How To Reclaim Our Happiness In Times Of Tragedy

My job makes me happy. I know that’s not something a lot of people can say. But, my job is also to BE happy. Through my content and through sharing the bits and pieces of my lifestyle, I aim to prove to my clients that you can take what makes you happy and turn it into a profitable business. I show up online every day to share my life and lead by example.

However, as much as I work to build a baseline of happiness, sometimes I fall below that line. I’m usually high above it, embracing all the joys of life and practicing immense gratitude. But, like with anything else, there’s a flip side. Because life isn’t always happy and bright. Sometimes it’s dark and it hurts and it’s confusing. And in those moments, I lean on my spiritual practice. To me, that means focusing on what I need to reignite my flame.

The tragedy in Orlando shook me to my core. Maybe because it hit so close to home, maybe because it was so senseless, maybe because so many people were taken from us. Maybe all of those things and maybe more. I felt any joy I had on reserve suddenly siphoned out of me. I felt hollow, confused, angry, sad, desperate for answers. And in these moments, I’ve learned, we can either let the shadow side devour us…claiming every last bit of light we have…or we can do the work to break out of it. Reclaim our light. Reignite our own flame so that we can burn bright for others.

I like to consider my spiritual practice to be quite practical. I’ve built a practice around my life and incorporated systems that I can easily call upon when needed. Below are a few ways I’ve learned to reclaim my happiness in the midst of tragedy.

Listen to music

 “When you’re happy, you enjoy the music. But when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.” -Frank Ocean

Music heals. When tragedy strikes, I tend to retreat to my music. I always have. Typically, I’ll listen to songs that resonate with that dark emotion that’s stirring inside me. The one I can’t quite yet understand. And as I listen, I begin to unpack everything I am feeling. I believe in facing our emotions, rather than burying them. And I am also a lover of words. Some people connect with sounds or visuals…but I have an intimate relationship with words. So, when I listen to the lyrics, the words clean up the mess. They help me tap into what I’m feeling and lead me through the journey of processing it. Here is one I song I revisit, time and again, when I need some help.

Be with family

Surround yourself with people you love. Call them, invite them over, hug them. Loss can carve a gaping hole in your heart. It is in those times that you need to actively fill it back up with everything and everyone you still have. Something has been taken from you, but not everything has been taken from you. In the Jewish tradition, we observe shiva to cope with our grief after a loss. Shiva, meaning “seven” in Hebrew, is a process where the entire family comes together to sit with each other and mourn for seven days. The Torah mentions a seven day mourning period in connection with the death of Jacob, which is likely the source of the rabbinic law that shiva be observed. The sages declared that the first three days of shiva are especially marked by expressions of grief while the remaining days are characterized by healing and hope. It is important to face grief, as painful and messy as that process can be, because it will eventually lead to healing and hope.

Gratitude

Like I mentioned above, in times or tragedy we can feel like everything has been taken from us. This feeling is valid, but it is false. Yes, something has been taken from you. Something invaluable. Be it a loved one, your sense of safety, your zest for life. However, there is still so much in your life to be grateful for. Focus on those things. Write them down, sit with them during meditation, thank the universe (or whoever you have a connection with) for everything you still have. It doesn’t negate the feeling of emptiness, but it provides some sense of solace.

Take action

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Ghandi

Taking action in a time of crisis, if nothing else, gets you moving. It mobilizes you. It helps focus all of that anger and frustration and desperate energy toward something bigger than yourself. In the case of the Orlando shooting, there is so much we can do. Attend vigils, donate blood, sign petitions, offer support to the families of the victims. Below are a few links to do get you started.

Letting go

This one is obviously the hardest. But, I have a relentless faith in God, the universe, a higher power. Whatever name you call it by. My entire faith system is based around my trust in that. So, once I’ve done the work to process my emotions and feel the hurt…I release it to the universe. Because I know she’ll take care of me. She will make it right. It does us no good to hold on to these emotions. We are doing a disservice to ourselves and those around us by dimming our flame with sorrow. Once we do the work to process our emotions, we must release them. We must reclaim our light in order to ignite the light in others. I’ll leave you now, with this final quote from the Buddha himself.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted by a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

I would love to host you in my online group, My Brand Of Happy. In the messy, convoluted landscape of the Internet…this group is the lantern from which I can share all my light and happiness in the hopes of igniting yours. The light in me honors and respects the light in you. Namaste.

 

Leave a Reply