Don’t Give Up

I’m writing this post as much for myself as for you. Lately, I’ve felt as though I’d rather just give up. Even the best intentions can lead to failure. Sometimes a day starts off stormy, and then a heavy storm cloud hangs over my head for the rest of the day. Sometimes a day starts off sunny and bright, and then a storm cloud builds over me slowly…maybe I put it there myself, or maybe there’s an external cause beyond my control.

Whether the day starts off right or wrong, once the storm hits, how do you push through it instead of giving up and letting it defeat you? In a torrential downpour, I know all I want to do is find shelter and curl up with a blanket. Hide. Wait it out. But what if the storm won’t go away unless you stay in it? What if the answer is to let it rain on you, soaking you to the bone, making you cold and uncomfortable, until you’re numb to its effects? What if staying in it will make the sun come out again to dry your sorrow and shame and to recharge you with energy?

I’m not sure I’m making sense. Perhaps this extended metaphor got away from me. It happens. All I know is that hiding when it storms does not make me any better, and it does not make the storm pass any faster. So today I’m going to make an attempt to be brave, and I challenge you to do the same. Stay in the storm. Let it rain on your face. Embrace it. Persevere, even while you’re afraid, cold, shaking, ashamed, and soaking wet. The sun will come out in God’s perfect time. It always does. And until it does, empower yourself to push through the storm. Don’t let the storm defeat you. Be your own umbrella.

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Meditation: What is Holding You Back?

Find a quiet, peaceful place, and spend a few moments reflecting on your life. Where are you now in relation to where you’d like to be? What’s holding you back from reaching your goals or finding true happiness? Can you identify any specific fears, worries, or negative self-talk?

Picture this negativity taking form as a burning flame in a forest, building in intensity with all the negativity you absorb in your life each day. The more negativity you identify, the higher the flame grows. This fire is uncomfortable and unwelcome. It must be extinguished.

Now identify positive sources in your life…God’s love, peaceful moments with your family and friends, encouraging words, joyful memories, and hope. Picture this positivity taking form as a sweet, gentle rain. Let this healing rain fall on the fire, slowly quenching the flames that used to burn you. Imagine this rain falling on your face, shoulders, and back, cooling and soothing the burn of negativity throughout your entire body. Feel it cleanse you and make you new. Notice the forest around you healing and springing back to life.

It is a new beginning. Let positivity guide your thoughts this week. If you feel negative thoughts coming back, close your eyes, and imagine the rain washing them away.

Reflection on 2014

This past year has been one of the best of my life, and I consider it the year of self-discovery. On January 1st, I learned I was a Myers-Briggs INFP (the idealist/dreamer/healer) and not an INFJ, as I had thought for over a decade. This revelation allowed me to give myself grace on my difficulty with focus. It also helped me embrace my spontaneity and flexibility as positive qualities rather than negative ones. Around that time, my therapist also helped me discover that I am an Enneagram 4 (the individualist), just like her, which explains why she’s such an amazing match for me.

Moving from the abstract to the concrete, I recently refreshed my wardrobe to reflect the way I feel on the inside, and I’ve found some peace in that congruence. I feel like a stranger who passes me in the street now would get a better sense of what I’m about. Perhaps I’m being silly or too analytical, but there’s something comforting in the thought of people getting a glimpse of your soul when they see you.

After what I learned in January and along the rest of 2014’s journey, it seems so fitting that the year should end with a life-changing diagnosis that echoes my January revelation. I have ADD. I’ve suspected as much for years, and the frustration with my inability to focus peaked when I realized I couldn’t make myself sit and rewrite my 11-year-old-and-counting novel, despite an editor-approved outline and the possibility of publication with a small press I adore. My frustration has built for years as I struggled with a dysfunctional schedule and equally dysfunctional mindset, all wrapped in chronic fatigue. Again and again, as I searched for an answer, all my troubles were blamed on anxiety. But then one day it clicked. My GAD was treated. So was the depression that lingered in the background for years. The remaining anxiety came from untreated ADD interfering with my life.

I’ve only been on treatment for ADD for a few weeks so far, but I instantly noticed a difference. It’s like I could finally navigate through a mind that once felt like mud. As I reflect now, I suspect there is some link between INFPs and individuals with ADD. Mostly, I just see ADD as a blessing of creativity at the cost of a scattered brain.

In the midst of reflection on these deep realizations I’ve come to about myself and my life in 2014, I cannot leave out the most significant part of the year. After waiting multiple years for the day to come, on April 7, 2014, I brought home a missing puzzle piece in my life…Charlotte the Therapy Cat. It’s amazing how much more joy and laughter she brings to our home, and I’m so glad to share her with others through Furry Friends Pet-Assisted Therapy. I had years to anticipate what it would be like to finally bring her home, and it’s been every bit as wonderful as I had hoped, while also being full of surprises and lessons…as life always is.

So now we wait for 2015. I feel like the theme of this coming year will be change. Positive change. I pray that I’ll have a clear mind to help me reach my goals, awareness of God’s guidance for my life, and the opportunity to put all I have learned in 2014 to good use for the greater good of others in 2015.

What do you hope for in 2015?

Happy New Year to you and yours. May it be your best year yet. ❤

I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it’s shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it’s a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self. It’s truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day.

Tom Hooper

We All Dance with Our Struggles

To all my lovely readers, friends, and fellow sensitive souls, I offer you my sincerest thanks. I never know where God is going to lead me, but I trust that it’s where I’m meant to go. You have been a big part of making this week one of the most joyful of my life.

The start of this week was very rough, and I won’t pretend that it’s not terrifying to share these details. Monday was an emotional day after a disappointing appointment with a psychiatrist. Like the majority of highly sensitive people, I struggle back and forth in a dance with anxiety and depression, mostly anxiety. That said, I am in a significantly healthier and happier place now than I was several years ago. I’m blessed to have the best therapist in the world. I’m blessed to have healed and grown. Walking into the new doctor’s office, I felt like I was past the labels. Or at least the label of depression, since I feel so much joy on a daily basis. I love God. I love my husband. I love my family. I love my dear, sweet cat. I love my friends. I love my job. I love writing. I love playing the harp. I love my life.

But the doctor didn’t see me for who I was. My therapist agreed. My amazing writer friends, who turned Monday around into a good day by nightfall, comforted and reassured me. Suddenly the labels didn’t seem so bad. After all, it’s just a dance. It doesn’t need to be a fight. There doesn’t need to be a stigma. There doesn’t need to be shame. If I didn’t have the depth of feeling and emotion I have, the good and the bad, I wouldn’t be able to produce any writing worth reading or music worth hearing.

So on Tuesday, I awoke with a new vision and purpose. Shelter for Sensitive Souls. My blog and Facebook author page, once barely breathing, lit up with life. Connections. Interactions. I realized that I know exactly who I am, who I want to be, and who I write for. I write for God, I write for myself, and I write for you. And I thank you, from the depths of my soul, for reminding me that there is worth in my existence. In my writing. In my soul. ❤