Do You Have A Rhythm of Nourishment?

I almost overlooked it. There it was, a small little camellia flower. Deep pink, just beginning to burst out of its green cocoon.

I had almost walked passed it without noticing its gift to me. While I was busy pruning and looking at some straggly looking shrubs, I saw this little flower. Here amongst the overgrowth was a small camellia, starving for light but desiring to express its beauty out to the world. I stopped, looked and took in nourishment for the soul.

This gift of beauty was for me, right here right now. I studied its beauty and imbibed its petite delicateness.

Do you take time to smell the roses/camellias?

Continue reading “Do You Have A Rhythm of Nourishment?”

Are You In Sync With The Rhythm?

I’m not a dancer, but I am a musician. I believe that our Mental Health is closely linked to the rhythms we keep.

I have played guitar since I was thirteen and one of the little practice exercises I used to do in the early days was to play a piece of music either really slow or really fast, but it had to make sense.

As I progressed on in my learning I began to join with others.

I quickly learnt that if I was going to part of some ‘good music happening’ then I needed to learn the rhythm of not just the music, but the people as well.

Continue reading “Are You In Sync With The Rhythm?”

How Joy Comes From An Unexpected Place.

I’ve had a taste and now I want more. I’m not being greedy or demanding or ‘push in line’ about it. It’s just that I have had a taste and I long for more.

There are wafts of joy coming from the kitchen. There is a party going on and I can hear music, and the delight of dance. I’m invited, actually I’m their special guest.

It’s a serious party, in the meaning that this is the total focus of all that they do.

Joy is the serious business of heaven C.S Lewis          Click to Tweet

Continue reading “How Joy Comes From An Unexpected Place.”

What Opens The Door To Joy?

It was so delightful that you could smell the perfume of joy sweep the room.

What Opens The Door To Joy-

She was in her 30’s and had been diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Voices in her head were her constant companion. She was into some New Age stuff mixed with Catholic teachings and a liberal dose of Joyce Meyer. It was a happy meal combo that suited her.

So when I asked for people to give a message or sermon on one of the Beatitudes she jumped at the opportunity. She chose to speak about what it means to be meek.

With a couple of photocopied sheets from easy to read commentaries and devotionals she went off to study and pray.

I met with her a couple of weeks later to discuss what she had written.

She had read and mulled over the topic to where she decided that meekness was all about being in control. She discovered that the classical Greek word used to translate meekness was that for a horse that had been tamed and bridled. She instantly connected this with her voices. That there was an element of being disciplined, of being under the direction of a master tamer, that the voices needed to be brought under submission. That with Jesus, the help needed, would be there.

So the evening came when  she was to deliver her message. I had sat with her and we had crafted the words together. She stood there and read them out to an astonished  group of fellow struggler’s. She had nailed it.

There was joy. Joy in my heart for what she had done. Joy in her heart for the achievement and for the connectedness with her friends.

She shared this message with her family and friends. Photocopy after photocopy was made and distributed.

When I recall this story I remember a Jesus story where he describes a woman filled with joy.

“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” Luke 15: 8-10

Joy comes as  by-product of something that was lost, now found.

Joy comes as a by-product of empowerment of a gift.

Joy comes from those things and those people who most would consider small and insignificant.

You see, something within her was given the outlet to express itself. Something deep that was hidden under all the labels and symptoms. It was a gift that needed to be given.

There is a party going on and you’re invited. Not to be a wall flower spectator, but to be a participant in joy.

How do you get to that party? What opens the door to joy?

Be still and take notice of the small.

Quotes to consider

  • Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. Marianne Williamson
  • I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for Joy. C.S. Lewis,
  • Joy isn’t simply a feeling. Joy is a response to a certain states of affairs that have been changed, created, to which there is a particular way of responding. Miroslav Volv

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. Where have you found joy in the small?
  2. What is required to find joy?
  3. Have you ever discounted a moment of joy? Why?

Barry Pearman

On Being A Weathervane

I loved to watch planes as a child.

On Being a weathevane

On the farm in which I grew up on we would often get fertilizer spread by aeroplane. It was exciting to see that noisy plane swoop low over the fields and hills and see trails of white powder spreading over the landscape.

I suppose it was those planes that gave me the idea to build a weathervane in the shape of a plane. I loved building plastic Spitfire and Hurricanes, but this plane needed to be built of hard-wearing material. No little fiddly pieces and ‘get a headache/ high glue’.

So out of some wood in the workshop I crafted a plane.

I can’t remember what colour I painted it but I do remember putting a plastic propeller on the front. Through the centre of the plane a nail was used as a kind of axle for the plane to spin around upon.

It worked extremely well. With every little shift of wind direction the plane would move straight into a place of least resistance. That propeller would whirr around and fill the air with hum.

It worked perfectly well for the first year, but then under the heat of the sun and the rigours of winter storms the paint started to blister and peel. The plastic propeller got worn and started to wobble on that nail.

The plane still swung around on its pivot, but now the hole seemed honed out. The plane didn’t swivel so freely.

The next wild storm blew in and the propeller broke right off.

What was needed was a rest in the carpenter’s shop. I time to clean off some of the grime, a new paint job, a repairing of the damage and a new propeller.

I tell you this story because I think it is like many of us, if not all.

We head out into life with brightness and purpose. We angle ourselves into the wind of resistance and move ahead. Little shifts of wind and we adapt. Storms come and go, rain, hail, and hot beating sun, we weather it all.

Over time we get worn out without us ever realising the change. We think we are better than we really are. We are star struck by the over achievers so we go on, until we breakdown, burnout, and collapse.

Time for the care of a carpenter. Time for care from others whom the carpenter sends to help.

We all need time for rest and refreshing. For rejuvenation.

This is a serious question.

Are you ok with being loved?
Are you ok with being cared for?
Are you ok with being told ‘You need to rest’.

The very nature of facing into the wind takes its toll on the fabric of your being.

I remember listening to a pastor who was going through basically a power battle between himself and a couple of church members. He was broke. I simply asked ‘How is it with your soul’?

The question cut right through the normal bravado to a place of personal soul weariness. He had run on the fumes of an empty tank for too long.

Is this resonating with you?

It’s ok to rest and restore, and its ok to have others feed into you dollops of goodness, truth and love.

Barry Pearman

Image by Aquilatin

What is the Gift Your Wound Has Given You?

‘Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me’ is a fallacy.

Words can hurt. They can cut right to the core of your being and can echo around and around in your mind and drive you to despair.

Just think of the abuse of text bullying. A few choice words here and there, and cuts are made to the heart and maybe to the skin. I wonder how many suicides and suicide attempts have a few words as the catalyst of destruction.

A barrage of abuse on a weakened spirit can break the will to go on. Words like nails are hammered into your psyche.

I think of Jesus and the barrage of words rained down upon him in his trial. Matthew 26.

Words can drown out life.

Words can also be the soothing balm needed on a wounded heart.

Little phrases like

Well done
Thank you
You’re going to make it
I’m going to help you

I am with you

Words and gestures from ‘Big people’ in your life. That older person, that person with the street cred, mana, wisdom, grey hair. That one, for reasons unknown to yourself, who just whispers to the heart ‘you’re going to be ok’.

I listen to many words through a range of podcasts.

I discovered Nadia Bolz-Weber on the Podcast Onbeing where she was interviewed by the host Krista Tippet.

In the podcast Nadia states these words.

I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me.

When I heard this I felt connected with her journey, her depression, wounds and scars.

Words.

So I created a meme, and now it has been my most repined image on Pinterest.

I only preach from my scars, not my wounds. Nadia Bolz-Weber

Why has this been so incredibly popular?

I think that the image grabs you because it’s a real person, like us. Not some model, superstar or icon, and yes I know they are real too.

The words I think touch down on some core pain points. Our wounds and our scars.

They give us a sense of hope that wounds can, in time, become scars. That we don’t have to be stuck as wounded forever and that out of those battles there can come a gift.

For Nadia Bolz – Weber, as a pastor, the gift is preaching. For others it could writing, singing, teaching, listening etc…

What is your gift?

Today I listened to a an interview with Rob Bell. He was talking about a time where he was speaking in Miami and a women in the audience stood up and asked this question.

What do you say to somebody whose young daughter has just died from a mysterious illness that only a few people get. What do you say to me, because I have just lost my daughter.

I said first off in the ancient wisdom tradition in some suffering there are no words, there’s silence.

So first off I would begin with that any one that does give you nice clear-cut answers for why your daughter died, I don’t know.

Secondly I do know this, that some point down the road your going to meet up with a women who has also lost her young daughter and your going to look at her in the eyes and your going to say ‘me too’ and in that moment that you’ll be standing on some holy ground. Solidarity is divine. When someone stands with you.

Here is what happens. The woman standing next to her starts gushing and says ‘My young daughter is really sick and they have only given her a little bit of time to live and this woman turns to her.  Rob Bell – How to Practice and Understand Faith and Spirituality

Words, solidarity, hope.

 

Barry Pearman

7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate.

Sometimes I think I am like a cow. I ruminate over things.

7 Steps to Help Those who Ruminate

 

Much of my life I have spent time working on farms, I even have a University degree in agriculture. I humorously call this my degree in pastoral care.

Cows sit out in the field and chew the cud. With their mouth’s moving from side to side they chew food that has already eaten. Cows and sheep are ruminants and have 4 stomachs, so they eat their fill then they chew it later, colloquially known as ‘Chewing the cud’.

Rumination according to Wiki is defined in this way

Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. Rumination is similar to worry except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future. Both rumination and worry are associated with anxiety and other negative emotional states.

Do you ruminate?

I know you don’t re chew your food, well at least I hope you don’t, but do you go over and over issues all the time?

What I had been taught all my life was not true: experience is not the best teacher! It’s what you do with that experience that matters. John Maxwell

I think we all have a tendency to do this, some more than others, but if you are always looking back then you are going to stumble in any efforts to going forward.

It’s like we chew over things. Round and around and around. ‘Woulda’, ‘coulda’ and ‘shoulda’ are echoed self talk sound bites leaving you malnourished of hope.

Why do we ruminate?

  1. To feel like we are doing something about the problem. We want to change a situation, so we keep going over and over and over it, looking for a solution. This feeling of doing something can just be a subtle downward delusional spiral to the depressing reality is that there is nothing you can do. The brain, in trying to resolve its tension, looks for the answer. Any activity, including rumination, feels good. We hate ambiguity, that sense of uncertainty and lacking of clarity. We want to solve the mystery.  So like a good detective on T.V. we hunt out the clues to solve the murder and eliminate the mystery. Know that you will never know everything and chasing the past for purpose is like chasing the clouds for pleasure. It will leave you exhausted and lost.
  2. To Self deprecate. Perhaps it is a way of punishing ourselves. That below the surface of our thinking there is a deeper trail of chewing. ‘I did those things, so now I have to punish myself’… ‘This is the consequence of my actions’ … ‘This is the reaping of what has been sown’. So we stew in this cud as punishment. Any sense of forgiveness, grace or loving fathers embrace (Story of Loving father – Prodigal son) is not allowed to touch our lips.
  3.  To potentially learn. We chew over the situation to glean some wisdom from the situation. We consider experience is the best teacher yet only considered experience teaches us wisdom. Rumination can be helpful, as long as it leads to action and not just stewing and

So what are you going to do with that experience.

Are you just going to keep ruminating on it forever?

7 steps to Help those who Ruminate.

  1. Write it out. Get what you’re ruminating in your mind out of the head and on to some paper. I think writing in a journal is one of the most powerful of all mental health disciplines you can have. Here is a link to some a post I have written on journaling.

    Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing. S.I. Hayakawa

  2. Problem solve it. This where writing it down comes in really helpful. Get together with someone you trust and talk about what you have written down.Tease it out to find the problem. Find one concrete solution you can (not should, could or would) do to overcome what you are ruminating about.
  3. Engage in activities that promote the positive. What activities fill your mind with other thoughts preferably positive thoughts. Hobbies, mediation, reading, running, cooking. The main point is to get your mind out of the rumination rut for a while.
  4. Can them.  Get yourself a tin can, and as the questions come up write them down on a piece of paper and prayerfully place them in the can. Imagine yourself placing them in Gods hand to hold them for you. God has big hands! Place the can up on a shelf and leave it there. After a while take that can off the shelf and see if any of your questions have been answered in the intervening time. Add more questions when they come up. see more here
  5. Schedule them. Tell your brain this ‘I do not have time to think about that at this moment. I will think about it tomorrow at 3pm’. Its telling your brain that yes what you are presenting to me is worthy of time and thought so I therefore will make space for it. If you remember to think about at 3 pm so be it, but I have found quite often that this little technique will slowly deflate the rumination balloon of any sense of self-importance
  6. Place them. Do you have a place where rumination is worse? Look for patterns of where your rumination seems to occur more frequently and/ or more powerfully. ‘When I found a place to think my thoughts my thoughts found a place in me.’ John Maxwell
  7. Displace them. I often use truth coaches to get my thinking back on track. These are little powerful insights, quotes, verses that speak truth into my thinking. Find out more here.

Remember this. Whatever you dwell on, it will get you, in the end.

It will create thinking tracks in your brain the size of the grand canyon where every situational event will tumble into.

Quotes to consider and share
  • Monitor your thinking and deliberately dwell on the virtues of your difficult friend, or negative feelings will surely follow. David Riddell
  • What you focus on gets you. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take you down. Focus on the positive/ good things will always give me hope.
  • I choose to ruminate, ponder and toss over in my mind good things.
  • Thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. Dawson Trotman
  • The thoughts I indulge grow stronger. The thoughts I acknowledge and put in their place lose their power to discourage me
  • The tricky thing about rumination is that it feels like it’s helpful, but there’s no action taken, and you don’t move forward to some sort of solution. Carla Grayson
  • He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality. Anwar Sadat
  •  To change your emotions, first get control of your thoughts. Ruts of the mind become moods of the heart. David Riddell
  •  To achieve radical change, I need to call some of my feelings ‘liars’ and choose to side with truth, against my own emotions, until my feelings come around. David Riddell
  • I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

 

Exercises
  1. Use a journal to write out what you’re ruminating on. Share it with a trusted friend, counsellor or pastor and problem solve anything that needs addressing
  2. Find some truth coaches and write them out in an easily accessible place such as a small notebook you can carry at all times. When you feel the ruminations coming on, spend time reading your truth coaches.
  3. Get yourself a tin can and can the questions you are ruminating over.

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: bogers via Compfight cc

p.s. what did you think about this post! Leave me a comment or tweet me at @barrypearman 

Oh, yeah don’t forget to share it with fellow ruminators using one of handy little icons below. HIT them



8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs

Often I travel over some sharp twisty roads. One of these roads has a large hill and just on the other side there is a beautiful view with a fence that has been driven through.

There are signs to tell drivers to slow down, but for this driver the signs were ignored, boundaries were crossed and lives put in danger. If you know the signs then you can avoid the catastrophe. Continue reading “8 Steps To Discovering Wellness Through Knowing Your Early Warning Signs”

Mental Health Requires These 3 Things

New? Find out more about me or subscribe to site updates via RSS feed, or email by clicking on the yellow book to your right and get a free eBook on Depression. Thanks for visiting!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My shoulder muscles are sore, and so they should be.

Yesterday I spent the day shoveling 6 m³ (7.8 yd³) of compost. As part of my gardening business, Gumboot Gardening, I am building a vegetable garden for a school and part of this has been building some raised growing beds.

Yesterday was the day to fill the beds with compost which left me with tired muscles.

I have learnt recently that when you are building muscle mass there will be pain as the muscles get stretched. No pain no gain I suppose. I am also learning that there needs to be recovery time where the muscles can heal and repair.

Here is some thing I want you to learn.

Mental Health doesn’t just fall into your lap.

You have to work at it.

 

To be mentally fit and healthy, the same principles apply as for physical health and fitness.

It doesn’t just fall out of the sky and present itself you as something quick and easy.

Mental health requires Effort, Patience, and Pain. Click to tweet

 

  1. Effort. Do you treat your mental health as seriously as perhaps an athlete treats their physical wellness. Enough that they are able to win that gold medal, break the world record, or just achieve their personal best. Athletes train hard, but they also focus on what they are consuming in their diet.

A mental health question.

What are you regularly taking into your mind?

Is it positive, uplifting, helpful. Would it meet Pauls criteria of things to think on?

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8

In the past I have spent a lot of time listening and watching the news. I have decided to seriously cut back on the consumption of news. Last night made my mind up for me. The opening words from the news anchor were ‘It’s all down hill from here’. Do I really need this! Now I am not going to become a hermit and cut myself off from all current affairs, but seriously, do I need most of what the media determines to be newsworthy to fill my brain?

2. Patience. Some things … just … take … time. The change will happen but it will only happen when I am consistent in forming new habits over a long period of time.

It has been estimated that the average time for a behavior to become a habit is 66 days. I imagine that this would be the same with thinking habits.

It isn’t going to happen overnight but it will happen if we are consistent in repeating positive behaviors over an extended period. Here is a hint about habits. Make them small enough that they would be impossible to fail at.

3. Pain. No one wants pain or failure, but without failure we won’t learn and grow. Does fear of pain or failure hinder your stepping out and trying something new?

An acceptance that you will have failure and pain opens the door to learning.

I remember learning to ride a bike. I fell off. I scraped my knee. Did this stop me from trying again? No, I jumped back on and fell off and I did this again and again until I had mastered riding that bike.

‘Failure isn’t fatal’ and ‘there are no dumb questions’. Without these insights your learning will remain inhibited. David Riddell click to tweet

Writing this blog for 4 years has taught that I have to keep getting back on that bike of writing. Of learning the skill. Its painful at times wondering if what I am doing is actually making a difference to anyone. Then I get some feedback and that’s enough to get back on that bike and keep on writing.

Having good mental health requires effort, patience and pain. Most people can’t be bothered. Instead they settle for second or third or fourth best. They roll along with whatever comes along.

Barry Pearman