Introspection | Part 1 | Anxiety

Hope often involves pain and painful transformation. Real hope MUST be rooted in reality in order to grow. It’s okay to admit that you are not okay.It does not diminish the power of hope in any way. The journey to a more HOPE-full life is one step at a time.

Monica Mull Photography

Everyone, at some point in their lifetime, experiences anxiety. For some it is momentary; for others, it is a torment that follows them day after day, without pause, without ceasing. This particular series of photos represents the panic sensation, the anguish that comes with the daily battle of fighting back anxiety. Not simply in a moment of high pressure, but in every decision no matter how trivial and unimportant it is in reality. For reality has little to do with anxiousness, I have found.

More photos: Instagram, Facebook

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Wish Upon A Star?

Did you ever wish upon a star? What happened? How did it work for you?

wishingstar

As a young, and not-so-young, child, I would compete with my siblings to see the first star of the evening and proceed to chant:

Star light star bright

first star I see tonight,

wish I may,  wish I might,

have this wish I wish tonight.

And let’s not forget Disney’s Blue fairy from Pinocchio:bfairyvisitsp

When you wish upon a star

makes no difference who you are

anything your heart desires will come to you.

The idea of wishing good things into my life and wishing bad things away is captivating to me even now as an adult but HOPE–real HOPE–is not found in a wish nor in a star.

Sometimes having hope means learning to live with pain. Hope continues to look for the good with hopeful expectation but not perfection or the “fixing” of all that seems wrong. Hope is firmly based in reality, as it must be, for hope that is not real is not really hope at all but merely wishful thinking and wishing on a star has never gotten anyone any further along on the journey towards a more HOPE-full life.

So let’s talk about reality and pain and living in a place I like to call “Realsville”.

All of us humans live in Realsvile but some of us try and deny such a reality and we use all sorts of things to do so..

Nice stuff,

full bank account,

sports,

educational degrees,

romantic love,

and more…

And none of these things are inherently good or bad.

But the truth is we are all humans living temporarily on this earth and are susceptible to the flaws and losses that are common to the human condition:

physical pain,

injury,

disease,

broken homes,

hate,

fear,

divorce,

poverty,

unemployment,

disappointment,

hurt

and even death.

And while money, success, and nice stuff can help to buffer the pain of such things they cannot fully remove them.

So then how do we have hope in the midst of such brokenness and anguish?

How do we learn to live with pain, grief and disappointments?

How can hope help?hopeinwindow

First of all let me say that I will not insult your intelligence by suggesting a 3-point-plan-ofhope that will be a “cure-all” to what ails you.

 

But lets talk about some basic ways to tap into HOPE:

  1. self-care
  2. community
  3. communication

 

1. YOU ARE OF GREAT VALUE AND WORTH.

You are one of a kind. There is no one else like you. This pain, this trouble is NOT you. It does not define you. You are NOT perfect and your scars and your faults are what make you unique. Caring for the mystery that is you is of utmost importance. Hope in some good coming out of all this is always applied to your self first.

Hope is the thing with feathersbluebirdofhope

that perches in the soul

and sings the tune

without the words

and never stops at all.

Hope comes from a place in your soul that knows there is more to you than just this…

We were designed by an infinite and good Creator and although that is hard to reconcile in this place of pain–hope is what dares us to believe in the possibility.

2. YOU ARE NOT ALONE

And you were not meant to be. Even introverts need a friend…

I know that some of your worst pain and disappointments have come from those around you. People hurt people BUT before you write them off remember that you are one, too. I see in me the potential for evil and good. I know I have hurt others knowingly and unknowingly. I have created beautiful things and been apart of beautiful moments only to turn around and destroy with my attitude and words.

Hope calls us to community-a messy community of others who, like us, battle every day to choose:community

good over evil

kindness over apathy

love over self-preservation

sharing over hoarding

hope over despair.

We were designed to be in community– “It is not good for man to be alone.

We need each other-if only to remind us of the need for grace in all of our lives-which leads us to our final thought for today…

3. YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY

Your life, your choices, your experiences in Realsville all say something to those around you and to those with whom you choose to share your stories.small-gift-box-e1435518805536

You may not have a Youtube channel, a video blog, a Facebook page, or even a blog, like this one, BUT you are speaking all of the time and those who can “hear” you or are willing to listen can be encouraged and taught by the way you live your life. I have a neighbor who has been nothing but friendly and kind to us for all the years we have lived here.

She welcomed us to the neighborhood,

asks about family members who are battling illness or recently passed,

told my kids to play in the stream by her house and feel free to make a mess and noise,

always had super-sized candy bars for them on Halloween,

shares her garden tomatoes with us,

drops off “extra” things occasionally,

recently “retired” (not her choice) and decided to volunteer to work in the office of the local soup kitchen.

She has lived her life mostly unconnected from social media, and yet, I have learned so much from her. Her life speaks volumes and I have only heard a little of what she has to say. She has lived in Realsville  and has found a way to live a more hopeful life. I hope to hear some of her stories soon–I am going to ask her to brunch.

WISH UPON A STAR?

Don’t wish upon a star but be one. Shine where you are. You never know who might be looking for a little help to guide them along the way. Realsville is made of people like you and me. Hope is crafted, cultivated, and created by those of us who choose to make our home here.  Write it down somewhere you can see:

YOU ARE OF GREAT VALUE AND WORTH

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY

And then…

Choose to shine. Don’t wish on a star–BE ONE. When your light is dim,  find a star to spend some time with-like my neighbor.

We were made to shine in the midst of pain, hurt and darkness. nitesky

Heidi Mull, living in Realsville, learning to shine.

 

Now You See It…

The joy of believing in magic is lost on us adults. Oh, but we can remember how it was when we did…

Abracadabra!

Alakazam!

If we could dream or imagine it—it was real.

Now you see it…

In the journey for a more HOPE-full life, we need to remember to pack our imaginations. I’m not talking about escaping into fantasy (although a little of that is fun and a good way to remember how to use our imaginations) but allowing our rigid, factual, adult minds some wiggle room.

In order to keep this part of me fluid, I have been reading and re-reading some of my favorite books:

Anne of Green Gables

A Wrinkle in Time

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Blue Umbrella

The Hobbit

Inkheart

The Light Princess

Little Women

Around the World in 80 Days

The Giver

The Lord of the Rings

…just to name a few.

As I reflect on the importance of belief, I do so with the understanding that

we DON”T live in a fantasy-land,

happy endings aren’t guaranteed,

magic potions don’t exist,

AND that it hurts to open ourselves up to belief in something good…

BUT the alternative is devastating to our souls.

Now you don’t.

It is a dark, stark world that doesn’t have room for the possibility of good, the potential for positive or the light of hope. Pain causes us to want to shut that part of ourselves down because the reality of this hurtful world is often too much to bear. In the midst of the darkest night of the soul and prolonged pain, we hunker down, close the door and slam the shutters on our hearts. We weep in agony at all that was lost, stolen or destroyed.

It hurts TOO MUCH…

And yet, here, in this dark place, is where we start, when we are ready to begin again. We start to breathe again, stare at the door and contemplate the cracks of light slipping through the shutters. In that place of contemplation and reflection, we begin

to believe,

to care,

to reflect,

to imagine,

to hope again.

Now you see it, now you don’t, now you see it..

Goodness, hope, light and love are always here. Sometimes we just can’t see them because of our situation and pain.

Take some time to allow yourself some space to hope and heal; to breathe and believe; to reflect and renew your imagination. Feel free to borrow from my book list and let the process towards a more HOPE-full life begin to work its magic in you.

Heidi Mull, opening the shutters to let in a little more light (so I can see to read).

Hope for the Long Haul

“It’s a long and winding road”, the Beatles got that right. I’ve been thinking about hope–not just to get me through today or tomorrow and not just for this crisis or that problem but a hope that endures–a hope for the long haul.

There’s not much these days that seems to last very long. From political scandals to Hollywood marriages, from fashion trends to technological advances, it’s always changing.

I, quite frankly, can’t keep up.Vintage-Old-Phone

So I started thinking about things that last–that endure.

Endure–not exactly a winner in the most-popular-word contest but a good word nonetheless. Endure, however, does have some heavy baggage to overcome. To most of us, endure seems to means to tolerate an excruciatingly annoying or painful situation, and that is part of it, BUT (I don’t always love buts BUT in this case I do)  there’s more: to endure can be defined as

the strength to undergo (hardship) without giving in;

to tolerate or accept (put up with);

to continue in the same state (not let circumstances influence you);

to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.

Endure, enduring, endurance–all speak of strength and HOPE.

Unlike fashion, hope doesn’t ever go out of style.

Consider a posingforyourphotographersister.jpgfew of endure’s siblings:

abide

stand

last

persist

continue.

I think of a reed that bends but doesn’t break. Endure was first used in the 14th century (wonder what was happening then?) from a word meaning to harden. It’s true that long lasting trials can make us hard–hard-hearted–but that’s not this kind of hard. Think of something becoming hard in a way that makes it stronger until it becomes impervious (another great word–it means not capable of being affected, disturbed, damaged or harmed) to the changing world around it. I think of giant trees that have endured or wood that has been sealed so that water can’t get in.OldMotorCar.jpg

When we have learned to endure with hope,  I think we come to a place that we can have peace in spite of what is happening around us. I have seen in some people who have survived horrific circumstances and not gotten bitter. They seem to be saying, I have survived–endured–and have found myself stronger than before.

So how do we develop a hope that can endure?  We need a hope that is obtainable, sustainable and maintainable.

Dog-with-a-pipe-015Obtainable– remember that hope must be grounded in reality otherwise it is just wishful thinking.

I would love to have hope that I will never barf again,

my kids would never have any problems,

my husband would be completely healed from his brain injury(I may hold out for that one),

I will never have a conflict with anyone,

never watch a loved one die,

never have to deal with addictions.

Never hear the words:

cancer,

rape,

unemployment,

war,

mass shooting.

Darn that reality principle of hope…

ferriswheel.jpgSustainable–Hope has to be more than just an emotional longing. Emotions are wonderful but they are not sustainable. We have to choose to have hope, to look for hope even in the midst of the worst of days–in spite of

mood (what day is it?),

income (never quite enough),

weight (a few less pounds would be nice),

relationship status (he loves me, she loves me not),

weather (who knows?),

presidential candidates ( I can’t even…). We can choose hope–to be HOPE-full–and that is sustainable.

old-timer-structural-worker.jpgMaintainable. Hope is not upgrade optional. As the world around us is adapting so must our hope. We do maintenance/upgrades on our

cars,

homes,

computers

and even ourselves (thank you, Miss Clairol).

So it is with our hope. It requires regular check ups.

Is my hope being nurtured and encouraged?

Is is current and relevant to my life now?

The truth is that life is always changing…always.

Stagecoach-Western.jpg

Hope that lasts requires a faith in something or someone bigger than ourselves. It says in Hebrews 6:19 (the Bible) that we have this hope as an anchor for our souls. When we have a hope that is based in reality, not just an emotion, regularly checked on,  AND linked, like an anchor chain, to a faith in God, we have a hope that can last.

 

 

Heidi Mull, packing my bags for the long haul.

 

Dream a Little Dream

Can you remember what you wanted to be when you “grew up”? Did you have a dream or hope that stirred you and even thrilled you? Was there someone who inspired you? I’m beginning to think that those childish dreams that helped us make sense of the world around us are really a part of who we are meant to be. As children we were unfiltered in our likes and dislikes.

The only problem is that we grew up…

No longer are we blessed with the capacity to hope no matter what–to imagine something amazing is just around the corner and let it grow into a dream. Life has taught us that dreams die or are stolen, dreams can’t come true, don’t live with your head in the clouds…and yet…we all still have dreams….boywalkingdream

The dream of a good marriage (or at least one that lasts),

an amazing career,

adventures unlimited,

fame,

inventor of something really cool,

beautiful, healthy, obedient children,

a nice house,

a really great car,

lots of friends,

a renown artist,

a talented singer/musician,

a great poet,

renown speaker,

the best ________ ever,

& the list goes on…

 

So my question is when did we stop dreaming?

Have we let it all go in the harsh light of reality, a.k.a adulthood?

My mom wanted to be a teacher but an unplanned pregnancy back in the early 60’s put that dream on hold. She  got married, had three kids but started her own daycare years later and loved and taught dozens and dozens of kids before she retired after 20+ years. She never gave up on the dream–it just happened differently than she thought.

Sometimes our dreams can and will take a different form…and that’s okay. What is sad is when we have given up altogether.

What dream can you revive and dust off. It doesn’t matter if no one understands or agrees–it’s your dream.dreamagainpink.jpg

I will never in all probability be a famous singer but I like karaoke, singing in church, joining a choir/singing group or just singing loudly to my favorite songs on the radio. I know every word the The Sound of Music soundtrack…just ask my kids.

I may not drive a really great car but I can go to car shows and appreciate those who do.

I don’t know if I will attain literary success but I will keep writing and sharing because it is a part of who I am.

I may not have grand adventures but I can have small ones.

Please hear me I am not advocating giving up on your dream and settling for a smaller version. I am saying that if you have “missed” or lost your dream then look for ways to find a version of it again.

Can we be brave enough to follow a version of our dream or even go for the big one??

Don’t let fear stop you. It takes courage to have hope and courage to dream again.

Two of my favorite quotes about overcoming fear are:

1.“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh

2. “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

It’s okay to fail just don’t let the fear of it overwhelm your sense of adventure.  Success can be built on failure. It’s okay to change your mind and go for a different dream.Sometimes our dreams really do change and that’s okay, too.

What is not okay is a life without hopes and dreams.

Let your heart hope and dream again. Infuse your dream with hope. Dreams need hope to grow and hope needs dreams to fill it with purpose. A dream is a seed of hope. seed-planting

Remember our definition of hope;

Websters 1828 dictionary defines hope as:  (boldness in definition added by me)

“(noun.)  a desire of some good with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it.  Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.”

“(verb.) to cherish a desire of good, with some expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. To place confidence in; to trust in with confident expectation of good.

I love the wording in this definition: expectation (same root word as pregnant), obtainable, possibility, pleasure, joy, confidence and trust.  Can we ever have enough of these things in our lives? It’s time to start dreaming again.

Check out this printable page if, like me, you need something in front of you….

http://4mykiddos.blogspot.com/2014/10/vision-statement-printables.html

 

My-Dream-Planning-Worksheet-thumbnail

And dream a little dream…or two.

 

Some dreams are bigger than others.

Some dreams just won’t go away,

Some dreams seem impossible,

Some dreams take my breath away.

Some dreams seem too wonderful.

Some dreams may never be.

Some dreams are worth the work,

so I’ll dream a little dream for me. HM

 

Heidi Mull, daring to dream, & dreaming daring dreams.

 

 

 

A Little Lift-pt 3 in self-care series

We are wrapping up our self-care series with the care of our spirits. I hope you have found something helpful to grab onto in this series. Sometimes it just takes one thing to breathe life into the places that we have given up on. Change can happen in small ways that lead to big changes–like a blast of warm air to lift a hot air balloon.

I believe that hope is a fundamental need like faith and love. No matter where we fall on the religion meter-from atheist to agnostic to believer–I hope we can agree that we, as humans, are spiritual beings and as such we need to be intentional in caring for that part of us. We know that in the natural world things left untended become stunted or overgrown into barrenness or chaos–neither of which, in my opinion, lead us anywhere good.

I believe in good and evil. I want to nurture good in my spirit and resist evil. I believe in God as Father, Son and Spirit. I believe He is good, powerful, and just. I believe He is love. I believe that I am the creation of a Creator. If you have doubts or just plain don’t agree, I encourage you to read on anyway. I don’t intend to preach and you might find something useful for your own spiritual journey.

Hope and help for the spirit can be found in the acronym–L.I.F.T.

L-love. Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)

Our spirits are created by love, fed by love, and designed for love. The opposite of love is not only hate but indifference and apathy. In order to pursue love, we have to be open and willing to be open and willing.

Spiritual gifts are, well… gifts…from our Creator as a way to connect with Him and each other in a deeper and more profound way. They help us to reveal the love of our Creator and change our focus from earthbound thinking to a higher more spiritual view. Do some research, if you are curious, and find out what they are and how they can build our spirits and others.

I-inspiration. Look for it and let it do it’s work.

This life–day in and day out–can rob our spirits of the joy, hope, peace and grace that is ours. Find what  brings inspiration to you, on a spiritual level. This can include reading scripture, meeting with others who can encourage us n our faith, and going to church or group studies. Don’t wait for it to appear, although that will happen when you are open to it, but seek it out.

F-faith. It is the food of the spirit. Find ways to grow it.

Our spirits feed on faith and faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We must cultivate it and help it to grow. Prayer, meditation, worship, readings, talking with a pastor, priest or church leader–these are all things that feed our faith. Think of faith like a muscle–the more you use it the more it grows.

T-treasure yourself and others as spiritual beings.

It is easy to see each other as just bodies and personalities. It is easy to forget that we are spiritual beings designed for much more. Treasuring ourselves and others acts as a lightening rod for lifting our spirits and allows us to share not only our faith but to seek out those who are on a similar path.

 

If you take nothing else from this series, I hope you have realized that you are precious. Your body, soul, and spirit are treasures of the rarest kind. There is no one like you on the face of this earth. Never has been–never will be. Seek out ways to treasure yourself as a way to honor the gift that is you and the Creator that made you. In the press of daily life try and remember to REST your body, CARE for your soul, LIFT your spirit.

Heidi Mull,  looking for a lift, hoping to catch a warm breeze.

Soul-keeping (Pt. 3 in Self-care series)

We are continuing on our journey towards a more HOPE-full life by learning to take care of ourselves as triune beings made of body, soul and spirit. And while we are focusing intently on this right now, self-care isn’t meant to be an all consuming idea of self-centered obsession just an awareness of our choices and how they can effect our lives. We CARE for ourselves so that we can offer the best version of ourselves to our loved ones, our co-workers and the world around us. I picture my soul like a garden that I have to protect and tend.

“The soul is NOT “a theological and abstract subject.” The soul is the coolest, eeriest, most mysterious, evocative, crucial, sacred, eternal, life-directing, fragile, indestructible, controversial, expensive dimension of your existence. Jesus said it’s worth more than the world.”-John Ortberg, Soulkeeping.

So with that thought in mind let’s unpack the acronym C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. for The Soul

C-create s safe space for your soul to grow. Avoid negativity, insults, sarcasm whether from yourself or others. Our journey in this life is one of discovery.

You are your first line of defense against the tumult and chaos of this life. You were given this unique soul to cherish, nurture, and honor;  and while there is much in this life we cannot control, there is much that we can and must.

Avoid negativity in yourself and others:

throw out that negative thought immediately-don’t give it time to take root.

Avoid gossip,

sarcasm,

bitter speech as much as possible.

Don’t stick your head in the sand or run away screaming but be your own filter for what is allowed to stay and develop in your soul space.

Avoid the vampires and dump trucks who want to suck every ounce of positive life out of your soul or dump all of their crap on you.

There were people like that in my life, that I had to let go.  I just couldn’t do it any more. I still love them, pray for them and occasionally spend small amounts of time with them  (I am not a totally cold-hearted person) but I choose to filter and limit my exposure to their soul crushing drama. I discovered that they really didn’t want my help or advice. They just wanted to suck or dump.

If you can’t get away (work or home) find ways to cope like imagining that what they say is sliding off of you and not penetrating because you are covered in protective oil or after they are done dumping or leave, picture yourself under a shower or waterfall and wash off the crap that they just dumped on you.

Above all else, guard your heart/soul (mind, will, emotions), for everything you do flows from it.-King Solomon (1000-931 BC) The Book of Proverbs 4:23

A-allow yourself to be vulnerable to love and goodness. Don’t let hurt and fear build a wall.

I just told you to protect yourself NOW I’m telling you to be vulnerable? Yes. Protect yourself from negativity, life-drainers and other soul-crushing influences but seek out and be open to kindness, joy, encouraging words. Practice random acts of kindness. The act of creating positivity and goodness helps to soften our hearts against hardness and fear.

R-reach out to others and work to build a support group/community.

Doing life alone may feel safer but it is a much smaller way to live. We, as human beings, were meant to be in community. We have families, friends, and communities that can help us to live much bigger, stronger, healthier lives–recovering addicts know this fact well. Choose wisely and carefully those who are brought into your circle. Make it a priority and a part of being more intentional. It may take some time and some missteps but once you find your tribe life becomes a much more joyful journey.

E-enjoy even the smallest treasures/moments. Learn to savor.

Research  has shown that learning to savor has amazing effects on those recovering from PTSD. While I am not diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have weathered some trauma–as we all have. Here’s how it works: pick something:

like that first sip of coffee,

a hot shower,

sip of a cold beer,

the look of a fresh cut lawn,

the color of your favorite lipstick, etc.

and take a few moments to savor it…then…

tell someone  (this is where your tribe comes in handy). This process of savoring and sharing has be shown to stimulate the negative pathways in your brain, created by trauma and overuse, into building more positive highways. Simple but effective.

You are the keeper of your soul. And, like gardening, our souls need cultivated, weeded and nurtured.

Truth is, we get one soul, one body and one spirit so let’s tend to them as if our very lives depended on it. And when it comes to your soul remember to C.A.R.E.

Heidi Mull, gardener, dreamer, and soulkeeper.

 

 

 

 

Rest In Motion(Pt.2 in Self-care series)

Rest in Motion seems to be a contradiction of words and ideas but according to Sir Isaac Newton, who was a pretty smart guy, and inventor/scientist/philosopher of the Laws of Motion, these two are very much intertwined. Now before you start to worry that I am going to get all-scientific on you and these words start to look like “blah, blah, blah” let me just say that one of the problems we face in the 21st century was addressed by Newton so hang tight and please, read on. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

newton110An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

To me (a non-physics expert) that means we keep doing what we are doing unless something makes us do something different. It’s very true that we get in a lifestyle rut sometimes and we either go to the side of doing NOTHING or to the side of OVERDRIVE neither of which is good for us. I tend to go to maximum overdrive and it is that problem I want to address here  but I think the ideas presented today would be helpful to both sides.

We have been talking about taking care of ourselves–not as a self-indulgent practice or a ME-focused ideology but as a way to: 1) remain healthy longer, 2) be more productive, 3) set an example. We only get one body, soul and spirit and how we treat them is key to being able to fulfil our purposes and destinies here on earth.

Imagine if when you turned 16 you were given a car and that car was yours for the rest of your time here on earth. You would be given no other and buying was not an option.

firstcar

I can only imagine how well I would treat that car especially when I noticed those who didn’t take care of theirs and were forced to walk or hitch a ride everywhere. Their lives would be EXTREMELY limited in range, possibility, and potential. Taking care of ourselves is key to living life to the fullest. I’m pretty sure I want to be able to do just that.

 

Intentionally caring for ourselves is necessary to crafting a more HOPE-full life.

I gave 3 acronyms for restoring health and hope to our spirit, soul, and body in the last post–Finding Hope…Again. They were R.E.S.T. for the body; C.A.R..E for the soul and L.I.F.T. for the spirit. Let’s take them one by one, working from the outside in and start with the body. In the subsequent posts we will cover the soul and finally, the spirit.

REST

Rest is a four letter word and is viewed by some with a snarl, lip-curl, or eyes rolling. It is hard to admit that we need rest. In our fast-paced, 21st century, the-early-and-late-bird-gets-the-worm mentality, rest is not valued or viewed as an asset despite what research tells us. If you are interested, just google “rest and body health” or check out: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

 

Here’s my take on this idea of R.E.S.T.

R is for Re-think my lifestyle choices.

I can very easily justify my crazy, non-stop got  days:

I’ve got a full house.

I’ll rest when they’re grown.

They need me.

I want to live a full life.brain-cogs-injury_222

Just one more thing

I couldn’t say no.

I feel guilty just sitting around.

I’ll catch up on my rest later.

And my husband’s personal favorite…If I don’t do it-it doesn’t get done.

This type of thinking is caused by letting someone else drive my car. Their plans and their agenda are pushing me. These ridiculous, unrealistic expectations of what a full and fulfilled life looks like are killing me/us. Our kids, too. Check out the research on that if you dare. We could all sloooooooow down a bit and the world would not stop spinning.

Re-think and re-examine your lifestyle choices. If for some reason your couldn’t keep up all of your commitments and plans what would happen?…?

I totally understand that there are seasons in life, I’ve been there when it’s  just crazy…did I mention the part about having and homeschooling 5 kids (4 of which were born in 5 years). Those are season– not a way to live.

 

E is for exercise.

Our bodies will stay at rest or in motion unless we act upon them with something different. Researchers have found that too much exercise is just as detrimental as too little, however, that has not been my problem. I have been told by my doctor, and read research, that walking is the best exercise. 1/2 hour, 2-3x per week–that’s it. That’s the baseline. Take a walk, no weights, just move your arms and breathe deep. public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel--1000x666

On those days when I am really tired I amble, meander or stroll–just putting my body into motion is an accomplishment.

If walking outside isn’t an option then try this: http://www.walkathome.com. It’s a great program. Super easy, multi-levelled and fun to do.

 

S is for sleep.

I LOVE sleep. For years I didn’t get much (lots of babies and toddlers), and then when my husband was hurt (see post in March 2016) I was up ALOT with him and then my Mom’s illnesses…

Did I mention I love sleep? I have learned the value of a nap–cat or otherwise. cat-sleeping-funny-photo.jpgI think that’s what sitcom reruns are for. I love to nap to Everybody Loves Raymond because I’ve seen them a hundred times and they are usually funny to wake up to.

If naps worked for Einstein,  then they’re good enough for me. http://www.inquisitr.com/1754670/albert-einstein-among-other-great-minds-proved-the-efficacy-of-micro-naps/

It’s always amazing to me how much better life looks after some sleep. The old adage of “Let’s sleep on it” is based in ancient wisdom and modern research.  Here are some great tips from the people at the Mayo Clinic on sleep.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

Our bodies/brains do some of their best work while we are sleeping.

T is for time

Nivens-McTwisp-White-Rabbit-Concept-Art-alice-in-wonderland-2010-11205475-563-675

Time is a finite commodity. In other words, we can’t make more time. What we need to do is use it wisely.

Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I do myself and others no small favor when I slow down to care for myself. I am NO fun when I am burned-out, run-down and over-committed. Jesus, himself, invites us to walk with Him in a way that is easy and light. In the Message translation of the Bible it says that He will teach us to “walk in the unforced rhythms of grace”. Now that’s an invitation I don’t want to miss. By taking time to care for this body, I am honoring myself, my purposes, my loved ones (they deserve the best version of me) and my Creator. If He can take time to REST on the 7th day who am I to argue?

Heidi Mull, R.E.S.T-ing, re-thinking, and learning the rhythms of grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Hope…Again. #1 Self-care series

May is well under way and I have found myself struggling with some echos of the past like negative self-talk, extreme weariness, resentment, bitterness, blame-shifting…

In trying to locate the origin of these bad boys, I began to realize that I have done this to myself. I took my eyes off of the road, my hands off the wheel and without a second thought have driven myself into a desert of my own making.  desert

In accepting such a responsibility, I  am compelled to find a way back out and to do that I go back to the basics which includes things like:

I am not invincible

I need rest/sleep/time alone

I need to re-learn to time management

I can say  “NO”.

Consequently, I have been thinking about self-care and the idea that when life gets busy, maybe too busy, the first thing to go is myself.

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to run myself into the ground whether through too much activity and busy-ness or

through allowing negative thought cycles to go unchallenged and unchecked or

ignoring my spirit for too long.

In deserting myself, I find myself in this desert somewhat lost, alone, and without water. So how do I get out of here and back to the lushness of a well-tended garden/life?rainbowtree

I have to remind myself that

life is marathon and not a sprint,

negative thoughts are seeds that if left alone long enough will bear fruit,

I am a spiritual being.

Those are the times that I find myself in this state of crisis. Feeling overwhelmed, put upon, resentful, exhausted, defeated…not very hopeful at all. Then comes shame, self-pity and a host of other bugs and critters.

I get physically, mentally and emotionally winded, side stitches and leg cramps as well as dehydrated. It’s so ridiculous and laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful.

The spirit, soul and body connection is unmistakable in this situation.spirit-soul-body-820a

I have worn out my body.

I have let crud infect my soul.

My spirit is a neglected space.

...and HOPE is no where to be found.

I need a map to get back to a place where hope can be found, crafted, cultivated and intentionally grown. And I know just such a map…spyglassmap

The Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum”  conveys the idea that everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete. We are triune beings (spirit, soul and body) and when we neglect even one portion of ourselves, we become so much less than our potential. We allow a portion of our being to become a desert. Here are some ideas or maps to find our way back.

The Body

Hope and help for the body can be found in the acronym–REST.

R-rethink: your lifestyle choices. Am I over-scheduling or saying ‘yes’ too often? Am I eating well? What about the pace of my life? Life is NOT a sprint–it IS a MARATHON.

E-exercise (or not): Depending on your own fitness level, do you need to kick it up a notch,  just get moving (take a walk) or cut back to allow your body some recovery time.

S-sleep: seriously, sleep is one of the leading causes of physical, mental, emotional issues. Take a nap. Go to bed earlier, if possible.

T-time: Take/Make time to eat, drink, walk, rest…you only get one body–care for it.

 

The Soul

Hope and help for the soul can be found in the acronym–CARE

C-create s safe space for your soul to grow. Avoid negativity, insults, sarcasm whether from yourself or others. Our journey in this life is one of discovery.

A-allow yourself to be vulnerable to love and goodness. Don’t let hurt and fear build a wall.

R-reach out to others and work to build a support group/community.

E-enjoy even the smallest treasures/moments. Learn to savor.

 

The Spirit

Hope and help for the spirit can be found in the acronym–LIFT

L-love. Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)

I-inspiration. Look for it and let it do it’s work. Read scriptures, go to church, talk to other people of faith.

F-faith. It is the food of the spirit. Find ways to grow it. Church, small group, meditation, readings, etc.

T-treasure yourself and others as spiritual beings.

Sounds simple, I know, but keep in mind that while simple may be better, it is not necessarily easier. We are headed for summer and the busy joys that come with it so take some time now to assess your body, soul and spirit.

Hope can and will be found when you seek it out and do what it takes to be a healthy triune being.cropped-wp_20150617_016-e14345886078481.jpg

Heidi Mull, mulling over the mess of me, making myself a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thousand Miles…

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

Thought/Theme

One of the best and hardest parts of crafting a more hope-full life is that it requires intentional focus. Having hope isn’t wishful thinking, anxious hand-wringing, or crossing your fingers. It is actively taking part in crafting a lifestyle and a belief system that involves several parts:

  1. Clarity: focusing on expectations and perceptions (positive vs. negative) because we give power to what we focus on.
  2. Choices: choosing to face reality, pain, & trials head-on. No denial here.
  3. Craftiness: being willing to do what it takes to gather the tools, skills and people necessary in order to build a more hope-full life.

Breaking things done into smaller steps is what helps us to get some traction.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a wanderer in my heart. I love to have no where to go and no where to be. My favorite walk is the meandering kind. I love a day with no pre-set plans or schedules. I enjoy daydreaming and yet…

As a 21st century wife of a Brain Injury Survivor/husband,  Mom to 5, mostly grown-up, children, GiGi to one bright and talkative grandson, credit union employee, church member, friend to a few, aspiring writer,..you get the picture. Wandering and meandering are rare events in my life but I have learned to appreciate the value of intentionality and purposeful focus. I have come to appreciate having a destination. There is beauty in developing a plan and implementing it.

We are currently planning a graduation Open House for the third graduate of our homeschool. My family can attest to the fact that, while I am a brilliant planner, I can get easily distracted and sidetracked and end up in a panic the day before an event. To combat my meandering bent, I have learned to develop a relatively detailed plan and I have learned that you have to look at it daily sometimes twice a day to stay on track.

And….here’s the amazing part…what’s true for a party or event is true for our lives. We can easily find ourselves pulled into the current of the daily stream, drifting along just trying to stay afloat especially in times of trauma, trials or crises. We talked last month about learning to sail our ships through storms. This requires skills and knowledge of rudders, sails, maps, compasses, weather and a trip plan because it is easy to get sucked into someone else’s current.

We can set out on a path and without a compass, map or GPS we have little hope of ending up where we want. A life of hope needs intentionality–please hear me–not unbending, rigid adherence to a set of lists but a life defined by goals and principles. These can be our compass as we walk through a life that is ALWAYS unpredictable. We must be able to adapt and bend as situations arise but always hold fast to our aim and goal.

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”
Richie Norton

CLARITY (focus & expectations)

One example for me recently is my blog writing. I said I would write a new post weekly and, for the most part, I did last year but this year… I started a new job so I have been really pressured to meet my own expectations. Reality check: there are only so many hours in a day and I still have my family as my top priority. I have come to realize that I need to adapt my plan–not give up but reassess my goal and also my implementation of it if I hope to continue on this path.

CHOICES (reality)

I have decided that 2 well-thought out posts a month are a more realistic goal and would lesson my frustration. One of the other options was to just give up writing for now…sad choice for me and not a healthy one I think. My goal is to write in order to share some of what helps me in hopes that it connects with you and we can move forward together on our journey towards a more hope-full life. My goal hasn’t changed but I have had to adapt my plan.

CRAFTINESS (tools, skills, people support)

I have re-written our family schedule in order to better delegate some tasks (a form of support) that will free me up a bit and help teach my kids the power of pulling together and responsibility. I have had to say NO to several other things that would take up my writing time.

I am also working on a website. It’s called Hope’s Domain. I want to make this a resource site for all things hope. This is a goal. My plan involves getting a friend to help me set it up because I am lacking some time and skills to accomplish it.

This can also work in marriage, friendships, as well as life goals. Dream BIG but think small, achievable goals as a way to move forward. I love big dreams but freeze at the thought of how to get there. Small steps will eventually turn into a thousand miles and you will be further on your journey then if you had never taken that first step.

Intentional Action

Last year we focused on crafts as a way to visualize our theme or thought for the month. This year we are focusing on intentional actions as a way to learn how to craft or practice setting goals and achieving them.

This month since we are focusing on walking out our plan, we are going to focus on our feet.

Make a plan to do something for your feet. Write it down on the calendar, by your bed, on the fridge, in your device. Daily, weekly or a couple of times this month:

pedicure,

new socks,

toe ring,

new shoes,

new polish,

foot-soak,

foot-rub,

new lotion,

putting your feet up for a set time daily,

foot cream…

The goal here is to practice making a plan and then implementing it. It may sound silly to make such a to do about your feet BUT just try it. Set a goal, make a plan, check it daily. Remember CLARITY, CHOICES and CRAFTINESS.

A single step is all it takes…

Heidi Mull, footloose and fancy-free at least until the oven timer rings.