I love how nature reminds us that some things fall apart EVERY YEAR …and then usually grow back the next year, sometimes bigger or stronger (or maybe more fruitful) than the year before. The trees don’t struggle against losing their leaves every year…they know it’s all part of the process.
“There comes a time when you have to let everything fall apart. When you have to stop fighting for a life you’ve outgrown and trust that you will be okay, even if you can’t see how right now. For a while everything may feel messy and hard, and you may feel scared and lost. Embrace the fear. Embrace the uncertainty. Embrace the loss. The dark tunnel of change leads to the light of possibility, but first you have to go through it.” –Lori Deschene
Another example: the moon grows for half a month and shrinks for half a month. Every single month it looks like it’s becoming something whole and complete; then, the very next day after it shows us its full and powerful beauty, it immediately starts shrinking!
If you only lived for two weeks, you would have a very different understanding of the moon. Your limited perspective would only see part of the truth of the moon’s monthly transformation. Would you be able to trust that it will become whole if all you’ve ever known is it shrinking? Would you be able to trust that it’s coming back, even after it disappears completely into darkness for a time?
When the leaves are off the trees and the cold winds blow or when the moon is completely dark, it can feel really lonely and hopeless. How do you get through the dark or falling apart times in your life?
“The biggest lesson for me this year has been ‘just keep going.’ Lost everything? Just keep going. Don’t know what you’re doing? Just keep going. $0.88 in the bank? Just keep going. People played you? Just keep going. No obstacle has been able to crush me. I keep going.” –https://tinybuddha.com/wisdom-author/asamoah-evans/
I think the only way to keep going is to take one single step at a time and trust that you are moving in the direction you most want and need to go. But how do you move when everything is dark and heavy?
In my experience, one of the very best things to help me take a step forward is to find someone else to serve in some way. Even if it’s as simple as going to the store and smiling at someone who seems to need it. Or going on your favorite social media platform and posting something encouraging for someone else who is going through something challenging or worrisome. If you have available funds, find a place to donate that you feel really good about supporting. Or search for a “mutual aid” group in your area and find someone who has requested help and offer the help they need. Helping someone else, especially surprising someone or doing it in a way that no one would really expect, can be incredibly helpful for lightening my load when I’m in the dark tunnel of change.
I think there are a few reasons this is true…one is that you know you are helping someone in need and it simply feels good to do that. It reminds you that you still have some power in your life, even if you can’t see a solution to the big issue/process you are going through at the time. You can make a difference for one person in one way.
Another reason is that it gives you solid proof that help can come out of the blue, unexpectedly, with only good intentions. If it can happen for the person you are helping, it can happen for you! You can start to believe this consciously AND your brain can use that amazing process it has and it can feel like you are helping yourself!
Remember that idea that what you say about someone else, your brain believes you are saying about yourself? (This blog will remind you… https://www.leighdaniellaw.com/blog/protective-dogs-divorce-advice/) Well, imagine how much more powerful it is when you DO something for someone else…doesn’t it make sense that your brain also thinks you are doing it for yourself??
Have you heard the song by David Freidman called Help Is On The Way? Its lyrics talk about help coming from surprising and new places…friends you haven’t met…yet! What if you are that friend for someone else? What if being that friend to them, helps you move through your own pain, your own dark tunnel?
David Freidman actually took each line of the song and made it a chapter in the book he wrote about the song and its ideas of hope and help being right around the corner (https://www.abebooks.com/9781736241820/Help-Way-Places-Don%E2%80%99t-Know-1736241826/plp). This is a super inspiring book and it may be helpful for you as you think about how you can help someone else and/or how help might be coming for you right now!
Does this seem too far-fetched for you? Do you need something a little closer to home? How about this…
Can you think of a time when something in your life looked like it was falling apart, only later to discover it helped create something good for you (sometimes better than you could have imagined it)? I have SO MANY examples of this in my life…but I sometimes forget them.
Perhaps during a time when you are not in the darkness, when things don’t feel so uncertain or scary, you can take a few minutes and make a list of examples of when things shifted dramatically for you. Or when someone offered hope when you thought all was lost. Just make a nice list of those things and then keep it handy so when you need to remember it’s possible, you can just read the list. Reading it out loud is even better than reading it silently, because then your body also hears it and remembers the feelings it had when the hope showed up.
Eventually, after many times of getting through the dark times, you may be able to get to a place where you automatically assume that things are going to work out in surprising and beautiful ways, instead of having fear and hopelessness as your reflex response. But even then, you might KNOW it will be all okay, but your body is still feeling afraid or stuck in a response cycle that feels painful.
That happened to me just last night. I knew everything would be fine eventually, but my body was stuck. What did I do? Well, it was late enough that I just decided to go to bed and let my whole body reset. By morning, I was a-o-k and I’ve had a great day since (despite the fact that NOTHING else about my situation changed…yet). I could sleep because my brain didn’t spiral out of control about the situation – I could truly trust that it would be okay. I was just too tired, physically and emotionally, to push myself to a different feeling in my body.
So I was gentle with myself and chose the path of least resistance: trust and rest.
How do you know what the best process for you is? Practice and awareness.
Try one of these ideas, see how it feels, notice what works and write it down so you can have a list of “What Works For Me” when you need it. Everyone’s list will be different and that’s just fine.
You can also use the process that I taught in this blog (https://www.leighdaniellaw.com/blog/regain-confidence-after-dating-narcissist/) and just ask your body which idea will be most helpful to you in the moment.
Sometimes helping others will be the best thing for you, sometimes remembering a time when things worked out will be all you need, and sometimes just taking a nap will be perfect. Or maybe writing a gratitude list or some other nifty idea is perfect for you.
Please comment below or reach out to me or Leigh Daniel and tell us what has worked for you in the past – maybe it will help someone else feel better just reading it!
Thank you for your journey – every step you take toward more peace, makes more peace for all of us.