Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thank you so much for listening. I want to discuss the need for a refuge, a quiet place, a peaceful place, a place that's safe in the midst of a storm.
Now, when I say storm, I'm not referring to actual weather events that occur in our physical world. I'm not talking about torrential downpours or rising flood waters, or devastating tornadoes or hurricanes. We certainly need shelter from those events, but I'm speaking of a mental refuge, a refuge from the constant bombardment of news, noise, information, pictures, videos, images. [01:11.0]
I'm speaking of an emotional refuge from all of those things that produce bad feelings and negative thoughts, worry and fear, fatigue brought on by stress and anxiety. How about the words and the expectations of others and what that can do to our mental health?
For many, we seek a spiritual refuge, a refuge connected to our faith, a refuge connected to our value system, one that keeps us centered, keeps us grounded, provides a great source of peace, as well as calm. I want you to think about this for a moment. We're in the midst of a global pandemic. There is discord everywhere we look. A lack of unity is running rampant all throughout the world. [02:03.3]
Political division characterizes our government here in America. The news seems to be a willing compliant, seemingly recycling the same bad news daily. Streams offer reams of information around the clock.
Notifications blow up our phones. Every second, every day we hear more and more horror stories about climate conditions and border issues, even passengers fighting on airplanes. How about the opioid crisis or gun violence?
It's impossible to go through a day without hearing about the onslaught of human suffering. It's overwhelming, leaving many of us disillusioned and depressed. All this has shined a bright light on mental health, now affecting everyone from Olympic athletes to our next-door neighbor. Mental health, once a subject relegated to the periphery of civic debate, mental health, the subject few ever wanted to discuss, is now among the major issues of our day. [03:14.5]
My friend, Dr. Tim Clinton, is president of the American Association of Christian Counselors. A few months ago, he began a conference by stating, quote, “We're not in a mental health crisis. We're in a mental health disaster,” and I need not remind each and every one of us that without an outlet for these feelings, for these emotions, for this challenge to our mental health, without a refuge, without an internal place of calm, this mental pollution can become highly toxic. It's the kind of pollution that traumatizes the mind. It scourges the heart and crushes the spirit. [04:01.4]
Friends, where do you find shelter from these types of storms? Where is your refuge from all of this? Where is your safe place or quiet space? Where do you find calm?
I hadn't really thought much about refuge until recently. A while back, I had a speaking engagement with an international organization called the Emergency Nurses Association. This is the professional organization that represents emergency-department nurses. Friends, I have a profound appreciation for our first responders and emergency-department nurses are right along there on the front lines. What they experience in one shift, most of us won't experience in a lifetime.
Emergency department nurses have been on the front lines their entire careers, not just during COVID-19, but COVID has been the tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell might say, and the past year and a half has really taken its toll on the entire healthcare profession. [05:09.7]
For example, this conference taught me that our emergency department nurses are fatigued beyond measure. Many are just completely burned out. A number have even left the nursing profession. Where do you seek relief when there is no relief? In the words of one association spokesperson, quote, “This is not merely a work problem that we face. This is a world problem with no relief,” end quote.
You see, so many nurses speak of not wanting to burden family and friends when they go home, and as a result, they tend to keep a lot of what happened to themselves. It’s a very devastating thing to watch anybody die. Imagine watching people dying and being with them during their final moments on Earth, and imagine that on a daily basis. [06:03.4]
There's this fantastic documentary that I watched in preparation for my speech. This documentary is titled In Case of Emergency. I highly recommend it. You can stream it via Apple TV, In Case of Emergency. It's a project that was made possible with the support from the Emergency Nurses Association.
The film chronicles emergency-department nurses, both pre and during COVID. I was simply blown away by what nurses face every single day. You cannot even calculate the mental wear and tear. Where do they find relief? Where do we find relief? After watching the documentary, my goal during the conference was to encourage those emergency-department nurses to remain true to their calling, despite the frustration, despite the fatigue. [07:02.7]
But I'll have to be honest with you, ever since that particular speaking engagement I've had them on my mind. I just can't shake what they encounter during a regular hospital shift and I've been asking myself, how do we seek refuge?
I came across an article written by Graham Collier. It's titled Looking for a Refuge, Psychology Today, 2014. He describes a refuge as, quote, “A private place at which point conversation stops, a place where you can gather your thoughts and your feelings without being disturbed. It's where you can feel at one with yourself, even psychologically safe.”
Collier goes on to say, “It's a place where you can be all by yourself because I think that only then can you get to that state of meditative calm, which as it says in holy scripture is a peace that passes all understanding.” [08:08.2]
“It's a place when you seem to step out of the world for a moment or two and feel yourself becoming a different person, completely fulfilled, everything accomplished, transported to a near sublime realm of existence, on cloud nine, as they say,” end quote.
Friends, I would encourage each and every one of us, myself at the very top of the list, to seek often, if not daily, a safe place, a quiet place, a place of refuge from the emotional storms of life. Here are a couple of suggestions if you don't have a regular practice and these suggestions come from friends that I know.
I know many people that practice yoga and they are completely different after one session. I know a number of people, myself included, who practice meditation. I know a lot of people, myself included, that practice prayer on a daily basis. [09:15.5]
I know people that have a quiet time regularly. I know a couple of folks that place a demand so much on quietness that they have a time of silence in the morning, as well as at other times throughout the day. How about reading quietly or listening to music? How about being in nature?
For me, friends, the busier I get, the more public I become, seemingly the more criticized I get and more bombarded I get with requests, or not meeting the expectations of other people or feeling the brunt of their words when they're disappointed in me, I seek these quiet spots, and for me, playing nine holes of golf all by myself on a golf course that is not crowded has become a refuge, a real safe place. [10:12.5]
For some, it's fishing or hiking. For others, it's just doing or just being by themselves in solitude, enjoying something that offers peace, that offers calm. Discover what works best for you. For me, it's sitting quietly and looking at water, any body of water, any type of water. I can look at a stream and I can watch the waves crash from the ocean. I love being near water. For my wife, it's sitting quietly in nature. She loves the mountains and is just as easily calm by sitting quietly and peacefully in our backyard. [11:01.0]
As a man of faith, I find great comfort in reading scripture, out loud. The Apostle Paul's words in Philippians, that represents one of my favorites. Listen to this. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
I like that. It calms me. It centers me. It reminds me that I have a choice. I don't have to receive the bombardment of negative sources that I can make a choice to turn off and to draw close, to be at peace, to be completely one with myself. That's my safe place. That's my refuge. [12:07.8]
Friends, I really want you to think about this podcast for a while. Remind yourself, you have a choice. You don't have to just take in and take in and receive all day long. You can also tune out and become one with yourself. Be at peace. Think about giving your mind a regular break. Think about how such a break will improve your emotional wellbeing. Find your refuge. Discover what works best for you, and just be. Oh, I like that. I really like that.
That's going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking the most important question I can ask, how ya livin’? [13:00.0]
Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout”, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.
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