Growing up my mom taught us that Sundays are for re-grouping; and in my house re-grouping is defined as getting your life together and preparing for the week ahead. I can’t think of a better way to get my life together or prepare for the week ahead than to work on my soul.
I love a good weekend, although like everyone else, my idea of a “good weekend” has evolved over the years. These days my Sundays are usually filled with deep cleaning my 200-square-foot apartment, spending time with my pup Skyy, and watching Super Soul Sunday* It wasn’t always that way however, in the words of my mama Kath, I’m a work in progress [cupid shuffling through life].
My life shifted on October 11th 2013, the day before my cousin Hillary’s wedding. I was walking Skyy on our normal route through Old Town and feeling sorry for myself. Still drowning in grief from losing my sister earlier that summer to cancer, I found myself thinking about all the things that had gone wrong over the last year. I was so overwhelmed, exhausted, and sad. I mean, 29 was supposed to be my year. My theory was that if you ever ask a woman how old she is they always reply 29; so something good must be happening in that last year of your 20’s or women would pick a different year. So there I was, 10 months into the year 2013, thinking about how the shitty column was going to to take the lead on my yearly outcome tally. Then I had an “aha moment”.
I realized that just because a few months of my 29th year sucked (I mean reeeeeeeeally sucked) didn’t mean the rest of my year, or life for that matter, had to. The other thing that the next day, October 12th, would not only be my cousins wedding day and future anniversary date but also the first day of the second half of my 29th year (if you haven’t figured it out yet, my birthday is April 12th). A few things happened when Skyy and I got back from that walk:
- I promised myself that I would change my life the next day, October 12th starting at 12:00am.
- I cried.
- Skyy and I had Hamburger Helper for dinner in bed (this is not uncommon).
So on October 12th I made the conscious decision to be happy and got to work on myself. I started reading, writing, and living. I started to realize that I am a part of something greater. A little over two weeks later on October 31st I wrote in my journal just three sentences, “I’m grateful for Key West. I’m getting it. I’m feeling so many aha moments its crazy”. And that’s the truth. I realized that just because happiness wasn’t showing up in my life the same ways it had before it was still there, and I began to find happiness and strength in routine and nature. I started to take everything in because the realness and the closeness of the death of my sister made me realize that nothing is forever or for sure and not to take a single moment for granted. I finally got it.
By nature, human existence is trials and disappointment, the trick is to find joy on the other side. Elizabeth Lesser, author and one of my favorite spiritual teachers, says that “God does not waste a hurt. Usually when you come out on the other side of pain, grief, and hardship there is something wonderful waiting for you.”
Crazy things happen when you start to focus on yourself and even deeper, on your soul. I started taking my dog on longer, more frequent walks, and appreciating the simple things in life like a good cup of coffee and a smile and hello from a stranger. Most importantly, I became genuinely happy and lighthearted. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t walk around for 29.5 years scowling and mad at the world; it just took me that long to start living in the moment instead of worrying about everything that was to come. Words to the wise: “Worrying is like a rocking chair, you can do it all day and it won’t get you anywhere”.
*Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is hands down my favorite show on television and become a tool I use to help re-center myself. If you haven’t tuned in yet, #getwiththegets. She’s introducing spiritual leaders and topics to the masses and taking the digital world by storm. Recently voted the #1 Inspirational Channel on cable television and if you don’t get her cable channel OWN you can now tune in live on her website, Oprah.com.