This is a funny topic for me right now. I got a call last night from Sam the Pizza Man's wife, which of course means dad is having problems. I love having local eyes and ears to keep me posted on his health, but it's one of those numbers that you just don't want to see on your caller i.d.
My point in this is that I've been living on the brink of crisis for a long time now all across my social and family circle and this question came at a perfect time to help ME make sure that I am holding close to my practices. Learning is so often collaborative in this way.
One note about the "Tea with Laura" videos: I have a number of decision points on them...
short and snappy for the short attention span of a bunch of anonymous web viewers
more formal and potentially pedantic (I sure hope THAT doesn't happen) to represent myself well as a professional or
longer, more casual and from my heart since this is me answering a question you asked me personally, for a virtual conversation over tea, after all.
This one I landed between 2 and 3. I think as I get in the mode it will get more and more tea-like. I'll try not to let them get too long. This one is a bit over 10 minutes and I actaully had more to say (ran out of memory on my card) so look for me to circle back round to this subject in future conversations.
Key points, if you don't have time to watch:
Recreating oneself is not a passive process. If you sincerely want to recreate yourself and grow through a crisis time, this requires deliberate and disciplined focus on the actual impact of the crisis on your life (and psyche). Be careful about diving into busy work and superficial matters just to "take your mind off things." It may make you feel better but if the goal is truly "re-creation" the distractions won't get you there.
Make the time and see this as a legitimate priority in your life.
Think about what practices will help you most. Some classic tools are journalling, meditation, walking, time in nature, contemplation, and inspirational reading.
Study the "Great Sufferers". Saints, spiritual leaders and many "ordinary" men and women have left us marvelous records of how they have born their suffering with dignity and grace. Suffering is a universal experience. You are not as alone as you think. Choose your mentors and what information you take in wisely.
Less can be more. For example, The Prayer of St. Francis alone can take a lifetime of practice and study to actually implement in one's life. Try not to medicate yourself with books. There is a difference between having a theory of how one might recreate oneself and actually living into the wisdom you expose yourself to.
Everything is an opportunity for growth. This is a difficult statement that can sound like an overused platitude but if you are seeking mastery in your life and wish to develop your character in a way that will allow you to maintain a sense of center throughout your life, and through your suffering, this bears some contemplation.
Expose yourself to the truth revealed in nature. We all pass. We are part of the universal flow. It is bittersweet but there is a beauty in it if you can cultivate the strength of heart to sit with this truth.
If you focus on cultivation of character, you will not have to endlessly recreate yourself. The path toward cultivation of character is remarkably stable, regardless of external circumstances. Seeking to be more loving, or to have more integrity, or to have more patience, or to have compassion, or whatever qualities you wish to express are questions that will hold you steady and center you.