This post totally inspired me today! Yes, even I need inspiration and this one just did it for me.
Today I laughed for the first time in a while. Like really laughed. Don’t get me wrong, I smile and chuckle and grin all the time. But I’m talking about those loud, deep-throated belly laughs, completely unapologetic and uninhibited hyena-like (think Lion King) guffaws. The kind that make everyone in the room stop what they are doing and just revel in the sound of it. The kind that is so infectious that you find people joining in even when they have no clue what the joke is. The ones that you can’t stop no matter how hard you are choking to breath. I think you have the picture.
I’m the kind of person that people generally regard as an open book. Emotions play freely on my face, clearly displaying what mood I am in. I don’t even try very hard to hide them. I am also a pretty loud person with a matching loud personality. Apparently, when I am not in the office, my absence is keenly felt. So, for the last week or so, the laughs (or should I say chuckles) have been nondescript. Polite and ladylike. Almost mechanical and forced. It was a rough week after all.
Then today I laughed out loud. Honestly I cannot even remember what cracked me up, otherwise I would have shared. It probably wasn’t even very funny anyway. But for me, laughter is therapeutic. A kind of catharsis in a way. When I was done laughing and wiping the tears from my eyes, I felt good. Like really, really good. Like everything was well with the world. Like anything was possible. Like I could face any obstacle that dared to stand in my way. Like life was simply Magical.
That’s what laughter, real genuine laughter does for me. It releases all the toxins in my spirit and just leaves me feeling cleansed. Definitely cheaper than a shrink I’d say!
Find something that makes you laugh every day. And I mean the real belly aching laugh not the fake smiles that don’t even reach your eyes. And spread the cheer around. The world certainly needs it.
This past month my pastor in church has been dealing with a topic called Seasons of Life. It’s basically about the different seasons in our life – loneliness, loss, prosperity, sadness, sickness, happiness etc and how to deal with each season. What struck me most is how distinct each season is in our lives – from the feelings evoked in us to how we deal with each to even the people who surround us during each of those seasons.
When I look back at my life I can actually clearly see the diverse seasons I have been through so far – perhaps one day I shall write my memoirs and share my very colorful past. (That will be a best seller for sure!). Each season has challenged me, shaped me and basically formed the person that I am today. And while I can say that I am a product of my seasons, I am also not under the illusion that any of my personas in each of those seasons was permanent.
Interestingly though, while I was going through each of the seasons, there was a strong tendency to become comfortable and attached to my circumstances. For instance, during one of the lowest seasons of my life, I convinced myself that I would never be happy and that I was destined to be miserable, alone and a complete wreck. This of course led to the season lasting way longer that it probably would have if I had fought my way out instead of draping the misery blanket all around myself!
“Its never that serious!”
Eventually (thankfully) I did get out and transitioned into a totally different season with different experiences and blessings. In retrospect, that misery season turned out to be the greatest teacher of determination and tenacity in my life and has greatly influenced how I handle seasons to date.
I have learnt that nothing is permanent. Life is ever evolving and dynamic. Never get attached to your circumstances because sooner or later, they will change. Know when to let go of a season, do not hang on to it or live in denial. Do not isolate yourself – ask for support and surround yourself with positive, reliable people. Each season has its lessons – learn from the season and move on. Don’t compare your season with someone else’s! Yours and theirs are totally different. There is a divine purpose to each season – God allows you to go through each season.
Most importantly, never define yourself based on your season – your season is temporary; your identity is permanent.
What season are you in today?
Ever have one of those days where anything that can possibly go wrong does? The kind where you ask “Can the day get any worse?” and apparently the universe takes that as a challenge!
Well I’m having one of those. How do you normally deal with yours? My tested and tried solution is to lock myself in my house, wear sweats and bond with my duvet on the couch. With only Friends and a glass of wine for company. Works everytime!
Today’s gloom season however caught me hard at work in the office with the day far from over and my sure escape plan atleast 6hours away. Which of course got me thinking – why do bad things happen to good people? Like most of us, I have a pretty high opinion of myself and I believe I am a good person. So I’m seated here going like, why me? Why are all these things happening to me? Am I attracting them to me? If you’re like me and have watched The Secret tones of times, you know how the Law of Attraction works. Supposedly you can attract good and bad things alike with just your mind. Sigh.
Well, according to my good friend Google, what I am experiencing today is yet another law – Murphy’s Law. All these Laws and I had to get the short end of the stick.
My only consolation is that thankfully I rarely willow in pity parties and actually writing this is already making me feel better. I might as well take the opportunity to pass some inspiration.
In my short life I have learnt that life is typically, more or less, what you make it. Right now, I can choose exactly how I will react to all these challenges. I can let them take me down into the depths of depression (and 3 seasons of Friends!). Or I can choose to take them in stride and ask myself where the elusive silver lining is. We may not realize it, but we always have a choice. And yes, there is always a silver lining.
One of the most effective ways to always maintain a positive outlook is to have a compass. Something that means the world to you and will always give you perspective. We all have one, you just need to figure out what it is. For me, it is my 7-year old son. That little angel is my rock. At times like these, I just focus on him and think of how I would do anything for him and voila! I’m back.
I hope you can be able to find your compass today and allow it to guide and center you.
Early this morning we received the most devastating news at work. Our colleague had tragically passed away early in the morning while undergoing treatment in the hospital. Worse still, she was 6 months pregnant. Honestly speaking, I am still in shock even as I write this. I look around at everyone in a daze, the news not really sinking in yet because I keep waiting to wake up and find it was all a vivid cruel dream.
All around me people keep asking, Why her? She was at the prime of her life, all her dreams ahead of her, full of life and laughter, so why her? Someone even wondered out loud, does God ever make mistakes and allow people to go yet they weren’t done with their time on earth? For me, I am filled with an eerie, bubble-like, calm-before-the-storm ominous stillness. It feels like there is actually a physical obstacle between me and the acceptance that she is really gone. There is also the grim realization that the dam will burst sooner or later and then I will really be ripped apart.
The one thing that struck me today though was incidentally related to a rant I had a couple of days ago on Twitter. I was going on about how people really need to appreciate how short life is and start to live life rather than wasting their time envying other people’s lifestyle choices.
It’s really bizarre how it takes a loss through death to viciously remind you to appreciate what you have – before you lose it. It takes death to remind you to put aside petty differences and reconcile with those alienated from you. It takes the loss of a loved one to propel you to fulfill your life’s desires sooner rather than later. It takes a loss such as this to force you to put your broken life back together and live life again. It takes death.
What I also know is that one week, two weeks, a month or so from now, we will all have forgotten the lesson it has taught us today and will be back to our old ways. Till the next time it visits us.
I choose to be different this time. I choose to learn the lesson and carry it with me every day. I choose to live a life without regrets. I choose to tell my loved ones how much I love them every day. I choose to fulfill my dreams, take that holiday, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, put aside petty differences and all those other things on my (very lengthy) bucket list.
When my time comes I intend to go out smiling. And the people I leave behind will all say “She lived her life to the full!”
R.I.P. Jacinta. The Angels are lucky to have you.
How did I get here?
That’s the most common question I have been asked in the last two weeks. I have had varied responses…from its my life’s purpose to my passion for helping people to just wanting to do something different.
Now that I have really had the chance to think about it though, I suppose all those answers (and more) are valid. Bottom line, I have been handed the opportunity to Make a Difference. Many get the chance, but few actually take it. And as terrifying as it may be (yes, I do get terrified, after all I am human) I have taken the plunge and opened up my space to everyone.
It is a step of faith after all.