How to survive when everything sucks.

- Dig INTO the misery. Really roll around in the muck — for a limited-time (not for-life). Fill your days with The Smiths. Black hoodie sweatshirts. The Amanda Show (we all grieve in our own ways).

– Get (playfully) dismal. Write down your worst-case scenario. And revel in it.

– Fill up your comedy tank. Preferably with British, Canadian or Kiwi petrol. Try: The IT Crowd. The Mighty Boosh. The Kids In The Hall. Or the original Flight of the Conchords BBC Radio 2 program.

– Get some healthy perspective. (Helloo, Japan. And helloo to you, too, New Zealand.)

– Rally the troops. Who are your FUCK YEAH friends? Who are your True Believers? Tell them what you’re up to, and get some rah-rah coffee dates on the books.

– Go pro. If you can afford it, invest in a professional muse, ass-kicking guru or communication coach. Major life changes are like emotional Olympics. Who’s gonna help you win the gold?

– Go slow. Protect your sanity. Slow down to a snail’s pace. Slash every non-urgent to-do off your list. Empty your calendar.
Take an email hiatus. Drop offline. We’ll miss you, but we’ll be waiting with high-fives when you get back.

– Symbols & tokens. Would a heart-shaped moonstone serve as a visual reminder to speak with compassion? Would a sapphire engagement ring remind you of your commitment to radical self-love? Would a miniature light saber on your desk inspire you to use the force, Luke? Select a sacred image or item that confirms your commitment to possibility. Hold it. Wear it. Keep it close.

– Traditions & Rituals. Rowdy transitions, funks & slumps are a swell time to forge new traditions & rituals. How ’bout a 1-woman Sunday Night book club? Or a nightly 5-minute Gregorian chant break?

– Alternative enhancement. If circumstances beyond your control make it impossible to move from the city you loathe, or quit the job you detest, or launch the website you want — right this second — focus on alternative enhancement. Experiment with raw food. Master the art of calligraphy. Learn an impressive parlor trick. Pour your energy into a sector of your life that you CAN enhance, and let the positive rush of achievement flood the rest of your universe.

– School yourself. High-impact education is so readily available, it’s staggering. Buying a Mac computer? For $99, you’re entitled to free 1-on-1 training at your local Apple store–for a year. Master iMovie, Garageband, Pages, and every other app under the Mactastic sun. Or see if your city has an Experimental College, where anyone can take — or teach — free classes. No EXCO in your ‘hood? Start one, professor.

– Start hanging with your heroes. Who do you think is crazy-sexy-cool?

– Start popping up in their sight line. Leave a comment.

– Take a course. Write a testimonial. Make a date.

– Ramp up the gratitude. Write long-overdue (or better yet, pre-emptive) thank you notes.

– Dangle a carrot. Right now, I’m dangling a media-free trip to Scotland (summer 2012, baby!) in front of my nose. In times of duress, I repeat my 3-word mantra: “Glasgow. Unplug. Gaelic.”

– Write a letter to your future-self. Tuck it at the back of your Filofax. And do not open till Christmas.

– Buy some glittery eyeliner. Ladies, this applies to you, too.

– Enforce a mandatory disco break. During my final weeks of 9-to-5-ing, I blasted Tina Turner through my headphones from dawn till dusk. And occasionally, I “treated” my co-workers to some hot cubicle krumping action. (I didn’t get fired. It was too late for that.)

– Clear your calendar, in the name of self-care. Do you really wanna go to that potluck? Maybe you just want to sleep. And maybe you should.

– Get a penpal.

– Check in with an old mentor. Get some guru-on-the-mountain time.

– Write a fan letter. Or! Record a quick message and attach the mp3 to an email. It’s a fan letter … made audible!

– Indulge in a heady, senseless crush.

– Get witchy with it. Whether or not you “believe” in astrology, Tarot, runes or auras is beside the point. Being witnessed by a master intuitive is a powerful experience. Witchy men (and women) have a gift for seeing patterns (and solutions) that elude us, in times of stress.

– Go on a money-saving bender. Can you use everything in your fridge, like an Iron Chef, before heading to the grocery store? Can you read every book on your shelf, before buying a new DVD set? Can you refrain from buying ANYTHING for a year, like Shopaholly?

– Buy a roll of butcher paper. Write ENORMOUS quotes from floor to ceiling. I recommend Rumi, Neruda & Wilde.

– Try lucid dreaming. And keep a dream journal.

– Little treats. Create a weekly treat-budget — $5, $25 or $50 — and spend it on things (or better yet — experiences) that make you smile. Luxury donuts. ’80s movies. Shiny baubles. Museum passes.

– Trip out on textiles. Take pleasure in simple, animal pleasures. DAMN that faux-fur pillowcase feels goooood! Holy SNAP those flannel sheets are niiiiiice!

– Write yourself a new job title. Maybe you’re a “Group Wrangler & Functional Muse” (like Dyana Valentine). Or maybe you’re an “Interface Radical” (like Amy Hoy). Or an “International Playgirl” (like Gala Darling).

– Get carded. Between jobs / genders / vocational identities? Get some personal calling cards printed by Moo. No job title or office line required. Just your name (or a nom de plume) and an email address or phone number. Et voilĂ !

– Redesign your morning routine. Regardless of whether you’re a crack-of-dawn-er or a sleep-till-noon-er, the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of your rambles. Goddess Leonie’s How To Be A Morning Goddess e-book is a fun romp through 20 women’s morning routines, including Gwen Bell, SARK, and, uh, me.

– Drink sparkling San Pelligrino H2O straight from the bottle, and pretend you’re a EuroTrash hobo.

– Watch Leonard Cohen: Live in London. Start to finish. Sob. Rewind. Again.

It’s going to hurt, but you will survive.

Sending love… to help you put the pieces back together.


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