“Miracles are just a shift in perception from fear to love.”, Marianne Williamson
Five years ago, my 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. At the time, I was working full time and running a side business, while my husband and I also managed property and he worked full time. We had a lot going on and the diagnosis was like being hit by a freight train.
I remember the fear in the hospital as we sat up all night, discussing what the long-term prognosis could be and what our lives as a family would look like. I had all these balls in the air and for the first time, I was okay if all my projects crashed around me; everyone would understand – my baby had cancer.
Day two, or maybe it was day three of our hospital stay; my husband and I sat whispering over our daughter. I’m not even sure what we were saying but she grabbed my hand and said something about it being okay.
My mother used to quote “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers. She died 11 years before my daughter was born and I never truly understood what she was quoting until then. We felt the fear and we put on our grownup pants and moved forward, each action at a time.
The next few months passed and we learned a lot about what it took to keep moving when the world seemed like it was falling apart. Thankfully my daughter survived her 2.5 years of chemo and we kept up with all of our crazy activities. We were often asked “how we did it”, by friends and family – and the truthful answer was “we had no choice”.
Looking back, we did have a choice. We chose to live and here are some basic tips from our journey:
REMOVE NEGATIVE PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS
Run, don’t walk. Remove yourself from situations and people that cause conflict. Life deals us enough stress without being sucked in by energy vampires. Energy vampires believe their happiness comes from your lack there of. If you want to succeed in life, do the best you can to rid your world of these people. Usually taking a break from negative people and situations will give you perspective. Get rid of the drama.
STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS
Make a list. On one side, right down what you need to get done now and on the other side, what you need to get done long term. Don’t get distracted by stuff not on the list, or stuff that doesn’t require immediate attention. I used a journal and a white board to keep me on task.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Have a routine that doesn’t suck the life out of you. Include family time, a workout and a time for self-reflection. The busiest person doesn’t mean the happiest person. Schedule the simple stuff, like reading with your kids, a date night with your partner or even a nap. This way you give the people who matter most the same attention as you give menial chores or office work.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
On an airplane, they always say “put the breathing mask on yourself before assisting others”. What is the importance of this? If you are helping someone else breathe before you’ve helped yourself, it is likely you could pass out trying to help and wind up being no good to anyone. Get some rest, take a shower, exercise, pamper yourself. When you are taken care of, you have more to offer the world. Besides, you just feel better about yourself when you approach the day.
This is not an assignment but an outlet. It’s a way to release your emotions when it is 2am and the never-ending to-do list is flashing like a neon sign. Make a practice of writing just a bit each day and journaling when you need to. Write about things you experience – it could be aggravating situations, things that made you laugh, achievements you are proud of – whatever it is that comes to mind. This is your private place so go for it.
MEDITATE AND READ
Interesting that these two are combined? I’m awful at clearing my mind which likely means I need some yoga or meditative practice ASAP. However, when I just can’t get to yoga (my effort is poor) or get myself to sit still long enough to meditate, I read. I read something that is entertaining. It takes me to another place and lets me escape my mind long enough to reset it. Reading is my escape from my racing mind.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY
This is huge. It’s not fun to be the smartest or happiest person in the room. Find a group you can learn from. For me, it was moms whose kids survived cancer or women who made it big in their career. I work on surrounding myself with people I can learn from, people who inspire me; people who inspire me to be better.
What do you do to keep moving forward when life gets hard?