Y’all ever taken a mental time-out? A retreat, of sorts, to clear your head? Gotten really real with yourSELF?
I’m presently returning from one of those trips. I’m a frequent flyer. Don’t judge. Or gawk. I told y’all…I’m a mom; I’m a teacher; I’m dating; I’m divorced; etc, etc, etc. I have lots of reasons to dive into my head and my heart.
It’s a slippery slope, though…that slide into the mind cave is NOT paved with speed bumps, stop signs, or curbs. It does not have stop lights or no wake zones. It’s a straight shot. A downhill straight shot. So you have to tread lightly. Be aware. STAY aware. Because you can get stuck in there.
I’ve tried many means of travel to reach my mind cave. Meditation. Bible studies. Pinterest quotes search. Church. Books. Therapy. Friend-therapy. Family-therapy. Self-Reflection and Questioning. Some ways work faster; others work deeper. I guess it really depends on the reason for my trip…and how far I really need to go.
Once you get in that space, the itinerary varies drastically depending on the individual and situation. I mean, I’m assuming this to be so…I’ve never spent time in your shoes or your head. I’m just guessing that since everyone is different, every experience would be different. So, let me just speak to mine…
I’ve had various life experiences that have sent me to my mind cave. I have experienced postpartum depression and PTSD. I have participated in counseling, taken medicine, and sought advice. I’ve learned to self-regulate and cope with my hills and valleys by meshing lots of different strategies into one. That “one” varies from situation to situation, even with me.
Usually, I can feel myself getting heavy. I like to use that word because it fits so well. I’m not depressed; I’m not angry; I’m not feeling any extreme emotion. I just feel blah. In my head. In my feelings. Heavy. My heavy times usually come on my “off weekends” when my kids are with their dad. My purpose is gone. So I retreat to my mind cave.
I’ve come to accept that HEAVY isn’t BAD. Heavy is interesting. I’ve made some serious life decisions during my heavy times. I’ve made some serious self-reflections during my heavy times. I’ve had some serious revelations during my heavy times.
I look for signs. Those quotes that come up on my Pinterest feed. The words of wisdom on my Facebook timeline. The random verse I read in the Bible. The message at church. The advice I’ve been giving friends. The lesson in a book I read to my students. The storyline in a movie. All of these are signs. I use them in reflection. Apply them to my situation and life.
I change my perspective. Make a paradigm shift on my own life.
Looking at your own situation objectively is a gift. Not everyone can take themselves out of their own situation and make objective suggestions to themselves. Y’all following me?
Take the situation that you’re in right now. Take yourself out of it and insert a new character. Advise that new character. Help them work through the confusion and emotions. Remove that character and re-insert yourself. Follow your own advice.
Easy, right? Lies!
Y’all, nobody wants to do that! You (and I) want to get on that slippery slope and slide on into our mind cave at top speed and stay there. Curl up and lie there. Lights out, phone off, checked out. Self-doubt, self-judging, self-loathing, woe-is-me, I-can’t-do-this-anymore hibernation. And that’s the truth. Y’all know it. I know it.
But what if we could do what I just said up there? A few paragraphs up. Something about reading and praying and reflecting objectively. That trip would look different. It would look like a day-trip. An outing. An adventure. And then our perspective would change, wouldn’t it? A paradigm shift would occur, and we might start to see these mind cave trips as something positive…useful…do-able.
I mean, a day trip vs an indefinite leave of absence….I would choose the day.