Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘mental health

Natural Medicine

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During my drive to work earlier this week, I heard this inspiring story on public radio about an increasing trend for Forest Bathing, a practice that started in Japan back in the early 1990s.

It’s what we do almost every day at our place. Each time we walk Delilah along the perimeter trail through our woods we are breathing healthy phytoncides emitted by the plants and trees. This reduces stress levels and boosts our immune systems.

Wandering along the trail among the trees while listening to all the bird-calls and the sounds of rustling leaves is inspiring enough on its own, but add in some of nature’s medicinal forest air filling your lungs and you enjoy quite the bonus!

Forest bathing is a perfect complement for the workshops Cyndie leads with the horses and labyrinth. It has always been part of the experience here, but we never described it with as much clarity as the variety of published articles on the subject are now offering.

I believe that giving the experience some specific definition of what is happening serves to enhance the results. Thank you MPR!

In my mind, nature has always seemed the best when it comes to medicine.

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Written by johnwhays

July 19, 2017 at 6:00 am

Being Me

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It’s been a long time since I just let words flow from my fingertips without any preconceived notion of where I was heading or what would come out next. One reason for that is, it doesn’t tend to produce a result that holds much in the way of value for anyone reading other than me; and even I don’t get much from going back and reading the words that have piled up.

However, I’m feeling like lately my writing has settled into a somewhat humdrum pattern of dreary detail about waking up, driving to work, coming home, seeing our pets, clearing some snow, cleaning up after the horses, and lamenting over the news.

Where is my soul in this chronicle of the day-to-day?

When you write and publish a narrative of a personal everyday, there develops a pattern. The longer it goes, the more likely it can become something of a facade.

I suppose regular users of other social media are already well aware of this phenomenon.

mejwhcrosshatchedIt is likely that I am only writing what I want the world to know about me. Of course, there is probably a portion of who I really am that readers glean from my choice of subjects and words over time, which defines me more precisely than I think I am actually doing. But that is happening somewhere beyond words. It’s out there in our intuitive perceptions.

I guess I inherently accept that level of revelation.

I remember actually pondering over how to traverse the long walk in front of the packed bleachers of my high school gymnasium during basketball games without appearing to be the hypocritical fool I was attempting to be.

I was overly-selfconsciously trying to stroll as if I was not the least bit self-conscious about being an awkward adolescent walking in front of hundreds of classmates, parents, neighbors, friends, enemies, and strangers who shouldn’t care, or even notice me in the first place, yet were likely doing that very thing themselves; actually noticing and judging me whether or not they recognize the pettiness of doing so.

Hypocrisy.

I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Somewhere along that adolescent time period, I experienced a profound epiphany that inspired me to strive toward being the same person in every moment. Regardless of whom I might find myself with at any given moment, I want to be my most genuine self. It’s not easy to achieve, but it is a noble goal.

I believe I have failed probably as often as I have succeeded over the years, but with that as my goal, the failures have been minor. I still judge others more than I mean to. I still say things behind a person’s back that I wouldn’t say to their face.

But I catch myself doing it most of the time, and that is the key to interrupting the pattern and making a correction toward the goal of integrity I ultimately seek.

One tool in aligning words with noble intentions is the art of saying nothing when you have nothing good to say. Another is to think before you speak (or write).

What I’d like to achieve is a place of enlightenment where I can write without thinking or filtering and have the flowing words reveal my pure soul and the narrative of the day to day, hypocrisy-free.

Wouldn’t than be a nice me to be.

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Written by johnwhays

February 4, 2017 at 9:47 am

Keeping Calm

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I’m trying to keep calm and carry on. In the past, my prescription for maintaining a positive outlook about the world included turning off the broadcast news. I would, instead, get news from sources which allowed a choice over the content. I could pick what I allowed to infiltrate my thoughts. That involved scanning headlines of online publications or perusing the local paper at the day-job.gnews

It’s not working so well for me anymore.

There are less and less headlines that don’t have something to do with a certain kleptocracy in process.

Now I am struggling with the option of isolating myself completely from the news of the day and focusing on whatever positive happenings I can cultivate from my immediate surroundings.

I can choose to associate with healthy people. I can commune with people who aren’t phobic about things they misunderstand, or are uninformed about.

But something is eating at me about a potential risk in that choice.

Should I turn my back on what is really happening in the world?

Looking back at some horrific outcomes that have played out in history has me wondering how I could live with myself if I chose to turn a blind eye in the way many others did at times when hate and fear became the rule of law.

Today, I’m sending love to those who are poor, suffering, oppressed, at risk, and afraid, even though I’m choosing to not read the latest headlines about their present predicaments.

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Written by johnwhays

January 29, 2017 at 10:45 am

Sadness

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sadness

Words on Images

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Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

Lost Hope

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I have discovered how important hope can be on the journey to optimal health. It occurred to me the other day that I have lost hope.

I’m sure it is still there, I just can’t find it right now.

Having an unfortunate first-hand experience with depression allows me to recognize how it is possible to live without hope. It is not a healthy place to live. On my journey to good health, I have learned that it is not in my best interest to reside in that space. I am regretfully comfortable in that place, maybe from having too many years of practice in existing that way, but I cannot afford to accommodate that outcome.

I will do some digging to find my hope again. It is a requirement.

Of that, I am acutely aware.

We cannot live on love alone. That is another thing I have come to realize.

I’m going to love finding my hope again.

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Written by johnwhays

January 6, 2017 at 7:05 am

Depression Podcast

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hilariousworlddepression328It’s unusual to consider depression something to be laughed at, but maybe laughing at it has some merit. I have discovered a new podcast from American Public Media hosted by humorist John Moe called, “The Hilarious World of Depression.” Through conversations with some nationally respected comedians who share tales of their own experiences with depression, Moe explores a link between the illness and comedy.

The show is sponsored by HealthPartners and its “Make It Okay” campaign. I have long been a fan of the idea that talking about mental health issues is a crucial step toward reducing the stigma normally associated with them.

Depression can be treated. I treat mine everyday. In fact, talking about my experiences is one of the methods I employ to treat my natural tendency toward a depressive mindset.

I think it’s a great thing when humor can be added to the topic that is uncomfortable for most people to discuss. Spread the word about this podcast to people you know. It’s okay to talk about mental illness.

Now we can even laugh at it, too.

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Written by johnwhays

December 16, 2016 at 7:00 am