“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Namaste! Did you know that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month? In my opinion, it should be mental health awareness day, every day. As NAMI asks, “Why care?” Because 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Many do not disclose struggles with mental health/mental illness due to stigma, shame and others’ general lack of understanding. Don’t let not knowing what to say prevent you from reaching out to someone who may be battling depression, anxiety or a more serious mental illness, or getting help for them.
I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I hide it well. Many times I’ve been told that I appear to be a calm, peaceful person. Inside, however, it’s often a different story. Yoga has helped me tremendously as I’ve gotten older to feel and stay grounded. And music is one of my first go-to’s when feeling stressed. Yes, I listen to really loud music in my car on the way in to work and on the way home after work! Lately, I’ve been listening to the “Songs that Saved My Life” playlist on Spotify (as well as a lot of 80’s music). Songs that Saved My Life is a charity compilation of songs for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The album is centered around music that played a pivotal role in the lives of artists and fans that benefits mental health and suicide prevention charities. Artists cover versions of songs that helped them get through tough times and share those stories.
The art piece above was inspired by wanting to promote greater awareness and understanding around mental health. I drew it this morning before heading to lunch for Mother’s Day and worked on painting it this afternoon using acrylics, watercolor and colored pencil. It felt good to draw today, as I’ve been so busy with other things that I haven’t gotten to it in awhile.
To learn more about mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And check out the STSML playlist on Spotify, and follow #STSML on Instagram. There’s some really great stuff. Two of my favorites are “I Spend Too Much Time in My Room” by The Band CAMINO and “Torn” covered by Neck Deep. Lastly, I love the quote above by Christopher Robbins to Winnie the Pooh. When I’m feeling self-critical or exhausted from a long work week, it helps reframe my thoughts. I hope it does the same for you.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255 for 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Crisis Text Hotline: Text HOME to 741741 – for free, 24/7, crisis support in the U.S.
We have arrived at the first quarter moon! I only know this because the yoga teacher I follow posted a new yoga video called First Quarter Moon Practice: Aligning with the First Quarter Moon. I highly recommend visiting her website, Roaming Yogi, and checking out her wonderful yoga videos on YouTube.
One of the intentions I set at the new moon was to increase creativity and self-confidence, especially in my professional career as a social worker and therapist. As I worked on the piece above, I noticed that I carried less tension as I drew. I wasn’t nearly worried about making the piece perfect. And, as I began to paint, I didn’t rush, but gave myself permission to experiment a little with the acrylics without judgment and actually liked how it turned out. Typically, I prefer pencil sketching over painting, as I feel that the paint changes the sketch so much. I’m trying to be kinder to myself as I continue to explore my own creativity and grow as an artist.
The piece above was inspired by the following quote by B.E. White,
We should all do what in the long run gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
I’m finding that as I focus on what brings me joy, I open myself up to increased creativity and new ideas, whether in my personal or professional life. Though I have not yet reached “the long run,” I’m slowing getting there everyday. What brings you joy and where are you in your journey towards the long run?? I hope that you are getting closer and closer if not already there!
May your 2019 be your happiest, healthiest and most peaceful year yet.
Hello and Happy New Year! It’s been a beautiful morning thus far. I started my morning with a hot cup of coffee and finished my first pencil sketch of 2019. It’s still a little rough, but I like how she’s turning out.
I’m thrilled to let go of 2018 and to usher in a brand new year. I don’t typically set New Year’s resolutions, but I have set an intention for 2019, as the title of this post alludes to: Balance and Power. Last year was one of professional discovery and growth; however, I did a very poor job taking care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was a challenging year, yet that is how growth occurs, through the bumps, scrapes and bruises. I have a much greater sense of who I am and where I’m going in 2019.
Personally, I did not make enough time for good health, nutritionally or physically, primarily because I was so tired! My work/life balance was seriously out of whack, and once that happens, it becomes a vicious cycle. I’m making self-care and self-compassion a top priority this year. My intention is to create a more balanced life, daily, and to increase power within by recognizing/accepting my strengths, gifts and talents, not allowing my weaknesses to limit me. I feel that the piece above inspires me to face what may come with strength, balance and grace, one day at a time.
May your 2019 be your happiest, healthiest and most peaceful year yet!
if you are feeling shame, blame, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you
Have you ever just had such an awful week that you felt tired to your bones? I mean, felt as though you’re cloaked in weight, a weight that just presses you down and in on all sides? I had one of those kinds of weeks. I’m sure I’m not alone. We all suffer through valleys, and though it can be excruciatingly painful at the time, sometimes we come up on the other side having gained greater insight, wisdom, and compassion for ourselves and others. This morning, I’m still processing through one of the most difficult circumstances I’ve ever encountered in my professional work. I felt that I was being unfairly blamed for things by others who were oblivious to their own part in the unfortunate situation. Okay, I know that everyone probably experiences similar situations at some point in their lives, but this was very personal. When there is an attack on your person, it just goes a little deeper. I was hoping someone would take to my defense; alas, that is not what transpired until after everything boiled over.
So, as I processed what I could have done differently in the situation, I drew the piece above. Yeah, her dimensions are a little off, but you know what, I’m letting go of perfection this morning. As I sketched and erased, sketched and erased over and over, I thought about grit. Not the southern fried comfort food (which I also happen to love), but a characteristic that is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. I have been tempted to be down on myself, to turn inward and believe that I was wrongful. However, I have begun to realize that I also need to trust my intuition and my own clinical insight. It takes grit, I think, to take responsibility, to take a hit and then get back up. To accept the blame when really, you aren’t to blame, and to stand strong, despite feeling crippled. I am confident that as I continue to learn and grow, fall and get up, grit will keep me going.
If you are feeling shamed, blamed, or down on yourself this morning for whatever reason, trust that you have strength, courage, and beauty that you never imagined inside you. Dig in and know that you are worthy of all things good, bright, and lovely. Dream big and wide, and don’t let other’s *&%#$@! get you down. Set strong boundaries on what’s someone else’s stuff apart from your own. Sending lots of love out to the universe and to those who need an extra dose of courage and strength.
I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold…”
I’ve been drawing again now for about a month. I was telling a friend recently that it’s been such a surprise to see what materializes on the canvas after I start a sketch. I continue to explore what speaks to me. When I was in middle school, I started sketching and enjoyed drawing, but I never took it any further, as piano was always my first priority. It seems that now, art has taken center stage. I’ve kinda fallin’ in love with it! I have always loved the whimsical, magical, fairy tale, and fantasy, so I think that’s becoming my style.
I’ve been inspired lately by women who don’t subscribe to the typical American beauty standards – you know what I mean… I’m inspired by women who are confident, strong, of any body shape, entrepreneurs, yet compassionate and humble. Women who aren’t afraid to break the “mold” and speak out against body shaming, who are dispelling diet myths and turning toward intuitive eating. Women who are changing the way the world perceives the female gender. Women who inspire me to do better and be better. I struggled with an eating disorder called orthorexia for years. To this day, I catch myself saying negative things about my body. So much wasted time and energy! Now that I’m older, I still want to care for my body, but in a much different way. Self care and self-kindness has become much more of a focus than looking as thin as possible. I’ve been listening to Christy Harrison’s podcast, Food Psych, which is completely changing how I view food and my body. Harrison is a registered dietician nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor. I’m not 100% healthy yet in mind or body. It’s a journey. The road is windy, and there are lots of hills and valleys, but I’m trying.
So, the piece above kinda came out of that inspiration…to not conform, to challenge certain ways of thinking, and furthermore, to continue exploring my own creativity just for the sake of creating and enjoying. This is what speaks to me. I hope that in your own journey, you are also exploring what speaks to you and listening to those whispers!