I found to be excellent advice after the past few weeks of just spinning my wheels. I have not known what to do to get out of this depression and despair from loss and pain. But, once I saw this, I realized that I just have to do something and then see which road it leads me down. A friend of mine also gave me the same advice and turns out she was right.
Taking some sort of action is one of the hardest things we all have to do sometimes. It just seems easier to simply stay put, not doing anything. But, all that does is cause you to sit and think more about your problems and where you are compared to where you want to be. That accomplishes nothing. You just sit around and feel worse - you feel worse because you're thinking about those problems; you feel worse because you're not doing the things you "should" be doing; you feel worse because you're not interacting with those who want you to interact with them; you feel worse because life is just passing you by and you're not accomplishing anything.
Figure out what you can do that would constitute that one tiny step. In my instance a few weeks ago I decided that ok maybe I can't run but let's see if I can at least walk. So I got out and tried it. It didn't feel great and I had to stop a lot because of the pain but what did feel great was the fact that I had tried to take control of my life and not let my "condition" rule me and my life. I am not my condition. But what matters is that that was one little step. Then I tried to do some cleaning - one space at a time. That was ok too. So, each time I did something and started to take back my life, it filled me with hope and joy - and of course, we all know that joy releases endorphins which helps with mood and maybe even some degree of pain control. So, it's all good all around.
Don't stand there and just look at the fork in the road. Do something for yourself. Do something you haven't done in a long time, something you enjoy. Some tiny little thing. Write it down too so you can determine how you felt once you did it. Write down how you felt before and how you felt after. I know that the first time I got my haircut after the shingles overtook my life, I felt great because I had some sense of normalcy back again. It's amazing what little things do for you.
Try this if you're having trouble deciding which direction to go in. I know I'm going to look at that fork in the road about my retirement. And I'm going to take one step forward down one of the two paths. And, we'll see what happens!
"There is a Life Stream that flows to you, and this is a Stream of clarity, a Stream of wellness, a Stream of abundance... and in any moment, you are allowing it or not. What someone else does with the Stream, or not, does not have anything to do with how much of it will be left for you. This Stream is as abundant as your ideas allow it to be." ---Abraham
Excerpted from: Phoenix, AZ on April 04, 1998
This seems so easy but often times it's the best we can do. I see where they get the expression "go with the flow". We need all of these things - clarity, wellness and abundance. they are completely intertwined. It's difficult to do anything with clarity if you don't have wellness or abundance - but frequently, you have to have the clarity in order to achieve the wellness. Abundance will then follow.
The important part of this is to be grateful no matter what life throws at you. And to always be open and ask for clarity. Believe me it will come if you ask for it. If you get caught up in resistance because things don't seem to be going your way, then you will continue to push it all away. Always seek clarity. Always ask for clarity.
Each day soon after you get up (or even while you're still in bed), ask yourself this question "What's important in life?" Whatever the answer is, you should then live that day with that one goal in mind.
This doesn't mean you will only accomplish one thing that day. It means that your thoughts and actions will be aimed in that direction.
For instance, if you decide that what's important is love, then all your "work" that day would revolve around love. At work if there are people who normally make you mad or aggravate you, look at them with love no matter what they do or say. You don't have to do anything different externally. This is usually more powerful if you are experiencing it internally. Of course, these thoughts of love toward those people will most likely change your interaction with them. Your day will change. I guarantee it. And the more you do it, the better your workplace will be and the more you'll enjoy it.
If traffic bothers you and you have decided that love is what's important, put out thoughts of love to those in cars around you. Maybe that person who just cut you off is having a really bad day or maybe they are trying to get home quickly because of family problems. Even though you don't know them, you can still profess love for them and remember to always "declare it good" (as an aside, I did that on my flight yesterday when I realized there were a million kids on the plane and lo and behold I got the most well behaved little girl sitting next to me). Traffic will ease. Try this with traffic lights too and see how you respond. Express love for that red light and be grateful for the safety features it provides.
Perhaps you have decided this morning that understanding is what's important. Then you'll go through the day aiming to understand everyone and everything in your surroundings. Start with yourself though - aim to understand what you are doing and why.
If you find yourself saying something like "making money" is important, you might want to examine that and see if it's really important. If you still conclude that it is, then ask yourself why it's important. It might be that you need to make the money because things are tight and you want to make sure that you're able to take care of your family, etc.
The whole point of this is to examine your beliefs and live to them. We have to break them down into daily tasks or we most likely won't do anything about them. It does no good to proclaim that you want to love everyone but then go and yell or get frustrated because of x, y, or z.
Live to what's important and do it today. Tomorrow may be too late.
This past week has gone by in such slow motion. Even slower than I run (or walk). It's been like trying to navigate through molasses. As I was thinking about it, though, I realized that although I have not gone through all the phases of grief, I've experienced changes that are similar to what I go through in an Ultramarathon (which by definition is any race greater than 26.2 miles which is a marathon).
First there was disbelief and shock that my friend had gone to another existence - one which was out of reach of all those who loved her. There were abundant tears and hope that the phone would ring and I would find out there was an error or something just as incredulous. The disbelief part (not the tears usually) is equivalent to the start line of a race that you've been preparing for and waiting for all year long - since you hit the finish line (or not) in last year's race. Now you can't believe it's actually here.
The next day I was able to make it through the day because of all the distractions at work - keeping me busy and interacting with others whom I care about. This was my way to block out the fact that I have a long road ahead of me until I can really accept that she's gone forever. At the start line of a race and early on before people leave you in their wake, you have lots of distractions. You are busy tying your shoes, getting your water bottle right and talking to everyone around - some of whom you might not have seen in a long time - simply distractions so you don't have to worry about the road ahead and how tough it might be.
But then I came home. The distractions were gone. Life was back to what it was yesterday - empty. I see everything around me that reminds me of her. The void cannot be filled. This is like being out on the road (or trail) after everyone has left you and you're on your own without anyone to help you through the pain that's up ahead. After awhile there's no new distractions and you're alone with your thoughts.
This emptiness and low mood continues for who knows how long. I don't want it to continue and something inside of me tells me that I will get better but I can't see that any time soon. I don't know how I will get over this. On the road of an ultramarathon, it's not uncommon to wonder if the race will ever end. I need others around me to help me through it. But there aren't others. I am alone on the road and in my life and in my grieving.
There will be a finish line but as with all of my slow running I have absolutely no idea when I might reach it. It's heartbreaking, discouraging and although aid stations (or road angels) help lift the mood, I know it's only tempoary.
I can't believe how much I miss my friend. And of course you all know that this is right on top of the loss of my ability to do the 314 mile race across Tennessee this year because of my post-shingles pain.
My very best friend has moved on to a better existence and given that she is in a much better place and free of all the suffering, I am grateful. I only pray that I gave to her as much as she gave to me during her life. We should ask ourselves that question every night - "What did I give to others today?" This should be followed by "Was it enough? What can I do better tomorrow?" I am going to put these quotes up all around my house and make sure I ask myself every night.
Why do we wait to write tributes to people until after they are gone? We should write tributes to the ones we love or know whenever we think about it.
My friend was phenomenal. She endured two years of treatment for her cancer and never missed a day of work or a day as a pastor. Right up until the end, she was caring for others and thinking only of the people she served every day. I wish I were that devoted to others as she was. It's still so hard to believe that she's gone (it's been a few hours) and that I'll never hear her voice again.
Memories are good but they are also painful. Almost everything I hear, everywhere I look, and everything I think about reminds me of her and the times we shared. Even though we were 1500 miles apart, we talked all the time and shared everything. She was always there. Now there is just empty space and a pang in my heart.
She is with her family and other friends while many of her friends remain here on earth mourning her passing. I don't want to have to mourn her. I want to embrace her greatness and if I could, I would shout it from the rooftops. I have been so blessed to have her in my life.
I have to also praise another amazing woman - her business partner. This woman has been by her side every step of the way and has pent hours in the hospital with her. She has had courage and strength that I've never seen before. She has remained calm and has always been there for my friend and for me too - communicating with me all the time about what was happening. As a friend and business partner her loss is double ours. My heart goes out to her.
Rest in peace, my friend. You are missed so much already. Thank you for being in my life.