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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

Receiving Support

As the days grow shorter, I tend to feel a sense of loss. There's a tightness at my chest. An urge to stay in bed. Tears come easily. I can feel lost. By now, I recognize these symptoms as mild seasonal depression. It's a sign of the changing seasons, and a reminder that I need to take extra care. I need to turn to the things that support me. Like nature, running, loved ones, good books, and mindfulness practice.

Photo by_Hannah Marsh
"Is that one tree or two?" my walking companion asked in Stanley Park last month. The base of the trunk appeared as one, then split, growing closely side by side.

But it's not always easy. Sometimes it feels like there's a grown-up in my head kindly suggesting what would be helpful, while an unruly teenager rolls her eyes, slams the door, and hides in her room.

And I get it. Hiding can feel safe. For a short while, lying down and distracting yourself with a heartwarming TV show, say, can be soothing. Even needed. But it's not a long-term solution. For me, I start to feel more depleted, missing what's meaningful and sustaining, like my creative practice and connections with others. I need to open the door to the kindly grown-up.

The other day, listening to her, I got curious about the tightness at my chest; I'd been bemoaning it, feeling helpless against it, but now I noticed the bare sensation: where it was appearing, its edges, its depth. As I got interested, I felt an inner brightness. A burst of energy. The tightness opened up. Oh, right! I remembered, yet again. This is how mindfulness can help. It's funny how often I need to be reminded. How the smallest reminder can open the door, again, to receiving those things - from myself and others - that support and sustain me. Then my guard comes up, my inner teenager rolls her eyes, and I welcome another reminder.

How about you? What supports you through difficulty? When have you found it easier to receive that support? When have you found it challenging?

The invitation is to be gentle here. For many of us, there can be fear, self-judgement, and vulnerability in receiving support - both support from ourselves and from others. We might notice (with a kind curiosity) what conditions close us off to support, and what conditions give us a sense of safety to receive it. For me, it helps to know I'm not alone. Everyone needs support. Receiving support also feels like a practice, made easier when I do it more often. (It seems connected to the practice of giving support; like the in-breath and out-breath, the two go hand in hand.)

In this month's Mindfulness & Creativity session, we'll get some practice receiving support in our mindfulness practices. We'll consider what supports us, and how we might encourage ourselves to receive that support - and how this might benefit our well-being and creative practice.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Founder, The Art of Being Here


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