Monday, February 25, 2013

My head told my heart, let love grow…

…but my heart told my head, this time no, this time no. [1]

The sun is shining.  The birds are chirping.  It’s the start of a fresh new week.  Yet, I can’t find a single thing to smile about.  I don’t want to get out of bed.  I don’t want to do anything.  I don’t, I can’t, I won’t…

Even though I have no major commitments (a.k.a. no full-time job), there are projects at home that I have been looking forward to doing.  Like anyone else, I have my list of things that I want to accomplish.

I want to get started on the basement make over.
I just got more beautiful colors of yarn for knitting and crocheting.
I am in the middle of reading the first, and very exciting, Lord of the Rings book.
I love doing artwork, crafts, and such.  And, I have the time and resources to do so.

Then, why I am not taking advantage of my situation and doing all the things I love to do?  Who wouldn’t trade me for my completely free schedule in a heartbeat?  Even though I have so much to be thankful for, why do I still feel so miserable?

It must be because I am lazy and ungrateful.

At least, that is what my brain is telling me.

For these circumstances, I am going to share with you some of the best advice I have ever heard.  Are you ready?  Wisdom!  Be attentive![2]  This piece of insight is going to change your life:

You must lead with your body, and your head will follow.[3]

When your mind is not feeling up for anything, start moving your body against your will.  This seems counter intuitive because it is; it is opposite of what you think to be true.

Since we were young, we have been advised to allow our heads to make the right decisions and to be careful of letting our hearts lead the way.  The point of that lesson is to do what you know to be right, even if you don’t feel like it.  Yet, for those struggling with depression, the head is not the source of infallible knowledge.   If I had let my head dictate my life when I was going through some of my darkest times, I would not be here today.

So, if you are dealing with a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder, it is good to not always listen to your head.  Instead, form a different type of habit.  Lead with your actions, and your head will follow.  Choose those certain activities that you know, for a fact, are going to do you good.  If you don’t feel like it, even if your mind is telling you otherwise, do it anyway.  Once you get moving, there is a good chance that your brain will catch up later.  Just like any other good habit, this practice is learned over time.

For me, some mornings, all it takes is going through the motions of making a pot of coffee and some breakfast.  Most days, however, I have to lead with my body all day long and my brain never seems to catch up.

Nonetheless, the more I remember this practice, the better things turn out in the end.

[1] Mumford and Sons Lyrics, Winter Wind, 2011
[2] Shout out to Gaming, Austria Fall 2005. Byzantine Liturgy
[3] From Margarita Tartakovsky viaTherese Borchard, Weightless