Midwest Spirit Care
Letting the chips fall where they may
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and forgotten the gift.
- Albert Einstein
When I lived with my parents, I remember my mom would post pictures of herself on the refrigerator. The picture would be a photo that she felt pride or disgust about her appearance in the pic. The pictures were always meant to be a motivation for not eating. Don't eat so you look like that again or don't eat so you never look like that again. I think the image of herself in her head was never what she wanted nor what she was in the moment. I get it but it breaks my heart. Today, she is happier but she still always wishes she was different.
I think I do the same thing sometimes albeit without a photo on the fridge. I know the image of the mom, the wife, the pastor I wish I was being, etc. What images do you carry? What standard do you hold yourself to achieve?
What I can share with you is I've learned that one of the most liberating things you can do is to let go of your images and breathe in acceptance of what is. It is in line with material things, where the wise have taught us that it is best to stop wanting more and start being happy with what we have. If you find yourself being weighed down by worries of being not enough or wishing for more try this:
Sit comfortably and place an open palm on each knee facing up. Close your eyes and breathe long enough to relax and feel centered. Then, one by one, imagine placing the worry, image, need, etc in each palm. Allow them to pile up if there are many. Once you feel depleted of the weight of those images, raise your hands high in the air and blow as hard as you can up to the sky. Blow away all those images. Take some satisfactory deep breaths knowing you are enough just as you are. Maybe even take a look at yourself in the mirror and affirm aloud you are enough just as you are with a wink and a smile.
Midwest Spirit Care is back after a rather lengthy sick time & then a family vacation to Florida.
While on the east coast of Florida, in Cocoa Beach, the kids and I were up before dawn and I encouraged them to enjoy the quiet moment of a new day. A sunrise has always been a favorite, much preferred over a sunset for some reason. The kids and I sat with anticipation of the initial glimpse of our great star coming over the water. That first moment when you see it, the sun is like a light bulb being turned on. Then it's kind of over and the normal everyday sun we see is above the waters and in the sky, the sun we take for granted until too many cloudy days. The kids were amazed for about 30 seconds then back to normal kids stuff.
The moment inspired me though, and left me reflecting on that initial moment of a new day. My eyes open and a day begins so quickly. I recently read about a person whose morning is different. She wakes on her own without alarm, kisses her partner, stretches in bed then begins her day with a morning meditation, tea, then yoga. That kind of daily wake up seems luxurious to me! I have always been an early riser but I pop out of bed and immediately either go for coffee, prayer, the news, or taking care of kids, depending on the day.
I wonder if I could find a way to slow down that moment when my eyes open and acknowledge the new day? Take time to remember the above image and memory with my kids. Next, set an in intention to let the day be different even if it looks like the same ol' day very quickly. I'm going to try it for the next month or so and see how it goes. I'd love your comments if you want to join me.
Upon waking, stay in bed, stretch yourself a bit, affirm yourself to focus your energy where you really want it to be for the day, give thanks, and then get up.
Here is an affirmation example I like if it helps:
Peace begins with me. The more peaceful I am inside, the more peace I have to share with others. World peace really does begin with me.
I look at wellness through a lens of body, mind, and spirit. When all three aspects are well and balanced I think I'll feel like I'm enlightened or something. I think some people seem to be more well physically but not so much in another area. I think some people may be well in mind but maybe not so much in another area. For me, whenever I assess myself I'm usually rock solid spiritually, not great physically, and mostly good mentally.
The key word is assess. How often are you assessing your overall wellbeing? How do you assess your overall wellbeing?
Try answering these questions:
1. On most days do I put my energy into my body's health, my mental health, and my spiritual health?
2. On most days do I feel like I could say I feel balanced and well?
3. Is there one aspect of myself I obsess over? One I ignore?
4. When is the last time I felt connected to and loved by something divine or higher than myself?
If you find that you are struggling to find wellness and balance in any aspect of your overall self I encourage you to seek support in that area that doesn't come as easily to you. If it is spiritual, send me a message and let's see how we can strengthen your wellbeing.
It is well, it is well, with my soul!
I tell you what, it sure is a lot easier to be distracted than mindful when the feelings start getting really big. Big sadness, big fear, big anger (the big 3) have been all around me for a while. At moments I love the new Angry Birds Pop game the six year old got me into. In truth, I know that letting myself feel those feelings is the path to quieting them. Sometimes, they are so big they show up on the outside in tears, hurtful words, or even illness, and no distraction will work.
David R. Hawkins work in Letting Go, The Pathway to Surrender provides a clear and encouraging direction to walk to stop fighting feelings. I highly recommend his work. When your feelings get really big turning to a trusted source, like Dr. Hawkins work will help remain mindful and well balanced in your well-being even when things get tough. Like cancer, politics, family drama kind of tough. Check him out.
I fell in love with yoga last summer. I started after my counselor told me she thought it would be perfect for me. I was terrified as I have never found a physical exercise that wasn't an utter disaster. She suggested I start at a studio and reassured me the right studio would treat me right with my limitations and worries. Boy, was she right! I give a shout out to Prairie Sunshine Yoga in Grayslake and their class Yoga for Any Body. It was perfect. I was able to take what I learned about my body and apply it at home. I now have the kids into yoga as well. It is great for both of them to stretch and learn to slow down their busy little minds.
Here are a few items I have loved:
Extra thick 3/4 inch yoga mat helps with extra cushioning if you have extra body weight
Yoga blocks & strap
Spiral Bound Yoga book with adaptations for making a pose harder or easier
Finally, I'm excited to share a fun toy that I'm going to give my daughter for her birthday to make yoga together even better. Right now, she picks the page in the book and we both do the pose together. It is awesome! Have fun!
I had to go to urgent care today for an infected spot on my finger. My nurse came around the corner and my jaw dropped. I knew this woman because I had once helped take care of her and her father. Her 90 something father was in the middle of a stroke in our emergency room and the doctors were quickly moving to reverse the stroke effects and save his life regardless of quality of life after treatment. I had pulled his previously completed advance directives and with the consent of the patient's daughter, this woman, I stopped the doctors from fixing this man without regard to his wishes. I then walked with her shepherding her through the dying process for the next two weeks.
When we remembered how we knew each other (I remembered first as it is not often I put a stop to a doctor's order and I had been anxious) she shared with her coworkers that I had helped her when her dad died. We shared niceties and I learned how she has been since his passing. She met my daughter and heard my story as to why I had since left my hospital work. She then took care of me with warmth and pleasure.
Today, it reminds me how the ways we share our gifts with others can look different for each person, but it creates a space for mutual and serendipitous kindness. Put yourself out there and do what you know is right, even if it is in defiance of a doctor, and you never know how that may come back to take care of you too!
It is a thank-you note time of year for us. We not only had Christmas but also my son's birthday in January. I was raised that we send thank-you notes to extended family that offer gifts. We wrote them and mailed them to aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends, etc. I never was expected to write a thank-you note to my parents. I have continued this tradition with my kids but it seems to only happen when I'm not over-extended but that can be another post.
I recently saw a facebook post from a parenting group asking what they think about thank-you notes. I found it surprising how many people think it is an antiquated practice and do not partake nor require their children write. What is interesting to me is that this group of moms are modern practitioners of teaching their children "gratitude in all things" as a way of coping with life. I have issues with the blind call to gratitude for those who are truly suffering, but with kids I think it is a great foundational spiritual practice. Teaching children gratitude helps to set them up to look at "the glass half full" approach to life.
Today in my Sunday School class the 7th & 8th grade kids heard the following:
Today's lesson, and this poem, reminded me of my recent thoughts on thank-you notes. It inspires me and encourages me in my hopes of teaching my kids and those I teach about gratitude. Helping children understand and practice gratitude is indeed a worthy use of your energy as well as theirs.
The children's sermon this morning at church highlighted a few things that struck me as perfectly beautiful for Little Spirits today.
The woman offering the children's time is "in discernment" with our denomination walking the path toward her ministry. She did an amazing job today with the adults and the children. The children's sermon was all about a book called A Winter Concert by Yuko Takao. She shared the story with the children and as the colors on the pages came alive from music, the children came alive in listening. It was quite a hit! I loved seeing the children engaged in their message, I loved the message of this book, and the woman pastor referred to God as a she which is always deserving of a gold star in my book. Check it out!
This is one of those facebook photos that gets passed around. Today, upon return from Ohio and waiting test results for my dad, I don't find a lot in my heart to say. This little ditty that was shared is some good soul food for 2017.