throat cancer. A friend's father went into hospital with serious complications just days after her husband had a motorbike crash.
On and on it goes, shit at every turn. Let's not forget the turmoils in the world; Ukraine, Syria, major upheavals and unrest all round.
So when life is handing us a shit sandwich ( yes, shit is my new favorite word, thanks for asking) how do we keep ourselves from descending into a deep pit of despair? Survival Tips
Great question! And here are my survival tips. These are what have kept me sane, grounded and functioning over the past two months. ( Ok sane might be a bit of a stretch!)
(1) It's ok to grieve;
Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling. It doesn't matter whether you are grieving something major or something small, you are entitled to feel what you are feeling. This gem was passed onto me by my awesome hairdresser after a not so great haircut from one of the other hairdressers in his salon. I was explaining why I wasn't happy with the cut and he said "You are entitled to feel what you feel".
Just like that. No justification necessary.
(2)Surround yourself with positive people;
As they say before you diagnose yourself with depression just make sure you are not in fact, surrounded by arseholes ( that's assholes to you Americans, same thing different spelling)
It is important to spend time with people who acknowledge and accept your feelings instead of dismissing them as trivial or unwarranted. These people are treasures and should never be taken for granted.
(3)Spend time in nature;
I live on a three acre block of land with a view of the sea . Walking around our orchard, feeding our chickens or just watching them be chickens fills me with a great sense of peace. A few days after my mother in law passed I had a flock of swallows and a group of dragonflies swooping and diving right outside my office window for a good fifteen minutes.
It really is the little things that heal your soul. Do whatever you can to spend time in nature.
In whatever way that you can spend some quiet time with yourself. Talk to your angels, God or whatever beings you believe in. Leave some space for them to answer and pay attention to any signs that come your way. This might be in the form of song lyrics, a feather on your path, butterflies, dragonflies or any other way messages show up for you.
If you don't feel like you have time to meditate than you need to make that time even more. Our lives need to be simplified more and more not overcomplicated so now might be a good time to skip a tv show and meditate instead.
We have so much to give thanks for, every day. We have gotten so used to the luxury of our modern lives that we forget that there are still large parts of the world without running water, let alone hot and clod running water in their homes. Electricity, the internet, cellphones, cars an unlimited supply of food readily available at the local supermarket, the list is long. Then we have our healthy bodies with a complete set of fully functioning parts; you just need to speak to one person in hospital to realise what a gift that is.
Ok i said there was only 5 steps but here is a bonus for reading this far:
(6) Practice kindness
Nothing is more guaranteed to get you out of your funk than to do something nice for someone else. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or letting someone go ahead of you at the checkout line or paying someone a compliment. Simple. Effective. And with a side bonus of making you feel better.