Back to Light: 3 Tips to Pull Yourself Out of Darkness and Into the Light.

asphalt dark dawn endless

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I must confess that I haven’t been operating as my best self.  This past couple of weeks, the challenges that I have faced have left me faced down in the mud.  I have cried in secret, found myself increasingly obsessing about changing my physical space, I have operated in a daze, lost my cool with my kids more than once, had a full-blown argument with my husband (our 2nd ever), all the while posting to my social media tips about how to reign supreme in your life daily.  Talk about irony.  Normally, I would allow myself to dive into a full-on pity party-dwelling on how terrible I have behaved, how much I haven’t accomplished, feeling like I am a fraud and not cut out to perform the work that I KNOW that I have been commissioned by my God to do.  I have experienced a complete spectrum of joy and pain in such a short time, but why?  Why am I experiencing life in this way, in this space and time?  How did I get here? God, what did I miss?  Questions that need answers.  As I was feeling the devastation of my present disposition, it occurred to me that I am fully in control of how long I remain in this unpleasant slump.  I was reminded that as easily as I relinquished my thoughts, actions, and feelings to the dark, I can most assuredly pull myself out and back into the light!

I offer you 3 tips to do the same:

1. Stop and say thank you.  One of the most powerful actions that we can take to moving ourselves from darkness back to the light, is to stop and be grateful.  I shared this week how I was feeling so overwhelmed with life’s challenges and in the midst of my crying my mind shifted to the fact that God has made me strong.  I literally started repeating, “thank you for making me strong.” The more I recited this simple thanks, the faster my mind and body began to shift from overwhelmed to ‘I’ve made it through this before.’  It was a powerful, yet simple action.  It’s easy to think of all the negative shit that we have going on: lack of funds, tension within the family, that endless to-do list, but deciding to stop and choose gratitude, shifts our minds from the negative back to what we’ve already overcome.  Life’s happenings don’t stop, but we can stop and shift our internal messaging by simply saying thank you.

2. Pray and revisit.  Once I moved from the place of being overwhelmed to a place of gratitude, I instantly felt physically better and I felt a mental relief.  Mind you, I was experiencing all of this alone.  Sometimes, it is not for us to bring in someone else (unless danger is imminent), but it is for us to practice and reengage in the work that brought us into light in the first place.  For me it is prayer.  My prayers are not beautifully scripted and sometimes sound a lot like rambling, but nevertheless, I pray.  There are times that my prayer is a simple thank you and other times it’s God, it’s me!  I have learned that God doesn’t need me to be able to recite scripture or even remind Him of what he’s done when I pray, He just needs the invitation to come in comfort and remind me that He made me strong.  Not only do I pray, but I revisit the very things that helped to guide me to light in the first place.  I revisit old journal entries, I look at photos, listen to songs and reread parts of books that were life altering.  What got me to a place of joy can get me there again.  One thing that I am mindful not to do is to go looking at other people’s joy because this most assuredly breeds comparison.

3.  Take one small step.  In order not to make the work of getting back to joy and to light overwhelming, we have to take small steps.  I do this by engaging in something as small as doing a 30-second plank or making a cup of coffee and sipping it in silence.  I read for a few minutes, go play with make-up or check-in with a friend or loved one.  All of these simple actions put my mind at ease so that I can then focus on the deliberate steps that I need to tackle the issues that put me in a dark place.  The time I take to sip that cup of coffee, allows me to focus on one thing that’s going to turn a dark situation to one of light.

There’s no shame in falling into darkness, the shame is choosing to stay there.  Light awaits us every day and so does darkness.  You have the power to choose where you want to dwell.  May you choose the light over the darkness!



Finding Solace

top view of trees beside the lake

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Solace is defined as comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.

Recently, I posted to my personal Facebook page about an experience I had with finding solace.  Days before the post I had been struggling.  This struggle was a familiar one; feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, confusion,  onset of crying, and silence.  Yep, depression was trying to slide its way back into my life.  I was fresh off just my first conference as a keynote speaker.  It was a glorious triumph!  I had spoke my truth and offered encouragement and was able to deliver just as I had dreamed.  The entire conference itself was a testament to the words that I live by daily, do it anyway.  This was me living out my dreams of empowering other women to apply and live out their own mantras.  I should have been ready for the tests to come.

I truly believe that when we begin to act on any endeavor, that it is sent out into the universe and as soon as we begin doing, the tests come.  I felt as if I had been jumped by depression.  As if it grew arms and literally suckered punched me.  This particular bout had me on the ground and was kicking my ass y’all!  I found myself crying out of nowhere and I was overly sensitive to everything.  I didn’t want to write.  I didn’t call on my loved ones.  I did exactly what I always do: sink.  I had trouble sleeping and things that should have been normal tasks, became overbearing.  Seriously, laundry is not that hard.  Yet, I found myself in the laundry room feeling unappreciated as a mother because the boys left their laundry unsorted.  This is what depression does.  It tricks us out of being happy.  It makes small tasks seem gargantuan and whispers falsehoods.  Even though I was sinking, I started to recognize the small instances of joy.  I watched some Facebook videos of people demonstrating kindness.  I would see posts of friends reporting out their personal wins and hit the like button.  The more I paid attention to the good happening, the more my spirit began to float to the surface.  I jammed to uplifting music.  I played with my toddler.  I was getting lifted! My sister asked me to fix her dinner and that’s when I had an epiphany;  my solace is in my service to others.

Like I wrote in my post, “when you actively and intentionally begin to align yourself with God’s plan (speaking at the conference), you can’t stop thinking and dreaming of ways to SERVE!  Our lives are not our own.  Some of you all are stuck or stagnant (or sinking) because you forget that your life is part of something bigger.  These last few days, my mind was grey (I confessed). I couldn’t figure out  what it was that I needed.  Sure enough, I found solace (focusing on the good) and just like that I got back to what I know, service.  I was making my sister dinner and God began to pour into me (this is where is gets good y’all).  He was giving me ways to serve and showing me all the resources around me to bring it into fruition.  Y’all I burst into tears!  I can’t help but to shower folks with love because it is how my own cup gets refilled,” I wrote.

I realized after the post, that my solace-that comfort that I didn’t know I was seeking-is in service to others.  I realized that the not knowing what I needed was my sign that I needed to be poured into.  I had given the conference my all and I needed to be filled up.  Service is how God fills me up.  When I step outside of myself in service to others, whether through deed or word, I grant myself the opportunity to connect to God.  Service brings joy not only to others, but to the server.  God is moved and He begins to reveal Himself.  I had to get outside of myself to find solace.  The tools of depression-loneliness, silence, and hopelessness-run amok in our minds first and then manifests outside of ourselves in our behaviors like crying or not getting out of bed.

If you are in the grey or maybe you are in the darkness, wherever you are solace is closer than you think.  It is in a child’s smile, it’s in kind words, it’s in letting a car out at busy intersection.  It can be found in the melody of your favorite song.  Solace is in remembering those moments of joy in your life.  It’s reminding yourself that your life is purposed not just for to enjoy, but for others to discover that same joy from your story.  Step out of yourself.  Reread a good book.   Take a walk.  Pull out old photos.  Watch a good movie, I recommend  Disney’s Coco. It will fill your heart with more joy and appreciation than you could imagine.  Trust me.  Finding solace requires a small bit of courage to step outside your mind and to just look around you.  It’s really quite simple.