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Be who you are and say what you feel

Because those who mind DON’T MATTER

And those who MATTER don’t mind.

~~ Dr Seuss

Greetings to all my precious people!

We are winding down the blustery month of March, ending the first quarter of the year and hopefully finding a rhythm to our daily life that supports our wellbeing.  Perhaps you have been able to set aside some moments to revisit your delightful amazing Self, as you remember your connection to everything around you.  The foundations of Chinese medicine focus on the interconnectedness of all things, and we are not only part of the landscape, but that landscape also lives within us – connected by threads in a fabric woven from the stars and the soil, from the wind and the rain.  While this might sound poetic, it is in fact the truth:  we are all part of a system, and everything that happens within one part impacts the rest of the system.  

Especially now, in these days of chaos and dissonance, the lament I keep hearing is this:  “what’s the use?” –  “no one really cares” –  “nothing really matters anymore”.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t matter? 

Have you felt like you could disappear and no one would notice or even care in your work life, in your relationships, in your community, or maybe even your family? It is reasonable to think that most of us might have felt that way, or some version of such, on some level, at least at some point in our lives.  The feeling that who we are or what we do just doesn’t matter – or it doesn’t matter to people that we want it to matter to, including ourselves. Those feelings of invisibility and insignificance can be deeply discouraging.  The feeling of mattering is part of the foundation of being a human being on the planet, and it is critical to a life well-lived.

Dr. Isaac Prilleltensky  is the inaugural chair in Community Well-Being at the University of Miami and the world’s leading researcher on mattering. Over his prolific career, he has explored the concept of mattering, and how it affects our ability to live a good life.

In his research and writings, Dr. Prilleltensky identified the two core components of mattering.  He describes it as a powerful reciprocity between feeling valued and then being inspired to step up and contribute value to the world around you. Mattering fuels our health, happiness, and purpose and so much more.

In his book, How People Matter, Dr. Prilleltensky reiterates that mattering, which is about feeling valued and adding value, is essential for health, happiness, love, work, and social well-being. We all need to feel valued by, and add value to, ourselves, others, co-workers, and community members. This book shows not only the signs, significance, and sources of mattering, but also presents the strategies to achieve mattering in our personal and professional lives. It uses research-based methods of change to help people achieve a higher sense of purpose and a deeper sense of meaning. 

So what happens when we don’t feel like we matter? Dr. Prilleltensky found that the consequences can be severe, from joining extremist groups to suicidal ideation. But on a positive note, his research highlighted that even small acts of adding value or contribution can start to fulfill our need to matter in healthy ways.  “So if I have to really predict happiness, I would say two of the greatest predictors of happiness are, as we know from the research, relationships [and your job]” says Dr. Prilleltensky.  “The quality of relationships is probably the greatest predictor of your happiness and then your occupation. Relationships and occupation, they have a lot to do with mattering.”

What might be at the root of feeling like we don’t matter?  Vienna Pharaon, licensed marriage and family therapist, has a few ideas.  In her latest book, The Origins of You, chapter 3 talks about “I Want to Feel Worthy” and the impact that our family of origin might have on not only our sense of worthiness but also our feelings of mattering.  This is a human condition, and not relegated to certain demographics or socio-economic groups.  Pharaon offers a way to get started on healing the wounds that exist in our psyche and healing the foundations of our body and mind via a 4 step process:

  1. NAMING:  Bring into focus the first moment you remember questioning your worth.  Where are you?  Who was there?  Did someone else say something to make you feel unworthy?
  2. WITNESSING:  Become more focused on yourself, on that younger version of you and notice the feelings you were experiencing in that former moment.
  3. GRIEVING:  You might begin to feel emotion here.  Can you allow it to flow?  What are you feeling compelled to do?  And just notice that … allow the emotions to rise up and flow through you.
  4. PIVOTING:   Can you think about the way your worthiness wound shows up and plays out today?  Is it apparent in certain relationships?  Do you please or perform?  Do you hide or avoid it to protect yourself from not feeling worthy?

If we are unable to acknowledge the wounds we carry, they are pretty hard to heal.  And if we acknowledge them incorrectly, we might start down the wrong path, following the story of someone else.  If you are able to begin at step 1 and NAME IT – call it exactly what it is – you will begin the journey with a bold step towards healing and freedom.  This healing process is a sacred undertaking, a recommitment to Self, a journey of courage, exploration and inspiration.  START TODAY … START NOW.

Baile (bal-yeh) is the Irish word describing place, home, farmstead, village, and town.

In the heart of the Irish language lies “Baile,” a term that evokes a sense of place, from the intimacy of home to the broader community of a village or town. Embedded in countless Irish placenames and often anglicized as “Bally,” baile transcends geographical coordinates to embody a feeling of belonging, of being rooted in a shared history and culture.

Baile reminds us that home is not just a physical space but an emotional landscape, a sense of connection that can be found in the most unexpected places. It speaks to the profound experience of arriving in a new place, be it a bustling city, a serene village, or a remote farmstead, and feeling an immediate sense of belonging. This phenomenon, where we find ourselves at home in locations we are visiting for the first time, underscores the idea that there are places we have never been but where we intrinsically belong.

This connection to baile is a testament to the universal search for a place where we feel understood, valued, and part of something larger than ourselves. It is a reminder that our sense of home can extend beyond the familiar boundaries of our birthplaces or the walls of our dwellings. Baile represents the places where our spirits find peace, where the landscape resonates with the rhythms of our innermost selves, and where we are embraced by a sense of community and kinship.

As we reflect on the meaning of baile, consider the places that have stirred this deep sense of belonging within you. What is it about these places that makes us feel at home? How do they connect to our identity and our journey through life? How can we create spaces that offer this sense of baile to others, fostering environments where everyone can find a place where they truly belong, and matter?

Please know this and hear me loud and clear: YOU MATTER.

What you do matters.  How you think matters.  What you say matters.  How you feel matters.  YOU MATTER.  And if you are feeling frustrated or daunted by the aspect of encountering your stories and writing new chapters, consider allowing me the privilege of helping you navigate this journey.  With a blend of ancient medicine in the spirit of Anam Cara, we can travel the road together, as I support your recommitment to your Self over and over again.

“This is what it feels like to be brilliantly achingly alive. Alive in the shatter. Alive in the empty. This is what it is to belong to things we cannot possibly understand. This is what it is to trust in the terrifying wisdom of our own becoming” 

~~ Jeanette Le Blanc

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