Up In The Air… A Reflection

And even now when I’m inside Your hand, help me not to go frightful again. Don’t let me forsake sacrifice. Jesus, You be lifted high.

Ironically, as I typed that last lyric and truthfully a declaration, the pilot decided that we were going to descend as if we were Disney’s “Tower of Terror”. My butt lifted off the seat for a nanosecond, but ever the weirdo, while everyone screamed, a bright grin appeared on my face. It’s a miracle that I didn’t scream “woohoo”. If you are wondering, where I’m at, I’m airborne.

As I sit on what feels like the longest plane ride ever, I meditate on a couple of things that I am working through. Never in my wildest dreams, would I have thought that I would be as vocal as I am about seeing a counselor, regularly. Yet more and more, I notice, that I want to share about it and not just because I think it’s wonderfully improved my life but because I believe it could impact other’s lives as well. Whether it’s cultural or generational, many of us struggle with the idea of seeking outside help but no man is an island and we cannot do it on our own. Seeking help doesn’t make us weaker, on the contrary, it strengthens us to be stronger, more capable human beings. Think of the mind and mental health, as you would think of your core. Go to any gym trainer and they will explain the importance of strengthening your core to prevent injury during exercise. Well the same can be said about your mind, we must work on our weaknesses, address the issues, and strengthen the wobbly bits in order to prevent injury against self or against others.

You may think, well I would never hurt myself physically and that may be true, I feel the same. And yet I hurt myself emotionally, in the way that I speak to myself. I heard someone say, “speak to yourself, the way that you would speak to a friend.” Would you allow anyone to speak to your friends the way you speak to yourself? Yeah, I wouldn’t either.

I had the opportunity to attend a Communicator Workshop last night and they asked us to remember the most impactful message we had ever heard. My mind immediately went to a message that I heard at my local church, over 5 years ago. The preacher, Joel Timothy Houston, spoke about tender hearts and the mark they leave on our lives. He share about how he and his friends had stolen frozen hearts from the science lab and the Australian heat thawed them and so they decided to throw them around the hallways and weeks later, there were still bits of “thawed heart” laying around. This was an animal heart by the way. Animal activists, please don’t get upset with me, I was not their lab teacher. I remember sitting down for that message twice and thinking about how wonderfully he spoke about us having such tender hearts that they would impact those around us for generations to come. Something stirred inside me, and although this was not said by JTH, I remember coming to this thought “hard hearts leave a scar”. It was a simple thought but it marked my life so drastically and it’s marking my life furthermore now. And as I sit here, I think about how my hard heart could hurt and potentially scar others if I don’t work on it. That thought alone, well, it’s enough to keep me on track of the challenging road that is, becoming a better version of myself.

Working on myself has made me more aware of my responses. I finally understand that my responses say more about my internal state of being than what is being said to me. It is my choice to be offended and so I must practice instant forgiveness. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. And if you’re thinking, well that’s just not in my nature… It’s not in mine either. It’s something that I must be intentional about, something that I must work on, constantly. My best friend is great at this, and she knew that for a while I wasn’t as good as she was and so she’d apologize profusely every time she was merely human. Now when she apologizes, I have to ask “what for?” or try to figure it out because it feels unmerited. I’m not an expert, I’ve not achieved perfection, I still get offended at times but it’s less and less every time. Here’s what I have:

1. How I react to other’s words says more about me then it does about them. So when I get upset, angry, sad, hurt, or all of the above, I must ask myself, where is this stemming from? Is it a past hurt? An unsolved issue with the person who is speaking?

2. It is my choice to be offended, and furthermore, it is my choice to remain offended. And that is not a choice that I want to make so I choose to remain un-offended. That’s a choice that I must make daily, hourly, gosh sometime by the minute. Ha!

3. When in doubt, assume the best. When someone speaks, can I run through the day they’ve gone through? What if it hasn’t been their day, their week, their month, or even their year. You know? Or what if they have a lot on their mind? Now some people are just not kind. I wanted to say “jerks” but I’m working on being kinder! Well, that’s on them. Don’t let someone’s unkind words be what ruins your day.

Written last Wednesday, as I flew from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. I am not an expert and I’m merely sharing from my experiences.

Xo,

GenCeci

Wellness Finds: Floating Therapy

Have you all heard of floating therapy before? The idea behind it is that you would feel as if you are floating in the Dead Sea. Sixty minutes of total silence, literally floating life away. This is what their website states,

Studies performed in the United States and Sweden indicate that flotation therapy delivers wide-ranging benefits including significant reductions in not only stress but also chronic pain, swelling, headaches, depression and insomnia, all while lowering blood pressure and improving skin tone.

This experience was unlike any other and I can honestly say that I walked in with pain in my right shoulder and felt the level of pain decrease significantly. Initially the pain went away altogether and although the pain has returned, it’s certainly not as intense as when I walked in.

A couple of recommendations:

1. Insert the ear plugs before getting wet, it will provide better protection from getting water in your ears.

2. Use the neck pillow! It will allow you to rest your head comfortably.

3. Bring a bathing suit or not, you’ll be fine either way!

4. Once your session ends, either sit or hold onto something while your body gets used to being vertical again.

5. Wash your hair!!! A couple of times! The salt will cling to your hair and trust me, having salty water dripping from your hair won’t be a cute look.

6. Moisturize! Floating Lotus provides a wonderful Shea Butter Lotion. Use it! Your body will need it after you have been immersed in salt water for an hour.

7. Rehydrate! Drink the water that is provided, you’ll body will thank you for it 😉

After the session, hang out in the waiting room. Make yourself some tea and grab a book. Allow yourself the time to soak it all in! For a full video, check out my Instagram!

Have you ever tried floating therapy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mental Wellness

When we think of wellness we tend to solely think about our physical health. A healthy diet, a fitness regime, an organic skincare routine and while I am a big proponent of all of those things 💯 We cannot forget about our mental health!

How many of you know that your body and face may look amazing but if you’re battling an off day then it won’t make much of a difference. In an interview, the ever talented, Mindy Kaling, captured the sentiment of looking great physically while feeling less than great mentally:

“It was years and years ago that that breakup happened. I was so sad, not angry, sad. That was the hottest I ever looked ‘cause I stopped eating. When I get depressed, I stop eating. I was so miserable and so beautiful.”

I am no expert but I am here to reassure you that off days happen with or without you being depressed. I know because they happen to me.

After undergoing intense testing for a disease that doctors couldn’t seem to find, I began getting restless. Questions and different scenarios kept me up at night and intense discomfort woke me up in the middle of the night. Getting out of bed was challenging at times. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in at my once healthy body.

Perhaps the most challenging part was fighting this battle on my own. In hindsight, it was foolish of me to do. It was a battle that I needed reinforcements for and I am glad that little by little I started calling my troops in and they are the ones that got me through. God places amazing people in our lives for the celebrations, for the road trips, for the adventures, but also for the breakups, for the illnesses and for everything in between.

Mental wellness starts with me. What’s the one thing that flight attendants always remind us before takeoff? In case of an emergency, please place the oxygen mask on YOURSELF before helping others. We cannot help others if we’re bleeding to death. We must first take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves and love ourselves enough to recognize when something is off.

How I do it:

Taking Care of Myself:

I carve out 5-10 minutes in the morning to meditate on a devotional and process what my day will look like.

I ensure that I am having some face to face contact with my best friends on a weekly basis. This is real life so I don’t see them all on a weekly basis but I see at least one friend a week. With long-distance friends, this requires a bit more planning but there’s nothing like laughing with a friend even when you’re thousands of miles apart.

I set time aside to do something just for me. Most days that’s taking a long walk to a place where I can see the skyline while listening to a podcast. I am a huge fan of:

Investing in Myself

I thank God for my pastor, who for the past year has spoken to our church about the importance of mental health and the benefits of seeing a counselor. Having someone to chat with freely and openly who will help you process things is something you cannot put a price on. It’s a wonderful investment into yourself that will yield long-term results. The founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski, said it best on this podcast.

Loving Myself Enough to be Self-Aware

Whenever I see that I’m crying more than the usual or like my patience tank is getting smaller by the day, I know something is off. Now I could pretend that it’s the people around me that are wrong but loving myself enough means that I have to recognize that something is off with me. It could just be that my blood sugar is low and I’m simply hungry or perhaps I’m not sleeping enough. It could be more, it could be a sign of something that I’m not dealing with that is boiling over to the surface. Sometimes chatting it over with a friend helps, other times it means an extra session with my counselor. Whether it’s a jog to clear my mind, a well balanced meal to counteract HANGRY feels, a chat with a friend or a counselor, or time alone with God. Get away, laugh until your belly hurts, refill your tank! It’s very important to take care of yourself especially if you want to help out and be there for your friends and loved ones!

Xo,

Gen