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

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.

Christmas, family and friends

With Christmas barreling towards us faster than a pack of reindeers attached to a sled carrying a big bloke in a red suit, it’s a time of the year when we should be at our happiest.


Family, food and friends are only a small part of what the Christmas spirit has to offer. It’s a time of the year when we see children smile more often and adults become a little more relaxed as the year winds down.


So If this time of the year is meant to bring us nothing but joy and happiness, why is it that I see people on the train with a frown on their faces and what looks to be the problems of the world on their shoulders.



It doesn’t matter how hard we try, we all get a but down during the Christmas season.


Family, work or just the strain of another long and frustrating year. These are the things you want to leave behind and make a memory never to be seen again. Situations that may have dragged us into a dark place, are the ones we want to forget.


But if we sit back and take a good hard look at the year and our own lives, we should do nothing but smile, kick up our heels and celebrate life as we know it. It could have been a lot worse. Much worse.



There are millions of people around the world who are far less better off and they push through every day, sometimes not knowing what Christmas day is and what it truly means.


So with that in mind, take what you have around you, family, friends and loved ones and show them how much you appreciate their love and support.


You don’t need to buy an expensive gift or spoil them with treats. Show them how much the really mean by telling them. Say the words that mean the most.



A shot of whiskey mixed with a bigger shot of honesty will bring a smile to their lips and the year won’t seem nearly as bad as it may have been.



We are fortunate to be where we are and who we are with, so let’s show and tell.

You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone 


Every day we get out of bed and expect everything to be the same. Even if not exactly the same, something that resembles what we had and what was around the previous day, the previous month or even the previous year.

It takes a major event to change the way we are or the way we see and things. To see that things have changed dramatically and we had no say in what occurred. We have had something taken away from us without our consent.

The ‘thing’ taken away from us may not necessarily be a physical item, one which we were able to hold in our hands and look at, and feel when we needed.

It’s sometimes easy enough to head down to the local mall and pick up a replacement of what was taken. And if the local shops don’t have what we want, there is always internet shopping. That has all we want, and so much more.


And then there are times that what is taken away from us is either in our mind, or part of our spirit. And these are the things that are difficult or near impossible to replace or replicate. No shopping mall or internet bargain basement can help us replace what has been taken away.

This is the time in our lives when we need to dig deep and pull out all stops to at least try and get back what’s long gone. This may take a day, a month, a year. Or longer still.


Personally, I hate knowing and feeling I am missing something that I always had, and something I worked hard to get and maintain.

But in the past nine months my fitness level has slipped to a point where I hate the person who put me in this position. Not that I had a choice in the matter. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

So now it’s a long uphill battle to get back to where I once was. Some days I can see where I am heading as clear as daylight. And other days the waters are murky and the uphill battle is a physical and mental struggle.


I know there is no quick fix and what I need to do will take more time than I want to allow, but, this is another choice I have little say in. Even with daily rahab it’s tough going. And this is where I will do all I can to regain my lost ‘thing’. No matter what! 

This song just makes sense. Enjoy. 

Brave Face

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There is the face we show the world. And another we keep hidden and only see when we look in the mirror to see it staring back at us.

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We tend not to show the world and the people around us how we feel. On the outside we are bright and bubbly, always quick with a joke and ready for a laugh.  But beneath the facade of happiness lies a another part of us we keep hidden.  A part of our lives we dread to show the world.

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We keep our inner selves so well hidden at times, that even we truly have no idea of what lies beneath.  We are so afraid to let our feelings show, we keep pushing them into the furthest crevices of  our minds until we think they can never rise back and bother us.

But in time they will rise to the surface, and it will happen when we least want them back.  But they are there. Waiting for the right moment to make a reappearance into our lives and bring us crashing back down to terra firma.

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Keeping our emotions buried deep will only make it harder to accept the real facts when they eventually surface. We need to drag them out form the darkness before they really do ruin our lives completely.

We can’t continue to dodge a bullet. And that’s exactly what our inner feelings are. A bullet with our name on it. So before the bullet is shot, we need to release it from the gun barrel and let it drop, before it takes us down.

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As much as we think we can beat our inner demons alone, there is a much better chance of succeeding if we share the burden.  And that in itself is the harder layer, acknowledging we have a real problem.

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Don’t do it alone, a problem shared is a problem halved.

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