Be your own champion

While watching a documentary on the band Queen, they spoke about the songs, “We will rock you” and “We are the champions”. Both songs are now used at the end of major sporting events. There will only be one champion. One winner.

But in life, this is not always the case. Being number 1 is not something we all strive for in our lives. It’s not that we want to be at the bottom of the barrel, but we don’t feel the need to prove ourselves to anyone else.

The only person we need to better is ourselves. In sports, or at work, I do my best and that’s what gets me out of bed every morning. On the bike I chase down my PBs and strive to break one every time I get on the track. At work, it’s the same, I strive to do better than I did the day before. Sometimes easier said than done.

The only way to be a winner in life is to be honest with oneself. If we can do this on a daily basis we will continue to move in the right direction. It’s the moment we begin to lie to ourselves that everything is OK, then we head down the rabbit hole and never find our way out.

If we want to be a champion, we need to look deep into our own lives and not try to work out anyone else’s life. Our own life is complicated enough without delving into another’s life.

It’s high time to delve into what we really want, and what will make us a champion of our own life. Don’t wait another moment as tomorrow may never come.

Alone

Most people will tell you they are never alone and always have someone close by or around them in their lives. They think they are not alone. But in reality they are and can’t, or won’t admit it to themselves that at times they are truly alone.

Just because we are in a crowded room, with a group of workmates in the office, on the road with a group of MAMIL, or even at home with family. We can still be very alone. Lost in our own world where we know it’s safe, and a place where we can retreat to in a time of despair, sorrow, anger or even pain.

So where is that special ‘alone’ space we crawl back into? It’s the place we head back to when it all becomes too much and it seems as if no one really gives a fuck. Even if they do, we don’t seem to understand.

That so called ‘alone’ space I crawl back into is one where I not only feel safe. But also alone. Very alone! And letting others into would be similar to lowering the drawbridge and allowing friends, and possibly foes into my private world.

A world where pain and anger can be dealt with in a way in which only I know how to deal with. And if that pain, anger and suffering somehow can’t be dealt with, there is always my road bike and a stretch of road that never seems to end.

So no matter who we are, we all tend to deal with the curve balls life throws at us from time to time. But when we are continually bombarded with one curve ball after another, it gets harder to keep going. And even our own private world begins to crumble before our very eyes.

In these times we need to reach out for help. And knowing very well this is easier said than done, it can he done so we can continue our life journey without the black dog breathing down our necks.

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.