Spring is a time for new growth and new life. I enjoy watching the birds building nests and the squirrels uncovering their buried treasures from last fall. This is a time of year that makes me mindful of the beauty of nature. I find nature to be very calming and consoling.
This past weekend a family member was laid to rest. Yet a new young life in the family, a 1-year old little girl, reminded me of life’s gifts. Cherish each day, laugh often, share tears with your loved ones, forgive past hurts and love one another. A favourite song of mine by “Trooper” says it all. “We are here for a good time, not a long time, so have a good time everyday”. Enjoy the tune and the message below.
As I look back over 2015, I wish to reflect upon the good things. All too often human nature leads us to the negative in our thought processes. When we turn on the news we are programmed with bad news…car accidents, murders, war, flu season, celebrity break-ups, political corruption, and natural disasters. As Toronto received its first snow fall in late December we were alerted for a major storm which turned out to be 6 cm of snow with some freezing rain. Time to turn off the worry button and cherish what is right in front of us.
Things I am thankful for in 2015:
Love…something money can’t buy. When I was young, I thought success was measured by wealth and career success. Little did I know how lonely life can be if these are your only measures of success. I am grateful for the people in my life who have supported me and loved me unconditionally, even during the times I when was not easy to love. Conversely, I am also grateful to have loved them.
Health…a good year for me. I am fortunate to have escaped serious illness in 2015. Some of those close to me are struggling with serious illness and chronic pain. They have taught me that your life can turn on a dime when your health is taken from you. All of a sudden those dreams you have been postponing to a future date when there is more time or more money will remain just that, dreams, because now deteriorating health dictates what you can and cannot do. Live each day to its fullest my friends!
Peace…fortunate to be born a Canadian. As I look around the world at the millions of people facing war, famine, poverty, and persecution, I am reminded about how lucky I am to be a Canadian living in a free country. One cannot put a price on freedom. A special thank you to those who risk and have sacrificed their lives so that I may live in a country of peace. So proud and lucky to be a Canadian!
As we embark upon New Year’s Eve where many of us make resolutions, I encourage you to make love, health and peace among them. Happy New Year everyone.
This week was extremely busy and I found myself constantly on the run. Wednesday I overslept and missed the Go Train. Upon arriving to the Go Station for the next train there were no parking spots left, hence I parked on a neighbouring street a couple of blocks away. My run continued in vain as I missed the next train. This day was not off to a good start. I caught a later train and when I arrived at Union Station I found myself running again to get to my meeting on time. I was 10 minutes late. When I think of the stress that 10 minutes cost me, I realized it was time to take a step back and add some “me” time to my week.
Yesterday it was an unusually warm day for November and there was a light drizzle of rain. I was meeting a friend at a coffee shop which was a 20 minute walk from home. My first instinct was to drive because it was “raining” but decided to take my umbrella and walk. I found myself quite pensive as I felt the light warm breeze on my face and listened to the sound of raindrops on my umbrella. I shuffled through some fallen leaves, watched some squirrels scurrying up and down the mature trees in my neighbourhood, and thought to myself, I’m glad I decided to walk in the rain. At that moment the wind picked up and my umbrella turned inside out. I felt like Mary Poppins as I was about to be carried off into the sky, and started laughing. I laughed so hard my sides hurt. It felt so good. Laughter is such good medicine.
So my message to all of you who are reading this is to “Walk in the Rain and Laugh. Laugh until your sides hurt!”
While visiting my physiotherapist this week, I met a man who inspired me. Two years ago he was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer which had metastasized to his kidney and liver. He was given 9 months to live. This man had so much to live for with a new infant son, a loving wife, wonderful friends and family as well as a flourishing career. He was determined to beat the odds. After undergoing 16 hours of surgery where they removed a kidney and part of his liver, and after 1 year of radiation and chemotherapy, he is cancer free today. He is a very positive and happy person. I am convinced that his positive attitude and outlook on life combined with the support of his family and friends helped him beat the odds. I feel fortunate to have met him and was touched by his story.
All creatures have a innate desire to survive. Early this evening we had a visitor to our yard feasting on rotten apples while my cat looked on. Rocky Raccoon, I will call him, no longer has easy access to the vegetable bins on garbage night because of the animal proof containers now being provided by the city. But Rocky saw his own diamond in the rough, rotten apples, a delicacy to him which he thoroughly enjoyed. We can all learn a lesson from Rocky and the cancer survivor I had the privilege of meeting this week. We can choose to dwell on the negative aspects of life’s challenges and let them define us or we can choose to turn these experiences into learning opportunities from which to grow. On a personal note, some of the worst times in my life have helped to mould me into the person I am today and led me into the field of Mental Health education. I love teaching Mental Health First Aid and look forward to what each and every day brings.
I encourage all of you to love yourself for who you are. When you wake up each morning, make it a practice to think about “one great thing about you”. When you go to bed each night, think of “one thing or person in your life that you are grateful for”. You will be surprised by the end of the week how many positives are in your life. In time, you are likely to change you perspective and see the sliver lining in every cloud which can bring peace and harmony to your life.
Wishing you all the very best in life’s journey.
It is extremely difficult to think and feel positive when struggling with depression. Here are some tips to help your mindset.
- Surround yourself with your cheerleaders. During your struggles with mental illness you may have experienced times when others have judged you. Perhaps even the people closest to you such as some family members or friends may have been judgmental. It is so important to have cheerleaders in your life, people who understand and support you. Those are the people who will be there for you through the most difficult times and will pick you up rather than put you down. Some people have found support groups to be a great place to find cheerleaders, and they themselves have been cheerleaders for others. Just as your cheerleaders can help and support you, you in turn can help and support someone else. It feels great to help someone else.
- Begin each day on a positive note. This could be listening to a happy song, repeating a positive phrase in your mind like “today is going to be a good day”, or thinking of something you are grateful for. Here is one of my favourite youtube videos.
I Gotta Feeling That Today’s Gonna Be a Good Day
- Get moving. This is easier said than done when you are depressed. Sometimes getting out of bed can be like climbing Mt. Everest. Small changes to your daily routine can help. Try going for a short walk. Take in your surroundings and appreciate simple things like the Fall colours, a dog walker with their dog, or a child playing. If mornings are too rushed for you, take your walk later in the day. You may find a few morning stretches and deep breathing exercises in the morning may help to get you off to a good start. My day has been enriched by some of the lovely things I have discovered on my morning walk. This is what I saw on today’s walk, September 21, 2015. The beginning of Fall Splendour.