The Little Green Bow

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“Please take a little green bow, and pin it on your name tag” said the lady at the registration table at the workshop on mental health, that was taking place at a church in the heart of a little village in Durban North.  “What’s the bow for ?” I heard someone say, and realised that not everyone knows that the little green bow has become significant with mental health, and October is the designated month for mental health at the World Health Organisation at the United Nations.

For the past 20 years or so I have been interested in mental health, and have picked up my ears, and availed myself of many occasions to find out all that I can on this very complex subject.   The mind is an incredible place.  That needs to be said again  – The mind is an incredible place !

The time I spent at the workshop, presented by a Methodist minister, who himself has a keen passion for mental health, and the role of the Church’s healing ministry, and of spirituality,  in the condition of the mind – set me afresh to revisit some of the ground I have randomly covered over the last twenty years.
Having been dumped into the arena of mental health, having to either sink or swim awoke in me a leaning toward wholeness, and not succumbing to a defeatist mindset.
But it was going to be a very long slow walk of discovery with no quick-fix answers.  And, as yet, I have not arrived at any clear-cut and final conclusion, after all the mind is a very vast place !!   But along the way, as in any other way of life, it is often good to take a moment, to stop and pause and reflect.  To recap, to summaries, maybe even consolidate some of the ideas that have formed along the way.     This is one such moment.

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When confronted with Schizophrenia in the family, all those years ago, with its vicious onslaught of  psychosis, and the unknown, my first response was to ask the Church for help.   I thought, as the Church, with all its wisdom, knowledge and mystery of the Spiritual Realm, would be the first port of call,  and would be able to help me in my dilemma.   Wisely the Church referred me to take the medical route, and consult a doctor.   Which I did, who referred me to a Psychiatrist, who referred me to a medical clinic with a psychiatric ward.  There began the journey with psychiatry, psychology and pharmacology.

I took the route of Psychiatry, and followed the names recommended to me, I sought out psychologist who would take a spiritual approach to mental illness.  Visited  a clinical  psychologist who recommended another psychiatric clinic.   Eventually was told by a very good psychiatrist that a behavioural cognitive approach was needed – and an authoritarian regime implemented.  And I had to apply this approach, which was beyond me because, although I can at times be firm and adamant, am not an authoritarian.
Then, rather desperately, it was decided to try a Christian Rehab Centre in the middle of nowhere, where  periods of strict routine, work ethic, counselling and spiritual input would be a recommended therapy to look for better results.   There were many tears,  but also a slight breakthrough, when responsibility was taken on to some degree.  A key to the healing process –  responsibility !

The crisis in the family, became my dilemma and this in turn set me on a quest, with no road map.  I visited support groups, joined support groups and read all that I could lay my hands on to get to know my enemy !  But with good psychiatry which oversaw the essential medication, and compliance aspects, a plateau was reached where I went on cruise control.   Still curious and asking my questions of God, I latched onto the scriptures in the Bible,  held on tightly, and kept my ears and eyes open to any ministry that spoke of healing and deliverance from mental illness.

Psychology, and psychologists became a growing interest, and were visited until  the subject was mined, but not fully sufficient to answer my questions.
Slowly the tide turned my mind from mental illness to mental health  –  and so too my approach to life in general. A change of perspective can open a whole new spectrum on life,  going from negative to positive is quite a transforming leap.   And I was strengthened !

The foundation of my search was, and still is to this day, God’s Word the Bible, with its richness toward human development,  for our growth and attainment, our comfort in the hard places of life, our guidance when the way forward is blurred and most precious of all, the  unfathomable wisdom and knowledge pertaining to God Himself, and to my life.

The Neural Route.
Dr Caroline Leaf’s books brought an interesting insight to my mind, with her research of the Brain – the domain of the mind.   She writes with such simplicity that I could grasp some of the concepts, and was astounded at the application of the Word of God to the fundamentals of these concepts.  Just re-iterating that God is a good God, and that we are made in His image, and that is a good thing !  We are wired for love and for goodness, that is how our brain has been designed – and how it works.   But it is what we choose to think and feel, whether the positive – the truth, or the negative – the lie that determines our behaviour, that determines our lives.  She describes in biological terms how the thought life operates – from impulse, to protein to thought structure, to memory.  And how important it is to be aware of our thought life, to embrace good thoughts and dismiss the bad ones.  So important!
Her recent book  The Perfect You, describes the “finger-print” of the mind, and how the seven pillars of thought, which for me,  lines up with the seven intelligences of Intrapersonal –  introspection,    Interpersonal – relational,  Mathematical – logic analytical,  Linguistic – words, language,  Music,   Kinetic – movement  and Visual/spacial – organisational, perception and colour. – all these in one of her first books  Who Switched off my Brain.  How we operate in the seven pillars, or seven zones in our brain make us unique, like our own finger print !  It also reflects our gifts and our strengths, and how we should capitalise, and focus our education on these, and not always have academia imposed upon us.  Simply put that is what I gleaned from her books, and can’t help but to marvel when I look at the Brain, through her eyes, and see how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made !  The Psalms also declares this in Psalm 130:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Marvelous are Your works.

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Always keeping an eye open for new information on schizophrenia I came across some recent blogs that offer more exploration on the subject.  Refer :   venitism.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/inside-schizophrenia/

I quote some snippets from the article.

“Wiring is frayed in more than just one region, according to a new international study – the largest analysis ever of white matter among people with a psychiatric disorder.”

” Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain’s entire communication system.
The study sets the stage for future research on the debilitating mental illness that, according to the World Health Organisation, affects more than 21 million people worldwide.”

“The researches found that poorly insulated brain wiring was most evident in the corpus callosum, which allows for communication between the brain hemispheres, and in the frontal portion of the corona radiata, a key structure for information processing. “

and further on…

 “Scientists analyzed the data of 1,963 people with schizophrenia and compared them to 2,359 similar healthy people from Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa an North America.  Earlier studies typically included up to 100 people with schizophrenia, Jahanshad said.
The big data project was integrated from 29 different international studies by the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) network, a global consortium headed by Paul Thompson at the Keck School of Medicine.

ENIGMA has published the largest neuroimaging studies of autism, major depression and bipolar disorder using brain scans of more than 20,000 people, said Thompson, associate director of Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute.

The researches examined data from diffusion tensor imaging, a form of MRI that measures the movement of water molecules in the white matter of the brain.  These scans allow scientists to locate problem areas in the brain’s normally insulated communication system.

The study paves the path for more focused scientific inquiry.   A next step could be to seek what causes these abnormalities in white matter.   Schizophrenia is partly hereditary, so perhaps specific genes promote the disorder via slight alterations in brain wiring, Kelly said ”

USC has researches across disciplines seeking to prevent or treat neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.”  “

 

In another blog :  discovermagazine.com/2017/janfeb/55-schizophrenia-genetic-spark

” A team led by  geneticist  Steven McCarroll of the Broad Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass; combed through genetic info from about 29,000 schizophrenia cases,  36,000 controls and 700 brain samples from deceased patients.
McCarroll found that patients who had a certain C4 gene were more likely to inherit the disease.   In healthy brains, the gene helps prune unnecessary connections between cells.  But when it runs amok, as it does in schizophrenia, the process destroys healthy brain tissue.
C4’s involvement might also explain why schizophrenia arise during the late teens into the 20’s.   It’s a period in human development in which brain circuits change and re-organise and … vulnerabilities to many neuropsychiatric illnesses emerge”

It is comforting for me to know that there is indeed further research been done on psychiatric disorders, and that scientific curiosity and continued inquiry is being made into this very complex disease.

Well,  this all popped up before the Mental health workshop at the Methodist Church, so I went well fired up to learn more.  Being Church, of course brings one to the brink of the Spiritual dimension of healing and deliverance from mental illness. A whole new field of seeking and finding.    And that door has yet to be knocked on to open up wider to the mysteries of the mind.
However, in this sphere of inquiry there are no formulas or equations or quotas or logical answers.  It is a question of trust, faith and patience, to allow God to do His work as He sees fit.  He is in control, knows all things, and He has a purpose in all that happens …..  and He works in mysterious ways.   One day His purposes will be revealed to those who are seeking answers, understanding and healing.
Because the Word of God says in Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 

So, perhaps this side of Heaven, I will not know all there is to  know about mental illness,
its madness, its reasons and its cures.   Until then I will continue to apply the Scripture of  Romans  12:2
 And do not be conformed to this world, but  be  transformed  by  the  renewing  of  your  mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

But…., one day when I enter the Pearly Gates I’m heading straight for the Hall of Inquiries and when I find the writings on schizophrenia, maybe even this little blog post will be there too, who knows?   Then I will give it a wrap, ….. and put a little green bow on it !!
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Happy thoughts for good mental health  People !

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Mirror Mirror on the wall …looking at Nacissism.

 

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The article on Self-esteem sparked me to take a long muse down a road named Narcissism.

So to really get into it I want to share with you a poem I wrote about my self !!!

 Shades of Self

Knowing me, knowing you is a song often sung,
But do I know me?
In solitude I am so fine. And am always right.
Can climb the highest mountain, reach the height.
Yet in conversations with you, my halo dims, the varnish shifts, my layers thin.
And if I look closely I see some shades of me I did not know.
So I’ve gathered them together, my collectables if you like, to share with you.
Straight from the shelf,
Not all good-looking, theses shades of Self
There is the Wannabee, the Lookatme, the Knowitall and the Toldyouso,
The ever-present Babbler, and don’t forget these too –
The Mender, Bender and the Defender, all to often the Pretender, the Spender – and the ever ready Opinionator too.
Now, herein lies some stories, characters in tact.
Weave the threads, bring in the gold.
Let it show perhaps too,
Your shades of Self,
In your story told.

I remembered a picture somewhere of a good-looking Greek fella who fell in love with his own image mirrored in a water brook.   He had met a beautiful girl, and they fell in love. But it didn’t work out because he just couldn’t get past loving the image of himself !!

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Sounds a lot like the dysfunctional marriages of today !   Self-love in personalities can play havoc with harmony and happiness.   And it’s not just a case of having a pretty face or a beautiful body.  It’s not silly vanity, or an inflated ego, it is far more serious than that and reaches deep into the personality.     Narcissism is no new thing !  Indeed its an age-old human condition wired into the human psyche.  If it is not transformed, or goes unchecked, it goes to the extreme and becomes a personality disorder that has a huge and devastating impact on the lives of other people.  It is a very serious condition, and almost always goes undetected by the carrier.

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orange butterf;u

We all have a Self, so likely there will be some degree of narcissism in all of us.   I once asked God if He wanted me to be a butterfly why did He not just make me a butterfly.  I liked being me, I really liked myself, why did  I  have to change ?  I thought I heard Him sigh a heavy sigh, but He did not answer, and just let life’s circumstances continue to flow over me.       Now some years later, I get a glint of why I had to transform from a worm to a butterfly, it was so that those living with me would have a fighting chance to survive my bossy, over-bearing ways, and self-opinionated personality.
(So sorry Family !)

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I  have an enquiring mind,  but I am not a psychologist.  So to get more light on the subject and delve a little deeper into narcissism, I investigated, and came across a site that gave several Psychological approaches, or theories, on the subject.  If you are interested you can Goggle     https://ruveydacelenk.com/2014/12/23/narsisistik-kisilik
Don’t forget to click on the Translate button.    It will give far more understanding on this very complex subject.   But best as I can understand it  (and that took some time !) I have come to some understanding of the Self.

In the development or construction of the psychological Self or Personality, Observations made, form Perceptions – right or wrong.  A response can go up to protect the Self, or a resistance to challenge the perception.   So even in our tiniest beings, – where and when most of the Personality is formed – observations lead to responses, that cause us to make a choice that helps us to deal with the emotion or feeling  we have observed or experience in life.
Thus the Personality, the Self, is formed through a defence or resistance response (flight or fight), and either route can lead to a distortion – the Lie !    So construction of the Personality (through our thought-life which builds the neuron patterns in our brain) determines what we believe about our Self.

This self-constructed Self, called self-esteem – taken to the extreme becomes Narcissism.  Now Narcissism constantly needs to be guarded to portray a desired, acceptable and presentable Self –  which in fact can be a False Self.   And come hell or high water it demands to be protected and respected, and will emotionally annihilate anything in its path that will want to obstruct it !!    And in fact, in my opinion, it should be respected – (I did not say tolerated !)  for it is who the person is or has become,…. and that is  holy ground – the very portal of hell or heaven !!
That is,  until Truth be told,  that will help to deconstruct the Lies, that cause us to limp, often exhaustively, through life because we have to  prop up the False Self, through fear or performance, to be made acceptable by others, who don’t really care or even matter !

So could you say we need a saving of the Self ?  My answer is yes !  Because we are all created with this amazing power called the Will, our choice, our desire – good or bad.
The Will, our choice,  is our ‘distinction’ from other created species, and is accommodated in the Mind – the headquarters of the Self.  It is at this point of decision where we can embrace a thought or expel a thought.  If,  we can discern, examine or judge a thought for what it is, we can build a positive construct, if we expel or disregard a wrong thought (negative) it evaporates into a gas and is diminished !  Now that is power – the power of our Will, our choice, our decision – that plots the course of our life.
So it would seem that the forming of the Personality, the Self, or the Soul can form self-distorted constructions (neural pathways) that can, and will manifest eventually in psychological development or disorders, and even deviant behaviour.

What I have gleaned from Psychology is that there is more, much more.   In dire cases, the Self or Personality can fragment or split (sometimes necessary for surviving the hurt, shame and pain of trauma), can dissociate itself and form other “selves” or personalities, display patterns of obsessive behaviour, self sabotage on inferiority or insecurity, or roar and rage in smouldering silent angry rebellion. Anxieties and depressions are almost the order of our modern societies.  Could these be signs of the  True Self  wanting out?

worm to butterfly

Well that is my understanding and opinion, and I suppose I am entitled to it, because after all I’m just a recovering narcissist !

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But  wait there is more, this distorted Self is not the True Self.  So how do you get to dig out the True Self from all the cacophony of voices, distortions and misconstruction.   Perhaps then an exercise in the deconstruction of the distortion  – the Lie, is a place to begin, enter the psychologist, the healer or the Truth.
After wracking my poor brain on the theories of Psychology and narcissism, I asked myself what is the truth of the matter.  So I turned to the pages of the Bible, the book of wisdom, – by the way a must read, –  to look  a little deeper for the soul and for the spirit.  I came across some of these Scriptures that told me that indeed we do have a soul and a spirit. Of course, in Theology there is more, much more than just the psychology of man, in fact a whole magnificent story unfolds of the restoration of Mankind.

Psalm  139:14    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Proverbs 18:14   The spirit of man will sustain him in sickness , But who can bear a broken spirit ?

1 Thessalonians 5:23    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely and                                               may your whole spirit,  soul and body be preserved blameless…..

So, as humans we are made up of the body,the soul, and the spirit.  Three engines, if you like, that should function in harmony.   The body we know, the soul is taking a little longer to know, and the spirit  (the subconscious) which is almost unknown to most.  The spirit is very important, because it is here where The Lie operates.  It hides itself, like the coward it is, – so undetected, can continue to reinforce even entrench more lies, with invading thoughts, false belief systems, false identities, deviant behaviour, in fact all things devious and deceitful,  that cause immeasurable torments, sadness and sorrow in the soul, and play havoc with our happiness and our lives, and the lives of others, especially those near and dear to us.

The Truth of the matter is that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  God is love, and God has a will. His will is His desire.   We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made because, like God, we too have a will,  a choice, a desire, that operates through decision.
We carry, in us, the original blue print for Love and for the good, the lovely, the honourable, the pure, and all the value and virtues of goodness.  So when we have to make a decision, when we have to make a choice, it should  be for the good, for the love of the Self, because our original Self is designed in our Creator’s image.  That’s good self-esteem, and ‘narcissism’ at its best !!
That’s what our souls long for, the magnificent Self.

But of course we do not know this when we are tiny tots, rebellious teens or ambitious adults, growing our personalities. So we just develop along the lines of survival, need and greed to feed the Self.   That is unless we come to  know and accept the love of God, through Jesus Christ,  Who loves us with an unconditional love,  (warts and all) and wants to set us free from the Lie, to be who we really are – our True Self, in Him.  His task is the task of unique restoration, as we are all the same, yet each one so unique in their personality.     We  find this out when we search the Scriptures that mirror and reveal who we really are, and what lurks and is hidden beneath the surface in our souls.

But where do we begin ?  The key is Christ, to accept Him and invite Him into our hearts and our minds, to read His Word, the Bible, and by reading His Word a transformation begins to take place in our thought processes.

Romans 12:2….. , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may                                          prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Now we are lining up our thoughts with His thoughts, His Will – His desires, which are good and favourable toward the Self, (for we are His workmanship, His creation) , and our decisions will become positive decisions that will be for our good, our development and for the prosperity of our soul, and our lives.

Jeremiah 29 : 11    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It is however necessary,  to implant the Word of God in our hearts.
James 1:21   …. , and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

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Is this all just religious talk.  The answer is no, because this is what the Word of God,  has the power to do,  – it is  a game changer  !

Hebrews 4:12       The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged-sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Truth, and only the Truth will make us free to be who we blue butterflyreally are, and destined to become.

We are complex, us human beings, but with the help of God, and when we begin firing in all three engines of body soul and spirit – can be magnificent in our inward parts, no longer deceived or broken, or functioning out of deficit or the Lie,  but made whole, in the right image and with a healthy, life-giving self-esteem.

Narcissism is nothing more than Pride – the very thing that caused Lucifer to lose his place in heaven, and raise hell on earth !
Narcissism is identified in the Greek fables.   In the eighties it was labelled Self-esteem, and is found in the Trolls of today’s world we call Virtual Reality  – the Internet and Social Media.

We are in the age of consumerism and humanism.  The era of  ‘the selfie’ !  Progress and development are accelerating.  We can reach higher, farther and faster on any level.    We need to take care that in our humanism we do not lose our humanity.  We need to hold onto a belief system that puts people first.  Today’s advanced technology may well pave the way for our younger generation to go into a kind of emotional isolation or “flight mode” –  desperately seeking purpose and attention, trying to escape from the gaping holes in their souls.    Or is it just sheer ignorance of the Truth about the Self, – the Truth that actually  keep us real and mentally and emotionally grounded.

Masks

Perhaps its time for change, from face book to face-off to face-to-face, where real interaction with real people help us to see ourselves a little clearer with warts and all.    A getting to know the real me, the real you, – and that will take a whole lot of courage because emotional pain is almost unbearable, and will distort any image .
Bring out the mirror, take on Truth, get a little more honest, a little more humble, a little more real,  then, observe the personality bloom like a sweet-smelling magnificent rose, for all around to enjoy.

So lets boot out nauseating narcissism, give the selfish Self a big shove to make room for others  –  and bloom where we are planted in the garden of humanity,  – or even too in the cesspool of life.

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1 Peter 3:4   rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty          of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

 three butterflies

The Garden of your Heart

One of the endeavours of CareSA is the Care Africa project, which includes the concept of Care Gardens, with the catch phrase “Plant a garden in your yard, Plant a garden in your heart.”

Today I thought to recapture the vision but with an emphasis on the garden of Your Heart.

Just to encourage you to tend to your garden with these few simple, yet profound truths on how to grow the splendour of your soul.  The clever play on words are not all my own, I found them lying anonymously in my box of collectables begging to be shared for a chuckle or two.

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Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit:

Love, Joy, Peace,
Faithfulness, Goodness, Kindness,
Gentleness, Longsuffering and Self Control.
Share generously with all you meet this year.

Plant a good few rows of Peas:

green-peas

Ppatience, Ppoliteness, Ppreparedness, Ppromptness,  Ppersistence, Ppunctuality, and Peperseverance.

Plant four rows of Squash:

gem-squash

Squash gossip
Squash grumbling
Squash indifference
Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of Lettuce:

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Let us be faithful,
Let us be kind,
Let us be obedient
Let us really love one another

No garden  without Turnips:

* Turn up for meetings
* Turn up for service
* Turn up to help one another.

turnips

We must have Thyme in our gardens:

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Time for Work
Time for Play
Time for Laughter
Time for God
Time to Pray.

Weed out all toxic thoughts immediately !
Regularly sprinkle on the Fertilizer of Forgiveness.
Water well, and often, with the Word of God.
Do these simple soul deeds, and watch  the Garden of Your Heart  grow !!

With a little Faith Hope and Love, you can
 Pick the fruit of your labour.
fruitWant to join the Care Africa project ?… then

Plant a Garden in your Yard.  Plant a Garden in your Heart.

And send me a photo of the Garden in your yard…. for my upcoming Care Gallery.

Some Ideas for the Gardens of your Yard.

Wishing  you all a bouquet of fresh vegetables in 2017

vegetables-colorful

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good,  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.   Psalm 34:8

 HAPPY GARDENING     cherries

GIVE, its good mental health.

blue-river

Let your life be a river not a swamp

Like the pages of a book in a gentle breezy wind the months just seem to flip over.
I had intended to write on good mental health for the month of October, but it slipped my mind !! – and October came and went almost unnoticed.

So I am playing catch up, and want to share a few simple thoughts on good mental health.

Let your life be a river not a swamp,
Give, its good mental health.

stars

When stars stop emitting light, gravity sucks them in, and they become a black hole !!
So keep on shining, keep on giving… its good mental health.

Give of yourself…. little deeds of kindness, makes the world a better place.
Give of your finances ….  it breeds generosity in you, and in others.
Give of your personality …. and share your sense of humour, share your opinion, your smile – and best of all share your presence.

Let your life be a river,  not a swamp that is stale and stagnant, a place where crocodiles lurk !

Give, its good mental health.

brown-swamp

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.

For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.   Luke 6:38

Give, and it will let your cup run over with  JOY, ….  and thats good mental health !!

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MAKE THIS A LEAP YEAR

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Leap years are needed to keep our modern day calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun.
It takes the earth approximately 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to circle once around the sun.  This is called a Tropical year.  The Common year is 365 days long. The Leap year is 366 days long.   The extra day is added at the end of February, the shortest month, giving it 29 instead of the usual 28 days.
A Leap year is a year in which an extra day is added to the calendar in order to synchronize it with the seasons.
Acknowledging : Scienceworld.wolfram.com  and  Time and date.com.   

The month of February is often associated with love, because of Valentine’s day.  But it is quite phenominal as it hosts the Leap year – a place to put the left over hours, minutes and seconds, not to be wasted, but that go to make up a whole new day – an extra 24 hours.

However what leaped  (!!) into my mind was the word  leap.
According to Google  Leap means : Jump or spring a long way to a great height, or with great force.
According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online  Leap means :  to make a large jump or sudden movement, usuall from one place to another.

What conjurred up in my mind was how the Sprinbuck gracefully leaps seemingly with gleeful joy, in wide open spaces.   Or the proverbial sheep you count when you can’t sleep, leaping over the farm fence !!  Or the slimey frog, as it purposely leaps from one stone to another on the lilly pond of life, looking for food.   And my lazy cat as she leaps with furry frenzy into the air when I playfully scare her.    Nature is full of leaping creatures, depicting all shades of intentions and emotions.

My translation of leap is  : the necessity to purposely, transfer from one place to another.
 Leap to overcome !    Now there’s a thought – leap to overcome.  There are many concepts on overcome.  It is an imperative in the walk of life to overcome.   The consequence of not overcoming is that you stay where you are, you can become stuck, stagnant, stale … and boring !!
An overcoming mind  is essential, and that is why there are many promises in God’s word that reward the Overcomer.   It is indeed something to set our sights on.  It elevates the horizen, the future, something to aspire to, it is  the flexing of  a spiritual muscle to …  rise up !

Leaping and Overcoming, from a Bible perspective, brings an insightful and significant meaning that widens and deepens the essentiality of making a paradigm shift, or simply put, changing your mind – about yourself, your circumstance, your life. Think differently !

Read :
Psalm 18:29     For by You I can run against a troop.  By my God I can   leap   over a wall.
Revelation 21:7  He who  overcomes  shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
This year take a leap of faith, make Jesus Christ the Saviour and Lord of your life, it is the first step in becoming  a true  Overcomer.

There is something about leaping and overcoming that speaks of courage and of faith.  It pertains to the emotions of life, hardships in life and sadnesses about life, but also to the normal every day nitty gritty choices.  Leaping is done by making decisions.   Make up your mind, and just do it – that is leaping !  It may open up a new course of circumstances and definitely new horizens.

The calendar tells us that 2016  is a Leap Year.   Make this your Leap Year to whatever you aspire to do,  to be,  to become, or where to go.
Remember your life is a product of your decisions – so decide, take the leap in
faith and …..

Leap from fear to faith
Leap from negative to  positive
Leap from discontent to contentment
Leap from depression to happiness
Leap from co-dependence to independence
Leap from self depreciation to self worth
Leap from unforgiveness to forgiveness
Leap from sickness to health
Leap from greed to generosity
Leap from lack to abundance
Leap from poverty to progress

…. and in all your leaping,  Leap for Joy !
That is what overcoming is all about !

 

 

 

 

The Filter of my Mind

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I have been reading the book by Dr Caroline Leaf, Switch on your Brain – on the science of thought.  Her research has revealed how thoughts grow, are established and if acted upon become deeds or behaviour – moulding our lives, and influencing the lives of those around us.   She writes, with utmost simplicity, how the inside of our brain works.  It is truly amazing and fascinating !
Her book offers information and solutions, which are the result of years of research, practical application and clinical work, and are guidelines for managing toxic thoughts.

The human specie, is fearfully and wonderfully made.   She has linked these scientific findings with the words of the Bible.   When reading her book through the Mind of the Bible it becomes apparent that God is infinitely more intelligent and wise beyond  what we can ever ask or think.     Biologically we are His master pieces, in fact all of creation is, but the human body and the human mind must be His finest work.  In the book of Genesis it says that we are made in His image and likeness…. now there’s a thought to light up your mind so to speak. Furthermore, we are His temple, the place where God resides, His address, the place where He lives.  We are His dwelling place !!

The Bible weaves these concepts, and so much more, into our thinking, that we would be wise to pay close attention to it if we are to appreciate and discover the intricacies and purposes of His creative genius – intended for our very own lives.

From her book Caroline says : “I want to shape my world around God’s truth because I know as a scientist and a believer paying attention to my thoughts and purposefully focussing my mind leads to great transformation.”

Snippets from her book:  “whatever you think about the most will grow”  – where the mind goes, the brain will follow.”
“Choices are real, you are free to make choices about how you focus your attention; and this affects how the chemicals and wiring of your brain change and function.”

In the chapter on the Science of Thought she writes :
“It is our choices that make something out of nothing.  Its our choices that collapse the probabilities into actualities that define the state of our nonconscious metacognition which in turn inform our conscious cognition and symbolic actions.” page 134  and furthermore   :
” It is our choices that either create healthy thought universes in our brain or turn the powerless lie into a toxic thought universe – which is essentially evil.   This is the incredible power God has given us :  to be able to think and choose and create reality.  This reality can be good or evil based on our choices”.

Rest, and sleep are needed for restoration of the cells, and rest and reflection for the mind, which plays itself out in the body whether in sickness or in health, for we are more than just a pretty face (well some of us !) –  we are also a cosmic concoction of minerals,chemicals, electrons, neurons and gasses, – all well designed and orchestrated to play the beautiful song of life.   So the key to life, or death, is what we choose – and it begins in our thought-life !!
God has graced us with a free-will.  We get to choose and therefore also get the responsibility for our own life.
     I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I have set before you          life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your          descendants may live.   Deuteronomy 30:19 

Now that can begin a whole theological banter, but biologically speaking that’s how the mind works – through thoughts – that brings us back to the decisions we make, the good ones and the bad ones, even those we don’t make !  And the miracle of free-will is that it is designed into our DNA, we can actually switch our thoughts from the ugly to the good, and visa verse.  Our choice ! –  (We have the power people !!)
The subconscious is the storehouse of all our thoughts, they are all filed, they are our subliminal memory – it is what we draw on (positive or negative) for our life, through the decisions we make, and the consequences we face.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.   Proverbs 23:7

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For the light to go on we need to think the right thoughts ! We need to re-align our thoughts with the thoughts of God in the Bible.  He made us and He wrote the manual for us to follow.
          For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD,  thoughts of               peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.    Jeremiah 29:11

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There is so much more to glean from this book.  If you want to know more about the mechanics of the mind, I recommend you read her book.   What have I learned from her book ?  I need to observe my own thought-life, and for that to happen I need, at times, to be still, and to do introspection.    That’s when I am quiet and just listen to what I am actually thinking and filtering through my mind.

It is vitally important to feed my mind on good thoughts for a healthy thought-life ?   This will enable me to make choices in the all kinds of the everyday.
Make a decision to think on the stories and wisdom found in the Bible, the word and mind of Almighty God.
   …   whatever things are true,  whatever things are noble,  whatever things are just,  whatever things are lovely,  whatever things are of  good report,  if there is any  virtue,  and if there is anything praiseworthy,  meditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Rest, filter the mind and
Think on these things.

LOOKING FOR … PEACE

 

images.jpg PEACE

What is Peace ?
If I know what I am looking for I might be able to find it.

Before I further explore Peace may I just mind fully state I believe Peace is found on the high mountain tops of the spiritual life.  I cannot do justice to the beauty and magnificence of Peace, and will not even try, I merely want to simplify what a sense of Peace is, what it means to me, and provoke others toward it too.  For we all want Peace in our hearts.

So what is Peace ?
Peace is a sense of knowing that everything is going to be okay – no matter what the circumstances of life dictate to me.  Peace is linked to trust, no fear or insecurities welcome. Trust is linked to faith, faith is linked to Almighty God.   I, for one, need to know that there is something much bigger and more powerful than the I, me and mine. That Power is God, who loves me and has my back!  It’s going to be okay!  So life can throw its diversities and devastations at me, but because of the Peace of God, it’s going to be okay.  He knows, He sees, He cares, and believe it or not, He is in control.  It’s going to be okay!  Peace is knowing and trusting the God who created me.

But where do I find it?  Peace starts in the soul.  At best our souls are in a state of disrepair, empty, often bruised, sorely fragmented sometimes even broken and lost. That is why soul-care is so important.  Don’t neglect the soul – and be mindful of the souls of others too.  Words, said or written, can cause havoc to the soul.  “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words cannot harm me” –  is just not true!  Words have consequences !

Peace – wholeness of being, this is good soul health, and good soul-keeping will be required.  So, slow down, less hurry, live simply and simmer in the Scriptures to come to know God ... and the Peace He offers as a gift.
Peace  I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.        Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27
In other words, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, or fearful because …. everything is going to be okay !

But I need a little help here.  Peace is far more than that.
Judy Pohorille,  a friend from a writing group I attended some years ago, coincidently sent me this message on Peace – so timely, that I need to  include it in this post.  It captures Peace far more eloquently than my technical version of it. She is a remarkable woman, who writes beautiful crisp crackling English prose and poetry.
Judy has seen and known much suffering in her life and therefore I suspect can fathom the depth of Peace far more than many.   Here is her writing :

“There is a part of the sea known as “the cushion of the sea”.  It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by wind.  It is so deep that it is part of the sea that is never stirred.  The ocean floor reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundred, if not thousands of years.   The Peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea.    It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty or disturbance can reach it.  Anyone who enters the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed calm.”

The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7.

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