Blogs

Safe and Sound

images

 

When we think of the idea of “safety”, we often think of our physical safety. There are safety goggles, safety belts, workplace safety, and safety pins, which are designed to keep us protected from physical harm.

But there is also emotional safety, which relates to our health and wellness just as much as physical safety does.

According to clinical professor of psychiatry Dr. Dan Siegel, we all have a basic need to feel “safe, seen, soothed, and secure.” There are so many situations in relationships, at work, at school, and in the community where we may not feel a true sense of emotional or physical safety. If you live or work in an environment where you don’t feel safe, it can affect you emotionally, intellectually, physically, and even spiritually.

There are many ways, conscious or unconscious, that we try to protect ourselves from physical or psychological threats. Some ways we work to make ourselves feel safe, strong, and connected to others are healthy, such as eating nutritious food, being physically active, playing music, bonding with family and friends, “pet therapy”, prayer and service to others, and practicing mindfulness meditation and movement arts like dance, yoga, and Tai Chi. Some ways that we try to make ourselves feel safe are not as healthy, such as using behaviors or substances to provide a sense of comfort and protection in a stressful environment or situation. There are often natural, adaptive, protective, and even unconscious reasons for why we started to act, feel, and think in those less healthy ways. So, acceptance and compassion for ourselves and others as a “work in progress” is important, while also realizing that, with the right knowledge and support, we can feel safe to try making healthy changes. Advances in neuroscience, with research by Dr. Shauna Shapiro, Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Kristin Neff, Dr. Rick Hanson, and many others, show that you can actually change your brain function and structure for the better, just by how you think. These changes in your brain then improve how you think, feel, and act, at all levels, mind, body, and spirit. But you have to let go of shame and judgement as you do the work of transforming your life, focusing instead on positive attitudes of acceptance, hope, genuine love, kindness and compassion, in order to change your brain in a healthy way.

Everyone needs kindness and compassion when trying something new, when making difficult changes or decisions, and when dealing with loss, trauma, failure, and disappointment. With support from health and wellness professionals that address the mind, body, and spirit, you can begin to naturally let go of emotional and physical pain, continue to grow healthy and strong, and learn to feel truly safe.

 

Article

 

 

Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

When we are trying to make sense of these times and to do and say whatever we can to make the world a better place to live, it can be challenging.  I believe that love will always be more powerful than anything that is not love.

There are so many examples of how goodness, even in the smallest acts of kindness, can change hearts and transform lives when done with the faith, hope, and love of God.

Faith, as small as a mustard seed, can move mountains.  You may be moving the mountain one stone at a time, but it can be done, with faith in a higher purpose and with others that have that calling.

Having just a glimmer of hope can make all the difference in emotional and physical healing.  We are moved when we see even the smallest example of encouragement offered to someone who needs it.  We need hope to believe in ourselves and others.  Hope keeps us going when life is hard.

Our attempts at love, no matter how meager, become so much more powerful when we let God love through us.  Like a single candle, love can light up the darkness.  Like a small stone thrown in the lake, love can create so many waves.  As with all the resources God gives us, God multiplies our love, no matter how limited it may seem, when we choose to love with grace and mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

When you think that your efforts, no matter how small, can’t make a positive difference, think of Margaret Mead’s quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Here is a song I wrote called “Small Wonders” about how something small can make a big difference.

Song

Send My Mail to Nashville

image

Stacey K. Black, producer, director, editor, and singer songwriter, spent two years of her life creating the music documentary, “Send My Mail to Nashville”.  It’s an extraordinary movie and I was grateful to be one of the many songwriters she featured. Her film offers a powerful and touching inside look at the songs and stories by songwriters as they live and work in a city with an estimated 55,000 songwriters. Interviewing songwriters at all levels, Stacey thoughtfully shows the peaks and valleys songwriters go through.

The film does an excellent job telling the songwriters’ stories and the various ways they create, record, perform, and promote their music.  It is clear that Stacey genuinely cares for the songwriters she features.  She shows how fun, but also how challenging, making a living with music can be in “Music City”.  Filled with plenty of great, original songs and impressive performances, the movie features Trevor Finlay, Jennifer Friend, Kevin So, Joe First, Shashi Light, Jack Frisby, Stacey K. Black, Don Hillaker, Peggy Hustad, Joel Shewmake, Lydia Smith, and Steven Wylie.

“Send My Mail to Nashville” has been making the rounds with film festivals and will be released in the near future.  For more information, go to the movie’s Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/SendMyMailToNashville