One of the nice things about life is the ability to learn – to learn new things as well as learn from mistakes and grow from experiences. When my heart is heavy and the future feels bleakly uncertain, I have a list of activities that I fall back on to lift my sagging shoulders, including:
– Going to Ground. I literally sit on the floor. I sit to eat dinner at the coffee table, when talking to family on the phone, when outside; I sit to craft and pet my cat and make lists. The solidity underneath me is comforting.
– Saying Yes. Apparently there’s a book about this (and a poorly interpreted movie) called, fittingly, Yes Man, by Danny Wallace. When a girlfriend asked me on Saturday afternoon if was around for a drink, I said yes, even though it was not convenient per se. Who cares if the laundry doesn’t get done today? People are important. When I was invited to an impromptu brunch while still streaming sweat down my face from a spin class on Sunday, I said yes. Join you and your mom for an opera? Sure. Try yoga on the mall? Okay. Talk to a stranger at the grocery store about my banana purchase? Why not? I am more open to experiences when my heart is hurting, and saying yes is a way I stay connected.
– Drinking Less. I know, I know – this is apparently antithetical advice for a breakup. But really, I don’t enjoy drinking by myself as much as I do with others. Feeling buzzed alone doesn’t result in more fun, laughter, jokes or silly antics; it results in me feeling light-headed, sad and lonely – and then promptly falling asleep in my clothes on the couch. Giggles are best shared. Why else do you think karaoke is synonymous with drinking? (This guy is an apparent exception to this rule, as he seems very, very happy to belt out Bohemian Rhapsody while drunk as a skunk in the back of a police car).
– Remembering my Fortune. Not in a Pollyanna, everything-is-wonderful-all-the-time kind of way, but consciously thinking about the good things in my life. A reminder of how fortunate we are, from Danniel Dennet’s Freedom Evolves:
“Every living thing is, from the cosmic perspective, incredibly lucky simply to be alive. Most, 90 percent and more, of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without viable offspring, but not a single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of life on Earth, suffered that normal misfortune. You spring from an unbroken line of winners going back millions of generations, and those winners were, in every generation, the luckiest of the lucky, one out of a thousand or even a million. So however unlucky you may be on some occasion today, your presence on the planet testifies to the role luck has played in your past.”
And if all else fails, I keep in mind something my Mom says: “This too shall pass.”