Mental Wellness Challenge – 2022, October 20

Mental Wellness Challenge

2022, October 20


It’s been a long stretch since I have posted here.  I didn’t give up or quit – I was just in a place where sharing was too much and/or maybe sharing the stuff I was experiencing would have done others more harm than good.

It’s taken me a long time to set to writing this post.  To decide what to include and what not to include.  I’ve landed here… sharing bits and pieces… in time – maybe more…  It’s taken me a great deal longer to put this piece on paper than usual…  So – I’m a bit rusty…

I’ve changed over the last couple of seasons.  Change that I didn’t expect.  I’ve learned a bunch about me… I learned a bunch about others… I’ve experienced “stuff” that I wouldn’t hope on anyone… and those are pieces of my experience from my past couple of seasons that I don’t want to share with others… that I can’t responsibly share with others.

Here I am, on this side of the experience, knowing a tiny bit more about the world than I did before and quite a bit more about myself.  I’ve learned more deeply that “NOTHING OUT THERE CHANGES”, that “HOPE is a great reminder to HANG ON, PAIN ENDS” and that there ARE good, kind, caring people in the world.

My journey, my experience since the end of May has taken me to and through some thorny spaces.

I try exercise empathy for the situations other folks are navigating.  When I am not on my model – not being vigilant, aware, purposeful – I slip from empathy to sympathy.  I slip from a place of understanding another’s hurt, to sharing and feeling the others hurt.  I’ve come to realize that in some instances, I believe that I’ve experienced more fear, concern, loss, disturbance than the other person was actually sharing.  Not their doing – MY DOING.

Some of the places I “went” on my “summer vacation” were… tarry dark.  I wasn’t paying attention to my own care and I took a great big hike into a deep dark forest that I’ve never visited before… complete with sharp and craggy stones, sulphury pots of self doubt and loathing, gnarly paths of thorny thoughts and a seemingly infinity loop of negative self talk… all those things are really similar to my “usual” depression and anxiety… but this was different…

There were certainly some physical health issues that put a damper on my summer.  I’m pretty certain that some of the physical stuff that I went through was directly related to the “trip” I allowed myself to go on… that said – I WAS physically ill for way too much of what was supposed to be a vacation… but – stuff happens…


That one thought, idea, concept has been the core of my self reflection, learning and understanding of late is that “Nothing out there changes”.  The idea that I have not only a choice, but a responsibility to evaluate what’s going on in my life and to select responses, actions, directions that are “good for me”.  This is stuff that I likely should have learned in grade school or the sand box or the gravel bar or in a tree somewhere along the way… Certainly, I’ve learned the very basics along the way – “don’t pick fire up with your fingers, don’t put fire in your pocket”… those kinds of things…  I’m not even referring to locus of control in this.  For certain there are things I can and can’t control in my life… bad things do happen to good people… that’s not what this is…  This is more about – “I have to choose to be content or happy.”  Life’s going to happen, it is really my choice to react to what’s going on… Back to Charles Swindoll “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  What part of that lesson do I have such a difficult time soaking up??? Anyway – I think that maybe I’ve moved to a greater understanding over the course of the last 6 months or so…

There’s a bunch I know about me… I have tendencies toward people pleasing (I am working on this…), selfishness, all sorts of other things… reconciling how “Nothing out there changes.” applies to my interactions with others can make a bump in my road…  I have carried a whole lot of “this is all my fault” in a whole lot of places in my life… In some circumstances – the chaos that has existed has been my responsibility/doing/fault, in other circumstances – not so much.  We all do things that have impacts on those around us.  I do lots of things that have effects on the affect of those around me…

I’m learning that my reactions ARE my responsibility.  YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO MAKE ME HAPPY.  In the same vein, you can’t do anything to make me un-happy.  The way I react to something is MY responsibility.

Without doubt, things happen in my experience that lead me to sadness, anger and the like just like there are things that happen that lead me to joy, happiness, and those – better feelings.  I’m learning that the choice really is mine.

This doesn’t give me license to treat anyone poorly or to set out to do bad things.  That’s not what I am saying at all.  Bad things happen to good people.  Bad people exist in the world.  Bad intentions are a reality.  Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, mistakes are make, words are misspoken, ignorance happens… I’m not suggesting that choosing is easy… I’m suggesting that sometimes forgiveness and acceptance are a healthier choice for me to make… healthier than carrying animosity, anger, or resentment.

Another piece of my experience I’d like to share relates to the changing landscapes and vistas in my life.  This is a piece that has weighed heavy on me.  I acknowledge that I am mortal – that I have a finite measure of time to wander through my experience and that my hourglass has more sand in the bottom of it than remains in the top… That’s life.

The other day, a neighbor made the decision to take down a big old fir tree that was in the corner of his yard.  Totally his right to do so – it was his tree, on his property.

I am impacted by the absence of this tree every time I look out my kitchen window.  I am so used to looking out to the tree to see if there’s a hawk, or crow, or robin or whatever bird might be in that tree… now that part of my view is just blue sky.  It’s just missing from my view…

I’ve experienced the very same phenomena with the loss of a pet that’s been around for ever.  After I lost my little Kiki, I would get up to let her in the back door – only to get three steps and remember that she couldn’t be there and that the sound I heard had to be something else.

This got me to thinking about the folks in my life, in my experience that are like that tree… they’ve been there for a long, long time and I probably haven’t given them as much appreciation and respect as I should do.  Some of those folks, like the tree, are gone.  Their presence in my life is gone.  In fact, a little like my little dog, I don’t “hear them at the door any longer”… Its almost like I have to get back to a photo album to remember what picture of my experience looked like with them in it.

Maybe this is the way life is supposed to be???

I’m getting to a place and time in my journey where more and more members of the forest I stand in, live in, are – starting to fall to time…. And I’m very much reminded that I’m part of that stand of trees…

I am reminded through this thinking that I need to take time to appreciate the folks in my life that help make up the vistas in my life.  Even those folks that really aren’t part of my “inner circle”… kinda like that tree across the alley.  So, I am going to take some time to try to take note of these people in my life.


I’m going to leave this stuff here for now…

My challenge for you is:

  1. Perform an act of service. Do something unexpected for someone else.
  2. Reflect a little on someone in your life that maybe deserves a “Thank you for being there.” And then tell that person that you appreciate them…
  3. Remember someone from your life that isn’t there any more. Give that person a little of your time and reflect on the impact that person has had on your life…  Maybe even share what that person in your life meant to you, with someone who didn’t have the benefit of others presence.

That’s it, I challenge you.

We have zero idea of the struggles another is going through.  No idea.  My experience has taught me that. 

Please be kind.

A tiny act of kindness can have huge positive impacts on another – the opposite is a truth tooa seemingly insignificant unkind act can have devastating effects.