Today, I would like to talk about “lifescape”, which is the name of my practice. You may wonder what the idea is behind the name. As you may have noticed, the word “Lifescape” is not in the dictionary. It is modified the word “landscape”. Drop “land” and add “life”.Vaila! “life-scape”

I found that life is like a landscape. You know, when you plan to create a landscape, you start to first think about what kind of landscape you want, what kinds of plants you want to plant, and etc, right? You may have acres of land, so you may be planning to create a gorgeous English garden, or a Zen like Japanese garden. Or, you may be putting in a couple of bushes and flowers in your front landscape, or you may be creating a mini garden on your balcony. Whatever it is, you are planning to create the best landscape possible within your given environment.

Don’t you think life is similar to that? We live our life the best we can from a given situation or environment. As we plan to create a landscape, don’t we all feel excited? I wonder if you found it was similar feelings you had when pondering your future when you were a child. I used to say to myself something like, “What do I want to become when I get older?” Didn’t we all write in kindergarden or elementary year book, “I will become a XXX!” We all had some sorts of dreams or ideas what we would like to become when we grew up. I am sure that we all are very excited about rich and full of thoughts about upcoming opportunities/possibilities.

Although we all plan and design our life -lifescape, often things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. We start to see a gap between our dreams and reality. We sometimes feel disappointed, feel lost, and perhaps, even feel despair. This is similar to an actual landscape. AS it develops and as times goes by, we begin to see fallen branches, stones, and weeds. Sometimes strong a storm hits our landscape, and messes it all up. Then, what do you do? Probably, as an owner of your landscape, even if you don’t feel like it, or you feel sad and upset, you go out there to start picking up the mess and to take care of your landscape.

Don’t we need the same care for our mind? We feel depressed, we feel upset, we sometimes feel despair for various reasons; work/family stress, job loss, bereavement, relationships, or retirement. There are so many things that happen in life, and our mind is always affected by it. Unlike a physical injury, we can’t see injury in our mind, so we tend to neglect our mind. However, taking care of our mind is the most importance thing for health. As you know, our mind connects our body and spirit. When our mind feels neglect, we actually feel exhausted and lack energy. Our mind’s struggle often surfaces as physical symptoms such as headaches, shoulder pain, or an upset stomach.

We all tend to be strict with ourselves. We don’t want others to see us as “weak” or a “failure”. Also, sometimes we don’t want our friends to know what is going on, so we might keep smiling and pretend everything is ok. Even if you are dying inside and screaming for help, you might keep things to yourself. You feel trapped, and overwhelmed. The more you try to suppress your mind, the more your mind is getting louder and louder. You are not sure how to keep your mind quiet.

We often feel “shame” about asking for help. We may be afraid that if we start talking about it, we are going to fall apart. Or, you might be afraid that your friend may not be able to keep your secret. At those times, you may want to consider seeking help from a professional counselor. They have knowledge and skills to guide you through your difficult time, and counselors will not give you unsolicited advice or criticize you. Actually, you will get the support that you need from a counselor. You and your counselor together will find a suitable solution/answer for you. Besides, counselors have a responsibility to keep your privacy, so you don’t need to worry about leaking your secret to the world.

There are a few bumps in road, and life has its ups and downs. However, joy and sorrow are both part of our life. You may sometimes feel anxious about your future, or you may feel very scared regarding the uncertainly in your future. It’s ok. It is a part of life. Just listen to your heart. Look into your mind. What do you hear and see? As life goes on, your mind also needs continuous maintenance. Don’t you make sure that your landscape gets enough light, nutrition, and water to soil and plants? You may want to do the same to nurture your mind as well.

You are the artist of your life – lifescape. You have executive control. Believe in your ability, and don’t pretend everything is ok. Have courage to ask for help. There are people who are there to listen to you. I am one of them. Let’s enjoy life. No reason to stay in unhappiness.