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That the deep disconnection of severed roots had long been anesthetized, And individualized, And ICD categorized, And chlorine bleach sanitized, Has been clearer to children in their books. That the bones of our very being were created to be circled up in connection, With people and a people, With the animals, With the land, Darkened my brown hands...
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Many folks are talking about mental health these days. What does it actually looks like to be mentally healthy, though?

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Burnout is the word of the hour, in 2021. How can we extinguish the fire and recover?

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We are currently living through a historical context that involves seismic shifts of change. When going through such seismic shifts, it's common for people to engage in existential questioning, ask the question "why?" across different dimensions of their lives, and perhaps even experience themselves as languishing. Enter Viktor Frankl's classic work: Man's Search for Meaning.

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Are you dreading resuming social activities when the pandemic subsides? If so, you might find the idea of "cave syndrome" validating.

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Most people who suffer from social anxiety are searching for steps that can help. Thankfully, the research does point us in a helpful direction.

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Social anxiety can be one of the most debilitating and life-altering forms of anxiety. What might cause people to experience social anxiety?

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If social interactions make you feel like a turtle wanting to climb into its shell, there's a chance you may struggle with social anxiety.

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Anger is a valid aspect of our human experience, but how we can we respond to it?

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I write this as we near the one-year mark of the COVID global pandemic in the United States. By most accounts, stress levels seem to be through the roof. What can we do?

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I wouldn't wish a panic attack upon my worst enemy. It is one of the most intense physiological experiences a human being can have.

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Finding a therapist who is a good fit for you can certainly be challenging. Finding someone you feel comfortable talking to and inviting into your life can be a sensitive and vulnerable process.

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Silhoutte of a woman standing in front of sunset
Photo Credit: Oscar Ivan Esquivel Arteaga

Sometimes, silence is golden.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven... a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7)

Over the past few years, I've become very passionate about how silence can be complicity. It depends on the situation, but silence can be complicity in the face of injustice that we could speak out against or act against. This is definitely a time to speak. It's surprising, then, that I find myself writing about the flip side of the coin today: there is a time to keep silence.

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The Anonymous Pedestrians sculpture in Wroclaw, Poland - A sculpture of people walking out from underground to above ground
Photo Credit: Andrew Petcher's photo of
The Anonymous Pedestrians in Wroclaw, Poland

We have our say.

Question is, will we let our lives speak and what will they say?

 

Leave It Better Than You Found It

Growing up, I participated in Girl Scouts for a few years. Somewhere along the line, I remember learning this Girl Scouts mantra: "Leave it better than you found it." That meant that, if we were doing an activity at a picnic table, we cleaned up our own mess that we made but we also cleaned up any other messes in the surrounding area and improved or beautified that space to the extent that we could.

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A Head Full of Dreams

Go fly a kite.

When I decided on the title of this blog post - A Head Full of Dreams - I googled the phrase and discovered that I had accidentally chosen the title of Coldplay's upcoming album, unbeknownst to me. Well... I have no idea what their album is about, but now I look forward to hearing it even more.

This blog post is about grounding your ideas and dreams. It was partially inspired by the book The Artisan Soul, where Erwin McManus points out that people who experience true healing, restoration, and transformation will be people who dream (based on Psalm 126:1-6). What ideas and dreams have been inspiring you lately, hmm?

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Looking at the clouds from within a plane

Prepare for lift-off.

On the topic of seasons we walk through in life--winter, spring, summer, fall, etc.--we sometimes experience a season of acceleration. All of a sudden, the speed of life quickens. Growth seems to bud and blossom in time-lapse footage before your very eyes. 

 

Phenomenal Growth

Sometimes this comes in the literal form of welcoming a newborn child into the world (obviously, this is much more of an outwardly overt process); at other times, however, this comes in the metaphorical form of welcoming newborn opportunities, ideas, relationships, ventures, transitions, and so on. You experience the excitement of new prospects, as though you've turned a corner you didn't even realize was ahead of you. There is an acceleration in life, as though you have shifted gears and now the world is spinning faster on its axis.

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wall with graffiti on it

Have you heard? The dividing walls of hostility have been broken down.

People are people before they are any identifier, category, or box I try to put them in. Many of my boxes for people have come crashing down because of my international work and my relationships with people. It's been one of the best, most beneficial things that's ever happened to me, and it's also blown the lid off of how I experience God and His love for people.

There are some very socially acceptable boxes for people. Have you noticed? Here are some popular ones: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, male, female, LGBTQ, straight, disabled, Asian, client, therapist, student, professor, etc. Our blinders may make life more cut-and-dry, but they prevent us from seeing people as first and foremost essentially human. Human beings, at their essence, are humans. We have so many socially acceptable ways of dehumanizing each other.

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wall with graffiti on it

Soccer Fitness & Training Log is a comprehensive training guide written by Darren Pitfield, a professional soccer coach with ten years of coaching experience and an academic background in physical education, sports science, and the physiology of maximum exercise intensity. The book is a 29-page guide that can be utilized by players for self-coaching or by coaches/parents for youth player development. I have used this book as an adult recreational player to improve my soccer fitness and skills over the past year.

There are multiple advantages to this book, each of which serves to benefit the player under its guidance. One tremendously helpful feature is the book's chart of a twelve-month training schedule, illustrating how training intensity can wax and wane as a function of the fall and spring soccer seasons. This "bird's-eye view" of the training year also offers suggestions as to which aspects of player development can be focused upon week by week.

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The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus book cover

Erwin McManus is a pioneering faith leader in the Los Angeles area, and although he has written a number of books throughout his lifetime, he deems The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art his quintessential work. Given this book's potential to cast a wide swath of societal influence, it's not hard to see why.

The Artisan Soul is McManus's powerful treatment of human creativity. From his perspective, our understanding of creativity has suffered from a number of myths over the past few centuries. One of these myths is that some people are creative (artists) while others are not (non-artists). He posits that, if people are created in the image of God, and God is essentially creative, the One who made us and the glorious world around us, then doesn't it stand to reason that all of us humans are essentially creative at our core? This is the concept of the artisan soul, that each human soul is creative in its essence, that one of our greatest capacities as humans is to make manifest in the material universe that which begins as but a tiny spark in our imagination. We convert the invisible into the visible.

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A person reading a book inside a tent made of books
Photo Credit: Joel Robinson

Where do you find refuge? Who or what finds refuge in you?

I had been thinking a few weeks ago about my dog. He humors me in so many ways, but one of those is the way he acts according to his "denning" instinct (the instinct dogs have inherited to seek caves or other places of shelter). My dog seems to find and make shelter anywhere, including acting as though a desk, a big pillow, or a wheelchair is his den home.

Yes, that's right, a wheelchair. He will crawl under a wheelchair and fall asleep beneath it for a nap. If the person in the wheelchair begins to move or rotate, he continues to lie there as though the wheelchair is his very own mobile cave. That's exactly the thought that went through my mind as I watched him engaged in this a few weeks ago: "How funny. He's made a mobile cave."

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Reading this website or downloading my products does not comprise a professional relationship. Although I am a therapist, I am not your therapist. Please contact a mental health professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, some of the links on this website may be affiliate links, which help support my private practice (including charitable giving) if you click them. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support! Read More

© 2021 Jackie Parke, Psy.D.
© 2021 Jackie Parke, Psy.D. All Right Reserved.