Everything is awesome …

Yesterday the Internet lit up here in Canada as Bell Let’s Talk encouraged dialogue on mental illness.

Negative thoughts. I’ve read that most of us have them in excess. So at least I’m not alone. Not that I want these downers running around in my head. But how do we drown them out? music? art? poetry? I think the key is creative engagement. For me, one answer is Lego. Total mindless engagement – if that makes any sense – and it brings me peace, stills the hamsters who turn the wheel.

The grandchildren tell me I’m not much good at it – Lego. I build sets. I don’t freebuild, which is what they prefer. And apparently, you’re not a real builder if you have to go by instructions. I’m like the man upstairs in The Lego Movie. Have you watched it? You should. Huge lessons there on how to let go, be yourself, be a good parent. “Everything is awesome,” all the little Lego men sing, as they work their way through another routine day. But when you break out of the mold, live in the moment….Wow! Everything IS awesome!

In my defence, I don’t glue the sets together! And I do let the boys play with what I build: write their own storyline and totally wreck everything. And I do that over and over and over. For me it’s not the end product that’s important, but the act of building. Total engagement. Though I must say it would be pretty cool to see a whole city rise from all those tiny little bricks.

Negative thoughts. I understand negative thoughts. But mental illness? I’m not sure. I struggle to understand how poor mental health presents and what my role should be in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, or in standing by those who do find the courage to get to their feet. It’s so huge – mental illness – so widespread and its boundaries are anything but clearly defined. What is it that allows one person to cope, yet sees another crumble? I look at myself. I look at the person to my right. I look at the person to my left. We all have our strengths and talents. We all face life’s challenges. Sometimes, in fact, your life looks charmed in comparison to mine. Yet you stumble and crumble. I stumble and push through. It’s difficult for me to be always gentle in my thoughts of you. I’m sorry. But I’m trying. I truly am.

And that’s why talk is important. It breaks down barriers, encourages dialogue, destroys stereotypes .. and invites reflection.

everything is awesome …

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