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Assessing Your Life

Here we go, jumping into the deep end of the pool. Do you know how to swim?

That is a key question LIFE asks you from the very beginning. Can you keep your head above water during an unexpected dunking?

Sometimes you get the chance to slowly test your bob-ability in life, but other times someone/something just grabs you out of that comfortable deckchair where you were so serenely lounging—soaking in the sunshine and quietude, and tosses you into the cold, dark water, yelling, “Sink or swim!”

To carry that analogy a little bit further, for many of us, our parents did their best to “drown-proof” us with swimming lessons and floatation devices, but LIFE has a way of bypassing the safeguards set in place with the best of parental intentions.

And sometimes, if we are being honest, not all kids had the helicoptering ‘protective parent’ to rely on, so some children were forced early on to save themselves as best they could.

Whichever  ‘deep-end dunk-ee’ you might be, what matters most now is to determine what your current situation is—are you safe and secure on a solid foundation or are you still treading water with the fear of drowning in your every conscious thought?

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed with meeting daily, essential needs and fulfilling our responsibilities to our families, to our jobs, to our friends, and lastly, to ourselves.  There may be no water involved at all in our actual scenarios, but we still FEEL like we are slowly drowning.

If you are actually feeling that way, then be honest and acknowledge it—to yourself—to those you care about—and especially to those who may be able to help you in some way.  Sometimes we all need a different perspective on our personal situations because we can’t see beyond the end of our noses when LIFE is so overwhelming to us.  Counselors, therapists, support groups, etc., offer that ‘other perspective’ to help us assess the problems we may face and to suggest possible solutions that we might not be aware of, that could change our current situation for the better. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and someone to say, “Hey, what about this?”

This is the first step in assessing your life.  Ask yourself to honestly define where you are at present? What are you experiencing physically, mentally, and emotionally?   

‘Spiritually’ is a whole other consideration, so we’re not going there right now, and that’s also why I didn’t mention ‘clergy’ in the listener/advisor consideration. It’s better to have someone listening to you who won’t push their own tainted perspective/agenda.  In truth, sometimes a listener’s ‘tainted perspectives’ may clash with our own deepest psychological needs to express the truth of our being, and it may prevent us from being absolutely honest with that person and or even with ourselves.

More questions to consider:  Are you sure of yourself and your future intentions—your proposed life direction? Does that seem to be working well for you?  What aspect isn’t working so well for you?

Are you confused about your life’s path and how the terrain around you doesn’t look exactly like you had thought that it would by now? What is different about where you thought you would be by this age and where you actually are?

Day to day, hour to hour, do you feel happy most of the time?  Or do you feel sad, or disheartened, or disappointed, or resentful, or even angry, and you may have no idea why you feel that way?  When someone would ask me how I was doing at any time, I would always immediately say, “I’m fine.”

Was I really FINE?  Probably not, but I was doing the best that I could at that time.  Is that how you truly feel?  Are you FINE, until you aren’t?  What does FINE really feel like for you?

So my suggestion here is to first determine where you really are, and what you are actually feeling at your most honest, heart-centered emotion.  And if you don’t have a professional ‘listener’ like a counselor or a therapist to hear you explain your feelings and to make you dig for the deepest stuff you’ve long ago buried in your most-secret, childhood memories, then buy a thick blank notebook, and start writing it down—write down the questions I’ve mentioned here, then write down your most honest, heart-felt answers to follow them.

In other words, start a JOURNAL!

Journaling has helped me to better understand myself in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  Sometimes I would have no prior idea what was going on in my troubled head until it flowed out of the pen and onto the paper under my hand.  I have journaled for thirty years. It helps tremendously to clear your mind.

I view journaling as a critical step in assessing where you are in your life. So take the time. Get what’s bothering you out of your head and onto the page under your hand.

You might be pleasantly surprised or maybe a little shocked, because it really helps clear the brain-fog and sort through stifled emotions.  Certainly works for me.


Survival of the Bendable

Tree analogies aside, (i.e., strength of the oak vs. the pliability of the ash or willow) when it comes to surviving LIFE’s harsher realities in general, you need a game plan.  And usually early in school, those types of LIFE STRATEGIES aren’t stressed because few teachers want to discuss these personally difficult subjects—probably because they witness daily too many students already experiencing them at their young ages.

What I would most like to do in this blog is to provide perspectives that offer options for you—strategies NOT for “coping” with whatever you must face down in your life, but for successfully “dealing with and progressively moving past” whatever challenges LIFE throws your way because that is how you learn to bend, without breaking.

When your life falls apart for whatever reason that it does due to deaths, Illness, accidents, disappointments, lost loves, career jolts, etc., you simply stop for a moment or a day or a week—whatever time you need—and acknowledge that no matter what awful thing has just occurred in your life, you are still here in this world and you have to somehow move forward from this point onward. Your simple task now is to figure out how to do it. That is what I call defining/adopting your “moving forward” LIFE strategy.

I strongly dislike the often-touted, employee-manipulation slogan that corporate America uses to encourage their workers to “develop better coping abilities” for their lives, because “coping” means to pretend that the awful thing you are currently enduring is acceptable to the human condition if you can just anesthetize yourself in some way to the awfulness that it actually represents, directly or indirectly, in your life.  

There are numerous pills, booze, drugs, etc., all designed to COPE with LIFE’s unfairness or unpleasantness in general.  None of them will actually move you out of an untenable situation.  They will simply make you stew longer in your own desperation and despair.  

The insidiousness of coping strategies is the more frequently that you use them, the longer they make you feel more helpless and beyond hope for a better solution to the dilemma you are now facing; which means that if you are too distracted or numb inside to think about the horrible state of affairs that you are currently enduring, then maybe the awful mess that you are working so hard to suppress from your consciousness, will magically go away. 

Except it won’t; and it doesn’t.  Coping strategies feed on our own self-delusions and our tendencies toward avoiding problems or life’s unpleasantness because we don’t like thinking about them.

Coping gets you nowhere other than exactly where you last were when you first tried to blot out the horrid situation or circumstances from your mind.

That is NOT successfully surviving the difficult challenge that you might be currently facing, nor is it demonstrating the essential bendability necessary for you to move beyond the awfulness of your present moment.  All coping succeeds in doing is to delude yourself that those pills, drugs, booze or whatever else you might use to pretend this unpleasantness isn’t happening to you, can help you endure the situation until circumstances magically change for the better in the future.  It’s like believing that if you are patient enough FATE will eventually smile on you and suddenly right the current wrong on your behalf that you are feeling. 

I would hate to guess the statistics in your favor on waiting for FATE to shift things to your benefit.  FATE has its own timeline, and sometimes it doesn’t match up to ours.  While you might eventually wait out an unpleasant situation, you can’t outlast a hazardous-to-your-health one; and stress can be an insidious killer.

But consider this option instead: Rather than simply ‘coping’ with a bad set of circumstances, shift your perspective on what you are actually experiencing to better see ALL the choices that might be available to you IF you simply changed your current behaviors in one or two important ways.

Being bendable means to reassess the stressful condition that you are facing from a more rational (less emotional) perspective to truly understand:  1) why you are facing it at present, 2) to determine what you must do to move beyond the current situation and its horrid effect on your life, and 3) determine how you can develop a strategy for either moving around or climbing over the boulder now blocking your path to happiness and a better life.  

Being bendable means to be strategic, but not stupid.

Assess your true options. Ask for input from counselors or professional advisors on how to improve your choices for a better life. Then strategize a way to move beyond the limitations of your current situation by taking solid steps to your personal improvement, and by listing a future goal that would signify your success once achieved.  It could involve additional training or further education in a field of choice more appealing than your present employment.  (Example: I went back to grad school at age 40 to get my Masters in English. I worked my regular Graphic Artist job full time while attending classes at night and weekends, and gave up vacations for two-week intensives on certain subjects. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap with my limited income, but I did eventually achieve my goal.  So I know it is possible to do this and change your life for the better with some extra personal effort and the determination to do so.)

And yes, there will always be some type of challenge to your happiness, present or future, because that is simply LIFE. LIFE is meant to challenge us—because creatively meeting that challenge is how we grow.

Your choice is to decide what core essentials you truly want in your LIFE and what type of person do you truly wish to be, then determine how best you can make your life count to not only help yourself to a better life, but also help make ALL of our lives better in some way by improving your own outlook and attitude, because actually we’re all in this LIFE together, even though we may feel isolated and alone much of the time.

Making your life and ALL of our lives better in some way, is what finding your truth means, and that is WHY we are here.  Together.

Finding Your Truth

I could have easily titled this blog “Finding MY Truth” but that’s not what this written effort is about.  This blog’s focus is to help others in finding their own truth.

In reality, your TRUTH might not be the same as MY truth; but what I’d like others to know is that I compassionately encourage you in your explorations to find your personal truth because I know how arduous that search can be—how rocky the terrain that lies ahead—how tedious the extended journey awaiting you, simply to uncover those deeply-hidden secrets of YOU. 

And I also know how life can change in an instant when the winding, mountainous path that you were so confidently traveling suddenly crumbles beneath your feet—tossing you screaming off the cliff and out into space.

Having faced some of that unexpected “air time” myself, I know how shocking it can be when your life suddenly falls apart, forcing you to see how quickly you either learn to fly, or how well you can bounce once you do hit the canyon floor.  

Also from my own experiences in personal TRUTH finding (as well as surviving LIFE’s challenges), I know how rare it is to find others willing to offer emotional support or encouragement to get you back on your feet again without a ‘profit motive’ involved.  True, we all have to make a living, but there are times when you should compassionately look to help others without first considering what they can offer you in return.   

So up front here: I don’t want your money—in fact I don’t want anything from you other than some deep soul-searching to determine what you really expect from LIFE and what LIFE expects from you in return.

If you can answer those two key questions to your own satisfaction, then that’s plenty reciprocal reward for me.

Remember, MY truth may not be YOUR truth, but I know MY truth better than I know yours, so that is likely what I will write about the most and hope you can see parallels or divergences by which to gauge your own truth. 

Life is an adventure—one we may never truly understand in this plane of existence—but one we have to navigate all the same.  So good luck!  As you journey ever forward, stay alert to avoid sudden pitfalls and just watch where you step in general, because it’s one big ‘cow pasture’ out there.*   

* (I’m from Iowa: If you think dogs leave an unappreciated ‘pile’ behind in walkways, imagine what a bunch of cows might leave behind during your pastoral wandering.)

Rebecca A. Holdorf

Rebecca A. Holdorf, has a Masters in English, and is a certified hypnotist, specializing in Past-Life and Spirit World Exploration; as well as a Usui and Karuna REIKI Master Teacher presently located near Davenport, Iowa. Author of five books, she also conducts workshops and training in Self-empowerment, True-self Actualization and REIKI. Her company is Foundations of Light, LLC, web address is . Contact her at . View more posts