This saying isn’t my own. I first heard it in the late 1970’s and it has helped me through many difficult times in my life.

As a community our very sense of identity is based on wellness; through connection with each other in person where it is safe and on internet platforms offering worship, prayer, music, gathering in groups and pastoral care. We offer wellness in the community through our food program, chaplaincy, outreach and prayer.

To offer wellness to each other we must practice wellness for ourselves. Current neuroscience studies show that people who rate high on a wellness scale share common lifestyle habits, such as:

Sleep. This is winter in the northern hemisphere where, as the creatures that we are, we’re meant to hibernate. We still have our responsibilities to family, work and community and… we can make sleep and naps a priority.

As tempting as those Haagen Daz salted caramel ice cream bars are to me they don’t support my body, emotions or mind after that first sensuous hit. Vegetables, fruit, real non-processed foods. We know.

If you’re a gym rat and that option is closed it is helpful to know that walking, for long enough and fast enough to raise our heart rate is shown to be beneficial. There are many excellent exercise, yoga, tai chi, etc. instructors offering their classes online.

Time spent outside in natural light, in nature is beneficial. Stand on the sand, grass, or dirt. Wrap your arms around a tree. Get close to moving water, even a fountain in the city.
Meditation. Call it prayer, contemplation or mindfulness practice. But sit. Quietly in the present moment. Noticing but not attaching to any thought, feeling, or sensation. Learn to be with yourself, kindly, gently. What meditation is NOT is being in a blissful state having no thoughts or feelings.

Research shows differences in brain scans of people who are resilient and adaptive to changing circumstances. 

We can add to our capacity for resilience by:

First, feel and express emotions - cry, wail, howl, stomp, talk, laugh, and then practice;

Self compassion - turn negative self talk into positive. Would I say what I’m saying to myself in the tone that I’m using to someone else?  What would I say to a loved one or a friend? Write it down. Practice saying those same positive messages to myself.

Positive reminiscence - recalling events in your life that had positive effects. It could be a goal reached, a project or task accomplished, or even a difficult period or challenge overcome. It is often in hindsight that we see the growth and healing that came in the form of adversity. 

Acts of kindness - in performing acts of kindness, my own concerns take a back seat in my awareness and I can choose to place my attention on making a difference for another person.

Prayer - reminds me always that Divine Presence is with me and with all living beings when life is difficult or challenging. It also helps to put my life in perspective as just one tiny, but significant part in the unfolding story of the cosmos.

And nowhere is it written that it is going to return to ‘normal’.

The Rev Dixie Black, Deacon

November 16, 2020