Tag Archives: adversity

Dealing with Adversity when You Feel A LOT

 

I love naps, in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger 2013.
I love naps, in the thought book, by Marie D. Tiger 2013.

 

It’s been a bit quiet for a while here on the blog. I have been dealing with some suprising and sudden changes. So I thought this blog post could be about dealing creatively with adversity.

What helps?

– Allow yourself to feel everything, uncensored, no matter how conflicting, crummy, hateful, wallowy, self-pitying or bitter the thoughts may seem to your rational mind. Let the feelings move. You do this by simply observing and feeling. When you feel tempted to judge yourself, go back to sensing what your ear feels, what you see around you in the room, how the soles of your feet move on the floor or in your shoes.

– When your thoughts are racing over hurful comments or rehashing what has happened over and over in a hamsterwheely fashion, choose a word that’s neutral to you and doesn’t awaken any strong feelings (oatfield, cucumber, rice or truck work for me) and repeat it to yourself, fast, over and over again. This reboots the thinking process for a while. You may need to do this a few times to change tracks.

– Allow many versions of reality to be true at the same time. The adversity you are facing may be a closing door and an opening window to a new opportunity, at the same time as it pisses you off.

– Take lots of naps, use all of your relaxation techniques and tools, read uplifting books that you can connect with, listen to angry music, break a few dishes in the sink, watch movies where people go through big challenges and come out on the other side.

– Move your body. It doesn’t matter if it’s yoga, running, dancing, walks or horseriding. Your body wants to help you get through this.

– If the adversity you’re facing pushes your money buttons, try two things: Write a to do list about everything you need to do financially, the bills you need to pay, the people you need to contact, everything. Then take a time out. When panic hits, look at the to do list and reassure yourself that you are taking the situation seriously and responsibly. Then, with a conscious choice, move your awareness to your now moment and your basic needs. Are you bodily safe? Is your belly full? Do you need to sleep? Take care of your immediate needs and reassure yourself that this moment, you are in a safe space.

– Ask for support. Dare be vulnerable. Say no to obligations first and then share as much as you want about what has happened and how you feel about your situation in this moment. People will support you more than you can ever believe.

– To the people closest to you, describe what you are doing to cope. Sometimes we look perfectly competent on the outside, although every moment is a struggle. When you tell your loved one what you are doing to remain active solving problems and not crashing, it is easier for them to support you in loving yourself, because the inner work you’re doing becomes visible to them.

– Remember that your point of power is in the present. No matter what has happened, right now you can choose to be your own friend. You can appreciate yourself, take care of yourself and let yourself feel whatever it is that is happening in you.

– Last but not least, remember that you can always draw, paint, write, mold, sing, dance, vocalize or in other ways express what is happening inside of you. The mere act of getting it outside of yourself can give you clarity.

 

The Terrifying Unknown. thought book 2013, by MDT.
The Terrifying Unknown. thought book 2013, by MDT.

 

Do any of these tips resonate? Is there anyone you know, who is facing difficulties who could find this blog post useful?

 

Day 5 of the Compassionate Shame Tea Party

Teekutsuilla häpeän kanssa

Sandy Talarmo and her shame are honored guests in our tea party, and she graciously agreed to share her authentic and vulnerable drawing & photo here in my blog. Thank you Sandy <3

Limits and Borders as a Doorway to Who We Are

Yesterday I took a break. Napping away my flu, shame and I took a day of self-care, away from everything. Today, I synchronistically stumbled upon this video from Amy Purdy. She lost her legs, just when she was about to fly out into the world and talks about, not just recovery, but about how her life was transformed through the struggle & creations that followed.

She talks about how she feels more free when she is who she is, walking openly on her bionic legs [as she calls them] than if she were pretending to be someone she is not. Amy suggests our borders are what we can use to push away from. She asks if it is possible to see our challenges and limits as blessings, that ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever thought we could. As I look at Amy and her pictures of all of her different legs, I feel this deep joy inside of me – what variety! What a creativity in the midst of the unpredictability of life.

 

The Source of Our Shame is the Core of Our Beauty

Amy inspires me. My challenges are different, but equally vital to how my life has turned out. Since I was a little girl, my emotions have been racing up and down. Highly sensitive to stimuli, like sounds, scratching clothes, smells, lights, colors and even more sensitive to the moods of others, their reactions to me – life has had an element of the unbearable. Added  to this I was born with an emotional intensity, where I can go from a feeling of bliss, through all the nuances in between, all the way to suicidal desperation, in a time span of ninety seconds, no matter how calm I seem on the outside.

Feeling life in all of its nuances can be exhausting and talking about feeling so crappy you just want to die freaks everyone out. I learned to push my feelings deep inside of myself and use the great social pacifier of a smile to put everyone at ease. Inside I felt completely and irrevocably broken. There was no amount of squeezing that could make me fit into the role models I saw around me, no matter how I numbed my feelings.

Living with this kind of an internal reality can be difficult to fathom. One way to describe it is this: Imagine you are severely sunburnt throughout your body, wearing a scratchy sweater. There is loud heavy metal music playing all around you, you can hear what others are saying, but you need to strain a bit. Behind every person you see, there is a billboard, with different kinds of emotional information showing (Anger! Irritation! Sadness! Joy! Suspicion! Enjoyment!) in blinking neon lights. There is the smell of too strong, musky perfume in the air.  You have a test ahead that you are unprepared for and your hopes and dreams are riding on it. In the midst of the intensity, you. must. perform. well.

[And I would really want to go hide right now, rather than be writing this blog.] The turning point for me came when I sat with my second therapist and incredulously asked her: “Do you mean that getting well from depression means that I need to feel all of my feelings? ALL of them?” Slowly I learned that wanting to die was a signal from inside that could mean different things. That signal could be listened to, befriended, seen, said aloud, encountered compassionately. From recovering all of my feelings and my search for a life that wouldn’t be just bearable, but worth living, has sprung art, coaching, entrepeneurship, poetry, friendships, a marriage to a soulmate, two beautiful children. A life that is handmade, tailored to embrace my sensitivity, my dancing emotional weather and my need for freedom, as well as built on the strength that lies in all of this vulnerability.

I am not broken. And neither are you.

 

If anybody says you can't trust yourself - RUN! Thought book 2013, by MDT.
If anybody says you can’t trust yourself – RUN! Thought book 2013, by MDT.

 

At this point of this tea party experience, I believe shame can be a pathway to self-compassion and to the very core of who we are. We can trust ourselves and we always begin exactly where we are.

How do your challenges and limitations ignite your imagination today? What is the color of your longing?