The journey to a happy healthy mental state is a slow, ambling one, one that can take years, perhaps a lifetime, to refine. It’s an intriguing exploration with no destination in mind, allowing you to delve into life as if it’s a cavern containing doors that lead to more doors. A journey of both teaching and learning, allowing you to carve out your own personal path, curiously noticing the delicate strands of your life and how each one makes you feel. It’s the balance of letting go, enjoying and embracing life’s surprises whilst simultaneously observing it all from a position of gentle self-awareness. (Simple, right?!). It’s a journey of plodding, not of sprinting. A journey to be enjoyed.
On my plodding journey, I’ve slowly started to notice what helps me and what doesn’t a little more each day. The people I spend time with affect my mental state as powerfully as good food or exercise does. It’s all about what you are feeding into your soul. If you are around negative energy and people who treat you badly, you will feel low and down in yourself. If you are around people you trust, who genuinely want you to be happy, the good vibes cleanse you from the inside. When others care about you, you start to care about yourself; love is contagious!
I recently spent a beautiful weekend away in deepest Wales with a group of close friends, some reasonably new and some I grew up with and have known for up to 25 years (25 years!!!! How old?!). No phrase is more accurate for me than describing it truly as hot chocolate for the soul. A weekend of laughter and good vibes, long chats, lighthearted teasing, walks in the countryside, cups of tea. In the evenings we huddled in farmyard cottages, set deep into the countryside in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, drinking wine and eating hearty meals. There is something about friends you shared childhood/the teenage years with that just brings a sense of familiarity and safety. Both grounding and nurturing, it’s a beautiful and unique thing. These friendships are as authentic as family ties; stripped back and raw, honest and open.
As I settled back into the clutter of London life the day after the trip, I felt the familiar pull of home in my heart, something that can hurt but also represents a fierce sense of belonging. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t long for home, my roots and my family from time to time. It brought a sense of appreciation of just how lucky I am to know such wonderful, loyal, funny people after all these years and to be part of such a special friendship group that I know, after this long, will never change 🙂
Notice the friendships you have in your life and embrace those that build you up and help you blossom and let go of those who flatten you or bring you down. Good friendships are key to a happy healthy mental state. Nurture yours.
(photos courtesy of D Farley)