Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

6 Tips for Surviving the Darkest Days

on July 12, 2013

There are times in the parents’ journey when we do not see the light. We forget that there is light. We feel abandoned by everyone, utterly alone.

At times like these, it is appropriate to feel our pain, to swim in our despair. It is healthy to allow all of our feelings to flow through us. It is not necessary (and often, it is not possible) for us to cheer up and put on a happy face.

The thing to remember is that we want the sadness to keep moving. We want to allow our sadness to be. We do not want to drown in it.

Six Ways to Support Yourself During the Darkest Days

1. Honor your sadness.

Find a way to take some time for your sadness and yourself.

  • Light a candle.
  • Sit quietly.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Ask your sadness: Do you have a name? What do you want me to know?
  • Listen. (If it feels strange to do this, try it anyway. I have often been surprised by the insights that came when I asked myself such questions. If you hear and feel nothing, let that be okay.)

2. Support your body with nourishing foods.

Your body needs to be nourished with healthy foods to remain strong. Let this be easy.

  • Brew a cup of nourishing, relaxing tea such as oat straw or chamomile.
  • Mash an avocado with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime.
  • Order a smoothie or a cup of soup.
  • As you eat or drink, feel every cell and every organ in your body being fed and sustained.

3. Accept help from Flower Essences.

In the early 20th century, Edward Bach discovered that each of our negative emotional states could be brought into balance with a flower essence. Bach Flower Essences may be purchased at most health food stores.

  • For general emotional support during difficult times, try the combination of four flower essences called Rescue Remedy. Put four drops of the essence in a glass of water and sip throughout the day.
  • Other flower essences may be indicated. If you feel drawn to healing with flower essences, I recommend contacting Amy Hendrickson for a consultation.

4. Tap, tap, tap your blues away.

At least 2000 years ago, the Chinese discovered that energy can be moved by stimulating specific points on the body. From this, they developed the practice of acupuncture. You can stimulate acupuncture points on your body, simply by tapping on them. If you do this while thinking about your sadness, the sadness will begin to shift (not necessarily disappear), as if by magic. The basics of tapping for stress relief.

5. Locate the sadness and breathe it away.

Instead of thinking about why you feel this sadness, ask yourself where you feel this sadness.

  • Breathe in deeply through your nose.
  • Feel your breath go to the place where you feel the sadness.
  • Breathe out through your mouth.
  • Repeat until the sadness moves to a new spot.
  • Then, feel your breath go to this new place.
  • Notice colors, images, sounds, and feelings associated with the sad spots. No need to do anything with them, simply notice.
  • Continue as long as it feels good.

6. Read these words of hope.

The following are the lyrics to a song called “Inscription of Hope.” It is based on a poem found on the wall of a basement where Jews were hiding from Hitler. Perhaps reading these words will feed your soul. You can listen to children singing The Inscription of Hope here.

Inscription of Hope

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
and I believe in love
even when there’s no one there

and I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way

but sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
my heart cries for shelter
to know someone’s there

but a voice rises within me
saying “hold on, my child
I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you hope
just stay a little while”

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
and I believe in love
even when there’s no one there

and I believe in God
even when he is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way

May there someday be sunshine
may there someday be happiness
may there someday be love
may there someday be peace


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