Wellness Wednesday: Focusing on our humanity

November 11, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

This year has brought with it chaos and uncertainty unlike any other in recent history. Living in a country rife with political tension, divided by opposing values and beliefs, wounded by racial and social injustice, and reeling from the ongoing impact of a pandemic, it is no wonder many people are struggling to feel centered, and longing for peace and stability in their lives.

Imam Kamau Ayubbi, staff chaplain for Michigan Medicine, offered important advice in a recent episode of Short Takes Reflect & Recharge, a video series developed by the leaders of University Hospital and the Frankel Cardiovascular Center in partnership with the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. The series was designed to support mental and emotional wellness, and to encourage faculty and staff to find moments of pause to reflect and begin healing from the trauma of recent months.

Ayubbi’s insightful message? Focus on the positive, healing and universal aspects of our humanity.

“Every morning and each day, there is a new light, a new energy and a new opportunity,” said Ayubbi. “Every soul has the opportunity to embrace spiritual beauty or to forget about it, or even lock it away.”

Expressing our higher potential

In his message, Ayubbi encourages us to think about what it means to be human and to focus on the aspects of humanity that connect us all. He suggests practicing regular, intentional moments to root ourselves in the qualities that bring peace and satisfaction to ourselves and others.

“Beneath the aesthetics of color or political affiliation, is there something that makes human beings essentially beautiful?” asked Ayubbi.

“Embracing the qualities that make us human, help us feel safe and encourage us to grow can free us up to express our higher potentials of love, compassion, empathy, wisdom, courage and fairness,” he said.

Body, mind and spirit

As humans, we have the unique ability to connect body, mind and spirit, and explore ways to nourish all three aspects of our being. This is especially important now, said Ayubbi, as time races forward, the world continues to become smaller and information — including conflicting ideas and attitudes — surrounds us constantly through social media and news outlets.

“Each day, we have time to make the combination of body, mind and spirit more present,” said Ayubbi, “and if we don’t already take time for this, shouldn’t we choose to build it into our lives?”

Ayubbi suggests supporting the mind, body and spirit connection through faith, connecting with nature, or focusing on whatever it is that brings personal peace and fulfillment.

“We can consciously nourish our soul’s relationship to a freedom that may also serve, help and remind us of a common good,” Ayubbi said.

The human connection

This year has brought unprecedented challenges, and each of us have experienced those challenges differently. For many, the events of 2020 have had a deep and personal impact.

Despite our different experiences and perspectives, Ayubbi asks if we can choose compassion, love and wisdom to liberate ourselves and connect with others.

“In doing so, perhaps we can reduce or even eliminate harm,” said Ayubbi.

“Nurturing and liberating that which is at the core of our being can allow us to experience the best of what it means to be human.”

Ayubbi hosts a virtual Power of Peace session every Wednesday, from 12 to 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. The session includes 15 minutes of live reflective discussion and 15 minutes of guided meditation. All are invited and welcome to attend: https://umich-health.zoom.us/j/698019172

For confidential counseling at no cost, referrals, and information on how to address mental and emotional health concerns, faculty and staff can contact the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience at counseling.med.umich.edu, or by calling 734-763-5409.