Author: connie

The secret to belonging I discovered

I’ve been petrified of not belonging. I will avoid feeling on the outside at all costs, and yet there I often find myself – outside. Close but not close enough.  Good but not good enough.  Wanting to be seen for who I am but masquerading as whatever people want me in order to fit in. I don’t know one person who doesn’t feel this way. Here is one thing that unites us all: a great desire to belong, to be seen and understood. To find our tribe that “gets us” and we “get” them. What’s the secret, then?  How does one fit in? You don’t. That’s the secret. The courage to belong…. but belong nowhere A few months ago, I read Brene Brown’s new book, “Braving the Wilderness”.  It deeply impacted me.  She quotes Maya Angelou in her book, “You are only free when you realize you belong to no place, you belong to every place, no place at all.  The price is high, the reward is great.” I didn’t like that quote at all. For years I’ve been teaching resilience to students with the message that “we are one another’s courage”. I’ve seen courage rise in students when they felt the support and compassion of their classmates. The idea of standing alone completely went against what was proven to me time and time again: when we belong, we...

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It’s time to rewrite the stories of the broken: how we can all see change in mental health issues

It’s time to rewrite the stories of the broken. it’s time for those who feel imprisoned by chains of anxiety, depression, disorders, shame and isolation to find freedom. it’s time for lives that have been devastated for generations to be rebuilt. its time for those who have been marginalized, misunderstood to be brought close and renamed: welcomed, beloved, worthy. it’s time to rewrite the stories of the broken. But how? We have to tackle one of the greatest barriers to healing; Our self, our isolation. The problem is we think we write our own story. In fact our culture celebrates those who make it on our own.  We often face our demons in isolation. We turn to self help books to increase our self esteem, self motivation so we can gain more self improvement and be more self aware.  I go to yoga, to church, to bookstores and am surrounded by people – yet very alone in my inner turmoil. Surrounded yet alone. This is what we have bought into as normal. I’m not saying it’s not good to do those things.  It’s never a bad thing to read and participate in things that help us grow and work on weakness.  The problem is that we’ve never been more self aware, and yet in the last 10 years anxiety has only risen.  One in five people struggle with anxiety.  One in five. Something is...

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What could stop racism and indifference?

People are your temperature gage for how much you actually love God. In a world where people love God there is no racism bullying hatred indifference anxiety When people belong – it looks like the kingdom that Jesus had in mind. To go deeper into a life of worship means we need to look at an aspect of worship we often overlook or don’t think of at all.  We do “just me and God” very well.  We spend time in prayer or meditation. We close ourselves in on a Sunday morning so it’s just us and God. But then people happen.  And we want to smack them. Jesus defied the idea of worship of just being about us and God.  I want to share about that further through the story of the Last Supper. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all talk about a part of the last supper we all know about.  However, there is something about last supper we haven’t thought much about. It’s important to remember that Jesus knew that was the very last night he would spend with his disciples.  I don’t know about you but if I knew this was my last night to live, I would want to tell my kids the most important things I would want them to remember before I left.  Jesus’s words at the last supper were important because this was...

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Addictions will only continue until we learn to resolve our issue with this one thing…

In my journey of studying addiction I was led by the question of “WHY?”  Why do people find themselves in deep rooted addictions when we all know that no one dreamed of that as a child.  What happened?  And why does 1 out of every 2 people in Canada struggle with some form of addiction? I discovered that addiction reveals that our society doesn’t know what to do with pain.  If we can’t medicate it medically, we attach to other things that promise to bring healing, but don’t. Culture is meant to serve it’s people by helping them face adversity.  This is something our western society clearly lacks.  Sociologist James Davies states that during the 20th century most people living in our society are confused to why they suffer emotionally. The problem is that when we face circumstances that seem out of our control and no one can explain why this pain is happening to us, it creates unrest and resentment in a society. This only continues to create more drive, more striving for success.  If we don’t help people make sense of suffering that that is unexplainable, this leads to social instability.  The instability we see in the increase in addiction, mental health, anxiety says we have some explaining to do.  People are suffering and all we know to respond is to say, “Just find your own personal...

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Addiction is not about the substance, it has more to do with this…

One in five Canadians are experiencing a mental health or addiction problem.  In fact, people struggling with mental health are two times as likely to have a substance abuse problem coinciding (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 2017).  Why is that and what can we do about it? Addiction doesn’t start when substance is used.  Addiction starts in the brain, where the environment that surrounds that person at home, work, school has literally shaped that person’s mind. In last week’s post, I talked about how the family literally determines the mindset of children.  You can see more of that post here.  Our responses to stress influence us and our children.  When parents are stressed or anxious, this decreases an infant’s ability to regulate their own mind as well.  This is not to give addiction the excuse,  “I had poor regulation due to my environment”, but only reveal that addiction is not just about making a decision about whether to have a drink or not, or whether to smoke weed or not.  Every addiction has brain chemistry behind it. Self regulation is not defined as “good behaviour”, but as mind integration; where there is balance between all of the mind’s functions of fight or flight, problem solving, creativity, differentiation (where others emotions do not define your own), etc.  Self regulation depends highly on environment.  A person with good regulation does...

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