Share a Cup of Wellness

Share a Cup of Wellness

Once when my youngest daughter was ill with some childhood malady, she called to my mother, asking for a cup of tea. Her grandmother was only too happy to oblige. My daughter thanked her but insisted through her tears that what she wanted was some cup-a-tea. My mother was confused. My little girl explained that she could hear all of us moving about the house while she lay in bed, feeling lonesome and neglected. “I just need some cup-a-tea,” she repeated between sobs.

It took a while before we all understood that what my three-year-old wanted…and needed…was some company.

Every time we awake, from slumber or daydreams, we have choices. We want to cling to the good feelings planted within our brains from our rest and flights of fancy. Or we need to clear the cobwebs from our thoughts or get started on that nagging list of things that must be done. We remind ourselves that it is time to get up and get things done. This is what humans do; our lives demand it. All the thoughtful platitudes scrolling across our social media pages reminding us to relax and simply be will not get dinner cooked, clean the litter box or pay our bills for us.

Human psychology states we affirm wellness when we seek balance in six areas of our being: bodies, emotions, intellect, spirituality, occupation and community. We achieve and maintain wellness when we reach our potential. We also recognize that same need exists in others—we connect to help each other find full potential in all six facets. Wellness is a wonderful state to be in and to produce in others through our actions.

We can resolve then to make more conscious choices, ones that bring us into a desired state of wellness in all six areas. Whether we call our persistent thoughts habits or unconscious patterns, we know some of them are beneficial, healthy even. Others are less so, and there is every shade of gray between the two ranges. To strive for wellness then, we need to determine which are worth keeping and which need changing or casting off? How is wellness enhanced when we connect with others?

The calendar is filled with special months, weeks, and days that raise awareness for a variety of important issues. As humans, we love advocating, supporting and working together for worthwhile causes. We share conversation, food, feelings, thoughts and ideas because we are, at heart, social creatures. Reaching out to touch others, we find connections. Our shared humanness helps us to recognize that we all must do certain things to sustain health. The twin states of being and doing make us feel alive and well. We can also find this when we seek to bring wellness to others.

No matter where we are on the calendar, wellness is always a worthwhile cause. It is both journey and destination. A cup of tea is as good a place as any to start. Shared in the company of friends, it is even better.

Submitted to Holstee.com April 2017

 

Cultivating Awareness

Listening well requires discipline and thought.  Our thoughts are things we own – they emerge from our personal schemas, as defined in a previous blog. Simply stated, our thoughts are the instruments we use to arrange and outline our unique maps of the world.  Furthermore, our thoughts are direct descendants of our perceptions, which have been born out of our personal experiences.

Because of how they are created, thoughts can be fickle.  For example, think about attending a movie with a group of friends.  Afterwards, you excitedly discuss your favorite characters, scenes and lines. It soon becomes apparent that everyone has different favorites!   Who or what did you focus on compared to the others?  You begin to wonder if they even viewed the same movie!   Even more compelling is the realization that you will also watch this same film in a week or even years later only to find that your own viewpoint has changed.  What have you experienced since viewing it the first time?  Thoughts evolve.  They can be tricky; reality is not always certain.

In our efforts to hear not only what we want to hear, but also to pay attention to the rest of what is being said, we have to cultivate our awareness in order to become better listeners.  Awareness asks us to expand our thinking by calling our perceptions into question, possibly even prompting us to change them. Communication research bears out that perception creation is a process.  First, we select what we pay attention to because we cannot attend to everything that bombards us daily. Next, we arrange our selections in ways that make them meaningful to us.  Researchers tell us that we also classify our perceptions in a number of ways before we interpret them through our own prisms.  Finally, when our interpretation differs from another’s, we exchange ideas and narratives that allow us to negotiate their meanings.  Interestingly, this is but one example of how we influence one another through listening.

If, as you read these blogs, you have interpreted their contents as helpful, allowing you to evaluate your own listening style, let’s close with this: Change does not happen when we separate ourselves from that which we want to change. Change is challenging because it involves recognition, learning and action – we have to put some skin in the game.  Action involves an honest examination of our current listening skills, as well as a commitment to cultivate more awareness so we can, recognize the challenges that keep us ineffective as listeners.  We need to study and assimilate various listening responses that let others know we are tuned in to what others are saying. When we take the steps to more effectively control how we listen, we can become more adept listeners.