When everything is going right in your life, it's easy to be happy. I've been there. I had a lovely spell going for a while. I remember saying more than once that I knew it was a Golden time where everything felt EASY and GOOD and BLESSED! I remember how incredibly grateful I felt!
The funny thing is I also knew it wasn't going to last. I had a strong feeling that something was going to happen and there would be rough waters ahead. Ha. I'm glad I appreciated those good times because little did I know that when the tide turned, my world was going to turn upside down and inside out, fast.
To put it accurately, my world erupted. Or at least my colon did (it perforated), and I got so off the charts septic that I almost died. I didn't die, but a whole slew of unpleasant complications unfolded, including four major abdominal surgeries, losing most of my hair, being in extreme pain for months on end, and needing to have drains and an ostomy bag for eight months.
Then, just as I was literally getting back on my feet, my oldest daughter unexpectedly died. Talk about unplanned for shock and grief. And two months later, I lost my dad. And in between these family deaths, I got the flu and coughed so hard that it tore open my not completely healed incisions and caused a grapefruit-size hernia. AND in the process of getting the hernia repaired, I had to have a lung biopsy and found out I had a "concerning" case of sarcoidosis.
But thank you, doTERRA, because thanks to my daily oil habit, I am not bothered by the lung issue and my doctor is AMAZED that I have no debilitating symptoms. Ha ha, I tell myself I've healed and don't even have an issue :)
My point is, all in all, it was all in all an ordeal and A LOT to deal with! Then, twenty-two months after, the challenging health hoopla began, and two weeks before my fifteenth wedding anniversary, my husband, whom I loved and adored (the man who took good care of me when I was so sick), announced that he was choosing to "close out our relationship.”
In my world, the ball crashed down, and the wind was completely knocked out of my sails. Again. I was devastated.
His news was so unexpected and unbelievable that I had to process it in stages. I felt. S H O C K. Major Shock! Disbelief. Denial. S A D. MAD. Bitter. So S A D. More shock. I cried, and even when I didn’t think I was crying, tears automatically squeezed out of my eyes. I hardly slept, and when I finally did drift off, I woke up shaking with a feeling that something was horribly wrong.
During the days, I put a smile on my face and kept going. I faced the world and did what I needed to do, but I felt like I was collapsing on the inside. Again. Still.
I felt unsettled, unhappy, and sorry for myself. I was in a funk. Accepting and letting go was a process, and I didn't go through it lightly. It's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
Each day seemed to bring up a deeper level of pain, and I allowed myself to FEEL the emotion as it surfaced. I am wise enough to know that it is important to grieve, and if I just glossed over the pain, it would still be inside eating at me.
Having a perforated bowel was rough! It was body hell, and the process of absorbing my new reality and adjusting to it was every bit as hard and challenging. It was the energetic and emotional equivalent of the physical trauma I'd gone through earlier. Both times I struggled more than I ever knew was possible.
I felt exhausted, cheated, and rejected between bouts of mad and sad. I didn't have a choice in what happened, I felt like it was put upon me, and I didn’t like it. I wasn't very graceful or gracious in the way I handled it, especially in the beginning.
It took me a while to accept my new reality. But finally, I was able to come face to face with it and realize that the only productive thing I could do was surrender to the experience and choose to adjust and UPGRADE MY ATTITUDE about it.
I wanted to feel happiness and JOY again....so I chose to cultivate it. I decided to turn away from the pain and close the door on my past and put my energy into creating a brighter future for myself.
I did my best to keep my mind on what was right with my life in the here and now. I thought about how I wanted things to look and feel in the future. I determined to spend most of my time and energy thinking about what I wanted my new life to be like!
The painful door on my past kept opening, so I had to keep re-closing it. I had to keep re-making the choice to let go and move forward victoriously instead of trudging along as a victim. I kept choosing to see future bliss in my mind's eye and feel grateful, joyful, and happy... even excited about my life.
Choosing to do whatever it took to feel satisfaction and joy in my heart again made all the difference and enabled me to rise above the pain and bitterness.
Most days, I am feeling like my positive, optimistic, energetic self again! Big Whoop!
In a nutshell, here’s what I did every day (over and over again, as much as I needed to!) to CREATE JOY in a joyless feeling of life:
1. Use doTERRA essential oils often because they are the fastest and easiest way to perk up low energy. Diffuse them, put them up to your nose and SMELL them (important!), and rub them on the back of your neck and throat and earlobes! Seriously, keep oils nearby and use them (first) and often because they will help lift you out of a funk and make it easier to do everything else I've listed below.
2. PRAY for peace. I couldn't have gotten through any of the hard stuff I've been through without mighty sincere and heartfelt prayer! My heart was bitter and super sad, and only God's grace could soothe and soften it. Seriously, fervent prayer, where you turn to God, pour your heart out to him, and ask him to heal it, is the magic bullet. Do it.
3. Choose to forgive and forget. Pray and ask God to help you forgive and let go so you can feel peace. Choose to forgive. Say out loud, "it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.” Even when your brain tells you it does matter and wants you to keep dragging your old energetic garbage around like a hungry dog gnawing on a meaty bone, keep telling yourself that it really doesn't matter. That you are choosing to let go because you want to be happy. Do it over and over again. Keep choosing to forgive.... and keep telling yourself it doesn't really matter until you start to believe it. Choose to get out of a sewer swirl! Cut the energetic cords attached to it and LET the old crap GO. Rise above it and move to the higher (happier) ground! I cannot do this alone! I NEED God to help me all the without all sorts of things. The only way I can keep forgiving and letting go is to keep having one on one heartfelt prayer sessions about it.
4. Practice gratitude! This is so important because seeing all the blessings around you helps you remember that life is good and yours is too good to waste by being a sadsack! Choose to FEEL GRATEFUL every day and remember that gratitude turns what you have into more than enough!
5. Hold your chin up and SMILE. Do this because it will change your energy (uplift you) and make you look and feel brighter. And even more youthful, which is always a good thing! Practice smiling in the mirror, and work on bringing your smile up to your eyes. Keep checking yourself out in the mirror and make sure your chin is up and your mouth and eyes are still smiling :) And while you're there, say I love you and tell yourself that you are beautiful and amazing!
No matter how hard and rocky your life gets, you have the power in you to change your heart and your circumstances. Joy can be cultivated, and just by repeatedly choosing to uplift your attitude, YOU CAN turn things around and get yourself feeling happy and good about life.
So go make your own joy. I've done it, I'm doing it, and I know you can do it too!