This morning while I was walking into the hospital, I looked up into the sky and noticed the way the clouds were perfectly positioned behind this gigantic tree. The vibrant colors of the sky illuminated the silhouette of the branches, and I stopped and just stood there in awe for a moment. I started on my way again, listening to my shoes click against the pavement, while wondering how many people had seen the same exact scene without really seeing the beauty.
I was reminded of my 30 Runs in 30 Days challenge where I documented the beauty I experienced on each run for 30 consecutive days. The benefit of keeping a blog is having the ability to see how much you've changed over time. Looking back, I completed that challenge during one of the darkest times in my life. I felt completely lost and depressed, and the 30 Runs in 30 Days literally forced me to find structure again in my daily routine. More importantly, it challenged me in a creative way to find something beautiful to capture, during a time when the whole world felt disgustingly dark and ugly.
Find the beauty. Desperately search it out, even if you feel as though you're on your hands and knees with an unknown future. Still show up for your life daily even if it means adding a filter (those always help). I found that after 30 days, my brain became used to scanning the world for beauty, and gratitude happened to find its way in there too. I was starting to see the good, the positives, the beauty, one day at a time.
It didn't happen overnight. But I can see and feel big changes in the past three years. Back then, I'd ride my bike to cycle away feelings of grief, unworthiness and depression, Miles and miles of motion therapy, to give structure and so-called 'meaning' to my life. Looking back, I'm thankful for those dark miles...they taught me valuable lessons and forced me to examine my contribution (or lack thereof) to the world.
This picture was captured a few weeks ago by a dear friend. What he captured, more importantly, was the joy that has been restored in my soul and in my life. I share this to provide hope to those who right now can't see joy, can't fathom it, can't feel it.
Even when life feels dark and your grief feels bottomless, find one thing that is beautiful. Write it down. Post it on Instagram. Keep this habit up daily, and you will find, like me, that your brain will start to rewire itself and will begin scanning the world for beauty. You will also discover that your friends and family don't just 'like' you, they love you and are invested in the restoration of your joy, even if it takes months, or even years.
Sometimes it's all about how we see our outer world that dictates how we feel about our inner world.
Sometimes we just need a 'reframe.' We need a new filter on life.
And that's how hope and joy start to shine through.