A word to keep me living in my heart

6/19/11  When I was about 16, our Young Women president invited her Avon lady to come speak to the girls in our ward.  The message she felt prompted to share with us was, “When you live in your heart magic happens.”  I remembered that phrase during a depressive time today and thought, That’s my problem: I live in my mind/thoughts rather than my heart. But how do I remedy that? I was still for a moment, and then a word came to mind.

Magnanimous.

I was intrigued . . .  Could this be another power word for me?  A striving, stretching, growing, sharing word for me?  I had some concept of what it entailed (being generous and helpful toward others), but I wanted to go look it up.  Ironically, I learned that its Latin roots are magnus (great) and animus (mind). But being magnanimous is much more than having grand thoughts.  Here’s how Noah Webster defined it: “[Possessing] greatness of mind, that elevation and dignity of soul which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness and which raises the [person] above revenge and makes him delight in acts of benevolence; which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects” (An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1812).  There was so much in that definition that resonated with me!

Being magnanimous today meant calling my dad to wish him a happy Fathers’ Day (rather than just thinking about it).  It meant buckling down and blogging in order to share my new power word.  It will mean going down to prepare a delicious dinner for my spouse to help him enjoy the remaining hours of Fathers’ Day.  It may mean hiring some help soon–which would keep me from being so scattered and benefit the family as well, I feel.

Magnanimous is a noble word.  Choosing to be magnanimous feels good.  It is refining.  I believe it has the potential to keep me living in my heart.

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Power words

I’m thinking of blogging here more regularly–for the therapeutic benefit (working through the chaos in my brain via the writing process) and to chronicle my progress and musings during the time frame of receiving professional therapy.  Here goes.

6/7/11  Woke from a nap and felt the usual burden in my chest–the overwhelmingness of it all, the unending duties/potentials/worries that clamor for my attention.  I tried to be mindful (meta-mental) and simply notice the feeling rather than engage immediately in my default attempts to figure-it-all-out and prioritize-my-life-in-an-instant (mega-mentalling).  Gently giving my worry some checks and balances, I focused my thoughts on a few words that Dr. S* had emphasized in our last session:

Resilience

Flexibility

Contextualizing

Phronesis

The effect of slowly reciting these power words in my mind was noticeable.  Much of the burden I’d been feeling slipped away.  By emphasizing resilience, I felt less need to be in control.  I could get out of bed without having my life all figured out.  Thanks, Dr. S.

*I’ll keep the name confidential, since I’ve not asked his permission to use it.

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Get Happy!

Sometimes the blues sneak up on me.  Sometimes they’re painfully persistent. In either case, it’s helpful to have on hand–or online–some “get happy” ideas to try to help elevate my mood. Here are my wiser-self’s instructions to my depressed-self when my moodiness depletes my motivation:

-Get productive to get positive.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, a great way to stop being cranky is to conquer a small project. Whether it’s filing last month’s receipts or trimming the butterfly bush out front, accomplishing something feels great!

-Let music restore your mojo.
Find some upbeat music and dance up a storm. Drum out your weariness. Sing like a star. Let music move you into a better mood. (I highly recommend ABBA. Go Mamma Mia!!)

-Give nature a try.
Even if you can’t drive up into the mountains or out into the countryside, get outside. Lay on your back and look at the sky. Walk in the grass in your bare feet. Listen to the birds or the buzzing of insects. Stop and smell the roses, literally. Enjoy the sensual banquet that nature provides.

Link to something that will make you smile.
America’s Funniest Home Videos, Damn YouAutoCorrect!, The Onion, Saturday Night Live, etc.

Get out of bed to get out of your head.
Stand up, feel the carpet under your feet, do a yoga stretch, take a deep breath, get dressed, etc.

Pay attention to another person.
Smile, watch, listen, call, email, chat, etc. to show another person that you care.

Relax and read.
Fiction, information, biography, personal stories–what is calling you, today?

Eat foods that elevate mood.
Proteins first–such as nuts, salmon, tuna, or chicken; later–oatmeal or whole grain bread; don’t forget–bananas, spinach, and a little dark chocolate!

Practice “positivity” with personal affirmations.
Some possibilities: “I forgive myself. I forgive others. We’re learning as we go!”
“I’m beautiful. I’m powerful. I’m divine!”
“I’ve got friends in high places. They’re helping me in a gazillion ways, every day!”
“There’s a lot to like about me. I’ve come a long way, Baby!”
“I am creating beauty today–beautiful speech, beautiful kindness, beautiful moments, beautiful space.”
“I’m excited about this chapter in my story. No matter how the plot thickens, I’m committed and excited. Stay tuned as I thrive and help others feel alive! It’s history in the making!”
“There’s never been another me. I’m a modern miracle–empirically unrepeatable!”
“My positive efforts spread loving energy out and about in a domino effect of divine love.”
“I’m not stuck; there’s always a new possibility!”

-Close your eyes and visualize.
Imagine the worry, pain, or numbness disappearing–carried off on the wings of an eagle, ascending away in a thousand helium balloons, or being washed down the river as a note in a bottle. Let it go, and breathe!

-More ideas to come!

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