It happens to all of us gradually as we live and grow. We discover more about who we are and the way life really is, and then we realize there are some changes we need to make. The lifestyle we’ve been living no longer fits. The environments and relationships we once found comfort in no longer exist, or no longer serve our best interests. So we cherish all the great memories, but find ourselves at a crossroads, choosing to embark on the first stretch of a brand new path.
And it’s not easy. It’s painful to give up what’s comfortable and familiar, especially when you have no other choice. Marc and I have struggled through this process many times out of necessity. Over the past decade we’ve had to deal with several significant, unexpected life changes and challenges, including:
- Losing a sibling to suicide
- Losing a best friend to cardiac arrest
- Financial unrest and debt following a breadwinning employment layoff
- Breaking ties with a loved one who repeatedly betrayed us
- Family business failure (and reinvention)
- and the list goes on…
Those experiences were brutal. Each of them, naturally, knocked us down and off course for a period of time. But once we accepted the truth, by giving up our innocent ideals and letting go of the way things used to be, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.
Getting to the right state of mind—one that actually allowed us to move forward with our lives—required mindful practice. Because when we were initially faced with each one of those brutal experiences—when we were standing at the forefront of another rocky crossroads in our lives—you better believe our minds were spinning with negative emotions. We had to learn to catch ourselves in that negative state of emotional unrest, and then consciously calm our minds, so we could think straight, and make the best decisions possible with the hand we’d been dealt.
The simplest way of doing this?
Proactive daily reminders.
It’s all about keeping the right thoughts at the top of your mind every day, so they’re readily available on those inevitable days when you need them most. For us, that meant sitting down quietly with ourselves every morning and reflecting on precisely what we needed to remember. We used quotes (many of which are tiny excerpts from our books) like the ones below to do just that. Some people call them affirmations, or mantras, or prayers, or convictions, but in any case these daily reminders kept us on track by keeping calm, peaceful, productive thoughts and perspectives at the top of our minds, even when life got utterly chaotic.
We ultimately learned that peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard realities to deal with—peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain calm in your mind.
Challenge yourself to choose one of these quotes every morning, and then sit quietly for two minutes while repeating it silently in your mind. See how doing so gradually changes the way you think through life’s twists and turns and crossroads.
Please share this post with others who you think will benefit from it right now, and also share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If you’re up to it, we’d love it if you shared an additional quote or personal saying that has helped calm your mind through life’s twists and turns and crossroads.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.
M&A, your teachings continue to help me find hope and direction as I navigate some very tough transitions in my life.
This post is actually perfect for me, because I pretty much do exactly as you’ve suggested…I read read part of one of your emails, posts, or a page of your 1,000 Little Things book almost every day before I leave my home in the morning. Doing so keeps so many things in perspective and creates a sense of peace and awareness that somehow encourages me to face tough days more positively and effectively. Thanks for continuing to shine your light in my life over these past couple of years. Happy holidays to you and yours.
Gabe Niles says
Great post, awesome quotes and affirmations! And now I’ll add one of my absolute favorites from one of Marc’s recent posts earlier this month:
“You become a true master of your life when you learn how to master your focus—where your attention goes. Value what you give your energy to today.”
So incredibly relevant to everything I’m working towards right now. And so is this blog post.
Thank you for another enlightening read and challenge at this time of year, Angel. It helps.
Like Kathleen and Gabe above, I have several go-to daily affirmations, dozens of which I have also taken directly from your blog emails and books over the years.
One particular quote from your 1000 Things book that I have had taped to my office whiteboard for a while now, and frequently repeat to myself:
“No matter how chaotic the recent past has been, the immediate future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. You are not your past habits. You are not your past mistakes. You are not how others have at one time treated you. You are only who you think you are right now in this moment. You are only what you do right now in this moment.”
At 77 years old, I still find your articles very helpful as I navigate through life. Marc and Angel, you have reinforced my positive attitudes and helped me eliminate those negative feelings. Please continue to help us all.
I really enjoy reading the emails I get from you each week. I actually look forward to checking my email to see what you have sent that I can share with my family. And this post with these quotes arriving in my inbox today was perfect timing as always.
Esther Henningsen says
I recently lost my soulmate, best friend, partner in all things ~ and husband of forty one years. I have also lost a huge part of myself and can’t see how I can go on. I haven’t been able to sleep, and find I am living under a cloud of despair, regret and fear. I value what I read here and believe it is the path to living again. I’m just having a difficult time actually implementing your teachings. But I will not give up! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, I’m so glad I was meant to find it.
Sally G. says
I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is hard and touches all of us. Remember your joyful memories, grieve what you have lost, and be patient with yourself as you walk this road. You are stronger than you think. Sending love and prayers.
Terry B says
I would love it if you can reprint a post from perhaps 2 years ago? It was a year end post with photographs that had a question to answer… I hope you know which one I’m referring to. Perhaps creating a new one for the New Year this year?