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Finding Peace and Joy When Dealing with Pain and Loss

I am here

“Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” ~Richard Bach

There are times when nothing seems to move in the right direction. We either feel stuck or lost in chaos and confusion. Days follow nights as pages on the calendar turn into months, but you remain at the same place.

A few years back I suffered a miscarriage in the eighth month of pregnancy. I lost my baby and my dreams of motherhood. In the deep void I experienced both physical pain and mental agony.

At such times despite your efforts, the situation turns from bad to worse until you hit rock bottom, where you are too shocked to even be angry. You are just numb.

It took me years to understand that life’s balance sheet is not a neat account statement. Here, losses are often gains and gains are often losses.

At that time, I found a strange peace while doing mundane everyday activities, like cleaning or removing the stalks from the green vegetables. My hands removed grass, weeds, or long hard stalks to stack in organized groups.

Why did I enjoy doing this activity, which was a chore? It gave my hands something to do; it helped me to finish a task while giving respite to my agonized heart, as my mind was free to wander from worry to wonder.

My heart cried but the spinach or whatever I was cleaning was getting ready. It did not stop life but helped me to go with flow.

It taught me the art of giving in without giving up, and it made me realize that lessons need to be experienced before learning happens.

The meditative quality of a repeated activity is therapeutic. It leads to contemplation, which has a cathartic effect that makes you calm while setting a rhythm in the chaotic mind.

Life unfolds at its pace, and we need to go with the flow. Attachment and detachment are the two points where we oscillate as a pendulum. Wisdom dawns at this stage.

My wisdom could be different from others’ wisdom. There is nothing right or wrong on this path. It just “is,” and this “is” is unique for everyone.

By mindfully diverting myself through the maze of overpowering emotions, I could handle the situation with graceful acceptance and resilience.

Whenever you are in a stressful situation, take time to just be with the “is.”

Accept.

Accepting any loss is the first step to reclaiming and gathering the threads of your life. You have to do it on your own; no one can do it for you. Learning to face your fears is the first step.

Be mindful.

Cultivating mindfulness when you are engaged in an activity is relaxing. Walk, enjoying each step; breathe deeply and cherish the moment and movement. Cook; culinary pursuits can be extremely relaxing and fulfilling. I discovered subtle moments of joy in my garden.

Don’t judge yourself.

Let go of expectations about your decisions or self. If you face a difficult situation, do not harbor guilt or fear. Build up trust for life slowly. Let go of expectations of others and even opinions of others.

Get moving.

Go for a walk, cycle, or if you can’t, just clean your house. Physical work helps in releasing the latent negative energy that makes you restless.

Listen to music.

Close your eyes and let each note seep into your heart as you experience the beauty of the composition. Music helped me to sleep on those dark nights when everything had gloomy shadows.

Get an anchor.

When I noticed that a cry session was coming along, I would stop speaking and just became mindful of things around me. Then, one day I heard a sound of an unknown bird. This whistle-like sound became my anchor. I listened through pauses, waiting in anticipation. The overwhelming emotions were diminished.

Create a journal.

Write down what you feel. You can make it a weekly practice on weekends. Have a cup of coffee and light a candle as you sit to write. Soon you will look forward to this time of the week.

Create a happy corner.

You can create a happy corner with a seat, a few books, music CDs, and your journal. Add some bright color with a vase of flowers. Remember, you are the most important person in your life.

Find what “is” the present moment.

If you are having coffee, let it become a meditative experience. While cleaning the kitchen top, do it with ease and joy and grace is sure to follow. If you feel like crying, let the tears flow.

Remember there is an extremely thin line that demarcates loneliness and solitude. Cross that line to enter the tranquil zone of solitude.

Joy comes from the heart, not external stimuli. Accept where you are to find a way out of any situation. You will soon discover a path that leads to joy.

Photo by h.koppdelaney

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