Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Please STOP.

Rock bottom.  When you get down to nothin’?  You got nothin’ to lose.  Thank you Wynnona Judd for pointing out that a “dead end street is just a place to turn around.”  I needed that.  For awhile now I’ve strung together a series of difficult days and I don’t mind telling you that it is often impossible to find any bloody bootstraps, much less pull oneself up by them.

While I know the phrase “This too, shall pass” (all too well) must I be the one to point out that things that pass are often incredibly painful?  Kidney stones, unhappy objects in the intestinal tract… I won’t go on.

The problem with life’s pain is that you can’t always gauge its stages until you’ve come through on the other side, have a chance to look back and think, “Well, that wasn’t the WORSE thing ever.”  But, you know what?  Sometimes, it does turn out to be the worst thing ever.  Whether it is or isn’t, while you’re in the middle of whatever pain you’re in, it seems insurmountable at the time and nobody can tell you otherwise.

Bobbing around on the internet’s social waves I often read the postings of people wading through pain and heartache.  Later on, once they’ve caught their breath, I smile to see that they managed to recover and move forward.  It is especially rewarding when you can actually see how they managed to get through, reading posts from friends and loved ones, watching the support that helped float them across the difficult patch.

Myself, I learned a wonderful acronym from a friend that I’ve used repeatedly over the years when my heart hurt so badly that I thought I could not go on: H.A.L.T.  These four letters ask you to stop, assess and eliminate four factors that can make some pretty dark times unnecessarily darker.  Not every problem can be solved with this simple tool, but a lifetime of experience has taught me that if doesn’t bring the issue to a screeching halt, it will at least give your head and heart enough space to move forward toward making things better.

You see, when we are in emotional, spiritual or psychic pain, there are four basic needs that impede our ability to see clearly if we don’t tend to those needs.  Once we do, we are often stronger and better prepared to handle whatever has pinned our hearts to the wall.  This is how it works: It is nearly impossible to deal with any pain when we are —

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired 

Think about it.  For starters, how many times have you found yourself cranky and irritable for no other reason than you skipped a meal or didn’t get enough to eat at whatever meal you did consume?  Low blood sugar can cause symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, shakiness, light-headedness, weakness, etc.  It is very difficult to take on the world with an empty stomach, especially if the weight of the world is sitting on your shoulders.  For goodness sake, man!  Grab an apple or something, will ya?

Hostility, frustration and fury.  Good ol’ garden variety anger that just gums up the works.  Many times we don’t even know what we’re angry about because it is so easy to lose sight of the point of origin.  If we can somehow calm those raging feelings (see, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anger-management/MH00102 for tools to do so) we might cool our jets enough to help us deal with the true issues at hand more rationally and realistically.

Misery might love its company, but surrounding yourself with people who care about you truly does provide assistance in carrying a load you can’t handle alone.  Not that you should put yourself in a situation where you have people-more-miserable-than- you at your side (as that can just exacerbate things), but being solitary in your pain makes everything seem worse that it probably really is.  Being with people can provide warmth and objectivity to see your situation through another set of eyes, usually less bleary and fatigued than your own.

And speaking of bleary eyes, viewing the world and your current situation while exhausted can give you a distorted sense of how things really are.  You become a little like those Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels, about to be stepped on by what you think are giant problems.  A good night’s rest (sometimes a few strung together, if you can) can spin the telescope in the other direction and you become stronger and better equipped to conquer whatever is in your path.

You, who are hurting, know that with all the love I have in my heart – I’m shouting at you!  Hacer alto!  Anhalten!  Faire halte!  These are words that go together well, all to get you to H.A.L.T. and catch your breath so that you can move forward.  

Heaven knows, I may need you to shout back at me from time to time.

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