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.

What’s a hug?

The Oxford dictionary defines a hug as the following.

Squeeze (someone) tightly in one’s arms, typically to express affection.

But is that all a hug really is? There is so much more to a hug than just squeezing a person who is close to you. It means you not only care for them when they are in a time of need, but because they mean something more to you than just another way of transferring some body heat. Although, this can normally be the case in the long and cold winter months.

A hug is very much a two way street. Well, a real hug is. There are some hugs that are meant to be for show only. These ones are normally, quick and they feel like a cheap imitation, just like a fake Ming Dynasty vase. They look great from an outsiders point of view, but the real truth can be seen upon closer inspection. They are just plain fakes.

So what does a fake hug look or even feel like? That’s hard to define, but a fake hug resembles a ‘cheek air kiss’. Close to a kiss, but not really hitting the mark. A fake hug can be spotted when only one person is really hugging and the other one is just following suit for appearance sake.

A real hug is something that is not forced, its given freely, anytime and anywhere. In the kitchen, on the front doorstep, and even in a lift in an office building. They are real hugs and are meant for much more than body heat. They express gratitude, understanding and love.

Sometimes an unexpected hug is one of the best things you can receive. And in many cases, giving one will bring warmth and happiness to someone who needs that very personal ‘pick me up’.

Hugs cost nothing to give except for a few moments of your time. And that time is well worth the effort for all parties involved.

Give a few hugs and make someone’s day. It’s so easy and there is always a benefit when giving one. Because there is a very good chance it will be returned tenfold.

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

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.

It’s not giving up when you know you have lost

The saying goes ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’. But what happens when you know what you’re after is so far out of reach, that not even a miracle will get you over the line for a win.

What does happens is you understand that not everything is able to be achieved and you need to make the hard call of whether you continue moving forward in a direction where failure is the only outcome.

And while you continue to forge forward, thinking you can win, what are you really achieving? More pain, heartache and unforgettable suffering?

Is it time to cut your losses and accept that this is the one you are going to lose?

At the end of the day, some you win, some you don’t. So I’m glad that I’m here with friends I know, who will always have a smile for me.

Lost in your own little world

As I sat on the morning train heading to work, I had a gentleman sit in front of me who had boarded at the same station. As the train continued on towards the city, a few stations further down, the seat next to the gentleman was taken up by a man of a similar age.

ey both had their heads down and were looking at their phones for the next 20 or so minutes. It was then that one of them looked up and to the side and realised he was sitting next to an old mate. The surprise in their voices was genuine and they chatted happily for the remainder of the trip into work.

They didn’t see one another because they were so wrapped up in their own little world, a space where no one is allowed to enter for a certain period of time, and no matter what goes on around them, they are lost in that world.

Being lost in your own world can be a good thing at times, but so many people become entrenched in their little world, and forget to live and interact with others around them in the real world.

The world, or space we go to when we want solitude doesn’t have to be a locked down room, it can be a place in the mind where we find peace and comfort. But, we can’t stay in that world forever, we need to venture out and live life in the real world, communicate with friends, family and lovers.

So when we do come out of our own world we need to make the time and effort to communicate with others around us, at home and at work, or in some rare cases, on the train. And when I say communicate, I do mean face to face. Texting, Facebook, and all the other variants of technology should be placed aside and a real conversation should take place.


Let’s not live and breathe all of our time in our own world, there is so much to see, do, learn and listen to once we step out and really communicate. Don’t be the one to let human communication become extinct.

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.