So today I posted a couple of videos on Instagram and Facebook about something that has been in my heart for a couple of days… and in doing so it got me thinking that maybe I’ll try my hand at posting a short video every Wednesday entitled, “Wellness Wednesdays”.
Anyway, my first video today is about our thoughts and how a lot of them are really not of our own making… not initially anyway… especially the negative thoughts we tend to replay over and over again in our heads that can become detrimental to our wellbeing if we allow them to take root.
If we are not careful we start to believe in all the negative things that we’ve heard about ourselves throughout our lives and those negative thoughts can very quickly become the your story we believe we are.
Hopefully in this day and age we all know that telling a child they are bad or evil when they act out or telling them they are stupid or useless when they make a mistake are terrible things to say to them. Doing this causes a child to grow up with confusing images of themselves and low or no self esteem.
But we still do these things as adults to other adults. We judge each other sometimes verbally and at times can be very cruel in our criticism for simply having an opposing point of view on a subject… and sometimes for even something as petty as a movie we might like, fashion sense or choice of hairstyle.
Well… Here’s the two part video. So… what are your thoughts? 😉
We live in a society where to do as much as we can in the shortest amount of time is glorified. To always appear busy is a sign of success… The person that professes to being super busy all of the time is looked upon as a go getter, they are in control and handling business. They rarely go out to eat lunch but instead opp to sit at their desks (if they are fortunate to have a desk) and scarf down whatever they can, usually something unhealthy, in ten to fifteen minutes while they try to chisel through their ever growing mountain of assignments.
On the other hand, society tends to look down on people who take a more laid back approach to life… Those who prefer to do one thing at a time. People that like to take a determined amount of time to finish one task at a time instead of jumping back and forth from one thing to the next is at times seen as lacking ambition, not a hard worker and sometimes even lazy.
Even our children’s schedules are so overbooked they seem to forget that some of the activities they are involved in are supposed to be fun. School and learning new ideas and ways of thinking should be fun for children! But where’s the fun when a teacher (who is most likely being pressured to get as many subjects and test in as she/he can in a weeks time) is rushing every child along at the same pace? Most extra curricular activities like art, music and even outdoor recess has been taken out of schools or so limited that they may as well not exist. The one size fits all approach to learning often places children who learn in a different way at risk of missing out. Everyone shouldn’t be expected to learn at the same pace.
Some employers, for what ever reasons, insist on adding more and more projects for their employees to be completed during work hours. Before an employee can finish one task, three more are placed in front of them. Depending on the workplace, (e.g. retail) sometimes these employees are dealing with coworkers and customers while trying to finish their own designated tasks… small wonder why people are physically and mentally stressed to the breaking point! And business owners are left to wonder why moral is low, people call in sick and productivity is slacking off… REALLY?
Of course you are not being paid to sit, doodle in a notepad and daydream on your employees dime! Employers have their own crazy deadlines and quotas to meet. So what’s wrong with taking a break? Most employees fear for their jobs and risk their emotional stability when made to feel they have to be “productive” at all costs and to never let anyone see them sitting down just doing “nothing”.
And at the end of the workday the multitasking mania continues. We risk our lives and the lives of others by talking or texting on our phones as we drive through traffic. Underground we race through crowds on narrow platforms with our headphones on or earbuds in to jump on packed subways and run in front of cars trying to catch the bus before it speeds off.
We mindlessly and dangerously cross the street while reading some “Breaking News!’ on our cell phones and then stop to pick up dinner at the grocery store. Still on our phones, we zigzag through each aisle throwing what’s ever quickest to prepare in our carts. And finally make it to the checkout all the while still rudely having a loud conversation on our cell phone while searching our bags and pockets for our money or credit cards.
Finally… miraculously we make it home in one piece. We sit down in front of the television with our plates full of quickly prepared processed food, turn on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube etc… and check our Instagram and Facebook feeds and shop Amazon all at the same time.
But why is that… Why are we running around feeling the need to multitask even outside of work… trying to stuff even more into our already over stuffed lives?
We have gotten so caught up in our technological world, especially social media. The need to know how many likes, friends, comments and photos we’ve gotten since that last ten minutes we checked is instant gratification… a quick but fake escapism from our overstretched reality. With just one tap of a key, click of a link or slide of a screen we are transported to yet another stressful dimension… It’s stressful because it’s never enough. The likes, followers and virtual friends just never come fast enough to satisfy our need for right now.
Well, ironically… I say life is too damn short! Enough already!
Of course we need jobs and we do need to be productive members of society. The economy doesn’t work if everyone decides to stop and take vacation all at the same time… Right? We can’t all quit our jobs. Last week when I went to the grocery store we were still using currency in this society. And technology isn’t going anywhere either… I know this because I just read it on Google.
But there has got to be a balance. There has got to be time to just BE without fear of being looked upon as lazy, unproductive, unambitious slackers, irrelevant nobodies who are out of the loop, or just plain crazy.
We’ve got to find our own personal balance between our outside reality… the one that keeps our material world going and our other very true (and what I feel is our most important) reality. Our internal creative reality is that part of us that longs to do the things we are meant to do opposed to those things we have to do to survive in this made up society. We risk losing our creative selves when we focus too much of our time juggling the demands of what is outside of us.
“The science is unequivocal about multitasking: it’s bad for attention, memory, productivity, creativity, and happiness. We need to take matters into our own hands, and we can start by making small modifications in our day-to-day habits. Monotasking takes motivation, dedication, and continual practice, but the benefits are significant. Let’s reclaim our lives!”
– Nicola Brown, owner and principal of communication consultancy Think Forward Communication, and Editor-in-Chief at AnewTraveller.com.
It has been a rough few weeks. It seems everyday we are hit with one more thing that tempts to shake us off our course of ellevation.
Mass shootings, race based police brutality, children being separated from their parents, and yes… crazy ass presidential tweets and racist ideas that make fear and hatred; that were already on a slow simmer, come to a rolling boil. This mixture of fear and hatred is overheating. It is threatening to blow the ill fitting lid off the scorched, dented and abused pot of democracy that has seen much better days.
Are the truths we hold really true… For all? Do we still lift a lamp beside the golden door for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free? Or do we build walls so high that Lady Liberty’s bright and welcoming light is snuffed for a certain group that we find maybe just a little too tempest tossed and wretched for our taste?
It seems to not end.
We hear on the news of death by suicide. Some of us look at others and think theirs lives glitter like gold. But the people whose lives we think are so much better than ours realize that all that glitters on the outside is not enough to hide the darkness and the pain they carry within. No one ever knows the true struggle of another and we damn sure will never learn the answers to why. Even the note left behind could never reveal their true pain and hopelessness.
At times, standing too close to that fine line between our real personal reality and the chaotic reality of the outside world can make stepping across that line very tempting. No matter how grounded we may be on Sunday, Monday you may wake up, throw your feet over the side of the bed and find the floor has disappeared.
In order to hold on to our sanity in an insane world we have to find ways of stepping away from the edge.
Finding ways to step away and decompress after being bombarded with so much hate, fear, sadness and confusion is not always easy. And that’s not even mentioning the personal struggles we all go through on the daily just to “survive.”
Sometimes we feel torn and even guilty. We may have just gotten our own lives back on track or are still trying to find a light at the end of our own dark tunnel. We may want or feel we need to do something or maybe do more but we just don’t know what or how. We risk becoming depressed and beginning our own downward spiral into hopelessness. But we must remember that we can only do so much to help to right some of the wrongs of the world. Remembering too that we must make sure of our own footing as we move forward.
Detachment is not a bad thing. Sometimes detaching ourselves from the outside world… stepping away from it all for a time could be what’s needed to focus on what we can do in our own way to bring about change.
When we feel ready and are confident of our own footing… when we have regained our inside quiet and have gotten the answers to how best we can help in whatever situation we feel a need to help in, only then can we move ahead knowing that our own well being is intact and not in jeopardy.
It is five o’clock on a Sunday morning. I sit in front of my computer. My thoughts are like elusive gold fish; fast and slippery. They swim erratically through my mind and I fail to lure any of them long enough to catch.
And then something occurs to me… It’s Easter Sunday. What better time to start again, renewed, refreshed… alive.
It also seems the perfect time to introduce to you the reasoning behind the title of my website/blog… Ellavate7.
Ellavate7 is a combination of my beloved mother Ella’s name and the fact that I am her 7th. child. It also signifies this moment in my life. It is a call to action. An internal longing to rise higher… to elevate!
So as I finish doing my morning stretch, turn the coffee maker on and check my phone, I sit back down at the computer. That school of elusive fish have disappeared, and my thoughts are calm.
I close my eyes.
An image of my mother appears and she is standing over my bed. I am a child again and it is Easter Sunday morning. A gloriously beautiful morning… but I am still in bed hiding from the world.
The early morning sunlight finds its way to my bedroom window, winks around the edges of the vinyl roll up shade and encases my mother in a breath taking halo of ethereal light. She pulls the crumpled bed sheets from my head… I giggle. In my heart her voice beckons me… “Get up Andrea… Elevate. It is a new day!”