There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me

There's a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me light

We can live warped lives because of a shadow hanging over us, but that shadow can be removed if we face what’s causing the shadow and allow the light to flood in.

Have you ever walked in a shadow?

Of course you have, but you probably didn’t take much notice of it. We do it all the time.

What about filtered light? Light that has been defused and filtered as it has passed through clouds. Again yes.

We don’t notice it because we are used to it. It’s commonplace and the norm. Continue reading “There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me”

Am I My Brothers Keeper? Guilt-Trip Anyone?

Am I My Brothers Keeper Guilt-Trip Anyone

It was the feelings of a guilt trip and the words of being a ‘Brothers Keeper’ that triggered me. But was it genuinely helping me and them to think this way? Something needed to change.

Some people seem to be able to push the manipulation guilt trip button every time. They tell you how life has been hard. They share their background and a wide range of struggles. You listen, and you empathize with their struggle, and indeed life is hard for some people.

Then you look at yourself and all that you have. You may begin to feel some guilt, then some sense of a need to help them. You want to help, but you have only so much life, energy, time, and money.

In the Bible, there is a story, or in particular, a phrase from that story, that can kick into gear and hit the guilt-trip button. Continue reading “Am I My Brothers Keeper? Guilt-Trip Anyone?”

Breaking it down before you breakdown: David and Goliath

Breaking it down before you breakdown David and Goliath Mental Health

Stress can add up to be too much, and we can have a mental health breakdown, but when we break it down like in the story of David and Goliath, we can find a way through the chaos.

Stressful times can feel like a massive avalanche of overwhelming pressure. The keyword in that sentence is ‘feel.’  You have a feeling of living in the overwhelming shadow of something that could crush you.

It was like an overflowing river of complaints. Continue reading “Breaking it down before you breakdown: David and Goliath”

You’re doing OK in the Face of Resistance

You're doing OK in the Face of Resistance

There is a resistance we all face into, but with the presence of others, we can know hope. So let’s listen.

It felt to her that she was the only one having struggles. Every day, as her eyes peeled open, there was an instantaneous thought ‘Can I do this’?

As someone who works outside in the wind and rain, I notice that the ambient surroundings have an effect on me. It might be the heat of the summer or the cold of winter. The mud that clings heavily to my boots in the winter or the brightness of the sun in the heat of summer. There is always a resistance I have to push into.

But it’s the wind that truly takes it out of me.

Working in a strong wind feels like life is being gouged out of me. You have to push into it to do anything. There is a resistance to movement. It’s tangible and real, but also unseen. Continue reading “You’re doing OK in the Face of Resistance”

How to Build an Inner ‘Bulldog’ Resilience for your Mental Health

Storms of life can hit hard against our mental health, but we can learn to stand firm and even advance. Developing resilience is a practice of strengthing your inner Bulldog.

It was quite something as I watched this little goat headbutt a Bulldog. Repeatedly it launched itself at the Bulldog, but the dog stayed firm, resilient, and even advanced into the storm.

To me, it spoke of resilience in the face of adversity. Continue reading “How to Build an Inner ‘Bulldog’ Resilience for your Mental Health”

Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone

Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone

Some people can be difficult to live at peace with. To live peaceably and in harmony requires each person to do the work on themselves.

Some people are like bottomless holes. You give and give, and they take and take.  They raise a storm, and you’re expected to bring peace.

Instead of taking self-responsibility, they blame and shame. They make others a scapegoat for their failings. Continue reading “Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone”

God, will it always be like this? Being a slave to despair

God, will it always be like this

God, will it always be like this? That was what their heart was wanting to know. The answer lay in knowing their slave master of despair. Hope is the dance partner of Faith and Love.

Every day felt the same, in fact, every week and every month. Do the job, make a meal, go to sleep: repeat, repeat, repeat — monotonous drudgery.

It wasn’t just the repetitive nature of the grind that got to you., it was the slow wearing down of the soul.

It was like something beautiful and purposeful was being scraped off a ‘Mona Lisa,’ dropped on the floor, trampled on, and ground into dust.

They sensed they were losing themselves. Who they were, who they were meant to be — all at the hands of a slavemaster tyrant.

Continue reading “God, will it always be like this? Being a slave to despair”

‘Power over’ or ‘Power With’. What causes you to flourish?

'Power over' or 'Power With'. What causes you to flourish

‘Power over’ was normal, but ‘power with’ was what they needed. When we listen deeply, we move forward.  Mental health flourishes when power is shared.

She was small in stature, and I think she also saw herself as being a little person, insignificant. She was also quiet and never really said much or offered up an opinion. When she shared some of her story, I learned how, as a young adult, she had developed schizophrenia.

In her delusional state, she had done some very destructive things to people’s property. She had been committed to living in a Mental Health hospital and lived there for many years.

In an ordered regimented world like one of those old Mental Health hospitals, you lose your power, and you can even lose your identity. Continue reading “‘Power over’ or ‘Power With’. What causes you to flourish?”

Are you Strong Enough to be my … Friend

Are you Strong Enough to be my ... Friend

If you knew me, would you still love me? We all need others who will be strong enough to handle what comes from the inner world of each other.

When they had opened up, they looked at me and wondered if I would reject them. So many others had.

I have a face I cannot show
I make the rules up as I go
Just try and love me if you can

Are you strong enough to be my man

When I’ve shown you
That I just don’t care
When I’m throwing punches in the air
When I’m broken down and I can’t stand
Would you be man enough to be my man
Sheryl Crow – Are you strong enough to be my man

 

I like Sheryl Crow’s lyrics. Continue reading “Are you Strong Enough to be my … Friend”

Stop ‘Shoulding’ and Start ‘Coulding’ Yourself

Stop 'Shoulding' and Start 'Coulding' Yourself should could

‘Shoulds’ can pile up on the shoulders and shape our thinking. But we have efficacy. We have the power to make a change and stop ‘shoulding.’ We don’t have to live under the slavery of a ‘should.’

It was always the same message. ‘You should be doing better.’ 

‘You’re not getting as good as grades as Bill and Clive runs faster than you. What’s the matter with you? You’re just not trying hard enough’. 

Taken on as messages of personal performance, we start to ‘should’ on ourselves. We compare ourselves to others and make judgments about our performance. 

‘Well, at least I’m not like them’ or ‘I’m not as good as them.’ The pendulum swings from pride to self-loathing. 

We are given very clear messages about who we are to measure up against, and it is always someone else.  Continue reading “Stop ‘Shoulding’ and Start ‘Coulding’ Yourself”