Archives for posts with tag: friendship

bell1

Today I’m home from work sick and I really don’t feel good. But sometimes opportunity comes in the form of what we initially think isn’t so great.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day too.

And I so want to talk. Anyone who knows me even a little isn’t surprised by that I’m sure. I want to talk about Mental Health. I want to talk about the fact that people you know well, people you walk by the street every day, total strangers that smile broadly at you SUFFER from mental illness, things like depression, OCD, anxiety and a plethora of other ones and YOU probably know nothing about it.

I want to talk about the myths, assumptions, stigma. I want to talk about the far too many lives lost every day to mental illness. I want to talk about the families and friends, lovers and children left wondering, trying to make sense, trying to carry one. I want to talk about the hopelessness and the hope. The fear and the courage. The present and the future.

But most importantly, today…

I WANT TO LISTEN…

I WANT TO UNDERSTAND…

I WANT TO SIT WITH YOU…

I WANT TO LEARN…

I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND…

I WANT TO BE QUIET…

I WANT TO BE LOUD…

I WANT TO BE THERE…

AND I AM.

I ask each of you to take time not only today, but everyday to really look, seek out and listen. For those needing help, don’t give up… find it. Talk to someone. And keep talking and keep trying. Please.

I don’t want add any more names to the list. It’s too long. It’s already too personal.

A young man took his life in our area just this week. A friend of his had posted on FB earlier in the summer “My biggest fear is losing people.” A cyber friend had a “lovely smiling” previous coworker taker her own life this past week.

images

Bell Let’s Talk

So take the time. Don’t assume. Ask a friend. Be a friend.

unknown

I am here. Reach out. I mean it. Whether you know me or not. I’m here. Please let’s talk. I will listen. You are not alone. Honest, even if it feels that way. Let’s work to change it together.

In memory of all those we’ve lost and in eternal hope that we lose no more.

Related blog: Out Of The Ashes We Rise (in memory of Todd Pidhorodetsky April 21, 1970-March 6, 2010)

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Pin us on Pinterest

Advertisements

It is always the right time for some feel good stories that remind us of the goodness in life and in people. Because even though we may be brought to doubt on occasion, it really is there. So here’s a little dose of feel good news to add some shine and pizazz to your day.

The School Bus Ride

The other day my teenage daughter came in full of smiles. She’d taken the school bus that day. She almost always comes home with a story to tell, most often it’s about one of the ‘little kids’ who sit at the front of the bus. They always seem in awe of her. When I send her off in the morning I notice their little heads peering out the window watching her, fingers grasping the edge of the window.  As the bus pulls away I see their heads turn as she walks past them to the back where the ‘big kids’ sit.

Unlike most of the big kids, my daughter usually takes a moment to acknowledge her little admirers. And it makes them virtually glow to be noticed by a big kid in a kind way on a regular basis. So the other day, one of the little girls shyly handed my daughter a coloured picture she’d done at school that day. My daughter admired it and when she tried to return it the little girl indicated she was to keep it. It was a gift!

My daughter came in absolutely thrilled, her eyes were shining and she couldn’t stop talking about how sweet everything about the experience was. In no time she had me as excited as she was and I hadn’t even gotten anything.  Well, I guess I did. I was fortunate enough to be able to share in her excitement and it truly was contagious (seriously, try it sometime).

A few days later the little girl was brave enough to finally introduce herself and proceeded to gift 3 precious gemstones. How cool is that. The picture and gemstones are on proud display and I have to admit, every time I see them, I can’t help but smile just a little.

Pulled Over

A friend shared a story with me the other day about driving home in the freezing rain. One of the hazards we often experience this time of year.  She had pulled over to the side of the road so she could take a call. Just then another car pulled up. The kind occupants wanted to make sure that she was alright and not in need of assistance.

It’s nice to know that there are people who look out for one another and exemplify the kindness lifestyle everyday.

 

What Happened to You Today?

Don’t miss the opportunity to recognize those tiny moments of kindness and goodness that happen to you today. Life has shown me even on my worst days if I allow myself to be open to seeing those tiny moments, I do. And once I see one or two, usually, I start to see more. And in that case, more is definitely better than less.

Go on, I dare you. Be open and start collecting those magical little moments and let your smile shine. You might just find it’s contagious too.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Pin us on Pinterest

i-am-a-writer-image

I want to share a most amazing tribute I received a few days ago from my wonderful fellow blogger and wordsmith Soumya Rose John

Ten months ago I had the honour of speaking to a kindred soul from all the way across the globe. Her name was Jewel Fries. 
When I was first asked to become a blogger for Life Vest Inside alongside Jewel, I was a little nervous. Would we have the same vision, the same kind of drive, would we want the same things? After all, I thought, we were quite literally the definition of worlds apart.
However after my very first Skype call with her, I found my fears quickly taking a backseat to awe and admiration. 
Quite frankly, I have never come across another woman as talented, genuine, wise and humble as Jewel. I realised that not only was Jewel’s writing so incredibly eloquent, powerful and close to my heart, but she never made me feel like a silly child floundering about life (that let’s be honest, we all know is pretty much my definition!) trying to get things right. 
It isn’t every day that you come across a writer whose heart is as beautiful as the words they so skilfully string together, but then there are those few like Jewel who really restore your faith in believing that a writer can be as amazing as everything you read of theirs that you think reverberates your very soul. 
Jewel runs a crazy inspiring blog called Rise Like Air which is filled with uplifting, moving, motivating content and there is no time like now to check it out, I promise it will be worth your minutes! 


https://riselikeair.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RiseLikeAir/?fref=ts


To a woman who has endlessly supported me over the past year and helped me immensely along my personal journey as a writer, kindness ambassador and a human being, this one’s a MASSIVE shoutout to you for being the light that you are in this world, even when you sometimes don’t realise how strong that beam is! 
P.S. You need to tell me how to pronounce Saskatchewan someday 

Soumya’s smile, attitude, writing and love for life and people inspires me every day. I love working with her and we manage to keep each other afloat on a regular basis in the crazy busy world that we share from literally thousands of miles apart (One day we should figure out how far it really is!)

I’ve said many times that words are one of the most powerful items at our disposal. They can inspire, motivate and build a person up but they can just as easily destroy self esteem, hope and joy. They can kill the will to even try.

Soumya knows exactly how to use her words to spread love and kindness, tackle tough subjects while always leaving me with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

She writes a great blog at Quirrk – Isn’t Life Just A Candid Lil’ Quirk?
I hope you’ll take the time to check out her writing. I think you will be happy you did.

Soumya, thank you for making me cry, laugh and believe. I really do appreciate you lending me your eyes to see myself, because the truth is, mine often don’t see the same thing. It’s nice to know when I don’t believe in myself I have others around to help me get back to that place again. I am honoured and humbled to not only have the pleasure of working with you but of calling you friend. You help me strive to become a better person every day. For all of that and more, Thank you.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

Thank you for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Air? Here’s how

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

IMG_3181

I was working on my How To Be Happy journal that my lovely daughter gave me for Christmas.  Like me, it is a work in progress. It has made me question “what is happiness?” and more importantly, “what is happiness to me?”  I realize it is not the same for everyone. It can actually be quite different. I also understand happiness, at least for me, isn’t really about things, not even people, places or events.  Happiness is about feelings.

I began thinking about why and how some people lose happiness completely. How do they lose sight of everything hopeful and only see hopelessness, only feel fear and pain? How can we share the same basic reality but view it so differently? A friend recently pondered this.

“Lots of times I wonder what makes people end up the way they do? Why do we have the feelings, desires and emotions we do? How do you become truly happy? Which leads me to wonder, what makes up happiness?”

Depression surrounds us, an invisible presence most of us are blissfully unaware of.  We walk by people, sit with them, talk to them and we don’t see a mental illness, their pain, their need. I know this to be true. But what makes up happiness?  How do we find happiness when we’ve lost it?

I started Rise Like Air because I wanted to be part of a change, part of making something better.  I wanted to help people, even if it was just one person, realize that there is hope and that they don’t have to give up.  I wanted to share success stories and struggles to inspire people to keep trying, to embrace their own beauty and abilities, to empower them to love and live fully, to extend a hand to let them know that when they are hurting they aren’t alone, even if we can’t understand it all, there’s a place they can go to be unconditionally accepted.

Like many ideas that simmer slowly, a catalyst occurred to move it forward.  Six years ago this weekend we received word that Todd, a family friend we knew who had been experiencing severe depression took his life. It was the classic stereotypical situation with all the whys and how could have he’s. He had so much to live for, family that loved him completely, children to watch grow up, a good job he liked.  Sure there were setbacks, but how did he lose such complete perspective, lose all hope, lose all desire to live? And how did it seem to happen so quickly?

I remember what I was doing when we got the call.  I remember how everything suddenly became surreal, time slowed down, my heart started to race and I started to feel detached. And I remember the distinct feeling of I should have been able to do something. No, really I couldn’t have, I knew it then, I know it now. But it was what eventually moved me to start Rise Like Air. His mother,  Joyce, has been one of our greatest supporters. When I was almost ready to quit because I questioned the value, it was her wisdom and kind words that made me realize no matter what, if I’m only inspiring one person, that is more than enough.

She has taught me so much on this journey, including how important it is to talk about your loss and pain as you heal. Speaking of the people we love, sharing memories is a way of not only grieving, but keeping that person with us. So when you are tempted to say something, but don’t know what or how, take the leap. Your support will mean the world.

12805711_10153975191654246_8111374022931387371_n

I was out with a severely depressed friend a while ago.  I watched the interactions they had with others while we were together. They smiled and laughed, they chattered, they went about their business.  There was no sign that said, I feel like I’ve died inside, my body just hasn’t caught up yet. There was no indication that they needed a friend, needed help, or that they were anything but a “normal everyday happy” person.  I knew the truth and was shocked at how invisible it was on the surface, except when I looked into their eyes.  Eyes that no longer held any joy, hope or life. They were already dull, empty, pained. You can train your body to lie, but the eyes are much more difficult to hide.

12805722_1120124768044667_5123199130663639063_n

Depression is an invisible demon that revels in slowly sucking the joy, hope and life out of people so quietly that often, no one else even knows the deadly stranglehold is in play.

WHO, the World Health Organization, says in October 2015 that

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

Even when we do realize that someone needs help, often what we try to do to help is completely counterproductive.  Depression is not simple sadness. Often the very things we say or do trying to help actually make it worse, make them feel like they’ve failed, are a burden, are hopeless and helpless. However! This is not a reason to stay quiet or give up.  It’s a reason to learn what to do, how to be a positive support. How to save lives!

If someone had a broken leg we wouldn’t say, “well it can’t be that bad, just get up and walk on it!” We’d do all the things that have to happen to fix the leg and support the person while they are healing.  Why? Because we can see the injury, we can see and hear the pain they are experiencing. Visible or not it does not change the severity of the dis-ease.

But there are things we can say and do that are helpful.  There are resources that can make us part of the solution instead of part of the problem. We can be supporters who help others heal.  We can help save lives.

You never know what word, smile, conversation, text or email will be the thing that makes a small or big difference in someone’s life, that might save their life. When you listen to people who have been saved in their moment of despair, it often was something very small that saved them that day, gave them the strength to carry on.   It can be as simple as asking “Are you ok?” as in the case of Jamie Harrington, from Ballymena, Dublin,  who explained about meeting a man in his 30s sitting on the edge of a bridge and about to jump off it.

If we can help a person see through the clarity of our eyes instead of the clouded vision of their own, we can be the beacon of light they need until their own eyes clear.

12806013_10153546299584150_7346940327495660231_n.png

Project Hope Exchange is an organization committed to bringing hope to people everywhere.

Give hope. Get hope. All in 30 seconds! What if we could do just that and start spreading hope around the world? We at The Adversity 2 Advocacy Allianceand Life Vest Inside believe we CAN, and we’re thrilled to be partnering to offer you this unique and powerful opportunity. Through Project Hope Exchange, we are collecting, aggregating and sharing 30-second audio messages fromindividuals who have survived some kind of adversity to others who are currently facing that same adversity. And at the heart of our exchange are real human voices. We hope you’ll add yours!

0517092cb06039454265a2e2eb901b5c6dcfbd-wm

I have learned kindness, patience and unconditional love can make all the difference in helping people.  Life Vest Inside is an organization that  helps me and many others find their way through tough times by simply providing a safe, positive place to just be. Their video The Kindness Boomerang went viral a number of years ago and has been a catalyst for many to change their lives in positive ways.  So that is what I leave you with today, something positive, uplifting and hopeful.  We all have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives every moment of every day.  Do not waste your opportunity to help make a life better.  It just might be yours.

If you are experiencing depression or any mental health issue, please do not give up. No matter how long it’s been, how desperate or numb you feel, there are people who care and want to help. Please reach out.  There is a life vest.  All you have to do is hold on tight.  This is a dis-ease I truly believe we can beat together.

In memory of

Todd Pidhorodetsky April 21st, 1970 – March 6, 2010

You are loved, you are missed, you are treasured

421756_10150833961183906_1089036874_n

Thank you for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Air? Here’s how

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

images

Sometimes inconvenient interruptions are exactly what you need to make your day a little more perfect.

I live on a farm.  Every once in a while someone breaks down on the road by our place and they trundle in looking for help or a phone or directions.

The other day a woman ran out of gas and came a knocking (my door bell apparently is’t working).

I walked to the door trying to quiet my barking dog, wiping my hands and sighing because yet another interruption.  I’d had enough of those already to last an entire lifetime let alone a day.

I opened the door.  She had this big smile and a big hello.  She’d run out of gas and left her phone at home.  The smile, the situation, suddenly for some reason I just connected with her.  Maybe it’s because I could have seen the exact same thing happening to me.  And if it did, I’d want a safe, warm place to ask for help.  Maybe I just needed the smile and the hello.  I don’t know for sure, but whatever it was, I happily invited her in and offered her a coffee while she sorted things out. She introduced herself, April. I’ve always liked that name. Thoughts of spring flowers and gentle warm rain showers, rebirth and renewal.

It’s one of those things that I will forever be happy I did.  We spent over an hour together, getting to know each other, finding all sorts of things in common and laughing.  Oh how we laughed.  Almost like old friends.  Within an hour we even had inside jokes. I felt so relaxed, at ease. Finally her rescuer arrived with gas and her phone and off she went. We laughed some more as we said good-bye and I waved as they drove away.

I closed the door and realized I felt so relaxed and at ease. I felt completely in the zone. As I leaned against the door smiling I realized that it was a truly beautiful moment. And as with many beautiful moments, it contained a lesson.

When April ran out of gas and had no phone, she wasn’t thinking abundantly good thoughts.  When the knock came at my door, I was dreading yet another interruption.  But when I opened that door, I allowed a wonderful experience into my day. Our perceptions hadn’t been true and thankfully we were both willing to allow something better to unfold for us.  Running out of gas and having an interruption actually turned into something incredibly beautiful.  It created a situation for two souls to be touched, for two people to meet and for the day to be even more brilliantly bright than it already was.

Seeing beautiful and rising like air really is all about perspective and how you choose to look at things.  There’s that word again…. CHOOSE.  That’s really what life is all about, the choices we make. And it’s not about choices even being good or bad or right or wrong.  It’s about what you do with them.  And that my friends, is always up to you and you alone. It’s always your choice.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Air? Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

My friend Rosie works at a great little coffee shop and bakery called Grounds. Recently she experienced one of those “Wow, I would never have guessed!” moments.

It really shows how you never know what kind of impression you’ll make and the impact you can have on a person, just be being a little kind, a little helpful.

Unknown-5

Something amazing happened at work today. A man and a woman walked in, he smiled really big as they walked to my register and he said, “You’re still here!”

I was surprised because this wasn’t a regular customer. In fact, I didn’t even recognize them. Not to mention he had a French accent.

He went on to explain that he had come in last year while he was on vacation. I had been very nice to him and helped him choose some places to visit that weren’t the normal attractions. 

His wife said he had been talking about the girl at the bakery for weeks and this was literally the first stop they made after checking into their hotel. 

Then he asked how my brother was and proceeded to tell her about how my brother was flying home from France on 9/11 and became stuck in Paris for a week. 

I remembered who he was then. When I told him the story, he had asked if they were nice to him. I had told him that my brother hadn’t cared for France much. But during the week he was stuck there, they were extremely kind to him and made sure he was well taken care of.

I just couldn’t stop smiling and was so shocked over the whole experience. He really touched me that he remembered all that. I’m still in shock just thinking about it. ~ Rosie Hendrix

Rosie just did what she does, she was friendly and helpful and thought nothing more of it. But for an entire year, the impression she had made stayed with him. It stayed with him enough that he not only wanted to come back, but wanted to share it with someone very special to him, his wife.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a day like this at work? I guess the point is we probably can, if we take a lesson from Rosie and just be kind and helpful everyday in every way we can, especially the little ones.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Air?  Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

04sq5x-l-610x610-yellow+shoes-shoes-yellow+bag-bag-fashion+bags-heels-fashion+shoes-stylish-stylish+eve-pink-bracelets-colorful-spring-trends-chanel-michael+kors-bag+pursesWhat I realized looking back on my 20s is that my friends have always more supportive, more reliable and more insightful than any guy in my life.

Reflecting on that, I can’t help but shake my head at a nasty cliche I used to hear repeatedly from a male friend in university: “All women secretly hate each other.”

I never understood this because I never experienced it. Roxanne Gay, in her book Bad Feminist, had this to say on the subject: “Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.”

via Who Needs A Man With Friends Like These | Sadiya Ansari.

Yes, I’m not afraid to admit it, I thought this quote was great! About time too. For too long I believed that quote, that women secretly hate each other. I did experience it, but like most experiences, I’ve found perspective is key in unraveling them.

After taking time to notice, I realized that really there are crappy friends on both sides of the gender equation.  There are crappy significant others on both sides of the equation too.

The necessary skill is to ensure you’re picking the best possible people in your life. Period.

Today, take a look at your life.  Today is a new day – start spring cleaning now, it’s not too late.  Keep what’s working and say goodbye to what’s not. Let your relationships help you grow and move forward.  Pretty is fine, but don’t let it slow you down.

Be all you can be and be the friend who helps someone else be all they can be too.

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Aire?  Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

 

What are you doing today?

Is it worth remembering?

It’s up to you and only you. Enjoy the power.

IMG_0753-0

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it.

Want to connect with Rise Like Aire?  Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

Over the last few months I’ve come to know some of the homeless people of Canada through they eyes and writing of Dennis Carduff. His chronicling of everyday life has allowed many of us an insight into life on the streets that we otherwise would likely never have experienced. We’ve come to feel for them, hope for them and care about their stories. The loss of Joy has touched people many walks of life, people she never even knew existed. It feels like we’ve lost a friend.

Dennis continues to tell their stories with dignity, caring and humanity. Joy, you will be missed, you have not gone unnoticed. Respectfully, thank you Joy, and thank you Dennis for helping me to see life through different eyes.

Peace.

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it.

Want to connect with Rise Like Air? Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

images-1

Loss is a tragic thing, hard to understand, even more difficult to cope with.  The loss of a child is unimaginable.  My palms grow sweaty and my heart pounds at even the thought.  Maybe that’s what makes it hard to know what to say or what to do when someone loses someone they love.

I love words, writing them, reading them, thinking them. When it comes to grief and grieving my words almost always fail me.  “I’m sorry” is honest, but seems so empty and hollow.  I want my words to fix things or to make a positive difference, but instead they are left hanging.

I know people who have lost children and today, one of them passed this article along. She said that she could relate to every point in it. With that recommendation I thought it was a good place to start. I hoped that it would help me in future situations and I believe it will.

What I Wish More People Understood About Losing A Child is a short but excellent guide to supporting people who are going through one of, if not the worst experience in their life.  It’s not only the loss of a loved one, but the loss of their child. As parents, none of us start out by thinking one day our children will leave this earth before us.

Paula Stevens lists 5 things that we can do to help those who are suffering with inconsolable grief.

  1. Let them know that you remember their children, and celebrate them.
  2. Know you can’t fix the grief, but you can be a patient friend.
  3. Birthdays and the anniversary of the death will always be tough days that they will always mark and struggle with, even if they don’t talk about it.
  4. Happiness is a struggle every single day, even when wearing a smile.
  5. Accept that their grief probably makes you uncomfortable, and that’s ok. It’s not supposed to be comfortable.

We will never forget our child. And in fact, our loss is always right under the surface of other emotions, even happiness. We would rather lose it because you spoke his/her name and remembered our child, than try and shield ourselves from the pain and live in denial. Paula Stevens

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness.  It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love.  The only cure for grief is to grieve. Earl Grollman

Maybe putting words together doesn’t have to be as hard as one might think.

“Your child was a sweetheart.  Everyone who met him just could not stop talking about him.  He is going to be relentlessly missed by everyone.”

And when words fail us, hugs and quiet company seldom do.

Edit 25Mar2015

The Kindness Blog shared a story today called When a parent loses their child, there’s really not much, if anything, that can bring them comfort.  It’s about what one family did as part of their grieving in order to honour their little boy who passed away.

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it. Want to connect with Rise Like Air?  Here’s how!

Visit us on Facebook   Our WordPress Blog

Follow us on Twitter    Join us on Instagram

Join us on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: