How to stay functional as you sit out the bleak and depressing times.

heart in hands2I did two readings this morning, both with high-powered, ambitious and independent women who are going through a melancholy cycle as the holidays approach. That is true for many of us, and when it’s in the air like this, it can be easy to pick up emotions from other people if you don’t have a good sense of your own stability. Both clients are in the process of undergoing some radical life changes – for the better – but are in the “wait and see how it unfolds” stage right now, where it seems as though nothing is happening. Both of them are losing motivation and fear settling into destructive habits since they are not seeing results just yet.

I find my life goes through cycles like that, too. One day I see evidence of nothing happening, and it may seem bleak, with nothing on the horizon. The next day, however, can bring all sorts of new opportunities that I did not envision before. I’ve learned to take the bleak, seemingly barren times and view them as incubation periods. Sometimes I even write about it in the form of a character in a novel I’ve half-heartedly started.

I’ve learned that if I can keep my body in motion while my mind wants to steer me into a melancholy mood, well maybe I don’t get out of the doldrums any quicker (although I think I do) but at least I don’t have a pile of chores left undone at the end of it all.   Just because you’re feeling a little blue doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy and get some exercise, maybe visit some local parks or beaches, indulge in candlelit bubble baths and get plenty of rest.

It’s not like you’ve got to huddle in a corner, chain smoking Camels, chugging bourbon and eating rocky road ice cream at 2:00 am.  No matter how bleak our inner landscape may seem to us, we still have a choice to remain as functional as we want to be as we sit out the dark times, waiting for spurts of new growth.  Remember: like the bamboo stalk, when you’re broken in half and stuck in sh*t, you can’t help but grow 🙂  Maybe we can’t always control the sudden onset of a mood, but we can control how we react to it.  We can control our thought that if we trust in the process, we will have successful results.

I had a real memorable dream once about trusting.  In the dream I was flying over the ocean.  At first I was just flying, then I looked down and saw the earth below me.  Then I got closer and saw the ocean, although I didn’t recognize a continent.  As I descended, I began to get afraid because it was the middle of the ocean and I’m not a strong swimmer.  In the dream, I could feel real fear in my chest.  As I descended and felt scared, I was standing upright suddenly and could feel small waves splash at my feet.  I quickly said a prayer “help me deal with whatever is gonna happen” and I lifted my feet and I looked all around to see if I could see land.  Suddenly I could see land, but waaaay off in the distance.

 Artist Jane Delaford Taylor

Artist Jane Delaford Taylor

I quickly said a prayer that I’d make it to land and suddenly a row of tiles begin appearing from me to the land. I was afraid I would be stranded and suddenly I felt the tile I was standing on begin to sink. The tiles were just barely a few inches beneath the water’s surface, and each one a long step apart from the next.  I was afraid to move off my one tile, kind of frozen there, not wanting to step over the ocean part to get to the next tile.

I noticed that whenever I felt afraid, my tile would begin to sink.  Whenever I said a prayer, it came back up and I’d be on the next tile automatically, and a step closer to the land.  This dream was a lesson to me about trust.  It was also a reminder to pray as though everything depended upon God, and act as though everything depended upon me.  And trust that the Universe will sort it all out for me.

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