You know those days when your normally sunny disposition is just nowhere to be found? And I don’t mean just hiding behind a few dark clouds. Nope, it’s more like it’s been tied to a boulder and dropped down a long, dark, deep hole—filled with dirty black water.
I’m talking about the “dark hole of funk”.
And despite being painfully aware how the dark hole of funk can obliterate your joie-de-vivre, sometimes its easier to capitulate rather than, heaven forbid … smile once again.
You know what I mean?
I know what I mean. Not an easy confession from someone who generally laughs quite easily. But alas, there are days when consciousness and laughter are tossed out the window and instead, the dark hole of funk prevails. Usually its a fleeting funk, but there are other times when that damned funk just digs its heels in and won’t let go.
I recently made my way through a funk that kicked ass—my ass. Three solid days of darkness where it looked like there was no way out. It sucked. You see, I’m nearing the completion of an important project that is so close and dear to my heart that I’m scared. Ok … another confession … terrified is the raw and honest truth. And the fear brought me down, as only fear can.
Ah fear, definitely a topic for another blog post (or 1000). The topic of a plethora of self-help books and the number one killer of dreams. It’s something I know well, and over the years have learned to transform into fuel for a passionate and more purposeful life. It’s an ongoing process though I must admit. And fear is a crafty bugger. It discovers the tricks and secrets created to befriend it and then it stabs you in the back and finds other ways to become your foe once again. It’s always a worthy adversary. And this time, it got me—it got me good. It stole my confidence, it stole my happiness, it stole my spark.
Fortunately, there’s always a loving universe at the ready, and when the heart is open, there are constant synchronistic reminders to prevent us from derailing for long. When we remember the deeper connection to something greater than ourselves, that crafty old bugger we all know as fear skulks off into the darkness once again.
That’s exactly what happened in my case. I remembered my purpose. Consciousness was fleetingly restored and at that very moment, I was synchronistically guided to a powerful book, which I voraciously devoured. It came at just the right time, and at the exact right moment. The book I’m referring to is Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”, a book which I personally believe everyone on the planet should have at the ready when the funk starts to creep into consciousness. The inspirational words which catapulted me out of the dark hole of funk read as follows:[blockquote text=’“The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” – Steven Pressfield‘ text_color=’#383434′ width=” line_height=’undefined’ background_color=” border_color=”] AMEN! A resounding inner “YES” that reminded me of my path … my calling … my FIRE!
But that’s not all …
“If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” —Steven Pressfield
SMACKDOWN! A much needed kick in the teeth (metaphorically speaking of course).
Done. That was it. Quite frankly, that was all the reading I needed to do to snap me out of the dark abyss of unhappy resistance—and that was only within the first 10 pages! The rest of the book was like jet fuel to activate my unwavering passion once again.
And then I got mad, which often happens when I wake up from an unconscious slumber. I know better dammit! And anger, when properly channeled, can move mountains. I had a few mountains to move to make up for the wasted time in the dark hole of funk.
The return to full consciousness is always a beautiful thing. For me, it feels like a blazing ball of warm sun in my heart when I finally get back on track living the life I’m used to. And it was this recent episode of unconscious “fear funk” that inspired me to write this post.
So you want to live a happier, more conscious life? Here’s how (and yes, I need to follow my own advice):
- Take ownership for your life. Happiness is a choice. Sometimes you choose the funk, sometimes you choose the smile. Wherever you end up, the choice is 100% yours—every single time. Which leads me right into point number two …
- Stop blaming others for the dark hole of funk (intertwined with the previous point). The only thing you have control over in life is how you react to each and every life situation. We all know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries and that its just as easy to remain in the pits as it is otherwise. That’s the power of choice. You have the choice to choose cause or effect – ownership or victim. Whether you like it or not, your happiness is not dependent on how others treat you or whether they like you or not. Sure, there may be a**holes out there giving you a piece of their troubled inner world but that’s their crap – not yours. What others think of you is none of your business. When you blame others for your less than cheery disposition, you’ve given away your power and become a victim of your own choice to choose blame over ownership. Ya, I know, tough love, but that’s the way it is. Own it. Deal with it and move on.
- Move. When we feel unhappy, we actually feel “stuck” within the confines of our perceived inner world—which also causes us to feel stuck in the physical world. Often, the last thing most of us feel like doing is getting out and moving when we feel mentally and emotionally “off”. This is one of many reasons why we live in such a sedentary, health-deprived culture. So just freakin’ get out there and move your body dammit! Do something you love. Run, swim, bike, walk, DANCE! Just get out there and move. Fresh air, nature and movement are amazing healers – and total funk obliterators.
- Hang out with animals or kids. Their pure joy is infectious and snaps you right into the present moment. It’s hard to feel unhappy when you’re in the presence of presence!
- Give yourself total permission to feel the full breadth of emotion beneath the dark hole of funk. Most people suppress their emotions under the pretense that faked happiness will result in authentic happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Suppressed emotions are just that—suppressed emotions. Eventually, they pop when the baggage has reached capacity. And when they pop, they show up as chronic pain, illness, disease or an inappropriate emotional explosion—often aimed at an innocent bystander. Emotions are energy – energy in motion. They’re meant to move through us so that we can return to our core Essential nature once again. So feel them, release them and move on or, to paraphrase Peter Russell, let them be, let them in, let them go.
- Live with gratitude in your heart. You’ve probably heard this one over and over and over again. And there’s a reason why. Because it works! Even when life hands you a humongous platter of crapola, there’s always something to be grateful for. The sun in the sky. Another day of life. The beating of your heart. I personally make a nightly habit of mentally reminding myself of everything I was grateful for in that particular day. And I make a point of vividly visualizing every reminder so I can fully experience each moment once again right before I fall asleep. I often drift off with a smile on my face. What a great way to enter the dream world!
- Ask yourself the powerful question “Is there another way of looking at this”? Anytime you feel like life is knocking you down, bring this question into your consciousness. I promise that it’s an instant re-frame and often provides a fresh perspective, especially if you’re 100% honest with yourself. I learned this powerful question from Peter Russell – an amazing spiritual teacher who I had the privilege of studying with last year.
- Smile. Yep, that’s right. Smile. Ya, I know, that may be the hardest one on the list when you’ve fallen deep into the dark hole of funk but hey, you’re alive, and that alone is worth smiling about.
- Give yourself a big-time reality check. There are people in other parts of the world living in situations that truly warrant unhappiness: war zones, extreme poverty, legalized rape, genital mutilation, human trafficking, infanticide, oppression beyond anything we could ever fathom in the western world, not to mention the horrific animal cruelty and environmental degradation happening every moment of every day. Sadly, the list goes on and on. The world can be a very dark place without our minds making it even more so in our own personal world. When you reframe whatever is keeping you down and realize that its not really that bad (fingers crossed that its not), it’s so much easier to see the light through the funk.
- Take a good hard long look at the truth. What’s really going on? Often when we examine the actual facts of an experience or situation without the stories we’ve created, the reality has far less emotional charge than what we’ve actually perceived in our minds. This relates back to point number one. Take ownership of your thoughts and feelings because how you react to a situation can make or break you. And you are the only one in charge of that.
- Life is a series of one-time only events. When life knocks you down, you have the choice of wimping out or getting right back up again. And every time you get back up, you’ll be stronger the next time around. One of the cool things about life is that nothing is ever replicated exactly as it once was, so embrace the moment – be in the now. Live in it, laugh in it, love in it … and if the funk arrives, feel it and move on because nobody, including you, wants to be part of a pity party (notice the ongoing theme here?).
- Embrace the immensity of compassion in your heart. We don’t reveal happiness by pushing sadness, fear and grief away. We also don’t reveal happiness by numbing ourselves or pretending that unhappiness doesn’t exist. We reveal happiness by opening the floodgates of love in our hearts so that we can embrace all of our life experiences with love, acceptance and awareness. Deep and true happiness involves awakening to the infinite ocean of compassion within our own hearts—for ourselves and for others.
- Never believe the crap in your head. It’s been estimated that our brains produce 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day (how this was every studied is truly baffling…) and that 70%-80% of those daily thoughts are negative or utter crap. Remember the wise words of Steven Pressfield, “Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” With that said, go meditate … with a smile on your face.
- Pay very close attention to the synchronicities in your life. You may be unexpectedly guided to something that may just change your life. It may be as simple as the words in a book or as life-altering as a major event that completely alters the course of your life. When your heart and mind remain open you’ll quickly see that the Universe always answers your call for help. You’re never alone. Never.
- SERVE! Nothing picks you up faster than making a difference in the life of a fellow Earthling. Each and every one of us has a unique life purpose based on the foundation of love. When you serve that purpose – however it may look for you – you’re snapped right into the present moment. And only in the present moment of service can that frown be turned upside down in a single heartbeat.
Now get out there, shake off that funk, let your sun shine and wear that smile with pride. The world needs you to stand up, show up and play big!
Now it’s your turn. How do you revive your “inner happy” when the black hole of funk arrives?
Thanks for reading and keep on smiling!