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I keep in front of me at my workstation at home a passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Finish each day and be done with it…”) that reminds me to not sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, we tend to overcomplicate trivial things. This isn’t to say that horrific, challenging things don’t happen, but there is always opportunity to find something in the midst of all of that, that allows us to be grateful for the many blessings we have; that small shift always changes your perspective for the better. It is in the dark depths of those times of heartbreaking despair when we most need to reach out for the light that is inevitably always there.
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
I remind myself how small my problems are, and I visit this site.
When the storm is in full fury, it is pretty much survival mode – moment by moment. The focus narrows, so there isn’t much room for anything else. As the skies open, so does the focus.
I talk about it with drunks. I head into the woods away from the insane society that feels so proud of themselves. I cross my legs and breathe deeply. Let me stick to that for now
I got covid–out of the blue. Things really sharpen when you are on the way to the ER in an ambulance because you can’t catch your breath.
I have had the good fortune of being healthy most of my life, so this was a big scare. I am so grateful for the staff that cared for me in the ER, and for medical insurance, and for the love and support of family and friends through this.
When life is difficult I find that my gratefulness practice is thee most important time to practice gratefulness. Being grateful, reminding myself about all I have, all I am thankful for, is key in difficult times. It reminds me of how blessed I truly am. It changes how I view the difficulty. I am reminded of all that I have come thru & that this too shall pass.
Peace & Love to All here.
I try not to think. Just do it. Remembering what I really want and why I am here. By the way. I like todays “word of the day” very very much. Thanks to the author and gratefulness.org.
By spending time outside, or even looking out at the natural setting behind me, noticing the details, the growth (lots of baby leaves on the trees suddenly!), the birds and other visitors. By breathing deeply and self talk, listening to music, talking to someone – usually one of my daughters. All in all, slow down, breathe deeply, and pay attention.
That is the probably the most important time to exercise gratefulness. Find moments to pause, be intentional, and take a few steps back to see more broadly. There is always something for which to be grateful. Then get back to working through the difficulty.
My son, who never meets a stranger, reminds me often, “Every day’s a good day, Mama.” Eckhart Tolle’s quote: “Don’t turn a situation into a problem,” is a helpful reminder. The awareness that when I’m overly anxious, I’m in the past or future because the strength, the grace, I need is always available in the NOW. The give and take of consciously focusing on my breath calms me and reminds me of the give and take of life. I forsake the “Why ME” syndrome for the “Live my questions” mode. “What is IS” and I do my best to let it teach me. I find that Willingness and Wisdom are deeply related.
Carol, love your response. You & your son are wise people. Blessings for a beautiful day.
I have been lucky. My life has been mostly pretty easy lately. My practices will hopefully sustain me when life inevitably gets rough. I like to think I’m developing helpful habits. I can also reflect on people that have kept their gratitude intact while enduring unthinkable suffering, as examples of strength and graciousness.
I take deeper breaths to rid myself of fight/flight/freeze. If I can I go for a walk. The movement gives me time and space in which to let go of the thoughts I’m likely chewing on. Looking at nature’s beauty and bounty remind me that the trees will leaf out every spring whether or not the thing I’m chewing on resolves the way I want it to, and I rest my mind there.
This resonates with me. It gives me a sense of peace to observe the phases of the moon, or the progression of the spring ephemerals, but for a long time I couldn’t really explain why. Terry Tempest Williams put it well and succinctly, I think, when she said, “Peace is the perspective found in patterns.” I’ve felt that to be true.
Add appropriate ‘inner light’ exercises for those particular “difficulties”, they all will end with
“God of Life Love and mercy, enlighten our minds so that we may understand you as the truth. Purify our hearts to reflect your Love towards you and towards all our fellow human beings.”
“Bless our steps that we can follow you”.
In a strange juxtaposition, I’ve found that some of the most painful times of my life have brought with them a heightened sense of beauty. It wasn’t something that I actively or consciously sought, but along with the despair, all of my senses became elevated, like I acquired a hyper-sensitivity to the beauty of a single moment. I can’t adequately explain it, and it didn’t last, except in memory. It’s just a sense and depth of beauty that I’ve never experienced in times of ease.
I’ve had the same experience. I saw the world so clearly, in so much detail, when I had found a lump and feared it was cancer. It wasn’t, fortunately, but many, many years later I can still remember sitting in my back yard on the green grass with trees leafed out overhead and the blue sky and marveling at how precious it all was.
I try to look at the things that aren’t so bad in my life right now, nature for example the birds, the sunset/sunrises. The sun peaking out from a stormy day.
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