When Life Feels Off

it's ok to be alive awesome hand lettered words

I've been having one of those weeks where I just feel off. Things that normally don't bother me have been. I don't have much patience. I feel isolated and alone but can't figure out where I'd go or who I'd go there with if given the chance. I'm not sleeping well. I've had a few nights where I've tried to numb my feelings with food (I seriously ate a whole bag of Trader Joe's Ghost Pepper potato chips in one sitting). I then make myself feel bad for eating like crap while I'm still continuing to do so. 

What I have been doing, though, is still making time for meditation/yoga. I'm hoping the answers to what is troubling me will come up in the stillness I'm creating for myself. I've been playing music that soothes me and moves me (1)(2)(3)(4). I've been spending more time outdoors with the kids and off electronics, even if it's just laying in the grass and staring off into space. 

So far, though, no answers. I trust the path. I trust the process. I trust my heart is leading me somewhere. I have a feeling it has to do with a longing to be back in the mountains again. Something about the smell of pine trees, the crunch of my feet on the trails, the fresh mountain air. Or it could be a yearning for the crashing of waves, the in and out flow of the water, the warm sand beneath my feet. I don't feel like I belong in the suburbs of Kansas City, or the suburbs anywhere to be honest.

I bring all this up, because we set up at a Chick Events event this past weekend, and a few different times, people came up to me to let me know how much they enjoy reading the words I share here. They appreciated my vulnerability and openness about what's going on with my life. That somehow, they felt less alone in their struggles. 

And, that's the point of life, right? To feel connected to other people. To love and be loved. We weren't meant to live our lives secluded from others. Our souls crave meaningful experiences/interactions with others. 

So I've made a little list of things that I know will get me out of this funk I'm currently in.

  • It starts with forgiveness. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. Let go of regrets. Give yourself some grace and know that being honest with yourself isn't always easy and sitting with so-called 'negative' feelings isn't always comfortable, but it is always meaningful and another opportunity to grow.
  • Surround yourself with words that inspire you. Print out art (or buy art) you like to look at, or words that make you feel something positive. Make art that inspires you. Make it so everywhere you go you're seeing something that makes you feel alive and needed. You are not alone, nor were you created to live alone. Art can remind you about all the joys life has to offer.
  • Make a list of all the things that fill your soul. Visit it when you're feeling empty. Include big things and little things. My list would include get outside, put my barefeet in the grass, draw something, watch a video on youtube that will make me laugh, take a hike, meditate, take a cold shower, listen to my Super Fun Happy Dance playlist and let go, read a book, listen to a podcast, swim in the ocean, climb a mountain, go to the Mixx and eat a Southwest Chicken Salad, take a road trip, etc...I could keep going. The point is to just make a huge list of all the things you can do that make you feel joy. When you're feeling bummed, pick one or two things off the list and do them.

For some silly reason, I go through phases where I feel like I'm not supposed to be happy. Like, there's so much suffering in the world...so much pain...that I'm not supposed to be as positive as I am. But here's what I'm learning when I get in these moods. I have to give myself permission to be fully alive. It's OK to be alive. It's OK to live a full life that makes you happy. That's not to downplay all the pain and sadness and hurt in the world. But I can't dim my light because there's tragedy/hurts out there. 

I've returned to these words from Hannah Brencher many times... 

Just keep going and keep your cheerleaders close. The ones who tell you you’re “something” before you ever believe it for yourself. Victories will come. And failures will grow out of you. And the world will do a lot to tell you that long hours and too much work matter more than flesh and bones. But your cheerleaders— the ones who found you first— will keep you going. They’ll pump you full of life. They’ll keep you standing on the ground. (whole article found here)

I hope you know wherever you are in life, that right this moment, you feel loved. I hope whatever pain/sadness/hurt/regret you might be feeling isn't running your life. Because you are needed, my friend. You are loved and needed and wanted in this world. You have unique gifts that make this world a better place. I hope you know who your cheerleaders are.

Josh Solar

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