A week long global climate strike has started today. It might seem odd to write about the environment on a therapist’s blog, but when it comes down to it our environment greatly influences our mental health and overall well-being. Also, I am an outdoor therapist so it makes sense.
I recently realized that as much as I talk about the importance of being mindful, I haven't been so mindful of explaining what the heck mindfulness actually is. And how to do it. Thus, I committed the cardinal sin of mindfulness. Assuming. I figured because "mindfulness" is so hot these days that everyone already knows what it is. But come to find out, not so much.
It’s Friday the 13th! The exclamation point is a happy exclamation point as I have a love affair with Friday the 13th. I don’t look at it as a day of bad luck at all. It’s more like an interlude between Halloweens. Unfortunately without the costumes, candy, and parties, but I still enjoy the mysterious and unexplainable and some good ol’ fashioned getting the crap scared out of me.
There’s a reason we have an opioid epidemic. Humans don’t like to feel pain and our society has told us we shouldn’t feel pain. Physical or emotional. Emotional is usually what I focus on, but since physical pain is inextricably linked to emotional pain, it’s important to understand how mindfulness can help ease physical pain too.
We all have urges. To say things. To do things. To eat chocolate. Or cheese. Or broccoli. To have a glass of wine. Or La Croix. To jump off or on things. To pet a dog. To have sex. To smell flowers. To scream at someone who’s pissed us off. To throw up the middle finger in LA traffic…
Or in my case, doing less than I usually do. I’m naturally a doer. If there’s something that needs to be done, I’ll do it. If there’s an adventure to be had, I’ll be first in line. If there’s a problem, yo I’ll solve it.
Yesterday, I went for a bike ride. It was as a part of Ciclavia, an event in Los Angeles that shuts down miles of Los Angeles streets to cars so that people can bicycle, skateboard, roller skate/blade, run, walk, etc. Long as it’s person and not motor powered, you can move about however you want. I’m a big fan of this Ciclavia. It’s an opportunity to safely explore areas of Los Angeles in a different way.
I’ve been a bit tense this week. Maybe a lot tense. I think many of us have been. There’s been a lot going on. More than I’m currently prepared to tackle in one little written article. Which can lead to also feeling helpless.
Last week I quit something. Something kinda big. A work project. Because it wasn’t good for me.
Historically, I haven’t always been very good at quitting things. I grew up with a belief that you see things through ‘til the end of time. Some might call that loyal and noble. Others might call it stupid. I’d say it’s a bit of both depending on the situation. But that’s all judgment anyway and we’re trying not to do that here.
Last weekend I went camping. Out to the middle of nowhere. Which meant no cellular service or Internet access.
Oh it was glorious!
Now, obviously, I’m big on connection. Connection to others. Connection to our inner self. Connection to something greater. Connection is absolutely necessary for fulfillment in life. Huge fan here.
The summer solstice has come and went. Which means it’s officially summer! Even if the daylight is slowly decreasing. “Sad face” since I don’t think emojis are appropriate for a professional blog post. And I don’t know how to insert one on my computer.
Even if our longest day of the year has passed for this 2019, that doesn’t mean celebrating these warm months should end. So here are my summer seasonal hygge suggestions to accompany the spring, winter, and autumn suggestions of the past year.
I loved those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid. So many different plots and endings. You never knew what you were going to get. Until you chose every adventure that is. But then you just got another book.
I say all this not to feel sorry for myself. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I feel human. I recognize that we all live this human experience. Life is full of the stuff I mentioned above and it’s also full of all the small things that make it totally worthwhile.
Last week, while out gardening, I found a monarch butterfly chrysalis. This beautiful light green and gold accented shell hung inside an empty container in the midst of its transformation. Being the nature geek that I am, I did a happy dance. I’d never seen one out in the wild (The wild being an urban backyard.).
Or the miracle of quiet.
Growing up, I just had to live in New York City. I’d never been and I can’t remember how or when I came up with this idea. All I knew was it certainly wasn’t happening in the village of Greenbush, Michigan, whatever “it” was. NYC was where I’d make my mark. I came nowhere close to convincing my parents that this was a good idea and spent the entirety of my childhood in the sleepy little beach side village (Legit village. Not tiny city or town or whatever else you can call a place where people live together.).
I’ve always been a people person. Even though I certainly have my introverted side too. I just love human beings in all their glory, hilarity, and messiness. I find people absolutely fascinating, which is important since boring is my kryptonite, and I can generally find something to like about everyone. If I don’t like you, then you started it. And you know who you are!
Before minimalism was all the rage, I was already something of a minimalist. At least in terms of physical objects. Maybe this just comes along with growing up with very little, but possessions have never been as important to me as they are to many. I generally only buy things that bring me joy and easily let go of what no longer serves me. Marie Kondo would be so proud!
This is about gaining awareness of how important adolescence is to our human development and how mindfulness can contribute to being a healthier human being overall. This is useful whether you’re currently an adolescent, going to be one someday, interact with them, or were one and find yourself or others around you turning back into one when triggered.