Think of a loved one in your life who is going through a difficult time. Now close your eyes, and imagine that person’s favorite shoes. What do they look like? Feel like?
You put the shoes on, and as soon as you do, you transform into that person. You are now in their life, facing their struggles. You look in the mirror and see their face, not yours. You feel their aches and pains, think their thoughts, see the world through their lens. In what ways did your identity change? Your beliefs? Your passions? Your needs? Your past?
Now remove the shoes and write about your experience. What was it like? What did you learn about yourself and your loved one? How can you better empathize and support your loved one in their time of need?
Today I invite you to meditate on the past…not just your past, but that of previous generations. Are there any patterns you’ve noticed through the generations? Are they healthy, unhealthy, or a mixture of both? Are there any negative cycles you can break? Are there any positive patterns you would like to see continue in future generations? Now meditate on your own life journey. Spend a moment in gratitude for the positive behaviors you’ve learned from loved ones in your past, and reflect on any generational patterns you want to discontinue.
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.
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.
Reflect on art galleries or art festivals you’ve visited in your lifetime. Is there a particular piece of art that resonated deeply with you? Close your eyes and recall the experience. Then write about that work of art, describing the colors, the textures, the mood, and the subject matter, and how it inspired you. How does this piece of art make you feel? What does it inspire you to do?
Find a peaceful place and spend a few minutes meditating on your life. Let everyone’s opinions, expectations, and judgments fade away. Focus on your thoughts alone.
Who do you want to be? Picture that version of yourself.
What brings you joy? Envision yourself reaching your dreams.
What do you like about yourself as you are? Reflect on your positive qualities.
I invite you to finish with a prayer, thanking God for what you already have and what is to come, and asking God to guide your steps.
Is there anything that’s making your soul ache today? What do you need? What do you wish someone would say or do to ease the ache? What can you do for yourself?