by Cheryl Jones
Sometimes our life lessons come in beautifully wrapped packages with pretty bows on top. Other times, they come in brown greasy French fry bags. I’ve had my share of both and you probably have, too.
How we handle what life presents us matters. It is the difference between surviving and thriving. Even in the midst of crisis, we can have moments where we thrive. The choices we make while we’re in survival mode can lay the foundation for us to thrive when we finally get to shore. Thriving is about rising up with greater resilience, clarity, and compassion.
In 2001, my husband was indicted for a range of white-collar crimes. It was a shocking, embarrassing, painful, stressful time for my family and me. We went through multiple losses in a short period of time. He went to prison. We got divorced. I received no divorce settlement, no alimony, and no child support. At the time I was a stay-at-home mom. I had to file for bankruptcy. I sold all my possessions to survive. I was a solo parent for 10 years. My cosmic egg was surely cracked.
Loss is part of being human. The first step to thriving is to recognize the loss we have experienced. When we think of loss, we usually think of death. But human beings we suffer all kinds of losses: divorce or a breakup, infertility, aging, a health issue, losing a job, drug addiction, incarceration, changing homes, changing lifestyle, changing family unit, or any dream that hasn’t come true.
Mindfulness can help us process loss and make the journey from surviving to thriving. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, the one we’re in right now. It’s about noticing what’s happening within us and around us with patience and kindness. Mindfulness helps us heal rather than seal our wounds. We learn to accommodate loss into the whole of our beings.
Mindfulness helps us practice a high level of self-care. When our cosmic eggs are cracked, things feel like they are spinning out of control. But the one we always have control of is how we handle ourselves. I was told children only need one grounded parent; I wanted to be that parent. So I tended to my own well-being from hiking trails to my yoga mat. I meditated before, during, and after everything. I kept putting the oxygen mask on myself first. I didn’t have a nervous breakdown, I didn’t need medication, and I slept. I’m not saying this to boast; it is simply my truth.
I’ve learned that sometimes things need to be completely dismantled before something new can be built. Whatever has caused your cosmic egg to crack can be transformed into the energy you need to lay down the pathway to a new chapter. You can evolve from surviving to thriving.