Writer, model, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smite
A different kind of love letter part 2
Back in 2018, which now feels like ages ago , and certainly belonging in the BC (before Covid) era, I wrote a love letter… to the greatest city on Earth, called London. If you like, you can read it by clicking on the link below:
Why I am raising money for “Young Minds” charity.
It is not a secret for anyone at this point that I feel very strongly about the subject of mental health, as well as destroying the stigma that surrounds it. I mean, it even says in my bio, both here and on Instagram that I am a mental health advocate. And since I started a fundraiser for YoungMinds charity on my birthday last month, I thought this is a good time to elaborate on the subject a bit more. To make it more personal, more transparent. To tell a story about a real life experience.
The cost of true freedom.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang Von Go. Freedom is one of my core values, and I have given it a lot of thought. Additionally it is a major theme for the collective, especially since the beginning of 2020 . On the surface level it seems that the recent events highlighted and temporarily limited our liberties, such as the ability to travel the world, eat out, or to even simply hang out with ones friends, have a sovereignty over ones body when it comes to medical choices, and so on. But the concept of “freedom” goes much deeper in my opinion. If anything, the unique limitations that were imposed globally, created an opportunity for many to reevaluate their lives, and examine all the ways that they were not free in during the years or decades leading up to now, despite the ability to roam the world freely, having financial means etc .
ReMind Body therapy
The energetic climate of the last few years has been intense to say the least, and for a lot of people, mental health took a hit. You can say the whole world is going through a healing crisis of sorts. However, what we call “mental health” isn’t limited to just our mental aspect , the whole term is somehow misleading. Emotional health would perhaps be a better name for it , but again it is limited. We have to look at a human as a whole - an ecosystem that is complicated, yet very intelligent. There is a tendency in the West to view the mind and the body as two separate entities, largely thanks to the Cartesian philosophy of the duality between the two. There is also a tendency to predominantly live in our minds - to think (and overthink), rather than feel and notice somatic (body) sensations.
Why we should celebrate our differences.
As long as I can remember myself, I have always felt very different from other people, and to a younger me it was a tragedy. Children desperately want to belong , to be accepted by the group, they need this experience in order to feel safe, as on a basic animal level not belonging literally means death. For our ancestors it was impossible to survive in the wilderness if they were rejected by a group, hence why for a developing psyche the experiences of not being accepted can be very overwhelming on a biological level. Additionally , as a result of feeling rejected in our formative years , we tend to develop all kinds of limiting beliefs, as children are more likely to assume that the problem lies with them, not with the situation. I remember so vividly how I had wished I were someone else , someone “normal” and part of the group.
Apocalypse - what’s in the word?
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “apocalypse”? Nothing pleasant, that’s for sure. The films we came to associate with this word always portray destruction, drama, end of the world, and just an overall negative scenario that induces fear. There is usually one hero somewhere in the middle of all the chaos, who saves the day, gets the girl and lives happily ever after - a dynamic which serves to reinforce the tendency of humanity to expect a saviour in the likes of messiahs and politicians.
Conscious Gift guide
Mother Nature, Gaia, planet Earth - home we all share. Energetically speaking it is a feminine aspect of creation, she supports us all, she gives birth, she sustains and nourishes. And more often than not we take it for granted. Last couple of years , albeit challenging in many ways, also had many silver linings attached to them. They illuminated few important themes, serving as a catalyst for many to dig deep and find out their true values. As we were pushed to be less connected to each other and Nature, many started to appreciate all those things we used to take for granted. Additionally, as we faced something totally unprecedented - our resilience was tested and many of us started to take our health and well-being more seriously. You can say that what is emerging for many as a result of the events of the last two years, is a more conscious approach to life, more holistic view of oneself, as well as the interconnectedness of all things on this planet.
“Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.” Unknown. If I was able to give just one piece of advice to those who currently face mental health struggles such as anxiety and depression , it would be to take it one day at the time. The mind dislikes the present moment and prefers to jump between the past and the future, which is not serving us at the best of times, but when the emotionally heavy states are present, this tendency can weigh one down even more. During the survival mode we develop sort of a tunnel vision and perceive a very limited segment of reality, we struggle to see the options and choices available to us, and generally feel powerless and lost. It feels as if one is walking in a maze without any clue where to turn next and when is this going to end, if ever. Since we tend to project how we currently feel towards the future and the past , both trajectories end up appearing darker than they actually are, and it becomes very hard to see that things will shift and change. This in turn creates a vicious cycle of thought forms such as “I will never get better” or “I’ve always felt like this”, feeding the negative emotions more energy, and making one feel stuck.
It has been more than three years since I published my article about self -love. A lot has changed in my life and psyche since then, a lot of self-love hashtags used on Instagram, a lot of reflecting and learning has happened , and so I feel it is time to rewrite that chapter.
Gratitude is something I return to time and time again - both in my writing and in daily life. It is also something I need to keep reminding myself about, as it does not come as naturally as fear, worry, and other self-preservation instincts. Instincts that served our species well when our ancestors had to survive in the wilderness of the ancient world. The world has changed, but our physiology in many ways stayed the same, and we are still wired to remember the negative experiences more easily and with a much greater intensity than the positive ones. The evolutionary reasons for this are clear, we do so in order not to repeat them and survive. The irony with this, is that while animals have a way to discharge stress and negative energy (so it does not linger in their system for years after the traumatic event,) humans due to a more complex neurological make up, tend to hold onto it. This in turn, weakens the very defence they need in order to live a healthy life - the immune system. On the other hand, scientific research indicates that a daily gratitude practice strengthens immune system, as well as improving sleep and decreasing the risk of disease. While it might seem like an impossible task to feel thankful this year, due to the amount of overwhelming information we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is achievable with a little discipline. It might not be easy to feel it at first, and to begin with it could be a purely cognitive experience, but with time and practice it will become more heart felt.
Creativity as an antidote for challenging times.
“When nothing is certain, everything is possible.” Mandy Hale The year of 2020 is an eventful one to say the least. The intensity, the chaos, the bizarre changes in the society, which at times feels surreal, resembling an apocalyptic movie more than the reality. According to many ancient texts, however, there is a bigger picture at play, something that has been gaining its momentum since 2012, namely the end of one age and the beginning of another. Everyone remembers the “end of the world” prediction connected to Mayan calendar, apparently it was not supposed to be taken literally, and meant the end of the world as we know it.