When everything seems to be going wrong it’s easy to become despondent. Defeated. Overwhelmed. The pandemic hasn’t helped anything and when the very air we breathe has felt hostile and threatening it’s no wonder many of us are struggling.
To add insult to injury, having poddled along in my menopause journey for a good 7 years now and prided myself on doing OK emotionally for the most part, the past 2 months everything has turned to crap and I have become a blubbering wreck. Nearly all-of-the-time. And the times I’m not crying I want to wreak vengeance on anyone who crosses my path, preferably by causing them intense bodily harm. Neither is good for my mental health.
So, having allowed myself to wallow for several weeks which we all need to do now and again I realize it’s time now to get up off the floor because it’s not good for my soul to feel this miserable. I can’t do much about my hormones, so I have to let the guilt of being a raving loonatic go and just be forgiving and understanding of myself even if others aren’t, but I can do something about the rest. And this is how I do it. It might not be your way, but it works for me.
1. Happiness is a choice
Twenty years ago, if someone had said that me I swear I would have punched them in the face. There are times in life where it is impossible to be happy and if you are currently in that place I send you love and hugs. You can’t be happy in grief, poverty, turmoil, fear, intense suffering or huge loss and no-one would expect it. If that’s where you are now, simply be kind to yourself.
For me, however, I thankfully live in a space where happiness is a choice. The question is……………what makes me happy? Which is a post for another day.
2. Count your blessings
I’ve been struggling to keep up with housework and meals recently, due to feeling ridiculously tired, and it’s got on top of me. However, 15 years ago I couldn’t even clean my teeth and would have sold a kidney to be able to cook anything. The fact I can scrub my toilet, hoover my lounge carpet, or change my own bed is nothing short of a miracle and I need to focus more on how lucky I am that I am able to self care at all. The majority of my M.E. friends from 25 years ago are still severely affected and I should never, ever forget my privilege at being able to function.
3. Remember the law of physics
I am not religious, but I am spiritual and do believe that this existence is not all there is. Too many “coincidences” have happened in my life for me to not believe in miracles (for want of a less biblical term) and I truly believe our souls are made of energy which never dies.
I have gone round this year grumpy, whiny, angry, confrontational, judgemental………….and the universe has responded in kind. I have been on the receiving end of anger, judgement, resentment and negativity and it’s no wonder. The law of physics states:
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.”
In other words, what you give you receive and I need to switch the energy back to abundant, loving, kindness. It’s not easy when you’re a raging hormonal psychopath but I’m trying and I can’t ask more of myself than that.
4. The Universe has my back (to steal a phrase 😉)
The Universe knows my soul’s purpose and the Universe knows what my soul needs. Things happen as and when they are supposed to, and in the meantime I just have to keep the faith.
When the bungalow fell through in February it felt like the end of the world. But it turned out to be a HUGE blessing in disguise, because 3 weeks later we were in lockdown and living in a one room annexe with no kitchen or proper bathroom, on my own in a village where I knew no-one for months on end, would have been a total nightmare. That the house didn’t go ahead after lockdown ended just proves it wasn’t meant to be for me and the person whose home it has become obviously needed it more than I did.
I do believe we receive signs which give us guidance and point us in the right direction. Whether we choose to believe them, or just brush them off as ‘coincidence’, is up to us. This week I’ve asked the Universe to give me a sign on the house situation and will let you know if I receive it. If I don’t, that too is a sign – that I’m not moving this year and will have to be patient a bit longer.
Update: Less than 30 minutes after writing this I received the sign I’d asked for on my walk with Bertie yesterday afternoon. I now excitedly wait to see which house is going to become my next home 😊.
5. Offer it up
Sometimes, despite my best efforts, life gets on top of me. I can’t raise myself up no matter how hard I try and life seems utterly overwhelming. It’s then I admit that I can’t do this on my own, and offer up my burdens to the Universe. It’s amazing how freeing that is and I invariably feel lighter.
6. Live with intention
IF YOU WERE GIVEN A WEEK TO LIVE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I ask myself this question a lot. And while we can’t go through life ignoring the dirty dishes, questioning what we truly want and what truly makes us happy and then striving for that every day can only lead to a joyful life.
7. Live with integrity
Which is my guiding principle and a must for my soul to be at peace.
However, I forgot that this weekend. All my neighbours have been torturing me with their various noise for months and showing me no consideration whatsoever. So to get back at them I hoovered my car at 9am on Sunday morning with the radio blaring at full volume. But it didn’t make me feel good. Quite the opposite. It’s not who I am. I’m not vindictive in any way and am always very considerate of other people’s feelings and spaces. I need to stay true to myself, regardless of the provocations which come my way.
“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey
Having said that, this doesn’t mean I lie down like a doormat and let other people walk all over me. Living with integrity also means setting boundaries and expectations for others’ treatment of you, which is why it was important for me to let my ‘friends’ go last week, as neither of them had my best interests at heart.
8. Know your purpose
I am by nature an open book. I share my life easily, even the bad bits that most people want to keep hidden. I believe that part of the reason for the many negative experiences I’ve encountered is so that I can share these with others so they feel less alone and can take strength from the fact that I have not only survived but thrived.
I am also a bit bolshy. I remember a friend saying to me once “for someone who hates confrontation you seem to encounter it a LOT” and that’s because I will not allow behaviour which negatively affects me or others to go unchallenged. I will stand up for my rights and for what is fair. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I can always sleep at night knowing I tried my best.
I do strive every day to be authentically me. I am by no means perfect, and am always a work in progress, but to quote Maya Angelou:
9. Miracles happen every day
My chances of any kind of recovery from M.E. were 7% and my chances of spontaneous recovery from severe M.E. were zero. Yet here I am.
In 2008 I had a car crash. My car flipped twice at speed and was so badly damaged it was written off. I walked away without a scratch.
In 2011 I went to small, local, rural kennels to choose a rescue dog for adoption. What are the chances I would find a dog with the same name as my Dad and who was born on my Nanna’s birthday? The signs couldn’t have been clearer if they’d been written in 6ft neon letters. And if it weren’t for adopting Bertie I would never have become a photographer. Speaking of which…..
I live in the middle of absolutely nowhere. I am chronically ill and spend a minimum of 17 hours each day in bed, alone and invisible. At the age of 45 I didn’t even own a camera let alone know anything about photography. Yet in the past year I have won my 10th international gold medal, was exhibited in London, been on the cover of a leading American photography magazine and won a global competition beating photographers from 90 countries across 5 continents without barely leaving my house. Photography feeds my soul and the Universe has my soul’s back. Enough said.