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Check Your M.O.
Intellectual Wellness and Creative Wellness go hand-in-hand. The creative process offers many paths for self-exploration and exposure to different ideas. In fact, creativity could be described as a subset of Intellectual Wellness. Whichever way you slice and dice these categories, the ultimate objective is to expand your mind and stay in tune with what's happening around you.
In yesterday's post, I shared how adulting had sucked the joy out of my life for a little bit. Humans are creatures of habit. While routine is helpful for staying organized and aware of your priorities, it can also start to confine you to an archaic modus operandi. This is problematic when mental constraints dampen beliefs about what's possible in the world. Straits become dire when this turns into an absolute refusal to believe anything other than what you already know (or assume) and these attitudes either bring about or validate harm to other people.
Is it that serious?
Traditional conceptions of self-care are myopic. It is true that practices like reinforcing boundaries, escaping to recharge, reading for leisure and simply resting are all imperative for positive well-being, but too much of anything becomes pure indulgence. Growing for the sake of growing has its place, especially if you are emerging from a period of stagnation. On the other hand, we should not hoard our gifts, especially if we can help others by sharing our skills.
Case Study: 2016 - 2020
The last four year have been the most turbulent social times that millennials and younger generations have ever experienced. It is so sad to hear Baby Boomers and elders say that it felt like a repeat of history. I don't ever want to live through this again.
These four years represented the exact opposite of Intellectual Wellness. This was a real-time lesson in the effects of willful ignorance. Absolute disaster. But from the ashes rose a little hope.
This year has encapsulated a great awakening. Rose colored glassed were shattered left and right. People's eyes were opened to how their limited scopes of understanding were perpetuating injustices. Folks clamored to learn and study and converse and grow. My prayer is that this groundswell for knowledge about cultures, systems and injustices never stops because as Maya Angelou stated, "when you know better, you do better," but we still have a long way to go...
The Esther Generation
Millennials often get a bad wrap. We're accused of being selfish and attention hungry. We are sometimes called "the sticker generation" because we grew up getting "Awesome Job" awards for doing basic things like turning in our homework. However, we are also the most formally educated group of adults in the workforce and I would venture to say that we're the most open-minded, too.
We still got rocked by this year's successive insults to justice and morality. It was certainly a wake up call. I think many of us saw that we were starting to get too comfortable. I personally recognized that there was more that I could learn in order to become a better advocate for social justice.
The Bible story of Esther and the words "for such a time as this" comes to mind when I think about our society's charge moving forward.
Dr. Troy Evans writes:
'For such a time as this.'
It’s a phrase tossed around frequently, often without much thought to the original meaning or context in which it was said. It can mean: special, chosen or royal. Many people even quote Mordecai’s rebuke to Esther as a life-verse representing power and favor. You’ll see shirts, hats, mugs and social media posts that proudly ring out, “for such a time as this.”
But what did this phrase really mean?
When we look at the life of Esther throughout the book titled in her name, this phrase actually refers to Esther being scolded for her self-indulgent, self-preserving mindset. In today’s language, we might call that being “shot down” for having narcissistic tendencies! Mordecai reproved Esther for living large and embracing royalty over righteousness — selfies over service. Through those telling words, he reminded her she had been chosen to set her own interests aside, let go of her own ambitions, and face an enemy full-on.
She was to risk her life and her legacy with no guarantees of a positive outcome. That’s the “for such a time as this” Mordecai challenged Esther to accept.
We have all the degrees, but now what?
Black and brown people are still being killed in broad daylight, so there's clearly more work to do.
Which skills can we acquire and which intellectual tools can we sharpen to be greater champions for what's right?
Yes, learning for the sake of learning has its place, but learning for the sake of humanity is imperative for such a time as this.
Think of something you can do for your own Intellectual Wellness that you can also leverage as a means for service in your community.