I have been discussing in great detail about making sure we keep our bodies healthy and the various ways I have gone about doing this.
The mind, on the other hand can be somewhat tricky. I grew up in a family with my dad in a wheelchair and he would often have problems with mental illness. I strongly believe he suffered from a form of schizophrenia after his stroke and this made him at times delusional.
In those days men didn’t talk about their feelings. I look back and realise he was the strongest man I have ever known. For seventeen years he was wheelchair bound in a disabled body with a broken mind. However, every day he got up, got dressed and lived his life as best he could. He would often put a suit and tie on and in winter he would wear a blazer.
My dad had always been exceptionally sporty. Sadly I don’t remember him like this, but I like to imagine him running along the hockey pitch, stick in hand, weaving in and out of his opponents. He played hockey for Kent and he was also a keen rugby player, where once again he played the position of a wing and he flew up and down the pitch at great speed.
My dad became a vicar when my sisters were small and I hadn’t been born yet and he was dedicated to his work, often not having any breaks or holidays and working literally till he dropped. No doubt he felt he was fulfilling his calling and doing the best for his family.
In hindsight, had he rested properly and carried on playing the sports he so loved, I truly believe he would not have had such a major stroke. The doctors kept warning him and he was stubborn and didn’t listen, much to his and the families detriment.
So why do I come back to the power of the mind. What we believe in our minds affects everything we do in our daily lives. So often we are bombarded with messages and thoughts. How do we know who are true authentic self is? Or who to listen to?
I have come to really value the lessons of resting my mind. Coming to a place where we literally switch off from the world and let our minds download. If you are anything like me and find you get depressed when you rest, this is often a sign you are overdoing it.
I think one of the lessons we have learned from Covid is how out of balance we all where. I genuinely believe Covid has been a blessing for the human race in this respect. We have had to stop and look at how we work and live our lives. The long commutes we all took, the impact on our health, mental health, the environment and family life.
I don’t think we will go back to the way we used to live and this is a blessing. We need to look forward to a future where we work in tandem with the planet and not against it. Does everything have to be about money? Is there another way we can skill swap and use our gifts to nourish each other and the beautiful world we live in?
If you are reading this and suffer from mental illness, know you are not alone. Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. The fact you are battling on with something no one can see, is in itself admirable. Don’t compare yourself with others, you are unique and you bring something to the table no one else can give.
You must also know a lot of it is chemical. I can often get very depressed around my monthly cycle and I now recognise this and try to give myself the time and healing I need in order to get me through it.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a poem which I think really reflects the message I am sharing with you today. Enjoy!
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies