Taking time for mental health is something often forgotten. While many separate mental and physical health, they are closely linked in my opinion. When something is weighing heavily upon us and we have difficulty dealing with it yet still continue to go about our daily lives, we end up with mental trauma and anguish.
Taking time to ensure we have good mental health is equally as important as making sure our bodies are healthy. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, or anything that is making your quality of life less than ideal, please visit a medical professional. Please do not wait until it goes too far.
If you see a loved one suffering, do not avoid them. Engage them and offer your support. People need to know they are cared for. You might be the one thing that shows them that life is still worth living.
Mothers, enjoy your children. While they are young, as they grow, and when they are adults. Every stage of development for your child is special. I don’t need to tell you that; you already know. Every stage my children have been at has been my favourite. Why? Because it’s where we are in the present.
Don’t wish for the past when they were young, or perhaps before they were born.
Don’t wait for the day they’re grown up and out of the house so you have peace and quiet or a clean home.
Be present. Enjoy what today gives you. It is the ultimate gift. Love your children no matter who, what, or where they are. Love yourself too.
Enjoy this day as if there are no others. Give thanks for the life around you. Be grateful for the ability to have them in your life for not every woman is as fortunate as you. Hug your children. Tell them that you love them. Mean it. Every day.
You could look at the literal word and think of bodybuilders or construction men or firefighters even. That is simply physical strength though. What about the other strengths out there?
Strength to me is determination and courage. Strength is the struggling student who works a full time job, still makes it to classes and still completes all the requirements to graduate and move their life into a new plane. Strength is the cancer survivor who stays positive during the surgeries, the radiation treatments and the chemotherapy while still being that positive beacon for her children and her husband. Strength is the father going into that surgery knowing full well that he may not wake up from the anesthesia yet taking the chance because if he doesn’t, the cancer still wins. Strength is the wife who stands by his side and supports him because that’s all she can do.
Strength is the child who stands up for his friend against the schoolyard bully, even though he fears being the next target. Strength is the single mother who gets up and goes to work every day to a job that causes her pain, yet she goes anyway because that is what her children need her to do. Strength is the woman who leaves an abuser before it goes too far. Strength is the man suffering depression, but he still gets out of bed every day.
I see all these people around me. Perhaps they do not see their strength, but others do. Strength is all around us. We all have our own battles. Some are more visible than others. Don’t judge others based on what you think you see, for their story is like an iceberg: you may see the tip poking out above the surface, but the rest of the story and reasons for who they are and why they do what they do are hidden underneath in the dark waters.
Have an open mind and an open heart. Give acceptance and love.
There is something spiritual about having friends who are like-minded. Ones that can finish your sentences just because they know exactly what you want to say, or ones that can read you in an instance and just know that all you need at that exact moment is a hug. Until I experienced it, I did not know it existed just like that, and it amazes me how quickly that bond can develop. It’s as if something was lined up in the stars to make it all happen. Sometimes it makes me miss my beautiful, dearest soul sister even more because we have that same bond even with two thousand miles between us, but to feel it almost every day is a blessing.
There is something to be said in sharing each others joys and sorrows. The pains and celebrations. The unspoken words and language that can be said only with that look in one’s eyes. This is the joy I had been missing all of my married life. I am grateful for my new beginning. My freedom from that controlling, manipulative man I now call my ex. My free spirit that was once just a ghost in a dream has been given permission to come out to play, and she has found more soul sisters to be with.
And I am, for the first time in a truly long time, happy.
The world has changed for so many people since Inauguration Day. I avoid the news for my own reasons, and have for over ten years now, but nothing stops the important stuff from reaching me. Clearly, this is important.
I am not an American. Right now, I am quite thankful for that, however, I do have many good friends who are. What keeps me from sleeping are the reasons why people living in America are fearful. People who had rights given to them by previous administrations who are now at risk of having their rights taken away.
Immigrants. Refugees. Lesbians and Gays. Transgender.
People, please. Love is Love. Humanity is Humanity. Borders are imaginary lines drawn up by people wanting to claim more for themselves. Greed. Hate is created through propaganda. Fear is brought on by those breeding hate towards others.
Racism. I have no use for it. We as a world should be over this by now. Religion should be celebrated and used to understand one another, not used as a weapon of war. Your God did not ask you to kill others or keep them from safety. Man did that.
LGBQT hate. Love who you love. Let others love who they love. Who said nature always gets things right? Live your life and let others live theirs. Your rights do not have more weight or value than others. Same sex marriage is still marriage and still deserves all the rights and privileges awarded to heterosexual marriage. Don’t like it? Go move to Antarctica. My heart broke last night as I read some very real fears from a homosexual American. Thoughts I had not considered, but make complete sense, and my heart broke for them all.
I used to believe that the president was just the posterboy, but that he didn’t have the actual power to make such radical changes. I now fear that I was wrong. That if he is just a puppet, that the people who truly do make these things happen are just like him, and the devil has been invited to run that country.
I too fear what the future will bring. Perhaps he will create a wall not just on his south side, but maybe on the north too. Maybe then we will be protected from this mad man.
This Christmas was the best one I have had in as many years as I can recall. It wasn’t the gifts under the tree. In fact, it was the absence of them this year that made me happier than before. Perhaps it is a change in perspective. Perhaps it was a change in me. I did not need gifts under the tree to make Christmas special.
I needed my family and I needed my friends. I needed to do things for others and for strangers and for those in less fortunate situations than I found myself in.
I kept the gifts lean this year, yet my youngest thought it was the best Christmas ever. This tells me that it isn’t the money spent that makes Christmas special for them either. It’s the love that is shared.
Having said that, there was a surprise for me this year. One of my very best friends took it upon himself to ensure my boys had gifts under the tree for their mom. He did it without me knowing and it was particularly touching.
My grandfather was a very special person in my life. Both my grandmother and my grandfather were key people in my early years. I loved both my grandparents dearly. My grandfather was quite an individual though. Things I had not known about him I have been finding out so many years later. My grandfather passed away ten years ago, and I thought I knew so much about him then. He was an avid model train enthusiast. He liked to garden. He tried out new things, and even in his elder years, bought himself a computer and tried learning how to use it. He did quite well at keeping up with lifelong learning. An inspiration for me.
It wasn’t until recently when I went home to visit my parents that my mother told me how much my grandfather also enjoyed photography. She told me about how he had his own darkroom set up in their tiny post-war house, and how he was always to be found with his camera. Why hadn’t I known this when I was 15 and spending days in the school darkroom developing roll after roll of film? I would have had something else to ask my grandfather about when we had those summerlong stays at their house. Oh how much could I have learned from him then!
Still, knowing these things about him post mortem is so keenly interesting. To know that somewhere in the genes, there was the key to that hidden door. The one that opens up to the passions I have in life.
And I like to think my grandfather is watching me. My spirit guide, watching over me. I am sure he is smiling. My grandfather was nicknamed ‘Bear’, I think by my father. It is one of the ways I fondly remember him. While out on the Worldwide Photo Walk yesterday, I happened upon this stone bear statue. I have seen it before, but yesterday it seemed to take on a whole different presence. It needed to be photographed. And as I have been thinking of my grandfather so much over these past few weeks, the image spoke to me so very much.
So, The Stone Bear, the image featured this week, is dedicated to one of the absolute most important men in my life. My grandfather.
Everyone needs to take time to do what makes their heart sing. Whatever that may be for you, do it.
My heart sings when I do what is authentic to my being. Maybe I’m creating something..painting, writing, or photographing. Maybe I’m roadtripping with the two most special young men in my world.
Whatever it is, don’t wait.
Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for next week. Don’t wait until the ‘time is right’. Tomorrow never hits. Next week always gets pushed back. The time is never right. Make the time. We live this life once, and none of us are getting out alive. Create happiness. Live love. Sing and dance in the rain. Go hunting dinosaurs. Look for stars and chase rainbows. Leave a legacy that people can look at your live and know that you’ve lived it well.
Life pulls us in so many directions. There are endless avenues we can take, and someone or something pulling or pushing us into so many of them. So, what is important? Which of these paths are the ones that mean the most to you? Which ones do you travel down?
One may lead you down a successful career path. Another may lead to a family centred life. Yet another may be a life of travel and exotic locations. Some may have children, others may leave you single and free of ties.
So, how do we know what is most important for us, each as individuals?
I think what we need to do is really listen…pay attention to what makes sense in our lives. What we want, what we need, and who else we want involved.
No easy task.
Some things are laid out for us before getting to the point of asking these questions. So we work with what we have. But happiness should never be the cost. There are always ways to find another path to that particular avenue that our souls so desperately want to be walking down.
What if you wanted to be an artist, but you were pushed into accounting? There you are, working at a desk, crunching numbers all day. Doing this without allowing yourself the freedom to do what you truly love is a slow and painful demise. Maybe your evenings are spent painting or sculpting. Maybe you take classes to develop your artistic skills. Just because your career describes you as an accountant, that does not define who you are.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
I do what I do, professionally. But personally, I am an artist, a writer, a photographer, an adventurer.
What’s not as important is how clean my floors are, how many dust bunnies live in the corners behind the sofa, how many weeds are growing in my garden, or how big the pile of laundry is.
We live this life but once. None of us are getting out alive. So do what makes you happy. Recognize, and make time for what is most important for you.
I sit here this morning to write and weighing heavily on my mind is what the future may bring. As I prepare for a journey back home to visit my parents, I am consciously bracing myself for whatever news I will receive once I get there. My mother has been having her battles with health issues, and this visit was planned based off of some of that, however, events have occurred since my first thoughts on going back to see them.
We all have a fear of something. I think most of us fear the day we lose our parents. Some of you may have experienced this already, some are far from that day. I do not know how close to that day I am, but that fear is niggling. With aging parents, we are the sandwich generation…raising children of our own, and caring for our ailing parents. This becomes much more difficult to do when the distance between us is as great as it is.
And the words my father sent me haunt me… no surgery as planned, will tell you why when you get here. Why no surgery when it was deemed necessary? I try to not focus on this too much. Not without all the information to make any sort of judgement. So I wait. I pack and prepare for the journey. Housesitter/petsitter…check. Laundry done and packed…check. Gardens weeded and ready for the time away…check. House cleaned…check..sort of.