I’m getting very fond of sitting here on a morning with my cuppa tea staring out to sea and wondering what I am going to write about next. I normally have some music gently playing in the background and my favourite oil burner sending some lemongrass scent into the atmosphere.
November is rapidly approaching and with it will see my phased return to work. Truth be told I’m a little anxious about it and want to ensure that I am very clear about what the past 5 months has taught me. I never want to return to this place of illness but if I have to sometime in the future I want to bring what knowledge I have gained from this experience into that one.
I watched this video this morning that my brother-in-law had placed on his Facebook page. A lot of it I could relate to and the learning points it brings out I totally agree with. When I used to counsel people I would frequently use the story of two dogs. Their names you could change and adapt to the presenting issue but let’s call one Anger and the other Peace. Whichever one you feed and train will become big, strong and dominant, the one you don’t will grow weak, lack energy and discipline and will be easily silenced.
It’s a bit of an over simplification but I fed “work” at the cost of starving “play”. I let “Worry” dominate “cheerfulness” and made “survive” stronger than “thrive”. If the mantra is true you are what you eat then I am fast food and confectionary. My muscles lack the protein to strengthen them and my mind the vitamins and minerals to bring vitality. Mix this blend of compromised mental health with shoddy physical health and you have the place I found myself in.
I have a confession. I tend to not read long blog posts so why should I expect you to but please bear with me as I attempt to wrap this one up.
‘One of the things I’ve found is that solutions can often be found in the small things.’
Things that are perhaps all too easy to dismiss but when part of your day bring stimulation, inspiration and hope. Here is a wee list that springs to mind;
1. Stimulate your senses – One way could be to light a candle and burn some essential oils it is amazing how a fresh smell can lift the mood in the room. Get out and get exercise, 10 minutes in the fresh air is better than nothing. 2. Spend time with nature – spend 5 minutes a day in silence as you slow your mind down and listen to the wind in the trees, the birds sing or the waves crash against the shore.3. Gratitude – If choose in a moment to be thankful then you can’t choose to be swimming in a tide of negativity and complaint during the same moment. If your mind is anything like mine it will appreciate and thank you for the retreat from heaviness. As I travel through my day I like to fish out the minuet and express my gratitude for things like that blue in the sky, or the taste of that last sausage. Gratitude is uplifting and by its very nature a positive and powerful remedy but it needs cultivated and for you to intentionally go about nurturing it. 4. Watch wisely – be careful of the TV you watch. Night after night of gritty murder dramas will not result in laughter, creativity and inspiration. 5. Have fun – spend 10 minutes practicing your guitar, knitting, paddling your feet in the ocean or whatever else floats your boat. 6. Choose human contact – rather than text people, phone them. Choose a coffee with a friend over scrolling through their Facebook posts. Call past a family member’s house for 10 minutes rather than waiting for you both have the same night off to get together.
If you have a faith you may want to read on and if not you might not, it’s your choice… 🙂
One of the biggest lessons I have recently learnt is this. God wants to be with me in every moment and in every aspect of life. I had myself convinced that God was a God of work and ministry and that I was simply His tool. I may not have expressed it this way or been even conscious of the underlining thought pattern but I held the belief that God was not interested in the frivolous. He had no time for play or distraction and certainly was condemning of failure. This could not be further from the truth, I am His son and not just His tool. God invented play, humour and fun. He wants to be with me as I swim with my new found mates in the ocean. He hungers to come alongside me as I write my blog, stare out to sea and get on my bike. These moments are as important to him as the moments of being in or serving with Church.
All we need to do is invite Him into our daily lives, chores and adventures, our friendships, family and workplace. Invite Him, go on I dare you! It might just revolutionise the rest of your life… Thanks for reading and sharing this moment with me, talk soon.