Encourage Yourself.

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 ā€¦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.

The Lightmaker’s Manifesto – By Karen Walrond

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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. )
  3. Intentional intellectual stimulation. ( I love this because one of my “strengthfinders” characteristics is “intellectualization”. Sometimes perspective can be so freeing. Itā€™s how we evolve. Grow. I love sharing with others and working on adjusting my mindset and gleaning from others’ mindsets.
  4. Nurturing meaningful and constructive relationships within, and with others. I love that she says ā€˜withinā€™ – so important to love yourself fully before you can love others.
  5. 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.

Stay encouraged,

Jenn

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Complacency : Robber of Your Personal Strength

Complacency is the word this month! This was challenging word, because it quite possibly the first word I chose to look at closely that was not a word that was positive. But we will make the experience of communicating the positive- with this word, because it is what can make us change.

So…. what does it mean to be complacent?
It is defined as an often unjustified feeling of being pleased with oneself or with one’s situation or achievements
a momentary complacency that was quickly dispelled by the shock of cold reality.

What I don’t like abut complacency is that it slows you down. it limits your success, and it appears to make us very comfortable and it sneaks up on you and can be quite subtle.

In my head – I lived in a ‘FOG‘ – I was not successful in accomplishing things in my life due to being ‘too comfortable’ in my life. Either with my time, my actions, too much money, people enabling me, or struggling with my own identity – I wouldn’t put the work in… you know, do the things necessary for change. You could say I had a lazy mentality. Yeah, I hate the word lazy. I consider myself quite productive. Yet I was sadly not doing what was required to be whole. And this is where I would falter with complacency. I allowed complacency to become my ‘friend’, instead of my foe. And beause it was so subtle, it made me realize I had more WORK TO DO.

I am going to even venture to say : Complacency was my enemy because I was ‘numbing’ to some of the things in life I didn’t want to see. (…And I will talk more about that in another blog post.)

I am complacent with my energy. That’s my confession today. I tend allow things that are not very important, be quite important, or be more important than they should. And get this: THEY ARENT really very important!!

If I complacent with taking vitamins, eating well, or exercising – I tend to take these things for granted in terms of how I deal with my energy and make time for my health and betterment of myself.

In the space and time of resounding and being strong, I have been complacent with my words and actions. I was too comfortable in spaces, and convinced myself I was, ” comfortable”, but I really wasn’t. I was people pleasing. In those familiar spaces, I sacrificed myself – and when I did this, I was not allowing myself to speak up and speak my truth. All those are moments when I sacrificed myself. Do we want to sacrifice what is precious, what is on the altar of our hearts – this sacred space in our lives? Where “We matter”? If we speak our truth in the moment, we free ourselves. We have to grasp those moments where we tend to freeze or become silent, and we don’t speak – we sacrifice a part of our own identity. We have to say the things that matter.


A few synonyms forĀ complacency: “bighead-edness”, conceitedness, ego, pompousness, pride, self-admiration, self-assumption, self-conceit, smugness, vainglory, vanity.”

Hmmm.. something to think about…

Antonyms forĀ complacency: humbleness, humility, modesty. What a contrast. These are the things that often prevent the gem of ‘humility’ and change to give birth, in our souls.

Humbly submitted.

Nthabiseng AKA JennRene Owens