Sunday, October 14, 2012

From Rumination to Illumination

Rumination is usually defined as repetitively focusing on the symptoms of distress, and on its possible causes and consequences. Extensive research on the effects of rumination, or the tendency to self-reflect, shows that the negative form of rumination interferes with people’s ability to focus on problem-solving and results in dwelling on negative thoughts about past failures.

I just had the best experience in a long time- I got to Skype chat with Marney Makridakis, the founder of I've been following the site for years now. Can I just say that Marney is VERY smart? And a generous soul who gave me an hour of her time, free. In that hour, I was able to realize what my heart has been telling me about my life mission, and therefore I changed the title of my blog and now will change my focus as well. It's always been there, I just haven't been able to listen to the quiet, deep part of my soul that is telling me what my REAL, true wish is as a helping professional.

I am a teacher- through and through. I've taught others my whole life, and dedicated myself to lifelong learning. 

I've read several pieces of literature which suggest that teachers are people who have not had a healthy upbringing- rather they have had struggles to deal with, in some cases, all their lives. This makes this special group of people highly empathetic. Many become psychologists, counselors, or therapists of some kind or another. Many get specialized training to do these things, and I believe that in many cases it's because they want to practice in a medical field that they are forced to get this training. But it doesn't take "letters" after your name or a Master's degree to make someone a teacher or counselor. It's a gift.

Somewhere in my early 30's, I realized that I spent a lot of time in Rumination. That is to say, that I could identify the causes and effects of the negative parts of my rearing and psyche. I could think about them to no end, pick them apart, and wallow in them (which, as the definition above suggests, is what rumination often leads to.) But I was getting no where in this endless cycle of negative thinking. I was still depressed, passively suicidal (wishing your airplane will crash when upon takeoff is a terrible thing to live through) and wondering about the meaning of life. Questions I had since age 8 or so. I realized that I had to let the light in, and let my light out. My focus then became finding the light. I did some reading, meditation, study and therapy. I still have a ways to go, and my teachers assure me that I will probably spend the rest of my life "perfecting" my own approach to happiness, fulfillment, and contentment- three states of mind that sometimes coexist, sometimes not.

My gift is this- I now understand how to shine. I know the path, and I want to share it. I believe that creativity and positive thinking can lead you there. As humans, we all share the power to create, and the power to think- to make new life, to make art and build things, to tell stories, to imagine things that weren't there before. Creativity and Positivity is our gift. I'm not just talking about art making, although that tends to be my primary expression. I do like to write as well :)

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