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Reflections on Moving Forward During Difficult Times

Reflections on Moving Forward During Difficult Times

There’s been a lot to process lately.  In the last month, I’ve experienced the death of my mom, a move to another country, and the prospect of starting a new business. So here I am in Peru on my own, which is scary enough for so many reasons.  But despite the fear and apprehension, I am still excited at my new beginning.  And most important I forward to looking back on this moment in a few months or years and seeing how far I’ve come.  It’s all about moving forward.

During this time, I have experienced a wide range of emotions, feelings and thoughts while moving through each hour, each day, each week.  I have found writing to be a  treasured outlet. It gives me time to dive deep into a project or piece and be distracted for a bit from all the stuff floating around in my head.

We all have our own form of coping and managing emotions.  I like to use words as a focal point when I am experiencing or attempting change in my life.  Lately the words I find most relevant are create, manifest, courage, grief and solitude.

Create
verb:  to bring into existence; to produce through imaginative skill

Create speaks to me on so many levels.  Since create is a verb, it has action and movement.  I find that when I allow myself time to create, I am also taking action and control over what develops in my life.  I believe that what happens to me at any point in time is at least on some level within my control.  And for those things that are not within my control how I react to them is something that I can control.

Create is also the basis for creativity which is a muscle that I am working to flex in my life right now.  I can remember as far back as my teens thinking that I was not creative and so I just kind of gave up on anything that required me to create something new.  It was safer that way because I didn’t have to reach and put myself out there, or worry about making a food on myself.  Looking back, I can see how that fear and avoidance of creativity has shaped many of the choices in my life and thus directed the path my life and career took.  Now, I do not want to live my life safely any longer.  I am willing to take some chances because I know that regardless of the outcome, it will be worth it.  Most important over the last few weeks,  I have discovered that creating is when I am most at peace, inspired and lately the happiest.

Manifest
Verb: to make evident or certain by showing or displaying; to appear

This word, I feel is a bit more elusive and maybe even a bit mystical.  To me this word means that whatever isn’t there can be brought into existence.  Now I don’t mean that things just happen because you want them or dream of them, it actually takes movement towards what you want.  But as you move forward, things manifest that direct you along the way.

I just recently up and moved to Peru which is something that I have wanted to do for a long time.  I can honestly say that over the past few years, certain people, things and experiences have just happened or fallen into place.  Each of these instances revealed to me that indeed this is the path my life is supposed to take.  Now I realize that it didn’t just happen and it didn’t just manifest itself all of a sudden or out of the blue, but as I made choices to move in that direction, the doors continued to open.

Manifesting works along with where you focus your attention. I believe that what we focus on expands, so as I focus on certain desires and goals, my life expands in that direction.

Courage
Noun:  mental or moral strength to venture, persevere,
and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Here’s another version of courage that I find is really beautiful by Brene Brown.
  “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”

This word has played a huge role in my life in recent years.  Courage doesn’t come naturally to me and I would much rather take the easy road and stay within my comfort zone. Then, I realized that being cautious wasn’t the way to live my life, and that by staying safe, I wasn’t meeting people, growing or having fun experiences.

In January 2016 I was ready to take some chances and step out of my comfort zone.  Knowing how difficult it would be for me I needed something to come back to when I got scared or things just got too hard, so I chose the word COURAGE as my word for that year.  Using this method powered me through to great things and accomplishments that year.  I gained so much in that one year — even more than I could have hoped!!

Grief
Noun:  deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement

I am no stranger to grief as I’ve had loss in my life before, but probably nothing as significant as losing my mom.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease just over two years ago and in many ways she’s really been gone for a while.  I’d actually say that the grief of her began over a year ago because that was when things really started to change.  But now, there is such finality and I am fully into the grieving process.  It’s interesting how it comes in waves – some days I am perfectly fine and then out of the blue – Wham!!! – I find myself consumed by waves of tears.

So here is what I hang onto in these moments of utter despair.  I know that she is right here with me, every day because I carry her in my heart.  One of my closest friends said to me when she died, that now she is able to go with me to Peru in a way that she wouldn’t have before.  I found that to be such a beautiful view of the situation.  Also, I know my mom would want me to move on and find great happiness in my life.  Last, I appreciate stark beauty of grief at certain moments, because I know that it means that I had great love in my life because you can’t have grief without the love.  Grief is one of those things that you can’t really avoid and in order to move forward you have to move through it and allow it be there and experience it.  I imagine that the grief won’t ever go away, especially in this case but I do believe that the pain will ease over time at least to a more bearable place.

Solitude
Noun:  the quality or state of being alone

Solitude is something that I can truly appreciate.  I am that person that is generally quite ok being on her own.  I’ve travelled alone and lived alone, and both have been times of tremendous growth.  And while I can appreciate solitude, in this moment it seems to be overwhelmingly endless because I have unlimited amounts of it and no end in sight.

I am naturally an introvert and there are certain social situations that are wildly uncomfortable for me which makes meeting new people more challenging.  I guess what I am trying to say is that it takes real effort, but I’ve done it before and it’s possible to do it again.  For now, I am trying to not let the lack of companionship overwhelm me, but to appreciate it and learn how to reach out and put myself in places where connection with others can take place.

We all have our struggles and difficult moments in life.  Sometimes its not always evident to others, and it may actually seem that other people are living a perfect life while we are falling apart on the inside.  I think the challenge for each of us is to find what ways of coping and moving forward that work the best.  And once we know what they are, we must hold on to them  and take steps forward each and every day. Also, there are times that we must ask for help if we aren’t able to move forward, either from a friend or relative or even seek professional help.  It’s hard to be vulnerable and ask for help, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Difficult times won’t just magically disappear and usually the only way to manage them is to work through them.  It’s not easy but then the good things in life generally aren’t — they take work and effort.  For me, I am secure in the fact that despite everything I am working through, I will come out the other side stronger, wiser and much better than before.



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