Archives for posts with tag: health

There are many ways to heal. Eventually, any externally imposed guidelines for how to become well must be consistent with your own inner guidance system. You must learn to support yourself through self-respect, not through restrictive regimens filled with should and oughts that feel punitive.  January 14th Women’s Wisdom Perpetual Flip Calendar Christiane Northrup,M.D.

Reading this on the 14th was really a bit of an aha moment for me. I was already planning my blog about Tuesdays With Morrie so health, healing, life and death were already on my mind. This message really made sense to me in an important way – because I think it’s a very simple idea that far too many of us forget, or don’t even recognize to begin with.

The importance of finding a balance between how we choose to heal.  As Morrie says in Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom, “The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”  Far too often when we are faced with health issues even from minor all the way up to crisis, we put our decisions in someone else’s hands. Whether out of doubt, fear or exhaustion or simple lack of understanding that what we believe and how we feel actually matters!

It’s important to find the balance and like most things in life, there isn’t just one path or answer on how to do that. But the first step certainly can be that simple little aha moment that I had.  That it matters. That beginning to pay attention and to care and to take some responsibility matters and is possible.

Taking an active part in our health, learning to support ourselves, and to support others through self respect, love and kindness provides a healing that medical science might not be able to measure in meticulous scientific terms – at least yet. But like most things in life, healing arrives in many different forms along many different paths.  We might not be able to cure everything, but that does not mean that very real healing can occur.

 

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We have now officially ushered out 2017 and introduced ourselves to 2018.

I’m not sure how old i was when I remember I expected to feel something different when I woke up after my birthday, or on New Year’s Day. After all something defining had occurred right? Another year older, another year past.

I realized then it wasn’t the magic of the clock turning to a new day, there wasn’t a wham bang sudden change. I grew another year older day by day and 2017 passed day by day like every other year. Today is just the day after yesterday. Just like every other day. It’s what we choose to do with that extraordinarily ordinary day that matters. Every one of them.

Some of us are bounding in to 2018 with smiles, hope, plans and attitude. Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Sometimes it seems there is only hardship and sadness on the road ahead of us. But, in amongst the challenges life puts in front of each of us right now, may we also find our way to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the music and be touched by the love hidden in each day that dawns before us.

And I say to you as well,

Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Wishing you a blessed 2018! Every extraordinarily ordinary day of it.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

I am honoured to share this essay by an amazing, bright, witty, kind, thoughtful, talented, strong, funny young woman who navigates her beautiful yet challenging path living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I am so proud to know Corey and if you think “everyone is a little OCD” she will kindly begin your education on the subject.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have “some OCD.” In order for a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder to be made, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it consumes a lot of time and gets in the way of important activities that the person values.  – International OCD Foundation

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image courtesy of The Mighty

In the essay, OCD and Me, Corey describes life with OCD as her constant companion.

A mental illness’ strong grasp unfortunately can easily grab hold of someone and never let go. Living in their head every waking moment for the rest of their life. The world of mental illness is a dark and scary place that many people have to experience. Unluckily for me, I drew the short end of the stick and have had to live every second of my life since I was in the fifth grade battling against my own brain with the constant voice of obsessive compulsive disorder. For me, always having an outrageous fear in my head and wanting to hide away from the world have become major aspects of my life and are my version of normal. These voices control every thought, feeling and movement that I have, slowly destroying the world around me that took so long to create. OCD has shown me the struggles that everyone can go through and the different battles we all are fighting.

At the age of eleven I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. At that time I knew very little about it, but I soon came to learn about the extreme stigma and stereotypes around it. The people around me most often would say things to me such as “just stop” or “we all have a little bit of OCD,” however it seemed that no matter how hard I tried I could not just stop the OCD in my head. This realization was what truly made me understand that not everyone had OCD and that not everyone was the same.

OCD deals with severe obsessions and compulsions that often are referred to as rituals. My rituals often consist of counting things, not being able to write with one hand, having to jump over cracks and click my heels together and much more. One of my most harmful rituals involves looking at the sun or lights depending on where I am. Although I know the danger that many of my rituals put me in, I can not stop doing them. There is a constant fear in my head that if I stop doing them, something even worse will happen. I know that this is silly but the thing with OCD is that, even if you know that your rituals cannot change certain events in life, the voice that is trapped inside your head screaming at you, refuses to leave.

As of now, I don’t often realize that I’m doing a ritual and it just seems like everyday life. In the past six years since being diagnosed, I have taken over six thousand pills to help manage my symptoms. However, even if the medication helps with my rituals they often bring other side effects as well. I’ve had to go to the hospital several times due to medication problems, and they have worsened some of my other mental conditions.

In the past years OCD has changed me a lot. It has taught me to keep my head down and to be quiet, and to avoid certain situations, people and places whenever I can. However, OCD has also taught m that we all have our own struggles, and that mine are just located directly behind my eyes.

©2017 Corey

To learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from everyday people living and succeeding with OCD every day.

 

 

 

 

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Today and everyday, we celebrate everyday people, just like Corey, living their lives, following their paths and facing their challenges as they grow into the amazing awesome people they are.

With love, support and determination, we are able to choreograph each step and stumble into our own beautiful and graceful unique dance.

©2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

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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.

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Bell Let’s Talk

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

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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

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I’m one of “those” people who tries to live by the philosophy that if you find your passion and live it you will always be engaged. If you haven’t found your passion, then ensure you live your current life with passion because I think it’s a sure way to run head long into your ultimate passion (or hey, why stop there, let’s go all the way and say passions!)

I seem to run into a lot of people (happens when I’m seeking my passion and/or living passionately) who have defined passion in big grandiose terms. They think their passion has to make big money, have loud impacts, be colourful.

screen capture from KSL High 5 segment


The good thing about being  on this earth plane as long as I have,  I’ve learned a lot and am capable of learning a whole lot more. One of those cool things I’ve learned is that passion is nothing more than that… passion.  It’s the passion itself that is larger than life. What we’re passionate about can be very small, very quiet, subtle hardly noticeable. But when we do anything with a true passion, the differences that are made are really, really big.

How many people would consider being a McDonald’s employee at a drive thru window something to be passionate about, let alone a position that makes much difference in others lives. Let’s face it, how many times have you gone through a drive thru and thought any more about it other than did they get the order right, did they remember straws and most importantly is the right toy in the bag to prevent a meltdown in the back seat?

This week, I was fortunate enough have this wonderful story cross my path that, in my opinion, shows what a little passion can do, even in at a McDonald’s Drive Thru.

“Rick is just a ray of sunshine in our lives.”

Shara Park from KSL News did a High 5 segment on Rick, a McDonald’s employee experiencing some health challenges.  When the community discovered his plight they were more than willing to show him what a difference he makes to them each time they go through his lane.

photo screen capture from KLS High 5 segment

But what makes Rick special? In my opinion, it’s all about the love and passion he brings to his job. His daily interactions with people, giving them their fast food grub – just doing his thing his way, with quiet passion. The results of bringing his passion to his job, brought him more joy than any “big” thing probably ever could.

It’s not about being passionate about something great.  It’s about making things great by being passionate.

Think about it: Passion, Perspective, Possibilities. What are you going to CHOOSE to bring your PASSION to today?

 

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I love Marcel Proust quotes and this morning seemed a good day to remind myself of a few of my favourites.  While curled up waiting for my tea to steep I thought that just maybe someone else would enjoy his wisdom on this Tuesday as well.

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

My personal favourite. I have never ceased to be amazed at how  a different perspective can literally change my world.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Is there a better feeling than experiencing a soul blossoming?

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

So many argue this point, but those I know who have given up on dreaming seem to have given up on the joy of life too.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Probably the hardest lesson I am still learning. And what a journey it is.  I am honoured to a part of so many wonderful people’s journey.

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Being a procrastinator and avoider I argued this one for a very long time and still like to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalala” but, yes, “what you resist persists” And boy oh boy, does it ever……

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Sigh, need we really say more….

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING but…… you have to admit there does seem to be a possible connection…. maybe…

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.

Still mulling this one, but I have to admit there is something about those aha moments….

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.

I really really want to argue this one but there is at least some truth in it for far too many of us.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

Oh to have the days of childhood and endless reading.

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite Marcel Proust quotes to ponder this terrific Tuesday.  And if it’s not so terrific?  I have a suggestion….. go back to quote #1 and give it a shot.  Change up your eyes and shift that perspective.  You might just be amazed.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Lissa Rankin had a fantastic Facebook post this morning. It smacked me upside the head. The kind of smack that makes you sit up and take notice.

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I often get asked how you know when it’s time to take a leap of faith, and I say, “When the pain of staying put exceeds your fear of the unknown, you leap.” But you don’t have to wait that long. It’s not necessary to wait until the pain is extreme. You have the option to cave early- but most people won’t leap when the pain is just a twinge. We wait until we’re in agony, and then it doesn’t feel like a choice- it feels like survival. Ultimately, we get to the point where we know we’re being guided to do something scary, and we have faith that when we follow these kinds of Divine instructions, things go well, whereas when we ignore the signs, it hurts. That’s why they call it a leap of faith. Faith is not just finding comfort in the unknown but actually taking refuge there. That’s when it gets easier to leap- and leap- and keep leaping into love and trust. – Lisa Rankin

I know this is very true for me. Without a doubt I usually wait until I’m in agony before I leap. I know this about myself. I recognized this trait many years ago when I began scuba diving and I was literally standing on the edge of the swimming pool in the 4 foot end. I was totally geared up and all I had to do was step of the edge into the water. My dive master was right in front of me. So was my husband. My husband kept saying, “Just jump already, it’s only 4 feet deep and you can swim! You’ve got a BC vest on, just jump already!”  My dive master, on the other hand, kept smiling at me and saying, “It’s ok, take your time. You’ll jump when you’re ready. And you will be ready. And then you’ll just step off like it’s nothing at all.”

And he was right. However, in the probably ten minute, yes, ten minutes, that I stood there, sweating, feeling silly, feeling ridiculous actually, heart racing, mouth dry, trying to feel “comfortable” in all this strange feeling gear I FINALLY took a deep breath and I stepped out. I felt completely awkward and my stomach lurched and somewhere I was sure I was going to die.

And then as it almost always does, it all went away, disappeared. I hyperventilated for a second, the water closed over my head and I was in heaven! Not because I’d died either. But because it was as good if not better than I’d dreamed it would be. I’d wanted to scuba dive all my life but waited until I was in my 30’s to try. Go figure. That was a leap in itself, just to sign up for classes. And then the real leap happened, right into the pool. I didn’t want to ever get out.

To be honest, stepping off the edge of the pool, or doing a back roll off the side of a rocking boat has never, and will likely never be, my favourite part. But I can do it without too much effort because I KNOW that what happens right after I take that leap is more than worth the twinge, even the agony. It is beyond heavenly.

So I’ve spent a lot of years using that metaphor with myself to make leaping easier. Still working on that. It works really well in my head. But my sympathetic nervous system isn’t having any of it. That system is flawless, sort of, in what it does. It is very good at “keeping me safe” but it’s also incredibly good at making me miss out on life, things I shouldn’t miss out on, don’t want to miss out on.

Working on getting my parasympathetic nervous system working a little better. The one that helps you relax, rest, rejuvenate, have a little fun. The one that tells you hey, all is well, relax a little.

We are all going to experience many things in life that require us to take a leap if we really want to live the life we are meant to live, deserve to live. What’s that saying?

I never said it would be easy. I just said it would be worth it.

I think that pretty much sums it up. So go on, take a deep breath

And LEAP!

In that moment where you are sure you’re about to die, you will find what being alive really feels like.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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It’s Monday incase anyone needed reminding. However,

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So I did!  Started my day with Yoga for the first time in a long time and I feel so much better for it, going to make it routine again.  Because here’s a little secret, I like feeling better. It’s a good thing.

It’s also summer solstice – and full moon!!! Love this time of year and having both come together is like an extra special gift. Monday just keeps getting better if you let it. Now there’s a lesson we should all take to heart, Monday and every other day too.

I m working at holding onto hope and passing out as much of it as I can to others who may be a bit short. Rips me up to see how much hopelessness there is swirling around me. It truly truly is about perspective, but perspective is sometimes this elusive, slippery concept that seems just out of our grasp. My life mission truly is to be a catalyst for hope, for change and I keep feeling like messages are coming to me to get on with it. So ok already! … I am!

Your deepest heart knows what your soul purpose is. It is connected with the you that you wish to be.  It is embedded in the place of joy within you.  Its expression creates a sense of fulfillment and meaning.  It is the reason for you being on the Earth at this time. Julie Redstone

And the biggest thing I’m learning as I move through all of this messy thing called “Life” is that mindfulness is key (ya really working on that) and that to truly be what I want to be and where I want to be I have to accept change, I have to accept the messiness of life and what changing life means. I am truly a butterfly – delicate but capable of flying through a hurricane, and sometimes in the end you just can’t go around the storm, you have to go through it, even if it means battered wings.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.  Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have been releasing so much crap lately, internally and externally and the process continues. Somedays I see it all so clearly and other days the fog is impenetrable. Today is just hazy, forecast is for clearing skies – shining my light – and sparkling, as brightly as I possibly can because the world needs shiny people who sparkle. (Seriously, it does…. did you miss the memo?)

What is ringing clear as a bell is that I can do what I want, I can be who I want to be – if I’m willing to

BE

BELIEVE

DO

… I’m the only thing truly standing in my way. All other things will move or dissolve if I MOVE. Even if I move just al little. I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m moving!! No regrets right? Keep on keeping on.  That is what I am doing. I am recreating myself yet again because if I’m honest, that’s what we do every day. Its what we should be doing everyday.

Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening….  – Lisa M Hayes

I am not giving up on me. I am not giving upon those around me and I most certainly am not giving up on this glorious potential and opportunity filled thing we call LIFE! I am embracing uncertainty, fear and discomfort. I am using these as my catalyst to be all I can be, to be all I want to be. And I am using it to fuel not only myself but others. I am healthy whole and complete. I am the manifestation of clarity of purpose, purity of intent and courage in action as I willingly and gratefully step out of my comfort zone (Yikes! repeat that one again). Sure, there is a huge knot in the pit of my stomach, but it will not stop me, it will propel me forward. I will be gentle with myself and others, but I will always be true to myself because only through that process will I really be true to others.

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. Bryant McGill

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So Rock your Monday, and Roll over anything that gets in your way. But remember to be gentle, even speed bumps have a purpose.

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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Sometimes things just come to you, and they make sense.  And then you have to stop what you’re doing and write it down.  That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was feeding the chickens.  Yes, feeding the chickens, all 25 of them. And the duck.

My brain tends to work in metaphor and analogy a lot. Apparently yesterday was no different.  When the boat is rocking you have to find your sea legs and sometimes what we need to do seems to be counter intuitive to everything we think we know.  But sometimes…. that’s exactly what we have to do.

 

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Depression and anxiety are like being on a ship in rough seas.  All of a sudden your whole world, literally the deck beneath your feet is lurching to and fro, throwing you around mercilessly.  Unable to keep your footing, you’re getting drenched by the crashing waves. Your stomach matches the lurch of the deck as you slip and slide, feeling like you have lost complete control over everything including yourself. All you want to do is make it to the head and die but here’s the thing…

While every fibre of your being is screaming get below deck to the head… any sailor will tell you the solution is actually to

  • Stay above deck
  • Stay in the fresh air
  • Take deep breaths
  • Keep your eye on the horizon where you want to go
  • Don’t fight the lurch Rock and Roll with it
  • Vomit over the rail but not into the wind

It probably won’t be fun or easy, but when the sun comes out, which it will, and the waves recede, which they will, you’ll walk the deck sure-footed again in warm gentle breezes with  a grin upon your face.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I AM FREE

It’s taken me a long, long time to realize this.  And even longer to actually believe it.  And some days are harder than others.  But ….

 

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“But still, like air, I’ll Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

Yes, I am.

And I will remain free.

I realized there is only one thing that determines whether I am truly free or not.

My THOUGHTS and thereby,  what I BELIEVE.

It took a lot of realizing OTHER people were trapped in a “less than”, “shackled” mentality.  A lot of time spent trying to help them realize how awesome and important they are.  Convincing them they not only have hope but tonnes of unrealized potential.

And then, one day I looked in the mirror and I realized that I was carrying the same heavy burden as all those other people.

I saw their potential, their amazingly awesome greatness but I had been overlooking my own.  I had been overlooking what I can do, who I can be…. who I truly am.  ME!

And there is nothing wrong with me.  I am me.  Just the way I am supposed to be:

A beautifully wonderful masterpiece, and a work in progress all at once. And that is what I will always be, because that is exactly what we all are.  And what we are all supposed to be.

I realized it is time to embrace myself, my potential and all that I am.  No matter what other people think I am or who I am, my freedom comes from embracing me for who I am and learning to love myself just the way I am.

Broken, sometimes smashed to bits. Healed, sometimes with bold scars. A little wild and crazy.  A little bit of everything.  A wonderful eclectic mix of awesome.

 I am learning to live my life for me, because only then do I live my life well enough to be all I can be.  And only when I am all I can be, can I do what I am meant to do in this world.

Some people see it and allow me to shine easily.  Some people don’t understand me and try to change me to fit into their mold.  Some people stay, some people walk away.  Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes doubt creeps in.  Sometimes a lot of doubt, almost too much doubt.  But every time that happens something else amazing eventually happens too. From somewhere there is always a message that arrives in some unexpected form that reminds me with complete certainty.

I AM A MASTERPIECE AND I AM FREE.   ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.

It really is that simple, but as we all know simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s hard work and takes time.  But I do guarantee, that when you come to the epiphany, you too will realize it is worth it.

You see, you really are already completely free.  You just have to realize it and believe it. And then you can feel it. And you will never want to feel any other way again.  You will cherish your freedom and you will do the work to keep it. You will become strong enough to walk tall and with purpose and you will wonder how you never realized you were already free before.

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oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up)

we’re dancing into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

spirits time has come

We want loving’ we want laughter again

we want heartbeat we want madness to end

we want dancin’ we wanna run in the streets

we want freedom to live in this peace

we want power we want to make it ok

want to be singin’ at the end of the day children

to breathe a new life we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up)

oh rise and show your power(rise up rise up)

everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

the spirits time has come

Talkin’ ’bout  the right time to be workin’ for peace

wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend

we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again

rise up now It’s time, it’s time, it’s time (rise up rise up)

(part lyrics – RISE UP by The Parachute Club, released 1981

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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