Every creature has a lot to overcome. I have an illness or two, etc. Sometimes life can be a struggle. For everyone. But how we see our challenges radically changes our future. Here’s how: if we just mope around feeling sorry for ourselves, what scope is there for making a positive outcome happen? I can’t see it. The only way to make positive changes is to see each challenge as a chance to grow.
I have bipolar. We all know that. But what I’d like to talk about is how wonderful the people around me are. I live in a building filled with people mentally and physically different from ‘normal’. They are truly and thoroughly some of the best people I have ever met. So understanding, so caring.
Don’t judge us or pity us. The only hardship we face is people that don’t care.
My mind was a mess as a young adult; I didn’t know who I was or what my beliefs were. People pleasing was my life skill, it was how I’d made it to adulthood. But now, in this real world I found myself in, there was a new challenge to face: being me. But what was me?
Well, I had a breakdown, and tried to look at it from every angle. I looked at reality and tried to make that absolute too. It worries me a little to this day.
But what I realised, in increments, is that it’s okay to be a little unsure. Everything you’re experiencing is ok. So long as you’re honest, at least with yourself, about it.
Honesty is the only way to de-tangle a brain. Go on, give it a go.
“Shock story!” “Disease risk!” “…as rates reach record high!”
Illness is categorised and then sensationalised. It is torn apart from it’s counter-part, health, and presented as an entrancing gruesome tit-bit for you to enjoy with your coffee.
It is telling that only one out of twelve headline articles on the CNN website is even in the vein of ‘Slow down and live long with the ancient practice of qigong’.
Basically, the media makes health and illness into something completely alien from what it is – to sell papers – by making it exciting, whereas actually we all really just need to listen to ourselves and what we need to be well.
Happiness is within reach. Here is my list of mood boosting activities – it is a list I keep for when I need a pick-me-up. Try making your own list and watch your life expand.
Write a letter to an old friend. In fact write lots of letters to lots of friends. It will let people know they mean something to you, keep your connections strong and fill you with warmth to remember your special people.
Spend some quality time in nature. Flowers and leaves, an autumn breeze; if you can’t remember the feeling, go and explore; see for yourself.
Bake something tasty. A wholesome quality only found in the kitchen. Even if it’s through use of a bread maker, cook up a treat, and then share with your family, neighbours and friends. Joy!
Cuddle your pet. Just look at them… A cuddle would make you both happy and you know it.
Make a smoothie. Health, vitality, fruit. What’s not to love.
Water your plants. It’s a nurturing feeling. Try it – and the plant will thank you by continuing to fill the air with freshness and oxygen.
Do a little organising. Making lists is oddly relaxing. Your head has everything in order, you know?
Do a little sprucing. Tidying is far from a chore when you know you’re heading for a better mood. Put some music on. Get into it.
Do a yoga pose. You don’t have to spend money as free lessons are all over the internet. Breathing and relaxing into a posture is a delicious way to energise and unwind.
Play your favourite music. Dancing around the kitchen or laid back taking in the world; it makes no difference. Music is the original source; it makes you happy.
One of the key tenets of Buddhism is that you do a job that is ethical. The funny thing is, what drew me to Buddhism is that it just seems to make sense to me. Moreover, I look back at my life, and I see it’s truth as it happened. I was happy, and well; thriving, when I volunteered for the FoodBank. I got very ill when I worked as a soulless marketer. I think about all the skills I’ve learned and will learn doing blogging, and I know I could apply it to something soulless and lucrative… but I don’t want to. Where would I get the motivation from?
Building this idea is exciting and motivating. It means so much to see I’ve helped someone. I don’t know if this is spirituality or ethics or just plain sense, but I do this because I love it and I love the people I help.