Has it been a difficult season for you? Several friends and I have had extra curveballs thrown our way, and together we are searching for hope amidst hardship.

When the going gets tough, sometimes it feels as if all reserves are exhausted. That makes this a good time to tune in to your own very basic human needs like sleep, nourishment, movement, and measures to ease pain. When life feels too crazy, or you are noticing your anxiety rising, take the time to stop and just ask yourself what you need most right now. As I have previously advocated, fueling your own tank and being gentle with yourself are fantastic ways to survive hard times.

After taking care of your basic needs, look at the bigger picture. When we take some time to consider our own situation within the context of our larger community or universe, we often can regain hope and a sense of purpose. 

Finding this truth takes quiet. I have noticed that as the world swirls around me, I need more space and time to think, read, sit in the sun and notice the constancies of nature. Because the noise of constant doing can be exhausting, I have made a concerted effort to have peaceful time each morning and start the day with simplicity and quiet. During these times of contemplation, encouraging patterns have surfaced. The hummingbirds come and sit on the jasmine bush every morning. The jalapeno plant valiantly creates beautiful peppers. The sky is blue on most days. 

As simple as these observations are, they reassure me, and I’m realizing that finding joy is possible, even amid great difficulties. While some of the losses of these past few years are immense, there have been some universal truths that have emerged: the downsides of your situation may provide benefit to someone else; the experience you are living through may allow your fellow humans to shine their light by helping you. Even though it may seem almost unbearable, the breaking of your world allows new connections and growth that otherwise may never have occurred. The purpose for which you were born may be on the other side of this problem.

I discovered that I fluctuate between these two views. Sometimes, caring for my own needs is enough. But more and more days, I can tune in to the bigger picture and see that there is a purpose, and that each of our struggles creates a wealth of compassion and wisdom to share with others.

We are a community of real, raw human beings, here to support each other. As Ram Dass so eloquently said, “We’re all just walking each other home.”

Dr. Brossfield is the founding physician of XO Health and medical director of Brain Performance Center, both in Rancho Mirage. She can be reached at (760) 573.2761 or www.BrainCareRanchoMirage.com and on Facebook @XOHealth.

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