by Karl Shallowhorn

In 1983, film director Godfrey Reggio released the avant-garde art film, Koyaanisqatsi. The musical score was written by renowned American classical composer Philip Glass, and I was immediately drawn to it. The movie, a montage of images and scenes with no spoken words or characters, is the first in the “Qatsi” trilogy, which includes Powaqqatsi, and Naqoyqatsi.

The term Koyaanisqatsi, which comes from the Hopi language meaning chaotic (koyaanis) life (qatsi), translates loosely into “a life out of balance.” It is how I would describe my life right now. Realizing I can no longer blame the pandemic, I have come to realize when my mental, emotional, and physical health lack balance, it is often a result of failing to value self-care and practice what I preach.

In May (Mental Health Awareness month), many media outlets increase their efforts to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. While that’s great, it’s important to understand that mental illness occurs every day and every month. As a “solopreneur” involved in a many volunteer-based activities, I’ve found my gas tank getting low. My activity level hasn’t been consistent, and my nutritional choices haven’t been optimal. I’ve also received strong messages from several important people in my life, telling me that I need to cut back and set better boundaries around my work and personal life.

There’s a saying I’ve heard many times: “So far, you’ve handled 100 percent of your worst days. You’re doing great!” I believe this is true. But there is another saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That, I believe, is a crock of you know what. There are times when I say, “Enough already!”

Still, there is one thing I am doing right. I am continuing to use my wellness tools, including prayer, meditation, and reaching out for help from my personal and professional resources. I fully believe that a higher power of my understanding is working through the people in my life, walking by my side, and even carrying me during this challenging period.

When times are tough and we feel overwhelmed, or feel like we are fighting an uphill battle, I know to call upon that higher power that is greater than me. I can’t explain how that works, or even why things happen the way they do. But I do have faith that ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, my life is in good hands and that, no matter what happens, I am protected and held in the loving arms of that higher source of love and compassion.

Karl Shallowhorn, M.S., CAC is President and Founder of Shallowhorn Consulting, He is a mental health advocate, speaker, coach, and the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health, Leadership Through the Lens of the 12 Steps. A frequent speaker, Karl has delivered over 200 trainings and workshops on mental health and addiction-related topics and is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor. His podcast Mental Health Verses is available on Spotify. Learn more at