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The Big D

Everyone at some some point will get depressed or a little down.There could be so many different reasons – a death, loss of job, loss of a relationship, or a thousand different things. And this is perfectly normal. I think it is a fallacy in life that we should never feel anything but happy and shiny Because that just is not realistic. And who says it is bad to feel bad sometimes?

Sometimes feeling down can motivate us to make much needed changes in our lives. Because depression is a place to visit not a place to live And eventually we will get sick and tired of being sick and tired. The problem is once we are in a funk, how do we get out of it? Especially when the funk makes it hard to get off the couch, much less be motivated to be a mover and shaker in your own life.

But that is indeed what we need to be. And sometimes getting a root canal seems easier than getting motivated. But you just have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps. But how?

I really don’t know exactly, but I do now what worked for me. First, you have to get very quiet, and go deep where the heart meets the soul and you listen. At first you may not hear anything, but eventually you will. That is God’s voice, your gut instinct, your intuition. Remember what brought you joy before, and concentrate on that, and on following that inner voice.

When I was 19, I went through an extremely difficult time. And when I did not feel like getting out of bed, I would decide every single morning that I would find something to be happy about. I would decide on a winter day that I would search for a flower, or look for children playing happily in a puddle on a rainy summer afternoon. Sounds stupid or silly? It probably is. But those little goals are what would get me out of bed.

And every day there would be a goal, and I promised myself that I would smile once completed. I also made a decision, every single day, to find moments to specifically enjoy on purpose. If life was terrible, I would at least find solace in a sunny day, or in the three minutes of my favorite song playing on the radio.

When I got older and lost the rest my family, even those goals were hard, so I cried a lot. And then there were no more tears. I started having a few moments of not being in a funk…and then the moments would last a little longer. I put up a goal board, and I refused to watch depressing or sad movies, and I watched funny TV shows and I made sure that I was around good, positive people who were supportive. And anyone who wasn’t supportive was cut out of my life.

I also decided every morning hat I was going to be happy that day – maybe for only a few minutes, but I was going to find some kind of happy. And I wrote things (affirmations, if you will) around the house to help keep my positive mindset. “I am stronger than the grief.” I am stronger that the depression.” “I can and I will”

And eventually, slowly the clouds started to break and the sun would shine. But it starts with you. Because it is easy to get into the habit of depression, especially if you are alone. And that is where your will power comes in. It takes a lot of strength, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or pull others in. Even when you are tired, ask a friend to come over. They don’t have to go and do anything big. Because your friends can help dust off the cobwebs and help you smile…maybe even laugh.

There are many who say that you have to find it all within yourself. But I disagree. Yes, you yourself have to be committed to getting out of the funk, but that doesn’t mean you have to have all of the answers or face the challenge alone. Those who love and care for your will be more than happy to help.

It may be a long road but it is not impossible. Take baby steps, and soon your will look back and see you have traveled miles. Each heartbeat gets you that much closer. And in the space between the seconds, you will find the inspiration to hold on.

Life is short. Make a decision every single day to make the best of it. Most people think that happiness is easy, but it’s not. It takes a lot of work, every single day, to be and stay happy. And some days are easier than others. But we can do it together, holding hands as we cross paths and share time in this life.

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A Hike in the Woods

It is Father’s Day, and it is not a day to sit around the house. Just because my father is gone does not mean I have to mope. So I went up to my favorite hiking place – Amacalola Falls. It was the perfect day for to be out in the woods, where I feel centered and safe.

The woods has always had that affect on me, which is why I hike when needing to clear my thoughts and heart. And there has been a lot to think about lately. The hiking trails were filled with families and a lot of kids. And father’s with their sons or daughters.

I miss having a family and I’m struggling to find my purpose not having one. For almost 10 years my life revolved around taking care of them. And I think not having a purpose is making easy prey for those do not have my best interest at heart. And when you’re searching we can easily find the wrong way.

And so I prayed to God at this beautiful waterfall. He made this beautiful place, these beautiful rocks, and with the beautiful water, on this beautiful planet. Surely He can help me find a purpose.

And then I talked to a friend of mine, who is in a similar place. And she reminded me not to come from this from a place of loss, but from a place of abundance. What does that mean?

That means stop coming from a place of stress. Instead of saying I have no purpose and I have to hurry up and find my purpose, why not recognize that my purpose will come to me? If I calm myself and relax I can free my mind and my emotions up for the what good is coming to me. There’s no rush, there’s no hurry. This isn’t the Life’s Purpose Olympics where somebody a golf medal for coming in first. There’s no time limit. I can slow down, and I can take my time, and I can let life unfold to me in it’s time and be open to what life shows me my purpose should be

And I want a purpose it’s meaningful and fulfilling, where I can help others and there’s something larger for myself, but doesn’t completely deplete me of all time, and energy, and resources. I want a purpose gives energy, and love, and meaning. I want a purpose that generates energy and recharges my spirit. This whole notion where we have to give to the point of depletion is a fallacy. We should be able to have a meaningful life without at sucking life out of us. There’s no Romanticism in being a martyr to the point of self-destruction.

Big changes are coming, because I am relaxing and praying and being centered. I am letting life show me what it wants me to see, and going with the current for once Yes, I believe in making the life you want, but you also cannot force it. I am figuring out the next, so I will relax and enjoy the now.

I will no longer stress because I don’t have it figured out. Instead I will focus in on me, and be centered. I will laugh and have fun. I will travel a bit, and clean a bit and work a bit and and pray a lot, and have faith a lot and love a lot. And in that, purpose will come.

The Sob in the Process

Life is basically a mixed bag of whatever it is you get. there will be the good, and and the ugly and everything in between. As a whole, life is good. I have a great job in a great career, I have the best friends in the world, I have a roof over my head, and am reasonably happy.

But the last few weeks have been especially hard. And that is the thing about life, it is cyclical. I remember reading a book called The Prophet when I was 19. It changed my life. It was rich in truth and perspective. It challenged me and made me think in a way that I had never before. And in that book there was a passage about joy and sorrow:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. 
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. 
When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

There is an urban rumor in this world that you are never supposed to be sad, or depressed, or angry, or melancholy, or anything other than positive and happy. There is a myth that these feelings are wrong and that there is something wrong with us if we do feel these emotions, because of the law of attraction…and of course we attract what we feel and where we are emotionally, right? WRONG.

You must feel those emotions in order to work through them in a healthy way and to get to what is waiting on the other side. If we do not allow ourselves to feel our feelings, even those that we perceive to be negative, then we will not work through the process and we will end up emotionally muted and unable to grow. If we do not deal with those negative emotions then they will cause us to be bitter. Whoever said we are not ever supposed to be uncomfortable in any way in life, or that we must get rid of negative emotions immediately was probably emotionally stunted himself.

And I will never allow myself to be a bitter shell of a human being. So, I have been crying, actually I have been sobbing to get all of he pain out. The last few weeks has been excruciating. And I live alone. So I must grieve alone, which is exhausting. Grief is exhausting enough, but to do it alone is exceptionally tiring.

So last night, I grabbed my biggest stuffed animal Ricky, sat on my bed, held him tightly as all the pain poured out of my eyes onto my cheeks. I buried my face in his soft polyester fur and let out audible sobs, barely able to breath at a few points. Time stood still as i just cried and cried. I have been through three family deaths and the death of three friends…alone. By now I should be a pro at this, but I am not.

The latest death has brought up all the pain of the last. A grief counselor suggested I have PTSD from my parents death, and all the events before and after. Indeed, you can have it from physical attacks, war, or extremely emotionally traumatic events. And if that is the case, the latest death and all the ugliness surrounding it has been a trigger. And so I must process and deal with it.

And one day, maybe I will have a partner with whom I can share this burden. Because it is hard to handle all of the bad by ones self, and being strong is exhausting. And then I can also share all the wonderful things too. I look forward to that day, I look forward to not having to shoulder all of my world alone. It is a heavy load.

Until then, I turn up the music to drown out the sobs, grab Ricky and cry my heart out. Actually cry the pain out. I look forward to the day that there are no tears. I look forward to truly being able to live in joy once more. It is coming…

The Time in the Space

I have a pretty big place where I live. Almost 1,800 square feet. That may seem small to many, but to a girl who used to live by herself, that is a lot of space. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths plus a garage (which is now the computer lab and workout space). My nephew, sister and I all have own own space. We all have our own space to go to when we need. I have always lived in places like this. Where I had my own space, and anyone who stayed with me had their own space too.

My boyfriend has a wonderful place. I love staying with him because his place is warm, comfortable, beautiful and intimate. He has a great house that is like an efficiency – it has a bedroom with his wonderful comfortable king size bed, a kitchen with beautiful custom cedar counters he with his own hands, a laundry area and a bathroom with the best jacuzzi tub ever made. Walls, ceiling and floors that are of wood, laid with his strong hands, exactly in their place. And there is no place to hide.

I have always had a bit of trouble being vulnerable, being intimate, letting someone into my space and knowing how to be close. And here is my boyfriend, when I stay with him, in a place where I cannot hide. I cannot hide when i am feeling lost. I cannot hide when I am feeling fluffy and bloated. i cannot hide when I am board, or aggravated, or happy, or sleepy, or hungry, or thirsty. I cannot hide when I have to use the bathroom, or am cold, or am feeling insecure.

The time in his space, forces me to be intimate. And I love it. I find that in his space, where I cannot hide, where I am naked, where I am bare, is the place where I run when I need refuge. This place, warm, solid, warm, dark and sensual, is where I go to be protected, held and comforted. Yes, the time in this space, his space, has taught me a great deal. About myself, about intimacy, about sharing, about life and about him.

The Fog Has Lifted

It settled down like an unwelcome uninvited fog. It started about three weeks ago and stayed, thick, heavy tangible and low.  It felt awful. It left a residue. And now, slowly, it has lifted, leaving behind clear skies and fresh air. It was a bit of a funk. And everyone goes through the funk a bit, even when we have the best or most perfect lives.

In reality, there is no reason to be blue – my father is doing much better, my sister has a great job, my nephew is going back to school in a few weeks, I have a new car that I love, a wonderful man I am dating, I have wonderful friends and life, in general, is good.

But I was sluggish, just wanted to sleep, I even cried quite a bit. I just felt…Bleh.

And sometimes that’s how it goes. Even happy people get the blues sometimes. Even those, who seem to have everything in order have bad days…even bad weeks.

So how do you get out of the Bleh’s? I don’t rightly know. Some people get super social, some get super introverted and just want to be left alone. Some people throw themselves into work, others go hiking, biking, workout, work in a shop, go shopping or just drink. What do I do? A combination. Sometimes I like to be left alone, take a quiet walk. Sometimes I want to be around my friends and enjoy their stories and laughter. Other times I want to just put my head down and work, sometimes I have a drink (or three) and sometimes I want to be held.

All of this has helped me get out of Blahville. These things a long with a new experience. I worked in a workshop this past weekend with the man I am dating. We built shelves for his home. We went and got the wood, then I watched as he methodically measured and cut the pieces with the saws and power tools. I helped as much as I could, but I was entranced by the method of creating something out of noting but a few pieces of wood. After helping him, I was assigned my tasks – to sand and to stain.

So I took the sander as I was instructed, and I concentrated on nothing else but the wood, the sanding, feeling of the machine in my hands and the texture. It was slow, purposeful and planned. Then there was the staining. I had never stained before. So the trick is to get all the stain on evenly…with no finger prints or darker stains. That may not sound like a big deal, but to a clumsy Pinktank like me…it can be a bit of a challenge. Actually, I am not sure which I am most proud of – the fact that i did a great stain job, or the fact that I managed to NOT trip, fall, stumble, foible, wobble, dribble, drop, spill or break anything in the shop. That in itself took great effort and concentration.

But I great stain job I did accomplish. And as I was staining, it came to me, that in everything there is a methods, there is a process and we must be patient and allow life to takes it’s time, dry and develop. And it came to me also, that I am in this place in life. I am used to running, doing, working and accomplishing. Now is the time to let the methods of life unfold. To let the processes take place. And to just let it happen as it will.

It is amazing how much stress and pressure that can take off a person.

You have to have patience. Work hard, play hard, love hard. But know when to take a step back and let life unfold on its own.

Of Storms

I sit on the back porch, looking out over the water as the wind and thunder whip around in all directions. Lighting flashes brilliantly and the smell of the rain comes in with sound of its drops in the trees.

The power is out, but it’s no loss. And one would think with as much rain as here has been lately I would be sick of it. But there is seething wonderful about when it rains in the country, out on the water. It is beautiful- the sights, sounds and smells of a storm rolling in. Something wild, untame and primal.

Life is that way sometimes too. We ride out the storm, go through the waves, roll wih the current and hope we don’t have to swim upstream too often. We take frequent breaks to rest when we do.

I wish I could write something deep and wise at this moment. Wish I could impart some deeply philosophical gem of thought. But the truth is things have been a bit introverted lately. I have been tending to my own.

And now it is time to enjoy the storm, now that I am no longer in the middle of it. Now it is time to sit on the safety of my porch; covered, dry and protected, on awe of the storms raw power. No wonder we may feel overwhelmed when we are in its path.

And I pour a glass of wine, breath in the soft wet air, and smile.

The Fuzzy Life

So I have a big “S” on my forehead. Especially when it comes to anything cute and furry. One of my best friends has run and animal rescue group for almost 2 years. And for the first year I was really good – I helped out with money donations, would always be available to promote special needs animals and provided a safe place for her to vent when things got overwhelming for her. I never once took in an animal.

And then…I agreed to foster two feral cats. Well, they were kind of feral as in they didn’t hate humans and might be friendly at some point, but who didn’t trust humans enough to actually be friendly. What does it take to tame a cat? A lot of time, patience and yummy food treats.

Then my friend showed me the two “bottle babies.” Bottle babies are baby cats that have lost their mother but are not old enough to be weaned, so you have to feed them from the a bottle. She mentioned that she had no place for them to go and was not sure what she was going to do with them. Oh yes, my friend is a master.

And I am a sucker for anything cute and fuzzy. And these fuzzy babies are adorable wrapped up in an extra layer of cute. I mean you just want to eat them with a spoon they are so cute!  One look at them and that was it…I heard it. You know, that sound when you get completely sucked into something? Yep.

So every 3-4 hours my family and I (because yes, everyone is involved in it at this point) feed them. And any friends who come in the house are expected to help feed and cuddle them too. They meow and play, then eat and play, then rest and play, then play and play. They are learning how to run, well, actually waddle at fast speeds, tumble, wrestle with each other, jump and scoot around backwards.  They have big round full bellies, the cutest little noses and eyes that close in happiness when they eat. They have learned to purr, and do so frequently when snuggling after eating.

They love to nuzzle around in long hair. They love to run under the coffee table where we cannot get them. They love to sniff my other cats, who are not quite sure what to make of these mini-cats. They are a joy to watch and they do not have to do anything but exist to be adored. You  cannot hold one of them without falling in love with them. And one day soon, they will make wonderful pets.

And so right now, my life is completely full of family and cats. My sister and nephew living with me, my two furry babies that I own, the two no-longer0feral cats, and the two bottle babies. And while I do enjoy having the extra furry love, I am looking forward to when they are all adopted out and we get back to a two cat home!

If you want to save a life, adopt a rescue pet, or agree to foster! It’s worth the time and effort.