Saturday, October 11, 2008
Surviving Divorce or Other Crises
So often are we faced with overwhelming aspects of life that we are just derailed, feeling blind-sided and defeated or frustrated. I've been there so many times that I can't count. Due to my life lessons, I've been through divorce 3 times, the death of a parent from alcoholism and witnessing the surviving parent succumb to the same illness, troubles at work, thin finances, feeling alone and totally on my own. Such things can emotionally bring you to your knees and leaving you feeling so empty, angry, anxious and toxic. But there is a way out. In fact there are many ways out and I'm going to suggest them to you now. I'm a very strong advocate of counseling...it works...it helps but you have to do your part...do your homework outside of the sessions and not expect to be cured in a 55 minute session each week. Read, talk to friends and family and keep thinking through the challenges you face looking for the cause within you and not the blame without.
There are also support groups that you can go to for many topics. These are a blessing and a comfort for those who take advantage. So, I highly recommend those too. Along the lines of support is a website that I absolutely love...About.com. They have forums on so many topics from mental and medical diagnoses to hobbies and finance. Great place to get that "support-group-like" support as well. Now, outside of these help sources there are somethings that you can do yourself. When life gets tough our energy is drained and the more exhaustion we allow to set in from these things the more emotional and impatient we get. Life can start to look bleak and frustrating everywhere you turn and then the negative thoughts flow like a mountain spring thawing after a long winter. Not good!
So, here is Reverend Janice's idea...tested idea...meaning, it worked and does work for me as long as I commit to doing these things whenever I feel like I'm slipping into negativity. It might seem trivial and unimportant but I assure you the impact on your psyche is hugely positive. I call this my Ten Commandments for Serenity:
1. If someone is out to get you, so what...just go about your business and don't trust them but let it go. In time, you will want to learn to forgive them for they know not what they do. (This one takes some time...but is very liberating when you can shove your own...get-even ego out of the way).
2. If the world is spinning too quickly for you...hit the pause button and change your focus to helping those less fortunate than you. (Donate your time to help the community, family or friends so you can get out of your head on your own worries).
3. When life gets to chaotic for you, turn it over to God, the Goddess or your Higher Power and ask for help so that you make things right and peaceful for all involved.
4. Make yourself a plan for life, even if a loose one, and then think of that plan and take your steps to get there knowing that even a 10,000 mile journey begins with a single step (Lao Tzu).
5. Dress yourself up presentable each day not for anyone else but yourself.
6. Learn something new every day to enrich your mind, heart and soul.
7. Say a prayer in an open field or out in nature somewhere as your visit to church each week...pray that the homeless find shelter, the wounded...healing, the hungry...food and the lonely...love.
8. Hug a family member and tell them you love them.
9. Smile at a complete stranger for no reason at all and make eye contact.
10. Compliment someone in the grocery store or help someone find something or get something.
These things might seem silly but when you are going through the ravages of a divorce or other chaotic life-crises, these 10 simple things can help restore balance and peace to you. You see where I'm going with these themes so make them your own and add-lib the concepts to make them fit you. The idea is to generate good will between you and others in your sphere. This good will is very healing for you and for others. But, to get to this place where you can do any of the above, you have to allow yourself permission to let go of the chaos and the emotions generated. You have to know that your emotions are your choice and under your control...you are responsible, not anyone else. This is good news. If you blame others and make them responsible for how you feel, you can't control your responses. If you take accountability for your emotions, you ARE in control and CAN decide how you will respond to life's events.
Just some food for thought folks. May you find a measure of peace and serenity today...even minutes matter. Blessings!