Mental Wellness Challenge – 2021, Feb 12

Mental Wellness Challenge  –  2021, Feb 12

BBRRRRR…. Its chilly out there…

Another week has come and gone, it’s Friday again and I am thinking about my experience the last week…

Last week my challenge was:

  1. Be appreciative of the kindness shown you by others. Look for it.
  2. Be patient. Be as patient as you can be.
  3. Tell someone in your experience that they matter, that you love them.

How did you do?

I went through my week, paying attention to the kindnesses that I was receiving from the folks along the way.  I was able to see or notice that most of the people along my way were “doing kindness”.  Sure – there were a couple of people that were not, but they were in the minority for sure.

My patience was tested a number of times this past week.  I don’t believe that it was the actions of others that tested my patience, I think it was my inner “stuff” that reduced my “patience quotient”.  Nevertheless, I was able to maintain an even keel and didn’t let my frustrations pull me too far out of my way.  I found myself feeling “I’m getting too old for this stuff…” too many times this last week – so I know that that is a part of my journey that I need to have a look at.

There were lots of ways this last week that I told the folks in my experience that I cared for them, and those closest to me, that I love them.  The COVID-19 situation has really separated me from the folks in my life… those that matter most… I’m getting very, very tired of only seeing my grandkids on the screen of a tablet or my own daughters at a distance.  Very tired.  I know that I’m not alone in this regard either.  I believe that everyone is “suffering” the same UUURRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH…  I do know that for me – it’s too easy for me to hermit up, to “turtle” and become even more isolated… so the whole social distancing, keeping to a household circle is taking its toll… so – it’s even more important that I intentionally connect with others in my life.

Life is so short… I remember when I was a young man… that I’d often wish time away – I wished that this time would pass or that time would pass – usually as part of negativity I experienced in making my way through my life.  Highschool wasn’t much fun for me – I didn’t fit in… lots of other pieces that I sort of understand the “whys” for now.

I started a new class of students this past week.  In starting this new class, made up mostly of younger people – well – much younger than I am…. I had reflected on where they are in their journeys and where I am in mine…  I was reminded of what I felt when I was just getting started as an electrician.  The uncertainty of where my career would take me, the challenges that I faced with trade school and all the stuff that went with being a young man starting his life on his own.  I remembered how I kind of just did what I needed to do to move from this day to the next.  Too many times I wished some experience would “just end” or “be done”.  I didn’t really participate in my life – I certainly wasn’t “intentional” about what was going on in my life.  I know now that this was part and parcel of my ADHD, my depression, and my anxiety… or maybe it was all just ADHD and the other stuff grew from it… I don’t know that I will ever be 100% certain of that…

My thinking about how my life went along – gave me some twinges of regret…  Not a great sensation… If only this, or if only that… rolled through my thoughts… Now, this certainly isn’t the first time these thoughts and regrets have bumped around in my brain – and my go to response to this inner monologue is “Change one thing, change everything…” and that little bit helps to assuage some of the regret…

I totally realize that there’s nothing I can do about the water that has made its way under the bridges of my life.  I certainly can’t go back and change the course of where my life went.  I need to acknowledge here – that – given the challenges that I have faced in my life, the ADHD, the depression, all the “d’s (disorders)” in my life – that I have done pretty darn well.  Things could have been a whole lot different.. worse I suppose…

The reality for me is that I really only started to be truly intention with my life – well – later in my life.  I only really started to realize that I had the power, the ability to be in charge of my experience by being intentional.  It’s a bit ironic really – decades ago I started reading self help books and going to seminars and being part of organizations where “The intentional life” was discussed, taught, championed.  I suppose I am a bit thick – because I just wasn’t getting it.

My appreciation for intention really started about 7 or 8 years ago.  My experience was a mess… well – it was a mess on the inside… the “stuff” that I was showing the rest of the world might not have looked like a mess… but it was…  Along about that time I figured out that “NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES”.  I started to understand that I had to be in charge of the path my life took…. I had to take responsibility for the flow of my life.  FOR SURE – there are tons of things in my life that I had zero control over… but I started to learn that there were so very many facets of my that I had control over that I had simply been leaving to chance… or grace…

When I started to apply “NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES” in my own life – I learned that I had choices to make.  I had the RESPONSIBILITY to navigate my life with intention or purpose.  To be present for the times in my experience that were uncomfortable, to value the good and the bad – because I only have one shot at this…. We all only have one shot at this…

I have spent many, many moments of my life – comparing how green the grass is for this friend, or how brown my grass is in comparison… it was truly only those short few years ago that I really started to appreciate that my perspective or interpretation of another experience means nothing… the truth is – I know pretty much nothing about another’s journey or experience.  I started figuring out that my journey is – well – my responsibility.  I must be in charge.  I have options, I have choices… I have the responsibility to move through my life with intention.

So how does all this fit in with the new class that just started.  Well – I have an appreciation for the reminder of intention that the new class brings to me.  I have an opportunity to share my knowledge of my trade with those folks… There’s the opportunity for me to learn from their journeys and I think that they have an opportunity to learn from my journey as well.

NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES… I can model my intention.  I certainly wouldn’t offer my perspectives on life in the classroom – that wouldn’t be appropriate – but I can…”Be the change I want to see in the world.”  I can do my part to model presence and intention for my students.

At this place in my experience – I try really hard to NOT WISH MY LIFE AWAY… I try hard to be present for the ebbs and flows of my life.  I look at the young folks starting their journeys and I wish the very very best for them.  This helps to put me in a place where I want to do my very best for them… not just in teaching them the theory, code and practice of my trade, but in being present and responsible for my interactions with them.  To try to be more mindful of when I am having a rough or tough day and to not let my day spill into theirs… at least not the yukky parts.  I know that I can’t MAKE anyone feel this way or that… but I can be ‘on purpose’ with my interactions with them.  I also recognize that I can’t do anything other than to present opportunities to my students… to anyone in my experience really… opportunities that they must decide to take or not…  I can remind them opportunity often looks like hard work… and that there is “benefit in the struggle.”.  I can remind them to not wish their experiences away – but to embrace them with intention.

This week my challenge is:

  1. Do something special for someone you love. Do something special for yourself.  Make a hand written Thank You card… or maybe make a dinner or get up early and make a breakfast for your loved one… Take the time to do something “on purpose” for yourself and for someone you love.
  2. Drink 3 8oz glasses of water every day… at least that much… Get hydrated…
  3. Take one day – and do your best to shut off the technology… give yourself a tech holiday… no TV, no tablet, no Facebook, no YouTube, no tech… maybe use that time to reconnect with someone…

That’s it, I challenge you.


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