When I decided to start this 'thing', I committed to myself that this blog would be a reflection of my soul- 'things' that I hold close dear and near to my heart. For years, I went back and forth regarding sharing these 'things' that were on my mind. Not gonna lie, part of it was selfishness of sharing my insights, ideas and perceptions. I liked being in my own little world and knowing that I would be safe in it. The idea of letting anyone into my 'little world' was terrifying. Let me clarifying- it is still terrifying! And what is life if not a challenge of pressing into the unknown and discovering beauty.
To create a blog, you need a name. Simple right? Well ... not that simple for this gal. I wanted a name that would speak for itself and hold weight. A name that would give purpose, meaning and life behind the words that were written. That is where the world Lumen popped into my mind and took me back to the day when I made a promise I would use that name when I am ready to start this 'thing'.
One of my favorite therapeutic interventions is creating affirmation bracelets. Let's face it, saying affirmations is cheesy. It feels weird and counterintuitive. AND it WORKS! It's a persistent conundrum trying to figure out why affirmations work. But what we know is that they work incredibly well. There is so much research that backs up the notion that incorporating affirmations into your daily life increases self-worth and activates the ventral striatum and the ventral medial prefrontal cortex (part of the brain that is responsible for pleasure and reward). Pretty cool, huh! Well at least I think so. AND practicing affirmations on a daily basis increases activity in the posterior cingulate cortex (part of the brain that is associated with thinking about the self). Now think about this- if the posterior cingulate cortex is responsible for how we see ourselves in the world. Then what we say about ourselves and how we think about ourselves turns into reality. CRAZY RIGHT! (inner nerd coming out). What I am trying to illustrate is that affirmations change the chemistry of the brain.
For this particular therapeutic intervention, I asked my group of teenage girls to create an affirmation word for the person to their left. The goal was for the girls to be able to capture their peer’s personality and describe it in a meaningful word. I love participating in these activities with the girls so of course I participated. To my right was a patient that I have worked with for many months. I have seen her tears, her struggles and had the privilege to stand by her when she finally found the hope to keep on going. I also have to mention that this gal was a language genius! I mean you would be amazed by her love towards ancient languages and her brilliance in making it into a beautiful art. You are not really supposed to have ‘favorites’ however she definitely was one that I was awed in how her brain worked.
After we finished the bracelets, we shared the reasoning behind the word that was chosen. I was given the word Lumen. With a puzzled yet curious look, I asked her what that meant. She replied, "well in Latin, Lumen means to reflect light. There isn’t really an English word to capture that meaning so I chose that word. You reflect light that is in you- through loving us and seeing the best in what we have and shining light into that". That statement forever changed the way I carry myself and how I see myself. It was then, that I promised myself that I would one day open a blog that focused the reflection of my soul and call it ‘Lumen’. Since then, Lumen has been my affirmation that carries my through my daily life.