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Bumps and Bruises
Greetings lovely one,
Another long month has passed by. I cannot believe there are only two months left of this year. It’s coming down to the wire with my seminary education, which means tons of writing project deadlines to meet. Having my works workshopped has been quite intimidating but helpful. Although it’s difficult at times, I try not to compare myself to my classmates, many of which are absolutely brilliant, and in my opinion, very talented. I try to open my mind to the new ideas, new concepts, and new art forms they each bring to the table. It’s a lot to take in, so I’m trying to sponge as much as I can for processing later.
One of the things I admire about my fellow seminarians is their passion for the work they feel called to do. Many of them already came to the table with their ministries in tow. Some are already chaplains or are already pastors or assistant pastors. Some, like myself, who are doing work in theopoetics and writing, are already published authors, composers, talented musicians, theater directors, etc. One of my classmates, a theologian and artist performed an amazing spoken-word piece and introduced me to duration poetry and his work on the body as poetry.
I didn’t come to the school with my ministry set in stone. I had no idea why I felt called to go to seminary and was irritated that it kept bothering me for years. As a solopreneur, who still juggles the feast or famine cycles, it really made no financial sense for me. But my longing for something deeper would not be satisfied until I took that first clumsy step. As I randomly took classes that weren’t degree requirements, I found myself drawn to the ministry of spiritual direction and wondered how I could apply theopoetics to my work in mental health and this emerging ministry of deep listening presence. I resisted my inquiry into this mystery like you wouldn’t believe.
As a creative type, I already struggle with insecurities around how hard it is to stick to one thing. So, as I was working on classwork assignments, I became hopeful when I came across this passage:
“The beauty and grace of the creative-imaginative is its multiple nature… As the Divine is inherently a creative source -so are we made to be creative in God’s being. As God is multiple in God-self, we too desire to be our most authentic selves in a multiplicity of expression.”
I was encouraged that the author, Naisa Wong, is both an artist and a spiritual director.
I realized that part of my yearning is to unapologetically embrace that multiplicity within myself in a bid to guide others in the reclaiming of their most authentic self, a non-static self, a self in constant motion, who has the capacity for transformative change. And that was when the real work began. The more I leaned into my multifaceted ministry, the more I felt frustrated with myself for not being as skilled as my professors/trainers. When we were gearing up for our practicums last semester, I wanted to be mastery level - like yesterday.
I wanted so much not to make any mistakes in the care of souls. I wanted to say the right wise words at the right times, sit in sacred silence when it felt like the perfect moment to do so. I wanted to be innovative right off the bat. I already noted how like many western forms of healing, the schools, their texts, and the leadership in these spaces were skewed to cater towards a white middle/upper-class way of being in the world. I wondered how I would be able to subvert my own conditioning to offer this ministry in a way that spoke to the condition of BIPOC folk. I’m chuckling as I type this because as I reflect, I’m thinking, “Oh, come on! Cut yourself some slack, woman!”
I’m getting better at doing just that - extending the arm of compassion toward myself, which in turn helps me to be a better human to others. So, as I stumble through my classes and training while having my works critiqued for improvement in technique and expansion in thinking, I remember that works of love take time, practice, and perseverance. I remember that it’s okay to fall, get a couple of battle scars, and get back up again, savor the messiness of being a perfectly imperfect human.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
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November I'm inviting you to join me for my annual 30 Days of Thankfulness. Beginning November 1st, I will be sharing three things that I'm thankful for at the end of the day on my Facebook page. Follow along! I encourage you to share yours too. I’ll be using the hashtag #30daysofthankfulness
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Ongoing I’m co-creating stigma-crushing, mental health awareness merch for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Wear your support!
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Tales from the blog keepers
The theme for world mental health day this year was “Mental Health in an Unequal World”. The world continues to become increasingly polarized, the very wealthy become wealthier, and the number of people living in poverty is ridiculously high. It’s important to highlight that access to mental health services remains unequal, with between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries unable to access mental health services at all, and access in high-income countries is not much better. If you have a stage, why not use it for good? With Giving Tuesday fast approaching, the time for leaders to act is now.
While I think awareness and ending the stigma campaigns are super necessary, I’d personally love to see collective policy change. Many of us do not work in public healthcare policy, but we are responsible for emulating the standards for the type of culture we want for our businesses. I'd love to see more entrepreneurs and business leaders support one another through our mental health and debt issues. Even if we are solopreneurs or freelancers, it’s important to integrate personal mental health policy into our overall workplace wellness plans.
Her pastor told her it was a sin not to feel joy. These experiences are not rare, and it’s long overdue to address this harmful approach to mental health and faith. Here’s what happens when churches ignore mental illness.
Muse of the month
Blerd’s the word
Have you seen the previews for the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop yet? I’m on the fence about it. It just doesn’t have the same vibe as the anime, but I won’t count it out. What do you think?