Does spirituality mean anything to you?

Over the past 25 years or so, the western world has slowly awakened to “eastern” philosophies.  Practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation to name a few, are being acknowledged for their health benefits. A westerner who helped this process was “Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. is internationally known for his work as a scientist, writer, and meditation teacher engaged in bringing mindfulness into the mainstream of medicine and society”  Please read more about him HERE. (http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/)

To me, the practice of spiritual life supports my understanding that I’m intricately connected to all life and all matter in the universe.  This allows me to live in harmony with my thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.  I’m able to embrace the people I encounter and the world around me because I no longer perceive myself to be separate from them.

The foundation of my recovery developed through the practice of a spiritual life. This foundation allows my work with therapists, psychiatrists, peer supports and yes even medication to thrive. I’m centred with an understanding that placing spiritual principles as a guiding light provides me the opportunity to approach all aspects of my life with grace, patience, and compassion. I don’t suggest it’s the only way to achieve joy in life, I’m acknowledging the profoundly positive impact spirituality NOT religion has had on humanity.  “Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” – Deepak Chopra

In treating mental illness, or in search of a more positive and healthier life it’s important to treat the mind, the body, and the spirit.  In western society, the spirit is brushed aside as something “hokey.” Often medical treatment focuses solely on treating the mind. Medications are introduced with no other therapeutic suggestions. When treatment includes physical wellbeing as part of psychological treatment, outcomes are more positive.  From my personal and professional experience, a treatment that includes mind, body and spirit is the most effective form of care.

You don’t have to call things spiritual to embody them.  Often people who enjoy a high quality of life, emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically live their lives in line with spiritual values. Core values such as kindness, compassion, patience, love, tolerance, service, peace and dignity are displayed by many people who’d never associate the word spirituality to their lives.

Whether you want to label it spiritual or not, these principles help to build a character and personality that promotes recovery, well-being, and self-fulfillment.

Are these qualities important to you? Are you comfortable with the word spiritual?

Please share your thoughts, comments and experience with me.

Modern and old spiritual teachers I love,
Deepak Chopra
ECKHART TOLLE
Marianne Williamson
Dalai Lama
Lao-Tzu
Buddha

Please share, like and comment.

sincerely,

What’s your opporutnity today?

“To hell with circumstance I create opportunities” – Bruce Lee

If we want to live a better life and free ourselves from the grips of our illness, sickness, or problems, we have to stop making excuses and blaming our circumstances. We must create the opportunity to live a better life.

Do you ever ask yourself why aren’t I living the life I want?  Why aren’t I living up to my capabilities?

People are often stuck because they continually make excuses, or blame their circumstances for their problems.  Now this certainly isn’t a revolutionary observation.  In fact, it’s made by many people who excel in their lives.  Many of contemporary cultures leading coaches, spiritual leaders and motivational self-improvement gurus.

Generally these leaders have been cautious to address the mental health/illness community.  Understandably this community is sensitive to certain language. People use their illness as a crutch or defense mechanism when confronted with sincere challenges.

I’m embracing the opportunity to call on people living with mental illness and mental health challenges to stop making excuses, or blaming their situation for their struggles. Now I need to clearly define the difference between making excuses and acknowledging or identifying that we might live with a certain “diagnosis”

It’s important to understand how difficult it can be for people to accept their situation. Often denial is so strong.  It can blind us from observing ourselves and our behaviour objectively.

Here are two good examples.

“I live with schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.  Although, at times these things can make my life challenging, I don’t use them as excuses for why I can’t enjoy my life. When my symptoms affect my quality of life, I acknowledge them. I then take the necessary steps to care for myself to reduce the impact of my symptoms and get back to a more balanced place”.

vs

“I live with OCD and bi-polar.  I can’t ever get a job because people don’t understand what it’s like for me.  Our government doesn’t support people with mental illness so there’s no point in me trying anyway. Things will be better once my family understands me and employers realize what I need”.

I believe our perceptions are everything. How we see ourselves and the world around us profoundly affects our quality of life.  Those of us living with mental health/illness challenges are especially vulnerable to the way our minds shape our perceptions.  There are countless examples of people who’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to recovering from mental heath problems or illnesses and who thrive in their daily life.  We should look up to them and learn from them.

We can believe in ourselves, we too can improve our lives, regardless of our “diagnosis”.  The negative itty bitty shitty committee that lives in all our heads isn’t welcome inside our hearts.  It will always be knocking, louder for some than others. The beautiful thing is, if we want it bad enough, we can be the captain of the ship, we can lead our minds, bodies, and souls into health, wellness and peace.

Grrrridlock – REBLOG FROM CAMH BLOG

This is a good way of helping us understand that our civilization and way of life underscores and contributes to our collective mental illnesses. Embracing a wider view of mental health and illness will help us greatly in our pursuit of collective wellness and happiness.