Life's Ups & Downs

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Minyan Man
Posts: 1999
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Minyan Man » 02 Dec 2020, 14:05

Life's challenges bring ups & downs to all of us. Some of us more than others.
Challenges can come in the form of Spiritual, Mental or Emotional, Social, Family or Economic.
The Ups are easy to take or accept. The Downs can be a real challenge sometimes.
Some of us may feel like we are in a constant state of turmoil and others may have challenges that come sporadically or with a short duration
during our life time. I am curious how you handle them & what helps you get through them. Was there a spiritual component to how
you got through them?

You don't need to get specific about what happened. I am curious about how you got through the situation, assuming you got through it.
I consider myself "blessed" or lucky about the challenges in my life. To date, I can count about (6) major challenges. Some of them were difficult
to face & work through. Some of them I'm still working on. Here are some tools people use to get through the difficult issues we face:

- Prayer. I personally have a difficult time with praying. There are times I believe that God wants us to work through our problems on our own.
- Reading scriptures. I do like to read scriptures & other books for inspiration. Sometimes it works.
- Talking to your Bishop. I've had some very good Bishops & one that was very difficult & judgmental. Since then I don't do a lot of intimate discussions with my Bishop or other church leaders.
- Talking to professional Doctors or Counselors. From my own experiences, not all are very good. The good ones were the exception, I'm sorry to say.
- Participation in support groups. Such as AA, NA, Mental or Emotional support groups, etc. I include StayLDS.com in this category. This has been one of the best tools I've used over the years. I highly recommend them.
- Develop close personal relationships. Friends & family. Most are outside of our church. Some define themselves as Atheist, Muslim or "other".
I use them on a regular basis.
- Service Work. This helps me realize that I'm not the only one with problems or issues. When I can give a part of myself it leaves me more open to receive help from others.

I'm curious. What do you use? How does it help?

Roy
Posts: 6217
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Roy » 03 Dec 2020, 17:10

This is a great topic.

For me, the biggest crisis of my life was the stillbirth of my daughter and the resulting faith crisis and assumptive world collapse. I will try to detail some things that were helpful for me.

Do not self isolate - This encompasses several positive ways to reach out including talking to good friends, family, support groups, clergy, and professional counselors. We humans are social creatures and we recover better when we have a support network.
Express yourself - You are going through something that creates a great amount of inner turmoil. Find a way to vent the pressure. This may be journaling or painting or may take some other form. I believe the term "creative outlet" is appropriate.
Find others that have gone through similar hardships and listen - I think it is very important to talk but it is also important to listen. Support groups where we share our experiences and support others when they share theirs are especially good at this. The people that you share with may become close friends AND listening to others experiences will help you to think and be MORE empathetic to others.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Minyan Man
Posts: 1999
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Minyan Man » 03 Dec 2020, 20:36

As I was putting my thoughts together on this topic, I was surprised that for me, the answer to facing a faith crisis wasn't:
- go to the temple more often.
- "magnify" your calling.
- draw closer to the church.
- pray more or read scriptures more.

It was interpersonal relationships that work more for me.
My oldest son called tonight & wanted some advice. It had to do with a legal issue his family was facing.
My thought was: what a compliment it is to be asked my opinion about a potential issue.
He will be taking my advice or leave it alone. It's his choice. The important thing is: he asked my opinion.
In return, I feel comfortable asking his opinion from time to time too.

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5591
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by SamBee » 04 Dec 2020, 03:12

Get a hobby/pastime - not something passive like watching TV or listening to music, or even reading, unless it involves meeting with people. It is better to play an instrument than to listen to one in this sense.

Also and here's the important thing (which is hard just now, I know) - don't just do it over Skype, Zoom or even web forums such as these. They are good up to a point, but they are no substitute for actual physical, in-person interaction. I know over the past six months, the media has tried to pretend that they are, during the lockdown, but they're not and I speak from experience.

I'm not really very good at crafts, but these are worth getting into if you can - painting, drawing, sculpting, woodwork, gardening, cookery, sewing etc. I think there is a real satisfaction in making something complex and sharing it with people. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece.

Modern industrial society has taken away our agency to some extent and turned us into consumers. It is good to be able to become producers of beautiful things.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7315
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by DarkJedi » 04 Dec 2020, 05:52

Minyan Man wrote:
03 Dec 2020, 20:36
As I was putting my thoughts together on this topic, I was surprised that for me, the answer to facing a faith crisis wasn't:
- go to the temple more often.
- "magnify" your calling.
- draw closer to the church.
- pray more or read scriptures more.

It was interpersonal relationships that work more for me.
My oldest son called tonight & wanted some advice. It had to do with a legal issue his family was facing.
My thought was: what a compliment it is to be asked my opinion about a potential issue.
He will be taking my advice or leave it alone. It's his choice. The important thing is: he asked my opinion.
In return, I feel comfortable asking his opinion from time to time too.
My experience was similar, the standard "immerse yourself in the church" things were exactly what I didn't need. I might have liked some personal interaction from some members of my ward, but I have said this here several times - stop going to church and you'll find out who really is (and isn't) your friend. Turns out I didn't have anywhere near as many as I thought. I get the whole thing where people don't know what to say or how to say it (and some that do say things say all the wrong things), but it doesn't have to be about church - I have many interests and so do other people. As Roy pointed out, all I really wanted was someone to listen and not judge or tell me to do the church things. I know, I'm preaching to the choir.

I have been mulling over the topic since you posted it and I honestly don't know what I really do. Prayer is not my thing, I don't believe prayers are answered BUT I can find peace through prayer most of the time (as I express gratitude). I do read scripture, but not as much as I can and it doesn't do much for me. I've had some decent bishops as well but none of them really want to hear about issues (especially faith crisis issues) and none I have had are trained counselors. I'm not much into talking to talking to people about personal issues, including trained counselors/therapists, but I do recognize many people do benefit from that. This is my support group and the only reason I am still a member of the church. My close personal relationships are mostly with family.

I do have hobbies but not tons of time to engage them - which means I don't have tons of time to dwell on my issues as well. My wife is a worry wart and will stay up all night fretting over this or that, but not me. Creating something is satisfying though, as is true meaningful service - when I really help someone who can't help themselves. Somewhat related to that, I do find satisfaction in my work.

My first thought when I started to think about this was that generally I just roll with it. I know that doesn't work for everybody but it mostly does for me - just keep getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Dec 2020, 19:42

1. Write in a personal journal.
2. Experience the outdoors -- hiking, kayaking, canoeing, camping
3. Lexapro/Olanzapine/Fluoxetine/Zanax
4. Invite someone new to do an activity you enjoy

These are a few things that have helped me.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Minyan Man
Posts: 1999
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Minyan Man » 05 Dec 2020, 20:40

I saw this on You Tube. I think it applies to this topic too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZcMccU5cG0

Notice the name tags.

Roy
Posts: 6217
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Roy » 06 Dec 2020, 12:56

Minyan Man wrote:
03 Dec 2020, 20:36
As I was putting my thoughts together on this topic, I was surprised that for me, the answer to facing a faith crisis wasn't:
- go to the temple more often.
- "magnify" your calling.
- draw closer to the church.
- pray more or read scriptures more.
I am aware that for some/many LDS people, church activity provides significant meaning in their lives and this in turn helps them to weather the downturns. From their perspective, life is just a short probationary period before the real adventure and work of creating worlds, populating them, and helping them reach their full potential begins. Going to the temple, magnifying your calling, drawing closer to the church, praying and reading scriptures more, and even non-church things like trying to be an honest and fair employee or trying to be a loving and involved parent can all be subsumed into "passing the test" or keeping one's "second estate." For some number of people, believing that it is part of a bigger plan is very helpful.

I also believe that there are benefits to being a member of a global movement or organization. There is a sense of belonging to something so much bigger than one's self. When people in this organization praise you, admire you, or promote you it can feel great. I know for me, I tend to participate in things that I feel that I can do well at and I tend to assume more and more responsibility over time. Even when I get over-extended, it can be difficult for me to give some of these responsibilities because A) I feel that people depend on me and B) I enjoy being respected and depended upon.

The ability to serve others while forgetting our own troubles to a degree is valuable. Also there is a very real benefit of the LDS social network. You may have a network of people to call for babysitting, playdates, meals when you are sick or injured, help moving, help with significant yardwork or landscaping, help cleaning up after a disaster, etc. etc. One of the benefits of tribalism is that you belong to a tribe and can call upon the tribe for help.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7219
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Heber13 » 09 Dec 2020, 20:02

As I have learned there is no recipe for success that works for everybody for ups and downs, I've also learned no single recipe works for me also.

There are times in my life prayer, scriptures, and church service and bishops advice have been what I needed.

Other times, less prayer and more action.

Other times more nature and less church buildings.

Other times mindfulness and meditation and counseling.

Sometimes isolation and quiet help keep me from being anxious about a situation because I can just be myself without having to fix anything.

Other times, I must emerge from my cave and engage with others to help me feel connected and loved.

What I wish I knew when I was younger was that I should be open to all things, and seek the ones that feel best in helping in that moment and that situation. I should avoid looking at failure or hardship as some sign I was doing something wrong and cast blame, but that it simply is part of life. Ups and downs are part of life, and I should be comfortable with that not try to bend them to an ideal steady state hoping for the comfort of predictable experiences.

Too often I found a good recipe and built the expectation it would stay that way, but when my life changed I kept trying to use only one recipe over and over, and wasn't open to new things. Or I wrote off things in the past that failed me, when they could actually be good for a current situation.

I think I'm more open to things now.

There is no one way for everyone. No one way for just me. No one way all the time. It helps me to stay present and be open.

Sometimes "ups" and "downs" are only my view and my judgement of what's going on around me and how I choose to feel about it. And I can choose to label them as such, or not.

And so any tool that helps me stay grounded and see my reality as it is, not how I wish it was, is a helpful tool in that moment.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Minyan Man
Posts: 1999
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Life's Ups & Downs

Post by Minyan Man » 09 Dec 2020, 20:05

Well said Heber13. Thank you.

Post Reply