How to Hang On.

I came across these words in the middle of the night last week when I was really sick and couldn’t sleep. I was feeling scared and anxious–of what I wasn’t exactly sure, but there was some sort of doom over my head and I didn’t know how to relieve it. This passage helped. Today my mom read to me the same excerpt out loud while discussing life and love and hardship. I figure twice in seven days is enough of a sign for me to pay attention to the words, so I thought I would share them here as well. They are written by the mystic Joseph Cambpell.

The loss of a love and the pain of a broken relationship is an overload of projection. That’s all it is. In youth, your whole life is this wonderful dream that “This is It”: this relationship is the fulfillment of my fantasy and I can’t imagine life otherwise. No argument can quell this feeling of total projection, of everything in the other one. I guess we can all recall an episode of an adolescent relationship that seemed to be the all-in-all and then went to pieces for some reason.

When a relationship breaks off, it takes a person a little while to settle and find a new commitment. It’s after the breakoff, when there is no new commitment and life has been divested of all of its potentials, that this painful reaction takes place. For some people this is a dangerous period.

The psyche knows how to heal, but it hurts. Sometimes the healing hurts more than the initial injury, but if you can survive it, you’ll be stronger, because you’ve found a larger base. Every commitment is a narrowing and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a larger base and have the strength to hold to it.

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment – not discouragement – you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing that can happen to you is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

The dark night of the soul
comes just before revelation.

When everything is lost,
and all seems darkness,
then comes the new life
and all that is needed.

Health, Happiness, Hang On.

12 thoughts on “How to Hang On.

  1. I agree about hearing the encouraging words of the wise people in the world, and books like The Power of Now, which I was going to recommend to you before I saw on your post that you read it. They change my life, or add something to it that helps me manage it. But I felt bad to hear that you woke up during the night feeling anxious. I remember the first time that happened to me, a few years ago, though it was a severe panic attack! At least that’s how I felt at the time. Since then I have had a few more, progressively less severe. I have been going through a lot in my life recently and went to a therapist who introduced me to Louise Hay and Eckhart Tolle, among others, but those two helped me the most. They taught me how much it helps to stay positive. I had the habit of overreacting to every physical ailment I had. Everything like that panicked me and made me focus on it and worry, though I’ve only had one major thing that hurt me very badly, and after a few years I found medicine to cure the pain. I was and am physically healthy but emotionally not so much until recently. It’s been a long battle, but life is getting much better. The last time I woke up in the night with severe anxiety, somehow my mind reminded me that my anxieties of past nights always went away in the light of day, even though the problems I had were still there. If you can, keep reminding yourself that it is only your emotions in the nighttime that hurt and that the anxiety WILL go away. It is only thoughts, and not YOU.

    I have found that helping others is the biggest thing in my life that makes me feel good. I see your blogs about the wonderful things you are reading, and your clear and inspiring understanding of what you read, and I know you are helping others, because you help me! And you help yourself at the same time. Keep up the GOOD work and don’t get discouraged that a lot of readers don’t respond to good news. Do what you think is right! <3


  2. oh man, dude, you are.. an inspiration, dude.. this post was a handout in my therapy group thursday night, and it helped me to feel better about some things that have been going on in my life lately..

    my therapist herself is the one who introduced me to your blog about a year ago and i just want to say thank you for being able to be positive even when some of us arent able to! i really admire you :)


  3. Love this! Read a shorter but similar quote on another blog: “Not every bad break is negative in the long term; not every problem is a bona fide injustice; and not every injustice is major when juxtaposed against the millions of injustices that occur daily throughout the world.”
    – Robert J. Ringer, “Getting What You Want” (read on the blog:

    “Dark night of the soul” is also a screenwriting term derived from this quote. In every good story, the protagonist must loose all, and have a time of mourning.


  4. I have been reading your blog for quite a while, but I have never commented (I just don’t really comment on blogs). Today I feel that I want to leave a comment. I really love that quote. And currently, I need to apply it in my life. Thanks for posting it :-)


  5. Tabitha1960
    oh yes you really hit me right in the heart ocmy problems
    I still cannot put behind me. they were very bad. i would say the worst things that could happen to a little 4 yr old girl. just use ur imagination. it is stuck in my brian and heart. im sorry it was a beautiful blog i loved it i reLlh did. i zAved it i will kssp on rsadinv it and zse if if will healp ms more. thank u so much. you hit the nail on the heAd. . God bless you Tabi hugs


  6. Perfect as always Mary. My beloved Sylvester is battling cancer and loving him while hating the experience has been heartbreaking. You must break before healing. Just feels like crap. So thank you for your healing words and spirit.


  7. “Every commitment is a narrowing and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a larger base and have the strength to hold to it.” – That is powerful.


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