Silver Linings

Do “Rainy Days and Mondays” sometimes get you down”?

I remember hearing and feeling “Rainy Days and Mondays” written by the Carpenters. Funny how some phrases paint a mood. 

Do you remember Charlie Brown?

He was one of those cartoon characters depicted as a bit neurotic. I associated both Charlie Brown and Winnie the Pooh’s friend Eeyore with the “woe is me” mentality. At an early age, all I wanted to say was “I’m glad that isn’t me.” But, there were days I identified with Charlie Brown and Eeyore.

Not every day can be sunshine and roses, but even in the dark times, there is an aspect of light and purpose.  Charlie Brown didn’t always win, but he was loved and was surrounded by friends. Eeyore may have been gloomy, but he was loved and respected. We too sometimes feel alone, but if we look, there is usually someone we can reach out to. 

It’s about perspective. For instance, I didn’t get the job I wanted at the time I wanted it. But if I had, I would probably have been laid off with the big cutback my dream job experienced a few years later.

Another time my boss was moving to another state and I was offered a position for more money if I would move too. It meant uprooting my family and moving back up north. I reluctantly declined and kicked myself for it until I heard that my manager left the company after just six months.            

Hindsight – Why is it 20/20?

Looking back can be helpful if done from the place of an observer.

While taking a course on self-awareness, I took part in an activity that helped me what brought me to where I am today. You can do this too! Draw a timeline and mark off the decades. Within the timeline note significant events (both positive and negative) that happened in your life. 

Remembering was interesting in itself, but it was the next part that brought things to the surface.

After drawing the timeline we had to explain it to an objective observer and have them ask questions. Both explaining it in your own voice and hearing it echoed back with appreciative, gentle, probing questions were enlightening. It resulted in amazing insights for me. After such an experience, I can say that hindsight, for me, is “20/20”! 

Emotions 

Holding on to past hurts doesn’t help or heal – so why is it hard to let go?

Maybe it’s because entrenched emotions associated with an event give us something familiar to go to? Or maybe we tie our identities to past experiences, letting those events define us. Whatever your reasons are, do as a friend of mine says and “Be sweet with yourself”! Recall the past, but do it without the emotion. If you have to replay it, do it as if watching a movie – viewing it – not reliving it. 

Looking at the emotion of anger is a good example. If you’re like me, you may have suppressed feelings of anger in the past. Now, you may have trouble experiencing anger because you avoid it, run from it, pretend it doesn’t exist, etc. But it does exist and if you don’t channel the anger it can create dis-ease physically, emotionally or spiritually. 

An acupuncturist friend of mine once gave me a tool for dealing with feelings of anger. Maybe it will help you too. Picture what is making you angry and the feelings and words that go with it encapsulated in an ice cube.  Hold it in your hands, look at it, feel the pain of the cold, but don’t let go.  Hold it and focus on it until it melts away in the warmth of your hands. 

Contemplation

How do you get to a place of, if not peace, at least stillness or non-emotion?

Many use the simple act of breathing, whether in meditation or just a breathing practice such as yoga, running, swimming, etc..

Another method is drawing the timeline mentioned earlier. Take 10 minutes to journal or doodle as you contemplate something that is bothering you.

Write a letter to anyone that you associate with a dark period in your life. Lay out your feelings. Then ceremonially burn, shred, tear up into tiny pieces or any other method you feel works for you to destroy the letter.

Don’t let the ghosts of the past hold you back from your potential to rise up, to feel good, to love fully, and to live in the moment.

Gratitude

Give thanks for the events of your life that have led you to this moment in time.  If there are thorns, bless them and look at them as catalysts that have moved you forward.  The thorns are part of the journey and don’t hold back the flower that is you.

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