Tag Archives: thoughts

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You can stand under my umbrella

I don’t know about you but the news from the past week and a half has really gotten to me. The day Robin Williams committed suicide seems to have started a downward spiral of terrible news all over the world. I am  disturbed by all of it.

I am especially saddened by the death of Robin Williams. The sadness has crept up on me slowly. When I see videos of him and stories about him it breaks my heart all over again. I grew up with him and his crazy sense of humor. I see these videos of him being funny and, like others, I am shocked that this person decided to end his own life.

Suicide is a very touchy subject for me. It has affected my life in many ways. When the subject comes up in the news it stirs up thoughts of my own struggles with depression.

In an odd turn of events, I was called upon this week to attend a Mental Health First Aid training workshop.  I was a little hesitant to go because I was personally feeling a little fragile, but I went anyway. It was really good training, though very intense. I went away from it feeling good about helping someone through a mental health crisis should the need arise. It also helped me realize that I am not alone in my struggles, which helps me feel better.

During this past week and a half one of the things that has come up (and was completely validated when I took this class) is the idea that we need to reach out to others who are suffering. It is a hard thing to do. I admit to not doing it as often as I should. I would even go as far as to say it is a very brave thing to do.

When a person is in a deep depression they are incapable of helping themselves. Much of the advice I have heard on social media about this is something like, “If you are depressed, don’t be afraid to reach out to others.” Unfortunately, this is very hard to do. Sometimes it is impossible. When a person is in that place of darkness it can be hard to find the way out. It becomes very important for others to  help them by leading the way out.

A Polish proverb came up over and over again about a month ago in very disparate places. It was very odd and made me wonder if the Universe was trying to tell me something. The proverb is:

Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

when I first saw it I embraced the idea. I tend to easily get sucked into other people’s drama and it affects me in negative ways, at times. However, after giving it some thought I have to really disagree with it.  I realized that we are all in this together. We are rowing the same boat. If you are suffering, I am suffering too. Your suffering is my suffering. So it benefits me to reach out and help.

I am so very grateful to those of you (you know who you are) who have helped me through some of those darker times. Thank you very much.

On happiness

Things for me, lately, have been overwhelming. I am going through some stress and, unfortunately, I don’t do stress very well. I have recently learned that I am a Highly Sensitive Person. Actually, this is something that I’ve known about myself all of my life, I am just finding out that there is a name for it. And that I’m not alone (which is great!). But more on this in another blog post. What I want to talk about today is happiness.

I am finding myself lately trying to fit into that box that society calls “normal.” Frankly, I am not really sure what that is. In my head I think it is being happy. Society says that we should be happy. That if we aren’t happy something is wrong with us.  I find myself falling easily into this thought groove. Then someone or something comes along and reminds me that happiness isn’t the be all and end all.

There is something very freeing about this thought. I don’t have to always be happy. Wow. That takes a load off. There is a lot of pressure and work in  being happy all of the time.

I think for me the best thing is to focus on what is right in front of me at any given moment. I can do that. Sometimes, anything beyond  the given moment can be overwhelming. Today is one of those days. Today I need to just focus on what is right in front of me.

I find that when I do that I can be content. Content is good. In many ways I think I’d rather be content than happy.

 

Day two of being complaint free

Ok I’ll admit that I have already failed at being complaint free in the past 24 hours. I have had to start over countless times. I made the unfortunate decision to embark on this adventure the week I did my taxes. So…. yeah.

I am not going to beat myself up. This is all part of the process. Noticing that you are complaining is the important thing.

However, day two of this and I have had some empowering insights on happiness.

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday that led to the realization that we can choose to have a good day. I wondered, “can it really be that easy? Is it as easy as just making a choice? What about our emotions? What about how we are feeling? How do you get over negative feelings?”

As I thought I about this idea I realized that it’s true. It really is that simple. We can choose which path to take.

It’s not like I haven’t had this insight before.  I shared my thoughts  last summer in this blog post. This idea of choosing love is still a very powerful insight for me. However, when I had this insight last summer I attached feeling with it. I am a very emotional person by nature and I tend to easily get caught up in my emotions and the path that I choose is usually determined by my emotions. This idea that I can ignore my emotional state and just choose to “have a good day” is a new idea for me. It is an idea that empowers me and gives me hope that I can move beyond negativity and, generally, be a happier person.

I am reminded of the story of Buddha when he faces Mara. I am not an expert on Buddhist folklore but when the story was told to me I remembered it something like this: Buddha is sitting still and he is tempted by Mara (kind of the buddhist equivalent of the devil). Mara attacks him with arrows but the arrows are turned into flowers by Buddha and they don’t bother him.

There is more to the story but this part is the one that is very powerful for me and always sticks with me. Buddha changing the arrows into flowers represents the fact that we have a choice. We can choose to be hurt by the arrows or we can choose to not be hurt by the arrows.

 

This post comes with a soundtrack

The truth is behind the kale and yogurt.
The truth is behind the kale and yogurt

Several weeks ago someone on Facebook quoted someone on Twitter. The thought was something like, “Checking Facebook has become the equivalent of opening the refrigerator and staring into the void.”

or something like that. I might have added to that thought.

Have you ever done this? Opened the refrigerator and stared into it trying to find that one thing that will make you happy? You know what you want isn’t in the refrigerator. You finished off the chocolate cake an hour ago, remember?

And relating this to Facebook is brilliant. It’s that compulsive checking of it that I have problems with. As if I am going to find something there that will be the Answer. And it is never there. That one thing is never there. Oh, there are tidbits scattered about. Chocolate cake, if you will. It gets devoured and then what? It’s gone. And you are left wanting more.

This is such a great metaphor for life isn’t it? This is why we write, photograph, drink, etc. Check Facebook. Stare into the void of the refrigerator.

This is why we ache.

The song that accompanies this post is beautiful. I recommend you listen to it with headphones on  and turn it up. Don’t do anything else while you are listening. Just listen to it.

Natasha Kmeto is from Portland and she is a musical genius. She makes her music by herself. This is all her. All of this. It’s incredible.

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An imagined conversation with my fake grandchild in the future

There was once this place called “the real world” where, when you looked up, you would see clouds in a blue sky. Or a vast sea of stars. There was a sea. There were beaches and you could walk barefoot on those beaches and feel the warmth of the sand between your toes. There were forests and trees and brooks and rivers. And mountains. And flowers and bees. And the sound of bees buzzing a beautiful symphony at dusk.