This past Sunday was Mother's Day. I trust you celebrated it in some way, either as a mom, or for your mom...or both! I pray that it was...Happy!
Man. I sure do miss my mother. She went to heaven 20 years ago next month. Crazy how time flies. But regardless of the speed of time passing, it's our memories that carry us through.
One of my best memories of Mother is her voice. Her singing. She sang a lot at church, ours and others. Solos mostly. Her voice was so good, and so powerful, and she had an ear for music like you wouldn't believe. Mom could take any song and make it sound like it came from heaven, because that's where her gift came from.
She had her signature songs, you know, songs she was known for. Nobody could sing them like Mom could. One of them was "Walk Around Heaven All Day." Wow. Powerful title, right? Here are the lyrics by songwriter, Cassietta George:
One of these mornings won't be very long
You will look for me and i'll be gone
I'm going to a place where i'll have nothing, nothing to do
But just walk around, walk around heaven all day
When i get to heaven i'm gonna sing and shout
Nobody will be able to put me out
My mother will be waiting
And my father, too
And we'll just walk around, walk around heaven all day
Dear lord above don't you hear me praying
Walk right by my side
Hold my hand when my way gets a little cloudy
I need you, i need you to be my guide
Every day will be Sunday, my lord
Sabbath will have no end
And we'll do nothing but sing and praise him
Then he'll say well done
And my race, my race will be won
And i'll walk around, walk around heaven all day.
Yes. You won the race, Mother. I celebrate you every day. You gave me SO much. I miss you, and love you dearly. I'll see you in the morning.
Sometimes, memories are a way of nourishing ourselves. And we need nourishment across our lives. According to dictionary.com, nourish means:
- to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth
- to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc
- to strengthen, build up, or promote
Nourishing our mind, body, and spirit is necessary...no...I believe it's critical for life, health, and growth. I believe in this so deeply, that I want to touch on these areas separately for you over the next few days.
I encourage you to use this information as a reminder, as a hope, and as a guide for your own personal and best life, across your life. Again, critical for your health and growth.
Let's start with your mind, because...that's where it all starts. We've covered this before, but it bares repeating. Not just in light of the current world situation, but also in light of the current world situation.
Things are shifting again. We're shifting again. So, let's visit this again.
One of the best ways to begin to nourish your mind, is by simply checking in with yourself. Acknowledge the thoughts, whatever they are. Letting them just linger, hang out, get comfy, take over...doesn't do much for you. Positive or negative, you must DO something with them.
Writing your thoughts and feelings, exploring your views and ideas, and spending private, quiet time to focus on your own experiences and how your mind processes those experiences, is a valuable self-care tool.
A powerful way to do this is by journaling. Writing and processing your thoughts and feelings increases your emotional well-being and reduces stress. There are multiple health benefits to journaling!
In fact, studies have shown that journaling on a regular basis can lower blood pressure, increase liver function, and allow you to address challenges in a healthy and assertive way.
Writing can act as a mood-booster and provide catharsis, or purging of thoughts and emotions, as a way of relief. Expressive writing also increases creativity and cognitive processing. We see both of these in not only journaling, but coloring or doodling. (I love having coloring and doodling spaces in the journals I create!)
Writing about your experiences and reflecting on your thoughts increases your memory and activates your comprehension skills.
Studies have also shown that journaling significantly increases your overall emotional, physical, and mental health. Journaling a few days a week has been shown to have positive effects on your immune system. Who knew?
But seriously...frequently addressing your thoughts and feelings in a healthy, mindful way has a positive effect on your view of yourself, those around you, and the world in general. Isn't that what we all need right now?
Sitting down with a pen and paper and letting the words flow, will put you more in tune with yourself AND help you to even learn a thing or two about YOU!
For me, journaling helps me prepare for, and close out my morning prayers, meditations...quiet time, to deal with the thoughts I'm having. If these are negative thoughts, I can see, like "see" how they may be impacting my feelings, beliefs, emotions, and actions. It provides space for me to express gratitude for something, ANYthing...in spite of those negative thoughts. Shift my perspective. Glass Half-Full.
The same is true if they are positive, or even extremely JOYful thoughts. Journaling allows me a way to openly express the gratitude I'm feeling. Stand firm in the JOY I'm experiencing. Believe in the HOPE I know is true. And take action for forward movement...standing strong.
Now, it's not always an easy thing when I'm dealing with the negative thoughts. But either way, the outcome is the same. I walk away from journaling with a since of peace, hope, and JOY.
As we move into this next shift of coming out of lockdown, I encourage you to journal. Put down the thoughts you have had over the past couple of months. Deal with them. Put down the thoughts you have about moving forward. Deal with them.
As random as some may seem, they are real. If we don't find a way to release our reality, express gratitude, find truth, and walk in that truth...we may never experience the JOY that is and can be.
Scripture tells us in Romans 12:2 that we can be changed from within, transformed...by the renewing of our mind, and this is how we can prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
That's what I encourage you to walk in, for a sound mind. Walk in it so that you can cherish all that you have, keep alive the hope within you (even a flicker!), strengthen your faith, build up your courage, and promote the well-being of your mind.
If you have never journaled, it may seem a little daunting to figure out what to write during that first sitting, on that first page. You can write whatever pops into your head! Your experiences the past few days, something you are stressed about, something you are grateful for. You get the idea.
If you haven't journaled in a while, you might be surprised how the memory of how beneficial it was for you, helps you to do it again. And again!
Whatever you do, sustain the health of your mind by feeding it truth.
Would a few journal pages to put those seemingly random thoughts on be helpful to you? If so, you can download a short version HERE. No opt in. Just snag it, and use it.
Remember my Stress Relief Virtual Retreat about 7 weeks ago? Well, we are turning that into an amazing Stress Relief PERSONAL Retreat! What that means is, you can get this expanded edition of the Virtual Retreat and pull away at any time, practice calm at any time, and feel confident going forward in your ability to prevent unwanted reactions to stress, manage getting through stress, and come out on the other side of stress...well! Stay tuned...we hope to release it this next week! I'll send you all the details when we do. It's time to practice calm.