Library Archive #43

Living with a Gritty, Intentional Conscious Attitude

A holistic approach to healthy minds with reflection and transformation.

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.

Terry Tempest Williams

The philosophy of mind and of life includes the relationship of the mind to the body.Inherent in this is consciousness. As humans we have the luxury of free will, and the ability to make decisions regarding our identities, emotions and how we perceive the world through our senses.

This philosophy brings the mind, consciousness, self-awareness together with the physical functioning of the brain as an integrated whole. How we think, emote and act, effects the health of our bio-psycho-social being as a whole.

When it comes to treatment for mental health, I needed to be actively involved in the process before I made any valuable progress. I need to be there, mind, body, heart, soul and spirit, wholeheartedly. Medications on their own were like bandages on a festering wound that needed deeper care to heal.

I can talk myself into pretty much any hole eveI can talk myself into pretty much any hole even when on medication. I needed to be intentionally conscious in evolving to live to my fullest potential.

Be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

The Gestalt

From a gestalt perspective, each part is not isolated from the whole. And, the whole is not just a sum of the parts. Our ‘Being-in-the-world’ needs to be considered as a intertwined helix in which each part influences the health of the other. It is a mind-body integration.

And, the conscious brain rules the roost. An intentional mindset is the heavy hitter in mental well-being. Further, beliefs and desires do have an influence on the physical parts and vice versa.

Voluntary acts of the conscious human mind empower our mental health.

Emergentism is a philosophical school of thought which posits that our mental states emerge with our physical states, not from them. There can not be a change to the mental state without some change to the physical. But also, we are not just instinct and involuntary reflexes.

Over the years, medications on their own, without an appropriate and steady psychological and emotional treatment plan proved wholly ineffective.

It was my mindset that was the game-changer. With a very determined, intentional mindset I began taking baby-steps forward into a holistic bio-psycho-social philosophy of life. And my work was cut out for me. Lack of confidence and a tremendous amount of fear were constant hurdles I needed to surmount.

Turning on my consciously intentional, gritty, growth-mindset was instrumental to my emotionally, cognitively and philosophical growth. It continues to be the key to mental well-being. My plan evolved with each baby-step towards clearly my cognitive fog and easing my intrinsic emotional battlefield.

Self-actualization is a developmental process

The transformation from a life overshadowed by mental illness and identity struggles towards greater autonomy and mental well-being is a positive, essential outcome of a holistic mental health paradigm.

Mental health starts with being consciously mindfully attuned to ensure that our the basic needs are met. Abraham Maslow’s theory suggests that we gradually work our way up — one step at a time. This is intended to begin in early childhood. I am consciously, intentionally engaging each of the steps now. If a lower step is suffering the higher steps can not be effective. If that is the case I go back and address it, intentionally and consciously.

A later adaptation of this 5-step model added aesthetic needs (arts and creativity) and self-transcendence (spiritual). This represents a more well-balanced philosophy of mind and life.

According to the World Health Organization

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential.

In other words, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes a personally unique potential. This includes psychological and physical skills and strategies to cope with the normal stresses of life.

We need to value principles which embrace the individual’s unique voice as essential to mental well-being. This includes promoting inclusion and collaboration.

Having SMART goals

Self-initiation, self-agency of my narrative and intentional involvement have become requisite foundations for my mental well-being. SMART is a simple acronym I keep on hand to help me stay on the path with healthy goals which are:

S. — sustainable, specific

M. — measurable, motivational, meaningful

A. — acceptable, achievable, action-oriented

R. — reflexive, relevant, realistic

T. — transforming, tangible, time-bound

From the words of Confucius:

I hear and I forget.

I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.

The repeated cycle of ‘doing’ acceptance, reflection and transformation

Active involvement is the key attribute for long-lasting benefits of my mental health program. Acceptance, reflection and transformation are dynamic constants in my life and understandings have been welcomed gifts.

Maslow’s self-actualization and even self-transcendence once seemed to be rather lofty goals when I began my commitment to this therapeutic life plan. Yet, I somehow, intuitively knew that with the right effort would ease my psychological distress and whatever happened would be ok.

Le papillon

Being at the crossroads of life and death, letting go and being vulnerable, open and exposed has ironically empowered me. It has moved me forward towards having a more confident voice and stance in the world-with-others.

It is a wondrous process by which a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. Metaphorically, my nascent Being is turned upside down from a twig or a leaf spinning into a shiny chrysalis of a gold, metallic sheen.

Within this protective, essential walled ‘fortress’, a gradual, radical transformation occurs and when it is ready, ’Le Papillon’ emerges. This meaning-making metamorphosis of my self-identity is slowly freeing me from my walled-in, masked world of fear, anxiety and depression.

From a human perspective, our conscious minds are capable of greater input into our mental and physical transformations. Involvement in this process is empowering — building deeper more confident sense of intrinsic value and self-awareness. The 21st century global community is such that solid core values, worldviews, and identity-narratives are essential attributes for mentally healthy citizens with future potential possibilities.

And, it has been with an intentional attitude and a growth mindset that the transformation into mental health has been possible. The journey has been a tough one, but in retrospect I see so many positives that it has been well worth the effort.

Thank you for reading! Here is a story along the lines of embracing The Real You.

Namasté, Leah

© 2019 Leah J, M.Ed. Psychology writer/artist/teacher
The ART of Living the Matrix

Please also visit me at MediumTwitter and Pinterest.

Might you consider becoming a Patron in support of my work?


🕊 The ART Matrix is creating poetry & stories
on the journey into mentally healthy living.🕊

Images courtesy of Unsplash