How I’m Learning to Dance Through The Rain


SpeakUp!

I am reminded today of Garth Brooks’ song: 

The Dance

Looking back on the memory of

The dance we shared beneath the stars above

For a moment all the world was right

How could I have known you’d ever say goodbye

And now I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I’d of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything

For a moment wasn’t I the king

But if I’d only known how the king would fall

Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I’m glad I didn’t know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I’d of…

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Understanding Suicide: Myth vs. Fact


Robin Williams

This was a prior posting, however, due to recent suicide of our beloved Robin Williams I felt it would be helpful to review the  Myths vs Facts of suicide.  It is so important to listen to our loved ones, friends, co-workers, neighbors …. so many people face one or more of the mental illnesses and do not know how to stop the pain.  My late husband wrote:  “…just want out of this black pit I’m in”  yet I never knew what he was going through.  I’ve armed myself with facts, figures, and have lived through 4 1/2 years since my Martin’s death by suicide.  And I’m here to tell you there is life after … and peace … you never get over it, but you can learn to live through it.  This I promise!

Suicide is a serious public health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, classmates, co-workers and communities, as well as on our military personnel and veterans. 

To understand why people die by suicide, and why so many others attempt to take their own lives, it is important to know the facts. Please read the facts about suicide below and share them with others.

Myth: Suicide can’t be prevented. If someone is set on taking their own life, there is nothing that can be done to stop them.

Fact: Suicide is preventable. The vast majority of people contemplating suicide don’t really want to die. They are seeking an end to intense mental and/or physical pain. Most have a mental illness. Interventions can save lives.

Myth: People who take their own life are selfish, cowards, weak or are just looking for “attention.”

Fact: More than 90% of people who take their own life have at least one and often more than one treatable mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and/or alcohol and substance abuse. With better recognition and treatment many suicides can be prevented.

Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will put the idea in their head and cause them to act on it.

Fact: When you fear someone you know is in crisis or depressed, asking them if they are thinking about suicide can actually help. By giving a person an opportunity to open up and share their troubles you can help alleviate their pain and find solutions.

Myth: Teenagers and college students are the most at risk for suicide.

Fact: The suicide rate for this age group is below the national average. Suicide risk increases with age. Currently, the age group with the highest suicide rate in the U.S. is middle-aged men and women between the ages of 45 and 64. The suicide rate is still highest among white men over the age of 65.

Myth: Barriers on bridges, safe firearm storage and other actions to reduce access to lethal methods of suicide don’t work. People will just find another way.

Fact: Limiting access to lethal methods of suicide is one of the best strategies for suicide prevention. Many suicides can be impulsive and triggered by an immediate crisis. Separating someone in crisis from a lethal method (e.g., a firearm) can give them something they desperately need: time. Time to change their mind, time to resolve the crisis, time for someone to intervene.

Myth: Someone making suicidal threats won’t really do it, they are just looking for attention.

Fact: Those who talk about suicide or express thoughts about wanting to die, are at risk for suicide and need your attention. Most people who die by suicide give some indication or warning. Take all threats of suicide seriously. Even if you think they are just “crying for help”—a cry for help, is a cry for help—so help.

Myth: Talk therapy and/or medications don’t work.

Fact: Treatment can work. One of the best ways to prevent suicide is by getting treatment for mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar illness and/or substance abuse and learning ways to solve problems. Finding the best treatment can take some time, and the right treatment can greatly reduce risk of suicide. In fact, it can bring you back your life.

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee – Which Are You?


Here is a wonderful story on learning to thrive through adversity.  I was unable to find the originator, so I cannot give proper kudos to them. 

All of us go through moments of boiling in our own life.  How we respond to these challenging times will determine our destinies.  Enjoy the story and then ask yourself which of the three items:  Carrot, Egg, or Coffee Bean, best describe how you handle the boiling waters of life. 

 

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

 

Carrots, Eggs or Coffee pots boiling story   Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the 1st, she placed carrots, in the 2nd she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In 20 minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, Grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?

 

ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

Cup_of_coffee

 

How Heavy Is Your Glass of Water?


End of summer

This is for everyone to ponder.  It is usually around the end of summer, just prior to those upcoming, important and sentimental Holidays that we begin worrying.  That is, worrying more than usual perhaps.  Hopefully this will help you this year.  Let me know what you think.

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight Doesn’t Matter. It depends on how long I Hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

Remember to Put the Glass Down.

Glass of water

Forever Young


Always a way out of depression girl

On this warm, humid summer afternoon, I’m smiling while being loved by  three fur babies – my dogs, Miley, Casey and Mabel.  During my life, I escaped somewhat the throes of cancer with surgery and medicine.  However, the miracle of childbirth was stolen from me.  Still I consider myself very fortunate.  After all, I’ve lived thus far a fairly long life with many experiences to speak about.

One such I have was my youth, growing up during the 50s and 60s.  In 1966, my dad bought my very first guitar (inexpensive and hard to play).  He promised that if I showed him true interest and kept with it, he’d buy me my much desired Gibson guitar.

I couldn’t do it alone, and pleaded with him to allow me to take lessons.  To my surprise, he said “yes”.  I studied hard, and played my little heart out.  Used the Joan Baez Anthology of Songs Book to guide me.  In 1968, after bleeding calluses on my fingertips, the light in my eyes shone brightly when dad gifted me my  Gibson guitar.  For Christmas that year, students of the conservatory played a Theater type Auditorium amidst family, friends, neighbors, and strangers.  I had a partner, another shy girl, to help play and sing two songs.  First song was House of the Rising Sun, by The Animals.  My second song was “Blowin’ in the Wind” …

Well, my partner couldn’t make it through that 1st song.  Truth be known she ran behind the curtain without playing her guitar or singing a note.  You guessed: she had stage fright to the ‘nth degree and I had to finish – alone.  I muddled through, and I think more because I wouldn’t give up, I received a standing ovation and very long applause!  After the 2nd song, another rousing round of applause to which I smiled brightly as my teacher brought me flowers.  What a night!

By the way, I still have that Gibson guitar today although I haven’t played in years!   ‘Til the end of my life on earth, it will be a prized possession holding Forever Young memories.

On this tropical Labor Day afternoon, lazy and enjoying my fur babies asleep at my feet, the song Forever Young by Joan Baez plays in the background.  And I smile – she is my reason for playing the guitar. To hear the song click:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqqp-50AfUQ&feature=player_embedded#t=0

The lyrics:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Joan Baez then and now   Joan Baez was, and still is, my very favorite singer, a legacy that spans the decades since the 60s that has opened hearts and been a call-to-action for compassion and conscience, and that still holds a powerful sway today.

Her effortless guitar playing, key changes from major to minor and quiet melody could not soften the impact of a line like, “Show me the countries where the bombs have to fall”.  That line has as much resonance today with the Syrian chemical atrocities as it had when the 60’s protest movement was birthing and Baez was on the rise.  I find myself wondering, where are the Joan Baez musical equivalents in a world that today needs torch songs of protest and concern more than ever?

And so it is, on this somewhat somber summer afternoon at home, I’m reminded in music of  Forever Young … the song that reminds us of Joan’s truth-telling and integrity as an artist.  A song that celebrates the light overcoming the places of darkness.

We all face challenges in our lifetimes.  It’s all in how we address those challenges – how we believe in ourselves, take steps to keep persevering, until we finally and often brutally begin to understand how basic and simple our needs truly are.

Andrea and Brutus

My dearest friend visited us yesterday.  Andrea brought her boy dog, Brutus to visit.  My three girls and Brutus were introduced and immediately I think my girls began to flirt with him!

Bottom line – these are the things I remember sweetly and lovingly.  Perhaps if you look back on your lifetime’s span thus far, you will enjoy yourself and remember you are, and may always be, Forever Young.

 

My treasured Gibson Guitar.

Gibson1Gibson2