We live in a fast pace globalised world where we have access to anything and everything from synthetic drugs to fresh off the pres Oxford university thesis research papers. Stress, workaholism, pressure, demands, sickness, injury, allergies, food intolerances, burnout. Is this sounding familiar, such that are all these now post modern norms?
Instant gratification does not discriminate and not just applicable to people with substance dependencies and other maladaptive coping strategies like sex, shopping,
Gambling and so on.
We all rely on the reward circuit,
Otherwise known as dopamine,
to some degree, even if that is being a subscriber to a social media platform.
The sad thing about these facts and norms is that our health and wellbeing are taking a gross toll and contributing to significant psychological and physical difficulties and impairments.
Consider some recent Australian statistics with an open mind.
Fact; one in five Australian’s (20%) aged between 16-85 will experience a mental illness in any one year.
Fact; every day at least six reported Australians die of suicide.
Fact; one in 4 people experience anxiety or depression in their lifetime.
Fact, according to the law of numbers, it is more probable to unexpectedly die in a car accident in holiday periods than it Is to die from a terrorist attack.
Fact or Myth: the news media creates and reinforces fear and anxiety?
Autumn has now firmly set in with increasingly chilly mornings, frosty grass, kids squashing crunchy leaves in the park and soups simmering of an eve. Its time to now stock up on vitamins and supplements as we prepare for the colder months ahead.
Yet again, the season change may symbolise a new state of being or a much wanted new chapter. As we prepare for the colder months, is now the time to take inventory, and review our earlier summer intentions?
Some of you may be standing tall with pride if you have found the goals you set were easily achieved. And if your an A type personality like me, some of you may feel disappointed, overwhelmed, Stuck or saddened by unactualized intentions and goals. plans have changed, random curve balls have struck you head on, and unforeseen obstacles or chance events have put the almighty breaks on. Or maybe one ordinary day when you were quietly doing mundane jobs something may have struck you from behind like the serve of elite tennis player. On one Breath of a moment, your life may have suddenly changed in ways you never would have considered.
Far too many times people farewell a loved one in the morning and sadly they do not welcome them home due a random car accident, heart attack and now more than ever many are victims of abuse, discrimination and terrorism.
No one can fully prepare for unexpected losses; nor be expected to the Australian tag “get over it”.
Loss changes people in extraordinary ways you would not have contemplated prior. Indeed time and space helps and heals, yet grieving is highly personal and people find their own way through insurmountable pain and grief.
It may be by finding meaning, taking about your loss, allowing others to sit with you in the pain, visiting familiar and safe spaces and environments and the list is endless and unique to each person.
It is less important what other people think is appropriate and more important to find people, places and things that validate and acknowledge your loss.
Wounds heal in their own time But forever there will a scar of grief and loss that can change in shade and intensity over time.
Respecting other peoples grief process is critical if
One is to
Truly support someone and that may mean tolerating discomfort.
It is unfair to compare, measure and categorise ones own and others losses.
Personally, I am very familiar with this as in the last three years multiple events and losses have occurred that I could never have imagined nor anticipated. I lost many things in a protracted set of diagnostic tests and examinations due to initial series of
physical difficulties,impairments and injuries. The most painful for
Me was my home, my professional identity and career and health.
Now almost three years on and some days I feel steady on my feet and witness the scars with care and distance. Yet too often I only feel the deep throbbing pain of the infected wound where I feel small, fragile and vulnerable. Tears seeping out and inconsolable like a child.
Trauma is a profound experience or set of, and I liken it to a radio program that is not your preferred most played station; rather it is the radio station you dislike and the only one you can access. The only thing you can control is the volume. So you can turn the volume up or down but you can never turn off the station. This is what trauma feels like. Always there, sometimes distant and on the horizon and sometimes, intolerably close.
Some of you may know this as cognitive fusion where one can either follow a path where one becomes fixated on a negative or intrusive thought or feeling or it may be a pathway with significant distance from unhelpful thoughts and feelings by practicing any mindful action.
Disenfranchised Small children can experience a loss that may never be reconciled, becoming an adults in numbers, yet in trauma body, remains at the same that their trauma occurred.
Life is uncertain and unpredictable and therefore every moment and day is special. Be mindful to count your blessings even when you fail to see them As one moment in time in the wrong direction we may take pause in the film, yet the images freeze in time and all we can see is static memories. Years may have past, and tears frozen In time on ones sad face.
Thinking back to autumn and
the change of seasons,
I and always awakened to the stark reminder of the profound effect of Change, seasons and environments on well being and attitude.
As much as we try to plan, pre empt, prevent and prepare for what our Brain anticipates; seldom life presents a linear line, so Frequently we stumble across obstacles or experience a co-incidence that may alter any plain old ordinary day into something beyond our comprehension, deeply profound or even tragic.
Several human behaviour studies on predictability indicate it is the brains preference for certainty, order and predictability. If this is the case and we also understand life’s directions to be prone to change; brutally at times, how do we negotiate these tensions and rewire our brains toward acceptance of uncertainty?
Not a question easily digestible.
For myself I find a regular yoga and meditation practice useful to remain sturdy and supported in life’s rips. I am
No expert at this, I do see however the benefits from repetition and practice.Even if we are being churned upside down by one of life’s rough rips; to surrender, rather than resist, may just keep us on course.
Some schools of thought believe one can, ‘fake it til you make it’, and in times of uncertainty this perspective could be a saving grace.
Do you know what helps you in times of change and challenge? Does this serve you or cause greater harm or are you entirely unsure of the things that assist you, as you are so ‘busy’ just trying to get through your day.
If I may be so bold, Let’s do a little exercise together and notice what comes up for you.
Let’s Take pause for a wee moment now. Place your feet firmly on the ground, close your eyes or lower your gaze and just focus on your breathe. Just breathe slowly
And deeply, that is all. Breathe in and breathe out. Inhale and exhale.Be still and observe as though you are witnessing yourself in a slow motion video.
What uniquely presented for you and is that aligned with your values and beliefs and life directions?
What direction does your moral compass face ? And is it adjustable?
Can you distinguish your rational wise mind from your fearful reactive mind?
These concepts are simple in format, yet the human brain is complex like the most difficult and advanced algorithm, yet personally we may find
Simple little actions or truths that restore and replenish in the cold front of chaos and uncertainty; those special little things like your nans knitted beanie that keeps you going,especially as the body prepares
For the coming cooler Months.
Perhaps It’s time to pull out those cosy autumn knee high socks and heat packs and take inventory.
I know my fellow chronic pain readers will understand the significant impact that cooler weather has on the body, blood flow and those arthritic Joints.
But for all of us autumn or any recent change is bound to effect our minds and well being?
It is without doubt, regardless of seasonal changes, of the causal connection of the body and mind.
So how do you refuel, restore, review and reset?
What exactly are trusted comforts that assist you,when you may be flat on your back in quicksand. Sinking, sinking, slowly or quickly into muddy uncharted waters.
For some of
Us movement, exercise, diet, sleep, social connections , meaningful activities and/or mindful exercises can keep us hardy, like threads in a medieval Tuscan tapestry.
But quickly, if sewn without care, our life tapestry can become a messy big pile of unbound string.
My gift to you today is to take this day to consider what you need to get through the next minute, day, week or
What uniquely nourishes you and gives you warmth,comfort, strength and hope?
Is it your spiritual and religious beliefs, or your ethical and moral philosophy?
For myself to be well prepared for whatever the day presents, I try to keep a broad range of tools and resources in my toolbox. What’s in your toolkit and on your checklist?
Ultimately it seems easier to lean towards what is helpful over unhelpful, possible over unrealistic, restorative over depleting.
Do we know what is right and best for us. However, often in the bitter aftermath of shock we crawl our way to the nearest lifevest and that may be all that you need to keep
No matter what has happened or what may happen, maybe this first month of autumn can be a time to
Stocktake on those big and small habits, patterns and rituals that serve you and enable you to forge on.
Especially when our conditioned preference is for predictability.
Else fails, even in the chilliest of southerly winds there is always a space to Drop Your anchor.
With kindness and courage we find our way