Wednesday, November 16, 2011
There's an App for That! Five Steps to Converting Life's Problems!
I would love to convert or transfer all my problems. With the a push of button, just send them all to another person. Let them deal with dad's cancer and chemo therapy, my dwindling bank account, my lack of funds, and my rapidly approaching, much dreaded fiftieth birthday. I'll gladly hand over all that plus the seven pounds I've gained recently because we are all stress-eating over here (my dad is withering away by the minute while the rest of us pack on the pounds) and the sheer panic I feel because this coming January, I am going back to school. I'll probably be the oldest student in the class. I shouldn't be thinking about enhancing or furthering my career at this point. I should be planning my retirement! Let someone else take on the exhaustion, the mood swings, the crying spells, and my sagging ass. My yoga mat is collecting dust because I haven't had the energy to roll it out in months. At my age, if I don't work it, I lose it. Let's not forget that I haven't been wined and dined, kissed or held by a gentleman in over six months! This explains my chocolate cravings. I am almost freakin' fifty, for God's sake! I should be married or at least settled in a healthy relationship by now, shouldn't I? The older I get, the less of a chance that's gonna happen. Oh! And did I mention menopause? Somebody, take my problems! PLEASE!
If only there were an APP for that........
Oh, but there is. Well, it's not a simple as downloading an application on phone, but there are a few ways to 'convert our problems'......
The first step: Stop Thinking About Them!
Dwelling on problems and issues only exacerbates them. They appear more insurmountable in our minds than they actually are in reality. The more we think, the more stressed, aggravated and exhausted we become. The sure-fire way to stop dwelling our problems: to always remember that someone else has it much worse!
Step Two: Change of Perspective.
Cancer. This is something I can't change no matter how hard I pray or try to wish it away. So I might as well roll with it, look for the lessons along the way, and be a supportive, loving daughter. Cherish every moment I have with my dad. Menopause? Can't make it go away. It's part of the cycle of life and I am blessed to not suffer from the majority of common symptoms that usually occur with "the change". I have my healthy, VEGAN diet to thank for that.
As for the things we can change, we just need to change them.. And, perhaps cut ourselves a little slack now and then. Try to see things differently. Deconstruct problems one by one. Tackle and change the things we can. Accept what we can't change. Learn the difference between the two. The good old Serenity Prayer. Works every time.
Step Three: Build a Support System.
I am not the first person in the world to deal with a sick, elderly parent. And I am not the only middle-aged woman going back to school or trying to advance her career. There are plenty of fifty-somethings out there who don't have mates, lovers, or a special someone to snuggle beside at night. Yet they lead happy, fulfilling lives. How do they do it?
There are groups, clubs, organizations, mentors, networking meetings and plenty of loving, caring, supportive people out there ready, willing and able to offer advice and assistance. We can learn how others got through it and came out on the other side successfully. Ask questions. Lean on friends for help and support. That's what friends are for. Make new friends, too. Stick close to positive, encouraging people. Ditch the naysayers and the negative people. We're never alone and now is not the time to be alone. We need to resist the temptation to isolate ourselves during difficult times. Get out and have fun.
Step Four: Focus on other people.
I said it earlier and I will say it again: someone else always has it much worse! Sometimes I become so consumed, I actually forget those around me who are suffering. I have a house, heat, food in my fridge and my health. Some people aren't so lucky.
When we think about others and their problems, ours become less significant. Volunteering our time, donating to charities, taking a neighbor grocery shopping, participating in causes we believe in, reading to an elderly person, or delivering a container of homemade soup to a sick friend--this is what life should be about. When we give of our time, love and resources, we get so much back in return. When we give when we don't have, we get even more. I am not saying we should give with ulterior motives. It's just a simple law of nature: when we take the focus off ourselves and put it on someone else, things have a tendency to fall into place.
Number Five: Develop a Spiritual Practice.
I promise not to "get all religious" but who hasn't whispered a prayer to something or someone out there during difficult times? Pray, meditate, do yoga, go to church, listen to music that feeds your soul, read inspirational books like the Bible, The Bhagavad Gita, The Essential Rumi, or just sit in silence in the woods or by the ocean. Set aside time to stop, look, and listen. These are spiritual practices- the time when we turn everything off and tap into something greater: God, Spirit, the Universe. I call it God but what ever it is to you--just do it! A spiritual practice calms us and brings peace. A spiritual practice can help us find solutions our problems, lessons in our trials, even joy in the midst of pain.
In the end, do I really want to give someone else my problems? No. You might be wishing to take mine over yours any day. I will keep them, thank you very much. And practicing these five steps won't necessarily convert or take away my problems. But they will convert me.
And this is my Daily Cyn.....