Let me introduce you to a friend of mine–we’ll call him Luke. You’ll find Luke racking up goals on the soccer fields of suburban America today, but his life wasn’t always rosy. He moved to the US a couple years ago, from a war-torn country. He’s been a model of adaptation–learned English, made friends, and gelled with his adoptive family.
But Luke struggles with one aspect of his new norm–the cafeteria. He acts outs, he gets in trouble, he spends time in the counselor’s office. Why? Why does the most lighthearted time of the school day bring out Luke’s most difficult behavior? His adoptive mom, insightful and patient lady that she is, realized it’s because Luke was malnourished for most of his life. He is no longer physically hungry (pizza and burgers to the rescue) but the lunchtime environment brings those inside feelings of insecurity out into the open.
Our pasts may not involve scenes as dramatic as those Luke experienced, but we all have inner landscapes that reflect all we have seen and color how we act. Looking at ourselves from the inside out, we also see core beliefs, insecurities, and hopes that affect our behavior. If we had x-ray emotional vision of those around us, we might understand their actions a little better.
How does the version of you that you present to the world reflect all that’s going on in your inner landscape–your past experiences, your present concerns, your future hopes? Can you extend grace to the person you were, are, and will be as you reflect on your current behavior (or the behavior of those around you)? Staying connected to our inner selves with reflection and gentle nurturing can help us grow healthier inner landscapes and more positive outward behavior.
When you think about integrating the experiences and emotions in your inner landscape with your goals for today, does it seem overwhelming? You may want to start with gentle nurturing, like you would care for seedlings in a garden. In fact, I have a free download that puts this garden analogy into action–the Grow a Ready Mind worksheet helps you think of the ingredients you need for a ready mind each day. Represented as flowers, the ingredients include such useful experiences as rest and sleep, movement and exercise, connection and relationship, among others.
Reflect on how much you integrate these experiences into your day. How much nurture are you providing each area needed for a ready mind?
You can’t erase the hard things that have imprinted your inner landscape, or the hard things you face today. But you can nurture your body and mind to face the joys and hardships that life brings. You know the patience and understanding that Luke’s mom shows his lunchtime behavior mishaps? You can show those grace-full concepts to yourself, while working toward ready through nurture and support. Plant a few seeds of nurture in your inner landscape today.
Let’s grow ready minds together – for ourselves and for those we care for (you’re never too young or old to start on this nurturing path), which is why I have also included a second free resource that can be used for younger children you may care for here.
Enjoy! I’m glad you’re here!