Inspiration through challenging times.

Inspiration through challenging times.

September 24, 2019

My mind has been going into dark places lately. A lot of what ifs are swirling. Anyone relate?

I have such powerful tools to presence myself and stay focused. However, we are all human and there is a significant amount of external noise that can take us into a downward spiral. How is the world going to survive this pandemic? What is going to happen with the election and its aftermath? Are we safe? Will my parents stay healthy? When will we all be able to officially and safely gather again? 

I’m also experiencing judgment about all my fears. Should I be more evolved than this? If I was just doing enough meditation and journaling would I not have these scary thoughts? These thoughts are overwhelming. So much so that I’ve had to shift the narrative. I’ve had to start searching for the kernel of truth in my mind that says, “Hey, what if all these challenges and intense thoughts are exactly what you need? What if all this darkness will be what enables you to shepherd in the most beautiful light you’ve ever seen?”

I like this kernel, it gives me hope. But for me, it’s not enough to hold the hope that the darkness is flowing through my life for a reason. I need action to help that kernel grow. 

As we all move through this interesting time on our human journey – an era that is filled with unimaginable highs and devastating lows – I’ve intentionally brought into focus actions and ideas that help me in not running away from the overwhelm, but navigating it in a way that allows me to call forward my inner badass, while also nurturing the scared little girl that just wants to cry. It’s been a wild ride. If you’re navigating your own wild times, I hope these nuggets offer support. 

  • Taking care of myself so I can face each moment. Getting through so much of what I’m experiencing boils down to taking care of myself. If I can just focus on the basics of eating healthy, moving my body and loving my family I can handle just about anything. Doing the things that keep me healthy also help me face whatever is happening in the present moment, versus running away from it with wine or some other coping device. I stand and I face it, even if my knees are shaking.  
  • Seeking support. I can’t do it on my own y’all. I need people who can lift me up, let me cry, pull a section of my mountain of work over to their mountain, and to say, “Yup, it’s hard, but I got you.” I also need someone who is well trained in helping humans understand the intricacies of the mind and emotions. So I started seeing a therapist. It’s been crucial to my wellbeing and healthy perspective. I think seeing a therapist is always a lovely idea, but especially when the mind wants to take us on a nauseating ride and we need someone to bring us back to solid ground. 
  • Being vulnerable. I’m so into the “I am woman hear me roar” idea. I used to think that meant being strong at all times, but I’m now realizing that a huge piece of that strength is being vulnerable. I’ve recently had to ask friends, family and colleagues for a lot of support and it seriously stretches my vulnerability. I’ve had to admit that I can’t do it all, and that has required me to soften and open to the support people are actually eager to give. It’s pretty extraordinary how freely many give that support when we can just get over ourselves and ask for it. 

  • Honoring that there will be times when I breakdown. During these hard times I will not always say the right thing. I might snap. I might have to do some apologizing. I might not react to my daughter or husband the right way when they irritate me. I might have a huge reaction to a tiny set back. I might be that lady in the grocery store parking lot bawling in her car. I will not always be the person I want to be (and the person I want others to see) when I’m going through it, but I also have to realize that that’s part of the glorious struggle of being human. And I need to start giving more grace to my humanness.  
  • Taking a walk outside. It’s astounding how simply stepping outside and walking around can shift my mood and the tone of my thoughts. If I can remember to go for a walk when I’m steeped in stress, tension or fear I can nurture my whole being without having to put much thought into it. It’s one of life’s few easy fixes. 
  • Allowing the struggle to be a blessing. I sometimes focus too much on what life would be like without a certain struggle. But this is wholly useless as there’s no going back. There’s only picking our way forward and finding a way to discover the good in the circumstances we convince ourselves can’t possibly hold any good. Even if I can’t pinpoint how a struggle might ultimately serve me, I find it incredibly helpful to just hold the belief that it will eventually shine light into my life. 
  • Giving myself space. I could easily work 24 hours every single day. At this point in my existence there is pretty much always something pressing that needs to happen. Always. But I realize that I might literally combust if I don’t step away and sit with my thoughts and emotions when they’re screaming for attention. And the cool thing is, when I give myself that space it usually makes me way more efficient when I step back into to-do mode.  

  • Reading tarot cards. While it might sound “out there” to some, I find picking a card from a tarot deck to be really supportive. The messages on the card often offer guidance and support even if they’re not the bright, happy messages I was hoping to receive. Even those scary cards with lots of daggers and creepy looking birds hold the tools to shift my perspective.  
  • Committing to what I know will make me feel good. At this point in life I know myself well enough to know the activities that will make me feel good. This knowledge is what pushed me to take the crazy action of getting up at a cruelly early hour and going to a two-hour chanting session (that started at 4am!) in honor of Yogi Bhajan’s birthday. It was so powerful to sit in such a supportive community and rest with my thoughts for that concentrated period. So find your thing. What will make you feel good? A sound bath? A yoga class? A jog? A dinner with a friend? Make your list and then go do those things. 
  • Tuning into the yin. As you make your list of activities that make you feel good, hone in on those that support your yin energy. The feminine yin is all about the flow and gets us into a nourishing, soft space where we’re able to sit in our darkness without feeling like it’s going to overtake us. 
  • Being with the sadness or anger. It’s so enticing to avoid the challenging emotions. But when we accept that wave of anger, fear or sadness and resist the urge to suppress it before it crests, we can often find so much solace. Even when I just go into a private space for five minutes to rage or cry, I always feel lighter and clearer afterwards. When I couple this acknowledgment and release with a yin activity I feel amazing. 


My friend Light Watkins says, “Successful people do it scared. Being scared is not an obstacle to success, it’s a prerequisite. If you’re not scared, it means you’re probably not taking any chances. You want your heart to race a little. You want your breathing to fluctuate. You want to break a sweat. That’s how you know you’re on to something. If you’re not at least a little scared, make it bigger!” 

I feel the truth in that sentiment so deeply, but as it’s harder to remember in darker times I think it’s crucial to surround ourselves with people, books, social media accounts, etc that fill us with inspiration to keep moving forward. So whether you’re dealing with a health issue, taking a career leap, or managing any of other tricky circumstances life throws at us, focus on doing whatever you need to do to keep moving forward. 

I’m here to remind you and myself that we are so much more courageous and powerful than we realize. If we can find even a sliver of light in what we’re going through, we’re doing amazing. So let’s take the tools offered in this article, and any other tools that resonate with us, and become our own champions. Let’s take the actions to prosper, while also giving ourselves permission to occasionally let go and trust the process. Let’s tinker with the delicate balance of action and release. Let’s be open to the learning and the shifts that are waiting out there in the darkness. It’s all leading us to where we need to go. 

with love,

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