Wow… when life gets tough, where do YOU turn? Encourage is my word I chose to follow for April of 2022. ( It’s been a long April for me, and it’s only half way there.)
It’s been a tough one , this month, with the war in Ukraine, seeing all its devastation, and the people having to leave their country, I cannot imagine what that’s like – leaving all you have ever known, and having to uproot and move from your family to thrive again. As a contemplator by nature, I have found some of the news from this Ukraine war to be very moving, and at times I struggle trying to understand why someone could be so hard hearted towards a people who have done no wrong. On top of this, and a few other personal concerns during the month of April, have caused me to think about my family, my personhood, and my friendships in such a way that I have not considered before. I have been trying my best to be mindful.
What I keep coming back to, again and again is how mindfulness centers me, when situations in life are chaotic. I am a therapist, by profession, a mental health therapist – who has taken a long break from professional therapy, very intentionally – to do some healing myself. It has been the best decision for me, I am finding. I learned a lot about mindfulness, and I don’t think I have shared very much on this blog, about it. That may change significantly.
I have a very peaceful way of finding sleep, when I am a bit restless at night. I usually begin to imagine myself as a pebble, and I am skipping across a pond. Once I hit the water, (as a pebble), I imagine myself falling… and as I am falling , the waters surrounding me are multi-colored and beautiful , glistening and I just fall, until I find sleep. I am very present to what is happening around me as I fall – the colors, the sounds, and the ambiance. I may have to throw the pebble three or four times, but most often the first time, is the charm…and I am asleep. Just like that. It amazes me every single time how quickly I find sleep. I suggest you try it, if you have the same trouble, sometimes.
Mindfulness is how I stay encouraged, and to be honest, it can be quite the task. It takes time to cultivate, and develop the routine of it. So …I am recommending a really good book that’s helped me this month to stay focused. It’s called The Light Maker’s Manifesto – by Karen Walrond. Karen gives several interviews on the book of people who are activists in their own right – who just have a cause they live for, and they discuss a myriad of ways they remain faithful to their call and use mindful listening even, to stay present to the call. I LOVE THIS. In fact, I love everything about this book. Karen is someone I have been following on her blog ( http://www.chookooloonks.com ) for several years, and I have sincerely gleaned a lot about life, photography and living – for quite a few years.
In one section she speaks of how to maintain rhythm and how to take care of yourself in such a way that you thrive. And since “Rhythm” was my word last month, and I didn’t write about it, I thought I would share.
Essentially, she says five factors exist:
- Cultivation of spirituality by leading a meaningful lifestyle. (And yes, that’s why I write this blog – to assist everyone that reads , in noticing what’s meaningful in life and sticking to your purpose within.)
- Taking care of yourself physically, and tapping into the connection between your mind and body – so important. Tapping into the realization & connection between why my body was not aligned with my physicality over this past year – has been so enlightening and freeing for me. ( Mind you – I couldn’t do this alone- it took a bit of counseling to determine what I had to awaken to and acknowledge , in my own soul. )
- Intentional intellectual stimulation. ( I love this because one of my “strengthfinders” characteristics is “intellectualization”. Sometimes perspective can be so freeing. It’s how we evolve. Grow. I love sharing with others and working on adjusting my mindset and gleaning from others’ mindsets.
- Nurturing meaningful and constructive relationships within, and with others. I love that she says ‘within’ – so important to love yourself fully before you can love others.
- And lastly, not being afraid of our emotions. Not denying or suppressing them. It s so interesting how being present in this day and age with so many distractions surrounding us, is what saves us.
So, I am quite thankful for this book, ( & finding resolve through it) after a long bout with Covid, wrestling with myself and my needs as a person in a midlife situation, being in counseling – taking a break from work, being a wife and a spiritual mother to many – and caretaker of my parents. It brought a lot into focus.