Every breath is a gift

From the very first breath we take to fill our lungs so we can let out a scream all mothers long to hear, until the last breath we take when we leave this earth. Each and every breath we take in between is a gift many of us take for granted.

No one knows how many times we will take a breath in our lives, but one thing we know for certain, one day we will take a final breath and leave this world. Forever.

In saying that, the gift of life is something we need to cherish, every moment, every single day. No matter how bad we think our day is going to be. We are alive and kicking.

Even though we may moan and groan through our normal morning rituals, we are living and breathing. The other option has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada.

But what about the times when things are tough and we feel as if we are carrying the entire world on our shoulders. Do we buckle under the weight or do we find the strength to forge forward?

Personally, I keep pushing forward, no matter how tough it gets. It’s not easy. Every single day is a hard fought struggle. And the struggle is real. It’s not something that I have made up. There are so many people out there who know and understand the struggle. The struggle to keep the black dog at bay.

When we think the dog is safely back in his kennel, we turn around and realise the bastard is nipping at our heels. Snapping away and trying to drag us back into the darkness that can shroud our every waking moment.

The black dog closes in with every step we take. But with the support of our family and friends, we can ensure he stays in his kennel.

Never be afraid to speak up. Others around us may not see how we are truly feeling. And that is the time we are the most vulnerable to the jaws of the black dog.

Is suicide the only way out?

With a number of celebrities taking their own lives recently, I have been left to wonder if that is the only way to resolve life issues. The ending of their life may be the end of their own journey and problems. but what about the remaining journeys of the family and friends who are left to grieve and pick up the pieces.

Loved ones will always be left to grieve for the loss, and will continue to wonder if they had missed the signs or if there was something they could, or should have done to have avoided the loss of a beautiful life.

Without doubt, there will always be a time of darkness and depression in our lives, it’s only natural. We can’t cruise though our entire lives without hitting a few lows. But is suicide the only way out?

Looking around at the people who are suffering and are still with us, it shows there is another option rather than ending it all. There is pain and suffering in their everyday lives. From the moment they wake up, until they go to sleep. There is constant pain. Never ending pain.

It’s a sad thing to know many people are in a place where all they can see is darkness in their lives with no happy future and no way out. Their options seem very limited, and they think death is their best friend. But is it? The fight with the black dog can be a temporary part of life. Death is forever.

In a person’s mind, it may not be the best way to resolve the problem, but in that state, they can’t see any other way forward.

The next week, the next month, the next year might be bad. But none of us know when the tide will turn. And yes, looking that far into the future is impossible, for anyone. Let alone for a person who is depressed.

Family and friends are normally so close that they are unable to see what is really going on under the covers. They may miss the early warning signs and after that, life is like normality to them.

So in many cases, family and friends never get to shine the light and help because they never realize there is a problem until it’s too late. And after it’s done. they torture themselves because they never saw it coming and have no idea why it happened.

Those who feel all hope is gone are very good at hiding their true state of mind from people around them, and those who are closest are often blindsided by the situation. Work colleagues are often in a better position to see the warning signs as they are not as close. Thats why its very important to ask “are you ok”.

In the end all we can do is to be there, look out for the warning signs and help keep the black dog at bay.

If you or a friend feel the need to talk to someone, the following links can help.

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.lifeline.org.au

I’m only human. Flesh and blood

No matter the color of our skin, we are all the same. We are all flesh and blood, skin and bones, muscle and tissue. So in reality, this means we are all prone to the same injuries and illnesses. And is saying that, we are all going to die at some point.

So it doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, or any shade in between, there is good and bad in everyone of us, and the hope that good outshines the bad is something we all want. But in saying this, there are people out there that only want to cause harm and pain to others around them. Some intentional, and other pain, very unintentional. But pain nonetheless.

With knowing that the colour of our skin has no direct impact on what we do in our lives, we are all prone to screwing up and doing one thing that will weigh heavily on our minds. Sometimes for a short while after, or other times that screw-up will stay with us for the remainder of our living years, until we take our last breath. We all make mistakes as our mental programming is similar. None of us can claim to be perfect. No matter what we think of ourselves.

Now knowing we are all programmed in the same way and should be able to forgive others of their discretions. which we do at some point. We also know that the people around us screw up, and we normally manage to forgive them for what they have done. Sometimes the pain takes longer to fade, but it does. And in the end we can forgive. Even if the memory stays firmly lodged in the back of of minds.

So, if we can eventually forgive others for the things they do and say that cause us pain, why can’t we forgive ourselves for the things we do to others? The ones we somehow hurt can eventually forgive us, but we cant let go of what we have done and are unable to cut ourselves some slack and let the past be exactly that. The past.

But sometimes it’s easier said than done. We continue turning over our ‘bad’ deeds in our minds, and don’t let them fade into the deepest part of our memory banks. Not that we should ever forget our mistakes, but they should not control our lives from the moment the mistake was made, until the moment we die.

When we reach the point in our lives where we know we need to let go of a memory, what can we do? We can’t just erase the memory, like they do with memories in the movie Total Recall. If we don’t like the current memories we have, we simply can’t have another one implemented. As good as an idea as that sounds, it’s not going to happen. At least not in my lifetime.

So what do we do? We can ask for forgiveness, but that may have already been given. In the end, we are the only ones who can let go of the memories that are weighing us down. These memories are the ones that are possibly causing more stress, pain and bitterness to others than the actual ‘bad’ deed itself.

Kindness and understanding from the people around us will make a difference. It may take time, but time is all we have.

I’m only human. Flesh and blood

No matter the color of our skin, we are all the same. We are all flesh and blood, skin and bones, muscle and tissue. So in reality, this means we are all prone to the same injuries and illnesses. And is saying that, we are all going to die at some point.

So it doesn’t matter whether we are black or white, or any shade in between, there is good and bad in everyone of us, and the hope that good outshines the bad is something we all want. But in saying this, there are people out there that only want to cause harm and pain to others around them. Some intentional, and other pain, very unintentional. But pain nonetheless.

With knowing that the colour of our skin has no direct impact on what we do in our lives, we are all prone to screwing up and doing one thing that will weigh heavily on our minds. Sometimes for a short while after, or other times that screw-up will stay with us for the remainder of our living years, until we take our last breath. We all make mistakes as our mental programming is similar. None of us can claim to be perfect. No matter what we think of ourselves.

Now knowing we are all programmed in the same way and should be able to forgive others of their discretions. which we do at some point. We also know that the people around us screw up, and we normally manage to forgive them for what they have done. Sometimes the pain takes longer to fade, but it does. And in the end we can forgive. Even if the memory stays firmly lodged in the back of of minds.

So, if we can eventually forgive others for the things they do and say that cause us pain, why can’t we forgive ourselves for the things we do to others? The ones we somehow hurt can eventually forgive us, but we cant let go of what we have done and are unable to cut ourselves some slack and let the past be exactly that. The past.

But sometimes it’s easier said than done. We continue turning over our ‘bad’ deeds in our minds, and don’t let them fade into the deepest part of our memory banks. Not that we should ever forget our mistakes, but they should not control our lives from the moment the mistake was made, until the moment we die.

When we reach the point in our lives where we know we need to let go of a memory, what can we do? We can’t just erase the memory, like they do with memories in the movie Total Recall. If we don’t like the current memories we have, we simply can’t have another one implemented. As good as an idea as that sounds, it’s not going to happen. At least not in my lifetime.

So what do we do? We can ask for forgiveness, but that may have already been given. In the end, we are the only ones who can let go of the memories that are weighing us down. These memories are the ones that are possibly causing more stress, pain and bitterness to others than the actual ‘bad’ deed itself.

Kindness and understanding from the people around us will make a difference. It may take time, but time is all we have.

Never be defined by tragedy. Let it shape you.

When something disastrous happens to us, the very first thing we do is to think, why did this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this?

But in reality, there may have been nothing we could have done to have avoided the situation. Sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is more than enough for disaster to strike.

So in saying this, I know first hand what it feels like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. I still came out second best when a car cut in front of me as I cycled down along the peninsula on a morning ride.

Metal crashing against metal is one of the loudest sounds I can recall. Especially when the action was upon me and not in the distance.

Having survived a serious cycling accident involving a car, I was devastated and very much broken. Not just physically, but mentally. And in many ways, emotionally.

In this time of darkness, I could have taken the easy way out and given up and not pushed through the pain and frustration. I could have stayed in bed, feeling very sad and sorry for myself for the situation which had been thrust upon me.

But I didn’t. I suffered through every single day until I was able to get out of bed on my own and then fend for myself once again. One step at a time. Slowly I wandered out of the house and to the end of the driveway. Then to the end of the street. And finally around the block.

I’m back to a point now that I am able to complete 10km run and not suffer all that much the next day. I still hurt, but its it’s a good hurt.

What did happen to me has changed the way in which I see things, and it has shaped my life in a way I didn’t expect. It changed the way I look at things and the people around me. I see good in people where others don’t see the same thing.

I see a sunrise in ways that some people would say its it’s just another morning. The way in which I see a sunset is also very different now than it was back then.

It’s because I am still able to enjoy those simple pleasures that are taken for granted.

I no longer try to take life so serious as all it does is add to the frustrations I already have to put up with on a daily basis as I continue to recover.

The biggest tragedy would have been if I had given up at the beginning, and not continued with my life journey.

My journey had taken a few detours, and there are more ahead. But I’m happy that I have the opportunity to take on the detours that life throws my way.

Life is a journey, not a destination

From the time we expel our first ear shattering cry a few moments after we are born, until the day we take our last breath, our life is one long and very complicated journey. There is no doubt about it, our destination is already set in stone, as we will all end up in a pine box, six feet beneath the surface of the earth.

Our journey through life will have many twists and turns, as well as a few detours. It will take us to such dizzying heights that are so breathtaking we can only look down and wonder how we will plant our feet back on terra firma.

Then there are the lows in our life travels, the ones that leave us gasping for breath and make us think we are drowning in a world of lies, deceit, hate and misery. We sometimes think we can’t sink any lower, but we are so far from the truth. The lows in our lives go deeper than we can fully understand, or even believe.

In the middle of all of the twists and turns throughout our journey, we come across enough forks in the road to fill an oversized cutlery drawer. These forks offer us the opportunity to take a different path from the one we are traveling. They make us think about what we truly want, need and desire for the next part of life’s journey.

There are no right and wrong directions we take once we hit a fork in life, they are just that. A different direction. A direction that will continue until we are presented with another fork, and another decision to make.

My own journey in life has had twists, turns and a few detours thrown in. It has also included a number of speed humps and some potholes which were deeper than they looked.

The speed humps have certainly rattled my body and given me a decent shakeup. In reality they should have slowed me down and made me proceed with extreme caution. But alas, they jarred my back and sent pain throughout my body. But the slowing down part hasn’t lasted forever.

The most important lesson I learnt from the speed humps was to ensure my suspension should be always be up to scratch. And not let something as small as a hump in my travels stop me from doing what I want in life. Because if i did stop, it would be downhill for the rest of my life’s journey.

As for the potholes I have fallen into, they have done more than buckle a wheel or two, they have sent me into dark places where very little light shone through. And when light managed to circumnavigate the depths of the pothole, it was of very little use.

And with every pothole I hit, I realised how much more time and effort it required to crawl out from. Each one sapping more energy, and seemingly bigger and deeper than the one before.

In the end, it would have been easier to accept the dark depths of the pothole as the last part of the journey and all allow it to be the only presence in my life.

But then, that’s not how I operate and my internal programming is not set to self destruct. I haven’t given up yet and I can’t see that happening during my journey. Each twist, turn, detour, speed hump or pothole gives me another reason to plough through and continue, onwards and upwards.

Is honesty the best policy?

From a very young age, I have always been told to be honest and tell the truth. Honesty is the best policy I was told. Time and time again. And it has been something that has been ingrained into my mind.

So as I have grown older and supposedly wiser, I sometimes have doubts about the entire truth is the best policy motto. I’m not saying we should always lie, but at times a small white lie may be the best way to ensure everyone is happy and no major wars begin.

So when people ask how I’m.feeling, it’s easier to smile and say that everything’s just fine. Sometimes going into detail would only bring the mood down, and if there is no real benefit in others feeling bad about things that can’t be easily changed. Why tell the truth


And there are so many thing in life that can’t be changed, so we just put up with them. Don’t we?

So after a while we begin to lie to ourselves, until we believe the very same white lies we tell the ones around us. And in the end, the lies becomes part of our very being. Melding into our lives and eventually, we are unable to distinguish the truth among the lies.

Even after all is said and done, deep down I know that honesty still is the best policy. But it may come at a price.