Random Conversations

My Life is Around My Ankles, Yet Still I Stand Tall

My Life is Around My Ankles, Yet Still I Stand Tall

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Messages we leave for our future selves tend to appear exactly when we need them most, often prompting a conversation. One of mine included an unknowing collaborator – Deepak Chopra.

2009 was the start of a particularly difficult time in my life. I was hit with a trifecta – a job search that took far too long, the passing of three people I loved dearly, and a move from my apartment in Connecticut. This might also have been when I totaled my car, the exact timing of which is a bit hazy at the moment.

I felt as though I was on a never-ending rollercoaster with hope raising my spirits to an apex, and disappointment plummeting them – again and again and again. Day by day, moment by moment, I grappled with how to work through fear and its nuances (worry, doubt, anxiety) and productively move forward.

Eventually, everything worked out just fine – more than fine, actually.

Conversations with Myself

In 2018, another job search that took too long brought back all the fearful memories from years earlier, but it delivered a delightful surprise: notes I had kept from Deepak Chopra’s Twitter feed 10-12 years earlier. These were inspiring posts of his that spoke to me at the time and resonated even more when they resurfaced.

Inspired by what I found, I tried an experiment. I used these bites of wisdom from the past to help me think through my current 2018 experience and emotions. I sat quietly with pen in hand and started to write with the newly discovered treasure trove of tweets placed to the side.

I started with a prompt from Deepak (yes, I feel we are on a first-name basis now), reflected on it, and responded with whatever came to mind. In essence, we were in conversation together though, in reality, this was a conversation with myself.

For example, Deepak tweeted:

“Can you step out of the river of memory and conditioning and see the world as if for the first time? The world is creative every moment.”

I responded, “It’s a ‘river of memory’ that continues to pull me into its water. To stay out, what do I step into? The ocean. The far more powerful ocean of the Universe, where all potential is launched.”

The image of an ocean of consciousness is meaningful to me, and I can feel my heart open when I think about stepping into it. I knew I had to release the pull of past painful memories.

Another of his tweets:

“When there is freedom from all conditioning, there is pure creativity.”

My response: “Stay out of the river and in the ocean. In the ocean is the memory of miracles. Those were times of creative, playful, exciting manifestation. Let those memories fill the rivers.”

I continued using his writing to delve deeper into my fear and transform it to hope. And it worked! This experiment produced a feeling of peace and well-being – a true gift.

Our fictitious conversation (titled “Deepak & Me”) went into a folder for safekeeping. There it stayed, untouched until it appeared again earlier this month. It had been hiding in plain sight along with a year’s worth of personal reflections from 2009-2010 – my hellacious year.

Reflecting on My Truth

Reading through my reflections from two points in time with today’s eyes, I was reminded of so much that was good and kind and life-affirming during such difficulty. My friends gathered around me and provided the support system I needed. The gratitude I felt and still feel is far stronger than the fear ever was.

When times are difficult, I find it helpful to be reminded of what I believe to be true. Reminders can come from dear friends, or from the writing of those whose work I find meaningful and inspiring – or even from notes I left for myself.

There are quotations from various sources that speak to my soul, ground me, and give me hope in even the bleakest of times. One that I return to often is from Florence Scovel Shinn:

“It is dark before the dawn but the dawn never fails. Trust in the dawn.”

I believe with all my heart that the dawn never fails. Long, dark nights can seem to last forever, but they do not.

Moving Forward

It proved to be very helpful to drop into past conversations with myself in the form of these saved reflections. It became clear to me that I am amazingly resilient!

It feels good to be able to acknowledge that truth. Life may provide a bumpy stretch of road, but I will always find a way to productively walk it. That is powerful to remember.

There has been a through line in my thinking over these years, and I see that now. My default mode is to look forward with a positive focus, and that serves me well. I continue to find beauty and joy in all that surrounds me, which lifts my spirits on even the darkest days.

There is power in that, and I can build on it. And so I continue to move forward, still standing tall.

Spring Unfolding in Greenwich Village, NYC – Photo by the Author

Cathy Joseph is the author of the Random Conversations blog and is currently seeking representation for her book, The Art of Having a Delicious Conversation.

© 2022 Cathy Joseph. All rights reserved.

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