Making Our Own Sunshine
Making Our Own Sunshine

Making Our Own Sunshine

This week I want to share just a quick thought as we watch spring develop all around us. As we start to make our plans and hope for the best summer of our lives, we are putting our hope into many things to make sure the summer is one for the record books. And luckily for us, one of those things is sustainable and worthy of our confidence – even when plans change and weather shifts. So let’s talk about what we can do to make the upcoming months ones we’ll talk about for years and make our own sunshine in the best way.

As a person who has lived their entire life in the PNW, I will say that I truly love it. I love all four distinct seasons, even with the rain, and even with the Arizona like dry heat in the summers in Southern Oregon. But at the end of each winter, I am dreaming of an escape to sandy beaches and tropical locations on a daily basis and this is where I want to start today because those dreams are of an external sunshine.

My question and invitation for you to consider is this: How do we live our lives in a way that resources us, that turns us into our own resource, as an internal ray of sunshine? External sources of sunshine and in this case, hope for a happier experience, are not reliable long term. They’re not predictable or steady; they change and fluctuate and when we’re unaware of ourselves, our approach to life can fluctuate with the changing weather patterns, too.

If I’m relying on another person as my source, too, this is also fickle. They may not be here long term, or even change and not be sustainable.

I love the saying, “Stay close to people who feel like sunshine,” because it reminds us that when you have people around you who are warm, affirming, and comforting, your inner world can feel like you’ve just rested under a tree on a warm, summer day. Those connections are valuable and necessary for our overall wellness but they cannot be our sole source of warmth and sunshine because our experience of them is not sustainable. They will eventually need space from us to rekindle themselves, too. So are we supposed to just feel cold and dull in the meantime?

This is why making our own sunshine matters. We can’t rely on the external things and people of life to bring us connection and grounding through our daily living.

So how do we become our own resource?

A lot of people might tell you that it comes from pursuing your dreams, bucking the system, throwing caution to the wind. Maybe you think finally telling your rude neighbor to take a long hike is going to fix your anxiety. Maybe you think finally asking your barista of ten years out on a date will fix the loneliness you feel inside. Maybe you think collecting more Instagram lists about how to land the perfect job will fix the lack of contribution you experience.

Social media will offer a lot of ideas and strategies about how to make your life the dream THEY seem to be living, but they’re also embodying the opposite of what we’re after. The messaging boils down to, “Make your life like mine and you’ll be good to go. Experience my sunshine because it made me happy, and here are my three mysterious tips for the best life ever.”

The suggestion is that an external shift can create the lasting warmth you need for an internal source of sunshine, and while that may seem true on the surface, it’s often temporary, leaving us more dejected and disconnected than when we started.

We’re no longer racing toward learning to manifest another person’s idea of a dream life. We are heading instead for internal attunement.

When you are living in alignment with your own values, a positive sense of self, and a grounding your identity that you are valid and worthy, then you are developing a place of lasting sunshine and safety within.

You are digging a well of acceptance and belonging. A place within where you recognize your needs and meet them through internal processes and support tools rather relying on external circumstances to shift.

In this place of safety and belonging to yourself, it won’t matter if your neighbor continues their tirades. It won’t matter when that barista suddenly quits and moves for their own dream job. Those external situations are not the lynchpin of your sunshine; they can instead become the chirping birds and gentle breeze instead. A bonus where your own sunshine is already bright and warm. When you allow your needs to be seen and supported by your own sunshine first, then your sunshine isn’t diminished when the external situation changes. You may even find yourself rejoicing with others and their progress instead of leaning toward more uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, disappointment, or sadness.

So how will you go into the next few weeks inviting sunshine to develop internally for you? Where will you find and support your own inner warmth that is abundant, sustainable, and real?

Thank you for listening to episode 136 of Restorative Grief. I’m challenging you in this episode to look inward. After last week’s epic conversation with Mara about the validity of our needs, you’re now primed and ready to notice what makes you feel fully alive – to see where you make yourself feel like a ball of sunshine, and to start cultivating that awareness and attunement with yourself.

You deserve to be a source of lasting joy and sunshine in your own world. And while there may be thousands of noisy messages about where you lack something others think is necessary, here is your permission to turn down that noise.

Your own grief work and healing starts internally. Instead of offering you a three-step process to develop that sunshine, I’m confident you have ideas spinning in your mind already of where to begin. Because no one knows you better than you.

If this is your first time listening to Restorative Grief, I want to encourage you to stay with yourself. It’s tempting to throw in the towel because grief work is hard. But you’re here because the life spent ignoring grief is no longer sustainable, either. So be sure to subscribe to the show for extra insights and support in your grief work. You’re not doing this alone.

And as always, one last thing before we go. Please remember, the only solution for grief is to do the work of grieving. Thank you for listening. I’ll see you next week.

Links + Resources from this episode: