Elevator Counseling

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

I love taking the stairs but when the elevator in the hotel parking garage opened as I approached, I knew there was a reason. I turned to the other passenger and said, “Well, I guess the Universe is telling me to take the elevator.” She said, “Do you listen to the Universe too?”

I told her I did.

She said, “I’ve got a question for you. What happens when everything is really negative and bad? How do you focus? How do you get out of that place?”

She had her suitcase and was heading towards her vehicle. “I think what you do is find that one thing that’s beautiful,” I said.  “A smile on a baby’s face. Or the sunrise. Or maybe a sunset. Just find it and focus on that and keep going back to that one thing. And then add one more. When you are in a dark hole, all you can see is shit and darkness.”

I told her, “It’s like if you’re on a diet. You’re not going to make a difference in a day, but in month you’ll start to see change. So, hang on to that feeling of finding beauty everyday for a month, then you will see some light in the darkness.” I wanted to reach over and wipe away her tears.

When she mentioned she was at the hotel for a conference, I asked her what kind of work she did. She was counselor attending a trauma seminar. No wonder she was so messed up. Who knows what sad stories she was dealing with in her world.  For the briefest moment in time, I was able to convey to her through my actions. “Let it all go. I’ve got you.” And I did have her for that very short window of time. Maybe that was all she needed. To be heard. To be not alone. To connect.

Everything about her was raw and vulnerable. I hope she finds some healing and is able to treat herself kindly.

How about if we send her some light? Just close your eyes and send some light and love to this giving person. Will it reach her? Will it make a difference? Maybe it will. I hope so.

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Read with me

In early Oct I pledged to write daily about ways to improve your mental health. I didn’t refer to journals, studies or what the good doctors say. I just wrote about what works for me. I suggested music, friends, silence, flexibility, fun, relaxation, play, movement, conversation and volunteering.

The suggestions along with personal insight and stories helped me as well. They reminded me of the techniques I use when I need to feel grounded. As the days get shorter and the time change kicks in, I know I’ll be employing several of these techniques as well.

reading in the libraryMy last topic is about books and reading as a way to stay sane. The act of picking up a book means you are in one place for a set period of time. Your mind has permission to let go of reality and travel with words to other places.

Some books are there to help you. These self-help books offer insights into nutrition, rearing children, beating addictions, raising step-children, finding a mate, dealing with grief and on and on,

Non-fiction books relate stories of triumph, success, failure, love, family and happiness all wrapped in one. Fiction lays unlimited possibilities on our doorstep. Biographies take us inside the walls of homes, onto battlefields, behind prison walls and into space.

Take the ride, Let the author distract you. Enjoy the learning process. Share what you’re reading. Dig deeper. Laugh at the joke. Cry when it’s sad. Get angry and mad. Smile when it’s something sweet. Let the words on the page take you away, bring you back home and put you to sleep.

All the best to you!

Picture this …

Taking photos is something I do for fun. I enjoy capturing things that amuse, awe and educate me. I enjoy the vistas, the flowing rivers, and majestic mountains.

Many times I take more than 100 photos and end up deleting 90 of them. The 10 photos I keep help me remember the moment and hold it longer in my memory.

Some people play an instrument, dance, play sports, collect stamps, write poetry, and some like me take photos. It’s calming, fun and helps me feel grounded. Do you have something that you look forward to doing? Do you go stir crazy when you don’t do it?

 

Planning ahead for shorter days

As the days grow shorter I often spend less time walking and exercising when I should be doing more. Walking makes me feel alive and refreshed. When I walk less because of the darkness or colder weather, I end up feeling bad and staying inside. The less I do, the harder it is to get motivated to do anything. And the downside to being in the house is the refrigerator beckons me to look within. “Come to me,” it whispers. “I will share my bounty with you – again and again and again.”

When I’m not home I don’t eat and I’m not tempted.

So, some new ideas for the November blog are exercise, health, and movement topics. Writing will be a good way to keep me moving, keep me learning and keep me blogging. Maybe along the way I’ll also motivate you to do something more or different.

Unlike October, I won’t be writing every day but I will write 3x weekly. That will be a bit easier for me and WAY easier for you. I know it must be tedious to see yet ANOTHER email telling you that margekatherine.com has published a post. I can read your mind – “again, really?”

Alas, October is coming to a close along with my mental health topics on choosing sanity. Have any of these topics made a difference or resonate with you? I welcome comments.

And so, I have 2 more days in the month to share my words of sanity, wisdom and introspection with you. Stay with me, it’s almost over – I promise!

A welcome dose of sanity !

I had a reality check this past week.

I was driving in the car with my grandson (recently turned 6 years old) and it was quite clear he ‘knew everything’ there was to know. So, I put on my Nana face and said —

“So, smarty pant, if you know everything, what’s the capital of Colorado?”

Without hesitation he replied, C.

After a minute of contemplation I agreed, yes Colorado does begin with a capital C.

nana and chazNot letting him off the hook, I pointed to a random tree and said – “so what’s the name of that tree?” (I certainly did NOT know the answer)

He looked at it and said it’s a deciduous tree. 

“What is a deciduous tree?”

“It’s a tree with leaves,” he replied.

“How did you know that?”

“I learned it in kindergarten,” he said.

Perhaps he really is a smartypants!

Enjoy the laugh, stay sane and keep a smile on your face my friends!

Fall back, Spring ahead!

Every year we turn our clocks back in the fall for Daylight Savings Time (DST.) This one hour change makes me crazy. The mornings start off with more light but darkness greets me an hour earlier and it’s disturbing.

cropped-cropped-cropped-rainbow-in-felt-idaho2-sm.jpgFor many others, it’s more than disturbing  –   it’s dangerous because depression, moodiness and lack of energy sets in when sunlight disappears. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can send happy, healthy people into a state of flux.

One woman I know had a light box on her desk at work. It substituted for natural sunlight during the winter months. It was her medicine to help her stay sane. Most important of all, it helped her feel grounded when she the rest of her was out of balance.

Remember, for those of us without SAD who feel a shift in attitude due to less light, shorter days, and weather changes we can benefit from additional time outside. Scheduling short walks throughout the day (because if we don’t schedule them …) will help more than you can imagine. You will end up saying to yourself, “why don’t I do this more often?”

The thing is – I’m not ready to say goodbye to the summer even though it’s actually fall. The autumn here has been so warm, colorful and inviting that it’s difficult for me to understand Saturday is November 1. On November 2, the Daylight Savings Time begins.

I’ll change the clock back one hour but I won’t do it with a smile…

 

Fall and swirl

fallen leavesI hope for those of you who attend church that you had a good visit with your higher power today.

For those of you who turn to nature to connect with your higher power, I hope you were able to breathe deep the colors, the sounds of the birds and the change in the weather.As for me, I took a walk up and down the neighborhoods and kicked leaves, watched them swirl and fall as gusts of wind blew here and there.

Simple things keep me sgold tree and falling leavesane.

 

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