Sunday, 17 August 2014

"No Good, Very Bad Days"

15 Wonderful Quotes About Life From Children’s Books by Brian Galindo, buzzfeed: Illustration from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judy Viorst #Quotes #Books #Kids

Remember Alexander? He had a bad day, once. Well, not a bad day exactly - more like "a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." Ever had one of those? Yes, me too.

Sometimes life sucks, plain and simple. Often when we are feeling miserable we also feel alone. Funny, that feeling, because what binds humankind together are two commonalities: suffering and the ability to feel joy. Two ends of the emotional spectrum, really.

If you have been reading my blog of late you will know this: I am happy and healthy. My depression is pretty much in remission. I look around me and I see a lot of unhappiness, however. There is civil unrest in Missouri, Syria, the Ukraine and Iraq. We just lost the iconic Robin Williams to depression. And people are battling cancer, relationship issues, and general stress in their daily lives. There is a lot going on in this wide world of ours. It's enough to affect even the happiest of us.

Here's something that you should know about many of us who have suffered through and survived multiple depressive episodes: when we are well we are nervous. We are nervous that the black dog will come back and lay itself at our feet. Because of this, I have become sensitive to maintaining balance in my life. If I don't keep my eye on the goal, it can be disastrous for me.

So, how can we keep our spirits up in a world that sometimes seems like it's crumbling about us?

What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.
~ Buddha
 
Take a piece of advice from Buddha. Consider your thoughts - recognize if they are helping or hurting you. We often have those ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that come marching in. It's OK - we are all human. Have the thought, recognize it for what it is, and then let it go. Create space and room in your life to contemplate your feelings and what you really need - not just what you think you want. Eliminate the 'noise' - turn off the news if it makes you feel sad. Walk away from situations in life that leave you feeling depleted. and most important of all? Look for and recognize the good that is also all around you.
 
Look very closely.

The next time that you have a day like Alexander's remember one thing: With each new day comes new possibilities, dreams, and beauty.

KB xo

Sunday, 10 August 2014

"Summertime Blues"

wish i could do this
 
Just let go. Let go of how you thought your life should be,
and embrace the life that is trying to work its way into your consciousness.
― Caroline Myss

It's summertime and I am happy. It's surprising to me to see those words before me and to know that they are true.
 
It may be interesting for some to learn that many people don't enjoy summer. The weather is uncomfortably hot and things take on a temporary feel. And, if you are one of these people, there is the sense that something is wrong with you if you aren't savouring every moment of summer's splendour.
 
There have been many summers that I have felt part of this group, the quiet ones who felt a bit out of place because we didn't love every moment of the season. This feeling was compounded for me over the past few years because I was very ill, fighting severe depression.
 
Part of me has also felt very guilty about not living up to society's expectations. I should be at the beach in a bikini or on a patio with friends having drinks or going on a super fun road trip! What was I doing instead? Retreating to my parents' country backyard to lick my wounds and heal myself, something that proved to take more than one season, more than one summer.
 
You have likely heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which mostly afflicts people in the winter months due to the reduced hours of sunlight. About 10% of those people will experience it in reverse - in the summertime. There are a few reasons for this, according to WebMD: the heat & humidity, financial stresses, disrupted schedules, and body image issues.
 
So, are you one of these people? Are you a member of this super-secret club? Come closer because I have something to tell you: it's OK. There - I said it. It's absolutely OK if you don't love everything about summer. Think it's too hot out? Don't want to fight traffic out of the city every Friday afternoon to head away for the all too brief weekend? It's all OK.
 
The big lesson for me on my journey in and out of depression is this: do what you need to do for YOU. Are you happier at an afternoon matinee in an air-conditioned, dark movie theatre than at the beach? Then do it. Don't measure yourself against society's expectations, big or small, because they are most likely just your perception of what you think is expected of you. Be you. Set your own pace and your own goals and dreams.
 
Yes, this summer I am happy. I am depression-free and embracing the things about the summer months that make me happy. I am staying in the moment and recognizing and welcoming the simple things in life that bring me joy. Maybe you should do that, too.

KB xo


Sunday, 3 August 2014

"Your Song"


We are all in this together.
 
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world
Your Song by Elton John & Bernie Taupin
 
Do you tolerate things or people in life? How about your mother in law - tolerable? Do you tolerate trips to the dentist because you know it's necessary but you secretly fear it? What about those long, boring meetings at work?
 
Now, how about gay people? Do you tolerate them? What about people with a mental illness such as addiction? I sure as hell don't tolerate these people and neither should you. Hear me out...
 
First, what does the word tolerance actually mean? Here's the Merrian Webster definition:
 
: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own
: the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant
 
The definition is kind of two-fold. I like the first part; it's the second part that I have trouble with. The second part is how many people seem to use the word these days.
 
By now you are wondering why I am writing about tolerance and gay people, right? It's Pride Weekend in Vancouver and that has gotten me thinking about acceptance and diversity in our world. I heard someone say recently that "it's good that Vancouver has become so tolerant of gays." Um, OK - so that's a step in the right direction but not quite there. Is being merely tolerant good enough? Do we say, It's nice that Canada tolderates women. I don't think so.
 
I consider myself very lucky for a number of reasons. I live in a liberal, socially conscious city and I have had the privilege of knowing many wonderful homosexual people - some friends and some family. But not just that - I have friends who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Some friends are third generation Canadian, some are recent immigrants and some are First Nations. I know people who have had cancer, some have weathered severe depression and some who struggle with addition. Oh, and I know a few jerks, too, but I am pretty good about weeding them out pretty quickly.
 
My life is richly diverse and I wouldn't have it any other way. I learn so much from the people who surround me - they inspire me and they challenge what I know and believe of the world. That's a gift. So no, I don't tolerate any of these people. I choose to embrace them for the unique, one of a kind people that they are. That's what they deserve. That's what we all deserve.
 
KB xo
 
P.S. For a laugh on the ridiculousness of racism, please watch this: Aziz Ansari on Conan O'Brien

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