There’s more than just a tip of an iceberg!

October 12, 2015 at 6:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Wendy Mass

This past Saturday was World Mental Health Day. Therefore, over the past week there have been plenty of discussions, events and special presentations on TV, radio and in the community surrounding this important personal, family and societal issue. It wasn’t really until Saturday morning though, as I walked along the beach and went for a swim, that I started connecting all the dots fully as to the depth of interaction that I had had with the issue over this past week. It was far more than just the snippets of interviews, skimming through newspaper articles or segments of TV programs that I had seen, the complexity and interdependent nature of this issue was woven right throughout a week that felt like so many that I’d had before.

“When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

It all started as I witnessed and was apart of a school community supporting two teachers through loss and grief. Inevitably we find ourselves within unfolding human struggles and hardships (our own and others) because of our personal and professional connections and schedules. There are no quick fixes, single ways of coping or easy conversations in these moments, just opportunities for genuine and imperfect connection, empathy and compassion. Within the vulnerability and fragility that I saw, there was also so much strength. This paradox plays out in all our lives each and everyday. One comment really struck me though as so important, as both teachers recalled a final communication from one of the loved ones who they had lost that week. It was all about being kind, to self and others!

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

A question I found myself asking a lot last week was, ‘What is your most important daily practice?’ One conversation was with a teacher at a school we support who spoke about a morning and afternoon ritual that she has. Hearing her explain how they positively impact her days reminded me of why my Saturday morning had so many dots connecting. Feet on sand and swimming are two of my ’10 for Me’. This ’10 for Me’ is a list of daily reminders of simple practices that see me feeling most connected (to self, others and the world around me), creative and inspired. Obviously, being human means we experience a natural ebb and flow within our journeys. But coming back to what works for you, fostering supportive networks of individuals and groups, and having the courage to ask for help when we find ourselves in a ‘funk’, provides us with opportunities to most effectively navigate our way back to our path of wellbeing and making a difference in our own and others lives.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein

There were conversations with teachers about particular students welfare and mental health needs and challenges. There were conversations with friends and family members about successes and challenges that are being currently navigated. There was time found in busy days to stop and recharge my own batteries through empowering daily practices. There were… There were… There were… The list really could go on and on and on. This is why weeks like the one just past, weeks that get people thinking, making connections to and talking about an issue like mental health, are so important. We are all works in progress and there definitely is more than just a tip of an iceberg!

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Rabindranath Tagore

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