Many folks are talking about mental health these days. What does it actually looks like to be mentally healthy, though?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."