So we care about our looks. How we present ourselves. The clothes, the make-up, the hair. Our image is important to us, it defines who we are in the society and it secures our value. So we wear what’s trendy, and eat according to the latest craze, and we do our brows and lashes as seen in the latest tutorial. And we go to the gym and work on our muscles, and tire our core while sipping a cleansing juice.
Also, it all must be somehow captured by Instagram or Snapchat, and posted on Facebook for all to see how fabulous we are.
Guilty as charged. Busy, busy, busy …
But, then, a thought sprouted somewhere in the bellows of my heart …
When was the last time I went to my MENTAL GYM?
What is the state of my emotions? While perfecting the art of multitasking and proving to myself and the Internet that I can have it ALL, am I even happy? Am I peaceful and in harmony or am I running a stress game?
What about my fabulously busy children? The pictures don’t lie – they in sports, in dance, in painting classes; they are so smart and make me so proud …
Are THEY happy? Do they even know what happiness is? When was the last time you spoke to your children or your spouse about the concept of Inner Peace?
We are so busy (or make ourselves busy), that the moment you are still you reach for your phone and check all of your social media outlets. Almost a reflex in most of us, right?
Last week I saw my neighbor and her preschooler walking their dog. It was a great opportunity to talk about the butterfly that just flew by, or about the beautiful flowers they just passed, or about the majestic tree on the corner of the street …
A perfect time to teach a young, impressionable mind about how mom loves to talk to him about the blue sky and the magical clouds … It didn’t happen though, because this young mom was texting and not paying attention to her son at all.
So, I decided to go to my Mental Gym to check everything out, and I spent some time there. Needles to say, it wasn’t good. Then, I decided I would drag along my husband and my kids so we could all start sorting out through our emotions, fears, angers and dreams.
It will require time and effort, and , like everything else that is important, Mental Gym must be scheduled. It must become a habit. And it’s not going to be easy in the beginning, just like going to regular gym wasn’t.
Mental Gym Etiquette:
- on the scheduled day and at the scheduled time, find a secluded place, where no one will interrupt you
- start with 10 minutes sessions, until you get used to your “work-outs”
- close your eyes, and let your thoughts run their course. There will be thousands of them. Once they exhaust themselves, you will be able to ask yourself questions.
- prepare a list of questions before-hand
Examples of questions:
What is happiness?
Am I happy?
Am I in love?
Where do I see myself in five years? etc.
- ask one question per “work-out”. You might find it helpful to jot down your thoughts
- once your mind gets used to being prodded, it will start generating its own questions. Pay special attention to those, they come from your subconscious mind and are extra important. Go with the flow, you might be surprised where it will take you
- start teaching your spouse and children these techniques. As parents we are responsible for the mental and physical health of our children, give them proper tools for exploring their emotions. If need be, seek professional help if a specific emotional problem would surface
Talking about feelings should be more important than talking about work, fashion, politics or restaurants. Our beautiful minds deserve to be explored. Our fears and doubts deserve to be validated and dealt with in a loving way, not swept under. The more you practice these behaviors and conversations, the more “normal” they become. The more aware you are of your emotions, the easier it is to manage your life and face difficult situations.
And there might come a day when you, just like Master Oogway from “Kung-Fu Panda”, will achieve the coveted Inner Peace – a strength that will fight off any problems and fears and let you be still in the storms of life.