Roots B4 Branches

When full blown mania takes its hold on me things get downright spiritual.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Out-of-the-blue talking non-stop about God and the wondrous nature of life on Earth is definitely symptomatic of brain misfiring. After all, it’s on the list they check off as they quiz your loved ones for symptoms.

“Is she experiencing grandiose thinking?” – check!

“Does she talk about God more now than normal?” – check!

“Does she hear a voice guiding or teaching her about life?” – check!

The more manic I become, the more focused I am on the aspects of life I just can’t explain but seem to have some newfound ‘sense’ or ‘knowing’ about. I spend hours at the library researching spiritual teachings and experiences. And I walk around in an overstimulated, discombobulated daze in awe of the beauty of life.

In my normal, non-manic state I would call myself spiritual. I have a genuine interest in the mind-body-spirit connection. And I do read about spiritual topics regularly.

But when I am manic things just go to a whole different level of fascination.

This is why I love the analogy of a tree when I think about developing balance, peace and grounded thinking in times of wellness for me. I was gifted with this analogy on my very first visit to the counselor I now see regularly.

She listened intently to my story. She sat quiet while I described how mania and psychosis for me always led down a philosophical and spiritual path. I told her all about the inexplicable things that had happened to me while I was manic. And how they all seemed to point to a bigger purpose to life. She waited patiently while I talked and then when I was exhausted from pouring my heart out to a stranger, she enlightened me.

She validated my interest in spirituality. She told me it was healthy to explore my thoughts and wonderings about life and about spirit. But she warned me about nurturing my roots before I grew my branches.

She used the analogy that a tree can’t grow its branches and crown without an elaborate and well-developed system of roots grounded below. She explained that when I feel myself slipping into hypo-mania (the beginnings of a manic state) I have to be careful that I don’t try to stretch myself in any one direction too far. A tree would eventually fall over or a branch break off if it tried to grow too much in just one direction. She explained this is what I was doing when I focused all my energy on this one fascination.

In order to stay grounded and prevent hypo-mania from slipping further down the slippery slope towards full-blown mania, I needed to remind myself to take my energy and focus on my roots. The phrase she used was, “chop wood, carry water”. This basically means, take your head out of the clouds and focus on some good old, feet-on-the-ground, human responsibilities. Bathe your children. Finish up a work project. Phone an old friend. Nurture your roots.

My roots are the aspects of my life that keep me grounded. My children. My husband. My writing. My work. My family. My friends. My garden. My art. My home. My roots are what provide strength in the wind. My roots keep me nurtured and loved. My roots are my foundation.

So when my fascinations take hold and my branches reach evermore in all different directions. I can feel safe to explore and grow knowing that I have a solid, well-nurtured set of roots beneath me.

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