A pocketbook of meditation art and mental health strategies by Heidi D. Hansen, M.A.c2017. I have a limited stock of free copies that I can, upon your request, mail to you or you can pick up. Also, with my compliments, you may choose two free meditation art posters ( 8 x 10 full color on poster paper), posted at the end of this blog. Enjoy the book here, and get it in print while my supply lasts. Afterwards I will be happy to print more for a price of $24.99, which includes five (5) meditation posters. Call me at (360) 892-5218, or email at email@example.com. Thanks, and please enjoy and support this effort by spreading the word! — Heidi
1. Allow The Creative
The art speaks. So do you. You are the artist of your mental health. Allow the creative, which is your natural state, to see opportunities while the rest of our parts cry, “broken!” We are children of creation. Creativity is our natural state. Mental health problems deserve a richly creative recovery. Select a name for the brave creative healer in you. The one who will respond with a broad palette and see your mental health as a fresh canvas.
While you discover this creative healer’s name, I’ve got a few suggestions for mental health strategy…
2. Tether To Your Day
On Depression. For when the lightbulb inside goes out and joy goes dark and motivation draws a blank. In some small but tangible way, tether self to your day. Commit to your day with an action that has an observable, countable result. Perhaps it is cooking with a new ingredient. Or making a craft from the coffee filters. Changing the water in the fish bowl. Putting on your good clothes even if you’re not going out. Keep in motion. Do one thing, then wait.. But keep in motion.
3. Practice Comfort
On traumatic stress… Practice comfort. Comfort is not a luxury, it is a necessity. It’s not a reward, it’s a cog-wheel. Practice self-care comfort until you really receive it in a changing way. Body reconciliation. Which means becoming a wise teacher to the sensory body responses that are ragged and zig-zagging from harsh experience. Gentle but noticeable body teaching using intentional sensory lessons found in breathing meditation, stretches, yoga, gardening, hiking, swimming, acting lessons, sculpture, eating foods that you know will change your moods. Your body and mind are continual learners. Help them learn something new about comfort.
4. Little Things Matter
Little things matter. Small pebbles tossed in the pond create ripples that reach the other side. Invest in small actions. Set yourself up for a win, a small win, but real win that you can see, hear, touch the result. Let that win get traction. Let the ripple set up another win. When you get some momentum going, just wait. Don’t pressure out about doing more or gaining perfection, just don’t go backwards. Sometimes our best success comes from just not going backwards. Learn to wait. As they say in baseball, “wait for the good pitches.”
5. Own It.
Own your mental health issues. Claim them. The act of ownership will set you free. Your inner shaming device will get bored and stop. Once you own your recovery, you are able to be the director of play, the author of your recovery story, the driver of your recovery strategies. You’ll have a sense of choice in how you gain wellness “wins.” You’ll own your setbacks, too, in which, by the way, there is great dignity. The knowledge you gain in setbacks will become the wise lesson manual for others who struggle.
6. Let It Be.
No matter how much progress and success you have, there will still be bad days. There just are. And will be. It is the nature of it. Accept them quickly, chalk it up to “oh well, that’s life, it happens, whatever…” and allow yourself to move on when you get your second win. Let it be what it is. Things change. Let it be.
Do your joywork, even if you don’t feel like it. Joy is a cure, not a fancy. Notice 5 things of beauty right around you, right now. Even if you can’t feel joy right now because your depression or anxiety has turned off the lights, remember what you used to do for joy, and just go through the motions. Or, learn something new. No matter how helpless we are and no matter how bad things get, we can always learn something new. Charge up the little gray cells in your brain with new things that are interesting, a reason to call and tell a friend, and perhaps even possible.
8. Words Change Things
Words change things. Check the self-talk going on inside your head. We become what we say to ourselves. Write a new and better script and read it over and over until something sticks. Practice with post-it notes. Say new and better things to yourself, things you would say to a best friend who is suffering or imprisoned. Write, draw, speak, use your words. We become the words we use. You can choose what they are. Mental illness does not take that away unless you give it the permission to.
9. I Am Who I Say I Am
Say, “I Am who I say I am, not who you say I am.” (The “you” part can be a person, a situation, an event, your mental health problem or anything else that is trying to define you in harsh or negative ways.) Do anything you can to create and secure your own sense of Self. If you have a strong sense of Self, you’ll be able to handle so much more. And you’ll do it in a way that is unique to you, a way that makes sense to you. That is the creative part of your recovery, of personal growth, towards being happy. The Self is one super powerful gift, but it is a gift we have to work for. Even with mental health problems, you can have a good quality of life. The stronger your sense of Self, the more these strategies will provide the quality of life you want, need and deserve.
10. On Responsibility
You are responsible for your mental health. You are responsible to learn and change and get better as you can. You are responsible to ask for the help you need and deserve just like anybody else with any other kind of health problem. You are responsible to learn and use the skills and insights you gain. You are responsible to set a good example so that the binding stigma of mental illness lightens up for others who endure discrimination, prejudice, stereotype and abuse because of mental illness. The more you act in self-responsible ways, the more you will respect yourself. The more others will respect you. And when you act as a good educator and ambassador of mental health, the more you are advocating for the larger population of those trapped by invisible disability. That pride and power will give you a better quality of life and protect your creativity in recovery.
Speaking of which, have you found your name for the creative healer in you? Let’s get to know that person and see what they can do.
Available Meditation Art Posters (8 x 10 full color on poster paper):
________________________________After this special free offer, this book is available in full-color print form with the set of five (5) 8 x 10 inspirational posters that you see posted here. Cost: $24.99 plus postage. Credit cards via Paypal accepted. Call Heidi at (360) 892-5218, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss and arrange an order that fits your needs. Otherwise, these materials are copyrighted and use is prohibited. Thank you! — Heidi