Archives for posts with tag: mental health

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So #sing. Make #music. #Dance. #Smile. #Laugh. #Bekind to yourself and others and… #love #live #believe

Really it’s our destiny.

As Mike Dooley from tut.com reminded me this week

I distinctly remember the conversation, Jewel. We were having triple-chocolate brownie fudgesicles, listening to Beethoven’s “Fifth” before he even was Beethoven, overlooking the galaxy, when you mentioned how neat you thought it would be to one day have dreams you didn’t know you’d inevitably manifest, to have challenges you didn’t know you’d inevitably conquer, and to have friends you didn’t know you’d inevitably meet.

And as I leaned forward in total awe, all agog, wanting to learn more of your genius and courage, I almost fainted when you added, “And should it ever appear as if I could use your help, before I even begin helping myself, back off or you’ll ruin everything.”

You memory-maker you,

    The Universe

 

I ask…

 

So…..   I ask……

  • What memories are you going to make?  
  • What choices will you  dig deep to make?
  • What leaps will you take?

All we have is moments. Make each moment count. Don’t look back don’t look ahead. Just look at this moment. Live it. Love it.  Be it.  You memory maker you.

Thoughts become things… choose the good ones!

Love

Peace

Hugs

Cause we all need those…

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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A few days ago I got a message from fellow blogger Vaibhav Gupta saying a mutual friend had passed on my name and he was wondering if I’d be interested in being interviewed for his blog  TalkBack Tuesday.   (Stay tuned… for news when it will be available)

I was in complete shock, but after reviewing what was required I jumped at the opportunity. A little outside my comfort zone, how perfect is that?

But seriously, how could I not.

Talkback Tuesday is a feature for and about everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.

Everyday people…. life as complex… large… confusing…  Ok, that’s sounding about right.

So early in the morning I was at my key board on FB messenger answering unprepared, refreshing and thought provoking questions. It was  really a unique and enlightening experience I will treasure for a long time to come. Afterwards, I messaged my friend Soumya who had recommend me and I said, “Thank you so much for giving Vaibhav my name.” She responded with a brief but breathtaking message,

Your are one of the most amazing people I know.

I got teary, because I’ll be honest, I seldom, feel like I’m an amazing person. As another friend of mine would say, “I’m just me, just a guy.” Well in my case, “just a girl”. And that really is how I see myself.  Just me, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies.  Lots and lots of cracks – that let the light in, maybe get filled with gold now and then. Truly a work in progress, hopefully a masterpiece at the same time? Pretty much like I see everyone else to be honest. I mean, I have some really lousy days and on those days I don’t always do amazing things. I started to think about all the everyday people I know who really are amazing, at least to me. Like people I know recovering from brain surgery, quickly growing families, couples picking up shards of marriages or just trying to make relationships better, parents with a hole in their hearts that can’t be filled, people letting go of their past, embracing their futures, tenants uncertain about security and shelter, people just trying to honestly figure out life, I mean REALLY figure it out.. AMAZING people.

Then it hit me.

Amazing, everyday people struggle too

I realized that struggling, and bad days, even feeling overwhelmed doesn’t ever stop us from being amazing; just maybe from recognizing it ourselves.

We struggle. We struggle to find our smile, to find our confidence, to find time, to be real, to get it right, and to just be ourselves. We struggle, to find words, to connect the dots, to achieve what we think we want. We can make it easier or harder on ourselves or we can cross our fingers and hope for the best. But through all of that, we can be and are amazing, in so many incredibly magical jaw dropping ways.

So we struggle. There is purpose.

And we succeed. 

So go out there and be AMAZING; just be YOU!

Soumya, just so you know, you are with out a doubt one of the most amazing people I know. Thank you for being you.

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Dedicated to all the amazing people I know and there are so very many of you. Thank you

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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It’s Sunday!!  We have made it through another week and another one is beckoning us. Take a moment for a deep breath and a personal high five!

For some of us it was an amazingly fantastic week. For some of us it was hell on wheels. Some were able to Rise Like Air and others teetered on the precipice edge.

There were tears of joy, success and happiness. Tears of frustration, pain and fear.

That’s what life is. Amazing ups and downs and lessons and perspective. It’s about choices and learning and trying.  It encompasses falling down, crawling and getting back up. But today I think it’s most about simply living and loving and liberating.

Today I’m making one choice. To smile. Maybe it will make a little difference. Maybe a big difference. Maybe someone else will notice, maybe they won’t. But I will notice.

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Have a fantastic Sunday. Make it yours. Do it your way.  No regrets, no apologies. No shame, no blame, no guilt. Just love, light and living.  And of course….

Rise

Like 

Air…

See 

Beautiful…

It’s

All 

Good…

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I’m reading Brené Brown. I recently finished The Gift Of Imperfection and immediately ordered all the rest.  So now I’m on I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) .  Guess what?

She’s right!!!! It isn’t just me!!! Spoiler alert – the glow of that realization only lasts so long.  I’m glad I’m not alone. I’m glad I’m so abnormal and dysfunctional I’m completely normal.  Doesn’t change a dang thing about the process though… Still gotta walk the walk, talk the talk and get moving. Sigh. Note: Always read the fine print which says something like “I never said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”  Oh Fine!

Shame. It’s something we’ve all experienced numerous times in our lives. And it’s something most of us would really rather not talk about it seems. So I’m grateful that Brené Brown has removed the stigma from the topic.  She defines shame as,

the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive.

While discussing Shame Screens, those screens we put up to protect ourselves when we feel that burn of shame creeping into us, – which another spoiler alert –  don’t work by the way (to be honest, I’d already figured that one out… ) Brené references the work of Dr. Shelley Uram, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist.

“But Dr. Uram points out that we tend not to recognize the small, quiet traumas that often trigger the same brain-survival reaction. After studying Dr. Uram’s work I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas.  This is why we often have such painful bodily reactions when we feel criticized, ridiculed, rejected and shamed. Dr. Uram explains that the brain does not differentiate between overt or big trauma and cover or small, quiet trauma – it just registers the event as “a threat that we can’t control.”

In her work on “remembering the wound” versus “becoming the wound,” Dr. Uram explains that most of the time when we recall a memory, we are conscious that we are in the present, recalling something from the past.  However, when we experience something in the present that triggers and old trauma memory, we reexperience the sense of the original trauma. So, rather than remembering the wound, we become the wound.  This makes sense when we think of how we are often returned to a place of smallness and helplessness when we feel shame.” page 89  I Thought It Was Just Me – Brené Brown

That was a little mind blowing for me. And it made perfect sense.

My first thoughts were about empathy and compassion. Maybe there  really is no scale for trauma at all. Trauma just is – regardless of what caused it, or how “big” or “small” we may think our own or someone else’s trials and tribulations are, the size of the emotion we feel, the reaction we have – are the same.  That’s it. It’s the great equalizer for me.

It…

wait for it….

Changed my perspective and perception.

Yup it did. Here’s the thing, it made life a whole lot simpler. No analyzing or measuring required.  We’re equal.  We are in it together. It hurts. It’s painful. Its frustrating.

And that’s the catalyst for me to build my resilience. There are tools to do it. As Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger reminds us, “Shame is a profoundly debilitating emotion. It drives our fears of not being good enough.” And here’s the kicker, we are good enough. So let’s start moving toward believing it and living it. I’m worth it. So are you.

Rise on.

©2017 JFries/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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To anyone ready to give up today I have one huge favour to ask.

 

Please don’t 

Don’t give up
Don’t be alone
Don’t hide it
Don’t feel ashamed
Don’t believe your negative thoughts or pretend

 

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Please

Do keep going
Do ask for help (as many times as it takes!)
Do be open
Do accept where you are, but be willing to change it
Do know it will get better and so will you

 

 

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We care

 

Life has plenty of challenges and it’s easy to find ourselves in overwhelming circumstances feeling alone and unworthy, not knowing where to turn. It can happen to anyone at anytime. But there is ALWAYS hope. Whether today is a day you find yourself short on hope, or with a little extra to share, check out Project Hope Exchange. It’s a unique project that enables people to share hope. Give a little, get a lot.

Think you’re alone? Think again.

 

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! (from the PHE website)

 

A closing thought.

Often we are consumed by “what if’s”, all the things that we worry and overthink about.

Today…

what if…

everything you’re going through right now 

is preparing you…

for a dream bigger than 

you can imagine…..

What if……

Just maybe…

Maybe so…

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Brené Brown always seems to know exactly what I need to know to learn and grow. Her book “The Gift of Imperfection” has offered so much. So why did it take me so long to finish I wonder.


  

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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We get so caught up in trying to figure things out so they go “just right”. Well, at least I do. I get caught up in it everyday – even though my mantra tends to be it’s all in your perspective and go with the flow. See, if I say it enough…. I’ll get there… eventually.

This little story I saw the other day made me smile, I could totally relate. Then it made me sigh, because I could totally relate.

Mind: I’m worried.

Heart: Just relax.

Mind: But, I’m totally lost now

Heart: Just follow me.

Mind: But you’ve never been there before.

Heart: Trust me, you’ll love it.

Soul: If you two would shut up I’d show you the map.

Unknown – from PrinceEa on Facebook

Here’s the thing. My mind and my heart are constantly bickering, usually in kindly sibling type fashion (at least I think so… I’m an only child after all…) I can easily throw myself into a spiral trying to make sense of whether my heart is right or my head is right or if neither is right or are they both right! I’ve been told that I have a tendency to overthink. I’m thinking about that. Personally I’m not so sure…

But, A MAP?! Novel concept! Maybe even a treasure map?

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Let’s face it, navigating without a map at your disposal can make for quite the adventure, but at the same time, cause a few problems (not the least of which can be “one of those spousal discussions” vacation stories are so famous for). Having a map for reference is a good idea in the survival tool kit. It may prevent an argument. It just may lead to treasure.

Contrary to what I said in the beginning, I learned long ago that just saying something is not enough to really make it happen, it’s the start. It’s one part of the formula, the recipe, the magic spell. There are 3 things, in my opinion and experience, that make things happen, life manifest, provide some semblance of “control” (snort, giggle, guffaw – did I say control).

Those 3 things are a connection, the connection between the head, heart and soul. It’s not one or the other, it’s all three working together to create, manifest and build.

Those 3 things are a connection, the connection between the head, heart and soul. It’s not one or the other, it’s all three working together to create, manifest and build.

When I remember to get quiet and invite my soul to speak (and I listen), I open the possibility of awakening that connection. That’s the part so many of us ignore, our soul, our inner knowing, whatever you want to call it, that special unique part of us. When I make that connection, I can see the map and I’m in the flow. When I’m in the flow it feels like everything is as it should be. Because it is.  That is when my mind opens, my heart opens and my soul opens, rather like a flower blossoming. Which, I’m learning as I navigate my paths, is exactly what we are meant to do, bloom and grow. That’s where the treasure is.

Are you willing to invite your soul to speak? Are you willing to get quiet and listen? To look at the map and see all the paths that lead you to where ‘X’ marks the spot? Willing to see differently? Are you willing to embrace even the possibility of making that connection? To bloom and grow?  Are you ready to claim your treasure?

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed considering I’d only had about 5 hours sleep at best. Awake, but at the same time not really ready to face the day. Although I looked forward to some time to myself to get things done and be with my own thoughts.

A friend messaged me, “I hope you have a great day.”   I responded with, “That would be nice for a change. I see the ‘good’ in my life but I’m just not quite ‘there’ yet either.” Don’t get me wrong, I really do see the good in my life. My life is definitely good, especially if I compare it to many others less fortunate in so many possible ways. And I am grateful for it, very grateful. However, I’m just not quite ‘there’ yet.”

I’m not done yet.  I still have growing and giving and living to do to name just a few. And, I sincerely hope you do too.

Now there was nothing really unusual about the exchange I had with my friend. I tend to hang with a group of people that regularly wish each other well and make candid comments along the way. But this time there was a shift, a click between my head and heart, whatever you want to call it.

I embraced that wish, that hope. I allowed myself to simply be grateful for it, the wish, the hope my friend had for me. In truth I hadn’t really been looking forward to my day, it didn’t really involve any of my “favourite things”. In fact, from my perspective, it looked like a bit of a downer, except for the company I’d be keeping.

But off I went and little tiny bright spots started showing up. And just as importantly (because really I believe bright spots are always there) I was open to recognizing them.

As I was getting ready to head to the city, I realized that I was going to mark another item off my ever growing bucket list! Play D&D, something I’ve wanted to do for over 30 years!  Traffic moved steadily for a change, the light turned green when I got there. I had to wait at a red light, but just as an important call came in that I could take. I took a family member for lab work and we parked right in front of the door and were literally in and out within 5 minutes.

I had started my day with a blank countenance. After receiving “the” message the corners of my mouth begged to twitch upwards just a bit. The bucket list realization kept it twitching. After the lab I had a recognizable smile on my face. And this was all before 9:30.

Off to deliver our farm fresh eggs. Yippee Parking spot right in front. Except…. I was going to have to parallel park. Growing up I was told girls didn’t really need to be good at parking because well, I guess exercise was good for us and we could park and walk. Anyway, it’s bothered me for my entire driving life and I’ve decided to overcome it. So today, I parked (ok, the spot was amply big, but I backed in first try. YES!) I’m pretty sure I was walking a little taller with a bit of a swagger in my step.

Then I had to get fuel, I went in to get a few things and pay. On my way out a young man filling up a car turned and smiled saying, “Have a great day!” Getting back into my car, my smile was replace by a full grin.

Next stop, grocery shopping, a test of any sane person in my opinion, let alone me. As we entered the store, the young man who had just brought in all the carts offered us each one and gave us the warmest smile. Found what I was looking for, prices didn’t hurt and as I got in line I realized my companion for the day just happened to be right in front of me getting ready to pay. Ok, so now I had to chuckle. The clerk was the kindest soul, loading the heavy bag into my passenger’s cart and she generously shared her brilliant, shiny smile with both of us.

Upon reaching the car, I discovered the shopping bags I always keep there had been removed by someone else and not returned. Normally this would have caused me a little consternation I will admit. While I did note the fact, it just didn’t matter. The groceries fit. I had a cooler so that was what really mattered. No problem, grin intact. Groceries packed snuggly into the car, we were headed home.

I enjoyed a lovely homemade meal with my parents and before I left saw a post from a friend about Remembrance Day that just touched me to the core and I knew I wanted to honour it. I didn’t wait, took the initiative and contacted them right away. I have been given permission regarding my request, catch the foreshadowing there? My cheeks were starting to get a bit sore from smiling so much, muscles haven’t been getting enough exercise maybe.

Then it was home, unload groceries, hand off the car for the next set of errands… and get another surprise. There is my son working on his university physics assignment. I actually was able to help on a problem he was working through. Now anyone who really knows me at all is rereading that sentence in utter disbelief. Ok, I didn’t do the actual math, but still. I was enough!

And then it hit me. My friend’s hope, their wish for me was coming true. I was having a great day. There were no “big memorable” things. It was just a whole lot of little everyday things. Things that happen every single day.

Today, I made the connection and I recognized those little everyday things.

To be honest, not everything went swimmingly well. I feel like I might be catching the cold I’ve been avoiding. I had to divert in traffic twice, but I still got to where I was going on time. I had to follow a wide load that I couldn’t get around, but again, in the end it had no negative impact and I guess I was friendlier to the environment by driving a little slower. I had to wait again for large farm machinery on the grid road, but the appreciate smile and wave of the operator made my 90 second delay more than worth it. There were probably others less than perfect moments, but I don’t remember them!

What I realize is that as I connected more and more with the good around me and was grateful, I really did begin to experience more things to be grateful for, more. Or at the very least, I was able to recognize the opportunity to experience more and smart enough to accept the gift.  I didn’t notice the frustrations and annoyances as much or to the painful depth I know I am capable of. My cup is now full again. I am grateful.

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Never underestimate the power of a good morning text and a heart felt wish with a dash of hope either. Thank you from the bottom of my heart my friend. Today is a great day. I’m very glad you’re in it.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Yes, that’s my question. What do you plan on doing when you reach 104? How do you think you’ll feel? Where will you live? How will you spend your time? Today, reaching 104 isn’t out of the question. The question, is how are you going to approach that possibility?

Before I get into why 104 is the “magic” number today, I want to tell you what got me pondering and contemplating this in the first place. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I may live to regret it. But, here it is. I’m getting older. Yup. There you have it. Here’s something I’ve noticed. A lot of people around me are getting older too. Actually I’ve noticed absolutely EVERYONE around me is getting older. Go figure! It’s happening!

I’ve noticed something else too. There appear to be three general reactions to this realization for most people.

  • Denial and rejection
  • Resignation and defeat
  • Embracement and acceptance

All three reactions are very legitimate and completely true in the minds of those holding them. What I’m beginning to notice, is that the attitude held seems to not so much support the reality they are experiencing, but at the very least, to some degree appears to create it.

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Lately I have encountered a large number of people looking at the ageing process with resignation and defeat. I hear things like:

  • this growing old sucks
  • growing old isn’t for the faint of heart
  • growing old and I’m falling apart
  • everything hurts when you start to get old

I’ve begun to get extremely frustrated with this prevailing attitude because you know what? I’m not having any of it.

I mentioned the other day that I’d thrown my back out and was having to see my chiropractor. The response was “Yeah, growing old sucks.” I sat with that for a bit before responding. “Nope, growing old doesn’t suck, I’m rather embracing that part at the moment. But being in pain right now definitely does suck.” Because that is my truth, at least right now. I’ve thrown my back out in my “youth” too. Hurt the same then as now. Sucked then as much as now for the most part.

For quite awhile I held that very same attitude. Growing older sucked, there was no good coming from it. But then a number of things occurred (everything happens for a reason) and I began to think that just maybe this wasn’t the beginning of the end as much as just another beginning. The result of that subtle shift, and tiny steps I took, turned my ageing self around. A change in what I believed and how I perceived ageing and myself began the process of not only feeling better physically, mentally and spiritually, but embracing this next phase of my life. And that phase holds such limitless possibility and potential.

 

Today a friend shared this gem of a story from the UK, “104 Year Old Woman Keeps Fit With Yoga”. The woman is Eileen Ash, who at 105 (her birthday was yesterday) is not only apparently the oldest living Test cricketer, but does yoga, drives her car and wonders when she will really be old. She asks, ‘Will it be when I’m 105?” Something tells me, probably not. (The article is only 2 paragraphs with a 1:18 video so it’s short and sweet)

I know the ease and grace of ageing is impacted by our genetics and environment, but I believe it is often most strongly impacted by what we choose to believe and thereby what we choose to perceive.

So given that, I’ll pose my question once again.

What do you plan on doing when you reach 104?

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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