Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hardened Hearts

Every day there seem to be more and more victims from random acts of cruelty. And the frightening part is that these horrifically insensitive betrayals are not coming from our stereotypical pathological criminals, but from our children's classmates, our next door neighbors, our peers, and our co-workers. What is happening that is causing such a rampant and viral case of hardened hearts?

Although there are probably all kinds of studies and research done on answering such a complex question, it boils down to the sad realization, I believe, that we have become desensitized by the anonymity of technology. Because we can hide behind a computer, or hold an IPhone in the palm of our hands, or capture pictures in the secrecy of our hidden position, we have easily taken on the role of perpetual perpetrator. Too many of us don't think twice about the harm and damage we are spreading when we email, post, twitter, blog, etc. a cruel message, photo, or image of another human being. We do it because we can; we do it because we have detached ourselves from the humanity of another; we do it because we feel no responsibility for how our actions may in fact impact the very soul and spirit of another precious being.

What can one person do? How do we start to penetrate the brick tissue of a society so habituated and conditioned by the cruelties of technology? We do so one person at a time, one email at a time, one twitter or text at a time, and so on. We stand up against such inhumane acts when we are able, and more importantly, we don't participate in them. Above all, when we know that another individual is threatened, harmed, bullied, or disrespected in any way, we must reach out and intervene in any way we possibly can.

Viruses can be slowed and at times they can be greatly extinguished. The human spirit is resilient, but it needs a massive injection of compassion, respect, and dignity for one another flowing through the airwaves to combat the blows from the hardened hearts.

Wellness tip: Before sending any message of any kind, ask yourself, "Is this healing or is this hurting the person/s or situation?" Then, hold yourself accountable for the consequences that unfold.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

There is a season for being self-consumed.

Each one of us experiences tragedy, trails and tribulations. It is part of life. Thanks to the advancements in mental health care and to the acceptance and support of society to advocate for a myriad of recovery programs or processes, we tend to give ourselves permission to take the time we need to heal. This is good. At the same time, there is a tendency to remain in that needy state far too long and it takes its toll on us as well as on family, friends, and other acquaintances. In order to embrace fully our potential for wellness, we must also comes to terms with the idea that there is a season for being self-consumed.

When we are are suffering, hurting, or enduring the most painful and chronic situations, it is absolutely necessary to put our focus inward. Our energy, time, and resources must go towards putting forth every effort possible to address and alleviate our physiological and well as psychological symptoms, manifestations, or disorders. And although there is no time-table for how long we must do this due to the magnitude of situations and their varying circumstances, there comes a point where if we allow our state of self-consumption to define our being, we will lose out on one of the most important pieces of recovery - putting our focus outward.

Although it may feel unnatural and even uncomfortable, it is vital to look outside of ourselves. Start slowly. Start asking yourself questions. What is going on around you? Who or what is important to you? In your own way and given your circumstances, how can you start giving back? Who or what is not available any more? What can be done to initiate contact or a connection? Are there others who are hurting? What can you do to help them? Where is there a need and how can you help to fill it?

Typically, we do not have to look too far to find where we can begin to reinvest ourselves. During our season of self-consumption, others have had to pick up the pieces, do more than their share, or extend themselves far beyond their healthy resources. Perhaps some have had to distance themselves for their own survival, needing to be with persons who had something to give - even if it meant just listening. When we can get our focus off of our own needs, we can begin to see who or what is in need of us.

And when we begin paying attention to those around us, and when we start attending to their needs or wants or injuries, we are fueled and feed on numerous levels. Our spirits are lifted, our souls are nourished, and our hearts are warmed. Our world seems brighter and better. We feel lighter and we laugh once more. There is a season for being self-consumed; but we must not be confined there. Another season of growth awaits our arrival; and it is ours for the taking.

Wellness tip: If you have been in a period of self-focus for a lengthy period of time, consider putting your thoughts, energies, and resources outward, a little at a time. As your world opens up, the healing will continue.

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