We are constantly advised about the dangers of excessive use of our digital devices and the consequences for both young and old. One of the dangers highlighted by the NHS is the exposure to psychological damage for the individual. On the NHS Website they list 5 steps to Mental Health Wellbeing:
1. Connect with people
2. Be Active
3. Keep Learning
4. Give to Others
5. Be Mindful.
There are many ways to achieve these 5 steps and I do know one, challenging, way that will tick all the five step’s criteria. And that is being in a group of people who are on a journey of faith, as it:
Connects you with a variety of people who are exploring new horizons, which develops new friendships and provides a network of mutual support.
Activities are thus available to participate in providing; mental, physical, social and spiritual engagement.
Learning is encouraged and supported by engaging in an exciting lifetime of exploration and growth with others on this journey of adventure.
Giving to others through the gift of sharing yourself in time, offering hospitality, utilising your skills and experience, reaching out, offering compassion, practical help, prayer and finances. So many opportunities to make a difference bringing support, relief and joy.
Mindfulness was not a name used by the early Church, but they did develop practices that provide silence and peace that are still used today. These practices are commonly known as meditation or centring prayer, described by Jon Sweeney and Mark Burrows as:
There is a language so
beautiful that is never spoken
There is a deep sort of silence
that may never adequately fall into words
That I tell you is more valuable
than any jewel
or any diamond…
Participation in these five steps as outlined would greatly support the individual, their family, friends, the Church, our communities, our planet and, everybody’s psychological wellbeing. It would be a challenge, but there could be some very exciting possible outcomes.
This year I read something that was very challenging for me:
What do you want to let go of?
What do you want to give yourself to?
What is keeping you from giving yourself?
I discovered my challenge is about my generosity.
When reading and listening to two of my favourite writers I was encouraged and, again challenged. The late John O’Donohue, encourages with the words; ‘Go against yourself’. His friend and poet David Whyte then advised me; ‘Just beyond yourself is where you need to be'!