Accessing external harmony by letting go of internal conflict

Bill’s tip for March: “In like a Lion…out like a Lamb”

42I am gazing toward snow-capped mountains as I write to you. Billowing clouds interweave above the partly sunny desertscape as a blustery early-March day begins just outside Palm Springs, California.

Joey, my 18 year-old furry boy, has bounced back a bit (a very heart-felt thank you for all the well-wishes) and we find ourselves at an amazing place spiritually as well as physically – Joey and I are guests at The Dog Spa Resort and Wellness Center. This oasis, created by holistic veterinarian Paula Terifaj as a respite for people and their pooches, is not to be missed!

From my picture-window vantage point, the first half of March’s “In like a Lion…out like a Lamb” adage is perfectly depicted -Dogs play unencumbered, clouds race by, the wind stirs the soil. Yet, there is a natural rhythm to this process that pushes this well-worn definition to another level: I am struck by the harmony contained within this lion-hearted day. Nature is stroking a bold canvass, yet this process seems easy and struggle-free to all involved.

It’s not the events in life but how we perceive these events that determines our sense of well-being.

As I slipped into the resort’s cool pool this morning for aqua-aerobics (Joey watching from a nearby lounge-chair) I found myself struggling and uncomfortable. Busy judging the hour (this class is too early) and the water temperature (I’m freeeezing) I was disconnected and discontented.

As class began, my focus shifted to the instruction and the movements required of me. I became part of the developing canvas, rather than the art critic to that canvas. I actually stopped being cold because I was no longer focused on being cold….I let go of my internal conflict, which allowed me access to the elemental harmony outside of me -I became part of the scene.

As this month’s wintery early days shift toward springtime, March serves up a healthy reminder that transition does not have to be conflictual.

Choice is abundant: We can struggle against the wind, or let this breeze take us to new and unexpected places. We can wrestle with mortality or recognize the grace of life’s unfolding cycle. We can stay cold, or warm to the idea of acceptance and, therefore, transmute our self-absorbed struggles into unifying solidarity.

This month, may we all wake up to the beautiful experiences offered by God’s creatures – be they people, pets, lions or lambs.

Phillip’s tip for March: Check list Check up

During the change of seasons, “the blues” sometime slip in and get ahold of us before we know it. However, it may be possible to catch ourselves from going down depression’s “rabbit hole” if we know what signs to address.

Mild: “I have the blues, “today is bad,” “A life event has discouraged me.”

You may need a distraction to life your spirits. – Go to a movie, call a friend, get out in the sunshine! Exercise and diet are key components. Do a gratitude list, find someone else to help to get your mind of your woes. Some of these actions may feel forced at first, but they often help.

Moderate: “I can’t function at work today, so I’ll call in sick.”

This can be serious as it disrupts your income source and routine, possibly creating even more reasons to be discouraged. -Try to shower, put on your best clothes and go in anyway. Set a time line that if you are not feeling better by, say, lunch, you can go home. Also consider giving yourself a reality test “are things really as bad as I am thinking they are?” Get a check-up from your medical doctor to rule out any medical reason you might not be feelings well. Call a friendship hotline if you can’t reach your own friends. Sometimes loneliness can make us feel down. Work out a plan with yourself and/or a therapist to address the way we view ourselves within the constructs of our life.

43Severe: “I cannot get out of bed or I am having suicidal thoughts.”

Do you have a thought, a plan and a means for killing yourself? If so, seek help immediately. Most people at one time or another have pondered suicide: Call someClipboardone you trust and tell them you are struggling -this may help externalize the problem. Arrange to have someone with you 24 hours a day until these feelings pass. Call a therapist or go to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Set up and emergency plan with your doctor or therapist so when/if these feelings are present you can access this protocol, which may include your hospital’s location and a suicide prevention hotline. It is okay to call 911 if you are feeling suicidal.

Please remind yourself how blessed you are to be in the United States with a roof over your head and food to eat. You have friends and family with resources for help. Problems, like seasons, are temporary.

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