Today I’d like to talk about something a bit out of the norm, although along the same vein, I suppose, as a few of the other things I have written about so far. When I started this blog I intended for it to be solely about my physical health, but it quickly evolved into being about my depression as well, and since then has gone off in a couple of other directions. The fact of the matter is, I am in the middle of a transformation. Of course, I guess we could all say that at any given point – we are always changing, transforming. I guess I should say – I feel like I am at the peak of a transformation, or at the very least at one of the high points, and I would like to share with all of you some of the things that have been on my mind.
Do you ever get the sense, in one incredibly defining moment, that your life is following a specific course, and that everything – everything you say or do, see hear, taste and experience – is leading you to something? That all of it is working together to bring you to exactly where you are supposed to be at this exact moment in time?
I have had many moments like this in my life. Some have made me laugh out loud with their perfection; others have been so beautiful they have made me cry. This feeling – that you are exactly where you were always supposed to be, that all the events in your life have been happening for a reason – is a wonderful thing to finally discover. It has brought me so much peace and filled me with so much love for every living thing on the planet, because it also drives home the point that we are all intertwined and connected with one another in the most beautiful and intricate way.
Oh, well – I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me start by explaining where I was, the trajectory my life had been on for so long, and where I feel I am headed now.
For a long time, indeed for as long as I can remember, everything that happened in my life was NOT my fault. At least the way I saw it. I refused to take responsibility for any of the things that were making me miserable, and instead spent a lot of time being upset that they were making me miserable. I wallowed in my bad and sad moods and waited impatiently to be “up” again, which would inevitably happen, as my life was a constant rollercoaster of emotion. I wouldn’t say I was an unhappy person – I had too many highs and moments of joy to use that word to classify my general state of being, but I spent a lot of time being unhappy. I spent a lot of time ranting and raving about what horrible hand I was being dealt and how sorry for myself I felt. I had negative things on my mind, and so began to see only the negative in everything. I wasn’t entirely unpleasant to be around – like I said, it’s not as if there weren’t many moments during which I was happy, but I was absolutely not taking responsibility for the course of my life and the way it was all shaking out.
I can’t say the exact moment that things changed for me. It was not as if there was some clap of thunder and intense moment of enlightenment and from that time on I walked around whistling and saw sunshine and rainbows everywhere I went. But I got fed up with myself. I started seeing my relationships with people beginning to deteriorate because of my negativity. I started fighting with people I never fought with. It seemed as if no one understood what I was trying to say! It was then that I realized that it wasn’t that they didn’t understand what I was unhappy about, but that I didn’t understand that I was creating this unhappiness for myself.
Suddenly I realized that every “bad” thing that had happened to me in the recent past, every change of direction that I had interpreted as negative, had been leading me to this exact moment. It all became so clear to me. I saw it laid out in front of me, and I laughed out loud at the beauty and simplicity of it. I was filled with such an overwhelming sense of joy! So much love flooded my heart. Not love for one specific person or place or thing – love for everything and everyone. I saw how closely knit we all are, how we are all strung together tightly, and it made me so happy! That bird flies up and sits on that tree branch, and as a result that leaf falls off its branch and begins to travel in the wind. I take a deep breath and exhale, which causes the leaf to move in the other direction and begin a completely different path – one that brings it to another bird who picks it up and uses it in its nest. So simple, and yet… so beautiful! We truly are all connected. We are not alone – rather, we are all the same, and everything we do or say influences the path of others. This is a freeing realization! It was as if a giant weight had been removed from my shoulders.
The point of my speaking to you about all of this is to explain what happened next. I began waking up every morning filled with a sense of excitement about the day to come and what it would bring me. I tried my best to always see things in a positive light, and while sometimes it was very difficult and took a lot of concentration, I was, for the most part, successful. Soon, more wonderful things happened, which only made me feel lighter and happier. It has become like the most beautiful cycle – I think positively, positive things happen to me, which makes me feel even more positive. It may seem silly for me to say that thinking positively brings about positive things – maybe that’s not it at all, in fact. Maybe it’s just that you begin to see things in a different light, and instead of seeing the negative, you see the wonderful things about them instead.
Now, I have tools I use to keep my happy energy flowing. When I worry, I recite a Dalai Lama quote I read somewhere that always stuck with me, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, first think if there is something you can do about it. If there is, you have no reason to worry. If there isn’t, you have no reason to worry.” Or something like that. Basically, if you can do something about it, then do it, and stop worrying. If you can’t, well, there’s no sense in worrying then, is there? It’s only a waste of energy, and fills you with a lot of negativity. Much better to just relax and see where all this takes you. When I am filled with anxiety, thinking like this almost always calms me down. If something happens that formerly would have plunged me into a pit of depression and moroseness, I take deep breaths, I tell myself it is what it is, there is nothing I can do about it. I remind myself of all the other “horrible” things that have happened to me that have actually turned out to be wonderful in the end. “It is what it is”, this is a useful phrase to recite to yourself. When things happen to you, there is rarely anything you can do to change them. And like the Dalai Lama said, if there is, go do them! If there isn’t, well, then you have a choice: you can wallow in self-pity and anger, or you can decide to just let that go, and fill yourself with positive energy instead.
A lesson that has been truly difficult for me to learn, and one that I am still deeply immersed in, is the fact that how you react to things or people and how they make you feel is entirely up to you. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She was so right! And on the same vein, no one thing or person can make you feel anything, really, without your consent. You have the power to decide how you are going to react to things, no one else does. If you think clearly before making this decision every time, if you decide to react as positively as possible (even if it takes some time and some deep breaths, which for me it usually does), you may find your life following a very different path than the one it was before. We all struggle, there are always going to be things we’re going to get upset about, but we can reduce the number. We are the only ones who can truly change the way we think about things. So what’s stopping us?
I don’t want to make this too long, but I could go on for days about the beauty of this realization and what it has done for me. I still have such a long way to go in my journey of self-discovery, and so many more lessons to learn to help me get through my depression on my own, but I feel as if this may have been the most important one. But then again, how would I know? There are so many more I haven’t even imagined headed my way! I’m excited to see what my life will bring and what wonderful things I will learn about myself and, therefore, about everything and everyone.