Spring growth

Spring brings with it a sense of new life and growth. With this in mind I spoke with Ram Kalap, our chaplain and spiritual care therapist at Homewood. 

He coaches people to reflect on their core perspectives and beliefs that have been influenced by their lived experiences and personal histories. He supports people to create a new perspective and sense of balance in themselves.

Kalap suggests we can choose to learn how our foundations have affected us in how we think, feel and react in situations and learn to respond differently. Often times, it is worth investing in ourselves by identifying, stopping and getting rid of what has not been working for us. 

It is not always an easy process.  For some this personal growth can be quite painful. However, we can make improvements and create new opportunities for ourselves.  This process of examining what needs to change can actually make us stronger.

Self-reflection and change can be quite challenging at times. In order to enhance our mental wellness we must reflect on and make changes in the parts of us that need to be adjusted. We can’t do the same thing over and over, clinging to old foundations and expect new or different outcomes.  We can’t wish our difficulties away. It takes energy and pursuit of various options to intentionally create new and better outcomes for ourselves.

Exploring and implementing positive changes can help us. It can change how we interact with people and our world, resulting in opening doors to new opportunities that we didn’t know existed for us.

The world is full of possibilities and sometimes the effects of our past or lived experiences impact us in a negative way. The effects of anxiety or low moods can create hesitancy in us or limit our connection with others who may want to help us. It may hinder our self-care or sense of belonging. 

We need to examine what aspects of our past are holding us back. Kalap says “We need to acknowledge that we are products of our past but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” 

This emotional work is very difficult. It can be like taking the bandages off of a wound that had been open and painful. We must tend to it daily and look at root causes that limit our ability to enjoy life. Applying new skills may eventually improve how we live and relate to others.

Many of us think about what we would like to see different in our lives. Sometimes we feel helpless and have thoughts that if only someone else would change then we could feel differently. This kind of thinking can rob us of personal empowerment and the opportunity to take action in our lives.

What is it in you that needs to adapt in order to experience the changes you want to see in your life? What support might you incorporate to help you get there? Friends? Spiritual guides? Professional help, such as therapists, doctors or social workers?  Sometimes reaching out for help is the first step towards receiving the guidance necessary to make these changes.

This spring, examine aspects of your emotional life.  What fuels you and makes you content? What limits you in achieving your goals, wishes and dreams? 

Then seek to embrace the help and support that will promote your positive growth.

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Paula Frappier is community education coordinator for Homewood Health Centre. Ram Kalap is chaplain for Homewood.

The “Open Mind” column is sponsored by community partners who are committed to raising awareness about mental health, reducing stigma and providing information about resources that can help. For local mental health resources/information, visit www.mdsgg.ca or call 1-844-HERE247.

Paula Frappier