Purpose of MAKE LIFE COUNT TODAY: To inspire, inform, and empower people to live a conscious lifestyle, boosting well-being one day at a time, because it matters.
So how did I get here and how was MLCT born?
I became a therapist largely due to experiences in my own life. In my late teens/early 20’s I experienced the death losses of a number of significant people in my life. These numerous losses, within a short period of time of one another, at a relatively young age, were beyond my comprehension. My grief, which I didn't consciously realize was grief, manifested itself in negative ways, and it wasn't until I sought professional support that I was able to go through my grief and overcome and transform my losses.
My grief journey taught me that there should not be shame or stigma in taking care of our emotional health, and that, in fact, because we are all thinking/feeling beings, the shame and stigma around mental health in general should be replaced with admiration and acceptance. If you’ve ever felt happy, that’s your mental health. If you’ve ever felt sad, that’s your mental health. Mental health is a part of all of us just like our physical health or spiritual health, for example, and it is nothing to be ashamed about.
Life is full of challenges, changes and transitions. That’s a fact. But it is also full of so much good- another fact. By becoming more self aware I’ve been able to develop better balance in my life. Negativity breeds negativity so I consciously try to let goodness grow instead (easier some days than others).
Back to how this concept was born…
My 20’s were a busy decade. I graduated three times, got married, and bought a home. (I’ll also point out here that I tend to be type A and have perfectionistic tendencies.) So far in my 30’s I’ve had two children, moved three times, started a business, and have a husband who travels often. Life has been full and constant. This brief snapshot of my life in 2 sentences likely sounds good- and while it has been good, I haven’t been exempt from hard times and I have experienced a lot of stress along the way.
My stress has manifested itself physically at times, and I’ve often found myself either focused on the past or preoccupied with the future, missing the present. Along the way I realized I wanted to strive to live differently— more mindfully, more intentionally. Rather than feeling like life was controlling me, I wanted to control my life.
I will say that while much of life is out of our control, in the day in and day out, we actually do have a lot of control. Now, again, I am human which means I will never have total control, nor will I be perfect no matter how hard I try. I need to extend grace to myself and others in abundance. BUT, through my personal and professional life I slowly became aware that there are things I can do— actions I can take to care for myself and others better, ways to reduce stress, live in a more mindful way, and be more intentional.
Making personal changes are difficult. I can attest to this personally and I can say that I see this in real life in my clients. Being aware of what is going on in our heads, hearts and bodies isn't easy. Looking at our habits and patterns can be surprising. Becoming aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions takes introspective time, attention, and courage. Using that awareness and then being intentional about the things we’d like to see change/be different takes gumption. Putting those intentions into actions are at times easier said than done. That’s where grace is huge and significant. I can be aware of a thought or feeling, have an idea of how to be intentional and change that said thought or feeling, but then fail when I attempt to put that into action. If I let my fail stop me then I lose, but if I give myself grace, pick myself up, and try again, then that’s a baby step win and the first step toward real change.
Some years ago I became curious about mindfulness and slowly began my own mindfulness practice in an effort to live more in the moment. Even though I’ve worked to incorporate being more mindful into my daily life, and I’ve realized first hand the benefits of such a lifestyle, I have come to accept that this intentional practice is one that will require my intention through out my life. Some days I feel like I’ve got it down: other days I really struggle. Isn't that the case with so much in life?!
This year I was doing a mindfulness meditation when it hit me. I had an ‘aha moment’. I’ve had a few of these in my life but this one felt different. It felt more confusing but exciting. Somewhat heavy but intriguing. What this ‘aha’ told me was this: when I look back on my life (hopefully a long long time from now) I want to be able to look back with conviction that I “made my life count”. I have often seen the words ‘make it happen’, and while I love that phrase because life is about doing, it occurred to me that what I really want for myself is to make my life count by way of what I make happen. I want my words to count. I want my interactions to count. I want my actions to count. I want my relationships to count. I want my work to count. I want to make the most of each opportunity and live in a mindful and conscious way so that when I add all my moments in life together they create a life that counted. (Again, that human thing makes me perfectly imperfect so I’m going to need to give myself a lot of grace along the way.)
Now I understand that what may ‘make life count’ for one person may look different for another person. Our values may not line up exactly. That is okay! We are all unique and no two of us are exactly alike but that does not mean that we can’t/don’t all strive to live a meaningful life. My hope is that the ‘Make Life Count Today’ mantra becomes a way of living and is a platform to inspire, encourage, and empower others/you all to make life count, starting today.
So how can each of us do this…?
Every day we have the opportunity in all that we say and all that we do to make a positive lasting impact for ourselves, and for others. Every day we also have the opportunity to become more self aware, learn and grow, become the person we seek to be, and make the most of each moment, thus creating a life full of moments that help make our life count. There is no time like the present to start to make life count today.
What will you choose to do to MAKE (your) LIFE COUNT TODAY?