Cheryl Melody Baskin
12 Ways to Stay Sane When Your Life is Falling Apart
By Cheryl Melody Baskin
It was one of the worst summers of my life. My mother was severely ill, suffering crisis upon crisis, and I was always packed and ready to drive to Vermont at a moment’s notice. Along with my sister, Eden, I was her loving advocate, courageously speaking to her doctors and nurses from a place of clarity, empowered strength and love. Visits also involved singing with her by her bedside, gently touching her, holding her hand, being fully present, heart-listening, praying, and living on very little food and sleep. At the same exact time, my husband’s mother and stepfather were also going downhill quickly, and to top off the summer, I had little time to grieve for three of my dear friends who had passed away. My mother needed me. My husband needed me. My children needed me. My mother-in-law and step-father-in-law needed me. My friends needed me. My students needed me.
I could feel myself disintegrating into scattered pieces, maneuvering through the darkness on autopilot and barely hanging onto my sanity. I secretly wondered how I could continue to manage each trauma without getting sick myself. Which action steps and healing tools could best support me in coping with each challenge with grace, courage and strength?
Here are the twelve strategies that helped me through one of the roughest times in my life. If you are ever challenged by your own tests of fortitude, perhaps the following tools will serve as your compass ...
Trust. As Christopher Robin said to Winnie-the-Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem and stronger than you think.” Trust in yourself, in the universe, and in the saying, “there’s a reason for everything,” and at the same time, believe in miracles and possibilities. Hold “The Serenity Prayer,” by Reinhold Niebuhr, close to your heart. His prayer says that we must accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can, and listen to our wisdom to know the difference.
Adopt this positive affirmation: “I have the strength and the will to get through this.” I said these power words during that intense summer, when my husband had a heart attack, when I needed an operation, during the pandemic, when people passed away, when there is unrest in my family, and I say them now. Write them down, think them, whisper them to yourself, and say them out loud. Power words convey to the subconscious and conscious mind that we can get through anything and everything.
Self-Compassion. Don't allow self-judgment to rule your life. Breathe in love, forgiveness and compassionate understanding for yourself and for everyone around you. When you are in a negative whirlwind, talk to a compassionate friend, family member or stranger, seek a heart-centered therapist, and visualize a big red stop sign with a loving face on it that says, “Stop criticizing yourself, dear one. You are enough. You are being enough. You are doing enough.” At the end of the day and in-between times, give yourself a loving hug and put your hand on your heart with an affirmative nod of self-approval.
Visualize surrounding yourself with all the colors of every whirling chakra supporting you in moving through the darkness with vibrant strength, courage, empowerment, love, clarity, third eye wisdom and Higher guidance.
The spaces between each breath. Throughout the day, keep your energy flowing by uncrossing your legs and arms, placing your feet firmly on the ground, putting your hand on your heart, and acknowledging all emotions that are rising to the surface. Between the spaces of each inhale and exhale, unclench your jaw and teeth, relax your neck and shoulders, unfurl your eyebrows, and continue to breathe deeply and slowly. Breathe in love and healing for yourself, breathe for the healing of your loved ones, and breathe for the healing of all humanity.
Stream-of-Consciousness journal writing. When you find time, jot down the feelings you are experiencing and release their toxicity out of your cells. Don’t worry about punctuation and sentence structure. This healing tool alone will help to cleanse your exhausted soul.
Nature. Make an inner promise to stop for moments within your intense day by taking short walks outside. Look up at the sky, feel your feet on the ground and the energy of the earth giving you renewed strength, and use your senses to breathe in the beauty of nature. Stand still for a moment in the spirit of gratefulness and listen to life’s symphony of sounds, sights and smells, slowly and gently sipping into your aching soul all of nature's healing powers.
Music. Make it a point to listen to music that heals, uplifts and calms, mindfully choosing specific lyrics that feed your body, mind and spirit. While enjoying your musical selection, hum, sing, conduct and whistle. Consciously selected music will help you move stuck energy, keep you in the present moment, and shift your mood. Music is medicine without negative side effects, inspiring you to remember the delightful parts of life that are there to soothe and uplift a tired spirit.
Movement. Stretch. Walk. Wiggle your toes. Move your fingers. Blink. Raise your eyebrows. Straighten your spine. Lift your head and arms up to the sky. Touch the earth. Do anything and everything to be fully present and in your body.
Break the rules – A Case for Comfort Food. Don’t completely let yourself “go to the dogs” nutritionally, but at the same time, loosen up your rules. It is important to eat nourishing meals and drink an abundance of water, but it is equally important to enjoy your favorite snacks and comfort foods. During this stressful time, give yourself permission to let go a little more.
Zzzz. In between the intense moments, take short naps and rest, reviewing all the good memories you have experienced with those you love. More than anything else, keep hope, maintain faith, and trust that you have the strength to handle anything.
Positive thought-transference and prayers of healing. Send vibrations of healing strength and love telepathically to yourself, to others and to the world. I am a fervent advocate of thought-transference and often couple the power of thought-transference and positive visualization by ringing my chakra bowls and singing the elongated sound of “AHH.” This open vowel sound resonates from the heart chakra and embodies the pure vibration of gratefulness and love.
The art of unconditional giving. Giving can be heart opening, expansive, exhausting, exhilarating, disappointing, depleting and gratifying. When you are faced with a crisis that requires a greater extension of yourself, let go of all expectations. Giving requires that we have no expectations of anyone saying, “thank you.” Ego-based giving keeps track of “you did this, and they did that,” and this attitude will only breed anger and resentment.
Unconditional giving is from the heart and to the heart. It is done quietly. You know what you did and that is all that matters. Give to give, and then let go.
When life is full of overwhelming challenges, we are required to live in many worlds and manage multiple roles at the same time. These twelve tools can help you to regroup, recharge and renew, and when you care enough about yourself to reach for them, the rewards will be greater coping skills, courage, strength, centered calm, increased resilience, higher energy, patience, pure love and deep compassion.
Cheryl Melody Baskin http://www.cherylmelody.com is the award-winning author of “Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams - No Matter What,” receiving the 2021 Silver Medal international award from https://www.readersfavorite.com. She is also the author of “Peace Dreamer: A Journey of Hope in Bad Times and Good,” Shift of Heart: Paths to Healing and Love” and “Peace Begins with You and Me.” She is an intuitive life coach, peace and spirituality educator, award-winning recording artist of nine albums for both children and adults, sound healer and motivational speaker, receiving a Life Achievement Award from https://www.thevisioneers.ca. She is the founder and moderator of the Facebook community, “Shift of Heart” https://www.facebook.com/groups/103850356767217/
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