World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. This day was created to draw attention to the importance of Mental Health, and to help understand it a little better. So I’m going to share a very personal story here to demonstrate the importance of understanding not only Mental Health, but also the importance of understanding life.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself emotionally triggered by an event that took place. But initially, all I understood about what was happening was the emotion that I was experiencing; which made absolutely no sense at all. I couldn’t figure it out, and all I was doing was experiencing this emotional reaction to something that I couldn’t connect a reason to.

Well, eventually I enlisted a trusted ear that immediately reminded me that I was being triggered by an old reaction that was left over from something that happened twenty years ago. I couldn’t believe it. I’d worked on myself for literally years. HOW could this old thing come up out of nowhere like it happened just the other day when I was sure that I’d settled it long ago?

This is the important part.
Life is NOT linear; life is cyclical. Life only appears linear to us because of how we measure time. But that’s not how life actually flows. It is cyclical, like so many other things in our perception; a day cycle, seasonal cycles, lunar cycles, etc. The same things that “got us” once upon a time can and likely WILL come up again and again during our lifetimes. But with each reoccurrence comes the opportunity to take a step back from ourselves and go “Oh yeah, there this is again” and respond more effectively and appropriately.

So if you’ve ever experienced something coming back up in your life time and again, even though you may have worked on it, do NOT beat yourself up thinking that you didn’t do a good enough job or that you didn’t “do the right thing” about whatever your situation is. This is how life happens. With each (re)occurrence comes another opportunity to put a little distance between you and the situation so that you can see for yourself that the situation isn’t you at all.

Sunday

Sunday evenings are my favorite.

It’s good to take a few minutes each day to unwind, but I include Sunday evenings to my daily unwind time.

Every culture uses something that pleases the senses to help in their prayer or meditation practices. Incense or some kind of fragrance is helpful, because it alone can set the tone of a room. And smells are one of the things that we remember and associate experiences with often. Lamps or candles are often used too; I prefer oil lamps because the flame is steadier than the flicker of a candle; inviting the witness to slow way down and come home for a little while.

Early on, I developed a way to learn by just observing. What to do, what not to do.. Observing is a way that I try to use to see things around me. Something that I learned about a long time ago has been coming up a lot for me lately; in all areas of life. It’s a statement that goes “People don’t see the world as it is, they see the world as they are”.

I see this showing up all over the place. Mostly between people. One of my favorite exercises to help slow down involves going into the woods and noticing how different all the trees are. And realising that we don’t judge the trees for being tall or short, straight or crooked, thick or thin. We just accept the trees for what they are and move on. We don’t get hung up on the fact that one tree might not have gotten enough sunlight and therefore grew a certain way, we just accept the tree for what it is and we move on.

I think that this is a practice that is desperately needed now with how we’re seeing each other. Chances are, we don’t know someone’s story and how they’re managing their life as a result of their story. All we see is how they’re managing their life.

I think we need to see people more like trees, and less like how we think they ought to be.

Back to the Beginning

One of the most powerful and honest images there is.

If we find ourselves repeating the same behaviors in different jobs, with different partners and in different situations; and if we don’t go back and examine how it all began, we’re just treating symptoms instead of the cause.

Self Sabotage

This photograph is of myself, maybe around 8 or 10 years old. Probably around the time when I was deciding that I needed to hold back and protect myself because I didn’t have the confidence or support system to help me see that I could be accepted and loved for just for who I was and that I could do anything in life that I set my mind to.

It may sound counterproductive, but sometimes when we’re working on ourselves we can hit sort of a plateau. Or, sometimes its more obvious and the thing we hit is like a wall. We just can’t seem to get past something. Its as if we’re putting the brakes on our growth process.

But why?

Sometimes, we can come up against a part in us that doesn’t want to heal or change. As a result, we can participate in self-sabotage. It actually makes a lot of sense. We all have a part of ourselves that is scared. And because when we start to heal, when we grow and our hearts open more, this can make us feel vulnerable. The part of us that is scared and wants to keep us down isn’t really sabotaging, its simply trying to protect us from pain. This part of us can be scared for many reasons, but often it comes back to knowing our own value. For example, if we don’t know our own worth, we can unconsciously think A), that we’re unworthy of whatever opportunity that is at hand, and/or B), that we’re keeping ourselves safe so that we won’t have to show up and risk experiencing an unwanted emotion.

It can be that we don’t have the confidence that tells us we’re able to do anything that we set our minds to do. By realizing that we’re not broken or that there isn’t anything wrong with us, that we’re just trying to protect ourselves from what we perceive as pain, it can really lift a veil on life and help us to welcome challenges in our lives.

Getting a little more clear and learning to know our own value. Just because we’re here and for being whoever we are, we are worthy of all of the love and grace the world has to offer.

Sit with it

Sit with it.

Instead of drinking it away, smoking it away, sleeping it away, eating it away, sexing it away, or running from it,

Sit with it.

Healing begins by feeling.

Fire Ceremony

A practice that can be done at year’s end to help usher in the new and escort out the old is to take some time and write (hand write) down some things that you want to release and then burning the paper in a fire.

It can be as simple as a single word, or as complex as you need it to be. But spend time on it; at least a couple of hours. You can do this over several days, but don’t rush or skimp on your writing time.

Then on New Year’s Eve, you can light a fire. It can be a small fire bowl, a fire-pit, or your fireplace. Safely light a fire and sit with the fire for a few minutes’ time. Don’t rush this. Close your eyes and sit with your fire and what you want to release for a few minutes. See what you want release, see how much you want to move on from it. Then see the smoke rise in your mind as you release what you need to.

When you’re then ready, safely drop your paper(s) into your fire. See the paper burn up, and the smoke rise, releasing you. Anything that’s held you back, it’s time to let it go. .Allow yourself to experience whatever you will about this as your paper burns away; anger, fear, anxiousness, sadness, loss, gratitude. Let it all out like the rising smoke from the burnt paper.

Close with an affirmation. Close your eyes again and say goodbye to the past once and for all, and to whatever has been holding you back. See yourself in your new life without what you released. Feel the relief, like a weight finally off your shoulders. Take a deep breath and let the exhale extend, like the last bit of release.

It can be helpful to write out your new intentions, something on paper as a reminder to create your new life. Re-visit in three months to check your progress. And finally, re-visit next year to see how you’ve done.

Let’s all make 2021 our best and most free year yet.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

Healing

One of the most honest and powerful images.

Looking gently and deeply at oneself can be difficult, but it’s also one of the most courageous things that can be done; and can provide freedom from whatever the story is that we’re telling ourselves.

#psychology #innerwork #trauma #healing #courage #truth #honesty #letgo #moveon