As Easter slides into the past, with the chocolate eggs and bunnies are all eaten, the rest of the long weekend quickly forgotten and now we return to “normal” life. The mundane get up, go to work, come home routine that holds no joy, no job satisfaction and no hope for the future. Obviously that is not everybody, but of their desperation one person asked me “Is this all there is to life?” What we have is the result of our choices, but the good news is, there is hope because we can choose to change our attitudes and actions! That is much easier to say than do, and if you are like me, you need to change your actions first! But where do you start? Here are three suggestions:
1. Connect! When I am feeling down I tend to cut myself off from the people who care about me and could help me. We all need someone who will just listen to us non-judgementally and accept us for who we are. We all need someone to tell us that we are OK and the way we feel is not the whole picture. Find somebody who will not just tell you what to do, but someone who will sit beside you and share your pain.
2. Create! When I’m struggling to move forward I need to get things out of my head and make something! I play with words in my journal trying to express how I feel. Others use their journals to draw pictures to express feelings, but both can be used to make sense of what is bottled up inside. To calm the mind I also find spinning wool or making something on my wood turning lathe very therapeutic.
3. Compassion! Maybe you need to get the focus off yourself and help somebody else. You are not the only person with problems, so showing some concern and empathy to another person may help to keep your own issues in perspective. But don’t go it alone, do it as part of a team and tackle something big!
Finding meaning and purpose in life is more complex than these three simple steps, particularly if you have allowed yourself to get to a very low level. However, to grow your resilience you have to start where you are and work on the basics. Wholeness and wellness may seem illusive but it is possible to get joy back in your life so you can really live and not just exist. Easter reminds us that Jesus is alive and he wants to work a miracle in your life but you have to take steps to connect. He offers to create a new life in you and empower you to show compassion to those around you. If you are failing going it alone why not ask for some help. What have you got to lose???
Padre Ian Whitley AM