Archives for posts with tag: relationships

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Mindfulness – a term and practise I am quite familiar with, a diligent pursuit of full presence, observance and space.

But somewhere along my path I began trading mindfulness for mind-full-ness, falling for the false belief if I could just “push through”,  go a “little harder”, a “little longer” that it would would be over and life would “calm down”.

Mind-full-ness is  the human brain on overload, like a mass of writhing hissing grey snakes, impatient for the return to the serenity of mindfulness.

In a discussion yesterday I pointed out the human capability of being able to hold very conflicting beliefs and still being able to rationalize them when the same beliefs are pointed out to them. Last night I realized the conversation just might have held a message as or more important for me than him.

It’s not about doing it all

It’s about pausing

It’s not about being frantic

It’s about paying attention

It’s not about reacting

It’s about observing, anticipating

 

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Everyday countless distractions beg for our attention, our energy and our time, filling our minds making it virtually  impossible to be fully present, focussed, aware.  And while our minds feel full to the point of explosion, an emptiness remains and we begin to feel constantly one step behind life, constantly trying to catchup, catch on and catch a break.

So over the last week I’ve begun the practise to bring my mind that is full to bursting back to a place of mindfulness. I am ready for the journey – at work, at home, in the park, in the car, with people, with life.

Life may still be busy, crazy, chaotic, adventurous, filled with challenges and unexpected moments, but I will be present for them. And most importantly, I will remember to be present for me. I already know that when I am present for myself first, I am more present for others.

One thing at a time, one choice at a time remaining present, forgiving myself when I stray and lovingly bringing myself back, mindfully.

Smile

Breathe

Return

Repeat

After all, it really is all good, it’s just how you choose to look at things. Today, choose to do so mindfully and rise like air.

 

©2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

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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

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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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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Awhile back I received a crowdfunding campaign message about a 2 cd album being created in support of Postcards For Peace. They are a group I’ve heard about before, I think they do really wonderful work so I checked it out and decided to contribute a little bit. That little bit got me the gift of  the cd and a postcard.

They arrived yesterday by post as promised, with a simple Thank You hand written on the flap of the envelope.

It came, as with most things really,  perfect timing. What better way to wind down the last few days of 2016, certainly in truth not my favourite year overall, and begin what I believe will be a phenomenally amazing 2017. How am I going to do that? By I’m holding onto a world of hope every minute of every day.

As I write I’m sitting here listening to We’ve Got It All by Peter James Millson and now Fiddle or a Gun by Oysterband just came on. The album is a beautiful complication of a somewhat eclectic group of artists coming together for peace. I like that idea. Breeze Redwine brought me to tears with her beautiful piece Courage. I can tell that as I listen to these beautiful heartfelt pieces, each will find a way to uniquely entwine themselves into my heart. There’s something about the cover art that just makes me want to smile and find a park to sit in for awhile. Maybe even write a post card or two… with a message for peace.

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Check it out at Postcards For Peace shopping page:

“In support of international charity Postcards For Peace, whose goal is to end discrimination and violence through education, twenty six incredible musicians have contributed songs to create a truly beautiful album.

The title, A World of Hope, comes from the lyrics to Jo Hamilton’s ‘There It Is’ (one of the first tracks contributed to the project) and it is a fitting name for an album that features 26 songs of war and peace, of hope and of love, of living life to the full, of not giving up and of having the courage to face adversity.

It includes acts that have truly earned the right to be called legends, Grammy award nominees, multiple BBC Folk Award winners, acts that have enjoyed chart success and artists that spend their lives travelling the world to get their music heard. From octogenarian Peggy Seeger to teenager Breeze Redwine, every single one of the artists has donated a track to this album because they want to help build a world in which people care for other human beings without discrimination, prejudice, violence and hate.”

Happy New Year everyone. We wish each and every one of you a most amazing 2017. No matter what it holds, or even what it doesn’t hold make it great because you can. See the beauty, live the kindness, be the change and most importantly – simply be you. Because you are truly amazing. Even if sometimes you don’t see it in yourself. Unique and human, each and every one of us and there is nothing more amazing, magical and miraculous than that. Be Flawsome embrace your flaw – know you are awesome no in spite of them, but because off them – today and everyday.

You Matter – Hope – Today and Everyday

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I have a friend who is completely selfless. I mean completely. This person doesn’t always do it with the right attitude I admit, because this person can never say no.
Yet this person seems to receive so little good in return and is slowly losing sight of any goodness around them, yet they just keep doing all that is asked of them, and even more.
While everyone around this person senses a subtle quiet, no one seems to see what is happening, they just accept all this person has to offer with seldom a thank you or by your leave, they just keep asking for more and this person just keeps giving more and more as they slowly wither away.
To help this person I just keep trying to plant seeds. Overtime I just about give up I remember you never know which seed will sprout or when. So I just keep sowing, watering and hoping. I am a gardener of minds, hearts and souls.
If you have space today to send the people pleasers of this world energy and love for the strength to set healthy boundaries and learn to serve without losing themselves, I would appreciate it. My friend is one of many who suffer this same problem.
To all those out there struggling, feeling like you are always the one to compromise, always the one to go the extra mile, the one who never gets noticed or helped but is the one who always seems to be giving to others, who feels it will never change or get better. You are not alone. You are enough. And you are appreciated. And it will get better. Be open to it, let it.
To all those out there who are blind to the struggles of others. Take a moment or many. Be still. Take time to notice and not only show appreciation but give back in return.
You can argue we should give yet expect nothing in return, but we should also accept with appreciation – if we do both, we will all receive more than we need.
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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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You may have heard this or seen this on social media but when I came across it this week it really has been sitting with me.

 

I am enough.

I keep telling myself that. It does’t mean I can’t do more, or be better, or be different or that this is the end or the time to stop, or that I’m perfect or finished. But it does mean, for the most part, we can all stop sweating life. We are enough. We really are. I know it’s easy to argue that, I can come up with lots of evidence that may “prove” I’m really not enough, but either or, those are just opinions, perspective.

 

Now here’s the wow moment I got last night. When I believe I’m enough, I actually become enough, find my flow state and shine.  When I believe I’m not enough, I struggle, I shrink, I slow down and I stagnate. Wow!

 

Here’s the other thing I realized. While I try my best to get my validation from within – because I know in my head that’s the only true validation there is, some external validation is still nice and something I think most of us require at least a little of. When I surround myself with people who believe I’m enough and tell me and show me sincerely that I’m enough, I shine. I glow. I am motivated, I have power and focus and direction and and and and life is good!  However, when I’m with people who do not help me feel like I’m enough…. well you get the picture.

 

I think most of us are very much like this. As well, most of us also have both kinds of people in our lives. I love the posters that say surround yourself with the people who help and let go of those who don’t. I believe that so much, but also know that in the real world, while it might be just that simple… it isn’t that easy.  Wow, so not easy. Because sometimes those people are pretty close to you. I’ve also learned though that you can not change anyone. They can only change themselves. You can be a catalyst, you can help but you are powerless to really do any more than that. So…. you can set boundaries, make requests, but you can’t actually make them change or treat you the way you want. What you do about that becomes your choice.

 

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I realized something else. Some people just seem to be jerks, they want to bring themselves up by bringing you down. But there is another, more subtle way most often used by those who actually care a lot about us, that constructive criticism. Now personally, and many will argue with me I’m sure but I don’t believe there is such a thing. You’re either critical or you’re constructive. I get what the goal is, but it seldom works. At least, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t work as well as pretty much anything else you could choose! Now sometimes, used sporadically and at the right times with the right person sure, it’s all good. But too often the message received isn’t wow I can do better! It’s, wow, I didn’t do well enough. Therefore, I’m not enough. I believe it takes a pretty strong person and a very determined person to weather regular “constructive criticism” well.

 

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My editor  was a perfect example motivating me and setting me up for success. She did not give me false praise, she did not tell me my manuscript was perfect, because we both knew it wasn’t. She did however tell me all the good things and work in the things I could improve. But she always made me feel like I’d done well. She made me realize I am enough and that made me want to make every change she suggested.  Here’s an example from her notes.

 

You and I must be kindred spirits because you seem to love using the semi colon as much as I used to. My professors had to break me of the habit. They aren’t really very necessary – especially in fiction for young adults. They are used to tie together two complete sentences (not fragments), which, together, form a whole idea. But usually it’s better to just end one sentence with a period and start a new sentence. I’ve removed most of your semi colons, as my profs always removed mine. Welcome to the club! 🙂 – Natasha Morrow

 

I admit I am sensitive to criticism even when I ask people to review things or give me honest feedback. May I say, my editor could have shredded me and made me feel like an idiot but she didn’t, she ensured that she made me feel like I’m not only enough, but part of a club, I’m freaking normal for pete sake! And by starting out her feedback so positively she as able to be a bit more forthright later on without me feeling bad at all, I was actually craving more info so I could make my story the best it could be – without feeling like it was “not enough” as it was either. Thank you Natasha Morrow, you are wonderful.

 

I am definitely enough. So are you. So is the person that is driving you nuts today. And the person who cut you off in traffic, cut in front of you in line, took your parking spot, and left the toilet seat up or the milk on the cupboard.

 

We are all enough, masterpieces, works in progress. That doesn’t mean we are done, or that we’ll always agree or get along. But I have started to say under my breath when someone makes me want to snap.  You are enough, just the way you are and I am enough too.

 

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 Marisa Peers video about how so many of us have this overwhelming feeling of not being enough and just how important reminding ourselves and each other that we actually are enough really is was very interesting. (50 minutes)

 

 I fell out of gratitude for a while and it resulted in me seeing less good so I started with small again. Things like I’m grateful for the sun. I’m grateful for 5 minutes alone. I’m grateful no one knocked on the bathroom door (ummm no, I don’t have small children).
My gratitudes have evolved in the few weeks I’ve been dedicated to doing them. I’ve also found that for me at least for now, mornings are my best time to reflect on my gratitudes so that’s when I write them down. I review them in the evening and sometimes add a few more. Here are todays. 🙂

 

  • I am grateful for all the good in my life, even when I don’t recognize it
  • I am grateful for all the challenges in my life because they enable me to grow
  • I am grateful for all the opportunities in my life because they give me hope
  • I am grateful for all the people in my life because they are my teachers
  • I am grateful for my life because within it I find my purpose
 
 

 

Even on the bad days, it’s important to remind yourself, there’s plenty to be grateful for if you are willing to practise being present and look for it with an open mind and an open heart.

 

©2016 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.

Just finished my morning pick me up with The Daily Kind , #74 to be exact, from Life Vest Inside. If you want a little more kindness in your life and a great start to your day….. sign up!  Ok, sales pitch over.

The first thing I read was

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.”
– Denis Waitley

Yep, totally resonated with me.  We never know for sure when we will fully bloom. And that’s why it’s so important to keep going, to push through, to take time to rest, to live, to love, to think, to plan, to be patient, to hope and to dream. Because that’s the one thing… we never truly know. We can guess, we can speculate and sometimes we are right on, but other times… it’s simply a waiting game. But there’s also a little catch – you have to stay present, because you might just miss the fact that you bloomed!
I went on to read the Act of Kindness and the Positive Affirmation which was another positive addition to my day. I like positive, because like so many others, I can forget myself and tend to focus on the negatives. It’s a choice, but I have to be conscious about it otherwise I slip into old habits. I’m human, go figure. Who knew?  Ok, I guess it’s rather obvious.
And then I got to the Kindness Media section. I admit that sometimes I don’t take the opportunity to watch the videos every day. Sometimes I just feel “too busy” even though I know that LVI always makes good choices that are actually worth taking the time for. So today, even though I’m busy busy busy, I took the few minutes (and then as you can see took a few more to write this blog)
I’ve always liked the Dude Be Nice crew, and today, LVI featured one of their videos. For me, the best one to date. I love teachers that help their students grow, the teachers who don’t just “teach” but guide and inspire. Actually I like those special kind of people period, because really, we are all teachers in life.
The DUDE. be nice project is a platform to inspire people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative and meaningful way. We’re all for making people feel appreciated.
This project is fantastic at showing support and appreciation. They have been part of surprising a lot of worthy people. The kind of people who never seem to expect it, they just are who they are, worthy ,wonderful, kind and caring people. In this case a teacher brought the project to her school and her students decided that SHE was the deserving recipient. Of course, they weren’t about to let her know that. A great way to perk up your day whether it needs perking up or not.
Today, go out there and be kind to someone, anyone, and let those around you who are generous and kind, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you. They might not do it for recognition, but we all know they deserve it, and appreciate it too.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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