I had the opportunity to participate in a federal grant program called MENTOR. (MENTOR stands for Mindfulness, Exercise, & Nutrition To Optimize Resilience). When I signed up for the program, I wasn’t paying attention, so I thought it was training to become a mentor. A few months later, I received an email about MENTOR, and I found out more about the program; it wasn’t what I thought.
The MENTOR program is about mentoring us in four subjects: mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and health coaching. During the eight-week program, I went on a journey I never thought I would have the opportunity to go on. MENTOR helped me see that I needed to slow down in some areas. It was comfortable to be in a health program like this with others who understand the challenges of living with a disability.
Before the MENTOR program started, there was a lot of self-reflection. You receive a box of gym equipment such as workout bands, a yoga mat & block, a small ball, a hand bike, and other things you will use, such as THE MENTOR JOURNAL. The journal is your best friend for the next eight weeks. The journal is for the self-reflection part of the program. The first page of the journal is called “MY SCORECARD,” which is the eleven topics that will be covered throughout the eight weeks.
Part of the self-reflection is a reflection on these topics:
- Minding your thought & emotions
- Your spiritual practice
- Self-care skills
- Core values
- Outdoor time in nature
- Contribution to others
- Arts & Leisure
- Rest & Relaxation
The scorecard is crucial to MENTOR. Everyone who has been a part of MENTOR will have their thoughts and ideas of what the scorecard means to them; this is one of the reasons why MENTOR works. During the eight-week program, I discovered I needed to grow and look at life differently. In the journal, you can self-reflect on the scorecard and its meaning. I went overboard with my writing because I enjoy writing and saw self-reflection as therapeutic and a way to grow. I also used different topics for my blog. Once I compile and organize everything, it will be loaded into my blog.
MENTOR helped me to grow emotionally; I needed it. During the last few years of COVID, I have been on a path of finding out who I have been in life, who I am now, and who I want to be going forward. Being a part of MENTOR has been a full-circle process because it got me to reflect on the areas of life that have been harder for me to look at; being in MENTOR has allowed me to look at my puzzle of life; I wasn’t sure where the pieces went or how they went.
During the reflection time, I kept thinking: What if this program had been offered to me 20 years ago? I would like to know whether I would have taken it and whether I would have taken away the same result I have right now at this time in my life.
At the beginning of the program, I had to write down a goal I would like to achieve. Here is what I wrote for my purpose:
What I hope to get out of the MENTOR program is a better understanding of myself. To realize time is my friend, not my enemy. I have been in a few similar programs, but I was the only disabled person. I’m enjoying this for two reasons. I’m at a time in my life when I’m ready for a change to be an adult and to take care of myself by making the right choices. Two: If I don’t help myself, who will benefit?
I’m ready to listen to my body and how I can improve my lifestyle mentally and emotionally.