How to Talk Yourself Out of a Funk

Okay, everyone, repeat after me.

We are good and wonderful people – even WHEN we feel like hell.

I woke up with the blues the other day, and had a profound experience of finding my way back to some good and loving self-kindness.

Here are the steps I took. May they serve you well the next time you feel back to black.

 

1. Call a friend. Really, we were never meant to slog through this life alone – whether we are with a soul mate or not. Furthermore, those who care about you do want to help. So resist the urge to go off and lick your wounds alone. Generally that just makes things worse, right?

2. Remember you have no perspective. It’s your life, so generally you can’t see the forest for the trees. Just like Mark Twain thought Huckleberry Finn was a piece of trash, and Michelangelo said, about the Sistine Chapel, “I am no painter.” If you’re doubting your self worth, keep in mind your perspective is not reliable. (Then see #1 above.)

3. Expect the occasional s**tstorm. Because that’s how life is. You will know suffering just as you know joy – even sometimes at the same time. Not only is suffering a reliable life experience, but it will ultimately become your post powerful teacher. Because that’s how it is in this mortal coil.

4. Know you will be fine. Think about it. Even when times were bleak, you came out of it okay, if a bit dinged up. You always have been fine, and you always will be fine. And then one day you’ll die. Job completed. Mission accomplished. Discomfort always, inevitably leads to something better.

5. Expect a miracle (or ask for one.) Even if you don’t believe in a great spiritual organizing principle in this life, why not give it a whirl? No matter what, your mind will be soothed, your body will relax, and you will feel protected. Which ultimately leads to … yes … miracles.

6. Ask for guidance to ‘Bless it or Block it.’ This is a little trick a friend showed me who has a profound faith in a higher power that guides us all. When you are really feeling uncertain about which course to take – or so scared you literally can’t take the next step – ask Spirit to bless or block your endeavor. The answer usually follows.

7. Remember the stuff that is working in your life. Somewhere in your dark stew of an existence, there are soft, clear, sweet spots. Perhaps that’s a beloved friend, or a special place that makes you feel wonderful. Maybe even a treasured letter or photograph. Possibly it’s your work, or your health, or your kids. Name it now and thank it profusely for being in your life. Then see if that doesn’t give you a bit of a shift.

8. Know that this, too, will pass. Tomorrow you will wake up with 232 billion new cells in your body. That, alone, is reason for hope. Your life is constantly changing and evolving towards what is just ahead. So this place you’re in right now? By tomorrow, it will probably be gone.

9. Above all, believe in your own perfection. Yes, you are already perfect, just as you are, and this experience or uncertainty or doubt or dilemma is perfect, too. Easy for me to say, right? Yes! And … it’s all happening for a reason.

The key is to trust that you have everything you need, here and now, to resolve anything you must resolve.

Not only do you have everything – you are everything. You were born whole and complete, and you will die whole and complete. We were designed to be enough, and have enough, every minute of every day. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Once you even begin to wrap your head around this truth, the next one falls neatly into place.

10. Give back and know peace. The ultimate game changer is service, given from the heart. Try it, even if you don’t want to. What is your special gift you could give someone today?Go give it, and immediately, you really will know peace.

 

Stop, Drop and Feel – A Recipe For Moving Through Fear

crying_ladyThis morning I was being interviewed by a radio host, and he asked me a simple but critical question: What do you do to move through fear?

I am happy to say that first of all … I had an answer! Secondly, the trick I shared is something anyone can do. And it works.

But first … let’s talk about our fear. Cause we all have it, right?

I know I do.

Our fear is pretty much the shark that is always lurking just off shore. Once you wade through anger, anxiety, frustration, depression, confusion and dread, you find fear back there, driving all of it.

It’s our basic, go-to emotion when the going gets rough. My theory is that this is all about our flight or fight response. These days we are smart phone jockeys who spend our days tethered to a computer. But the problem is that we’re still wired to outrun (or outsmart) a lumbering T-Rex.

So when a stressful emergency strikes, we react as if our lives are in mortal danger. Before we know it, we are having a dinosaur-sized adrenal rush. Suddenly we are three again and in total survival mode. We feel a surge of panic and then all that other emotional intensity kicks in.

For me, fear has often driven my angry outbursts. Or my need to control and micromanage others. For years it drove a whole lot of nail-biting. Sometimes I just flaked out, put my fingers in my ears, and pretended some big scary grow up issue wasn’t happening all around me.

But then I learned a much better way to deal with it. An example …

A few years ago I got to live one of my dreams and hang out in Paris for two months. My entire adult life I’d wanted to do this. And yet, when I finally arrived after a 12-hour flight with numerous delays, I had a total lying-in- bed, sucking-my-thumb, weepy meltdown.

I could have made that retreat to infancy all about tough travel or my lost luggage (it eventually showed up) or the intense new stranger I found myself living with, courtesy of Air B’n’B.

But instead I remembered what to do in case of emergency: I checked in. I went into my bedroom, closed the door and lay down. Then I put my hand on my belly and my feet flat on the bed, and I allowed myself time to just breathe.

Pretty soon my feelings came rushing up: anger, sadness, real grief, anxiety … followed by cold, bald fear.

I realized I felt like a four-year-old who suddenly got lost at the mall. I wondered why I assumed my college French would get me around Paris — for two long months! Really? What the hell was I thinking??

The tears began and I breathed into them. And then the sheer shaking misery of the fear welled up. Oh, I was so uncomfortable! I had visions of myself getting permanently lost in Paris’s labyrinth of streets. I saw myself a stranger in a strange land, desperately lonely on a Saturday night.

The more my fear came up, the more my heart pounded. My palms began sweating and hot flash after hot flash descended. I began to feel terrified. But I remembered the advice of a therapist and I kept breathing through it.

Then suddenly, the fear began to lift. As quickly as it came upon me, my panic subsided.

And then …just like that … it was gone.

In fact, now I felt great! I got up, washed my face, put on my coat and went out to greet my new, incredible city. Five hours and a few café crèmes later, I was still at it – reborn, renewed, in bliss.

What we so seldom do in moments of crisis is relax and allow in the surge of emotions. Instead we focus on what’s happening and scramble to manage and control. Or we go hide and shame ourselves for needing to have a good cry. We do anything we can to resist that necessary upwelling of emotions.

Yet this is just the natural process the body and soul go through when an auto-correct is needed. When we do allow ourselves to honor our emotional flow and simply feel, we truly can be reborn. That, friends, really is the shortest route back to joy.

Take a moment and probe this question for yourself. How do you handle your fear? I highly recommend the ‘Stop, Drop and Feel’ approach the next time you find yourself melting down.

Try it! You might even like it …