Mindful Tactics for Tackling Tough Times
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably gone through some kind of hardship. A good friend of mine used to say “Ain’t nobody rowing through life without their boats getting upturned every once in awhile.” BS happens, and boats get overturned. Times are tough (or they can be tough)..that’s a fact of life. That’s why I’m sharing helpful tips and what I do when bad stuff happens. I hope it helps you too.
I like how many spiritual gurus point out that problems in life have a unique way of molding our consciousness and improving our perspective. Of course, this depends upon how we respond to hardships. We can choose to see problems as the end of the world and roll over or give up. Or, we can recognize trauma as a practice for awareness, learning lessons, and enriching our lives.
I realize I may be spitting in the wind here by offering advice to you during challenging times in all our lives. But maybe these well-meaning suggestions might ring a few bells of clarity & inspiration for you. If nothing else, you have my gratitude for taking time to consider these thoughts I have to offer!
Mother Nature Mentoring During Tough Times
In the midst of these challenges and crummy weirdness, I’ve noticed Mother Nature still goes about Her business with Her usual aplomb and casual assurance. To me, that is solace – it is hope, it is refreshing, it is healing. When the world is spewing chaos on the boob tube (aka, the TV) and all seems to be running amok, I find extreme joy in seeing the Canada geese return to my favorite pond. I wonder at the red fox pouncing in the fields, with her white-tipped tail bobbing through the tall grass. I am wowed to hear a fisher cat screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night for the first time in my life last week. Yowzah!
My tip here is to pay attention to Mother Nature. Of all the mentors in this beautiful universe, Nature is an ace at teaching us crucial lessons when it comes to taking life day by day, surviving, coping, being resourceful and so much more.
It does not matter if you live in a cardboard box. It does not matter if you live in the most highly populated metropolis. Nature pervades. Nature is ever-present. Pay attention to Her movements. She knows, She shows, and Nature is the ultimate example of how to live life day by day.
Seek Silver Linings and Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude When Times are Tough
Isn’t it interesting how some challenges pummel the poop out of our priorities? Suddenly the meager $12.00 in my bank account isn’t as distressing when faced with overwhelming conflicts around the world, friends and family members dealing with heartbreaking setbacks or losing a loved one.
I realize it may sound trite…but, an “Attitude of Gratitude” – hands down, is a philosophy that saves my bacon inevitably and consistently. On my worst days, I found strength in whatever I had that held a silver lining (thank you mom, for instilling this within me!). Gratitude got me through some truly crappy times. Flashback to living in a Geo Metro (also known as a weird excuse for a car, kinda like the Flintstone Mobile…yabadabadoo!!!!) that smelled like gym socks (not mine) with only two dimes and 1/4 bag of Doritos to my name.
But you know what? I had all my beloved books in the hatchback of that debacle of a car (and no car payments!), and it gave me a roof over my head during torrential rains. And, I had wheels that got me to work so all good! Could be worse! When times are tough, gratitude has a magical way of putting things in perspective.
My point is this: Even in the most horrible moments of life, we can find something to be grateful for. Even if it is as simple as some dry newspaper to keep us warm on a cold street (surprisingly effective). Or a glass of clean water. Or finding wild chives in the midst of weeds outside. Or getting through a day without being beaten or assaulted in some way.
Extreme? You bet your buttons that’s extreme…but these are extreme times for many of us, and we’re all enduring as best we can. When times are so low, it is essential to take an inventory of every positive point (even if they seem minimal or slim).
Get in the Present Moment When Times are Tough
I’ve been revisiting Eckhart Tolle’s work these days. I loved him back in the 90s before Oprah launched him into the public eye, and I still love him today for his timeless yet layman-esque approach to radical consciousness. His spin on staying present in the moment is some of the most basic and useful advice I’ve come across when it comes to moving through traumatic times. In his sweet, simple way, he encourages getting mindful and in the present moment (you may be familiar with what has now become a slogan for Tolle, “The Power of Now”). He talks a fair game when it comes to becoming present in the moment while dealing with bad times.
To explain, no matter how much bullspit is hitting the fan in our lives, the present moment is salvation. If you arrest the past and suspend the future…all you have left is the present moment. And what is in that present moment of now? What kind of problems are in that singular moment? None. If you’re breathing and anchored in the present, there is no trauma, death, conflict, or challenge. Think about it. Try it. Focus on the one moment that is truly yours…the moment that is right now…you will see that loss is in the past, problems are in the future…but if you’re breathing and mindful…there is nothing ‘out to get you’ in the present moment. This one practice has saved my patootie in more ways than I can count.
Thank you for indulging me in these go-to tips for when times are tough. As always, thank you for reading.. At the end of the day, I sincerely desire for these ideas to be useful and perhaps inspiring to you – no matter where you are, or what your circumstances may be.
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