• Maggie Shayne

What Do I Do When Everything Sucks?


This is a hard one, because when you’re in the middle of a perfect storm of crap, you can’t see beyond it. The storm clouds are too dark. The crap is too thick and smelly. And everything in your life is going wrong. There’s a reason, of course. Not that you care right now what it is, but you might later, so I’ll spill it. When one thing goes wrong it grabs your attention. You get all focused on that thing, whether your focus is on trying to fix it, trying to make it go away, trying to understand it, wishing it had never happened, wondering why it did, or regretting it, it doesn’t matter. Your focus is your radio dial, and it’s attuned to the station that’s broadcasting shit. So all you can bring in is more problems. It snowballs until you are completely drowning in a sea of poo and feeling no hope. There is no way out that you can see, because the ways out don’t exist in your reality. You’re looking at the poo sea. And you’re drowning. And that’s all that exists for you right now.

This is the time when it’s hardest to shift. Well meaning friends all offer suggestions, and to each one, you reply, “That won’t work, because…” “That’s impossible because…” There’s no way I can do that, because…”

And you’re right. No solution can come to you. They don’t exist where you are right now. Before you can find a solution, you have to change your radio dial, tuning it until you’re on the right frequency to pull in solutions instead of problems. And no amount of wrestling with or fighting against the problem is going to do that. The one and only thing that can change that dial for you, is for you to shift your focus.

You have to stop wallowing in the trouble, stop flailing in the sea of poo. Stop trying to find a way out of it. You have to just let it go. Just let it go. Just let go. Just stop fighting. Just stop struggling. Just stop trying so hard. Let yourself sink to the bottom, beneath the crap sea. Sink to the bottom and rest there for a minute. At least you’re out of the poo.

Get your focus off all the stuff you wish didn’t exist. Stop thinking about it. I know that people think “Ignore it and it’ll go away” is a ridiculous lie for the simple minded. But it’s based in a deep truth. Can it really be that easy? No, because not focusing on the garbage that’s up in your face is not easy at all. It takes practice, persistence. But there are tips. If you’ll just trust me on this, just give it a try, you might be able to find your way to a much better life. Will you give it a try? What have you got to lose?

Step 1. Change Your Focus To get your focus off the crap, you have to find something else to put your focus on. Something that feels good. Or at least, something that feels a little bit better. Or at the very least, something that provides a little bit of relief. Do the easiest things first. Watch your favorite movie, (as long as it’s a happy movie, or a funny movie, and not a tragedy.) I recommend anything by Mel Brooks. Listen to your favorite music. Sing along. Dance, even. Eat your favorite food. Indulge in some chocolate. Spend time outside in the sunlight. In the moonlight. By a campfire. In a tent. Bask in nature. Play with a puppy. Hold a baby. Hang out with the people who always make you feel better. Maybe the shiniest happiest people you know aren’t quite the right ones just yet. They might just make you want to punch them in the face with all their shiny bunny joy joy. So maybe just someone whose presence usually leaves you feeling good, a little better, than you feel when you’re not around them.

Step 2. Journal. Get a pretty journal. Or make one. At the end of each day, open your journal and write down ten things that were good about the day. If there aren’t ten things, write down five. If you can’t manage five, try for three. But try to make them three different things each day. Lunch was really good. I saw a bluebird on the way home. A little girl smiled at me. Someone paid me a compliment. It was sunny and warm outside. I got a lot done. ANYTHING that’s good. Keep track of those good things during the day, and write them down.

Step 3. Adjust Your Lens. This is a little more challenging now, but if you’ve done step two for a few days, you’re ready. Start looking for good things about your life where it is right now. Start finding positive, true things about where things are right now. Positive true things about the very crap you’ve been fighting to get away from, as a matter of fact. If you hate where you live, that hate is holding you there. Start finding things to like about where you live. Things about it that you can be okay with. You don’t have to love them. But maybe your place keeps you warm and dry. Maybe all you have is a roof over your head and a soft bed to sleep on. Then start to praise those things. Start to really appreciate that you’re in a soft bed, and not sleeping on a street or a hard floor, or in a ditch.

Step 4. Begin to take Action. Now it’s time to start to making changes. Never take action until you are aligned and in a good place mentally. It’s wasted energy otherwise. But now that you’ve tuned your dial a bit toward a slightly more positive attitude, a slightly more upbeat station, you can begin to make changes. Take those things in your life with which you have now managed to make peace, those things you’re now “okay” with, and make them better. If all you have is a bed and a roof, then make your bed very neatly each day. Keep the blankets and sheets always clean and smelling nice. Put some stuffed animals on it or add a pretty bedspread or sham. Line your nightstand with object that have meaning for you. Hang pretty things from your ceiling, a prism, a fairy, a feather you found outside. Hang a photo that brings you joy on your ceiling so you see it when you open your eyes. If all you have is a bed and a ceiling, make them the most beautiful, comfortable, joy-inducing bed and ceiling there have ever been. Make them better and better, until you absolutely love your bed and your ceiling.

Step 5. Spread Widely. Apply this method to everything in your life. One thing at a time, first find something good about it the way it is, and work to get okay with that. And then, start making it better and better until you just love it. Just like you did with your bed and ceiling. Do it with your job. Do it with your relatives. Do it with your relationship. Do it with your health. Do it with your finances. All of it. One by one. Find things that are okay about it, make peace with it where it is, and then start making it the best it can be.

You see, if you can find the slightest thing to be happy about, you can build from there. That focus on that one thing, and the good feeling you get from it, will be the shift you’re looking for. That focus, is how you change your dial to the station that’s broadcasting joy, and peace, and love. As you do this the bad things fall away, and more and more good things come to you.

It’s ironic, perhaps, that you can’t get out of where you are until you learn to love it there. But it’s also true.

It is so very important to find a way to be okay where you are, to appreciate and bask in each tiny good thing in your life. To understand that “GOD is in the moment.” This very moment. Right now. And there’s nothing bigger or more beautiful than knowing God and seeing for the first time that God is inside you. Within you. You are so much more than you know.

Find that. Grab hold of it. Then and only then can you really begin to tackle the things you now see as problems, although most of them are going to sort of work themselves out as you shift your energy, because they will no longer be able to exist in your experience. Any that persist in bothering you, you can now deal with. But now you will deal with them because you care about how you feel, because feeling good is more important than anything else to you, and because tackling an issue that’s bothering you, will feel better than leaving it to fester. And the problem-it will not longer seem to big and scary and hard. Because you will have changed.

You are where you are, my friends. You can be miserable where you are, and stay right there being miserable.

Or you can find a way to be at peace where you are, and at least you’ll have peace. You can find joy where you are, and at least you’ll have joy. But you won’t stay where you are for long–you’ll move toward more peace, more joy, a constantly improving life, and the joy of knowing that you created yourself, because you are the creator of your life now. You’re no longer just dealing with whatever comes, you’re deliberately moving toward the life you want, and finding joy in every step of the journey.

Just as the bad stuff gets your focus and snowballs into more and more bad stuff, the good stuff works the same way. It snowballs until it fills your entire existence, and spreads from there. It can spill over onto everyone you know, everyone with whom you interact, and eventually, spread out to make the entire world a better more joyful place.

Take these simple steps, and see for yourself that the crap can only cling to you if you keep on looking at it. Turn your back on it, turn toward the solution, not the problem. Look toward what you want, not what you don’t want. Find things to feel good about, not reasons to feel bad. And you’ll be oh, so much better.

Things to Help:

Meditate: Relax and focus on nothing but your breaths moving in and out of your lungs for ten minutes a day. There are some great guided meditations out there. The Toning Meditation by Heather Macauley at A Space of Love. (It’s actually part of her children’s cd set. But I’ve been using it for years and it’s powerful.) My other favorite guided meditations are the ones by Abraham, in Getting Into The Vortex.

Read: Esther Hicks, Ram Dass, Deepak Chopra, Gregg Braden

Watch: What the Bleep Do We Know About Anything; ONE the Movie; Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Life Lessons, Master Class, and Super Soul Sundays; The Secret

Follow: The Deliberate Blog by Melody Fletcher, all the others mentioned here. This one, if you want.

Journal: List the good things, all the time. List the good things about people or matters that are becoming problematic before it gets worse. Constantly work to notice what’s good.

Change: The story you tell, the way you talk about yourself, the topics of discussion in all your phone calls, emails, chats, text messages, etc.

Seek: Joy. Always do what feels better, what brings you bliss.

Relax and let go. Take things more lightly. Laugh more. Play more. Relax more. Worry less. Stress less. Complain less. Or in dog terms, bark less, wag more.

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