“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” Dalai Lama
It is so easy to lose inner strength and be crushed by hopelessness. I’m there right now. I don’t see a meaningful life right now. Yet, living though this requires inner strength. There are days all I want to do is give up. I spend hours, even days, wondering about ways to commit suicide that will be fatal- not just an attempt. It’s been worse since November.
For me, a self destructive habit is isolating and withdrawing from people and activities. Discipline leads me to take to the road-or treadmill- to run. The focus on breath, concentration on form, and losing myself in the passing miles is relaxing. My feet striking the ground roots me to the present moment. I am present in a manner I no longer have off the road. I am connected to myself and my spiritual senses. Running is still a solitary activity. Recently, I connected to a friend I used to work with. We run together a couple times a week. We don’t talk about serious things but I am drawn out of my silence and the jangle of my own thoughts and attempts to make sense out of the unexplainable and unchangeable.
I have been experiencing more serious depression for about a month. I spent several hours before Tai Chi yesterday sitting in my friend’s office. Being alone was not a safe thing for me at that moment. Funny thing, a serious conversation ensued. Inner strength manifesting in reaching out to someone.
Tai Chi is another acitivity that helps me find a sense of peace and grounding. Movement, breath, concentration on form and poses- it’s easier to focus on something positive during class and be in the moment mindfully. I’m also around other veterans. We may not talk much but there is a connection.
I do yoga at home. While it is a solitary activity it is another one that I find a sense of peace. Breathing, form, focus, exercise. My mind stills for that time. To a lesser degree, I find relief in strength training as well.
I wish I could be physically active 24/7/365.
Physical activity is what helps me through the harder times.
Maybe one day I’ll find inner strength, my balance, and peace without needing the acitivity at the same time.