Many of us live our entire life in a daze. We go to work, pay the bills, struggle with balancing all the chores of our life and start over. Lather, rinse, repeat.
We are so busy worrying about the unknown future, and depressed about “mistakes” from our past, that we become miserable in the present in this mental tug of war between what happened and what might happen. We are essentially stuck in limbo, not really making any progress or growth. Many mindlessly fall into the trap of anxiety about everything because we haven’t taught ourselves to live in the present. Even when we achieve something, we are questioning ourselves on how it might be too good to be true. Always walking with an imaginary caution sign. Sometimes we try to forget by immersing ourselves in mind numbing rituals such as excessive exposure to social media and TV. But this just delays the feeling of emptiness that overpowers us. I compare that feeling to a “check engine” light. It is asking, have you checked on your soul recently? Are you feeding it the right fuel? Are you paying attention to it? What is going on inside of your mind that is not allowing you to focus on your spirit?
If we pay close enough attention, often times, we hear these repetitive negative affirmations in our minds that also echo in our conversations: We don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough time, we aren’t healthy enough, we just aren’t enough in some way shape or form and the list goes on and on. The sense of lacking makes us complain constantly. Complaint after complaint. I know, I lived that life. I had so many issues with so many things and so many people. My husband wasn’t doing enough for me as a spouse, my children weren’t being obedient enough for me and my boss wasn’t recognizing me enough. My job wasn’t fulfilling enough. Basically the world was not what I wanted and I was walking around like a victim who didn’t deserve this life. It was a vicious cycle. I perpetuated it with my daily dose of anger towards a world that was not enough for me. I was lacking.
Take a look at my life for a second. I had a job in a tough economy making a decent salary. I had three wonderful children at the time who were healthy and caring people (despite my terrible attitude). I had beauty, brains, a partner who genuinely loved me for me. I had a roof over my head and a warm meal every night. But there was one thing I didn’t have: GRATITUDE! I had no gratitude towards any of these unwarranted gifts I received. I just lived in this angry daze of temporary relief when on occasion I would get some materialistic thing that would temporarily fill the gnawing perpetual void in my life.
The void created a deep sadness and pain because I was completely neglecting a part of my life that yearned to thrive. The spirit inside all of us yearns for recognition and respect of its power and abilities. Ignoring this fundamental part of our being only brings us anger and resentment because we are moving away from who we are capable of being, of who the world needs, of our true undeniable self. I couldn’t figure out why my life wasn’t better, why I was still always angry and frustrated. I didn’t know my own power.
It took real soul searching to realize one thing: I was choosing to live a life filled with this illusion, this lack of abundance in every aspect of my truly gifted world. Interestingly, the change in me happened during a time in my life that required me to really tap into my inner core and figure out how to cope with a new disability that required extensive physical therapy for 6 months. Tapping into that allowed me to realize not only how grateful I can be if I choose to notice that I am blessed, but that the struggles in life are often times the opportunities to bring out the blessings in our life. I started to change how I viewed things, thinking and speaking differently about everything. Every day I started journaling about any blessings I noticed that day. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I could not have come to this point without allowing my challenge to help me by accepting it and finding meaning in it, thereby transforming myself in the process.
Looking back, I compare my soul to a diamond dirtied by the mud of every day negativity that eventually had to be cleaned and scrubbed with harsh chemicals such as a difficult life challenge. If we choose to let the situation wash away our muddy surface by embracing it and trying to gain understanding and growth from it, we can truly find our inner sparkle. But if we continue to complain, no matter how much cleaning chemicals and struggles are poured over us, we just run away from it complaining and don’t allow it to really wash over and brighten our soul.
Going through this process has given me a new pair of glasses on life through the lens of gratitude. A lens which I have also chosen to clean with the chemicals of life’s challenges. Remember this: the soul, just like the glasses, are never tainted themselves, it is we who forget to clean their surface. Let us not confuse the two. We, with our choices, forget to recognize its essence under all the pollution of our negativity. I am sharing my story so you too can see through my glasses and perhaps be inspired to allow the harsh chemicals of life’s struggles clean your lens as well. Will you choose to see your life through a better lens?