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”

Stress, Jenga and Washing the Dishes

Stress, Jenga and Washing the Dishes

We think our lives have a strength to them, but remove a few Jenga pegs, experience a shock, and we can easily topple to the stress. So we build with each other and find new resilience. 

A couple of mornings ago, my son said ‘Nice Jenga Dad.’ I was puzzled, for a moment then I realized he was talking about my dishwashing Jenga.

Jenga is a stacking game using perfectly shaped wooden blocks. Then one by one, a peg is removed and placed on the top of the tower until it topples over. It’s a game of skill and engineering.

Since the kids were little, we generally wash the dishes and stack them in the dish rack to be put away the next morning. Continue reading “Stress, Jenga and Washing the Dishes”

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”

Love heals. Indifference Kills. What do you most need?

Love heals. Indifference Kills. What do you most need

What your neighbor needs now is love but they often encounter indifference. We need to find a way to listen to them and tell them they are loved.

I wonder at times that under depression and anxiety, there is a deep unmet need for love. That many are love-starved and are unaware of it.

There are a lot of lonely people; maybe you’re one of them. I want to tell you that you are loved, but ‘Love’, I believe, is the most dangerous word in the world.

When heard, it can be twisted into all sorts of meanings and intentions that were never meant. Romanticized, sexualized, it can take on a life of its own.

I love my wife, my family, and my friends. Sounds right and proper, but what about saying ‘You are loved’ to someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety. Someone is psychotic?  Continue reading “Love heals. Indifference Kills. What do you most need?”

When the Confessor Goes Rogue

When the Confessor Goes Rogue

We need to share the pain of life with someone, but what happens when the confessor, the one we are exposing our heart to, goes rogue. We need to be careful with who we share our heart with.

What they thought was being said in private was now being passed around like appetizers at a dinner party. Everyone had a munch and nibble, then passed the plate on for another’s perusal.

They were locked down now. Having exposed their heart, they had got hurt and had made a vow never to be open again.

To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements.
Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

But something had died within them. It was a willingness to trust and, therefore, to know love and give love. They allowed others to come only as close as they felt safe. Functionality, not intimacy.  Continue reading “When the Confessor Goes Rogue”

Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters

Your brain needs to rest Beside Still Waters concussion

Our brains can be so busy that it can feel like a concussion, but we can help the brain recover by finding some still waters to rest next by.

When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting next to a small stream. There wasn’t much water flowing through it because it is summer and we haven’t had a good rainfall for over 60 days.

But still, the trickle provided life to many. There were some Kokopu (a native New Zealand fish), some birds that would refresh and wash, insects sipping, and tree roots merging with the waters. The water was also being pumped out to beautiful gardens and orchards. Water troughs were being kept full for thirsty horses.

Now I was being replenished. I invited my self to be still and listen for the stillness of the flowing waters. Something outside of my control.  Continue reading “Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters”

No more plans. Give me a foggy signpost

No more plans. Give me a foggy signpost Ancient paths

Plans and blueprints give us a sense of certainty, but it’s in the fog of relationships we need something more. Signposts offer us a direction, a relationship of trust, an ancient path.

I wanted him to tell me what to do. Give me advice, a plan, a blueprint, a map back to where I once was. I needed help, and I felt utterly lost.

‘I can’t give you a map, but I can give you some foggy signposts’

We all want maps, and plans don’t we. Codes and blueprints that if we follow, we will succeed. For most of life, this is how it works.  Continue reading “No more plans. Give me a foggy signpost”

When a Thought Takes You Captive

A thought can become a belief that keeps us captive. But we can have an idea that captures us and inspires growth. We need to nurture the good and true.

‘It’s a weasel.’ The trap had caught and killed a weasel. We had noticed that some animal was eating some of the eggs in the chicken coop, so we had set out a trap. Now the culprit was caught and dead.

Weasels and other animals like possums, rats, ferrets, and stoats cause a great deal of damage to our natural wildlife here in New Zealand. Before man coming to our Islands, there were only birds. It was just one happy, chirping bird-filled land.

But with the introduction of animals such as possums, weasels, and alike it has been a war against the wild. We love our native birds and forests, and so we work hard at protecting them. Continue reading “When a Thought Takes You Captive”

How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known

How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known

Few of us know how to fully and deeply relax. The noisy neighbors can keep us from the rest we need, but when we feel safe and known, we can restore.

He almost went to sleep. That was the first observation he shared with me after a short spiritual meditation exercise we went through — silence, peacefulness, quiet focus, and a ‘stepping away’ from the noise.

He stepped away from needing to be someone and to do something into a pose of quiet acceptance.

Breathing in, breathing out. Centering the thoughts and feelings away from the past and the future to being present in the now. Right here, right now.

Do you know how to relax?

It’s a serious question. Continue reading “How to relax? You need to Feel Safe and Known”

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”