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Author Topic: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?  (Read 5887 times)

Erinnightwalker

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How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« on: July 08, 2011, 03:31:35 pm »
I'm a master of delicate phrasing, I know (also fond of nice globs of sarcasm ;) ) but this is a serious question. How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly? When your job sucks, your parents decide to go crazy, the kids are climbing higher up the walls then normal, hubby's a jerk, wifey's got the super PMS all the time, and living under a rock in Siberia is starting to look like a lovely real estate prospect? When you get the religious blahs, the mystic doldrums, and the gods you used to feel so close to seem to have instituted the Private Bubble Rule?

For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?
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Erinnightwalker

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 03:57:32 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019


 
To start off, for a long time I had no regular practice. It wasn't until the whole Lady of the Stars thing that things started to gel for me. So I blahhed for a really long time >.> Couldn't remember the Wiccish Sabbats (except for Halloween) the same time twice, mostly lit a candle and burned a strand of hair for the full moons (.... I don't know why, either). Had a calling from Manannan but didn't do much with it.

So, now I have plotted some spiritual bits into my daily routine so I will remember, dammit! Care of shrine every night (lighting of candles if possible, always pouring water for particular spirits). Lighting of incense. Cleaning of statuary, paraphernalia, and table if needed.

Selection of necklaces each morning is more special than it might seem at first. My ceramics habit has broken me of wearing rings in the day to day (except for one special case that requires some ongoing negotiation), but necklaces are fine, so long as I tuck them away. One necklace never leaves my neck, barring highly profane work (like a recent septic tank breakdown, say), bathing, and sleeping. It is my chosen symbol for whatever this path I have is. It honors everyone at once without being a stand-in, and kinda sorta represents the Lady, as well. I have an amethyst point I wear for peace (mostly when I work, for patience is a virtue when you want to stay employed). There is a sea-turtle with a blue flower (rather Hawaiian flavored) for Manannan, as well as a dolphin. A glass tortoise represents the land hereabouts (not quite sure why, but it does). A string of skulls and bones is for ancestors, though it sits with the Baron's goodies more often than not.

Sometimes I pick a necklace according to the influence I need for the day. Sometimes its whatever necklace says "Put me on! Memememe!". Most of the time I wear 2 or 3. More requires careful layering and occasional readjustment during the day.

I do not remember long prayers or poems unless they have a rhythm, so mostly I pray by ear or with short prayers. I plan on writing down inspirational and beautiful poems and prayers in a small book so I can carry it around and read them when I need them. I read a lot, by the by, and most definitely regard it as spiritual.
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 04:20:39 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

 
Thanks for posting this!  It's related to what we were talking about on the Kemetic SIG, how we all sometimes go through the "Dark Night of the Soul."

What it's like to feel stuck/afraid
Benefits of doing ritual even if stuck/afraid

This is going to come specifically from a Kemetic/servant of Ausir, so it might not be applicable to everyone but here goes:  

I do a daily morning ritual.  Most days, it's the shortened form of the ritual in Eternal Egypt, customized for Ausir.  There isn't a lot of variance in what I do from day to day.

Now, there is something comforting and almost liberating in the fact that the ritual stays generally the same. I can rest in those familiar words and simply feel the energy of what is going on.  I don't feel worried that I'm going to fail or that I'm "doing it wrong."  It just matters that the correct steps are in place.  That actually takes a lot of pressure off of me.   I can sit back and enjoy the ritual ride.

On the other hand, it's the same. Ritual. Every. Day.  I would be lying if I said I never got tired of the repetition.

I have found that the following steps tend to help me get through "ritual blahs."

-Get plenty of sleep.  I do my ritual before work in the ass-early hours of the morning.   If I'm half-dead with fatigue, then of course I'm going to feel "meh" about ritual.  I've been really bad about the sleep thing lately but trying to get better.  I blame the new Cauldron.  

-Take it slow.  Take a breath between words.  Allow myself to actually feel those words rather than rushing through them.   Then I find myself remember what I'm actually saying, and realizing why this is still so important to me.

-Add new sensory stimuli.   Small things like a different type of bread, music or incense tend to help.  I'd been burning Shoyeido Autumn leaves, and switched to Alchemy-works Dark Harvest.  (This seems to be Ausir's favorite ATM).   I took out my usual Egyptian meditation music and put in Sigur Ros, of all things.  Small things like this make my brain wake up and pay attention.  That means ritual becomes less automatic.

-Ask for help.   "Hey, Ausir, I'm seriously losing it!  I love you and still want to be your servant but I'm so jacked up right now that I don't want to get out of bed."  Sometimes it helps to just lay everything out on the table and admit to the Gods that things suck.  To me, it's the same way with my friends.  They can't help me with a problem if I try to pretend nothing is going on.  They'll either think there's no problem or think I want to handle it alone.   Gods aren't omnipotent.  Sometimes we need to just say "Hey, I need your help to get through this."

-Remember the "Dark nights" of the past.   Remind myself of the times when it happened before, and I got through it.  

-Remember who Ausir is.  God of broken stuff, patron of survivors.  No matter what I'm going through, he seems to understand.

That's what I got :)
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 04:48:29 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
I'm a master of delicate phrasing, I know (also fond of nice globs of sarcasm ;) ) but this is a serious question. How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly? When your job sucks, your parents decide to go crazy, the kids are climbing higher up the walls then normal, hubby's a jerk, wifey's got the super PMS all the time, and living under a rock in Siberia is starting to look like a lovely real estate prospect? When you get the religious blahs, the mystic doldrums, and the gods you used to feel so close to seem to have instituted the Private Bubble Rule?

For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?



This will sound really negative and cynical but, I've just come to expect less, I guess. I don't expect a strong relationship with my gods so that really erases the unease on feeling a disconnect, which was an issue with other paths I had followed. I've adapted an outlook in which the gods aren't something I need to strive to meet or understand because they simply are and around in everything. And since that's an intellectual feeling not a spiritual feeling it erases the highs and lows of feeling 'intune' and then mundane. The highs are all me, all internal, and have nothing to do with how connected I am or how intune I am, and there isn't any questioning of whether or not the gods (or spiritual) are present or absent.

I can have a completely crappy day and think life sucks but no matter what I can look out the window and 'see' that Tyr is the pillar holding up the sky. And there aren't any expectations for Tyr to reach out to me or call me or lift me up. In heathenry, there is a lot of talk about changing your worldview and for me thats summed up above. My worldview has changed in such a way that the gods and my beliefs of heathenry inform my world and are the lens through which I view the world. So it isn't something that comes and goes, really. Changing MY ideas of what I expect from the gods and accepting what the gods ARE has made it a lot easier.

There are definitely times when I fall into a rut and I don't leave things out for the housewight or I go awhile without leaving an offering from the gods but it's become a feeling of being a 'bad' heathen and not a feeling of losing touch with heathenry. And I just don't expect much from that now either; rather than leaving offerings because I feel I should (and I should out of respect), I'm leaving them when I truly feel grateful or I'm in a super good mood and want to share that. Or sometimes just because I feel bad that it's been so long. During the holiday season I leave a ton of offerings because there are just so many yummies to buy ( :D ) and the whole spirit of the holiday is in me...and so they get a ton. And I justify that by saying that's why we have always had festivals and holidays, to pick a moment to really reconnect and share and gather. Yule wasn't every week, it was once a year.

I don't know if that was a decent answer or just a ramble. But in a nutshell...I expect less so I'm a lot happier and notice less 'blah' times, and I've adjusted my worldview in such a way that the 'blahs' don't change where I'm at spiritually.

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 07:58:51 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

 
I am coming out on the far side, I'm pretty sure, so:

The one thing I have done, consistently, for going on 9 years now, is that my toenails are painted blue as a deity devotion.

Sounds sort of stupid on one hand - but on the other hand, I have found that the combination of something small, but always present (I can look down at my toes and go "Blue!") and the fact that I have to redo it regularly are awesome. But on the other hand, it's flexible. I normally pull all the polish off and completely redo once a month or so, and add a new coat once a week in between times, but if I go a couple of weeks, all that happens is there are more chips. It's not the end of the world.

The other thing I have done for large chunks of that time (but which, weirdly, I tend to forget when things are at their worst) is having meaningful playlists of music on regularly that help me untangle what's going on in my psyche and direct it somewhere more useful. Sometimes these are based on a particular element, sometimes on a season, sometimes on a particular goal.

I do some other regular but periodic stuff I've talked about before: choosing particular jewelry or perfume, what I read (both obviously Pagan stuff and other stuff), spending some time being open to listening.

I don't expect M'Lady to step in and make things better - she mostly doesn't work that way. (And I've long had the strong impression that she really doesn't get technology or a lot of modern society - so she got that my job search was important to me, and important to my being able to do stuff for her that I care about - but actual *help* with it? Not so much.)

I also expect that the deity relationships can and will ebb and flow. I've had some amazing intense moments, but I've had a lot more time where they're present in my life the way a distant friend might be: not necessarily tuned into me and my needs, and perhaps not for weeks, months, or even years.

M'Lady is pretty much always there in the back of my awareness, but she's often not very *active* - I think there are lots of periods of time (most of the time!) where she's either deeply involved in something Not-Me or effectively mostly hibernating, and what I get back is this sort of sleepy-distracted "Get back to you sometime later" sense. Sometimes later is "Spring", and sometimes it's "When you get your life sorted out - hmm, here's a nudge to help that thing there I can help with - come back and chat." (which is sort of where I'm about to be, I think.)

And other deity relationships shift even more than that - there can be extended periods (years!) before a "Oh, yeah, you. Now, where'd we leave off?" just like there can be with visiting distant friends.  

I don't take it personally. It's not like that. It's about it being a big and complicated world, and I am not the only thing in it. (It also makes me feel better about my commitments to deity: I take them seriously, but I also know that the world is not relying entirely on me to do [whatever].)

I also take the Blah as a *really* good reason to stop, take a step back, and see whether the things I was doing are still serving my goals the way they used to. If they're not, what might change that?
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 08:46:45 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019


For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?


When I realize I'm hitting a rough patch- my first thing to do (now that I've gotten more adept at seeing my patterns in this) is to sit still. Calm down. Don't freak out. Figure out what is wrong. What can I do to fix it? Usually just slowing down helps me to find out the problem.

For instance- the last time I was in a bubble and couldn't hear the gods, it turns out I was so angry, that I couldn't hear anything. Sure, I had a 'right' and 'reason' to be angry- but you can't have your cake and eat it too. Once I realized I was angry- so many things clicked for me. Daily practice became possible again, and I could feel the connection again. It was a real eye opener for me.

Daily ritual used to consist of a morning rite for the gods. I had quite a few gods I was working with at the time- so sometimes it would be two rituals per day as I tried to fit more in. The morning ritual was a version of Reidy's simple morning ritual, which I formatted for my own use. Evening rituals for other gods varied.

Then Set took me somewhere else, and I took a break. I tried not to freak out, decided it was best to ride the wave. Now he's telling me to get back into it. So this time around, I figure I'll start with the basic Shinto rite- which involves a morning and evening practice. Morning you leave offerings. Thank the kami for watching over you, pledge to do your best that day, and leave. Evening, you take the offerings away, thank them for watching over you during the day, and leave. Where does Set fall into this? I'm really not sure. I don't even know where the Kemetic practice falls in. I mean, the ofuda is similar to an open statue... but I'm not really sure wtf he's having me do. But as I said earlier- I'm just sorta doing what he is showing, and we'll see what happens then XD

Another thing I've found that helps with the blahs is to go talk to other Kemetics, read a book, learn something- get excited about practicing again. Usually helps. Sometimes a break is useful as well.

I think that sums it up.

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2011, 03:48:09 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly?


First, I just keep practicing.  If you're on a football team and the game goes googly-moogly, you don't quit for the season.  You practice harder and work through the pain.  Key word being "practice."

Second, I change focus.  I don't want to be like the fly at the window.  I incorporate the seven principles of huna into my practice and two that come into play at times like this are "The world is what you think it is" and "Energy flows where attention goes."

It's like changing the neural pathways of your cosmic brain! (That sounds so 60's!) :)  Often, you can change your life by changing your thinking.  I'm a big believer in personal manifestation.

Best~
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2011, 04:08:36 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly?

 
Or as Dory said, "Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills, when life gets you down, you know what you gotta do?  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.... What do we do?  We swim, swim....

:D  Gotta love Dory.

Best~
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 04:43:59 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

Honestly, when times get tough, I just keep on practising, knowing that eventually things even back out. I know it's hard when mundane emotions and distractions can be so severe that they consume your every thought, but before every spiritual act, be it a short morning rite, or evening meditation, I temporarily block it out.

We do the same before coven circles. Before joining the H Priestess, we all focus our mundane distractions into a candle that, gets extinguished by the HP before the opening rite. I've found that when you have commitments to certain groups, it's easier to stay grounded when your self motivation might fall into a temporarily low. You stay soldiering on in the swing of things, and are always glad that you did later on.

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 09:09:46 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
I'm a master of delicate phrasing, I know (also fond of nice globs of sarcasm ;) ) but this is a serious question. How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly? When your job sucks, your parents decide to go crazy, the kids are climbing higher up the walls then normal, hubby's a jerk, wifey's got the super PMS all the time, and living under a rock in Siberia is starting to look like a lovely real estate prospect? When you get the religious blahs, the mystic doldrums, and the gods you used to feel so close to seem to have instituted the Private Bubble Rule?

For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

 
I put my head down and keep on going.

I'm crawling out of one of those states right now - at least I hope this is OUT and not just a bubble!  And - I give myself the freedom to rant.  To be pissed, to be hurt, to yell and scream at the unfairness of it all.  Then I go and do what needs to be done anyway.

To be fair, I also cut way BACK on what falls into the "needs to be done" category - what needs to be done most is me getting back on my feet.  Religious devotion, OTOH, I've always felt is more about the person than the gods - so devotional practices, especially in bad times, are *more* important.  Because there's a connection to the good times and to the awareness that this WILL pass.

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 09:53:17 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019

 
For me, the religious Blahs are a pretty normal state of being. Feeling connected is difficult. I can intellectually say "yeah, I'm Brighid's" and spiritually/emotionally be going "MOMMYYYYYYY" with lots of flailing. Actually, I think a key component of my religious path is flailing. I am a flail-master.

I will say that I can stand to build some more backbone when it comes to religious practice. (Haha, get it? It is a joke because my back is currently injured. *ba dum TISH*) I... really really suck at making new habits. They usually have to be forced on me - f'ex, because I've had to get up at 7-8 AM for summer school the past 5 weeks, I usually get up at that time regardless of when I go to bed. But actually sustain a meditation and prayer practice on a regular basis? Ay yi yi, you'd think it was pulling teeth with me. I don't have a lot of stamina without positive feedback, though I know if I just dig my heels in and do it, I'll be in a better place to hear/sense/feel the gods.

Also... depression. Oh depression, how I hate you. You can't just screw with my brain chemistry and make me feel like donkey turds, can you? Oh no. You have to affect every other part of my life ever. Go away. You're a terrible tenant. :P I've been officially diagnosed with minor depression, though I'm 99% certain I also have dysthymia. (Unless those are the same thing.) Unlike major depression which (from what I've seen of my very close friends who have it) has very, very dark turns with a few "hey this is normal or at least not sucky" tossed in, I am constantly in a state of low mood. It's not bad, and it's not too severe, but my current scale of normal is way out of whack. I've been like this for a long, long time.

It's really hard to feel like I'm worth Brighid's time, that I should trust my instincts on spiritual stuff, that I deserve any of this. I've wanted a spiritual life since I left Christianity and I feel like it's been one big uphill struggle.
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2011, 11:29:38 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
.. For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

..


I think for me I remember right off that none of them promised me my life would be a rose garden.  None of them said or implied I would not have highs and lows in my life and every facet of it.  That and I understand from them that with out struggle there is nothing to propel us forward or give us a reason to try harder.  The highs and lows give our lives reason, purpose and focus, its only how we respond that potentialy changes the outcome.

I look to history and see that while some area's may have had annual ceremonies or rituals of dedication most did not.  Some area's it was every 6 or more years before an actual dedication ritual or ceremony was performed to Artemis for instance.

Other times I admit I get depressed about it, then one of them usually grabs me by the short hairs and reminds me of what is what.  Let me tell you self pity becomes pretty pathetic when your suddenly time warped and find yourself fighting to get out of the burning building, listening to a torpedo pass by through the hull of the sub or a thousand other events that might have ended your life.  But I do admit I am retired military and did fire and rescue for many years so life and death to me holds a different meaning.

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2011, 12:41:50 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019


For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?


Well,  I try to take it one day at a time. I haven't done any rituals lately.  I lit some incense yesterday and offered it to the Gods/Goddesses, as an offering and as a thank you.   I find small rituals to the deities can be just as meaningful. I haven't been feeling well since June 11th possibly got a virus or  a bug of some kind.  I felt awful and had the worst headaches, plus I felt drained of energy.  I am slowly improving and I just started going to someone who does Reiki.  I found it wonderful.  Sometimes it is hard for me because I have depression.  I try not to let things overwhelm me.   I find asking for help is good.  It helps to have a good support system, whether the support is from friends, family or someone else you feel close to.  I have also a tendency to worry about everything.  I always try to keep my head up and think positive.
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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2011, 07:24:39 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?


I don't think I'd be in this if my life hadn't been googly-moogly long term. Hecate found me as I was desperately seeking some source of spiritual strength (how's that for alliteration?) in the depths of school bullying.

My practice isn't much in terms of ritual. I'm not much of a morning person, so I'm left alone to commune with Deity at the end of the day, after I've had my share of shite and I'm, as often as not, exhausted. I light my candle, some incense if I have it, and meditate. Or just listen for clues. Or, even, allow myself a good cry to let it all out of my system. Then I pull on my big girl knickers and deal with it. Gump happens, this too shall pass. I may skip yoga practice if I feel particularly wretched, but I'd have to be pretty much dead to the world not to find a tealight and make my pink rock salt holder glow. Having a pretty thing to look at can be just the quick fix of nice I need in order not to unravel completely.

During the crisis of the last few weeks, I discovered the rosary. I have a pretty single-decade chaplet with hematite beads that a friend brought me from Lourdes. I'd never used it before (although I'm not fussed over the crucifix; devotional aids are what one makes of them), but now let's say I know what worry-beads are for. There's something inexplicably comforting in letting the beads slide between my fingers while chanting 'om kala vide namaha', or even without the mantra. I'm half-tempted to buy a full-sized strand, so I don't have to rotate it so often!
'You created us restless, O Lord, and we find no rest until we rest in You.'
~St Augustine~
Whole blog o' nonsense: Are We There Yet?

sugarmagnolia

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Re: How do you keep it going when life goes to sh!t?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2011, 01:33:51 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;3019
I'm a master of delicate phrasing, I know (also fond of nice globs of sarcasm ;) ) but this is a serious question. How do you keep practicing when life goes googly-moogly? When your job sucks, your parents decide to go crazy, the kids are climbing higher up the walls then normal, hubby's a jerk, wifey's got the super PMS all the time, and living under a rock in Siberia is starting to look like a lovely real estate prospect? When you get the religious blahs, the mystic doldrums, and the gods you used to feel so close to seem to have instituted the Private Bubble Rule?

For those who are in it, what did you do before the Blah?

For those that went through it, what did you do to get out, and what did you do to keep the good going?

And for everybody that cares to comment, what is your daily/weekly/temporally reoccurring *thing* (if you have one) that you do to keep the faith alive?

 
I have been the sole caregiver, 24/7, for my MIL for about a year and a half now.  The only time I get a break in when my man is on his home time, roughly 4 days a month. Naturally, when he's home I would prefer to spend time with him instead of disappearing to the local fishing hole.  

I do my best to spend some time in my garden each day, even if it's only long enough to harvest whatever is ready.  Late at night while I'm waiting for her to get fully to sleep is when I light a candle and meditate.  

Mostly, I just take it one day at a time and when I get to the end of my rope, tie a knot in it and hold on.  Eventually, the situation will change.

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