On a personal note...
A couple of months ago, my mother was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance—just like my then husband, over a decade ago. She presented with a variety of neurological deficits—just as my husband did. During this time, she’s been in the same hospital that I watched the man and life I loved disappear into the twisted quagmire of neurological illnesses.
I know this path. I’ve died on it once already. My ex’s experience was absolutely devastating for everyone involved. It marked the end of life as he’d/we’d known it. It was excruciating.
I never wanted to be here again. And yet, I am.
I’m writing today with two intentions: 1) to use all I’ve learned about handling crisis for your good, and 2) to ask for your healing wishes, prayers, and love.
“Don’t grieve what isn’t lost.” ― My Son
What I’ll do differently this time
Crisis is back and unwanted guests are lingering in my life. Their names are Resistance, Fear, Isolation, Grief, and Self-pity.
They are thieves who feed on crisis, and they can smell it from miles away. They move in, sleep, shower, and eat with you. Wherever you go, there they are—always eager to tell you about life. I know them as well as I know myself. We’ve spent years together. But, things are different now. I am different now.
I learned a great deal during my last nightmare and I know what I need to do to make it through this night. Here’s what I’m doing differently this time:
1) ACCEPT – Resistance is futile. It’s true. The energy we spend on resisting what is happening is futile. Power comes with acceptance. I accept what is. I accept that what was last week is no longer what is. I do not like it, but I surrender to it. I will not spend hours, weeks, or months turning the events over in my mind, or fantasizing about it. I will not invite self-pity in and ask why me, why her, why now, or what have we done to deserve this. I accept what is. (Read the Sweet Dreams meditation for more.)
2) ALLOW – I am fiercely independent, and my modus operandi when feeling sadness, despair, or weakness is to isolate and withdraw into myself. The problem with this approach is that it leaves one to the uninterrupted, undisputed, and uncontrolled influence of one’s deepest and darkest feelings. It makes bad feel worse, increases stress, and robs loved ones of the ability to be there. I am allowing others to be with me, care for me, and love me.
3) HERE & NOW – Fear is a dirty player. It manufactures futures that strip you of everything you cherish. I’ve hung out with fear for decades and watched as it robbed countless friends and clients of their present by projecting horrific futures. The imagined experience fear creates and the actual experience are never the same. Anticipation is invariably more difficult than living through the actual moment. In challenging present moments, giving attention to fear just creates and amplifies present stress. I will not be afraid. Instead, I will handle this moment. I can always handle this moment. It’s really all I’ve ever had to do.
4) TRUST – In my last nightmare, I could see no good emerging from it. This was an impossible idea. Yet, the ravaging fire that tore through my life left rich soils that soon gave way to a life more beautiful than I’d ever known or imagined. I will not judge this experience as ultimately negative. It is a purposeful nightmare, rich and rife with opportunity to love, shine, and transmute perceived negativity into something positive (like this post). I trust that even now, all is well.
5) TRUTH – When my ex-husband fell ill, I was worried about what others were thinking. I didn’t want them to know how badly we were suffering or how much we were losing. I didn’t want their pity, their judgment, or energy. I didn’t want to be part of the “OMG did you hear what happened to . . . ” conversations. I was image conscious and embarrassed to show my wounds and weaknesses. I needed to appear super-human, ever-capable, and always okay. The truth is true, whether we acknowledge it or not. I’m human. I hurt. I suffer, lose, fail, make mistakes, and look hideous sometimes. I’m okay with me and I won’t spend 3 seconds worrying about what anyone is thinking. I’m raw and wide open.
Don’t spend another night feeding fear, stress, and upset to your mind by falling asleep to the news, a drama, or a violent TV show.
Increase your confidence, become more positive, and let go of what isn’t contributing to your best life. It’s super simple, easy, and powerful. Read the following writings just before you go to bed.
Tonight, accept the challenges you face.
Nearly all of us initially react to challenge by resisting it.
Some of us are able to quickly move from resistance to power, meaning: from resistance to acceptance. Most of us linger in resistance until something forces us to move.
Trials come to give you the opportunity to grow. When we recognize this opportunity and work to develop the characteristics or qualities that will master the trial, we succeed. When we transcend the challenge, we stop needing it.
The problem is that often, when we are inside the storm (the challenge), we forget its purpose and our power.
Whatever challenges you’re facing right now, accept them. Say yes to the opportunity to grow and ask yourself what aspects and qualities would support you in handling whatever you’re facing.
In your acceptance you align within; your whole self unites on the same side. This is your most powerful state.
In saying yes to growth you stack the deck in your favor. You show up and stare the phantoms of fear in the face. They dissolve.
In asking what aspects and qualities you’d need to master the situation, you are proactive and positive.
These three steps are empowering and bring out your best.
The fourth and final step on the journey to mastering challenges is to come to your own aid and maintain your connection with a power greater than you. You are not alone, nothing is against you, and you are safe.
Tonight, I take my place as the most powerful person in my life. I accept the challenges before me, unite within, and rise to meet them.