When Life Feels Hard

Many of my friends and clients are experiencing similar situations where “life” just feels hard. Perhaps your relationship is strained, or you are struggling financially, or you feel unsupported and alone as a mother….and it feels like no amount of ‘perspective shifting’ or ‘positive thinking’ or even prayer will get you through.  Or you are just frazzled with all of the (often good) stress that comes this time of year.

It is during these times that I am reminded of these few basics that can help keep us grounded, regardless of what life is serving up.

1)  Embrace the moment

No matter what is going on in the big picture of life, there are many moments of the day where simply taking a deep breath and reflecting on the gifts there (here I am, alive, in my home, there is a bird chirping) with conscious gratitude can ground you once again.  Staying in the moment and resisting the urge to ruminate about the past or future,  simplifies and makes life more manageable.  Be here, just here and surrender the rest.

2) Reconnect to the Essential

Hard times strip our lives down to the essential (like recessions that limit the fluff and distractions)… and this is often good because it reconnects us to what is truly important in our lives.  Everything else can feel frenetic, but remembering what you live for, such as the love that you have for your children, your spouse, your friends; or the meaning that you find in serving the world, in expressing your soul, can all remind us of the many priceless gifts there are in life.  It may be hard, but simply taking time throughout the day to refocus on what is truly important to you above all else, can work wonders in how you weather life’s challenges.

3) See Life as Learning

As a youth in foster care and throughout my life, I have learned that the best way to transform any challenge is to seek the learning in it.  Sometimes, we think that life should be joyful all the time…but an honest look at life and this planet will show you that it is not… and perhaps not meant to be.  When we consciously open up to what the higher truth of the challenge is (by connecting to our spiritual guidance) we can find the empowerment in it.  For example, we can focus on how overwhelming it feels to take care of children at times, or we can focus on the gift it is to grow in our capacity to love and serve.  In every moment we have to power to feel like a victim or to be co-creators with God.

4) Open to Spiritual Reconnection

Sometimes the greatest gift of hard times is the way they remind us to “lean not on our own understanding” and move into surrender and reconnection with God/Love.  When we are reminded that we cannot go it alone, we become more open to allowing the grace of Love/God to fill us, comfort us, and remind us that we are not alone.   By reconnecting to our hearts and engaging in conversation with our spiritual source, we can find the support and guidance we need in each moment.  For me, it looks like asking throughout my days, “What would be truly loving now?” and letting the answers flow through me, remembering that Divine love and wisdom are here now, in each moment of the spiritual practice of life.

5) Practice Exquisite Self-Care

This is where we can so easily fall apart because we tend to focus externally on all the things to do, get done, or manage because we see these as a tangible way to move through the challenge.  Then whatever the challenge is, begins to feel worse because we have abandoned ourself in the midst of it.  So not only is there a challenge but you have not eaten, slept, rested, laughed for a while, and everything feels harder.  Instead, hard times can call us to have exquisite self care.

If we saw that a child was dealing with some difficult issues, we would give them attention and say, “Here have some nourishment, have some rest, tell me about it, I’ll listen to your heart.”  Similarly, remembering to love ourselves and be gentle by recognizing the challenging time and consciously mothering ourselves to ensure that we are getting enough sleep, healthy food, quiet time, (etc.) can help tremendously.  During hard times, I have religiously gone to bed around 8:30pm, and it is amazing how something so simple makes such a difference.

Taking time to nurture yourself is putting the love of God in action on your behalf.  We are meant to walk this journey of life with our cups full, ready to make the most of what life has to offer and teach.  Filling our cup is a gift to everyone and is the most empowered place to begin when facing hard times.

All of these basics are integral aspects of Connecting Within.  For more on how to integrate these into your daily life, download my Free Ebook (Guide to Connecting Within) at www.connectingwithin.com.

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