Growing up, I absolutely loved experiencing life. Even though my dad and grandmother died, I still enjoyed participating in soccer, ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading, track, and other activities.
If there was something to do in life, I was the first to sign up…this was a good and a bad thing!
When I was in highschool, I found my favorite activity ever—lifting weights and doing anything fitness related. I loved it so much, that I’d workout before school, as well as after school. I eventually ended up working as an aerobics instructor, personal trainer, and nutritionist.
Then my boyfriend, good friend, grandfather, and sister all passed away within a few years of each other while I was in college…and life wasn’t the same.
My grief overrode my goals and zeal for life a month after my sister passed away. I was teaching a step aerobics class…and I began crying right in the middle of teaching my class. I sat down on my step and couldn’t gain my composure. One of the regular attenders of my class ended up teaching the remainder of the class…and I decided to take some time off. My break from fitness ended up taking a permanent backseat so I could focus on raising my son and helping out with my sister’s kiddos.
The day I “lost it” at the gym, I honestly had no idea how I was ever going to find genuine joy ever again. At the time, i just didn’t enjoy life at all, with the exception of spending time with my child, nieces, nephews, and family. I no longer enjoyed fitness, cooking, sports, music…nothing. It was a dismal place to be!
After feeling that way for a few years, I knew I needed to find “life” again. I wasn’t happy or content just feeling sad and grieved all of the time. One day, I decided to intentionally do something about it. I decided I was going to go out of my way to love life again.
I. didn’t. want. to. waste. life.
I sat down and thought about the things in life that had previously brought me joy. I thought about what my passions were. I thought about how I wanted my life to be.
Step by step, I deliberately chose to begin to love life again. My heart wasn’t in it, but I chose for my will to override my heart.
I signed up for a tae kwon do black belt program and took classes 3 times a week (I LOVE and still practice martial arts and LOVE watching UFC!), started running and lifting weights again, and started baking and cooking a lot more.
The more I threw myself into life, the better I began to feel. It wasn’t initially easy…not at all…but the way I saw it, staying depressed wasn’t easy either.
I began to make it a point to be extravagantly grateful for all of my loved ones I still had in my life. I chose to enjoy them as much as I possibly could.
I’ll always be glad that I pressed forward and chose to live and love life again!
Loving, living, and savoring life is the only way I feel comfortable living now.
No matter what I’m going through, no matter what trials I’m facing…life is worth living and worth being grateful for! Just having the breath of life is an extraordinary luxury denied to many!
If I go to a concert or a music festival, I fully enjoy the music.
If I cook a meal for family or friends, I make it a special experience.
If I workout or run, I choose to be grateful for every single moment in the gym.
If I write or help others, I daily choose to have the courage to help others the best that I can by being encouraging and vulnerable by sharing my life stories, heartaches, and trials.
No matter what’s going on in life, the “clock” of life stops for no one. You may never get a second chance to extravagantly love your family and friends. You may not get the opportunities you’ve been blessed to have today ever again. Life is a gift to breathe in each and every day…so I’ve learned to be grateful for the gift of loved ones and life!
So how do you start to love life—especially if you’re hurting terribly, missing someone very badly, or grieving deeply?
One day at a time. One baby step at a time. One choice at a time.
A baby doesn’t begin with running. They roll over…then sit up…then crawls…then pulls itself up…then stands…then takes a step (and falls down)…then gets back up…then walks…then runs.
One step at a time.
Think about what your passions are in life. Think about what truly brings your heart and soul bliss. What activities did you enjoy pre-grief? What are some goals you’d like to meet? What’s on your Bucket List in life? How can you honor your loved ones—deceased and also those still living?
After my boyfriend died, it was terribly painful to listen to Bon Jovi and Stryper. I had just bought him their newest CDs for Christmas and had listened to him playing his drum set to the songs on the CDs a few days before he died. I made the decision to learn how to play a full drum set in his honor.
Right before my sister died, I had baked her some of her favorite desserts and treats since Thanksgiving was the following day. After she died on Thanksgiving morning, I hated baking since I chose to bake for her instead of visiting her in the hospital the night before she died. I go out of my way now, in my sister’s honor, to bake treats for people I know who are having a hard time.
I started making drastic changes, and living in my loved ones honor by celebrating them, because I hated that I couldn’t enjoy things I previously had enjoyed. I felt as though my grief had ripped my heart out and was holding all of my life, passions, and purpose hostage. I was sick of feeling the way I felt every single day!
Like I said, it was NOT easy at first…but with each step I took back into living and loving life, the easier each step became.
What steps do you feel like you need to take today? What can you choose to do to fully appreciate life? What activity can you do today to honor a loved one? What remaining loved ones do you want to say, “I love you” to? What goals would you like to achieve?
Life is here TODAY! Loved ones are close by TODAY! A deep love and passion for life can be chosen TODAY!
I know this may sound incredibly hard to do for some readers…I truly empathize and I genuinely hate that “life” & grief have hurt so many people.
Every single step you start taking today though can add up…even if you just take a single baby step each day. In a year’s time, you can make an incredible amount of progress towards fighting to get your breath back after life has knocked it out of you…and make strides towards living a vibrant life!
Ask God to help you to begin living a life you’re passionate about…a life you genuinely love—in spite of grief!
It IS possible!
Gratitude & blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): Click here for book
Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com
Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief
FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: (Coming November 4, 2015)