I just started a second series of classes at a homeless shelter here in Phoenix called Homeward Bound. I taught the first class almost two years ago. They asked me to come back this year to teach what I call my BIKE LESSONS.
Basically, I visit with a group of women the shelter sends to me, and we discuss my BIKE philosophy, one letter at a time. Wednesday night, I met with this group of women for the first time. So we spent the evening introducing ourselves, telling our stories, finding our connection. The women are all ages, with various backgrounds, most of them coming from an abusive or addictive home life. They've generally been in and out of treatment. When they get to Homeward Bound, they've hit rock bottom and have finally reached the point where they are willing to ask for help. They WANT the help, and these are the women I work with at the shelter. They are ready and willing to learn how to move forward. They want to take the next step. If I can give them a tool they can use to do that, I'm honored to be a part of their growth.
The work I'll be doing with them this next four weeks makes me think of all that I want to tell them. So here are 15 things I'll share. You might find the list useful as well:
1) GET ON A BIKE. It won't just move you forward, it'll give you time to process what's happening in your life.
2) TALK TO A FRIEND. Not just any friend, call the one you know will understand what you're going through, but not the friend who will let you wallow.
3) WALK AROUND THE BLOCK. Just get out there and walk off any anxiety you might be feeling. It doesn't cost anything, so get up and go.
4) FIND A THERAPIST. If you're not speaking to a professional, you should be. They'll provide the safe environment for you that your friends and family cannot.
5) READ A BOOK. What are you going through? Have you read about it? If not, a book that focuses on your specific challenge can provide insights you can use.
6) WRITE IT DOWN. In your worst moments, you need to get those thoughts out of your head. Writing them down in a journal will provide relief from the burden.
7) HAVE A GOOD CRY. Do you find yourself stifling the tears? Don't. Let them out. Release that energy so you can breathe again.
8) TAKE A DEEP BREATH. And then a few more. Breathing deeply, in and out, helps reduce inner stress and calms your nerves.
9) LAUGH OUT LOUD. You don't have to know a good joke to produce a big belly laugh. Just force it out. HA. HA. HA. HA. HA.
10) EAT A HEALTHY OR HEARTY MEAL. A healthy mind requires a good meal. Snack foods do not nourish your body the way fresh foods can. So practice good eating habits.
11) SING AN UPLIFTING SONG. Music has proven healing effects. Even if you don't know all the words, singing a favorite song can shift a mood into high gear. The faster the pace, the better.
12) DANCE TO YOUR FAVORITE BEAT. Turn on the radio or listen to your favorite dance tune, get up off the couch, and move your body to the rhythm of the beat. You'll feel better afterward.
13) CLEAN YOUR HOUSE. If you lean toward depressive states of mind, the way you keep house may reveal that. Spend time cleaning house this weekend. It'll lift your spirits back up where they belong.
14) PLAY A GAME. Even if you're alone, you can still pick up a deck of cards and play Solitaire. It'll give your mind something else to do than feel sorry for itself.
15) HAVE A TEA PARTY. After you've taken this much action, it's time to show yourself some appreciation with your very own tea party. If you have loose leaf, that's the best. But any old tea bag will do. Just pour, sip and relish the moment.
How about writing your own list of "15 Things" on your blog? If you do, come back and post the link below so we can all read what you have to say.