Welcoming discomfort in these tumultuous times
November’s so foggy and grey. The cold season is setting in, daylight’s quietly fading, and nature’s returning to the Earth. We’re surrounded by darkness, and very often, we hold darkness within as well.
It’s a good time to ask how you can support yourself during the difficult times in your life. We’ve all gone through times like that, and we all will again. So it’s good to learn how to support ourselves, just like we were our very own best friend.
Joanie is ready to share something she wishes she knew when she faced the biggest hardships of her life. She’s giving us some of the light she used to naviagte the fog, a deep conviction that a gift can be found in even the hardest ordeal.
💡 This article is a summary of the monthly "Red Table Events",organized by Mme L'Ovary. 💡
The Red Table is a space for educational, safe and inclusive discussion to gather and address topics that are still often taboo. The floor is entirely left to the invited experts, as well as to the community present. These discussions reflect opinions and in no case should they be considered as medical recommendations.
A socially minded entrepreneur, director, animator, speaker, and rouser of the soul, Joanie Lacroix is bursting with initiatives that bring positive change to the world. Her story is as touching as it is unique. A producer in the world of TV advertising for over ten years, she rekindled her desire to help people create positive change after the deaths of two of her children.
Joanie is the founder ofPastel Fluo, an inspiring platform that puts intelligence and passion to work for the betterment of the world. Her mind-blowing documentary series of the same name has been distributed to over 160 countries (you can check it out at TOU.TV and TV5 Monde).
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself whether life’s trials and tribulations send you running or if you’re the type who dives into the discomfort?
Resilience is welcoming discomfort and transforming life’s challenges into opportunities to make meaning.
Without a doubt, trying times are painful. Developing resilience means learning to experience this pain without being overcome by suffering.
On the one hand, our suffering is even more intense when we refuse to accept it. It swallows us whole. On the other hand, pain really hurts, but we endure it by being fully present in our bodies and by quietly making space for healing. In fact, you can endure pain by enveloping yourself in love. You can endure it by being present and having an open heart. Connect with your vulnerability.
How can you cultivate resilience on a daily basis?
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain. Resilience is springboard to transformation. It’ll give you a new lease on life and redefine the purpose of your existence.
1. Accept what’s happening
The first step is accepting whatever’s going on in our lives. When we’re caught up in resistence (I can’t believe this is happening! Why me? This is an injustice!), we block our healing process. We need to accept that we have no real control over exterior events. Our special strength comes from inside, and we express it in how we respond to events. Pssst!The healing process takes time! Because we live in a society obsessed with speed and performance, whenever we’re not feeling well, we want to get better as soon as possible, as if healing is a box we need to check before moving on to more important things. But even starting that journey isn’t something we can do in a single day. Be patient and gentle with yourself.
2. Look for the meaning hidden in every hardship
When life takes something away, it also gives something in exchange. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our happiness and to give meaning to difficult situations (yeah, yeah, I know! Easier said than done). Here, your intuition rules: what makes the most sense to you right this second? What’s trying to come out of you? In asking yourself these questions, you bring your head closer to your heart. And your heart responds. In other words, we can transform hardship into fuel for our inner lives, for what makes us sparkle and what makes us vibrate.
✧ In fact, a study on the pandemic’s effects on the mental health of Quebecers found that people who developed some way of making sense of COVID were the least affected by it.
3. Don’t hold anything back (let it flow)
It can sound a little strange and unnatural, but it’s critical that you be in full contact with your pain. You need to make space for your discomfort instead of sweeping it under a rug. And when you do that, always remember that your body has the capacity to endure what you’re feeling.
Here are a few tricks for managing all those waves of emotion:
- Be mindful of how you need to position your body to experience a given emotion. You might need to lie splayed out on the ground. You might need to move, to dance, to curl up in fetal position.
- Remember to breathe and let the emotion wander its path. And talking to your emotions can really help: “Okay, fine. You’re here. I welcome you.”
- Be open and show yourself kindness, gentleness, and love. Imagine you were looking after your inner child.
- Being mindful means listening to what wants to be heard and how.
✧ Have you ever heard the Jean de La Fontaine fable called The Oak and the Reed? Oaks are huge trees often associated with power, whereas reeds are often associated with frailty and vulnerability. But if there’s a big storm, the oak is so inflexible that the wind uproots it, whereas the reed can get knocked flat without ever breaking. So simply put, cultivate your inner reed! You’ll experience the serenity that comes with focusing on your inner self. Let it flow!
4. Be aware that your emotions don’t define you
Always remind yourself: “I’m not the emotions I’m experiencing.” We all experience situations and difficult moments that cause intense emotions. But those emotions pass through us. They aren’t permanent, and they don’t define us.
For example, when we feel angry, that’s often because we didn’t respect ourselves, didn’t set limits, and are facing injustice. Finally, emotions that we usually consider negative can be gifts, and that’s because they help us realize what we haven’t done to properly honour ourselves.
One of the keys to being resilient is staying curious about our emotions.
5. Take care of yourself every day
- Take a bath
- Read a good book
- Take care of your body and energy
- Get some takeout food
- Go for a walk in nature
- Go to the movies or to see a play
- Colour a mandala
- Let music sweep you away
- Rent a cabin
- Dare to ask your employer for a raise
Simply put, do anything that makes you feel elevated, and listen closely to your needs.
It’s improtant to note that not eveyrone can make use of the kind ofself-care discussed above. But self-care can also be a long walk in the forestor just recognizing that we’re doing the best we can.
6. Making the choice
Finally, every hardship offers a chance to revist and reconceive our fundamental values. We need to choose to put ourselves at the centre of our lives.
Dare to! Take stock of your friendships, romantic relationships, and material possessions.
Slow down and return to what’s essential.
✧ A little trick:reconnect with the wisdom of your body. Look and see whether your soul is expanding or contracting and do whatever it is that fuels the expansion. Ask yourself what you need to do for you right this second. Sometimes, you need to cry. Other times, you need to be quietly sad. And that’s perfectly okay.
A lot of healing is about listening to those needs. One emotion at a time. One minute a a time. The deeper into our emotions we go, the higher up we’ll rise when we’re better.
We’re cyclical creatures, and our emotions are too.
That’s a good thought to end on: just like nature, we’re cyclical beings. Every fall, the trees no longer need their leaves. Down they go, red and orange and ultimately brown: compost for future life. In the winter, it feels like nothing’s happening, like everything’s dead. But all kinds of things need this period of cold so they can be reborn in the spring.
It might sound a bit cheesy , but live your inner winter with confidence that a spring will come.
Here’s wishing you the strength you need to choose yourself and to move toward a well-being that makes sense for YOU.
Don’t forget that sharing what we have inside is one of the most beautiful medicines. ♡
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