KEEPING THE FAITH ALIVE
The most asked question, biggest complaint, stickiest wicket of this work or any self-improvement path is always, “I keep trying, I keep asking, I keep trying to be grateful, I keep trying to hold faith, have trust, ask for what I need and want and actively pursue it, but it somehow it continues to evade me. I can’t make it work. It’s useless. I’m useless. What is the point? I might as well give up.”
These doubts and feelings of failure take people right to the land of self-loathing. Self-loathing is often a one-way ticket to giving up. But it is very important to understand that having days, months or even years where things don’t work out the way we want is not unusual: In fact it is normal. Sometimes all the affirming, positive thinking, good acts doing, issue -owning actions don’t move the universe exactly the way we want, exactly when we want it.
It is in these times that we are truly tested. It is in these times that we must do the ultimate high wire act; we acknowledge things are not to our liking, but we can’t go to the place of allowing ourselves to lose our faith, our minds, our grip. We cannot accuse ourselves of doing life badly. We can be fed up. But we cannot give up.
Finding our way and making it all work never happens overnight and it is never permanent. One day is good, the next often not so good. There are days when we all get so tired and so frustrated that all we want to do is crawl under the covers. And that is OK. It is just fine to crawl under the covers and go – I’ve had it. I’m upset. Sad. Pissed off at myself, my boss, my mom, my spouse, my kids, the world.
But then it’s imperative to have the courage to crawl back out. The very act of crawling out from under the covers and facing another day is a perfectly adequate act of courage and trust. It is a sign of strength. Do not beat yourself up for crawling under the metaphoric or literal covers. Go there and examine why you are there. Feel what you are feeling. But give yourself a time limit and then crawl out. Sometimes that hibernation period is exactly what you need.
Some things do not change as quickly as we would like, other people, situations, our own attitude, fears and demons.
But that is just life. And those who work programs and try and improve and try to trust find it’s not that easy as the world is always throwing so many stumbling blocks in our way. It’s truly much easier to give in than to hang in.
If it were easy everyone would be peaceful over anxious, kind over mean; trusting over doubting; faithful over fearful; disciplined over lazy.
The low road is far easier to get to, or it would not be low. We have to step up high to travel the high road. And it’s much harder to stay there. The high road is a reach or it would not be high. But that is our work and our journey, to travel the high road even when we find ourselves on the low one. And some days it is far easier than others.
There is a lovely new TV show on Netflix called The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s about a girl who was forced to live under ground as part of a goofy cult for twelve years. When she gets out she decides that if she survived the cult she can make it in New York.
The show is about her finding her way despite being faced with never the ending obstacles TV writers and life create.
Kimmy has something called the ten-second rule. She says anybody can get through anything in ten seconds. So if you are having a really hard time and in the middle of something you feel you cannot get through or will never end just count to ten. And once those ten seconds are up, you start over and count to ten again. You keep doing this until whatever you are going through ends, be it a panic attack, a fight, fears, anger, lack of faith….It’s only for ten seconds…then ten more, it makes life totally doable.
In recovery it’s a day at a time. But sometimes even a day is too long a time frame to think in.
Sometimes we have to access our inner Kimmy Schmidt and deal with smaller chunks of time, ten seconds, ten minutes, ten hours.
I’m really upset now. I don’t trust now, I don’t believe this will work out, but I won’t feel this way forever.
Then count to ten. Then count to ten again. And keep counting, before you know it you will find yourself back on the high road.
Kimmy counted her way through twelve years of being a hostage. That’s a lot of ten seconds…I know it’s TV but there is great wisdom in that thought. And it can totally be applied to gratitude and trust.