“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” ~Oscar Wilde
What does this quote mean to you. I recently heard this in one of my meditations and I paused it, whipped out my phone, and wrote it down. It resonated. This mediation was on gratitude. Specifically gratitude for 2020. My reflection when I heard this , was that we are all struggling in one form or another. With the year we have all just been dealt, we are all feeling like we couldn’t get any lower in our struggles. But for some, the golden select few out there, they are somehow able to remain positive throughout it all and focus on the present and look towards a brighter future.
During the mediation, my guide asked us to start thinking about all the things we are grateful for that occurred during 2020. In my head I scoffed at the idea of this. I thought, are you kidding me right now? This year was crap! The guide, as if reading my thoughts, gently prodded us to really dig down deep and reflect. I’ll admit, my first thoughts were filled with angry feelings. Not working, my health getting considerably worse, my uncle drowning, my husband’s step-dad dying, not being able to see friends and family properly, cancelling our away wedding, fearing the virus, and on and on. But a funny thing happened, I softened. When I really tried to throw all the negative thoughts out of my brain, new positive ones came flooding in. I started thinking about what I gained this year. It snowballed to the point where the guide rang his bell to signal the end of the reflection, and I wasn’t finished.
What I realized was that I have been caught up in this never ending cycle of negativity. I had been remembering the bad and I constantly recycle those thoughts when someone stops to ask how I am doing. Those thoughts become my belief. ” Wow this year was really crappy because….”, instead of thinking and saying, well the good thing is that… ” I got to hang out with my kids more, and see them grow up”. The problem is that we have all been feeling like we have been thrown in the gutter. So the negativity grows when it is surrounded by more gutter thoughts. It is hard to escape. It is hard to become the one that is looking at the stars.
Chronic illness and Ptsd can constantly make you feel like you are in the gutter where all those around you are glowing except you. I recently had an emotional breakdown, due to my illness spiralling out of control for the past month. I was hit with one thing after another. I have spent a majority of it lying on the floor looking at the ceiling trying to calm my pain or slow my heart rate, or on my knees trying to breathe. Without knowing the cause of the breathing issues, it has been a great source of anguish and I have started to lose my once positive glow. You see, I was one of the golden ones. I had an ability to stay positive, smile and look towards hope and a better future. For every bad day, I just tried to enjoy the good days. But, that positivity started to feel like an illusion, a painstaking process of trying to prove to others that I was ok. The pain gradually starting to unravel my light. The fear dimming out any remaining hopes. The lack of answers extinguishing my flames of positivity, to just a lingering hint of smoke. I was in the gutter. I just didn’t realize it.
However, I knew that there was still positivity lingering in the smoke. The desire to be golden still existed, and I dared not be the one lying in the gutter all year. You see, you can’t extinguish the golden ones hope. No one can. A quote from Robert Holden that has helped me is
“Holding on to grievances is a choice to suffer”
Think about that. By choosing to be angry with someone, or something, or how things have played out, or what you can’t have or used to have, you are making a conscious choice to suffer. YOU are making the choice. No one else is making YOU suffer. You can choose to get out of that gutter. You can chose to change your thought process to one that brings more positivity. You can choose to align yourself with the golden ones. You and only you can do this. So why not try? I don’t know about you, but I am tired of letting 2020 and all the other crap along the way bring me down any more. I need a change.
Making a choice not to suffer, sounds like a good way to begin 2021. Who’s with me!