Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reclaiming Joy, Part One


"We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them"
-Albert Einstein

For months now, I have been in a funk. And then I got sick of it. This is how it started.

All year I had been looking forward to summer. I was going to be teaching workshops in Costa Rica (at a five-star resort in the rainforest), Woodstock and Berkley, and my husband and I had been gifted a free trip to Jamaica for our anniversary in August. I was giddy with anticipation.

And then every one of those events cancelled…boom boom boom. And on top of the profound disappointment, I was scrambling to replace the work and income I’d lost. I sent out resumes all summer and didn’t get a single reply. Instead of teaching and lounging in hot tubs in exotic places, my summer days were spent mediating fights between my 3 and 7 year old, scouring the want ads unsuccessfully for writing gigs, playing “bill-roulette” and feeling completely defeated. And then I got a string of rejection letters on my new book. And my dishwasher broke and I didn’t have the money to fix it, so I was up to my elbows every day washing dishes by hand. And the worst of it, people I loved were fighting cancer and I was helpless to stop it. All of this in 105 degree weather.

It turned out to be a crummy summer and I was miserable. But I know that happiness is a choice. I had to stop focusing on all that had gone wrong and change the way I was thinking.

The first thing I had to do was to unplug from all negativity. On top of the frustration and helplessness I was already feeling, I sure didn’t need bad news pounded into my head.

I unplugged from the internet except to check in once a day- I did not read the facebook newsfeed or look at pictures of abused dogs in shelters or read about toddlers accidentally being shot with their fathers’ guns.

I turned off NPR (the hardest thing to do) because sometimes you just have to take a break from hearing about body counts and wars all over the world.

I didn’t allow anyone else’s negativity come into to my sacred space.

I played music all day, every day.

I read uplifting books that made me feel anything was possible.

I prayed for my loved ones, meditated and practiced yoga.

I got outside in nature every day, even if for a short time. 

It didn't cost me a dime to walk by the bay, but it was more valuable than therapy.

And for the first time in months, I FELT GREAT. I was happy and energized again. I was more patient with the kids. More patient with myself. More confident that somehow everything would be okay.

Once I was back in this positive space, things started to flow again. I got offered four gigs, plus a copywriting job. I was able to heal a friendship that had been fractured for five years. Two agents asked for my manuscript. My loved ones were managing and maybe even healing cancer.

I am now thinking more clearly, feeling hopeful. Everything once again feels possible.

So I have decided to continue with this. For the next couple weeks, I am going to write about the steps I’m taking to reclaim joy. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

1 comment:

  1. Good work Hollye! I try to live my life like this as much as possible, to varying degrees of success. Since the news is mostly fabricated, I feel I am not missing much by losing it. And since NPR began sleeping with Monsanto I have lost a lot of respect and don't tune in that much anyway.


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