|An Auzzie surfer at Bells Beach, Australia (I took this photo!)|
|A beach near Kona, HI, that requires a ride in a |
4 WD vehicle to get there!
|Waipio Valley, Big Island, HI|
It is my dream to one day live there. It. Will. Happen.
So, what on earth does this have to do with this blog? Is this turning into a travel blog? (Don't I wish!!! Can you even? Traveling the world, taking pictures, and getting to write about the places I'd see would just about be the best job ever! But I digress).
No - not a travel blog. If you've been reading my posts for any time now, you've learned that I like my visuals. Pictures stay much more readily in my mind - if I can assign something significant to a picture, all I have to do is look at or think of that picture, and all the information/details can be more easily recalled.
So, what IS today's visual?
It has to do with oceans. More specifically, with the dangers of the ocean. There are a number of them (don't even get me started on my fear of SHARKS!!!). Today I'm thinking about the "old" term and idea of an "undertow".
|Set of rapidly crashing waves|
It's difficult to stay calm and think rationally when the waves don't let up, and you feel like you aren't going to survive. And yet, those who enter the ocean aware of the dangers of "undertow" or rip currents, and know what to do if they get caught in one - those are the people who make it out of the dangerous waves alive.
Does anyone else feel like I've just described their life?
I've worked hard over the past three years to "know the dangers" of "going for a swim", and what to do if I start to get pulled under. I'd like to share a key to surviving the undertow with you. It's an aspect of self-care...
I was fortunate to be guided to Marsha Means, and the book and workbook she co-wrote/wrote, EARLY in my healing journey. Much of what she bases her workbook on comes from "The Life Model." I'd like to share a quote from her workbook that explains something VITAL to surviving undertows in life:
"It is essential... to build joy strength and assist us in returning to joy because that's what healing requires. If a person in recovery is not empowered by joy, it may be impossible to face the pain and work through it. In fact, the amount of joy strength available to you needs to BE HIGHER than the amount of your pain for you to heal." (Marsha Means, Journey to Healing and Joy, page 3)
So, what does that mean, exactly? It means, basically, that we MUST do things that bring us joy. I know, I know - sometimes, the water is so dark, and the waves are coming so fast, that we can't think of anything else but the danger we are in. When you're in that situation, I hope that there are those around you who can see you need help; or you have people around you who you can call out to help for. Once you are able, though, it is imperative that you build your "joy strength". Others will call this our "resiliency" - our ability to "bounce back" or adapt properly to stress or adversity. If our joy center is depleted, the next time a "wave" hits us, we have no reserve to draw from - our ability to bounce back is near zero.
That is why self-care is a topic I return to time and time again - for the women in my groups and for ME. When adversity/stress hits, my joy center takes a hit. I then intentionally take steps to refill my joy center. For me, this means even though I really, really don't feel like it, I get my butt to the gym and go for a run. Does it solve all my problems? Uh, not even close. But it does release those precious endorphins, and increases my self-confidence as well as my feelings of health and well-being. For me, this also means I submerse myself in music that helps me connect to God. There are other things I do, too, but you get the idea.
Last week, one of my groups and I talked for some time about the importance of filling our joy center. I challenged them to think about one thing they could do over the course of the week that would make a "deposit into their joy center." THEN, I asked them when they were going to do it. Now, I pose those questions to you:
- What are some things you can do that will help to fill your joy center?
- If you're having trouble thinking of things, try to recall things you did in the past that brought you a lot of joy - painting, taking pictures, playing or listening to music, going for a hike/being in nature, getting pedi/manis, talking with a friend....
- WHEN will you do this activity?
- It's SUPER important to actually plan to do self-care. In the middle of our busy lives, if we're not intentional about filling our joy center, it's not going to happen.
Sisters, undertows are going to happen. They are a part of life, let alone a part of life impacted by SA. They don't have to destroy us, though, if we take care of ourselves and make it a priority to fill our joy center.
How do you fill your joy center? When was the last time you did something to fill your joy center? Can you commit to yourself (and your group, if you have one) to make it a priority to do things that will fill you up? When will you start? How often can you fit something in to your schedule? I'd love to hear your thoughts - a way you fill your joy center may inspire others to try the same thing!