Oddly enough, I have a far better and more thorough understanding of spiritual health (by a specific definition of spirit) than mental health; though, not necessarily from a positive upbringing or knowledge. Suffice to say, that my system of spirit is not based on a strict adherence to religious tenets, but more an attempt o enrich and supplement my soul through study of the world and its cultures.
Movies, music, television, video games, etc.: we consume so many thousands of hours of media every year. It has to have some sort of impact and influence on us, right?
Well, as someone who strives to create media, I would hope so, and genuinely believe that it does, greatly. I have always enjoyed engaging with various media, and this year will be no different, with one caveat.
I am diversifying my intake. This year, and moving forward, I want to see, listen to, and engage with diverse voices, ideas, people from a multitude of backgrounds to widen my world view.
I have a deep relationship and appreciation of books which is partially why it gets its own section separate from other media.
The other reason is because I believe that the way we engage with books is slightly different from the manner in which we interact with film, television, music, etc. Not stating that one is better than the other; just different.
As well, unlike most other media, books tend to center one voice and perspective: the author. They are, with little other influence, the sole arbiter of what we read. Because of this, I feel that books give different insights into culture, life, philosophy, etc. that is not approachable from other forms of media.
Of course, I could be biased, but, even so, I have a goal to read 52 books from diverse, minority voices and perspectives to soothe my soul this year.
As stated earlier, I have a complicated relationship with organized religion. However, I can still see the benefits and appeal. Humans are, by nature, social creatures, and for many people a church, synagogue, mosque, or any religious center is their first exposure to community and companionship outside of family. As well, religious services provides a sense of serenity, purpose, and comfort for many. There is strength and power in ritual and routine. But can that be found outside of organized religious practice?
Well, yes, I am not saying you should or have to, but the same benefits of strict and specific religious adherence can be found outside of that orthodoxy. We engage in some form of ritual and routine every day. Some are simple and mundane (morning routine, eating at specific times, work schedule, etc.) and some involve more effort or creativity (time for relaxation, having a hot cup of coffee when reading or doing something mindful, etc.). The point is that these little rituals and routines can have massive impact on our well being if we are a bit more aware and mindful of how we go about our day, week, life.
Mind, Body, Spirit. Those are the three parts that encompass a person. Each section needs to be fed, strengthened, and improved to have true growth and change. I have laid out may plans to try to do so this year. Hopefully, this site and whoever chooses to follow along will keep me honest and accountable and help me