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December 9, 2011 / Man in the Mirror

3 Ways to Stay Centered on Difficult Days

Some days are more difficult than others.  Most difficult are dates that mark the worst days of our lives; most often anniversaries of death. One of the hardest things to do on difficult days is not get swallowed again by anguish or thrown into the depths of despair by sorrow.  Keeping still in painful places is how I found peace on difficult days, and here’s what helps the most:

Do What You Love
However you choose to spend difficult days, fill them only with what you love:  friends, family, solitude.  Never do anything you don’t want to do because that only intensifies misery.  Nothing soothes and heals sore spots in the soul more than doing what helps us feel better.  Long bubble baths with favorite music tops my list.

Choose to Live In Joy
Tragic death is a sorrowful mystery of life that never stops touching us, thank God.  If we didn’t feel connected to one another soul-to-soul what an even sadder world we’d be.  And while we may not be able to cure the world of all its sorrows, we can choose to bring joy into the world.  We can honor the sorrowful mysteries of our lives by celebrating the love not even death can take away.  We can choose every day to live in joy.

Letting go of painful memories in prayer is a good way to let our weary soul be.  Words are never necessary so don’t struggle to find any.  Difficult days are speechless.  Prayer is not so much a way to find God in misery as it is a way to rest in the peaceful presence we find within.

And if you feel you don’t know how to pray, don’t worry.  There is a Holy Spirit within all of us that prays constantly with whatever fills our soul.  Just wrap yourself in silence and let your suffering soul be.  If you feel like you’re plunging into darkness without knowing why and moving blindly toward something you don’t know, you are never alone.  Holy Spirits surround you, including the loved ones you’ve lost.

Until next week, think about this:  “All that matters now is to be kind to each other with all the goodness that is in us.”  –Etty Hillesum

Karol Jackowski, Ph.D., became a nun in 1964. She’s also been a college administrator, graduate of New York University, manager of a toy store, author of eight books, painter of religious folk art, and sister to everyone she meets. Please visit her website at


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  1. letter of recommendation / Dec 27 2011 3:14 pm


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