I recently returned from speaking at a Costa Rican yoga retreat to find my hometown completely hobbled by a “super depeche,” which is a very rare land hurricane. Millions were without power for the better part of a week. My internet is still not operational, 10 days later.
Anyway, as I’ve sat here on the dark side of the moon for the last few days, I’ve been thinking about adversity and approaches for overcoming our challenges. Below you will find 101 techniques for either overcoming or accepting the adversity in your own life.
And, if you need a shorthand approach to how we LAT-vians overcome stuff here it is: “Quit your bitching. Change your life.”
1. Rise above it
3. Get curious about what’s really going on. It is rejection or is it protection?
4. Take a nap
5. Get your nails done
7. Call a friend
8. Help a friend
9. Light a candle and say a prayer.
10. Seek counsel from someone who has been there.
11. Search the internet for possible solutions. (Unless you don’t have any damn internet. Then, go to the library since retro-tools work, too.)
12. Search YouTube for videos of how others have approached your problem.
13. Do nothing.
15. Make supper.
16. Set a fancy table.
17. Light candles and say Grace.
18. Play hopscotch.
19. Go for a bike ride.
20. Take your dog for a walk. Or a friend’s dog.
21. Volunteer at a food bank, shelter, women’s emergency safe house.
22. Read to a kid at a local school.
23. Visit an elderly neighbor and have a cup of tea.
24. Make scones. Because that’s just unusual enough to be interesting.
25. Take some scones and have tea with that neighbor again.
26. Start a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for something you believe in.
27. Get your own blog (they’re free) and write about your progression from tragedy to triumph. (www.wordpress.com)
28. Update your resume.
29. Research the profession of your dreams.
30. Find the leaders in that profession.
31. Contact them and ask for a 15-minute informational interview to learn what you need to do to break in.
32. Call a distant cousin and say ‘hello.;
33. Plan a vacation. Stop complaining about lack of funds. Just plan it. And put a buck a day in a jar toward your dream trip.
34. Use your sidewalk chalk to make pictures or a hopscotch board.
35. Play hopscotch.
36. Get a jump rope.
37. Or a hula hoop.
38. Blow bubbles. They have new colored bubbles now.
39. Perfect your granola recipe. Share it in the comment section below so we can all enjoy.
40. Put your granola in mason jars and deliver a few to friends. Put an old-fashioned label on the jar.
41. Pick berries.
42. Make jam.
43. Write an essay about your worries.
44. Write a short story about a woman who overcame your particular challenge. Send it to a couple of friends.
45. Read poetry.
46. Howl at the moon.
47. Take a walk in the dark.
49. Breathe. (We forget to do that under stress, so you have to practice repeating it.)
50. Go out for pizza.
51. Or, invite friends over and have a pizza party at home. Ask them each to bring their favorite topping.
52. Make a list of actions you can take to overcome your challenge.
53. Mark which ones are scariest.
54. Consider starting with the most intimidating action – just to get it over with. And to practice owning the power that you’ve been pretending like you don’t actually have all these years.
55. Call a lawyer.
56. Or a priest.
58. Did we mention howling at the moon?
59. Plan a pity party and invite all your friends. When they arrive, make sure you are wearing sack cloth and ashes. Ask them to dress in their most pathetic outfits. Sit around your living room and challenge each other to out-self-pity each other.
60. Then, just get over your bad self and take some action.
61. Get some perspective. Really look for stories of great suffering.
62. Then, make a gratitude list.
63. Still, your stuff is your stuff. So don’t use the suffering of others as a reason to deny your own. Really the reason you are looking is to make a “soul connection,” so that you can see that you’re not alone with your suffering.
64. Understand that suffering is essential for humanity. All inventions come from someone getting unhappy with the status quo.
65. Also, without suffering, you wouldn’t need faith.
66. If you don’t buy that, that’s fine, just ignore it and take what works for you from the other 101 tips.
67. Accept that we don’t all have to be alike in our approach to life.
68. Which means that you get to be beautifully unique, too!
69. Therefore, NEVER apologize for being a person, with actual human needs. I know that sounds crazy to some people, but many of you know what I mean, right?
70. Did I mention howling at the moon? I’m not kidding. It works.
71. Make your kids howl at the moon, too.
72. Take a shower in the rain. (Wear your bathing suit if it will freak out the neighbors.)
73. Rent several comedies and make popcorn (or homemade Crunch n Munch)
74. Or, get a couple of tear jerkers and just get it all out, girlfriend!
75. Do nothing. Just sit with it. Learn that “it” is just a feeling, and you can let it wash over you and dissipate.
76. BUT, your problems are still your problems. Do one SMALL thing each day to work your way out.
77. Then, ABSOLUTELY INSIST on enjoying life. And go do something fun. This is probably the MOST important tip here – because it involves learning mental discipline. Once you have mental discipline around your “worries” you can move fluidly from stressor to right action.
78. Gather your very own Wisdom Circle and meet weekly. Every person gets to spend 3 minutes sharing her concern and then you go around the circle asking for support, suggestions, and the like.
79. Volunteer at a local hospice. Because that just puts EVERYTHING in perspective.
80. Go ahead and call the IRS. Get it over with. Ask for help making things right.
81. Go ahead and call a personal trainer. Get it over with. Ask for help making things right.
82. Make a list of all your resentments. These may be with people, institutions, ideas, society. Whatever. Just make the list.
83. Look for “your part” in your resentments. For example, if your resentment is against the disparity between the pay scales of men and women, consider this – Is there anything you can do to change this? Is there anything you can do to change your own situation? If yes, do it. Quit your bitching. Change your life. If ‘no,’ ask yourself why you are unable or unwilling to take your beautiful magnifying mind off of situations that you cannot change. Ask yourself if you don’t really like – at least just a little bit – being upset about stuff like this. Does martyrdom make you feel important? Are you the most least understood person alive and that makes you feel special? Even a tad superior? Be honest with yourself. We all get something out of each of our behaviors – otherwise, we wouldn’t do them. So, what are you getting out of your commitment to misery? Unhappiness? Self-righteous indignation? Anger?
84. Ask yourself if you are willing to be made anew.
85. Ask yourself if you are really TRULY ready to have a more beautiful life, or if you still like complaining just a little bit.
86. It’s okay to complain just a little bit. But it’s not fun. So, don’t beat up on yourself for being imperfect. Just commit to progressing each day toward a lighter heart.
87. If you can, no bitching. Or, set limits on your bitching and once you’ve reached your limit, get up and get into action.
88. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
89. Get some lotion on those scaly legs. You know who you are and what I mean.
90. Go to your local farmer’s market. Buy one vegetable you normally never eat.
91. Eat it.
92. Give yourself permission to take a nap.
93. And then a bubble bath.
94. Write a letter to a pen pal in another country. Figure out how to find a pen pal and then put what you’ve learned in the Wisdom Circle comments below. (I was gonna look it up for you, but this time you try finding your own interesting solution to things.)
95. Make a list of all the things you’ve EVER failed at.
96. Read the list out loud.
97. Wait . . . are you still breathing?
98. Get it?
99. In other words, get over your bad self.
100. And resolve to use your life experience to help someone else. And then,
101. Go howl at the moon.
Photo: Flickr, luz adriana villa a