Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Monday, November 23, 2015

Footprints in the soil

I was first given the gift of the poem "Footprints in the sand" when I left a company with many friends, advocates and supporters about 15 years ago.  It was the image from the same poem.  Not long after, this poem was chosen by my mother-in-law for the keepsake for a man whom she had been married to for 40 plus years as her farewell gift of love:

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking
along the beach with the Lord
Many scenes from my life flashed 
across the sky.  In each scene I
noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of
footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed in low
periods of my life, when I was suffering
from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could
only see one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord: "You promised me
Lord that if I followed you, you would
walk with me always.  But I noticed that
in my most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints
in the sand.  Why, when I needed you most
have you not been there for me? 
The Lord replied: The years you have only
seen one set of footprints, my child,
is when I have carried you."





How lucky and amazing it is that one's farewell in unique circumstances and miles apart were given as a gift, as a send off to someone beloved or held dear.

I was thinking,  how lucky one is when there is someone who wants to follow in their own unique path, with the imprint of your wisdom imparted to them.  Really, footprints in the soil.

The soil, because of the wisdom can become deeply rooted in the receiver's philosophy to bloom at times of despair, discouragement and perhaps depression.  We dig deep to find the wisdom of those before us to provide inspiration when we are grasping at something that we are unaware, yet desperately seeking. 

How lucky one is to have someone who seeks your advice and an ear to listen as they sort out their feelings, their goals and struggling for a path or confirmation we are on the right one.  We all wonder.  We all seek guidance.

As we grasp for understanding for what unsettles us, we are seeking that one person who can understand our restlessness.  Fortunate are those who find that person, whether it is a parent, a friend, a sibling, a mentor, spiritual guider or willing advisor.



When we realize that there is someone reaching out to grasp your hand to guide you upon  self reflection and seeking understanding.  Some people don't have that gift to receive.  Others, don't appreciate that they have that gift to give.

Recognize that you have had agony, frustration and strongly desire to extend that guidance.  When it is before you, take it.  Similarly, don't disregard the kind words of encouragement or discredit the accolades that person extends to you.  Remember you are not in the best frame of mind or self-belief.  They may not be bias by love, but objective in understanding.  You just may need those words of encouragement when you find yourself at the bottom of the valley with a mountain of optimism before you that you cannot climb on your own.

Help others plant themselves in the soil of your wisdom.  Don't force upon them your passion for wanting them to avoid the same pitfalls you have found yourself in.  That exuberance may alienate the opportunity for them to absorb your wish for them to avoid the same pain you have experienced.  They have to be willing and accepting of your inspiration.  They will not accept any words of encouragement until they are willing to embrace them.  You may need to repeat those words more than once until they can see it for themselves.

Frustrating as that may seem, the want to clear the soil so that optimism may bloom, patience may be needed.  Hold on dearly to their need to reach out as a small bud would in soil.  You can nurture that need and wet their appetite to your desire to help them bloom.  Reach their fullest potential.  

You cannot force them to see.  No matter how hard you try.  No matter how much you want to help them avoid the pain that you have had.  They will only accept the advice when they are open to it.

Don't take it as disappointment or a sign that your experience isn't worth listening to.  Understand that it will sprout and bloom on its own accord and in its own time.   Sometimes it is delayed, sometimes immediate.  You nor them can bend it to your will.  It happens at the right time.



Yes, you see the flower that is before your eyes. It may be that the flower does not see itself as such because it is merely a sprout and cannot see the beauty that is unfolding.

Patience is wisdom.  Understanding is enlightenment.  When they both meet, wonders can happen.

Neither can embrace it or help it to be without understanding the other's role in footprints in the soil.




Be thankful that you have someone seeking your guidance.  Appreciate that you have someone whom you can reveal your deepest desire for them to reach their maximum potential.  Together, you can uncover what may be hidden in a seed.  Ready to bloom.  Likely to flourish.

"Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.  To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue."
                                                                                        ~Buddha


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Check your ego at the door


"Show me someone without an ego, and I'll show you a loser."                                                                                       ~Donald Trump

Oh go blow it out your ear Donald Trump!  My gosh, soon we'll be looking up "ego" in the dictionary and it will show it is synonymous with Donald Trump.   But ... you gotta admit, it works for him.

We can all think of people in our daily lives who should scale back on their ego and show some humility for a change.  However, we tend to admire those same people, forgiving their confidence. What really is the difference between the two?




We talk about balance.  We idolize Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama.  I'm happy for that. For while we admire the courage and tenacity of many of our fellowship we tend to tune out their egotisti-cal rants don't we?  Wouldn't we rather be considered to be more like Ghandi or Mother Theresa, giving of ourselves, wisdom and insights to benefit all of humanity?

Social media or internet is certainly not the place where humility resides.  Take a spin through Twitter or Facebook or even a blog and you will read "me or I" far more times than "we or us".


What a complicated world we live in today.  We admire those with the biggest egos, considering it as strength and we take pity on those who fade in the background, overtaken by the mighty.





If anything, take a chapter from our lives and rewrite it.  We can work on our humility and be more caring of others.  That would bring us to the closest thing to true happiness than anything.

We think the world expects us to be strong, confident, self-assured then it throws curveballs at us that make us want to shrivel up and hide.  Why is it that the nicest people are not who come to mind whenever we think of heroes or idols?


Living a life surrounded by those others' egos will only make us feel more disappointed in ourselves.   You must realize that you have the ability to make a change.  You can tune out those people, avoid hanging out with them, avoid listening to their music, their talks, their preaching.
 




Many people have religion to find their inner peace.  Then they go on about their lives listening or hanging out with those pillars we admire.  Break that habit and you will slow down that turmoil that churns within.  You are perfectly fine in who you are.  You are nice, people like you, and you are always reaching out a hand.  It is the ego that asks you why don't people appreciate that quality or acknowledge how meaningful you are.

We take nice people for granted and we look up to those who are always reminding us how great they are.  We are shocked when we find out someone we admire was really warped or severely depressed.  How can we not have known?  It's quite simple.  We're wired to listen to people talk about themselves, their achievements, their money, their power, their glory.  

We avoid those that don't make us feel good about ourselves.  Or, at least we should.  We may, in principle, even take solid steps in doing things and being around people who make us feel good about ourselves.  Those are the people that don't make us feel like we've fallen short, or that we should feel honored by their attention. 


The egotistical don't give us friendship. Heck, we are their fan club.  We bolster their image with our devotion, asking little in return.  Our faces turn upwards and they sense the admiration.  We are to blame for fueling that image.

How can we combat the need to have idols or those to worship?  Knowledge.  If we feed our brains with good nutrition, we will have little thoughts that can strike us down.

So what if you're not tall, or handsome, slim or good in sports.  Everyone and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E has something that they are good at.  Swipe aside those meaningless people or time wasters that deteriorate confidence, and promise yourself to find your true passion. 



“If you are humble
nothing will touch you,
neither praise nor disgrace
because you know
what you are
~Mother Teresa


Silence those thoughts that jump out to alert you to life's shortcomings and instead fill yourself with views more meaningful. 

Some of the most desperate, depressed geniuses in our time were mere humans who expressed themselves creatively. Think about Ernest Hemingway.  He had a profound impact on literature and jump to knowing he was manic depressive.  How many know that one of his first jobs was an ambulance driver in the first world war?  He left behind his legacy of writing that most likely evolved from his many disappointments of 4 marriages.  It was from multiple plane crashes in Africa, he sustained chronic pain for the rest of his life.

What about Van Gogh?
There are a few things you probably didn't know about Vincent Van Gogh.  He was a serious, silent and thoughtful child.  At one time, he worked as an unpaid supply teacher in a small boarding school.  He wasn't so lucky in relationships.  In fact, he had a domestic arrangement with an alcoholic prostitute. He had a difficult relationship with his religious father and didn't quite measure up to his expectations. Van Gogh was also ill from drink and suffered a smoker's cough. The events that led him to slice off his ear are legend and the stories many.  Sadly, after years of anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Wowzers eh?  Here we have a couple of the greatest creative geniuses and we find out that they had  miserable lives.  Sound familiar? 




You don't have to be down in the dumps before real gifts can emerge.  By contrast, we don't have to look far to read or see some reference to Steve Jobs, considered one of our generations, and perhaps history will agree, gift visionaries.  By all accounts, he had a normal, solid upbringing with two loving parents who encouraged his intelligence.   Jobs was no saint by any means.  This is the same man who stole the computer mouse idea from Xerox.  He was as well known by his body odor as he was by his temper.  How many founders can say that they were fired from their own companies they created?  Maybe it was  bad karma for stealing the most of the spotlight from Apple Computer and his co-founder Steve Wozniak 

These examples are written to emphasize that no matter how great someone seems, they may be masters at something, but often less so in their personal lives.  


I don't want to leave the impression that in order to be great, you have to have a little bit of craziness.  What I want to emphasize is that those heroes were mere mortals, with demons and shortcomings.  You are ahead of the game.




Tree Blowing In The Wind by Janell R Colburn

Promise yourself to let go of what is past, as though floating behind the winds of change.  Carve out what matters to you and seek to study it and define your own niche.  

The beauty of this world, is that you can basically grasp so many opportunities.  Take the word "but" out of your vocabulary and don't replace it with "however" either (like me).  Be equally careful with "yet" "nonetheless" or "still".  They are show stoppers.  They are your signal that you are going to say or think something negative.


Get a "Dream Journal". 

Cut and paste the best quotes, inspirations that resonate with you and tack them in there.  Create only one rule:  you only write or keep things that are positive.  Focus on the good and write it down.  You don't have to tell anyone about it.  You don't want to turn it into a brag book either.  We're not talking about a closet ego.  Just finding peace in the now, looking for the things that make you excited by the endless possibilities.  

Doodle, color, or sketch in it if that floats your boat.  This is not a place where ego resides.  You cannot keep regrets, dwell on bitterness, or whine about what could have been -- remember those things floated away in the past by winds of change.


One step at a time, one day at a time.  You have just decided that Ernest can keep his legacy, Van Gogh can stay in museums.  Because you are going to be somebody you decide you want and will be.





e·go·tis·ti·cal
ˌēɡəˈtistək(ə)l/
adjective
  1. excessively conceited or absorbed in oneself; self-centered.
    "he's selfish, egotistical, and arrogant"
    synonyms:self-centeredselfishegocentric, egomaniacal,self-interestedself-seeking, self-absorbed,narcissisticvainconceited, self-important;
    "His/her egotistic lifestyle has alienated many people over the years"






















Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Keep calm and color on

This blog was originally written and shared on my Business, Sales, Leadership, Social Media Blog optioneerJM which I had started in May 2010.  I branched out to Meanderings because there are many issues I want to write about that don't fall under business. 

What is the most powerful, impactful trend right now?   Coloring! What? .... isn't coloring something you did when you were a kid?  Well, perhaps you did.  Now you have permission to do it as an adult because it is great for you!
The next time you are planning an important corporate event, team meeting, or training session consider adding color to your tools of engagement.  You may realize many benefits:

  • To ward off distractions
  • As an approach to problem solving
  • To improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages, all levels within the organization 
  • Artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems
  • Develop and improve interpersonal skills
  • Manage behavior,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Build self-awareness
  • Achieve insight

Coloring and art have been around for ages.     Today,  use it as a powerful stress buster.  Assembled are helpful meanings to get started:

 Mandelas

 Mandalas are sacred circles that have been long been used to facilitate meditation in the Indian and Tibetan religions.  

They are created and looked at to center the body and mind.  Mandelas are variations or symbols of circles often found in halos, prayer wheels, religions, architecture and nature.    Now, they are used as a healing tool and a form of meditation which suggest they can boost the immune system, reduce stress, combat depression, reduce pain, lower blood pressure and  stimulate the release of melatonin, a hormone believed to slow cell aging and promote sleep.

Tattooes:

The word "tattoo" was brought to Europe by explorer James Cook when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand.   (In his narrative of the voyage, he referred to "tattaw". )

Popularity has steadily risen where artists, executives, and mainstream every day people swarm to "tattoo shops", "tattoo studios", or "tattoo parlors" to undergo their own personalized stamp of creativity.  Today, tattoo enthusiasts refer to tattoos as:

  • ink
  • skin art
  • tattoo art
  • tats

Coloring books:

Paint books and coloring books emerged in the United States as part of the "democratization of art" process.  The McLoughlin Brothers are credited as the inventors of the coloring book with The Little Folks' Painting Book.  
Another pioneer in the genre was Richard Outcault who authored  Buster's Paint Book in 1907.   It launched a trend to use coloring books to advertise a wide variety of products, including coffee and pianos.

 Until the 1930s, books were designed with the intent for them to be painted instead of colored.  Coloring books are widely used in schooling for young children because they tend to be more interested in coloring than other learning methods.  Pictures are also more memorable than simply words.

Educators conclude that all, regardless of background, students benefit from art as a means of enhancing their conceptual understanding of the tangible, developing their cognitive abilities, improving skills, finding a profession, as well as for spiritual edification.

Color therapy:


Color as a holistic therapy dates back thousands of years.  Color gains energy from light and why it is used as Color Therapy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans.
Color Therapy is a complementary therapy for which there is evidence dating back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of Egypt, China and India. Color is simply light of varying wavelengths, thus each color has its own particular wavelength and energy.  It can have a major healing impact on us as humans. 

Art Therapy:

Alternatively,  art therapy is a relatively young therapeutic discipline.  It began in the use of the arts in the moral treatment of psychiatric patients in the late 18th century.  It arose out of  a non-conformist religious tradition,  arising in English-speaking and European countries. The early art therapists who published accounts of their work acknowledged the influence of aesthetics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, rehabilitation, early childhood education, and art education, to varying degrees, on their practices. 

 A British artist named Adrian Hill came up with the name  art therapy in 1942 while he was recovering from tuberculosis in a sanatorium.  Hill caught on to the therapeutic benefits of drawing and painting while convalescing.  He wrote that the value of art therapy lay in "completely engrossing the mind (as well as the fingers)…releasing the creative energy of the frequently inhibited patient", which enabled the patient to "build up a strong defense against his misfortunes". He suggested artistic work to his fellow patients. That began his art therapy work, which he authored a book "Art versus illness." in 1945.

Another key figure, artist Edward Adamson, became the "father of art therapy in Britain" after he was demobilised after World War II.  He helped Hill extend work in long stay mental hospitals.  Margaret Naumburg and Edith Kramer are credited for being art therapy pioneers in the United States.  

Best Sellers:

Currently, the top sellers on Amazon.com are the featured adult coloring books:



Our lives become busier with each passing day and as technology escalates so do our access to work, obligations and stress. Coloring allows adults a way to slow down, feel calm and use meditative coloring for relaxation.

Unleash your creative spirit with this sophisticated anti-stress colouring, doodling and drawing book. The flowing lines, sweeping swirls and highly-detailed patterns on every illustration have been created so that anyone and everyone can enjoy making something beautiful and calming. Increasing focus through creativity can benefit those who find it difficult to unwind or struggle to find their inner artist when faced with a blank page. There are no instructions, no rights or wrongs, and no need for expensive art supplies - readers can simply doodle and colour in any way they wish to create unique and exquisite pieces.





Art therapy provide healing and growth experiences, and stimulate creativity.  Creating art images is a safe and natural way of communicating feelings and experiences.  People are able to see themselves more clearly, gain different perspectives, and unblock feelings and issues that may otherwise be difficult to bring to the conscious.  We have an energy language in our body that informs us both literally and symbolically.  Immune system neuropeptides transform thoughts into matter, storing emotions and memories in body tissues.  These stored negative experiences, relationship issues and belief systems generate negative energy that affects our health.  The rational and censoring left brain can keep us from this information.  Through meditative aspects inherent in the art therapy process, we tap into the right brain, connecting to symbols, images and perceptions that speak to us from the unconscious. These images may both surprise and inform us.  The act of externalizing images releases repressed memories, stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system to calm us, and the images become our teacher.  By connecting our conscious with our unconscious we gain a more congruent sense of self, improving mind, body and spirit.

Color on

Try it and see if it improves your mood, helps you concentrate, reduces pain, or eliminates stress.  How about improve the morale and retention at your next corporate event?   I've assembled a "Color me Doodle" board on Pinterest along with some of my favorites here for you to help yourself to. 



Friday, May 15, 2015

Need for Weed?



Cannabidiol | Weed | CBD Hemp Oil CNN Special Dr Sanjay Gupta 2014 Documentary


“Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use.”
~Richard M. Nixon



I have reservations about going against what I grew up believing and taught that weed is illegal and bad news.  However, one can't help wonder and re-evaluate their stand after watching CNN's series on Marijuana helping with seizures, pain and numerous other ailments.  We're no where near where Colorado is in acceptance here in Alberta or Canada.  Yet one can't help but reconsider the merit when one reads after a story like this.  


Is marijuana a gateway drug? 

Many consider marijuana the"gateway" drug:  meaning once you're established with marijuana, you will go on to the more nastier drugs like cocaine or crack to get a better high.  That is a major leap! 


 I do wonder what Canadians really think about the whole legalization of marijuana for medical purposes?  I do agree with the argument that must has been said about alcohol being addictive and carrying detrimental consequences whether it is health or coping in life ... yet it is perfectly legal. 


At what point will alcohol become illegal? 

 There is convincing data that it is unhealthy, destroys lives, ruins finances, tears families apart, contributes to job losses.  Again, it is perfectly legal.



“I cannot find the harm in it.”                                                                                                                                                        ~Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Gupta told Katie Couric that he didn’t see much danger in recreational marijuana use, especially considering the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal for adults.
Recently, I had a conversation with someone  (name reserved due to privacy) who drinks way too much.  I know this person has a birth defect, and been contending with scoliosis his whole life.  I know he battles pain every day, and more often all day.  He admitted to me that one of the reasons he drinks as much as he does is to cloak the pain.  One can't wonder aloud with him that it eventually will compound health issues with his liver, kidneys, other organs.  Along with hamper his performance at his job eventually.  People more than likely can smell the fumes from the night before by body odor.


Once, as a manager, I did have to manage someone who battled alcoholism.  Most employers do.  He was a super star contributor with customers loving him.  It all started to unfold for him long after others could smell the alcohol fumes from his body, not just the hangover breath.   He started to call me almost daily around 5 or 6 o'clock, after the other employees had left, and he knew I was going to be in finishing up paperwork.  His calls started out to be conversations rehashing the day's events and what we did well, spilling with ideas on making improvements.  

Unfortunately, the more I listened and the more habitual those calls became, they deteriorated.  He started to rant.  I continued to listen.  I reached out to HR and who I reported to to express concern with what I perceived to be a deteriorating situation.  The catapult was when he came in one Monday, barely being able to move, stating that he had injured himself while helping neighbors move.  I had a flashback to a few years back when there was a company party and I offered to drive him home or share a cab home because he was wasted.  He insisted on going on his own -- the next time I saw him at work, he was in crutches and had injured his leg.  He didn't report to me at the time.  I instinctively knew his injury was from stumbling or falling while drunk.

I did try to ask if he needed help gently during one of those rants.  Thinking that the environment was appropriate to start questioning and helping his declining performance and impact of his drinking.  I was so empathetic because I knew he lived alone, was in his 50s and his work was his life.

The situation did not improve.  The rants turned into flipping out at employees that he supervised.  That caused mistrust and wariness of his colleagues.  Being the manager, I was disheartened to see someone so talented digging his own grave both employment and health wise.

It all came to a head when he started to call in sick.  He had said that he had had a flood in his apartment and had to wait for the cleanup and insurance.  After a few days, he did come to work, worse for wear saying that he had broken his ribs slipping on the wet floor.  I offered to drive him to emergency at the hospital.  He wouldn't hear of it, insisting he take a cab.  The next day he didn't even call in and there was no answer when I tried calling.  Alarmed, I was worried that he was admitted to the hospital.  Nope, no person at the hospital.

Reviewing the situation with my boss, he became alerted.  You see, this same employee had worked for the company years passed and had ended up being fired.  Something about an identical situation about a flood.  His supervisor discovered it was a lie.  My boss, demanded that I call him on it.  Offer to send someone over to help with clean up.  It was declined.  

It continued to escalate.  The work attendance became spotty, calling in to say he wouldn't make it became obsolete, and the excuses became weaker.

Under my boss' direction, I let this fellow go.  Yes, I treaded carefully per Human Resources guidance.  Long before it reared its ugly head and came to a stand off, he was offered time off to get rest and referred to company benefits that could help him.

Some 6 months later, I was picking up my daughter from the C-Train and was driving by him in the parking lot and stopped to ask how he was doing.  He looked horrible, like a homeless person.  I later found out that was exactly what happened to him.  I blamed myself.  

It was after counseling from others, including my boss, I stopped blaming myself entirely.  I did realize that I was not responsible for this person drinking himself into a life nobody would have predicted of someone so talented, important to customers, and genuinely liked (before he became moody and a hot head:  outcome from alcohol abuse).





Is marijuana a miracle drug? 

I started to write about weed and its supposed holistic benefit.  I got sidetracked on alcohol and the damage it does to people's lives and health.  

Where I was going with this?  I can't help but wonder if the employee had smoked weed, would it have mellowed his personality from erupting, silenced his demons, and allowed him to cope with living alone and deterred him from drinking alcohol that ended up causing him to lose his job and become homeless?



I guess what I am asking is which is worse: 

smoking weed to help with pain or

drinking oneself death?




I ran across this article from Canada's Globe and Mail about the impact of marijuana ... some interesting insight:  The real effects of marijuana on teens






“The United States government also owns a patent on marijuana as a medical application.” 
~Dr. Sanjay Gupta



Friday, March 6, 2015

Turn off, tune out and turn on life





One can't help but wonder what we should listen to today anyhow? After all, we're bombarded wherever we are, regardless of whether we are paying attention or really listening.


We should pick at least one day a week to tune out and turn off everything we can:  the computer, the telephone, the TV, the radio and just be in the moment.


When is the last time you went for a walk and just listened to the natural noise surrounding you?  Did you hear birds singing?  Traffic off in the distance or police sirens?  What you tune into can say alot about who we are.  If we can't tune out or turn off for a day, we're in trouble.


Can you prevent the draw of your telephone or email to check messages?  How uncomfortable does it make you?  Keeping your computer turned off may be a sign that you are too connected to it and ending up shutting off life around you.


How does silence sound to you?  Loneliness, solitude or contentment.  I doubt I could ever become a nun or monk.  What about abstinence of everything.  No speaking, no singing, no laughter.


Maybe if we turn off and turn on life, we can become better equipped to tune out the unnecessary noise that make us feel fearful, guilty, angry or unable to cope.