011 The Small Man Builds Cages
Mental health confessions; living without pain or regret.
5 Things to Draw On This Week
Monday 10th October was world mental health awareness day. I want to share with you the update I shared on my LinkedIn profile.
You see I find it very difficult to talk about mental health - I’m from that generation of folk that were told we had to ‘toughen up’. But it’s been my mission in 2022 to find comfort in uncomfortable feelings. So here goes:
World Mental Health Awareness Day 2022
🤔 Is it an oxymoron to say 'happy mental health awareness day?'?
Well, I'm pretty happy it is MHA day, and it's something I'll happily celebrate with you too.
Because I'm from a generation that was told to "toughen up, get over it and stop being so sensitive and moody". Where depression was seen as attention-seeking or as a weakness.
Today I'm celebrating the fact that mental health is something we openly talk about in 2022.
But I still find it scary to open up about my mental health journey, which started with my first serious episode at 14.
It's a subject I'll shy away from if you meet me IRL because, I suppose, I'm still ashamed of it. Those early messages are hard to shake off. As a parent too, it's been one of the hardest things to share with my kids and I'll admit I'm SOOO over-protective of them and their mental well-being as a result!
But d'you know what was scarier all those years ago?
Thinking I'd never find peace in this frantic world (excuse the Jon Kabat Zinn pun for those of you in the mindfulness know!).
From shrinks to psychologists, psychotherapy to group therapy, complementary therapy to counsellors, I can safely say I've seen and heard it all. It's been a long, arduous process to mental wellness.
However, after myriad treatments, the penny finally dropped when I heard the phrase "you are not your thoughts" when I attended my first MBCT course all those years ago. It was the bolt of lightning I needed to revive my hope.
That phrase saved my sanity. And my art practice saved my life. So today, I wish you a happy, healthy mental health awareness day. It's the most fantastic thing to be able to write this. Even though I'm slightly terrified about opening up - but it's been my intention this year to face my fears, so here I am!
Now, let’s get on with this week’s recommendations…
1. Words To Inspire
The Small Man Builds Cages for Everyone by Hafiz
The small man Builds cages for everyone He Knows. While the sage, Who has to duck his head When the moon is low, Keeps dropping keys all night long For the Beautiful Rowdy Prisoners.
2. Music To Meditate To
Mereya is the track I end my yoga practice to. A practice which has sadly fallen by the wayside for the past two weeks until Mereya shuffled itself into my playlist, quite randomly, the other day. Reminding me that my downward dog was feeling neglected.
Close your eyes and allow your body and mind to circle like a starling murmuration at dusk.
3. Weekly Creative Prompt: Draw Like Ivan Brunetti
This week, be inspired by Ivan Brunetti. Two of my favourite recharge activities I like to facilitate in my online deep work sessions are to a) draw a self-portrait and b) use only geometric shapes to draw e.g. draw only using circles, squares and triangles.
Give it a go. Share the results!
4. Book Recommendation: The Grassling by Elizabeth Jane Burnett
Every Wednesday night I attend a creative writing class hosted by Helen from Prompted by Nature.
As someone who writes this newsletter, blogs and daily morning pages, I suppose I’m kind of a writer, maybe…well, we’re all writers at heart, right?
But I wanted to explore creative writing, and when I saw Helen’s course, around writing inspired by nature, I knew I had to enrol!
We were introduced to ‘The Grassling’ by Elizabeth Jane Burnett this week. Wow! I must confess I haven’t read the whole book yet but what I have read is incredibly beautiful. Pick up a copy and let me know your thoughts. I’ll be exploring more in the coming weeks.
5. And Finally…A Quote to Live By
“I look to the past for lessons, not pain, regret or guilt. I look to the future for inspiration and possibility, not goals nor ambition. I live in the present with as much passion, compassion, kindness and awareness as I can. I try to be my own best friend not my worst enemy. Every day is beautiful”
- Nitin Sawhney
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