Welcome to your Tune In* Tuesday blog post. This week we’re talking mental health for World Mental Health Awareness Day 2023. I’m sharing a blip in my OWN mental health and hope that the self care tips support YOU in better supporting yourself through your own wobbles (and worse)…
*to that highest, wisest, truest, wildest, most joyful, brilliant and miraculous part of yourself
12 days later, I just got this photo of them INSIDE MY HOUSE with me here too. Preparing to be adored by their soon to be furever humans | by Eve Menezes Cunningham 2023
My mental health temporarily plummeted the other week.
It had been a rough month: two weeks of my first – and hopefully only – bout of Covid, an emergency trip to Norway to spend time with a dying loved one, back to Ireland and doing stupid amounts of work in a short space of time in order to head back to Norway for the funeral.
There had been a lot of joy there, too – the privilege of HAVING that time there. And some Norwegian sea swims with a fantabulous new friend.
Underwater sea selfie in clear Norsk waters | by Eve Menezes Cunningham 2023
But I was looking forward to an easier October, grounding, settling, RESTING more…
It had been incredibly sad.
And A LOT.
And while I’ve been running my own practice and business since 2004, I have a far better understanding of the need for emergency savings now than I did.
I knew my almost daily yoga nidras helped but I looked forward to life being a bit EASIER on my return.
But then [spooky ominous drum roll sound effect]:
One of the first pics I got of them eating so close to the house | by Eve Menezes Cunningham 2023
I returned to a colony of feral cats and kittens literally on my back doorstep. Paw Rainbow MagnifiCat wasn’t going out at all.
The MagnifiCat is a generous, kind and wondrous creature. She’s thawed towards the younger felines | by Eve Menezes Cunningham 2023
I’ve been back long enough to know now that there’s Meadbh, the warrior goddess queen mammy cat to 5 kittens, pregnant again and currently sitting inside my living room (first time she’s been so far in the house).
Goddess warrior queen Meadbh. Still nursing and pregnant again, the paw love. Neuter your pets | by Eve Menezes Cunningham 2023
Then there’s another slightly older kitten and what appears to be Meadbh’s brother (such similar markings).
And, of course, the full grown tom who I rarely see. But who’s dna is being carried forth to future generations.
‘Your subconscious has no sense of humour’
As a teenager in the ‘90s, I BEGGED my mother to stop quoting Louise Hay anytime I said something nasty about myself aloud (no one but me heard the worst of my self talk).
I became a huge fan and have been conscious that the late Ms Hay would definitely NOT approve of the many times I caught myself thinking and even saying aloud, ‘My heart is BROKEN. Who could leave so many gorgeous creatures? How is the world FILLED with wondrous creatures of all species (including humans!) but without the love, safety and welcome they all deserve and NEED in order to thrive?’
I went WAY beyond feeling all the feelings and even welcoming all the feelings…
INDULGING all the feelings
Self pity was way up there. All the work I’d done in therapy, years ago, about the world’s woes being ‘my fault’ because I’m an ‘Eve’ (seriously!) meant feeling responsible for something I had absolutely no part in creating was way up there.
How on earth was I going to manage?
Sorrow for the creatures. For the human/s who dumped or at best hadn’t neutered their creatures.
Not my most resourceful moments (minutes, hours – who’s counting?)
How did I pull myself out of – to quote Anne of Green Gables – ‘the depths of despair’ so quickly compared to in my childhood, teens and twenties?
Decades of practicing these practices helped!
Remembering to amp up existing daily self care tools including Metta (including the cats and kittens, RAINBOW MAGNIFICAT and my own different parts, eg wishing the part of ME that felt overwhelmed and helpless) and EFT helped.
And, of course, asking myself what might be trying to emerge at a soul level helped.
There was the reflexive groan. Totally natural, this happens every time I ask myself and I’m pretty sure the clients and groups I ask at LEAST inwardly roll their eyes.
How might this problem be trying to HELP me?
- OK… I drafted this a few days ago and things have changed, but back then, I said BOUNDARIES. If it weren’t for Rainbow MagnifiCat’s distress I’d have taken them all in but… she’s appeared calmer. I’ve explained that Meadbh is pregnant and she watched the kittens playing just outside the door with a hint of a, ‘that looks like fun. Maybe I could join this cat gang and have more fun?’
- GOOD ENOUGHNESS – after DAYS of telling myself that they deserved better than I could provide, that I couldn’t do anywhere NEAR enough, I decided I’m all they HAVE. I have support from loved ones and while the rescues are all overwhelmed, am finally in touch with someone who’s helping me. I’d rung NINE and some of them sounded tearful at the extent of the issue and how much they WANTED to help but simply don’t have the resources or time or energy… Stop it, Evei… I’m what they have. I HAVE to be enough. And the minute I released that shame of not somehow being an expert in cat and kitten rescue, the MINUTE I reframed my tipping back into self-loathing and disempowering, ‘paw creatures’ to BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: WE’LL TRAP, NEUTER AND REHOME Y’ALL. YOU’RE GOING TO BE SO LOVED AND WELCOME AND SAFE AND CHERISHED AND ALSO FREE TO BE AS WILD AS YOU WANT’ I felt much better… In psychosynthesis, seeing the client* as completely whole and part of the Divine AND facing whatever challenges have brought them to counselling, trauma therapy etc *ourselves / kittens / anything or anyone we’re worrying about etc
- LOVE AND RESILIENCE IN ACTION – watching the baby kittens and the mammy and the others (uncle? Brother?) playing and helping each other is inspiring. Mammy Meadbh models self care as best as she can (still nursing while also looking heavily pregnant!) and eats her fill before going out and calling the babies for their food.
How about YOU? Pick a problem – any problem
This World Mental Health Day, how might you listen more to the part of yourself that’s already whole and complete?
You might want to film yourself as an embodied journal recording (or private vlog journal) and watch back to really see and hear yourself and that inherent wholeness in action, no matter how insurmountable things may seem.
Record yourself talking about what the problem is and also how the problem MIGHT be trying to help you in some way.
AND, of course, do seek appropriate support.
If MY approach appeals, complete this short form to arrange a free telephone consultation
Want to delve deeper?
Say ‘Hi!’ if you’re at the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy conference in Dublin on Saturday 21st, October – I’m one of three presenters and I’ll be sharing EFT and other embodied self care ideas to support therapists in avoiding or at least learning from burnout. FIND OUT MORE
Read yesterday’s Monday Motivation post with some somatic support for mental health and Sunday’s Personal Peace post with embodied journal recording prompts (aka private vlog journal) on giving yourself a piece of your mind to help you find peace of mind (+ oracle card reading from the Divine Feminine deck + live call details).
And let me know how you’re getting on in the comments! (Extra Embodied members have access to private group chats where we can explore each theme in more depth)