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Three narratives and one word for 2020

Self Care & its significance for mental health professionals

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Sunset At Oia
Sunset At Oia

A few weeks ago, I read an article by Melinda Gates wherein she chooses a word to describe a year. It got me thinking of the word for 2020 and what came to my mind was “peace.” As I complete two decades as a practicing clinical psychologist & parent of my millennial daughter, preparing her for the 21st century world , the word ‘peace’—Ahimsa or nonviolence according to Mahatma Gandhi—reverberated in my mind.

The journey is the destination 

May 18th, 2017 is a memorable day of my life, as I received a certificate from General Colin Powell marking the end of my Eisenhower Fellowship. The same year I lost my father, who suffered a massive heart attack. A yearlong struggle of mixed emotions to relive the moments that I cherished with him taught me that his kindness, compassion and conviction in my work had been transformational in my life. In practicing kindness, self-compassion and working through my grief, I found meaning in work: designing social emotional learning models for youth in Chennai, India as part of my Eisenhower Fellowship project along with my team. I slowly realized that the journey is the destination and the process of healing began.

Self-care is the key 

Reflecting on my personal and professional journey with gratitude, contentment & in taking care of my aging mother, I started to take care of myself in stillness, silence and practice of meditation. In seeking solace and determination through her spiritual journey, my mother became our role model of grit, respect and dignity. The bonding between us grew stronger as she shared fond memories of my father, from their fifty years of marriage. Asking for help, seeking emotional support, setting boundaries and sharing responsibilities with my spouse, team, family and friends became a part of the repertoire of skills that I developed over time. Basking in the luxury of supportive relationships, in a safe environment and leading a purpose driven life, helped me focus at work and flourish at home.

Finding peace within

As I embrace my responsibility and embark on this journey with my mother I look forward to finding peace within, a significant step in the right direction. Looking within, listening to my inner voice, being present & mindful, taking care of my family at home and work and nourishing my mind will be top priority. I thank my mother for her inspiration, fortitude and courage as we step into 2020 collectively sharing our hopes and dreams to nurture young minds to live in harmony and help them seek and co-create the sacred space within to find peace in the universe. 

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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