This time last year I was in a rather dark place. I was frustrated, a bit overwhelmed, and really questioning if I was on the right path. I had entered a dark and dank tunnel on the highway of my otherwise bright and shiny life. We all go through that. Being a happy person doesn’t mean that there are never unhappy or sad, frustrating, and upsetting times. That’s life. But how do you hold onto happiness when you’re in that dark tunnel?
My dark tunnel last year was mostly about my business and how I most wanted to share my message with the world. I needed to shake things up, but I was feeling all the things I mentioned above. The result, and what I found on the other side of that tunnel were the ways I right-sized my life both personally and professionally. Some of those changes were radical, and some were small. I didn’t feel all of the impact right away either. But how did I get through that dark tunnel a year ago and not let it snuff out my happiness?
- Enlist your tribe. I leaned on my tribe. I have a tribe of friends and business advisers that worked with me to get clear on what I wanted and how to make the changes that were necessary. They were leading me through that dark tunnel. I also had my tribe of my closest friends and family who were there to love me up and support me. It was as if they were surrounding me in a protective circle (or mob) to ward off all the things that scare us if we’re alone in the dark. Lesson: Find your tribe. You don’t have to go through this darkness alone. You’ll end up laughing and having fun along the way.
- Stay present and grateful. The best way I know how to get through anything rough and tough is to stop getting riled up about the potential scary bits in the future and focus on the happy, wonderful things happening right now. Last year, even though there were a lot of unknowns and plenty of overwhelm and even a little fear, the present moment always showed me something for which to be grateful. Staying in the present with my clients reminded me how much I love to heal and know that I’m making a difference for the wellbeing of others. Part of the shakeup in my life was coming from all the opportunities to build and share my message of wellbeing. Being grateful for the opportunities, even in the face of overwhelm, made it easier to move through the change. I wrote in an earlier blog about the link between happiness and gratitude. Lesson: Be present to soak up all of the good in the now, as well as to truly be aware of how you feel. Be grateful. Find the joy, the silver lining even in what seems like an obstacle. There is always something to be grateful for.
- Take small steps. When you’re moving through darkness and you can’t always know what’s immediately in front of you, take small steps. Even if there were a lit pathway you could only take one step at a time. Sure, we all like to know what’s on the road ahead, but reality is that we don’t always know. If you’re in a state of darkness take small steps, not big leaps. When I was going through this process last year I had a million options from which to choose. Instead of rushing towards one at a sprinter’s pace, I took it slowly and only chose the next small step until the light from the other end of the tunnel started to seep in and show me the path. Lesson: Take it slow and focus on the next best step.
- Trust with a joyful heart. When you’re surrounded by darkness it is easy to let it consume you and become unsure that you’ll ever get out. Trust that this too shall pass. Trust that everything for which you are grateful now is truly yours in abundance once your heart is open to receive it. Trust that you are meant to live in joy, love and light and so the darkness will go away. You will reach the other side. I knew the darkness I was experiencing was just a tunnel on life’s highway. I still had to get through it and past the bend to see the light at the other end, but I knew it was there. Lesson: You are meant to live as a happy, joyful being. Trust that it is so; that you can and will take the actions and shift your mindset to make it so.
We all go through periods that feel dark, sad, frustrating or unhappy. Know that it is just a moment in time, not all that you and your life are meant to be. Most of all, be kind. Be kind to yourself as you navigate the current darkness. Also, always be kind to others, because you never know what may be going on in their life as well.
Originally posted July 30, 2014