Archives for posts with tag: forgiveness

Monday dawned sunny and bright. I was fortunate to awake to the sound of waves lapping at the lakeshore and the sun peeking over the hill top.

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(sunset shot the night before)

There was already a lot of ugly and sadness I could have focussed on if I had let myself. And I admit the temptation to let it swallow me whole was palpable, but I put my big girl panties on, pulled up my positive pants, threw on a great pair of shoes, straightened my tiara and topped it off with bright lipstick and mascara! Well in truth, I took a deep breath, threw back the covers and made a CHOICE to CHOOSE beautiful; to see it, believe it and channel it. And I made that choice over and over when the temptation to doubt tapped me on the shoulder.

Later in the day the headline on my news feed about Manchester appeared.  Manchester – a place from far away that I’ve always associated with sports and music for some reason until that head line. The choice to see beautiful became even more difficult. My shoulders slumped, I just felt heavy.  I felt raw and numb all at once. I think a lot of us did.

Tuesday morning Huffington Post reported “explosion killed 22 people and injured 59, many of them teenagers.”  at an Ariana Grande concert. I witnessed the feelings come out through social media and in the news.

A friend posted, “Tears for those who just went to a concert. Tears for the world.”

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A cousin asked,

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And then I read my friend Michelle’s eloquent and heart felt Facebook post and am honoured that she gave me permission to share her words with you. When things happen which are impossible to make sense of, in the end all we really want to do is keep our precious treasures, those we love, safe.

Bubble wrap.
I need so much Bubble Wrap.

You know… The stuff you use to keep the things that are most precious to you, safe from harm. We wrap them up so they don’t get broken.

Bubble Wrap… Safe, dependable Bubble Wrap.

It may give one peace of mind, but there isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world on a day like today. On any kind of day in a world like the one we live in this day.

“Prayers for…”
“Our hearts and thoughts…”
“We stand with…”

These phrases are like labels now. Words we use to tape together the Bubble Wrap that we place around our hearts and minds to help keep us sane enough from locking our children in their rooms and nailing shut our windows and doors to keep out all the Bogeymen outside that lurk within a world that keeps getting smaller, from stealing their innocence, our naivete, and our collective sense of normalcy.

There is nothing normal about any of this. Even though this insanity is quickly seeming to become the norm. Padded rooms were once for the insane and yet, here I am, wishing I could wrap every precious being in my world in Bubble Wrap. How insane is that? And yet, Bubble Wrap was my first wish… My first “logical to me” thought while my heart screamed “Why?” and it’s echoes throbbed through my head.

Just as “There are no words…” is heard echoing thoughout the world.

But there are words…
“Please.” and “Stop.”

And there are so many echoes.

Because there will never, ever be enough Bubble Wrap.

©Michelle Laing Hoffman 2017

 

But until that plea is answered, in amongst the tragic and terrible burns the eternal flame of human kindness and compassion.

Huffington Post reported, “Public transport shut down, and taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home, while residents opened their homes to provide lodging.”

As the BBC noted, Then there are people like this young man who says “We can react in a lot of ways. We can react in anger. Or we can react by doing. This city is a community.”   The news outlets are capturing more than the devastation and carnage, they are capturing the humanity, compassion and resilience as well.

I think Grande summed it up for many of us with her tweet, “broken. from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don’t have words.”

“When someone says, “There are no words,” it is there I will find them and we will meet in the silent language of grief.” Benjamin Allen

While I have no words left, I do have kindness and compassion, and with those I will continue to shine my light more brightly so the darkness has no place to grow.

Please.  Stop.

Shine Brightly.

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Thank you. Thank you for showing me that I could be seen, that I was something more than a walking ghost filled with other people’s stories but my own dreams. Thank you for telling me you loved me when neither of us knew what that even meant. If it weren’t for you, I’d never know […]

via To The Men Who’ve Left — quirrk

I don’t think this blogger has ever written anything I didn’t like but somehow I fell in absolute love with this piece, poignantly straight from the heart.  One of the kindest souls I know eloquently reflects that everyone is in our life for a reason, even those who are here to teach us lessons are very much a blessing. Relationships are always an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s especially grand when we recognize the lessons and are able to reinvent pain into grace and gratitude.

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** This post was edited February 7th 2016

I just received word that a friend from years ago just took his own life, just after his birthday, just before he was ready to start a new chapter in his life, retirement.

I am gutted. I haven’t spoken with him in years and in truth, didn’t know him well in the first place, but I knew him.  I talked with him, laughed with him, enjoyed his creative talent.  Now to know yet another life is gone because the mental pain became greater than the alternative, at least in his opinion is almost unbearable .

“No one knew”

Maybe one word, one action, one smile would have made a difference. Maybe not. We’ll never know.

But today I will ensure I consciously do all I can to make every contact I make count.

In the UK last year over 4000 men took their own lives. Something has to change now.

I ask for your thoughts prayers and positive energy to be sent out wide today, to everyone who is struggling.

We all need each other. Even when we think we don’t.

In the piece “Why Men Kill Themselves” Paul McGregor is candid in what he has to say.  He knows what he’s talking about from very personal experience.  He suffers from depression and his father took his own life because of his own depression. Like so many others, once the slide began for his father there seemed no way to stop it. This is what we must change.

Because that uncomfortable feeling around talking about or even thinking about suicide is just one reason suicide has become the leading killer of men under the age of 50.

Why do men kill themselves?

In fact, why does a man take his own life every 2 hours in the UK alone?

Why is the suicide rate increasing year after year and why out of all of the suicides last year, a massive 76% were men?

While I’ve experience episodes of depression I admit I’ve never reached that level of despair.  I’ve always wondered how that happens, where does the mind finally say enough is enough and actually believe it.  Paul McGregor is the person who has finally made it understandable for me. And it shreds my heart to know that any one of us could reach that place.

After listening to numerous people who survived their attempts on suicide and reflecting on my Dad’s suicide, a lot of them talk about the pain in which they wanted to end.

Not wanting it to hurt anymore, wanting the pain they’re going through to go away.

When you think of it, dieing is physically painful…

But the pain they’re in at the time of making that decision is far greater than the physical pain they’ll endure.

Something I’ve never really shared before stands out to me here…

When my Dad decided to walk infront of a lorry reports from witnesses say after the collision… he smiled.

 

After I read that I felt physically ill.  Somehow I could finally understand at a level I was never able to before. ** I finally understand that the pain is as harsh, as strong and maybe even more unbearable as any physical pain can be.  The pain is real, it is not imagined or exaggerated. It is not temporary and it cannot just be pushed aside. If medication and treatment isn’t working there is no fix to give temporary or permanent relief. And in that moment of absolute endless pain, there is no sight of light or hope or anything other than the unquenchable desire for it to be over.

I was suddenly taken back to when I gave birth to my first born. I was as prepared as any mother to be could be, but there still came a point where I thought, what have I gotten myself into, I can’t do this, make it stop now.  I don’t for an instant pretend that this is the same, but my own experiences with depression and giving birth, the dots were finally connected. I finally got it, or at least I’m starting too. I’ve lost my arrogance about how to “fix it”, maybe that’s the biggest part of understanding. I hope the connection I’ve made will make me a better friend, a better supporter, a better person all around. **

Paul not only knows the pain, he’s reached a point where he is unafraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. He’s starting the dialogue, offering solutions, offering hope.

Paul offers 4 things to start the process of changing the stigma of mental illness into a move toward mental health

  • Think about it, talk about it, do something
  • Shift societies attitudes through dialogue and the media
  • Change our language of suicide
  • Treat it

 

Let’s do all those things and more.  And let’s start today, right now, this second.  One small word, one small smile at the right moment does save lives.  Take every opportunity to make a difference.  I believe that’s what we’re all here to do.

Namaste

to-anyone-who-has-had-suicidal-thoughts-im-glad-you-are-still-here-keep-holding-on-quote-1

©2016 J.Fries/Rise Like Air

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Being a mom is an interesting path to walk at the best of times. We joke that kids don’t come with a manual and it’s true. No matter how well read you are, how trained you are, even with all the skills and patience you bring to the task, there’s still a lot of trial and error and just plain luck involved. We all have our plans about how we’ll be super moms, but in reality our relationships with our children will have ups and downs and will grow and morph in many ways over hopefully many wonderful years.

Unknown-1I believe most mother’s really do want the best for their children. Sometimes, I admit, we make mistakes and miss the mark. It can range from simple to complex. We’re  a little over protective, maybe we make too many choices for them. For the most part we all work it out and over time our relationship, we hope, grows stronger.

I know when I became a mother, my world changed in many ways. Nine months of gestation produced more than a baby.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

As I saw mother’s day played out on social media I realized that there is truly a huge range of emotions and experiences that transpire around this celebration. Within my own group of friends and news feeds, the expected joy and beauty was truly apparent. Right along side of it, with the same intensity was grief and anguish.

There were mothers who lamented children no longer alive to celebrate this special day with them. A hole left in their lives that will never be filled.

Loving daughters and sons who didn’t look forward to the day because mom was no longer with them to celebrate. It didn’t matter if the loss was recent or decades ago. An old wound was reopened.

Moms who feel aching loneliness, lamenting their children’s indifference over outdated misunderstandings. Grandchildren who  only know stories but not grandma’s warm embrace. The absence of celebration or the pain of loss while celebrating the joys that remain.

Children and husbands holding tightly to mothers who they know will be leaving them far too soon.

A mother who celebrated her very first mother’s day unaware it was the last day she would there to celebrate at all.

The new mother welcoming her first born just before mother’s day only to lose her a few days later.

Mothers separated by vast distances from their children, connecting through technology that didn’t exist when the mothers were their children’s age. Not the same as sharing the same space but so much better than the alternative.

Grown children who were certainly babes in arms a short time ago, towering over mothers in loving embraces. The smiles and joy spilling from the page and into my heart.

The little child’s fist full of dandelions thrust up towards his mother, her most treasured gift.

What became clear was that Mother’s Day was different for each mother, as different as each of our children are. What remains constant is that each mother and each child no matter how old, how far away or estranged, is in someway moved. The bond, no matter how strained or strong is marked somehow, whether it is visible or invisible, acknowledged or not.

My mother is aging faster than I’d like to admit. I know that my time with her is limited. Time goes by too quickly, we never know just how much we have.  One of the biggest things people say they wish they would have done differently was to have forgiven someone, or to have said “I love you.” more. I was reminded of this even more this year. In which case, there is really only one thing to do.

phonto

It really doesn’t matter who it is, if there’s a relationship to repair, appreciation to show, love to give, choose to do it now. Life life, make memories, no regrets.

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years~ Mike & The Mechanics “In The Living Years”

I love you mom.  Thanks for all you’ve done and all you do, especially for making memories that will keep you with me forever.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Malala returns to school. Picture courtesy of thehindu.com

Is there anyone in the world who hasn’t heard of Malala Yousafzai by now?  I remember when the young Pakistani girl was shot a year ago yesterday.  It was my daughter’s birthday and I could only imagine the horror her family was going through.  Maybe even wondering  if standing up for the right of girls’ to be educated was worth the cost of their own daughter’s life.  At least in that moment, I couldn’t see how Malala could survive.  But survive she did.  She not only survived, she is thriving.  Instead of being fearful and weakened by the horrible attack on her school bus which left 3 young girls seriously wounded, she has grown stronger, braver and yes, more powerful.  Malala has the attention of the world, and not just “ordinary citizens” or young girls, but world leaders.

You can look at a comprehensive article and interview the CBC  have, so I’m not going to rehash the history here.   Her father, an educator, believes in the right of girls to be educated.  Not so surprising that his daughters would hold the same belief.  Malala blogged about her thoughts and ideas prior to the attack and had already garnered an audience.  Of course this was not something the Taliban could allow to happen so the simplest solution was to remove the problem. But sometimes simple is rather complex.

I saw a clip on CNN.  It isn’t long, just part of an interview that Jon Stewart did with Malala the other day.  So wise; many of us would say “wise beyond her years”.  But I realized that it isn’t time that makes Malala wise.  It’s her ability to see and understand the world around her.  Malala, regardless of her age, looks beyond the surface, looks deeper and most importantly makes the connection.  That is something that even age does not always afford us.  Making the connection, understanding what is really important and not getting caught up in the emotions of revenge, hate, intolerance and fear.  Malala is extraordinary to me because she is living her life the way life should be lived – she, at this young age, is staying true to herself – and she’s sharing that with all of us.  She will not allow the Taliban to stop her believing in her dream, in making her dream a reality.  At the same time she offers only kindness to those who would offer her none.  That is the magic of Malala.

In the interview she spoke about what she would do if the Taliban tried to kill her again.  Her response was beautiful.   Basically, she said:

I used to think that the Talib would come and he would just kill me…  But then I said, if he comes what would I do?  I thought Malala just take a shoe and hit him.  But if you hit the Talib with the shoe there would be no difference between the Talib and you.  You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that much harshly.   You must fight others but through peace, dialogue and education.     I would tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well.  Then I would tell him, that is what I want to tell you now do what you want.

I’d really like to say that’s exactly what I’d say.  Not so sure it is though.  Malala, I still have a lot to learn from you.  As Jon Stewart said at the end of his interview… “You sure are swell.”  Yes, Malala, you certainly are swell – and a whole lot more.  You have us rising like air.  There really is hope.   Malala realizes that holding onto the old paradigm isn’t going to work.  Not only does she see that the belief in education for girls needs to change, but so does the response given when things don’t go the way we hope, at least not right away.  The shoe treatment – isn’t going to work.  The ripple effect of change.

If I step back and take a look, I realize that a whole myriad of  problems come down to fear of the unknown, or the assumption that we do know what’s going to happen, and it’s obviously going to be bad!  It’s always based on the assumptive fear that the change will ruin the world, or at least our corner of it.

I recently read a great line on Candy Coated Reality

In my mind, Merriam-Webster should define life as “Change. Change. Change. And more change; one big giant change made up of a multitude of little changes” – yep, that would about sum it up.

Let’s face it.  Regardless of how the world came into being (and I am not going to start that discussion here) one thing has been constant – CHANGE.  It is never ending – it is what life and growth are – change.  Yet most of us fight it, ignore it, try to stop it… unless of course we are the instigators because then obviously it’s a great idea right?

I used to have a poster in my office that read

The only thing permanent is change.

It’s true.  So it’s about time we finally get used to that little fact.  That doesn’t mean we always have to like it, we don’t always have to support it.  We can affect change.  It’s time we stop using excuses, regardless of what they are.  It’s time we start allowing change to do it’s thing – to embrace it and to work with it.  Change can be very scary, full of upheaval and uncertainty.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Truth:  Change happens no matter what and it can be challenging.

Dare:  Use peace, dialogue and education to manage change and with patience you might just begin to embrace it.  

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©Rise Like Air/J. Fries 2013

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