Last year started off for me like The Best Year of My Life… I could never have guessed how it would end.
I had been on an upward trajectory since 2005, when I crawled out of a ditch and started building Shift Your Spirits and doing readings. When I launched Automatic Intuition Professional in 2009, I truly felt I'd discovered my dream job. The resulting financial stability, the sense of purpose, and the huge growing global community that felt connected to me...
I became (almost) everything I'd ever wanted to be.
(When 2014 began, I had been officially single for thirteen years and I still hadn't realized my childhood dream of becoming a novelist. So, I still had some areas in which I hoped to grow.)
Then I found myself on a date with the love of my life, celebrating the publication of Cloudbusting.
As a friend said to me at the time "It's good to be Slade right now, isn't it?"
It was. By autumn I was working on a second and then a third novel, living in a beautiful 1930s Craftsman bungalow that I had just bought with my partner.
I loved being a homeowner, being someone's partner. I thought I was pretty damn good at it, too.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was told, without argument, without warning, without inkling, without any intuition of any kind "You're not making me happy anymore. This relationship, buying this house together… it was all a mistake."
It was a devastating un-doing of "everything," in a matter of minutes. I had no control over it.
(The details here are a long, ugly divorce story... You can imagine.)
So, New Years Day 2015, I woke up in my old bedroom at my mother's home, feeling like Dorothy at the end of the movie -- rag on my head, all the technicolor gone, wondering if it was all a dream.
Part of me wanted to say "I just lost everything."
And maybe right now, you're thinking, by comparison, you definitely have.
I went back to that time ten years ago, which really was rock bottom, and I thought -- No, wait a minute. I've lost some things that were very dear to me, but I still have so much more going for me than I had back then. If I could crawl out of that hole, I can walk out of this one with my head held high and my eyes open to my blessings. I can recover even more quickly this time.
Hell, I can drive -- I have a much nicer car now than I did back then! wink
But I have been thinking a lot these past six weeks: "What did I do back then, when I felt I'd lost everything?"
What Can You Do When You Feel You've Lost Everything?
You start taking stock of what you still actually do have.
The ego is a great exaggerator, as well as a pathological liar.
Despair tends to communicate with tons of emotion, but with few facts and little accuracy.
Everything, nothing, always, never -- these words are hysterically overused and rarely appropriate. When you hear them being whispered within you, alarms should go off -- you are not listening to your spirit guides, your better angels, or your higher self.
These are angry, wounded words. Remove them from your vocabulary.
I did not lose "everything" -- let's be clear, Wounded Ego Demon -- I lost a few things of great significance. Yes. Some things.
Here's Where You Start: Gratitude journaling. (Oprah) Morning pages. (The Artist's Way)
Sounds awfully simple -- real cures usually are.
I have a personalized version you could check out called The Book of Faded Green.
List what you love. What do you see in this moment that is good, no matter how small or how seemingly insignificant. What doesn't suck?
Write 3 pages every morning. It can be in a list form. You can do it in your head while driving or riding the train. The format doesn't matter -- but the thinking works miracles.
A little bit at a time -- one word, one image, one right after the other, every day.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs, lead your spirit back out of the darkness, Lantern Bearer. Weave a rope, build a ladder. Rescue yourself with simple observations of gratitude.
Do this until you feel differently. You will. I can't promise you an exact time frame. But I can promise you will.
author photo by ModernSauce