I’ve been through a lot in my life, but if enduring / pushing through (and ultimately overcoming) those hardships has taught me anything, it’s how important it is to focus on the big picture. It’s easy to sweat the small stuff, get caught up in a cycle of negative thinking, and be so fixated on everything that’s “wrong” that you lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. But life is way too short – and everything (both the perceived “good” and “bad”) is far too temporary – to obsess over and worry about little details and the present (and/or future) not matching your ideation of it.

Instead, make a conscious effort to shift your perspective by trying this approach:

  • focus on the positive (count your blessings)
  • approach each and every experience in life as just that: an experience (appreciating the value of a learning lesson / catalyst for personal growth as opposed to fixating on any set agenda / objective / preferred outcome of said experience)
  • find your balance / center by becoming in tune with your innermost self (your gut instinct, intuition, higher self, etc) and living authentically in accordance with it
  • be grateful for every aspect of life

Being alive is a joy in and of itself, and there is so much joy to be found in life and the mere experience of living / existing!

If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.
—  Oliver Wendell Holmes 
you don’t need to read books on how to be successful in order to be successful. you don’t need someone else’s advice on how to be happy. you need to invest everything you’ve got into your own self. Believe in every single dream you have. Believe in every idea you think. Believe in everyone around you & everything they can do to help you grow and cut out the people you feel might stunt your growth or are prone to turning their back on you. Believe in the power of keeping a positive mindset - under all circumstances. Smile big even when you’re hurting the hardest. Nobody but you can change your situation. Nobody but you can hold you back. You don’t need to always look for reassurance from elsewhere, you are more powerful than you think. trust yourself. love yourself.
—  Reyna Biddy
There’s no point in consistently worrying about everything. What will happen will happen regardless. So breath, look on the bring side,have some laughs, fall in love, accept what you can’t change, and carry on. To actually live is courageous. Most people exist, that is all.
—  Unknown

The Totem of the Wild.

This is something that I personally draw a lot from, and will be referring back to in future articles. The Totem of the Wild holds strong and diverse symbolism, and can be looked at from many perspectives under different circumstances.

One basis is the Totem’s representation of key Ideals to strive towards in our lives. Spirits of these animals (and others) that we can invoke in the process of bettering ourselves mentally.

Raven - Knowledge and Wisdom
Knowledge - To learn important lessons from the Gods, Nature, our Ancestors and our own Past. Knowledge of the Old Mysteries, the Runes, to be self-sufficient and sustaining, caring for and protecting your family. Learning new skills and keeping an active mind through study. To be able to pass this knowledge on to further generations.

Wisdom - Having the Wisdom to interpret these lessons when presented to you, and to take something from every event in your life. Having a wise judge of character towards those around you. Wisdom transcends all times, an old shaman can be considered as wise as a modern woodsman, there’s a time and a place, and wisdom to be found in all aspects of your life.

Stag - Honor and Pride
Honor - Act with Honor at all times. Give respect where respect is given, and live in a way that others will respect you. Honor must be earned. Honor all things in life, nature, the Gods and those deserving.

Pride - Have Pride in yourself and your achievements, and always strive to achieve acts of pride. Self-pride and vanity are not the same, it is healthy to be proud of your deeds and actions. Have pride in your heritage and your ancestors, and in turn make them and your future generations Proud of you.

Wolf - Courage and Loyalty
Courage - Courage is the ability to face fear, adversity and the unknown and to persist for a higher cause. The act of destroying the lower self and becoming the higher self in one moment, standing strong against all odds. Be courageous in all acts, and fear nothing, stand up tall and proud, and power ever onward.

Loyalty - Being loyal to those you would consider family, by blood or oath. Keeping to your word and oath, and living by it. The loyal man is a man of action, not of words and excuses. Loyalty means mutual trust within your family and working together for a greater cause. The wolf hunts as a pack.

Bear - Strength and Solitude
Strength - BE STRONG! Strong physically, mentally and spiritually. Be brutal and strong and physical, protect your family like the mother bear. Be strong of mind and will, stand firm for who and what you are, and give way for no one. Be strong spiritually, in your beliefs and your practices. Make your life a living ritual. Project your strength to others, be both the immovable object and the unstoppable force. The bear is a beast! Not a rug to be walked over.

Solitude - Solitude is a regression, a hibernation. This is a time for inward sight and self-discovery, a time of spiritual and mental rest and rejuvenation. Understand that solitude is integral in growing. Closed and secluded contemplation will lead to a wider, wiser, knowledge of all around you.

I find it very offensive when people say “I didn’t choose who I fell in love with. I didn’t actually want to love you, it’s painful anyway.”

Well, I don’t think such shallow reasoning to an emotion is love. Being loved is supposed to be a comforting compliment in one’s life. A good mother will never say “You do not deserve my attention but here have it just because I gave birth to you.” - Love is not pure obligation, nor pure responsibility and definitely not a coincidence. There’s no such thing as forced love. You either love or not at all. Please understand that love is a process. Love does not happen in a blink. It takes you to learn the person, to love with your own consent - allowing it in you, allowing it to grow. That’s why I don’t believe in love at first sight, which I call aesthetic admiration. It personally hurt me how people confuse and casualise love so easily.

—  and yet I was a fool for you for believing you loved me