Navigating Challenging Times

western north carolina view

The most challenging time to let go and trust is when you feel you have no control over what’s happening. And that most certainly describes the times we find ourselves in.

Not only have we lost a sense of control, we’ve given up many of the freedoms we take for granted. Going to work, out to dinner, shopping, to the gym, even hiking. Getting a haircut, spending time with friends and family, sharing hugs and handshakes, doing volunteer work.

On top of all this we’re surrounded by more and more negativity every day. Yes, there are certainly heartwarming stories of people rising above and doing good, but it’s pretty hard to escape the negativity in the news, in politics, and online.

The unfortunate side effect of letting all this negativity take hold, and allowing it to shift our energy, is that it breeds more negativity. It’s too easy for that to turn into anger, frustration, and other unsupportive and potentially destructive thoughts and behaviors.

After seven weeks of isolating on my mountaintop, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of accepting the situation and staying positive. I was inspired to spend my time working and creating. I’ve been productive. I feel good about the work I’ve been doing. I’ve even been enjoying it. Truth be told, the forced time at home has given me the opportunity to complete several big projects I’ve been contemplating for a long time, but just never seemed to find the time to do. And that felt good.

Still, at nearly two months in, with the future still hanging in the balance, I recognized myself getting restless.

Perhaps because I just completed a big project, and found myself a little lost as to what to do next. Perhaps because of the uncertainty. I’ve written a lot in the past about how unsettling I’ve found those in-between spaces, when I don’t have a clear sense of direction about what’s next. When I feel uninspired.

Or perhaps I’m feeling restless simply because I’m human.

Even though I’ve been writing for years about living positively and letting go and trusting, sometimes it’s hard to practice in real life. Even after 10+ years of practice, I still fall down sometimes. I still let life get the best of me. I still get sucked into the negativity. I still allow it to take me out. I still allow it to let me become someone I do not want to be.

This week something happened that put me over the top.

As if the pandemic weren’t enough to deal with, a student contacted me and told me another online entrepreneur was using my content within her online course. This woman had taken nine pages of my content, and two of my proprietary processes, from one of my online courses, and was passing it off as her own. She even replaced my copyright with her own.

This isn’t the first time my online work has been stolen.

But it took me out more this time than it has in the past. It put me into an angry funk for several days. I felt powerless, and quite frankly, vengeful. It was this type of unscrupulous behavior that almost drove me from my business years ago. This incident reminded me there are still people who will do anything to make money, including stealing other people’s hard work. I felt disillusioned and defeated. I had just spent weeks working to make my content better, and creating new content that I decided to give away for free, and this felt like a great big slap in the face.

I hated feeling this way.

I’ve worked hard for many years to move past that negative, disillusioned place that I first found myself in back in 2009. To recognize those people will always be out there, but I can choose to be someone who stands for integrity and creates and offers content that serves people. To trust even though I will probably never understand why those people do what they do, I can accept it is their path. And, to know that I always have control over whether or not I let those people affect my attitude and the work I choose to do.

I have taken the steps I need to take and now it’s time to let go.

The damage to my psyche isn’t worth hanging onto the anger. Yes, I hope the people in control of allowing her to continue sharing my content will do something about it. But I’ve done all I can do toward that end. Yes, I hope she will comply with the cease and desist order I sent, and she’ll wake up and realize what she’s done is wrong and hurtful and yes, even illegal. But I also know that may not happen.

I have accepted this and chosen to focus on looking for the gifts instead.

Being quarantined at home for seven weeks has made me appreciate the beauty and quiet of my surroundings even more. As I’ve often quipped to others, “if I have to shelter in place, this is a pretty nice place to do so.”

While I can’t go out hiking, I’m grateful for the mountaintop view I get to enjoy out my living room window every single day.

While my husband’s future employment is uncertain, this time at home has given him more time to spruce up our landscaping, a project that was already on our agenda for this spring.

It’s made me aware I need to spend less time online and more time in the real world, because that’s where I’m happiest.

It’s reminded me of the benefits of my daily meditation and journaling, both of which have fallen by the wayside in recent months. I’ve recommitted to starting my day with these two supportive activities instead of diving headfirst into social media, email, and work.

It’s gotten me back into reading uplifting books and realizing how important messages of positivity are, at all times, but especially during trying times.

It’s gotten me back out running, something I haven’t done since we moved here nearly two years ago. And, even though it’s been challenging because it’s been so long, it’s been a great reminder of how therapeutic running is for me.

No, we can’t control what’s going on in the world now, or really ever.

There will always be things we don’t like and wish weren’t happening. We can’t control other people, and there will always be people who do things we don’t understand, and that may hurt others or us.

Ultimately it’s up to us whether or not we choose to focus on the negativity these events and people foster.

It’s up to us whether or not we allow them to take us out mentally or emotionally.

As challenging as it may be sometimes, we can choose to rise above it all.

We can choose to let it go.

We can choose to trust things will work out.

Even if we can’t possibly see how, right now.

And, there is one thing we can know for sure.

Life will change going forward. How, or how much, no one knows for certain. But if we allow ourselves to go with the flow, instead of fighting the changes, we can find peace.

At least that’s what I’m choosing to believe right now. Because when I do, the anger and negativity subside and are replaced with peace.

4 thoughts on “Navigating Challenging Times”

  1. I so much agree with your movement forward, Debbie. I’ve been through several truly low points in my life and learned, also, that moving past the anger and hurt is best. It took a long time for me to let go of what I could not control and allow myself to feel joy.

    You’re right, if we have to stay in place, this is a good place to be. My husband, critters and gardens bring me joy every day. I love to read and knit and now knitting for a purpose (mask extenders for health-care providers and others in need) is bringing me happiness. We are so fortunate to live in the age of email, easy telephone access and on-line meets where we can see and speak with our friends.

    I have loved getting to know you more and more and so appreciate you.

    1. Thanks for sharing Les. I agree that providing service to others is a great way to find happiness during times like this, well during any time actually! Thank you for all that you do. I’m so grateful we met and I look forward to the day we can get back out into the community with our pups. Take care.

  2. Thank you Debbie. I’ve been experiencing similar moments. I was thinking last night, I have and teach the tools of the power of focus, and meditation and yet I’m challenged throughout the week with everything going on. I can’t imagine what people without personal development tools are experiencing. Thank you for posting this.

    Best,
    Jolynn

    1. You’re welcome, and thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jolynn. Yes, even though we have and teach the tools, we must remember to use them ourselves! It’s easy to get swept away, but every time I return to my supportive practices, I’m amazed how quickly the peace returns. A great reason to keep at it, in good times as well as challenging times. Take care.

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