Present Tense

Choose wisely

candleWe all have choices: darkness or light, positive or negative, glass half empty or glass half full, gratitude or victimhood. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The past two months I chose darkness and this period made the Top 5 Most Miserable Times of My Life List. I can’t really pinpoint what is #1 on that list, since my life is ongoing, but it was right up there near the horrible pinnacle.

Everything that led up to this 60 days of darkness has been well-documented in this blog: moving, the death of my dog, a long and brutal winter, regrets, changes and then the final straw, my dad’s sudden death. In other words, life. What knocked me off my axis, was the number of life-altering events that happened over the course of about 7 months. Too much, too quickly.

I’ve gone through some miserable times before, as have all of you. We are humans, walking around on an imperfect earth with other imperfect beings and bad shit goes down for all of us. My problem is that I always assume that it’s because of something I’ve done or didn’t do; some choice that I made or action that I took, that brings the wrath down. That’s my own little self-flagellating punishment that happens and it tends to make the challenging times in my life just a little MORE challenging.

So, after about 50 days of pain and suffering, inflicted mostly by me, I began searching for a remedy. I made a choice. Being in my skin had become unbearable; the urge to drink was overpowering. I almost felt possessed, as if someone else were animating my body and mind. I needed an escape from suffering.

I asked for spiritual guidance; threw it out to the universe and it came. From various sources. People, books, podcasts, nature, stumbling into a peaceful, little metaphysical bookstore in Traverse City. I also made a business trip to Denver that got me out of my dark little place and away from the oppressive energy at home. It was as if a swirling, cleansing wind had surrounded me, sweeping away the smothering black cloud.

That was when something clicked. I woke up, not feeling dread, but feeling whole and open and hopeful. I re-started my yoga practice that had been dormant for months, I finalized the end of a long-term commitment and was able to see clearly into my future with a sense of buoyancy, I heard the morning bird songs and was happy, rather than terrified to slog through another day. This all seems melodramatic, I know, but it’s true. And I’m so grateful.

The whole idea of asking the universe for help has been proven true for me. I reached out in a time of darkness and so many sent blinding light my way. I’m tanned, rested and ready to bloom again. Thank you to those who came to my rescue. Thank you to me, for opening up and basking in that glow and allowing that energy into my life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t blame yourself when bad things happen. We have choices that are in front of us every single second, of every single day. Feel your pain; surrender to it and then look around for the help and the grace that is always there for us. It could come from nature, church, people, animals, art, music, exercise, meditation; whatever speaks to you, find it. Go there. Life is hard, it really is and anyone who says otherwise is a big, fat liar. Find your light and go toward it.


June 8, 2014 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Jane, I’m so glad you are out of the darkness. I’m sure your Dad is there with you helping bring great energy back to you! Welcome back!

    Comment by Mary | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Mary:
      He came to me in a dream last night. He’s with me.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  2. Happy for you Jane. Thank you for your blog posts. They are honest and I can usually relate to what you are sharing. Maybe it’s being a similar age, who knows :-). Happy Sunday!

    Comment by Lori | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Lori
      Thanks. Glad we’re of the same tribe:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  3. thanks Jane, this is well needed for me. I often go to “the dark side” for no real reasons. Oddly, when bad shit happens in my life I trudge thru like a trooper with optimism & light. I always say “I’ll fall apart later”. I usually come out of it on my own (maybe not on my on after all!). I don’t think I have actually consciously asked the universe for help, maybe it sends it anyway for my own good! I need to save this forever to read when I need it!! thanks for your blogs and your “light”. I moved from CO but listen to the podcasts. I Love your laugh and view on life.

    Comment by Stephanie | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Stephanie
      Thanks for the note. Keep your chin up:)

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  4. Life has shown me that bad things do happen to good people. I’m glad you have come through the darkness-it is a scary place to be. Props too for not giving in to drinking! Thank you for writing so eloquently about your own experiences.

    Comment by Joanne Flaherty | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Joanne
      Bad things happen to all people. Part of our shared humanity, I suppose.
      Thanks for the note. Appreciate it.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  5. We grew up with the blessing of “personal responsibility.” But the cursed reality of that blessing is “self-inflicted regret.” (Paraphrasing you). It’s never more real than when we navigate and lead change. Good words Jane. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Byron | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • So, true Byron. Change can be dizzying; both good and bad dizzy.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  6. I can honestly say I know the feeling. This past year was one thing on top of the other and that you went through some of the same has me filled with empathy. Leaving my home of 22 years was heart wrenching but finding out my youngest daughter had breast cancer on the same day my house sold put that into quick perspective. Fast forward and there have been 2 moves, living in an almost unbearable temporary situation, the death of my dad, the death of my dog and having both of my children move out of state to different coasts for new jobs. It was like my family was disappearing one by one. But I’ve been down this road before and knew I had no choice but to put one foot i n front of the other and keep on trucking.

    I’ve had to look for grace and struggle to be grateful but I am. My daughter triumphed over that demon and is now in Las Vegas with a dream job. I’m finally in my new home and getting settled. While I still miss my pup; I’ve inherited a cat from one of the daughter’s and am learning to appreciate that I don’t have to constantly be thinking about how soon I need to get back home. Hoping the worst is over. I’m a bit apprehensive since I was hit so hard so often but I’m also delighting in having a garden again…for me the one thing that always make me so aware of the balance of nature and spirit and brings me a combination of hard labor, peace and beauty.

    Glad you did not give into the drinking; that is never the answer and even better to hear you’re coming out of this period with even greater personal reflection. We’re never too old to learn more about ourselves!

    Comment by Barb | Creative Culinary | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Barb
      That is a VERY rough year. Thanks for the note and be well. I can relate.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  7. These darn cycles of life. Each time we are at our lowest the universe grants us the ability to reach new heights that we never thought we could rise to. Reach for the stars Jane.

    Comment by simplelivingover50 | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Yup:) Raising my arms right now!

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  8. I love your openness and sharing yourself and experiences with everyone. Your clarity on what’s going on with you helps me be clearer on what’s going on with me. Thank you Jane.

    Comment by Terri | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Terri
      Thanks. I figure we’re all going through roughly the same things, seeing as how we’re all merely mortals.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  9. Thanks Jane for you words. I know I have quite a storm coming with my mom and her dementia. I have learned that living 82 miles away really hurts and that I do not really know what she has been like. Like the trooper that he is, her husband of 60 years has kept the details from me. I found out through an unlikely source, the wife of my deceased brother who lives next door. The spirit moves in mysterious ways. I am so glad that it found you/ and you found it. Enjoy the light. Tim.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Tim
      Best of luck with that. Dementia seems to be at epidemic levels. I have my theories on that, but for now, be well, love your parents and stay strong for your dad.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  10. This is beautiful Jane. I am so grateful you found your way out. You are important to all of us. Welcome back.

    Comment by talktraffic28 | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  11. Hi Jane,
    I too have had a difficult nine months. Sometimes I feel like “if God gives you only what you can handle, then I must be a bad ass! “. Thank you for sharing and letting me know I’m not alone……

    Welcome back!

    Comment by Lisa | June 8, 2014 | Reply

    • Lisa
      I guess we all have to handle whatever comes our way. Sometimes we swim, sometimes we sink and often, we just float for awhile. Keep treading water.

      Comment by janelondon | June 8, 2014 | Reply

  12. We often don’t understand what the reason is for these dark times but it seems to be a part of life that makes us a complete person. I have come to understand that my true friends will always be a part of this process as they laugh with us, they cry when we cry, they hurt when we hurt and they are always there. When I am having a difficult day I often replay a video of you laughing at Junior and Ember engaged in their silly carefree antics and it puts things back into perspective. Time to start another day and that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train coming after all.

    Comment by Mike | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  13. Jane, thank you so much for this. I lost my mom last September and have been existing in some surreal, miserable life that I thought I had no control over. Drinking alot and feeling sorry for myself. Choosing to NOT accept her death. I made the decision 2 weeks ago to stop drinking and allow myself to take it all in. My mind is more focused and even though it’s painful I know I’m on the right path and I will make it through.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Erika P | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  14. Thank you for your beautiful words. I had a rough three years about five years ago and thought wth. I made a choice to not wallow, pull myself up and forge ahead. All traits that my beloved father had instilled in me. There are days, still, that are rough, as you will see. But reading things like your blog do help!

    Comment by Mary | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  15. Jane – your words hold so much truth and they hit so close to home for me too. Last year within 8 weeks, two very important people left my life very unexpectedly and I too went through the motions of each day cause that’s what I needed to do. After much soul searching, prayers, meditation and tears I realized it was time to leave Colorado and go home to where all my family is, get back to my roots if you will. I retired after 22 years working in county government and headed to Iowa aka home! I marvel everyday at the beauty of the nature around me, support and love of my family and old friends and the comfort I feel with the decision I made. You are a strong woman who will undoubtedly move on and live your life to the fullest potential and I wish you the best. Cathi

    Comment by Cathi | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  16. Jane, I understand what your talking about minus the drinking. I fell on the ice in 2011 at my job, laid off a month later, on work comp, couldn’t work, my home I walked away from , bankrupsty. And surgery that didn’t fix me. Now wondering what I do . I pray and pray always smiling, do my best to not complain. But after applying to so many jobs and nothing in a year and half. Drinking is not for me but the stress, depression and worry is too much some days. I hope the universe hears us.

    I am so sorry again for your pain over the loss your heart feels with the death of your dad. Been through that years ago, hated Fathers day. Time does heal But No One should ever tell you when it is time. I always think how blessed my friends have been to still have their dads and moms. Because memories can’t hug me or call me. I had them for a short time. Wish they could help me now!!! And I laugh thru my pain and worry these last 4 years. Hugs Jane

    Comment by Rose | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  17. I’m happy you’ve come out of the dark. I’ve kind felt something was not right with you lately. There was something in your voice/tone in the mornings. I’m feeling like I’m in a dark place right now myself. Maybe I need to take your lead.

    Be well…stay happy!

    Comment by Rhonda | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  18. Jane, I understand too, the crisis in my life was the hardest thing a person could handle, keep the chin up! we who listen to you are part of your universe. A tip I found helps my dark mood, when the urge to crawl back in to bed and pull the covers over your head and not deal with any thing: Get up, Make the bed with nice tight corners and pillows just so and it is harder to crawl back in!!
    Keep blogging cause you inspire me.

    Comment by Christine Ridgeway | June 10, 2014 | Reply

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