Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sustainability for Hard Days: Summer is Coming

Yesterday we talked about preparing for winter during summer, or putting sustainable life habits in place when times are good to get us through the inevitable bad days to come. Read it here. This is a concept that I first heard from Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins' mentor. Of course, nature provides so many examples of preparing for winter during summer.

But what do we do when it is winter?

Today we do the opposite. If you are in the midst of a hard time focus on the fact that summer is coming. If your worst day is today, you need hope. If you are struggling through a very hard time now, remember, winter doesn't last forever.

I know it feels like it will.

I don't presume to know the depth or fierceness of your winter. You may be facing something harder than I have ever known, but I implore you not to give up hope.

Hopelessness is not sustainable.

Hopelessness is more powerful than whatever trauma, grief, or depression you are facing. Losing hope is the real danger. Many of the worst things that happen in this world are born out of hopelessness that things can improve.

Remember hard times you've been through before and how you overcame them. If you have journals to look back on you can review events that laid you low before and how you recovered from them.

Now is the time to drive home hard the points from yesterday.

Now is the time to call out to friends for help and rally your tribe. Going through hard times together forges strong friendships and relationships. Now is the time to grab your Bible off the shelf to revive your spirit and faith. Now is the time to dig deep and imagine a time in the future when you will be stronger and better when this is over.

Here's an exercise I do when things are hard: 

Sit quietly and take deep breaths.  Place your hand on your heart and imagine the breath coming in going to your heart and swirling around, cleaning out all the pain you are feeling...exhale. Keep doing this and remember the happiest moment of your life. Recreate the experience in your mind, recalling it in as much detail as you can. Breathe. How do you feel? 

You can change the way you feel by your focus. Remember another time you were full of joy. Breathe. Imagine it in all the detail you can. Feel the bliss of the moment. Recall feeling blessed and loved and loving. 

Hold those feelings in your heart and mind and imagine tossing a life preserver into the future attached to a golden thread. It unfurls and flies high and far, sparkling in the sunlight. You are holding on tight to the end of the glittering thread for dear life, but the other end is sailing into a time when whatever you are facing now has passed. The life preserving end of your golden thread has landed in a future summer. Imagine yourself as you hope to be then. Empowered. Strong. Healed. Whole.

Just like summer didn't last, winter won't either. It's just when the thaw comes and your life smells like honeysuckle and sunshine again, you are going to be so much stronger and resilient than you are today.

What has kept you afloat through dark days? I'd love to hear how you have coped with tragedy and overcome defeat! 

For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land... Song of Solomon



  1. I keep moving my body and hands. I go outside and see how nature copes and flourishes. I pray. I meditate. I paint and paint and then paint some more.

    1. I'll bet a lot of creativity comes out of those times! And when the winter passes you have something to show for it!

  2. Shortly after my divorce in 2003, while my young son and I lived with my parents, I would go on extra-long walks by myself. Nature and the cassette tape of a mens' choir singing and reading Scripture passages healed my spirit greatly, renewed my strength as the year went on. So thankful for that season of rest while grieving. PTL for supportive parents & grandparents~

    1. Life can be hard, can't it? It sounds like you intuitively knew what your heart and mind needed to do to help yourself heal. Thank you so much for sharing!


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