What do you see here? A basic drawing of a person? A cookie cutter? The outline of a body in a murder mystery?lol
For this blog, this image is an outline of a person.
This outline is of an individual and is what this person identifies with.
Today this is individual is gonna be called 'Bob.'
Bob says 'Hi' lol
Bob is going to hep me demonstrate something which is in my head and not wanting to come out fluently in word form. I shall endeavour to make sense of it anyway.
As I lay in bed a thought struck me about lines; the effect lines can have. For example, if you draw a line down the centre of a page, that one line has now created two sections.
If you add another line, you have even more sections within the page...genius lol.
Lines may be simple but they can have a great effect of what is around them.
So let's take this line and make it into an outline like Bob. The line is complete in that is has no end, it just keeps on going around with no start and stop. So what does this line do? I creates separation. The area inside Bob is now separate from the outside. Bob has a barrier between himself and the outside world.
Now this is what struck me as relevant.
Mental illness often causes the sufferer to become isolated. They withdraw into themselves or we could call it their 'outline'. Fear, shyness, anxiety, depression to name a few are all likely to cause once vibrant characters to draw back into themselves.
It could be that living outside their outline is unbearable and intimidating. The world has become a far too frightening place to exist in.
Sometimes we withdraw within because someone told us that we don't fit in. Our outline doesn't match the way other outlines look, ours isn't good enough or is the wrong sex or size.
Some people naturally shine. They shine so brightly out of their outline's that others are jealous and choose to say and do things to crush you back into your outline.
You know, it's OK to retreat when you need time to heal but what is important is that you don't retreat and stay for good. I have come to know so many people who have experienced ill mental health and retreated within themselves only to forget that they CAN, in time, return to the surface.
I understand the pain and the fear of mental health illness and just how easy it is to become conditioned by the fear of it........
I'm feeling good today but don't push it.
Didn't panic this morning but there is still this afternoon and evening to get through.
I drank just enough wine to make me sleep, better do that every night.
I felt crap in the shop, I'll shop online.
If I hyperventilate people are nice to me.
When we start allowing these kinds of thoughts to run riot in our minds, they start to take control and restrict us. They tell us that having conditions keeps us safe even though we all know they are lies. While these thoughts are given power, they grow. They grow and become more and more real to the individual. As they gain power they are like our outline gaining strength, becoming a thicker, stronger line , creating even more definition between within and without.
So what can we do about this line that keeps is separate from people and from the life we want?
Well, I think the CareBears have got it right.
Learn about ways that stop the outline getting thicker and widening the divide.
Love - love is powerful. I'm not talking so much about romantic love but rather love as an energy source. More and more science is proving theories around energy sources within the body and the heart is by far the most powerful!
Hold on! Don't go tutting about what a load of twoddle this is or swearing at me for going gaga!.
Love has been an amazing source of healing for me and I want to share it with you.
Love is energy. Possibly a divine energy but there is no disputing that when people act out of genuine love for one another, things change - for the better.
Do we not see daily news articles about random acts of kindness? We hear how people have helped others, often anonymously.
Many years ago, I remember reading about practising kindness and went out intent of helping someone. I kept my eyes peeled and was determined to ' be kind' to someone. somewhere. After an hour or so with no luck I walked back to the car park feeling utterly disappointed. I sulked as I waited in line to pay my parking fee when I heard the man in front of me getting shirty with the lady trying to pay at the machine.
Hurry up, Ive got to find someone to be kind to ffs!
'Hellooooo this lady needs help!'
I stepped forward, feeling my cheeks blaze red, and asked the lady if she needed assistance. Tears overflowed from her eyes as she nodded while holding her jaw. She was trying to pay with a card but the machine had a sign to say it wasn't able to accept cards that day. No problem, I thought as I swiftly popped some change into the machine and retrieved the lady's ticket. As I gave the ticket to her she tried to explain that she had just had a rather unpleasant procedure down at the dentist and couldn't talk properly.
She gave me a huge hug and dribbled something that sounded like 'thank you'.
Well do you know what I did as soon as I got in the car? I cried. At first I put it down to being a sensitive soul and possibly a bit batty. While these maybe true I recognised that it was mainly two things - compassion and relief. I felt that lady's vulnerability and could empathise with her but I was also relieved. Relieved because my tiny attempt at reaching out had been OK. I hadn't been rebuffed or worse, punched and I once over my fear of stepping forward, genuinely wanted to help. I acted out of genuine kindness because I cared.
This is where I began to find my strength to heal from. I started to see in reality that caring isn't a bad thing. There is power in caring! There is power in kindness! There is power in real love for one another and all around us.
Don't let your 'outline' define and restrict you. Anyone who has the ability to love has the power to make a difference both to themselves and others.
Your spirit, joy, love and so much more should shine forth out of you spreading and sharing all your loveliness with it.
I keep in mind an image of a golden sphere that surrounds me which helps me when I feel isolated or rejected, angry or bitter. It brings me comfort by a way that reminds me to rest, recover and reach out in love, even to myself.
N.B Dr David Hamilton has written several great books on the benefits and healing abilities of kindness.