In light of the last post, the Holy Mole’ cartoon strip below seemed unbelievably timely.
I just wanted to say thanks again to Rick Hotton, the talented artist behind these outstanding comic strips, for sharing them with Self Help Daily. I’m so grateful. Just thinking about these amazing characters makes me smile!
When our girls were little, they loved going to parks and playgrounds. It was exhausting just watching them run from one thing to the next. Naturally, they wanted to make it as challenging as possible on their young, overly protective parents – so they’d each head off in different directions.
Emily’s favorite playground destination was the swings. Stephany’s was the merry-go-round. Brittany’s was whichever one she happened to be on at the time.
Stephany, the youngest, always had to do what her big sisters did. Never mind the fact that she was younger, smaller, and in her mother’s play book, supposed to stay a baby. When she wasn’t much bigger than a penguin, Steph decided that she wanted to master the monkey bars as beautifully as Emily and Brittany had.
Her little arms could barely even reach, so her daddy and I would hold her up there trying to encourage her to go from rung to rung.
The thing was, she never wanted to let go of the first one. Emily would stand nearby coaching her, “Steph! You have to let go of THIS one so you can reach out for THAT one.” Brittany would have echoed the sentiments but she would have had to slow down from warp speed to do so.
Still not happening.
So, we had one little live wire bopping from one thing to the next, a daddy smiling because everything “the baby” did was too cute to believe, one tiny life coach with all the answers (if only little sister would listen) and one mother telling her youngest child, “That’s okay, baby, let’s go sit down. Big bad playground.”
I’m reasonable like that.
Stephany and her monkey bars actually make a perfect illustration for those of us who are much bigger. Much older. We all have certain areas in life where someone could very well yell out to us, “You have to let go of THIS one so you can reach out for THAT one!”
Very often, the secret to success and the key to overcoming life’s setbacks lie in these simple words: Let go and move on.
Some people have trouble moving on from a broken relationship. This particular refusal to let go and move on drives me all kinds of crazy. What kind of happiness and joy could they be missing out on?! If they keep looking back, they just might miss something beautiful right in front of them. The one person in the world who could make them forget all about the other one might be just around the corner.
What a shame it’d be to miss them!
Some people are guilty of doing what I call an Emotional Return to the Scene of the Crime. Something bad happened to them (loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, loss of a dream house, loss of a job, financial catastrophe, business failure….) but instead of letting go and moving on, they sort of keep one hand on the rung in the past.
Some people hold on so tightly and for so long it’s a wonder their hand doesn’t fuse to the symbolic rung.
As long as you hold on to something behind you, you aren’t completely free to reach out to what’s in front of you. I’m all for putting up a good fight and I’m all about perseverance but, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s time to just let go.
If you can think of anything you’ve been clinging to that you know – in your heart of hearts – is holding you back, please consider declaring your freedom from it today. Let go. Move on. Be free.
“You have to let go of THIS one so you can reach out for THAT one!”
Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know of no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater their power to harm us. – Voltaire
We have all had our fair share of disappointments, losses, broken dreams, and shattered hopes. None of us will get out of this life without our “stories to tell.” Whether it’s health problems, the loss of loved ones, broken relationships, personal losses, or (when fate is particularly cranky), a wicked combination of all of the above… none of us are disaster virgins.
If you are reading these words and you’ve recently been dealt one of these blows to your life, take heart. Life may have knocked you to the ground, but you don’t have to stay there. You can start your climb back to the top starting today – IF that’s what you decide to do.
See, all things in life begin with a decision, a choice. When life puts the smack down on us, we have a clear cut choice to make:
- Stay Down
- Get Up
Here’s a simple little plan – one that will help you climb out of the pit and put you firmly on safe ground in no time at all.
- First of all, decide if you’re going to get up or stay down.
- If the answer to #1 is get up, keep reading! If you decide to stay down, you can stop reading right now and go back to bed. Sadly, life will go on without you but you won’t go on without getting up.
- When you make the decision to “get up,” you’ll instantly feel a little better. Why? You’ve taken control of the situation. Whatever events led you to the pit may have been completely out of your hands. But now, you’re back in control of your own life and your own destiny. When you say, “I WILL GET UP!,” you’re already well on your way.
- You’ll need strength for the climb. If I had plans, this evening, to go outside and walk for 2 hours, I’d need strength to pull it off (and a couple of miracles, but that’s another story). I wouldn’t be able to just prance out the door and hit the happy trail as is. I’d need to make certain I was sufficiently hydrated, well rested, and my body would insist that I”d eaten right during the day. I’d need STRENGTH for those 2 hours of walking. The same holds true when we’re trying to get our feet beneath us after a major loss or disappointment. Determine where you get your STRENGTH from. Is it from prayer, loved ones, meditation, sleep, coffee, chocolate (!!!), or all of the above? Yes, please. Determine where your own personal well of STRENGTH is, grab the biggest bucket you can find, and run (don’t walk) to your well. Fill ‘er up!
- Look in the right direction. Many, many, many, many people make the same mistake after turmoil: They keep looking back at it. I did this when I lost both of my parents. I kept thinking, “What if I’d MADE my mom go to the doctor sooner?… What if my dad had seen a different doctor…” – that sort of thing. I spent weeks with these thoughts and they made my recovery from the losses slower and even more painful. I created, in my mind, a scenario where I could have changed the outcomes – made the losses never happen at all. Basically, I put myself through hell and it most certainly never brought my mom or dad back. Quite possibly, a case could be made that I kept them from “resting in peace.” Why? Because I couldn’t rest with the loss. When something happens to us that knocks us down, we have to find a way to rest with the loss. If we don’t, we just keep reliving the nightmare over and over and over again. Unfortunately, each time we rehash or relive it, it’s as though it’s happening all over again. Our mind keeps replaying the emotions and heartache – and each time FEELS the loss all over again. This is why it’s imperative that we look in the right direction, which is of course FORWARD and not BACK.
- Find things that make you smile. That sounds about as simple as scratching an itch, doesn’t it? But, trust me, it’s something that will help you rediscover life again. When you’re trying to discover how to be happy and excited about life again, you literally have to make your face smile. Once it remembers how good it feels to be happy, it’ll want more of it! Whether this means going to a movie, watching favorite re-runs, reading a good book, or talking with people who always give you a lift – dive right in! Find reasons to smile and, before you know it, you’ll be smiling without reason.
- Be active. Not only is exercise great for your physical and mental health – it’s just as good for your emotional health. Exercise is a natural antidepressant. Studies prove it: Exercise reduces stress levels and prompts the body to release chemicals that make you feel good. Get moving and grooving and let those giddy little chemicals show you the way.
- Look ahead and keep looking ahead until you arrive safely. I know I’ve covered this one before, but as someone who has been on the front lines, I can tell you that it’s worth repeating. Don’t look back at the loss or the disappointment. I knew a woman over 15 years ago who wanted another child. She had 2 boys and desperately wanted a baby girl. She was a very religious and spiritual woman who prayed and longed for a daughter. She once told me and another woman that she’d spent so many years longing for what she didn’t have that she often wondered if she showed how truly appreciative she was for what she did have. Don’t ever present yourself with that question. Don’t look back at a loss. If you’ve lost a loved one, look back at their life with joy and happiness – not back at the loss with regrets or questions. If, like the lady in the example above, your loss is the loss of a dream – don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have. Remember: If you didn’t have these things, they’d be dreams!
Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll. – Author Unknown
I know there are people reading these words right now who are trying to find their way out of a pit. I just want to tell you that you can make it! I also want to remind you that the climb is worthwhile. Don’t stay down and don’t give up. You have far too many beautiful things to see and far too many wonderful things to do to stay on your back in a pit. Put the loss and the pit in your rear view mirror then put some distance between you and both of them.
The good stuff is up ahead, keep going until you get there.
(More Quotes about Adversity)
Once my husband and I were flat out in the middle of nowhere – in beautiful rural Kentucky. We were somewhere between home (Owensboro, Kentucky) and our home away from home (Land Between the Lakes and Kentucky Lake). All of a sudden, the car was filled with a heavenly aroma – easily identified to a citizen of Owensboro… Barbecue. Just as I was wondering if my husband caught a whiff of the same amazing smell, he promptly turned the car around and we went back for a sandwich!
It was beyond spectacular and we have, most definitely, been back. After all, we know where it is: Three and a half miles past the end of the earth.
I got such a kick out of finding such a Heavenly, family-owned barbecue joint in such an unexpected place.
That sort of thing happens a lot with motivation and inspiration. I suppose it’s more prominent if you spend the majority of your time thinking and writing about such things, as I do – but I’m confronted with motivation and inspiration every single day and in the most unexpected places.
A few examples:
- In our neck of the woods, we had a horrific ice storm earlier this year. People in our beautiful state were without electricity for days and even weeks. Trees, grass, fences, vehicles, and everything else that didn’t move were encased in ice. It was gorgeous right up until everything went (and stayed) dark and cold. When spring finally came to Kentucky, I walked around our yard celebrating its arrival. I love trees almost as much as I do animals, and I was really worried about the 20-plus trees in our yard. There was something so profoundly beautiful and touching about what I saw: Little buds springing forth from the most weathered, crooked and beaten limbs imaginable. Somehow, even after taking the beating of their life, the trees had found the will to keep fighting. Sure enough, they were green and gorgeous all spring and summer. In fact, it seems to me that our apple and pear trees gave more fruit that ever as they celebrated being alive. Survival makes you stronger, whether you’re a tree or a human being.
- More recently, as I headed to one of these fruit trees to grab a healthy nibble after a 45 minute walk, I noticed from a distance an unsightly heap of rotten pears at the base of the beautiful pear tree. For an instant, I thought about getting a rake and heaving the nastiness elsewhere. However, as I got closer, the unsightly view became one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen. There were hundreds of the most vividly beautiful and amazing butterflies imaginable enjoying what, to me, had been an eyesore. No artist on earth could have created the beauty that was buzzing around those fallen pears. One of my cats (Hannah) and I literally sat on the ground and watched in wonder. There were some colors on these butterflies that I’m not sure even have names! I may have mentioned this before on Self Help Daily – whenever I see a butterfly, my mind thinks, “Somewhere a miracle is happening.” That thought stream simply added to the wonder. The most beautiful moments in life are often where we least expect them. That’s why it pays to always keep looking up and looking forward!
Motivation from the Mayor Of Bowling Green, Kentucky
One of my blogs is a Kentucky blog (Genuine Kentucky), so I often receive news alerts as well as personal “Check this out!” messages from around the state. Recently I followed one of these links, prepared to run the story on Genuine Kentucky. However, halfway through the story, I knew I’d be coming here first.
The story was titled, “Stimulate Yourself.” It’s about small and mid-size towns in Kentucky finding ways to cope with our challenging economic times. The author of the article tells how he has met with various mayors and city officials around the state to discuss the economy as well as President Obama’s stimulus package. The mayors and city officials each told the author that they haven’t really seen any change.
Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Mayor, Elaine Walker is quoted as saying, “We didn’t see much of anything. The money went to the state and was siphoned off by them. We got about zero from it.”
However, Mayor Walker was not overly upset about the lack of federal assistance for Bowling Green. Instead, the self-described supporter of President Obama (in a part of the country that mostly supported McCain) seems, as the article words it, more disposed to taking matters into her own hands. Rather than waiting for Obama, Bowling Green is looking to stimulate itself…
The mayor didn’t sing a sad song, she was too busy making, and carrying out, plans. She didn’t have a finger free to point at anyone – all 10 were busy working. If you think about it, if someone has a finger free to point at someone – doesn’t that indicate that it isn’t in use? Idle hands and idle minds are the devil’s workshop – mark it down, nothing good ever comes from either.
The article then goes on to detail what Mayor Walker has in mind – how she plans to stimulate Bowling Green’s economy, diversify, and boost small local businesses.
Whether it’s on an individual, family, city, or state level – those who will survive and dare to prosper are those who will put on their boots and march… even if it is uphill. The survivors will be the ones who’s hands are too busy to stop long enough to point fingers -whether their toward President Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or the Middle East. It’ll be the individuals who, like my own husband, look for creative approaches to saving money and making more. The people who are up to the challenge and who, on a most unusual level, welcome the underdog status! They’re like, “I’ll show you down and out!”
Think about it: If a flood came to your town, what would you do? Would you stand still as the water rose – looking for who you can pin the blame on? Would you rant and rave about politicians and policies? Would you keep shaking your fist at Iraq? Would you debate where the water came from? Would you stand around waiting for someone to save you when you were perfectly capable of saving yourself?
Not unless you were a complete and perfect moron.
Don’t wait for anyone else to save you. Be your own hero.