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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Repairing the Breach

Things fall apart, people disappoint, hearts break, hope dies…we are left with the breaches, breaks, and torn seams. Now what? Where do we go from here?

Things don’t fix themselves, people don’t always change, hearts don’t heal well on their own and hope needs resurrected. So…

Once more into the breach

King Henry:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger. . . .

Henry The Fifth Act 3, scene 1, 1–6

breachpainting‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more’ – is from the ‘Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ speech of Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act III, 1598. The breach in question is the gap in the wall of the city of Harfleur, which the English army held under siege. Henry was encouraging his troops to attack the city again, even if they have to ‘close the wall with English dead’.

Quite the battle cry as we continue on our theme of intentional action with the thought of repairing the breach. We are going into the breach but what exactly is a breach?

What is a breach?

NOUN –1. an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct:“a breach of confidence”. 2. a gap in a wall, barrier, or defense, especially one made by an attacking army.

 In our broader use of this word, we are talking about areas in our lives that have grown weak or weary with daily wear-and-tear or are broken down through some type of drama or trauma. Breaches that we have caused and breaches caused by others…Breached-retaining-wall-Mallah-lake

 hurtful words,
failure of any kind,
loss,
disappointment,
fear,
anger/arguments unresolved,
grief,
insults, betrayal, etc…
These kinds of things can lead to breaches in our lives and hearts.
Take up your symbolic needles and start…

Repairing the Breach.

needleandthread.jpg
The quote above (Henry V) is a great example of summoning our courage to be intentional about crafting a more HOPE-full life.
Intentional action is the goal of this year.
A needle is a useless piece of steel until it’s put into action.
It can’t be wielded willy-nilly but must be applied where it’s needed.
I encourage you to pick just one thing in your life to work on for awhile.
Change/healing takes time.
Whether it’s attitude, relationship, work-related, goal, dream or something different altogether, begin now.

The repairing of a breach begins with one stitch.–HM

Ask yourself: Is there one thing that I can do differently?

Can I change my response/reaction?

Is there something/someone I need to let go of?

Is there something/someone I need to re-connect with?

In this remember, we can only change ourselves not another person and sometimes, not our situation–at least not right away…so “gird up your loins” and get ready to engage.

WARNING: Being intentional requires properly applied stubbornness.

Gird up your loins

Back in the days of the ancient Near East, both men and women wore flowing tunics. Around the tunic, they’d wear a belt or girdle. While tunics were comfortable and breezy, the hem of the tunic would often get in the way when a man was fighting or performing hard labor. So when ancient Hebrew men had to battle the Philistines, the men would lift the hem of their tunic up and tuck it into their girdle or tie it in a knot to keep it off the ground. The effect basically created a pair of shorts that provided more freedom of movement. Thus to tell someone to “gird up their loins” was to tell them to get ready for hard work or battle. It was the ancient way of saying “man up!”(or “woman up”)

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.–Lao Tzugreatwall

 Where you are now is not where you must stay. The hurt, disappointment and fear doesn’t define you. We are being intentional and forward thinking.

Start where you are–with what you have.

Be stubborn. Be intentional. Gird up your loins.

Each morning, and as often as is necessary, look into a mirror and say to yourself…

Once more into the breach, dear friend, once more.

 

Heidi Mull, re-thinking, repairing , and girding (as needed).

 

 

Lost in the Barrens…

Ahh! The quest for beauty– to obtain it, own it, bask in its presence, to capture it.

It compels us, motivates us and, outside of money, is one of the main driving forces of human activity.

So what does beauty have to do with hope?

Beauty has the power to transform. Beauty is as essential to our humanity as is air and water.

Every human has a inborn sense of beauty –from child to elder…from modern to ancient…from rich to poor.

Beauty is sought after, longed for and appreciated.

The problem is that the concept of beauty is elusive and to define what beauty is is impossible…unless beauty is defined simply as that which brings joy to the beholder.

Given that definition, I think the opposite of beauty is not ugliness but barrenness. Barrenness that occurs in our souls when we have lost the ability to appreciate even the smallest hint of beauty. Bitterness, a critical spirit, cynicism and jealousy are all the enemies of beauty.  The inability to appreciate beauty greatly handicaps our ability to grasp even the possibility of hope and we can become lost in the Barrens. The Barrens…where nothing can grow–not hope, not patience, not joy, not anything. Here we have given up. I have had times in my life–more than I want to admit–where I have spent minutes, hours, even days in the Barrens. Bereft of hope, joy, peace…& beauty until something would catch my eye and my heart–even in the smallest way–and I could begin to find my way out back to the land of the living where even the remotest possibility brought enough air for another breath. In the Barrens our hearts grow cold, our vision becomes dim, and hope is unheard of. Beauty is not only an antidote for the Barrens but a preventative.

Beauty whispers & hums “all is not lost”. It sings & shouts to us of a life that is more than just existing.

Hitler stole much of the fine art of Europe in his conquest for world power.

In the Medieval times, kings and popes fought wars for decades over control of the resources to create/own beauty.

In the garden, the enemy of our souls connived to mar the beauty of God’s creation almost beyond recognition.

Why? Because beauty has power. Beauty IS power.

Power to lift us up out of despair.

Power to transform the Barrens into a place of hope,

Power to remind us of what was lost and what will one day be restored.

So whether it is…

a beautiful face

lovely landscaping

inspiring artwork,

a nice lawn,

a shiny hotrod engine,

a Harley-Davidson,

noble horses,

a blushing bride,

a newborn baby,

a cuddly kitten,

red roses,

a joyous family reunion,

a perfectly penned poem,

a favorite song or just good music,

an inspiring scripture

or the sound of a long-distanced, loved one’s voice…

beauty has the power of transformation. Our journey towards a more HOPE-full life is not for the weak or faint-hearted and we need the power that beauty brings. Take some time today, this week, this month to tap into your power source and if you get lost in the Barrens, you can find your way out… beauty will lead the way.

Heidi Mull,  an occasional Barren dweller on a quest to keep beauty in focus and my feet on the path to a life of hope and purpose.

What Comfort is NOT…

We are mid-April with May just around the corner. Tax day is behind us and we could all use a little comfort there.

April is the month of sharing hope through comfort and comfort through giving a gift. Whether homemade (see Tidings of Comfort and…Hope blog for ideas) or through time and care (see On Comforting the Sick or Injured blog post).

I would like to talk about what comfort is not. Comfort is NOT fixing, changing, nagging, lecturing, busy-ness, rearranging, blaming, taking over, or giving advice… you get the picture.

Comforting IS action but it is not an action imposed on another but rather the act of coming alongside where that person is and being there with them.

To offer consolations:

“I know it is hard right now”

“I see you are in pain”

“I’m sorry for your loss, pain, suffering.”

Like the map at the mall or amusement park that says “YOU ARE HERE”. Comfort comes and stands or sits “HERE”. So our gifts say “I see you are…HERE”. No matter how big or small, simple or elaborate, a gift of comfort is filled with hope.

Hope says:

“You are NOT alone”

“This too shall pass”

“Don’t give up”

We don’t have to understand it all or offer wisdom of the sages or do it perfectly. All we can offer is some hope for better days wrapped up in a small gift of comfort.

small gift box

Heidi Mull, letting go of what I can’t fix…

and fixing up a small gift basket for a friend who is grieving the recent loss of her father.

Next stop…HERE.

Finding Perspective

monica well pix

March is almost over and spring is working its way here. I hope that you have made time to look around and see what brings you hope and maybe took the step of engaging in our craft for this month.

I, myself, have been struggling with hope this past week and I think I have found out why…

I love our big picture window in the living room. The view always refreshes me when I start to get cabin fever. Sometimes, though, I just have to go outside, take a walk and get out of the house–to take a step away from “all this” (gesturing at my house , life stuff and family responsibilities). I can get a bit neurotic and weird so a change of scenery is helpful. I know it’s all there when I come back but I have been away and have gained some…perspective

When it hurts to have hope I know that I have lost perspective. I am adrift in the sea of life and can’t get my head above the waves. I wrestle with the idea of accepting that  ‘this is just how it is‘.

I begin to look for something to anchor to when life says:

Give it up.

You aren’t going anywhere.

Things won’t change…ever

Instead of panicking, I let myself just go there…

What if it doesn’t get better? What if things don’t change? What if this IS it…?

Can I be okay? Can I reach down deep inside and find sure footing?

Can I find the hope that stays with me and helps me to make a good life HERE?

It is in this place that I begin to search for my lost my perspective and I must first remember that:

hope isn’t dependent on my circumstances changing (even though I want them too badly),

hope isn’t tied to another person becoming healthier or nicer (even though that would be wonderful),

hope doesn’t wait on “If only” (even though it’s tempting to dream).

Hope is patient expectation. In other words, it is packed with promise and potential for a good outcome.The definition of hope as a verb–an action word-is:  to place confidence (faith) in; to trust (have faith) in with confident expectation of good. (For more on the definition of hope see blog titled: Hope is the thing with feathers). Hope that is grounded, anchored and focused requires an element of faith–a faith in something or someone greater than ourselves–otherwise, it’s like hoping that cotton candy will have some nutritional value as it is consumed.

Hope without faith is like a picture out of focus and perspective.

I have a deep faith in God and as I searched to find a place to stand in hope, I came to a crossroads of faith and I asked myself, “What DO I believe?”  Here I find my perspective is changed –just like when I take a walk or go for a drive.

Just as a picture frame can help to bring the picture or painting into focus and “frame” it so my faith helps to surround my hope, anchor it and give it something to hang on. It brings it all into focus and helps me gain much needed perspective.

Heidi Mull, putting on my jacket for a long walk & wondering if I need a bigger frame.

Please allow me to introduce myself…(Blogging 101)

Welcome to March… and my blog, Crafting Hope by Heidi Mull.

For those of you who already know me, this post is an opportunity to get to know me better. I am currently enrolled in a blogging class to help me grow and improve. This is an assignment for that class.

For those who don’t know me… please allow me to introduce myself.

I am a forty-six year old, wife of 20 years, mother of 5 and “Gi Gi” to one grandson. I was raised in the same town I live in now but I went away to college and have lived on both coasts. I have a BS degree in Psychology with a minor in Social Work. I have spent the last 17+ years homeschooling my kids and being Mom.

In my life I have

babysat,

worked in retail,

customer service,

delivered singing telegrams,

worked as a case manager,

sang in church,

taught other children from ages 2 to 15,

worked at the US post office,

attempted various in-home sales businesses,

cleaned houses,

written poetry and short stories (unpublished to date).

I am caring for a husband who was assaulted and still suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury. I was primary caregiver for my Mom as she fought ovarian cancer and lost.  I have witnessed several births and been present at as many deaths. There is much more I could list  but all this is to say that I have lived.

I have sought for and fought for hope throughout my life. I learned, at an early age, the joy that comes from creating or crafting…anything. In these times of creating, I have developed a timeless connection to the Creator and the creative force inside of each of us. As a result, I have found that hope can arise out of chaos and pain. And that having a hope-full life is part journey–part process but definitely intentional. I invite you to look back at my previous post called “Let’s get started” to get an idea of how crafting hope works.  Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you as we join together in this journey of crafting hope.

 

Heidi Mull, who I am and why I am here.