“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. We can also try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.” – Maya Angelou
This quote and others like it are the messages we can send ourselves when we are stuck in a challenging situation over which we feel like we have no control. IF we can discover the cause of our anxiety and consciously work to dissolve it. IF we can do this, anything is possible. So how can we do the work on ourselves to let go of worries, ‘what-ifs’, past traumas, betrayals, injuries, and pain? We face them. We can make up our minds to cope. We can find tools like prayer, spirituality, poetry, art and humor to focus our minds. We don’t have to do it alone, although many can and do. And we can enlist trained professionals, therapists, coaches, and even dear friends and loved ones to help us work on making the best of difficult times.
I think of the English phrase “buck up” defined in the dictionary as: -“To become encouraged, reinvigorated, or cheerful; to summon one’s courage or spirits; to pluck up courage.” I learned from my mother who always said, “carry on” in the face of adversity. I absorbed this from my father who subscribed to the words of Rudyard Kipling framed on the wall beside his desk, https://poets.org/poem/if
“….. If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so, hold on when there is nothing in you,
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on! ………”
The older we become, the more we may need to bolster ourselves to move forward through aches, pain, anxiety, and self-defeating thoughts.
At each building at JSL, our residents are fortunate to have compassionate support and good counsel from warm and understanding Resident Service Coordinators (RSC), licensed social workers with years of experience. With aging comes a variety of challenges that can make us feel as if we’re stuck in a tunnel of despair or looking at things from the wrong end of the telescope. What can we do? The quest to discover our true purpose provides us with meaning in our lives.
Finally, kindness to others can be curative. Doing for others can often help us heal our own wounds. We can plan for and seek ways to give to others, which opens our hearts and minds to discover paths to our own inner joy. IF we can rise above the challenging moments of loss and reach out to others, we can heal and strengthen ourselves in the process.