For a decade and a half, I struggled mightily every day against an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, and self-hatred.
To this day, I am still not 100% certain what it was that kept me from offing myself, let alone waking up again and again into another day of certain hell.
But whatever it was – is – it is still with me.
It still helps me wake up every morning and prepare to live another day.
My dad and I talk about this a lot – he grew up under challenging circumstances of an entirely different sort, yet he too woke up every morning, the youngest of four in a reliably chaotic household, and set his mind towards the future.
He simply determined that HIS future would be different – and every choice he made in each present day was weighed against his vision of that future.
Today, he is living in the exact future he envisioned in each of those days, beginning oh so many decades ago.
Perhaps that was what kept me going – his example and knowing his story – even though I surely didn’t view that as my inspiration at the time (I was far too caught up in my own darkness to see much else back then).
I just knew that, every time I was tempted to think the way my life felt was the worst any life could ever feel, I would read or hear about someone whose life was so much harder, and who was still choosing to make good come from bad.
Gandhi. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King, Jr. My American Indian grandparents. Random biographies and novels I read in the library (I was an avid reader growing up, and still am).
Here, in these stories, I found my heroes and my mentors.
I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me, but they felt closer than anyone I knew in my “real” life, and I leaned on them for everything I needed to make it through another day.
Today, I still do this. I still wake up and prepare all over again to live another day.
I meditate each morning – even if it is only in the few minutes I have.
In this time, I deliberately choose a hopeful, positive mental “track” and set my mind firmly on it, using mantras, songs, visualizations, forgiveness work, grateful prayers – whatever is needed for that day to begin well enough for me to consent to crawl out from under the covers and get up on my feet.
I do this because:
- I know today is all-inclusive – if I miss it, it’s gone.
- I know today could be the last day I get – and I don’t want to miss a moment.
- I know today could bring something so wonderful – and if it does, I want to be ready and waiting with open arms.
- I know today is just 24 hours long, if it happens to not be my favorite one of my days.
- Most of all, I know today IS going to bring tiny moments I can truly enjoy or at least appreciate, if I am awake and tuned in enough in each moment to notice.
Today’s Takeaway: How do you wake up and prepare yourself to live another day? I’d love to hear about your practices and what works best for you!