I celebrate life's journey -- some days more than others.
One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was to stop trusting my emotions, which means, don't trust my gut. I had gone to see an acupuncturist with a strained back and an abundance of curiosity. He palpated my ovaries, eyelids, and the like for a half minute before diagnosing my issue as one of emotional over-indulgence. He stuck a couple of dozen needles in me, left me alone for 20 minutes, and returned with his treatment plan. "You shouldn't trust your gut so much," he suggested and sent me on my way.
I hate the phrase, "live your truth." I really do. Besides being tragically cliched, relegated to Instagram captions and gift shop t-shirts as it is, "live your truth" is generally marketed as a philosophy that will always yield a good outcome: live your truth, and you'll be radiant, prosperous, and probably really great at yoga. Live your truth, and achieve perfect bliss. Rarely have I heard a person or a piece of content urge me to live my truth and insinuate anything but a wonderful result.
Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot.
This isn't one of those stock Thanksgiving blogicles where I waste 500 words tossing around washed-up phrases about how "gratitude is an attitude." It's much worse than that. I'm going to try to challenge your notion of gratitude altogether. I said early on in my HealthyPlace journey that I wasn't going to try to convince anyone of anything, but we all knew I was lying. So let me be explicit about this: I want you to leave this post believing that gratitude isn't just for the things in your life that are working. I want you to walk away feeling grateful for the challenges in your life that aren't.
I'm writing this just a few minutes removed from a morning run, which I hated almost every second. I'm not like the runners you see in the movies who gracefully jog with their camera-ready smiles; my face is usually fixed in a mask of focused despair, disguising not at all how distasteful I find the whole situation. This run was no different—my feet hurt, my heart pounded quicker than it wanted to, and my respiration struggled to keep pace. In short, the run absolutely, unmistakably, irrevocably sucked. It was exactly what I'd hoped for. I was hoping to increase my distress tolerance.
Death is coming for us all. I don't mean that to be threatening; I mean it to be relieving. Encouraging. Enlightening.
It's critical we understand our most important tool. I'm talking about your brain, of course, the very organ that mental wellbeing—and its antithesis, mental illness—originate from. Now, plenty of ink more knowledgeable than mine has been spilled on this subject; a quick Google search will tell you almost anything you want to know about the flesh wad in your head. What I want to do today isn't give you a lesson that Wikipedia could deliver better. Instead, I want to offer you a perspective you'd be hard-pressed to find amidst the citations. I want to help you understand your brain.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us feel insecure, frustrated, and scared. With so many question marks on the horizon, we can't plan for the future. Uncertainty runs rampant as long-term decisionmaking becomes a thing of the past. However, we can learn from these uncertain times, emerging stronger than we were before.
Dealing with COVID-19 as a therapist is dual-fold. We must comfort our clients, but we must also deal with the stress of the pandemic for ourselves and families just like everyone else.