I can do hard things. Unfortunately my definition of "hard" has become easier to attain but I'm going to give myself a little break here because there for a while, even "easy" was hard. So I'm lowering my standards a little in the hope of gradually reestablishing myself on some firmer ground before I reset the bar.
I slipped into a pretty good case of the doldrums over the winter. I was rewriting my life and had upended one firmly established form of income with a great deal of faith that all would work out in the end.
The middle of this story is bleak. I kept trying to talk myself into believing it was going to work out okay. I said all the right things to myself. But I couldn't quiet the incessant voice of fear that wouldn't stop whispering in my ear.
I was exactly where I was meant to be. I knew it in my heart. Life kept unfolding in unexpected ways and I was available to simply be where I most needed and wanted to be. But the moment I wasn't feeling "needed", I lost my way.
It has been a gentle climb to solid ground ever since.
As I reflected on these words and rewound "the middle of the story" in my mind, I searched for clues as to what I was feeling in the deep, dark dire moments of the most recent winter in my life.
I unearthed last year's calendar and two documents I wrote while I was in the state of nowhere. I read what I wrote at the time and I can see how I WAS actually exactly where I needed to be. Even in my most uncomfortable moments.
Sometimes, life simply hands you a "mirror". You are unhappy with yourself, the moment and the past, present and future. You are stuck and you feel the quicksand of life pulling you down. You don't know how to save yourself until you see someone you love right beside you fighting the same battle. And somehow, unknowingly you pull yourself up, shake yourself off, find your sea legs again and simply take one step in a forward direction.
The state of inertia is the worst place in the world for me to be. The state of unknowing. The state of fear and despair. The mere act of doing nothing is worse than taking a step in the wrong direction. Taking one step in any direction is better than standing still and going under.
I looked in one of the many mirrors I had within the small little world I had created for myself at the time. In the act of trying to find the answers for someone else, I found a twig which was rooted in solid ground. I pulled myself to safety. I look back to that moment in time and I look at the present. I know the single act of "saving myself" wasn't all it took to get from "there" to "here", but I look now and I see two people pulled out of that pit of despair.
I was just starting to see the light when I wrote these words:
"I think the world is laughing in my face as I deem to believe I truly have any control over the way things will unfold from this point onward. I think this is why my feeling of being "lost at sea" is driving me. Because I truly believe I will not find my answers by searching the internet, working on my financial spreadsheets, gazing at calendars looking for direction.
When you feel lost at sea, where do you look? Upwards. Find the North star to guide you. Looking in any one direction of endless sea, any direction you choose is a gamble. Perhaps a gamble worth taking, but perhaps it would be more prudent to follow a wayward bird in the direction of dry land. You won't find a bird anywhere but in the sky. Look upwards. Stop fearing what you don't know. Keep hydrated and perhaps keep wearing that life jacket. But "look up"..."
I read the words I wrote, looked at the calendar beside me and see how every single step I have taken since that day has been a step in a positive direction. There have been detours and obstacles. But this time, I didn't let that stop me. This time, the detours did not distract me from my destination.
Once before, a similar set of circumstances completely derailed me and I never did get back on that particular set of tracks. Life keeps presenting you with lessons. What I didn't learn the first time around, I believe I conquered the second time.
How many times this lesson has been repeated prior to the two that are most prevalent in my mind is anyone's guess. The time you succeed is the time to remember and celebrate. And now? I am fully prepared for life to present its next lesson to me. I suspect I won't enjoy it in the moment, but if I can overcome and prevail, it will be an uncomfortable lesson well learned.
Because I can do hard things. So can you!
That said, I think I'm going to tackle one of the hardest things of all. I am going to book an appointment to get my hair cut. To be continued...