Abby is a person. She works at being an emotionally intelligent person whose main focus currently is being a happy and loving mother to four kids and wife to Malcolm. Born and raised in a General church minister's family, she has been exposed to the Bible and the Writings since childhood but is enjoying reading and understanding these books as an adult more and more. The amazing knowledge about love and wisdom and all of the emotions that follow have truly made her a happier and more self-assured person. Her husband serves as the head pastor of New Church Westville near Durban, South Africa. While leaving family behind is a challenge, she quite enjoys living in Africa.
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I’ve been thinking recently about what my body can tell me, and the power that can come with paying attention to it.
Since having kids, I’ve been on a journey of working to understand how to help them understand their own bodies and their experience of having a body. One of the things I didn’t know was the many ways that our feelings affect our bodies. And in that way, I realise that I have been very out of touch with my body for my whole life. I didn’t have a developed sense of body awareness, and I didn’t have a wide vocabulary for describing my physical experiences. I’ve been learning as I work to understand these things for my kids as to the power just having the correct words can bring.
As I’ve learned to identify muscles and physical experiences more accurately I’ve been able to understand what is happening inside my body. For example, you can pay attention to how to engage your stomach muscles when you’ve had it all explained carefully in terms of how to feel those different muscles and how to get them to engage.
This week we are sharing images of a variety of home worship areas. Last week’s article finished with this quote from Deuteronomy 6:4-7, which fits nicely as we contemplate these warm and thoughtful family worship set ups.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Boundaries are important. My body seems to be bad at boundaries. My ligaments and tendons are too loose, and particularly at my joints they don’t hold my muscles where they should be. This means my joints can hyperextend or bend in the opposite direction more than they’re meant to. This could easily lead to more serious injuries, but mostly just means extra aches and pains as muscles stretch out and bones aren’t kept in place. It’s probably not possible to know whether its all genetics or some other external conditions, but one way or another it seems this is how I was born. I am having to learn how to force my body to re-learn and maintain its boundaries in hopes of not crippling as I age.
Emotional boundaries seem very interconnected and similar to me. We need boundaries to help us know where our emotions stop and another person’s begin. Without these boundaries we can bend and sway too far into another person’s emotional world and anxiety mounts as we take responsibility for things that are not ours to control.
I’m a fairly anxious person. I over think and over analyse most things. From the moral, environmental, and health implications of every snack I choose for my kids each day, to how to spend my money (with many of the same worrying implications), or how to prioritise my life.
Often even as the over thinking is stressful and building I am able to manage. But it regularly builds and becomes overwhelming. I am learning that this happens most often if there is a bigger underlying stress. In recent months and years that underlying stress has been changing and I have made progress. But there are many large life questions I have been wrestling with that are still there even as they have shifted.
These big background stresses are complicated and interconnected and are hard to keep ahold of mentally. As I talked about that with a friend recently she suggested that I draw. No rules, no limits, no specific guidelines, just draw something of my mental worries. I am terrible at drawing without judging my skills (I can’t draw stick figures usually without just feeling so ridiculous), so I chose rather to paint abstractly. Continue reading Painting to Calm My Anxious Brain→