No Where to Go But Up

Scene from Mary Poppins Returns

I was putting the finishing touches on a book review for It's Murder, My Son by one of my favorite cozy murder mystery writers - Lauren Carr - when the opening line from her synopsis hit me. 

The worst day of Mac Faraday's life would become a new beginning.

I had to pause and think about this for a bit.  Why in this moment did this phrase stand out.  I am not at the lowest point of my life, I'm in a pretty good place. That's not to say there isn't a lot to still improve. Let's face it, we never really stop growing or becoming. If we do then life becomes a true bore.  But I'm no where near the worst day of my life. 

I finally realized what I was feeling led to do was acknowledge all the highs and lows of my journey.  They range from deep dark places emotionally and times I struggled to buy food and pay rent, to finding Glen and having children and launching my first book.  There have been times of hurt, times of joy, boring times where nothing happened and exciting times where I tried new things and explored the world. 

Platitudes can be such horrible things to share with anyone who is in a dark place, but that doesn't make them completely untrue. There can be a nugget of gold in each of them. However, they are better explored from a place of balance. What looking back over my life brings now is just what the quotes above share. There were ALWAYS new beginnings waiting after experiencing challenges. When one door slammed shut, a new adventure was awaiting my discovery behind another, I just had to take a leap of faith and open it. And if you continue to put one foot in front of the other, the only direction from the bottom actually is up. Who knew?

After my first
heart break, it took months to slog through my dark emotional grief before I could open my eyes to new possibilities, but in the end I found Glen.  Those times of great lack were very hard, but I now have a full pantry and a roof over my head.  I was oh so isolated , but now have amazing family and friends I love. I was lost for a new direction when my kids were teens, then discovered interviewing and writing. In my dark moments I couldn't even imagine any light ahead. But as I kept moving forward, eventually the sun rose.   Life is a Yin and Yang of experiences both high and low. 

When looking for images to include, I stumbled across a song - Nowhere To Go But Up.  It's from the movie Mary Poppins Returns. Although I have seen this movie, I was more caught up in the story and visuals than the lyrics of the songs performed.  However, when I read them today, the first verse hit home. Sung by the balloon lady, it's about choosing the right balloon, and what happens if you do. What a cool metaphor for life!

Life's a balloon that tumbles or rises
Depending on what is inside
Fill it with hope and playful surprises
And, oh, dearie ducks, then you're in for a ride

Choosing a balloon, a life's path, that holds the potential to take us where we want to go is crucial. Choosing the memories we want to embrace - positive or negative - has a huge effect. Just the other day I told my adult kids I was going to chose to focus on the positive memories from their young years and was going to let the hard times fade away, because what we hold in our mind affects our thoughts on, well, everything. And that is just one example. We make so many small choices every day in our life that can have a big impact over time. Each are tiny single pebbles dropped in our pond that ripple outward.

Life's roller coaster journey of ups and downs can be hard to control, or even out of control at times. No matter what comes our way, we CAN chose how we react to it. When young, every single dark moment was the end of the world. At this point in my life journey, however, the pattern has become more obvious. I hold the vision of life as a roller coaster front and center on those challenging days that are inevitable and keep moving myself forward knowing better things are ahead.  During the up times, however, I let go in utter joy, throw my arms in the air and celebrate. I grab that balloon string and soar upward.

Take a few moments,
close your eyes, and see what thoughts are swirling in the background. It can be eye opening. If they are all negative, then it's time to make a daily choice to change those thoughts. Remember the good times, even if few and far between. Embrace positive mantras to repeat when the dark takes over.  If the people in your life only bring you lower, then move into a new circle with better energy that lifts you up.  You choose.  And remember, it takes time. Nothing happens overnight. Slow and steady - one step, one moment, one breath at a time - until you come to a better place.

Important Note -  What I shared here is simply food for thought, ideas gleaned from my journey for readers to consider. Only you can decide if what I share is helpful to you personally.  However, if you are truly overwhelmed emotionally and in a very dark space, do not hesitate to reach out for help. You are not alone. There are hotlines waiting for your call. There are counselors trained to provide the support you need, and professionals to help with biological issues that may need addressing. They are ready and waiting, you simply need to reach out.

There are hundreds of crisis lines available through a web search. I have listed just a few below. 
  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), by Crisis Services Canada in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 Available 24/7
  • United States Suicide Prevention Lifelines are available 24/7 – National Hope Helpline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or in Spanish, 1-888-628-9454.
  • International Crisis lines HERE