It’s a weird journey that we are all on, isn’t it? I mean, we think we are growing, and we are getting somewhere, wherever that place might be to each person. And all of a sudden, a roadblock appears, or worse, something much harsher. The few steps forward that we have taken, are all taken away from us. We stumble backwards. We try to crawl forwards, but nothing really gives. Stuck, we try this and that and the other. But, again nothing gives.
We are lost. Alone. Lonely. Sad. Stressed. Depressed. And a hundred other emotions course through us, mostly bad ones. We wonder if we are ever, ever, ever, going to be relieved of the burden under which we live. Are we ever going to get out from under this rock that is pressing down on us? Preventing us from breathing, and from living to our fullest?
We wake up every day crying. Weeping. Bawling. People start avoiding us. They think of us that person who mopes around a lot. “She just lost a boyfriend, or a job, or some money. Can’t she get over it already? For God’s sake.” They say in groups, huddled around, judging, and condemning us for feeling.
Why don’t they get it, we wonder? They have been through this before. Why don’t they commiserate with me? But they know, as we know, as everybody knows, that this is just a temporary thing. It comes as fast as a flash flood. And it leaves as slowly as a peaceful brook.
They know it’s going to leave us soon. So, they are just waiting for that. But in our minds, we are thinking, “I’m never going to be over this. I am going to suffer forever!!”
The Ebbs And Flows Of Life
Luckily, that’s just our mind playing tricks on us. Because, one day, as it always done, the rock disappears. The hurt disappears. We can breathe again. The pain that was inside of us for so long, so so long, dissipates. It doesn’t hurt as much as it hurt before. We wonder, is this just a temporary respite, or am I actually healed? But we don’t know. We will never know.It might just be a temporary respite. Or it might be the calm before the storm. Click To Tweet
Or it might be the peak that we have been waiting for. All we can do is enjoy it. Enjoy it deeply, and fully.
Because guess what? Another one, a much worse one, might be just around the corner. And if you want to be prepared for it, you need to kill it in the present.
Why does it matter? Why do we need to remember about the valleys? It helps us enjoy the peaks, so much more, much much more. If we remember that this too is temporary, not only about the sadness, but about the joys, we shall know true strength. We are attached to nothing, and no one. Nothing can bring us down or up, because we know everything is temporary. Impermanent. There for but a moment. A minutiae.
My Story In Brief
As everyone else on this planet, I went through one of 3-strike-you-are-down counts just recently. About 3 years ago (seems like much longer now), in October of 2014, I felt myself being punched hard in the gut and the face by the universe. I was down for the count and worse.
I had just come back from a road trip from Toronto to Panama City, with the love of my life (at the time). We had had some ups and downs while we travelled, but I thought it was normal. It was fine. Just fine. Like an ostrich who had stuck her head in the sand, I pretended like everything was just fine and dandy. We don’t have any troubles. We love each other. Forever. We are going to be together forever.
We come back home, and I try, terribly, badly, horribly, unsuccessfully to salvage the relationship. I promise things that are un-promisable. I do things that I know I am going to regret. It’s all stupidness. Foolishness. Eagerness to keep things the same, even though we were both unhappy with status quo. I wish I had let go sooner, now that I think about it. But hindsight is always 20/20.
As the universe does, three horrible things happened to me at once. The love of my life (at the time) broke up with me, with no sign of wanting to get back together with me, ever! I was fired from a job, that even though I hated it, I was still upset that I lost it. And, my finances were spiralling out of control so I had to live with my parents at the age of 30.
Absolutely sickening, and devastating.
Boo-Hoo, But How Did You Get Out Of There?
Okay, you are probably thinking. Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, sad stuff. Boo-hoo. Sob story revealed. “But, Shikha, how did you manage to turn your life around from absolute pandemonium: shit-faced on the ground, puking your guts out, and dying… to, where you are right now?” This is what you are saying to me, right now. At least, I hope you are.
Or you have switched off completely, and gone over to watch ‘Orange Is The New Black’ on Netflix, and I am here chatting with myself.
Anyways, so yes, all of that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter exactly what happened that made me go into the deep end, with no parachute, and no bathing suit (mixed metaphors, but I think you get it).
The point is that I was in this state of absolute horror, and despair. I felt lost. Mad. Insane. Upset. Suicidal. Desperate. And more. I was done with this shit life.
I was actually truly done with this shit ME!
Old Shikha, We Are Done, Darling (Or As 50 Shades Puts It, Laters, Baby)
The main turning point in anyone’s life, and you can read all autobiographies to see this turning point, comes when they have had more than freaking enough of this useless, lazy, selfish, and incompetent self.
Do you know which moment I am speaking about? Have you had this moment in your own life? If you are nodding right now, then I am glad you are here, reading this.
Because I think everyone who has done anything significant with their life goes through this epic life-changing, turning point, where they can’t bear the sight of their old, snivelling self anymore!
I would look at myself, and my life, and the devastation that I had wreaked upon my ambition, and my talent. I would look at myself in that state, and I would literally be disgusted with myself. “Shikha,” I would say to myself, as I talked to myself a lot in those days, having lost all of my friends as well.
“Shikha, what the hell are you doing here? You are freaking better than this!! You are so much better than this. Why are you living such a life? What is wrong with you? You are smarter than this. Stop it now! Just stop it.”
In that moment, when I realized that not only was I not living up to my potential, I was so far away from my potential that I couldn’t even be called mediocre. Down in the dumps, in the toxic sewage dumps, was where I was.
The Turn Around On My Shitty Life After That Was Reasonably Easy
The thing I have realized is that once you go through this horrendously eye-opening turn-around… Where you can’t even look at yourself, where you hate yourself for being the way you are, where you wonder how things got so bad.. This is a great thing!
It’s a great thing because after this point, the battle to get up on top is actually really easy.
I was so disgusted with myself, that everything, everything, everything that I did, all of my previous habits, and patterns were thrown out of the window right away by me. I hated my old self. Despised her. Wanted to kill her. Abandon her. Dump her into a flour mill (what?).
I did not like her. I wanted to get rid of her. Throw her so far away from me, that I would never have to look at her miserable face again.
That’s what I did. I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want this old life of mine.
Okay, so I thought about, what do I actually want? What do I want my ideal life to look like? What do I do in this ideal life? How do I sleep, wake up, walk, talk, work, and live? Where do I reside? What kind of friends do I have? What does my voice sound like? And so much more.
When You Aim For The Stars, You Fall Somewhere Near The Moon
I was aiming really high with my idealization and visualization techniques. I want it all, I told myself. The ideal life was where I was aiming. Everything perfectly as I wanted it.
When I was younger, my father would always repeat this adage to me. “Shikha,” he would say in a very fatherly way (love him to death), “if you aim for the stars, even if you end up somewhere near the moon, there’s still better than being on Earth with the masses.”
The essence of it was that I didn’t get to my perfect ideal life. I mean, not completely.
Even now, I am still tweaking my life all the time. As time moves on, I realize more and more stuff about myself, and as I learn more about myself, I tweak my life. Tweaking, changing, upgrading, downgrading, and forever moving forward.
The great thing is that I know even if I fall into a valley now, it will never be as bad as it was at that time. Because now I have built up a repertoire of knowledge, and tools that act as my arsenal.
I Am Forever Buffeted And Protected By My Daily Work On Myself
See, the thing is, readers, when I fell down in the past, it was because, I got cocky. I stopped doing the important things. Meditating, exercising, sleeping, eating healthy, spending time with friends, and family, creative work, writing, and all of that juicy goodness. I didn’t do it. I skipped it. Thinking I don’t need it, I focused on being a lazy-ass bum.But now, I know, that these tools, this arsenal of daily habits that I have created - this is my power. Click To Tweet
This is a power that I don’t ever want to give up. This power keeps me going over and over and over again.
No matter what else happens in my life, I do know this. As long as I keep up with my daily habits, my routines, I know that nothing can get me back down again, as before.
I am buffeted, protected, and coddled by these daily habits. What are they? The powerful weapons in my arsenal include, meditation (of course), exercise, journaling, creative work, TRE, pranayama, 10k steps, 4-5 litres of water, and proper nutrition (gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free).
These daily activities keep me going. I am stronger than ever, better than ever, and forever improving, and growing. Because of these daily habits. Even if I do nothing else from now on, but these daily habits, I know I will forever be fine.
It Doesn’t Mean That The Valleys Have Disappeared, But My Dealings With Them Has Changed
Okay, long title for this section. But you try cutting down a title like that.
Anyways, the point is that my life isn’t perfect. I don’t run from roses to sunshine to candy to lollipops. I have bad days. Terrible days. Terrible months. Moments of despair and self-hate. It’s all still exactly the same.
I haven’t switched away from all of that.
But, because of the power and strength that my routine gives me, I know that no matter what life throws at me, I can get excited about it, and bounce back like a fluffy soufflé.
I haven’t seen it or done it all. But I don’t need to. That’s not what gives me this power. The power comes from knowing that I am stronger than ever, because I have my arsenal at my disposal. If something does happen that throws off my equilibrium, then I just step back, laugh maniacally (as they do in those cartoon shows), and then go back to business, as if nothing happened.
Because it’s all nothing. To me. Now.
It’s all temporary nonsense. Distractions. Fluff. All I want to do is get back to business. Get back to my work. Stop trying to get me down! I am stronger than whatever you throw at me. I know I can prevail over everything.
I Want You Guys To Feel The Power Of This Arsenal As Well
Okay, so if I was doing this post, just to boast about my situation, then it would really suck. But I am not. I don’t need to boast. I know who I am.
I am doing this post to show you that it’s possible. To tell you that this arsenal is free, and at everyone’s disposal, anytime they decide they want to use it. You can start meditating right now, where you are, sitting or standing, for five minutes a day. No materials required. No training, or books, or knowledge, or money, or anything else required.
Just sit down and start. As I did.
You can start journaling right now. Or doing yoga. Or running for 15 minutes every morning. Whatever it might be. All of these tools strengthen us, so that we become too powerful for anything to overcome us. “Bad” things might happen, but they just dissipate like the mist as the sun gets stronger.
All of it is to tell you that you can be stronger, too. Just start with one or two of these tools every morning. The prevailing one in my opinion is meditation. Just five minutes a day, consistently, over a long period of time, can change your entire paradigm.
Now, who doesn’t want that?