My heart feels so heavy; I fear I cannot move.
My soul feels so suffocated; I fear I cannot breathe.
I am weighed down, down, down.
I’m swimming in darkness at the deserted deep end of the pool, with huge dumbbells of sadness and anxiety set firmly atop my shoulders.
As I struggle to stay above the water’s surface, my body aches from the burden of this heavy, unpleasant load.
My muscles moan audibly and exhaustion creeps in from the constant treading struggle to stay afloat.
F*ck, there’s no way around it—sometimes life just really hurts.
But, in the midst of our often-exclusive and ever-exquisite pity parties, while we wax on about how misery just loves company, we often forget this one key thing:
We are the only ones who can remove those dreadful dumbbells from our shoulders, precisely because we are the ones who set them there in the first place.
We are not victims.
We may be suffering deeply. We may be hurting, confused, lost and struggling, but we are not helpless.
We are never helpless.
We can always help ourselves.
Even when we feel we cannot face the day, we can support ourselves to do exactly that.
We can open our eyes a bit wider, breathe a bit deeper and look outward.
Because once we take a long, good look at life, we will realize that despite our feeling drenched in darkness, the world is still there. Beauty is still there. Joy is still there. Love is still there.
In fact, the beautiful things can look all the more beautiful, not in spite of, but because of, our pain.
So let us lovingly remove those pesky weights from our weary shoulders, and remember, remember, remember the beauty, the sparkling wonder, the complete and utter magnificence of this crazy life.
What do we often forget during our struggles?
We forget the fiery boldness of the sun’s daily greeting, as she opens her warm arms to us generously, inviting our bashful hearts to embrace the new day with unbounded enthusiasm.
We forget the brilliance of the blue sky, how it sings and calls out to us unreservedly, sending bird calls to wake up our weary souls, inviting them to chirp and rejoice in nature’s jeweled azure beauty.
We forget about laughter, how it’s entirely possible for hot tears to spill down our delicate faces from silliness and joy, not just sadness or pain.
We forget about kindness, that supportive look a loved one gives as they patiently listen to our struggles, their eyes just beaming with gentle generosity, their hearts reaching out to give ours a soft, comforting squeeze.
We forget about the zesty fire of creativity, how freeing it feels to scream onto the canvas of life, allowing our hearts to bleed fervently, encouraging our fierce spirits to cry fabulously into our art.
We forget the magical powers in a single cup of coffee, how the nutty, buttery aroma alone is enough to transport us to a tropical island, as the dark caramel deliciousness cascades down our throats like liquid gold treasure.
We forget about the lusciousness of silence, how lovely it is to hear nothing but the clank-clank-clanking of our own chaotic thoughts bumping into each other, piling up randomly, forming incredible little clusters of inspiration.
But, most of all, we forget that even though we’re struggling, we are still alive.
Yes! In the throes of our most difficult times, we are more alive than ever.
Let us not forget.
Let us instead use our struggles as a boldly courageous opportunity to see the world anew.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Morning Theft/Flickr