Have you recently divorced, moved, begun a new job, children are in college or married now, and you are starting over in many ways? Perhaps you’ve been injured and are trying to see yourself differently, into & through recovery. How do you restart?
Let go of the past. Attachment to what “should” have been or what “was” will only make you unhappy and keep you stuck. Desire for “could’ve” and “might’ve beens” only keep you frozen, fixated and unmoving. Does your mind cling to the past, telling you that if you just review the “shoulds” enough, you’ll act differently next time? It’s lying. Instead, the opposite is true. Let go of what was, and ease yourself into the perception that you are a student in life. You’ve learned from mistakes, processed them; now let go. Start with this framework, and you’ll make new choices.
Feel your feelings. Allow your feelings, your experience. Stay with them, without denying or avoiding them. Breathe into what you felt then, and feel now. You got divorced. Many mistakes were made, on both sides. You moved. You started working doing something you thought you were good at, but things have changed there too. You feel stuck in several ways. Ok, let that be. Without judging yourself, don’t fixate and you’ll move through these emotions sooner than later.
Allow change. A new mindset of accepting change will not only help you clarify, but will eventually guide you into living from a place of wisdom. Determined to embrace change as The Inevitable, I used to say to myself, “I change with the years.” But Change still felt like The Enemy, and I had to fight it. So then, it became, “When the seasons change, I change.” Trying to alter my view of Change as The Guest I didn’t invite, I continued to struggle. “Now, it’s, “Let’s go for a walk, Change, my friend.” I don’t fight it. I see what change is up to, and make my choices accordingly. Try this.
Control only what you can. Truly embracing Change as your friend, invite his twin Control along everywhere you go, too. Most things are out of your control. Control is only yours when it comes to your body, thoughts, beliefs or feelings. Byron Katie says the rest is either up to other people, or the universe or God. Ask: what is out of your control, and what is within the realm of your control? What’s yours, and what’s not? Do what’s yours to do, and stop trying to manage anything else. Free yourself.
See your future. How do you want to feel, a year from now? Envision that, very specifically, and walk it backwards to now. What will you be doing? How will you be acting? How will others respond to you? What will you be feeling, much of the time? How will you be dealing with things? Then start this moment creating that. Begin with specific, small changes today. Do something else new tomorrow. It will feel uncomfortable, unnatural. So be ready. Why wait? No circumstance or other person is going to come into your world like Tinker Bell and sprinkle pixie dust onto you. Only you have the wand. Do you want to live creatively, wholeheartedly, beyond fear? Then wave that wand around now, and start right here.
Forgive. Beating yourself or anybody up mentally just fuels anger. Use the metaphor of a huge tree, with large branches and deep roots. See the layers of your anger like those of a tree trunk. Go through them, starting with the anger: go underneath the anger to your pain, then find comfort for yourself. Finally, forgive yourself and the Other, for all that occurred. They were imperfect, hurt you, but that was probably the best they had. Stretch out your branches to love again, to trust again. Forgive yourself for not doing what you didn’t know, or not having the resolve to do it. Let your roots grow deeper. Resentments about your ex, your injury, your choices, your losses, all fuel your unhappiness. Living from a bitter mind merely loops negative thoughts over and over, spinning you downwards in a spiral of hate, making it hard to get out of the pit at the bottom. The heart of life is good. Most people are doing the best they can. Forgive, release things, without hanging onto them in fear and self-protection. You’ll use more clear judgment with others, having now learned from mistakes. Trust yourself. Go to your heart, live from your heart.
Forgive, see your future, control only what you can, allow change, feel your feelings, let go of the past, and fly.
~Pamela W. Brinker, LCSW
“One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began….determined to save the only life you could save. ~from “The Journey, “ poem by Mary Oliver
“Bad new never had good timing. Pain throws your heart to the ground. Love turns the whole thing around. No, it won’t all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good.” ~from “The Heart of Life,” song by John Mayer
Resources: “Boundaries, Empathy and Compassion,” on YouTube, and Daring Greatly, by Brene’ Brown; Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert; Loving What Is, by Byron Katie; The Fire Starter Sessions, by Danielle LaPorte; “The Journey,” by Mary Oliver