APU Mental Health Original

Embracing Change in This Era of Mass Confusion and Fear

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“I feel like everyone else was productive this past year while I… (gained weight, was depressed, lost a year of my life, failed classes).” This angst emerges as a dominant theme we university chaplains are hearing from our students.

Sadly, social media misinforms us, creating an emotional reaction that often leaves us feeling like others have thrived, as evidenced by glorious achievements displayed on TikTok to a jovial Laxed (Siren Beat) soundtrack.

Embracing Change Is a Necessary Activity

Embracing change is like dental flossing — it’s a necessary activity. In the more than 250,000 years of humanity, uncertainty remains the continual theme. If we perceive uncertainty as an opportunity, however, then embracing change becomes a necessity for survival.

We are all given a powerful choice when change comes — resist or transform. Resistance closes the heart, shutting the flow of energy in our bodies and making us feel like a caged animal. Transformation leads us through the forest of uncertainty to joy.

True, we yearn for a predictable life, but now each waking day brings new challenges beyond our control. If you feel as if you are in constant survival mode, know that joy can return. But it will take our own ability to go against what society constantly lures us to think. What if you believed it’s OK to slow down and grieve for the many visible and masked sorrows the past year implanted in our being?

A Year after the World Shut Down, We Require Education of the Heart

A year after the world shut down, we require education of the heart where the untangling of joy from sorrow revives our passions. The great 20th-century Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung noted that change encompasses insight, endurance and action.

Insight invites us to see things differently, to rewrite the script that our voice constantly narrates. You know the voice, that continuous storyteller in your head reinforcing the “need to achieve” and to receive approval from others. Being aware of the resulting thoughts and actions caused by the voice helps us to awaken to our purpose.

The Journey of Awakening

The journey of awakening involves endurance and a commitment to live from that inner source of joy and passion. It’s a passion that unfortunately can be overshadowed by the constant cultural conditioning that tends to cloud our insight. When we forget who we are, the ramification of this “amnesia” tosses us into the unpredictable storms of a global pandemic and the resulting fear unleashed by organizational systems lures us into a whirlpool of feeling out of control.

How you talk to yourself — how you create your insights — shape your reality and affect the actions you’ll take in life. If you feel stuck, that’s where our Chaplains’ Office can help. We listen and explore your life’s journey and discover what you are passionate about, what is your purpose. We begin by welcoming uncertainty as an opportunity to follow our dreams and passions and slaying the dragons — the obstacles in life that stand in the way of experiencing joy.

Two Upcoming Wellness Opportunities in May

University Chaplain Kyle Sorys will present “Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation: Mindfulness of the Body” on Thursday, May 20, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Be sure to pre-register to confirm your attendance and get your unique link to access the meeting.

And on Thursday, May 27, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. I will discuss “Life Awakening: Feelings v. Emotions.” This presentation is intended for APUS students. Pre-register in order to get your unique link to access this meeting

We can be reached at Chaplain@apus.edu or by texting 703-357-3990. Also, a Meet the Chaplains video is available on YouTube.

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Lindenmeyer founded the virtual Sacred Activism Community and has served as a chaplain for American Public University System for nearly 15 years. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Cynthia commanded a Signal Company in Korea, then earned her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. She was a consultant on the “The Invisible War” documentary and a co-producer for the Black Votes Matter Virtual Tour documentary. Cynthia and is now in the editing phase of the documentary exploring white privilege, “How Do You Sleep at Night?”

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