October is a very special month for me as a mental health practitioner. The city of Perth set aside a week in October to create awareness of good mental health and organisations have linked arms with wholesome activities to be STRONGER TOGETHER.
Perth Together Mental Health Sphere, of which I am a member, has gathered 35 mental health practitioners to pray for the well-being of one another and of the city for the whole of October. Today being the last day of this initiative, I have indeed felt STRONGER TOGETHER, stronger enough to contribute my second article in this month.
It is no coincidence that the words ‘REACH OUT’ were so frequently mentioned in this month – “Thank you for reaching out to me”; “I reached out to her”… And they came from the lips of millennials! That would make them cool words to use!
Life in the fast lane needs good lungs. In jest, my young friend, when asked how she is, said, ‘Breathe.’ How apt was her reply! We all need to take long and deep breaths to keep up with the momentum of the day. It is to live the Latin quote of ‘ardet nec consumitur’ which means burn and burn but not destroyed. In modern terms, it is to work and work and not be burnt out.
How does one do that when you live in cities that do not sleep?
You need to REACH OUT and find the MARGIN, the amount by which you can win in life. Who can help you build your margin? What margin do you need to live a winning life? How much do you need to have to sustain that winning life?
If you are experiencing isolation and loneliness, don’t shrink back and continue to live life in the corner. Reach out to someone, a friend or a professional helper, to talk about your deep thoughts and feelings and to find a way out of that isolation and loneliness. You are living on a very narrow margin of support or even a deficit if you constantly think you don’t belong and you don’t matter. Things may happen in your past that cause you to think like that. It’s time to reach out and uproot the past that has been occupying good space in the soil of your heart.
A MARGIN OF HOPE
Your heart needs to build a new margin of hope to enable you to look at the future with anticipation of good things happening. This doesn’t come automatically. The first step is to REACH OUT to someone trustworthy and skillful to help you start the process of healing and restoring.
Living a winning life doesn’t mean fame and popularity. It simply means you have enough resources to live an enjoyable and satisfying life. When life throws you lemons, you have the skills to make lemonade. Lemons are too good to waste. In Perth, a lemon can cost $1 🙂
A test in life comes to give you a testimony! Chuck Swindoll says, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Every struggle has a meaning to life and a story to tell. If that’s not your orientation in life, if you believe that tests are to destroy you and you have fallen into a dark hole, REACH OUT to someone so that you can be STRONGER TOGETHER in testing times. A margin can be created in that supportive relationship to help you discover that life is still worth the living.
A MARGIN OF JOY
Find a margin of joy to help you enjoy life better. Too many people don’t find life enjoyable because they don’t have enjoyable things to do – ‘I don’t like sports, it’s too expensive to eat out, I don’t enjoy watching movies, I don’t socialise.’ Rediscover what you like rather than dwell on what you don’t like.
Reach out to a more enjoyable lifestyle. What energises you? What replenishes your energy? I refer to these activities as the green zones – they grow you to win in life.
For some of you, food may be a green zone. Cooking good food for your friends and family or inviting them out for meals could be pleasurable and invigorating. For others of you, watching a good movie may be a green zone. Carve out time to watch a movie with friends regularly to recharge your strength.
Let’s heed the words of Winston Churchill, “Continuous effort — not strength nor intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.” Continue to make efforts to REACH OUT to build your margin of hope and joy, the two vital elements of your potential.