The cyclical nature of life becomes more and more apparent the more trips around the sun I am blessed to make. Ups, downs, happys and sads along with the diagonals and curves in between. When I am at the summit, it seems like I can see a great many instances of having been on top of the world, everything going more or less "right". When I'm at the lowest points, it is cramped and claustrophobic... And seemingly without beginning or end, just a perpetual state of "s[t]uck".
To me, keeping perspective means I can hold enough light aloft to shine into the darker corners of my psyche so that, while I might not be able to keep the dark places cleaned out, I at least have an understanding of what's in them. However, holding onto perspective has its challenges and I, for one, have never considered myself infallible.
From my particular vantage, at this point in time and space, I can see plenty of positive on the horizon and even around myself right this moment. Perhaps I choose to see it this way; perhaps it's the only way TO see it. But I also see a lot of misery, ennui and strife, which saddens me immeasurably, especially when it's happening to my friends and acquaintances.
One friend has been suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) from a car accident that happened almost a year ago. Due to complications from her injuries and the pending litigation, here is no money, even for the most basic things, and very few ways to earn any legally. No, she's not contemplating anything inappropriate, but she is having to get very creative. As anyone knows who's been there, when you slather on a side of depression, "creative" isn't the easiest row to hoe.
Another friend has a safe, comfortable home but has no formal, consistent income to meet other basic needs. She's a talented writer and craftsperson, a good mother to her children and a good partner and friend but the world weighs on her. Lifelong depression has meant she's spent more time in the aforementioned cramped spaces than soaring through the clouds. For her, every time the hammer falls, it seems like there are fewer and fewer reasons for her to stand herself up again.
In my own family, we have elderly members who are struggling for the essentials of life while still wanting to help "provide" for the family as a whole. We all pitch in but it's barely enough and no one should have to go wanting when they've spent their lives working, providing, caring and doing all they were capable of only to get to the last phase of the game to find out they're out of coins.
Other acquaintances are struggling with recent medical diagnoses like A-Fib, possible Crohn's disease, leg pain and numbness, and cancer... Learning what their new lives are going to look like while struggling to comprehend the cost it will carry (literally and emotionally). Still others are trying to navigate the wilds of child custody arrangements, particularly on the less established side of fathers as the primary custodial parent.
Of course, this does not even begin to draw on the myriad families unknown to me personally who have lost their incomes, their family members, or their dignity and are suffering in inconceivable ways.
Being in relatively good health, living in a stable, dual-income household, and finding that my world is blossoming like never before, it's not always easy to retain my own "happy" when there's so much "not happy" nearby. Nothing is ever perfect, but I'm coming to a point of comfort with that and I'm satisfied with the present moment's reality. I'm wishing more than ever that there were more I was capable of doing, of giving. The time, meals, gifts and emotional support I am able to give, I do. When I'm unable, I don't allow myself to feel guilty because that simply feeds the negative loop and allows things to remain out of balance.
It seems to me, though, that being a beacon of light when I am able is the best role for me to pursue. Yes, I'm wildly imperfect at it, but it is great fun to try. For myself, for my children and spouse, for my extended family, friends and acquaintances, for the people I've never met in person. Big dreams, big aspirations, I know. I have no need to wonder if I can fulfill my purpose - I just know that I do with each breath I take and that's enough for me.
To the Power of Four
3 weeks ago