Take a look around
We are often so consumed by all the things we consider to be important in our lives—our careers, our ambitions, paying the bills—that we forget what really matters: our mental health and our well-being.
When was the last time you really noticed what was around you? Aren’t we all guilty of cruising through life on automatic pilot sometimes? Then we blame things that happen in the outside world for how we feel on the inside.
Inspired by nature
The other day, as I was walking through the grounds of the prison where I work, I couldn’t help but notice our one magnolia tree. It is the only tree that blooms in the prison. Most of the year, it is bare, but when it blooms, it’s magnificent. Looking at that tree gave me food for thought.
Being locked up in a prison, surrounded by thick concrete walls, iron bars and steel doors had not stopped this wonderful tree from growing. What a fantastic expression of freedom! As long as its roots were able to grow beneath the soil, this magnolia tree would bloom time and again for years to come.
The determination of life
Life knows no limits and is unstoppable. When I lived in the Middle East, I was often amazed at the sight of a lone plant growing in the midst of the desert. How did that get there, I’d wonder to myself, and how is it able to thrive in such a dry, inhospitable terrain? One thing’s for sure: that plant wouldn’t be wondering how it got there or how it managed to survive; it was too busy living.
Yet how many of us human beings, with the enormous potential we have and the tremendous power we have been given through this gift of life, appreciate what we have and are shining as brightly as we can? Wouldn’t you rather be like the magnolia tree or the desert plant?
Recognise your roots
Just as the most important part of the tree are the roots, the most important parts of any person are those parts we cannot see. We are where we are right now because of the entirety of our history—the families we were born into, the areas we grew up, childhood experiences, our education, career path, loves and losses, successes and failures, pleasures and pains.
What really counts is who we are now, and it is how we think about our world and the part we have to play in it that will determine our choices and our actions. When we connect to our roots, not only recognising our past but knowing our purpose and values and being determined to live by them, we have the power to move mountains.
It’s our minds that must be freed
While most of us our not locked up in an actual prison, many of us are still imprisoned mentally and spiritually. The bars and chains that keep us from growing are negative beliefs, attitudes and perspectives that we have picked up throughout our journey. NASA and other organisations have achieved incredible journeys conquering millions of miles of space to the Moon and Mars, but most of us a still working hard to conquer the 7 inches of space between our ears. These negative, irrational “programs” that we cling to for comfort, are not serving our purpose. They are holding us back and we need to let them go.
Freedom of the mind is the greatest asset. It makes anything possible. Next time you’re enjoying a soak in the bath, close your eyes and then imagine everything in the room stripping away. What you are left with is the vastness of your mind. You could just as easily imagine you were lying in a prison cell, the choice is ours.
With strong roots, you will survive anything
Not everything that grows is as beautiful as a magnolia tree. If you’ve ever had weeds growing in the garden, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. You cut them down, but what happens? They grow back twice as fast as they did before. As long as they have roots in the earth, they will keep coming back.
That’s all you need to keep growing stronger, to withstand any weather, to seek the life-giving power of the Sun and to bounce back even when you get cut down; strong roots. However, don’t forget that for any roots to remain strong, they need the right nutrients. You need to know how to feed the flowers, plants and trees in your garden.
How to look after your roots—self-care
If you want to stay mentally and physically healthy and ensure that you are always operating as effectively as you can, you must remember to take care of yourself. You have to recognise the nutrients that your mind needs. You can’t run around on full power all day, every day. That’s how you get burnt out.
For optimal health and well-being, your mind needs to rest just as much as your body does. I didn’t listen to the signs my body and mind were trying to give me, and I ended up suffering from a complete burnout. Fortunately for me, I did manage to fight my way back, (it was a long and tough journey that I am still working on), but some don’t. Prevention is definitely better than cure.
Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. You can find out more about caring for yourself through my workshops:
If there are subjects you would like me to write about, just let me know by dropping me a line.
Be kind to yourself – take care, until the next time.
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You may also enjoy reading more articles: www.lindasage.com/blog
If it is easier to listen, join me and my guests on my Learning from Life Podcast
Or there is always my book Caring for the Caregiver
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