Last night Lisa and I were invited out to our friends’ cottage on the river. We had a wonderful evening sitting on the deck overlooking the very active river, full of boaters, swimmers, sailors, and even jet-packers, while we drank a fine wine, ate local smoked salmon, and enjoyed great conversation.
One of the things we talked about was running and cross-training. He’s a doctor and she’s a nurse, and Lisa’s a nurse too. He informed me that even though the term has been coopted by the sports world, “cross-training” was originally used by doctors and physiotherapists to describe a very interesting phenomenon in stroke recovery.
Usually a stroke victim suffers consequences on one side more than the other. Doctors found that when the patient trains and exercises the opposite side of the body, somehow, magically, the affected side is strengthened up to 50%. This is what cross-training, or cross-education, means. The same is true in sports. Lifting weights helps a runner. But… wow… working on the opposite can strengthen its opposite. Profound!
When I heard this I immediately applied it to my spiritual life.
One of the things my therapist, counselor, spiritual coach, or mentor (whatever you want to call her) encouraged me to do while I was experiencing a period of spiritual depression was to do other things that I enjoy and can do.
Interesting thought! While I feel powerless in one area, do things where I still have powers in other areas.
So, even though I was feeling spiritually depressed and powerless, I did things I enjoy. Lisa and I went for walks in the woods. I ran. I did exercises. We’d meet up with friends. We went to movies. We took in open-mic nights at local pubs. I went to work in a coffee shop with high-speed WiFi.
And the interesting thing is, almost magically, the depression started to lift a bit. Maybe I felt 50% better. It didn’t erase the depression, but my “cross-training” made it more bearable.
So, that’s my advice to you today. If you’re experiencing a kind of spiritual malaise, depression, or darkness. Like me, perhaps focusing on it isn’t helping at all but only magnifying its impact. Instead, try something else. Do the opposite. Do things you can do and do enjoy doing.
I’m not saying it will erase the depression, but I’m betting it will help.
Much love my friends!