Anchor Deep (Part 2)

Setbacks, tragedies, crisis, challenges, battles, storms of life…whatever you prefer to call them, are unfortunately, a part of this life.

While I certainly wish you joy, peace, happiness and above all, the heart to dance through life; I cannot promise that there won’t be days when it will rain.

What I hope to offer though, by sharing the keys that got me through my personal hurricane is the truth that you can make it through anything; so that after it passes (and it will), you’d be stronger.

Three months before my second wedding anniversary, when my daughter was barely ten weeks old, I faced the most painful and most difficult crisis of my life. As a physician, I had learnt to handle breaking bad news to others and comforting friends and families who had lost loved ones almost on a daily basis. I had even survived the personal loss of my father a few years before, but nothing prepared me for this.

As I look back on that time of my life and ask myself how I made it through; of the long list of things I could write or say, these remaining four points (see ‘Anchor Deep, part 1’ for first four points) below for me are the most important.

 

  1. Refuse to be bitter

This is somewhat tied into forgiveness. Bitterness has been likened to cancer – a ravenous evil that eats up everything good till it kills. In actual pathology, a cancerous cell is one that has lost the natural process of stopping – kind of like when you stop growing. Imagine if you continued to grow taller when others stopped. You’d be too tall, too high above everyone else to share a joke, see a smile, shake a hand or give or get a hug! You’d be lost! A cancer cell doesn’t stop, it just continues to grow and grow until it uses up all the resources that were meant to be used by normal cells and invades normal tissue, destroying it. It is ugly. And that is what bitterness is. Bitterness is like wearing sunglasses. Everything looks darker. If you are struggling with bitterness, don’t give up. It’s very common to do so especially when you’ve been deeply hurt. Find help. Talk to a counselor, a trusted friend, a mentor. Find a way out. You’d be finding healing and life.

  1. Lean on family and friends

I cannot overrate the refreshing zest you can get from laughing with, crying on the shoulder of and walking through life with good friends and family. While I must confess I was especially blessed with a strong, relentlessly loving family and a circle of amazingly true friends, I know some people aren’t. I am no Dr. Phil, but I know a good way to start is by being a good friend yourself. Listen, hold, offer yourself – a smile, your time, share your possessions with a friend in need. Join a group – if you are religious, you can find a group at your local place of worship, join a professional group, support groups online or in your community. Point is you can find support – you just need to start looking. And if there is none, maybe think of starting one! You’d be surprised how many people will join you. Some things are universal, like love and family.

  1. Love yourself

Sister, sister! Please love yourself. Do not be vain. But never take yourself for granted. Be kind to yourself, be patient, treat yourself with respect. No matter what you’ve done, how you’ve been treated or what has happened to you, you are a priceless treasure, a gift to this world. You are you! So treat yourself nice. The first step in loving yourself is to forgive then treasure yourself body, spirit and soul. Get a manicure, massage, facial – pamper yourself! Don’t wait for someone else to. You can’t expect someone else to love you till you do! Read a book, if you don’t have a lot of time, read a refreshing article in a magazine or online. Feed your soul! Regularly too. Listen to music; invest in programs that build you up mentally, spiritually, professionally, socially, in every way. Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Think about it, it’s that greatest gift you want!

  1. Live!

My heart breaks for people who end up chronically depressed and even more for people who commit suicide. I don’t think less of them. I just hurt and wish they found, what I found. That is, the truth that you can live…..again. And when I say live, I mean with a fullness and richness you never knew before. Without bitterness and with the healing of forgiveness.

 There were times in my pain; I thought I died over and over again. But I survived, and so would you. You have to choose to, though. Choose to live. You may not know how. That’s why you need to first decide to. When you do, you’d start looking for how. And then you can start at the stop of the list by finding an anchor. You’d be alive by the time you make it back down the list.

 As I close, I leave you with a truly, truly beautiful piece. May it warm your soul.

 

My dear,

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

 

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Truly yours,

Albert Camus

 

 You can live again, anchor deep, life isn’t a bed of rose, thriving in spite of my pain, free through forgiveness.

 

by Trujoi

 

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Anchor Deep (Part 1)

Setbacks, tragedies, crisis, challenges, battles, storms of life…whatever you prefer to call them, are unfortunately, a part of this life.

While I certainly wish you joy, peace, happiness and above all, the heart to dance through life; I cannot promise that there won’t be days when it will rain.

What I hope to offer though, by sharing the keys that got me through my personal hurricane is the truth that you can make it through anything; so that after it passes (and it will), you’d be stronger.

Three months before my second wedding anniversary, when my daughter was barely ten weeks old, I faced the most painful and most difficult crisis of my life. As a physician, I had learnt to handle breaking bad news to others and comforting friends and families who had lost loved ones almost on a daily basis. I had even survived the personal loss of my father a few years before, but nothing prepared me for this.

As I look back on that time of my life and ask myself how I made it through; of the long list of things I could write or say, these eight points below for me are the most important.

  1. Anchor deep

I read a book once that engraved this truth on my heart. We all need an anchor. Roots that go deep, that keep you grounded. The author described asking sailors the secret of making it through a storm. Their response had been – “Anchor deep.”

 I don’t know what your anchor is, but I know mine and when my storm came, it held.

You need a timeless truth that when all fails will remind you, when you are alone, will remind you, when facing another sunrise seems impossible, will remind you; that you are not alone and you are strong enough to make it through. So find your anchor, but remember; it must be rock solid, true and timeless, strong enough to hold. I found mine.

  1. Allow yourself to grieve

Everybody loves a comeback! Everyone loves a success story. I do and I’m sure you do too.

In the midst of our struggles, we may feel pressured to ‘get it together,’ act like nothing happened, and keep moving. We may feel forced to deny our pain and agony and just –“Get back in the game.”

Remember, healing is a process and any surgeon will tell you every scar heals differently, over a different period of time.

People may down play your pain by telling you how the same thing happened to someone else and how they ‘bounced back’ after a day or two and leave you feeling guilty that you just can’t ‘bounce back’. Note that no two strikingly similar situations are ever truly the same, and that person it happened to, was not you. It helps to know that someone else survived and that you will; but you must also allow yourself to grieve and heal.

Cry if you have to; take time off work, school or whatever intense responsibilities you have if you need to. (Some personalities do better by keeping busy, some need a break. Bottom-line – Know thyself. Don’t try to be someone else. You’ll heal faster that way.) Find a healthy outlet for your pain – listening to music, watching a comedy, taking a walk in the park, write in a journal. Try not to do anything wild and daring because you are vulnerable and can end up complicating the situation by doing something you’d regret later.

The Kübler-Ross model describes five stages of grief. These stages are not necessarily chronological and not every grieving person passes through all stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You can look this up but I want you to know that if you identify yourself in any of these stages, do not feel guilty. What I want you to do though, is be determined to move beyond self-pity into the place of acceptance, where you understand what you can fix about the situation (and fix it)and what you can’t; and find that peace, that that’s ok.

 3.    Forgive yourself, forgive others

Oh, the anger and rage that can come from painful situations! While I hate clichés, I must agree with the one that states that the person you truly free when you forgive is yourself. It heals. There is a ‘lightness’ in knowing that you are not perfect and a wisdom in accepting the imperfections of others. You must find the strength to admit your role in the situation including your mistakes and understand that no failure, weakness or ‘foolishness’ can define you if you choose to learn and grow. Try not to make excuses for yourself or avoid facing the truth. If you blew it, its fine this time, and the next; unless you don’t care enough to evaluate the situation so it’s not happening again and again.

After you have forgiven yourself and positioned yourself to avoid the same mistake, forgive others. And keep forgiving. When you are hurting, more wounds can come from well-meaning friends who try to wish you well but end up saying or doing insensitive things, and some people actually set out to hurt you more. Whatever the offence, forgiveness transcends it. And proves you are stronger. So please, forgive.

  1. Find the strength to accept and move beyond

I hope you accept the things you cannot change but more than that, I hope you can find the strength to move beyond acceptance. After you’re done crying and replaying the events and struggling with how you could have avoided or fixed the situation, paint a picture. Yeah, paint a picture. In your mind. Paint a picture of you being well, alright, fine and thriving; in spite of your loss. Paint a picture of your future. Do not stumble forward. Your setback has caused a change in direction and if it came unexpectedly, even more so. You need to pick up your brush and retouch your portrait. Moving beyond may mean a new career, learning something new for instance, an amputee has to learn to reuse her limbs, redirecting your talents and gifts –  for instance if you lost a child, you may find moving beyond to mean being an advocate for child safety. Whatever you do, don’t be pressured. Let it come naturally; let it be what you want to do. But do it. Move beyond.

By: Trujoi

Taking charge of my Time!

From time to time I hear people say if only there was more than 24 hours in the day, I can accomplish much more. As this is impossible, it is best to accept that all you and I have each day is 24 hours and critically decide to utilise each minute and hour to its best. I have found the following principles helpful when managing my time.

  • Prioritise: like everyone else, I have so many responsibilities, a number of tasks on my to – do list and demands from others. But I always ask myself these questions: What needs my attention now? What can’t wait until tomorrow? If I don’t attend to this right now what are the consequences if any?
  • Plan: I have found out I am more effective and in control of my day when I think ahead and write things down in my diary. This helps me focus on issues that really matter. My memory is not as good as it used to be, the only way I can keep on top of things is to write everything down. Even with the greatest intentions and plans, things may not turn out as envisaged, try not to get stressed about it, get back to the planning board and re-plan.
  • Postpone: everything you pay attention to requires time so if it is unplanned for, endeavour to delay it for a more suitable time unless it is an emergency. I am learning not to pick up calls if I am in the middle of something as this interrupts what I am doing. If I can deal with the phone call later, then I will do so. Sometimes people need you to assist them and either come to you at the last minute or a time convenient for them (and not you). It is okay to let them know how you  prefer to operate. Do so in a kind and diplomatic way and in some instances you may need to say ‘no’ to others if you can justify your reasons and don’t feel guilty.
  • Practical: there are days I set out to achieve so much and little is accomplished, this frustrates me. On reviewing my plans, I have picked out that I am sometimes not  realistic. Considering the fact I have two kids under 5 (which is a job in itself) I need to leave room for the unexpected and the unplanned for. Having said that, of recent I am more disciplined with my children’s routines and this has helped immensely. Of course with a little room for flexibility. Nowadays, I tend to set myself fewer tasks for each day that are realistic and achievable and I find out I get to complete other tasks I did not intend to complete that day as far as I am in the mood.
  • Pleasure: it is very important to put my feet up after a busy day. But watching TV for extensive periods (it depends on what you are watching though, as far as I am concerned watching ‘soaps’ add no value to me) or spending hours on face book is something I have cut back on drastically this is no longer the best way for me to relax and I haven’t got the time anyway.  I would rather spend my calming down time on therapeutic activities.
  • Perception: I am aware I am generally a morning person and it is best to dedicate the best part of my day to important things. Usually once I have had my dinner my day has ended and  I prefer not to carry out any tasks unless deemed absolutely necessary. All I want to do is sit and relax. Hence when working on  my goals  I take into account when I am most productive and use this to my advantage.

Time as they say flies, but you are the pilot. So steer time in the direction you want it to go!

Ditch that goal!

I like starting and finishing things. Similarly, I enjoy setting and accomplishing my goals. From personal experience I have grown to accept that goals which are incongruent with one’s vision should be aborted.

At the age of ten I set my mind and heart to devote my life to helping people and at that time the only career I thought would enable me accomplish this desire was by becoming a medical doctor. Towards the end of my A- Levels I started feeling uneasy about my career option due to three reasons. I hate hospitals, would prefer not to see blood and lastly was not prepared to work unsocial hours.  I decided to get a second opinion from a career adviser and Psychology seemed a better alternative. But because I had set my minb d to study medicine, I carried on with this intention until I got my A-Level results. I did not make the grade required to study medicine and was faced with the choice of retaking the exams and/or changing career. After much thought and research I concluded that Psychology would be best suited to my personality, interest and ability. Hence, I switched careers. Looking back, I believe I made the right choice by studying Psychology.

Some thoughts

  • It takes maturity to change career direction once proper consideration and thought have preceded such a decision
  • If you are headed in the wrong direction, change as soon as possible, there is no point getting to  your destination and finding out you missed it
  • I believe no experience is wasted, even when we have made wrong career choices, there is always something to learn and apply in future settings
  • Variety is the spice of life, I think it is more interesting to explore various facets of the same career and incorporate other careers in one’s life time

It does not matter if you have told the whole world what you intend doing, if your goal is no longer relevant, be humble and courageous to do what is best for you.