Lead with Love: When things fall apart … celebrate the wins

Gina Murdock

We are all aware of times in our life when things are hard or just not working out. Sometimes catastrophic things happen and it feels like everything is falling apart. Or, it’s just a downward spiral of lots of things not falling into place and life feels hard. I’ve been there. When I am not in the flow, I know I am arguing with reality in one way or another and that leads to suffering.

Infertility was the thing that got me; it stopped my effervescent flow for a while. I felt like I was swimming upstream and life seemed so unfair. I was victimized by my circumstances big time. I didn’t like that feeling so went about searching and seeking for a way to be free from suffering.

Thanks to infertility and not getting what I wanted over and over again, I learned to base my happiness and wellbeing on the bedrock of my own self-love and connection to Spirit versus “outer circumstances” that are not in my control. I understand the infinite freedom and peace that comes from not needing things to be different than they are. That’s the gift I got. Nothing is more precious to me than that knowing. I am grateful for that journey, painful as it was.

I felt at peace, finally, with not having children and yet having babies earlier this year brought me a sense of contentment and joy I didn’t have before. Getting what I wanted kinda worked for me.

My dream came true times two. I find myself reveling in the love and joy I feel daily. Maybe it’s oxytocin or maybe I just really, really wanted to be a mother and I understand what a magical miracle it is.

Recently, I heard my inner voice (the one that just rises up from somewhere, but doesn’t feel like it comes from the mind) spontaneously say, “life is so good. I am so happy and grateful!” I immediately felt a twinge of fear of this contentment being taken away by some terrible circumstance to test me once again. What’s that about? Are we really so wired to look at what’s wrong that we can’t even claim it when it is good without “waiting for the other shoe to drop”?

I do believe life is about learning lessons, but I don’t think it means we need to be stuck in a cycle learning the same lessons over and over. I think we must celebrate our wins without boasting or gloating or “selling” our formula for happiness in a self help course. Once we learn our lessons (or one of our life lessons) I believe we must live our lessons in the form of service. Living in joy and gratitude is a service to humanity. It is energizing and uplifting. I am owning my moment. Gratitude flows.

I found practicing gratitude helps build the groove in the brain and can overcome our negativity bias. I spent a year during my time at University of Santa Monica collecting things that brought me joy as part of an assignment. The Connection Collection was a diary of things that I noticed each day that brought me good feelings. I noticed that just by noticing these things I noticed more of these things! Try it.

Spend your day building your awareness of the things that make you feel good or bring you joy: Look there is a beautiful flower, I love how that man just looked at his wife then joyfully picked up his daughter, wow this sand under my feet feels exquisite, this song makes me want to dance, I am enjoying how my body feels when I stretch, I love this friend that reached out to say hello, my dogs are so cute, when these babies smile with no teeth my heart feels like it’s going to explode, the sun is warming my body, I am tired and I am resting, this sandwich tastes good, I am a mother, I am a mother, I am a mother. Wow.

Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen-based nonprofit dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love. Millions of people suffer from infertility and pregnancy loss worldwide. You are not alone. Check http://www.resolve.org for resources. For more information about Lead with Love, go to http://www.ileadwithlove.org.