Should you give up, or stay the course? Preface: This post is full of contradictions, so if you’re looking for a straight shot… it’s better to look within. As always. But! I have an array of options, my friend.
Sensitivity note: I start in the realm of general life stuff: Should I quit my job? Leave this relationship? Exit the church? And then we move into the deepest possible query: whether to stay on the planet. As in, choosing to stay alive. Light to dark and all the hues in between…
Should I stay or should I go? First step: examine your current experience of what sucks.
Without jumping to any conclusions, start by observing. Admit to what currently sucks—you don’t have to worry yet about how to remedy that suckage. Just because it’s not working doesn’t mean you need to quit. Just get curious about your experience… Are you losing sleep? Are you sick of hearing yourself complain about the same damn things over and over? Does it feel like your struggle is moving you towards peace? Are you at a point where you have no fight left in you? The aim is to get as clear a picture as possible, because from that clarity solutions will emerge.
What would it feel like to give up?
Play with the possibility of not fighting it anymore. Create spaciousness around this—you’re not declaring a yes/no, stay/go just yet. Just focus on the potential relief of giving up. It might go like this: I’m going to stop fighting with this because I just want peace. I’m going to stop grinding because I want more ease in my life. I am declaring my karma paid in full. I’m done learning my lessons through primarily suffering. I believe that there’s a better, more graceful, way—and I’m going to allow for that. I already feel relieved.
How do you respond to this: If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now.
Does it feel like a relief, or absolutely inaccurate? Does that make you want to lay that dream down, or do you feel more revved up like. Again, just observe. You’re gathering data here.
Then, focus on how you DO want to feel—your Core Desired Feelings.
How would you love to feel most of the time? Just think of two or three feelings… and honour the fact that you may have not been feeling your Core Desired Feelings. That contrast is helping you get clear on how you DO want to feel.
Now, put your attention on your new ideal.
Fresh energy, hope, possibility—an equal relationship; feeling vital; earning a living in a way that’s in sync with your soul. Yeah? So, what’s your new, radiant ideal right now? See it, feel it, name it, declare it. No guilt, just a declaration. No hesitation, just want it.
Consider this: When you stop fighting against what’s not working, you are shifting the energy grid of your life. You’re changing the game.
What situation/thought form/relationship/dynamic/agreement is not working for you? Are you ready to stop fighting? Facing the facts can be so wrenching—grief might be on the tails of that revelation, but with that clarity comes the power to respond to your deeper desires. When you’re done fighting, you’re done fighting… and there is a bittersweet relief to that. Focus on the sweet. When you face the facts, it becomes liberating.
Now we shift gears. I felt the need to go to the further reaches with the topic of giving up. And it feels responsible to have a conversation about suicidal considerations. The ultimate in giving up.
How to offer support for someone feeling suicidal (…and hope for anyone in that painful place).
I put a call out on social media to support a friend of mine whose partner was feeling suicidal. Powerful sentiments and resources poured in. With deepest humility and respect for each person’s path I say: May these words save lives, and may those lives be well lived and wildly loved. Read the whole supportive collection here.
I have learned to become much more fluid with my compassion.
My friend has been very public with his dance with suicide. Suicidal ideation has circled him since he was a boy. A few years ago, he went through a really dark passage. We were going for a walk, and I’d remembered him saying he was thinking of suicide every few hours. So I asked, “So when you’re planning in your head to do it, like, how do you think of doing it? And first of all: is it okay that I ask you these questions?” And the answer was, “Yes.” He appreciated that kind of query, that expression of care and went through the various ways that he was thinking of committing suicide. In supporting him, I learned that I had to risk looking foolish and judgmental (and feel like I was risking losing his friendship) by showing up and asking stoic, but curious questions.
In my own dark period, when suicidal considerations started floating across my brain, I committed, fiercely, to choosing life-affirming thoughts––one at a time to get through each day.
For a period of time, I found myself in a murky darkness where I figured that the only way through was out. How I navigated and rose is a whole other story but this matters in this context: I decided to commit to feelings that resembled vitality. I was going to choose food, people, thoughts, ways of rest that felt alive. Life, life, life. Now it’s a daily practice: With precise intention, I create life-affirming declarations in support of my Core Desired Feelings.
Compassion, when it comes to suicide, might not look like what we expect it to.
I can never know the machinations of another soul. I want to hold all choices without judgement. Compassionate suicide support is something I’d never considered until a loved one in pain brought it to my awareness.
And I know with every cell of my being that the light of The Infinite is inextinguishable. And it feels like strength, and it feels like love. It’s the experience of joy… the glory of choosing to live. And if you can’t believe it for yourself, believe all the other people who are expressing themselves through my voice right now: lean into life with vigilance and hope. The healing is well underway.
EXCERPTS FROM EPS 23