library archive #51

Standing Tall

Intentional attitudes for mental health and holistic well-being

Better, wiser lives 
can be build with 
solid intentions, core values, identity-narratives 
and confident voices.

Positive growth also takes a good dose of imagination and creativity. These are all gifts of wisdom.

Creativity is intelligence having fun — Einstein


It is only with an intentional attitude that I have been able to reach for goals relative to my potential. With this kind of attitude, I keep moving on. I am much better able to overcome obstacles that could otherwise hinder positive growth.

Frequently, I ask myself: In the grand scheme of possibilities why would I let one truly insignificant event detrimentally alter my health, my core values and my connections with the world?

Choose affirmations that support a growth mindset.

For every unfortunate misfortune that life throws at me,
I emphatically amplify {positive} passionate actions along my route.

— Francine Fallara

The healing process

Intuitively, emotionally and cognitively, I knew that standing tall, in the world, was a transformation that had to start from within. I had to own the process.

Intentions, core values, identity and a growth mindset are essential to mental health. When these are in place, your confidence and ‘voice’ can soar (but be prepared to soar in baby-steps, if need be).

The intentional plan of action

The Oxford dictionary defines intention as an aim or plan. From Latin it means stretching your purpose.In logic, we form plans by directing the mind toward an object.

My ‘object’ was stronger mental health and a better life overall. To begin to tackle this particular goal I needed to decide what mental health and a better life looked like for me. Then, I chose a plan that would help me to affirm my sub-goals of core values, my identity-narrative and with these, a confidence, strong voice.

Building a mind-map as your tree of life.

Affirmations such as the ones shared in this article would extend on a mind-map. They branch out like a tree of life, fine-tuning as a means of stretching your central purpose, vision or goal.

Mental health, for me, has involved a constant effort to stick to the plan or purpose. It means reminding myself to step forward when the messages from within are saying, ‘step back or run now and hide’. And in doing so I continually nourish the growth of my ‘tree of life’.

When something brings me down, especially instantly, with that kick-in-the-gut feeling, I now use it as a clue to…

accept (not absorb), 
and expand my thinking. 
Then, and only then, do I mindfully move forward.
I let go or I integrate.

My intentional plan includes striving to never repress or oppress, within or around me. As this pattern becomes stronger, I am able to manage depression in a more positive way. It feels good to stand taller and be with a voice that is becoming more confident and genuine. It takes time and I am ok with that. Courage is gradually taking a greater space in my way of being and fear is losing its stronghold.

Courage is as contagious as fear — Susan Sontag

Communicating with a unique and confident voice

Wisdom involves an intuitive, empathetic connection with your ‘self’ and with the world and really listening to both.

As I mindfully engage in this bio-feedback, I am learning that being wise means being creatively aware of the how’s and what’s of effective communication. Within the personal matrix — body, mind, heart, soul and spirit — and with the world there is a myriad of manner of sharing information.

David Lynch wrote about the many other forms of language in the natural world.

This myriad of expression includes pheromones, colour, texture, body posture or movement, art, imagination, dreams, ceremony, and ritual, nearly any kind of expression.

I am learning to embrace each of these diverse and creative ways of being fully alive.Holistic health, including and maybe, especially mental health, is supported by a wisdom that nature conveys. It has opened my mind and heart to hear the world in alternative ways and I find that I get less ‘stuck’ in a rut feeding fear and depression.

Everything has a unique voice. Therefore, we have a diverse set of natural-based tools available to us to grow, learn and make meaningful connections.Lynch furthered this idea by saying that while it is true that many beings ‘speak’ they do so through different shapes and forms.

…the laugh of an acorn woodpecker, the huff of an alert stag, or a thundering clap of lightening for example — these typify only one mode of speaking…

There is irony in being truly mindful, alive and open to the eclectic beauty around me when social anxiety was gradually shutting me down.I have found that as my identity and voice become stronger, more authentic, with integrity, I am also more my mindful of my surroundings. This is because I am less anxious and better able to observe and interact in a heartfelt, calm and steady way.

As something truly resonants with me, I can better integrate that idea with my set of core values. I have found that this also lets me be a better listener and a better communicator. With a radical empathy I embrace the world’s varied ways of communicating with me instead of repressing my emotional attunement.

Wisdom is a holistic embrace of life.

It is about being inspired, delighted, motivated so that, in some way, I transform by way of thinking, doing or feeling, for the better. We need confident voices and a means of communicating our understandings to share and balance meaningful connections with the world.

You never fail until you stop trying — Albert Einstein

Wisdom is about maintaining an open mind, a willingness to listen and a wanting to learn and grow.

Bringing it together in recovery is a life-long plan

In order to stay true to my evolving ‘wiser’ path of living, I base my intentional attitude on affirmations. These are closely tied to my narrative, identity, core values — all oriented with towards personal growth with a confident voice.

Those affirmations are the reminders I need to stay the course and not let my voice be dampened by potential set-backs. Gandhi’s ten affirmations are some of the foundations for building an intentional attitude. They are framed and posted on the wall over my writing desk. When I feel the withering signs of self-doubt or depression, I look at each and remind myself — I can do that.

  1. Change yourself — Be the change you want to see in the world.
  2. You are in control — Nobody can hurt you without your permission. (Viktor Frankl’s ‘will-to-meaning’ extends this thinking.)
  3. Forgive and let it go — Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
  4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere — An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.Basically, a walk-the-talk-attitude.
  5. Take care of this moment — I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present.
  6. Everyone is human — I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.
  7. Persist — First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you {integrate}.
  8. See the good in people and help them —Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.
  9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self — Keep what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
  10. Continue to grow and evolve — Constant development is the law of life, and a those who always tries to maintain their dogmas, without reflection and growth, in order to appear consistent drives themselves into a false position.

The power of music and the nurturing Other within

And I close this story with another story and with a song. For me, both speak to embracing the nurturing Other within and around you. This Other who walks beside you, may have gone away for a bit, as did mine, but with an intentional attitude and standing resolutely tall, it can be in your arms, mind, heart and soul, again.

Namasté, Leah🕊

Namasté, Leah

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

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🕊 The ART Matrix is creating poetry & stories
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