When You Feel You're Off Course
My fiance and I recently went public with our engagement (May 1). And we could NOT be more thankful and grateful for the love and support that people are showing us.
And that had me thinking about - "How did I get here?" In the last 8 years, I've moved in the winter (twice) after being kicked out of long-term cohabitation situations. I've recovered (mostly) from the effects of two car horrific accidents that caused permanent damage, serious abdominal surgery, and the mental toil/toll of getting out of two long-term emotionally/mentally abusive relationships. I also managed to get my Masters degree while working full time (sometimes two and three jobs) and completed a 4 year structured Votary program in my Witchcraft/Pagan tradition that included uncomfortable self-examination, rigorous academic study, community service, and a lot of hard work... among other things.
I have a friend who is going through an unimaginably tough time right now and they asked me, "How did you do it? Your life has been burnt to the ground more times than I can count. And you keep getting up, and most of the time, you're better than you were - how do you keep going when you want to just quit?" And I told them, "I just do, I don't really have a choice." But that got me thinking - I do have a choice. We all do. This was my process for moving on and through. Perhaps it could help you as well.
Choose what is important to you. What do you want out of life? When our worlds shift dramatically, it's loss - for certain. But it's also an incredible opportunity. Most often - if the situation was serving you in a positive way - it wouldn't have burnt to the ground. Note: I say, MOST of the time. Sometimes, terrible things happen, and we are forced to rebuild even when we don't want to. Sometimes you can do everything "right" and things still go belly up. What was the destructive event - that might not be your fault, it might be terribly unfair and unjust (oftentimes it is), but what you DO have control over is how you respond to the event. Do you lose yourself in obsessions, addictions, or distractions? Or do you focus on the next thing, and just keep keeping on? For me, it's my faith. I know that Hekate's got my back. It's more difficult to be Her Priestess and do Her Work if I'm struggling. So while things may SUCK at times, they won't be insurmountable. Choose what is important to you. Whether that be Faith, Study, Helping Others, Creative Endeavors - art, music, blogs ;) or Pro-Wrestling.
What helps you keep your focus when things get tough?
My next ... is HOW do you have the strength to keep going? It's difficult. I won't lie. And there were days that I would have thrown in the towel, sat there and been drunk, and got absolutely nothing done of consequence other than nausea and a hangover. Now, I acknowledge. I'm blessed with privilege. And some things come much easier to me than they might others. But it starts with saying No. No to the things that distract you from your goals. It doesn't have to be huge grand gestures of "No! I won't ever do this terrible action again! I'm a horrible person for doing it in the first place!" It's much smaller than that. Take small steps to work toward your goals and away from distraction. How much time do we waste on Facebook and Netflix in a day, when we could be doing something else? (I am in a glass house here and not throwing stones at all). Do the dishes need done? Turn off/pause the next re-run of Star Trek (or whatever your watching) and do the dishes. Netflix will still be there when you get back. Use these distractions as rewards, and eventually you'll find that they fade away. I used to spend HOURS a week playing video games. I don't know the last time I was on Steam. You're trying to lose weight - "no, thank you, I wouldn't like a second serving." Start small, and keep at it, you never know where you'll end up.
And finally - it's completely okay to get off-track. I spent 4 years somewhat off-track. What matters is course correction. It matters that you realize and define what you want to go for - and then you go for it!
And what better time to start than now?
Your road may be winding, but eventually you'll reach your destination.