One of the most powerful lessons life has taught me is that no matter what your circumstances are, no matter what cards the universe has dealt you, you have the choice to wake up every day and choose to be happy or to be miserable.
Science has proved that those with depression have a low level of ‘’happy’’ chemicals in their brain, chemicals such as endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. These may be depleted for various reasons (genetics, illness, traumatic life events) and have an adverse effect on us mentally and physically. Having myself battled with depression for many years, I know that it is tough. When you hit rock bottom your life, your future, everything seems hopeless, but what I have learned is that a better mood is only one thought, one small step away.
I recently came across this definition of an optimist:
At first glance, this for me was a great reminder of the fact that we have the power and the choice to view things in a positive light. It really does boil down to the way we choose to think about a particular situation/person/event. We all have the ability to pause and redirect our way of thinking to a more positive slant. By doing so we can completely change our thoughts and this will ultimately change the emotions we are feeling from negative to positive. But it has to start with changing our thoughts and finding something good we can focus on. Practising gratitude is always a good starting point.
Thinking about the cha-cha-cha then redirected my thoughts to how life truly is like a dance. The cha-cha-cha is a lively, fun, playful and flirty dance with its origins in Cuba; a dance whereby you shuffle forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards. It is the dance of trial and error – as is life.
Earlier this year, I took what I thought to be a step forward toward a personal dream but life had other plans for me and lessons to teach me, lessons about resilience, lessons about surrender, patience, forgiveness and gratitude. Hitting rock bottom once again, I was forced to take a step back just after having taken several steps forward. At the time, I had all kinds of judgements about myself in stepping back; judgements which included questions around self-sabotage and failing to reach my potential. Today I know that my step back was showing me once again that life is a dance just like the cha-cha-cha.
In stepping back, I discovered more about myself than I have ever done; I was able to unpack buried feelings and beliefs and to be honest, I was not entirely prepared for the depth of self-revelation and the sometimes painful feelings that accompanied this. It certainly has been a challenging time, filled with periods of uncertainty and chaos. In the past, I would have reached out for support, but I chose to navigate through this particular storm alone. I consciously chose to step into myself and really take a look at what was driving me; I chose to dive deeply into feeling my feelings, to challenge my assumptions about myself, my relationships and how I wanted to live my life.
On reflection, I can see now that my courage in taking a step back was a gift. I can see how the personal “cataclysm” of the time, was a necessary part of the steps, an essential part in the dance of life.
We have all taken steps in life that may not have gone the way we initially planned them to go; perhaps a job which left you deeply unsatisfied or a marriage that ended in divorce. Looking at these steps like a cha-cha-cha you learn to live life like a dance. As the song by John Michael Montgomery says ‘Life is a dance, you learn as you go’ and as with any dance, each step, each movement has a different felt experience.
Taking a step back has led me to more self-compassion and the ability to be gentler with myself. Today, I am more in tune with my feelings and emotions. I still have dreams and passions to explore; the difference is that today I am aware that I am practising the cha-cha-cha of life with more faith, more ease, more creativity and more grounded optimism.
You can listen to ‘Life’s a Dance’ here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k4ujBGRGf8
In love and light