top of page

Survival Cycles

Updated: Mar 16, 2021 There is no way to get around that truth. This morning I woke from dreams of things in my life feeling out of my control. To some people, the things in my dreams wouldn't be big things to be upset about-especially, because it was, after all, just a dream. But for me, being such an active dreamer, is an intricate part of what makes me, well... me. In one part of my dream I was upset because my entire bedroom had been moved to the smallest bedroom of three and all of my furniture and belongings had been rearranged- without my permission or knowledge. To me, the bedroom represents my personal space, the very smallest area

of my life that belongs to just me. The fact that my belongings had been moved, that was upsetting all on it's own. The fact that my furniture was rearranged in a way that I would never have arranged my space at all, was just as upsetting. The fact that I had to pretend to be happy about it- just so I wouldn't upset someone else, that was the thing that was most upsetting. The other part of my dream, I had finally found 'the' man I would share my life with. I felt this huge happy bubble knowing I had finally, finally found the man I was going to share my life with, and I felt so overwhelmed with the goodness & fairness of life that I just wanted to squeeze this happiness standing right in front of me. And when I did, he was shorter than me. Much shorter. It felt like I was literally hugging a young child- not a grown man. And there was no way I could deny the fact that we were a complete mismatch, and that all of the waiting, praying and believing had been for nothing. That was truly disheartening. Now I know you might be saying, 'Wow. Just wow. She finally gets 'the' guy and she can't even be happy with that. What is it gonna take to make her happy?'. And on one level, I get how that must look when your view is coming from the outside. But from the inside, where I am, I have been waiting on God's promise of someone special to share my life with since May 2012. As I am writing this, waiting on that promise has lasted 7 years, 7 months, and 4 days. Or 2774 days- if that sounds easier to digest (Big Gulp!). And to be even more accurate & honest, today as I am re-reading this, marks 8 years, 3 months, and 22 days. Or 3036 days (Yowsers- try to choke that out!). With those heavy weighted numbers, maybe you can imagine the upset, even if just in a dream, of embracing a man that felt more like hugging a child than hugging the man I was finally going to spend the rest of my blissful years with. Dreams can be a bit deceiving, you don't just wake up with what you are given in your dream (my hands raised in hallelujah right now!) but dreams can be a great tool to work out the tangles in our mind and hearts of what is happening in and around us in our real life. My interpretation of my dreams can mean one thing to me, and something entirely different to someone else, especially someone that bears witness to my life. I am most certain that dreaming of finally finding my soul mate, and then realizing he really isn't my soul mate, has way more to do with me.. and all the bullsh*t tangles in my mind and heart, than it has to do with a man coming up short (Ha!).

Thanks to my dreams (thanks... but no thanks) I woke up feeling a bit off center with my life. Suddenly all of the things that required so much of my energy each day began to float right to the surface of my mind. This was before I had even thrown back the covers, touched my feet to the floor, or before I had even poured myself a cup of coffee. Things being my very unfulfilling job. My mast cell activation syndrome. My chronic Bartonella infection. My migraine headaches. My lack of money. My need to get my car serviced. My after Christmas dip. My coming New Year blah. My long list of what I still need to repair on my house. My lack of a relationship... even with a very short man (Insert rolling eyes Emoji). The only positive thing that floated to the surface was 'Thank God today is Friday!". As I started to move around to get my morning started, the vertigo in my head reminded me that today feels just like my dreams. Completely, absolutely out of my control. And that just sucks! I just want, and need, for one day to feel symptom free from this mast cell bullsh*t. To feel- and to believe from deep inside, that none of those little pesky things like lack of money and feeling blah even matter. But the truth is, they do. They do matter and they do take up space in my day- whether I like it or not. You see, one of my old favorite, over-used habits, was to just act like everything was A-Okay... even when everything around me was going to hell in a hand basket. It was the only way I could keep breathing. It was the only way I knew how to survive. And although much easier to get through the moment, it is much more like a death grip on my life. I can no longer allow myself to just survive. Or to let myself slip into survival coping behaviors. Or, like my dream, to allow others to rearrange my life. Surviving is not living, it is just existing. And no one- no one, deserves to just exist.

So what did I do to make this day take a different direction? I plugged in my ear buds and turned on Pandora. My intention was to choose Ambient Instrumental from my play list so I could just sit back and drink my coffee and let my mind shift to calm. But the first song that actually played was Blessed Assurance by Third Day. I felt my soul pause. Then Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson. And suddenly I felt this strong desire to write bubble to the surface. Then Show Me Your Glory by Third Day followed by Born Again. I felt my spirit waking up within me. I was completely unaware it had even fallen asleep. Then Forgiven by Crowder played next. I could feel my soul, heart and spirit connect. The next song was Beautiful by Mercy Me. I was suddenly reminded of how much I have missed this. This time of allowing my soul to pause. Of feeling free to let my passion bubble to the surface. Relinquishing the burden of stress to allow room for my spirit to come back alive inside me. I don't know about you, but in those moments it became very clear to me that I had been losing myself in the minutia, in the trivialities and nonsense of life. You might argue that lack of money, home repairs, chronic illness, even the after Christmas dip & New Year blah are very real things that do take up time and energy in your life. That they are, in fact, unavoidable. That you can't just expect them to all dissolve into thin air just because you plug in a set of earbuds and listen to some feel-good music. Those are all solid points, for sure. But if you can't... or won't, take the time to plug in those earbuds, or to step outside into the fresh air, or take a drive to change the scenery... well, then you, my friend, will remain marinating in that thick goo of minutia. But hey, maybe the thick goo suits you (insert shrugging Emoji).

Me, I need reminders now and again that I have been sucked back into that goo. I need to be reminded that somehow, some way, I have allowed myself to shift gears right back into survival mode and that I am just going through the motions of living, not actually enjoying the fact that I am even alive. Currently, as I write this, I have been out of work on medical leave since February and still cannot tolerate being on screens (phone, laptop, television, etc) or focus on written words (journal, novel, magazine, etc) for any length of time beyond a two hour time block. If I push that timeline, chances are high I push myself into a migraine or into a flare. It has been frustrating, aggravating, and enough to piss me the hell off on countless occasions. Even this post has literally sat in draft form for months (& months)- some of that due to my screen time restrictions, a lot of that due to my diminished motivation & lack of passion. Aside from being on medical leave, I am now very much aware that I have shifted gears unknowingly back into survival mode. I recognize that I have become more non-committal (I cancel plans, back out last minute, or just cannot say yes to simple invites), I have become double-minded (since I cannot make up my mind I therefore keep my feet planted in two places), I have isolated (big red flag), I have lost joy in those things that used to breathe life into my soul (like reading, blogging, scrapbooking, getting out in the sunshine, visiting friends & family, etc). I even moved into a new apartment August 22nd (today marks 1 full month), which should be a super exciting time in my life right now... and I mostly just feel luke-warm about it. I want to be here- but I also don't- all at the same time (there's that damn double-minded again). I have gotten a few necessary things for my apartment like bedding, bath towels, and rugs (just going through the motions). I have made multiple trips to my storage unit to bring my television, office supplies, clothing, and dishes (just going through the motions). I have even brought in a used set of recliners (new to me), a coffee & end tables (new to me), my living room lamp that I love, and my plants (just going through the motions). Heck, I have even filled the trunk of my car with photo boxes and the few photo frames I managed to keep from the move out of the mobile (just going through the motions). So here I find myself, in my new apartment, surrounded by things that should make me feel inspired, alive, motivated, joyful, maybe even elated... but instead, I find myself just going through the motions of life. Incessently questioning if this is the right decision in my life at this time. If this is the right location for me to commit to live. If this is the place I want to wake up in every day (whether that be 1 day or 900). I have been given permission to paint walls if I want to to add my own choice of color, to move furniture around any way that I choose, and I was encouraged to just feel free to make this space my own. But instead... I find myself merely surviving. And that is not a good place to be. Those photo boxes I mentioned, they are gathering dust piled up on my dresser. Those picture frames, they are still sitting on the floor leaning against the wall left unhung. Music very rarely gets turned on, which is not normal for me, I am instead surrounded by the sound of silence. I do not get out into the sunshine even for a walk up the road (and that was even before this layer of smoke from the fires rolled in) and I am lucky if I even smile back at my reflection in the mirror. I find I have spent my lifetime falling into these survival cycles, doing only what it takes to get through each day. Isn't life meant to be more than that?! Breaking that survival cycle, at least to me, feels very defeating. Those old tapes in my mind can even convince me that doing more than just going through the motions takes too much from me in terms of time, energy and peace. Survival mode lulls me into this sleepy place of merely existing. I wake up in the morning, I walk through my day, I go to sleep at night, and I repeat. And then I repeat again. And again. Is that any way to live this one glorious life that I have been given? Absolutely not and I don't intend to stay there!

I am a firm believer that we all have something that speaks to us, something that is able to reach our inner-most chamber and breathe life back into our soul. For some it is music, melodies, rhythms, song lyrics, chords, & concerts. For others it is oil paints, canvases, easels, sketch pads, and art galleries. Still for others it might be words, writing workshops, hard bound books, poetry, libraries, & book readings. For some, it might be a combination of all the above. Maybe, it's sliding your tired body into that massage chair, sinking your feet in to that almost-too-hot water and allowing someone else to show love to your long neglected feet and to splash your toenails with a color that brings a smile to your lips whenever your toes happen to peek out from your favorite badass heels. Or just maybe, it is climbing into the cab of a pick up truck that is too loud, too fierce, and too damn sick... cranking the tunes as high as they will possibly go without shattering the windows, and pushing that gas pedal to the floor as you watch the overcrowded city streets turn into peaceful country roads lined with pine trees, dirt, and milepost markers. Take a minute (or two... or five) and really look at the quality of your life. Do you feel inspired? Do you feel engaged? Do you wake up each morning with passion driving you? Or do you look at your life and find that you too, are just going through the motions and merely surviving? Are you even happy? This is a time to be really honest with the state of your heart, mind and spirit. If you recognize tell-tale signs that you have fallen into a survival cycle, it is not too late! Being aware is the first step. Ask yourself what is missing, what has caused you to veer off into the ditch, and what it will take for you to feel like smiling again. Whatever that is for you, that thing that sparks a light deep in your soul, do more of that! The years might be long but the days are short, and you deserve to do things that capture your heart, that allow your soul to pause, and that make your spirit come alive inside you. This is your life and it belongs to you (that is a very exciting thing!). Do more of whatever it is that makes you smile and feel alive! And when that happens, you will become contagious to those around you! (Deep cleansing breath. Sigh!).

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page