An acquaintance and I met unexpectedly the other day. I had not seen her in months, maybe even years. We greeted each other with the kind of joy one has when this happens, instantly recalling the fun we had had long ago. Of course, as tradition dictates, I asked how she was doing. Suddenly, joy went nose-diving into a long spiral of negativity that began with the horrors of her job to the state of the nation. I attempted to raise the vibration of our discussion by pointing out the blessings that surrounded her and us, but to no avail.
So, what do we do when faced with hopelessness? How do we manage not to sink into the muddy hole of despair? Practice!
Being positive and upbeat is impossible all the time, make no mistake about it. But, with practice, you can continue to see the Light, even when traversing the darkest tunnel. Every storm has a silver-lining. Every dark night has stars that light the sky. The trick is not to focus on the darkness, which never really is gone; but rather, focus on the Light, no matter how distant or faint.
The first thing, that I have found that enables us to do this, is to stop watching the news! Honestly, this is the number one cause of depression for many people. The constant barrage of horrors magnified by the media creates synapses in our brains to fire off flight or fright hormones. Fear becomes a constant. Fear leads to more health problems, more social problems, and more emotional problems than anything else. When we are in a state of fear, all we can do is freeze, much like a frightened animal. Turning off that constant media stream of shocking news enables us to see the shore and climb out of the flood of doom and gloom.
As I have written before, once we start down the road towards the Light, we need support. Find friends and family who have positive outlooks and spend time listening to them. Laugh, be silly, sing and dance. Distance yourself from the emotional vampires in your life that suck all the joy from a situation.
Develop a mantra that you can repeat to yourself when you cannot get out of a negative situation. This can be a short prayer, an affirmation, or an uplifting quote. The thing is that it will remind your subconscious that all is well, even in the face of life's difficult realities. Silently calling on our ancestors, saints, angels, or the Divine for protection is like putting on a suit of armor.
Finally, understand that being happy, enjoying life, finding the beauty in situations does not mean that you don't care, aren't informed or are somehow being disloyal to the memory of someone or something that was before. Caring about those who hurt, are abused, or who suffer takes a great deal of positive energy, because those who care are the Lights for those in pain. If those in pain are to keep their flickering Light burning, those who care must have a strong flame of their own.
Emily Dickinson likened hope to a bird that sits waiting to be heard and expecting nothing in return. But, oh! If you feed this little bird, how it sings! Feed the hope that sits in your soul. Allow it to sing to you and to the world around you.
Blessings to all!
Hope by Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.