Today, Miami is preparing itself for an approaching hurricane, and I’d like to dedicate this post to today’s current events. At some point, we hit a big chaotic storm and sometimes they can hit at multiple times. Storms can be a terminal illness, death of a loved one, failure, divorce, depression, violence, addictions, you name it, in today’s current events, one’s world can be pulled from underneath them in so many different ways.
This post gives a five point checklist on how to cope through such hurricanes, some of which we can start practicing today even if there’s no storm in the horizon. This blog post is about preparing ourselves and helping us get through life’s storms. It’s one thing to prepare our physical homes and personal belongings, and it’s another to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally when times get rough, I think the latter is much more worth preparing for.
First, the worst thing your can do:
Before getting to the 5 point checklist, one of the worst things you can do is to isolate yourself. Today in the age of the internet and numerous resources, it’s important to reach out to certain tools at the very least. When you brood in a circle of negative thoughts, it tends to spiral even deeper, and if you’re by yourself, it can be very difficult to pick yourself out of that deep rut. It’s certainly normal to want to be by yourself especially in the early stages of dark times, but when it’s time to start stepping into lightness, oftentimes, this will require some external help, whether it’s just from an inspiring literature or video. Rough, dark times are here to teach us and make us stronger, and it’s okay to reach out when those lessons are hard to see.
Now for the five point checklist on preparing and surviving through life’s hurricanes:
#1 – Surround yourself with positivity
Having my fair share of life’s hurricanes, I cannot emphasize this first point enough. We must make a conscious effort in our choices of what we surround ourselves with. External influences can be so subtle and they are especially influential when we are at our most vulnerable. Now is a good time to check those around us and how our inner stability copes with our current surroundings. It can be as subtle as watching the news – does having the news play in the background while you enjoy your dinner make you more paranoid or happy? This can also be as obvious as the people you live with – are they your loved ones who constantly fear that you might fail or hurt them again? If you find it’s difficult to change your surroundings, then the next step is to check your own inner stability. You can also replace existing negative influences with your own strength internally or reaching out to more positive influences externally. For example, you’re going through divorce but you want to resolve it amicably with your ex for the sake of your children, inevitably you will hear stories from friends of how horrible divorce is or how your ex was no good – you need to consciously remove these influences and not let them affect your inner stability and resolve. Only heed advice from friends or stories who have had a positive experience through such a rough time. It’s key to find only positive and inspiring influencers.
#2 – Practice meditation or introspection
Start this now as it’s never too early to prepare. Although meditation is often associated with relaxation or taking control of one’s breath or body (ie/ yoga) or using mantras and visualizations, it’s important to also use the further benefits of meditation – which is to become a detached observer. When you’re adept at practicing being a detached observer of your thoughts and feelings, meditation becomes an especially handy tool during rough weathers. When you sit comfortably with yourself, you remove yourself from preconceived notions, expectations, or the physical world or circumstances, rather, you become more in touch with your ‘lighter’ self. From a detached point of view, you can see things more clearly, and the answers and directions you need become easy. The lessons that harder times are teaching you become easy to learn.
#3 – Have a plan and keep taking steps forward
Sometimes, when people hit rock bottom, the worst thing that can happen next is staying at rock bottom. If one cannot naturally pick themselves up, this is where positive surroundings and the practice of introspection can give you that push to take a step forward. Some people believe in timelines, ie/ only sulk for a week, but personally I think this is one more rigid structure you don’t need especially when you’re down. I think what’s more important is making sure you take steps forward, even if they’re baby steps, ie/ go out for a walk (literally a step forward!), proactively look for solutions, take care of yourself like a cleansing shower, only expose yourself to pure foods and pure thoughts, as you can see, these baby steps can be the most minor things, but reinforcing the consciousness of taking steps in the positive direction is what’s most important.
#4 – Cultivating Love
‘Love is the answer, love is the key’, so many songs and literature place such emphasis on love and for good reason; however, in this post, cultivating love particularly when getting through life’s hurricanes doesn’t have to be a romantic love. Love is simply a deep respect and fondness that comes with only pure intentions, no matter what the circumstances are. For example, if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can certainly take the efforts to fight the condition, but another way to look at it with less resistance is to simply have a loveful relationship with your body. The same way when a relationship ends or divorce or dealing with addictions, cultivating love for oneself and others not only decreases resistance, hurt, and suffering, but also helps uplift oneself and others as well. More on love here
#5 – Expand on your sense of spirituality
This last point on the checklist is the last one for a reason, because when things get really, really bad, ie/ a mother loses her child in an accident, no matter where you turn to, any other form of help may not be enough. This last point though also comes with a lot of caution, not all ‘spiritual’ modalities can be helpful, and some may take advantage of the vulnerable. With that said, it’s very important stay alert and focused especially when turning towards this route for help. I encourage everyone to start exploring their spiritual side starting now, so that when there is a threat of a hurricane, you have at least planted that seed that can really help you get through tough times. More on spirituality here.