On Purpose

It’s encouraging to know that I am not alone when it comes to believing in the connection between appreciation and happiness. Recently, a friend shared with me an article titled “Gratitude and Appreciation: Why We Should Indulge Daily.” It was written by Yana Hoffman, C.D.C.C. and you can find it on psychologytoday.com. This is a really good read, especially for those of us who struggle with consistency.

In this traditional time of resolution making, let’s try harder together. You see, I also believe that a portion of our destiny is predetermined, but there is plenty of room for us to have an influence. I am not suggesting in-genuine or radical behavior, just a baby step in the form of five minutes to start.

Appreciation is too often an instinctive reaction instead of an on purpose one. For example, receiving a gift, compliment or favor, makes us feel good, but sometimes the “thank you” is automatic; said without thinking. This happens when the person in front of us holds the door open or the server gives our coffee a “warm up.”  On purpose appreciation is choosing not to ruin an innocent cashiers day because you disagree with a coupon policy.  Instead, breathe and decide whether or not you really need the item in your hand. I know, it seems easier to ask the cashier to not be effected, but what if he or she can’t help it?  I am not a professional, but I can definitely prove that methods such as the “get over it”one do not work for all people.

2017 was one of the best years of my life when it comes to events, circumstance and results of hard work. Yet, I still wake up almost each night with stomach pain caused by depressions poison. This is not an exaggeration. And some days, behind the smile, nothing wins the title of remedy. Not a vision of Cinderella’s castle. Not a random heart emoji from my husband. Not even the contagious riff of “New Orleans Is Sinking.”  Fond memories don’t work because the queen of darkness reminds me they are over. Things to look forward to will also eventually end so she wins once again. What’s left is the now.

In your “now,” try harder not to hurt feelings. Treasures don’t do that.

YOU are a Treasure!

 

Dear Sarah

A letter to myself as the Holiday season begins…

Dear Sarah,

When you spend so much time putting others first, it’s normal to feel exhausted and anxious this time of year. But, at the start of this journey, you made yourself a promise…a promise to create the happiness you deserve by making changes both big and small. Though it was not a perfect year, you made progress. May the following advice help bring internal peace and memories worth cherishing:

Don’t feel guilty that twinkling lights and sleigh bells aren’t enough. You are wired differently, but still a good person.

Leave the dust on the floor. You can create a beautiful environment in many other ways.

Serve the semi-burnt cookie. At least you tried.

Make a gift for someone and think about how much they mean to you the whole time.

Don’t make a wish list. It will distract you from what you already have, which is enough.

Put your change in the red bucket and be grateful you can afford to.

Be proud of what you celebrate and don’t be offended by differences.

Smile when it’s hard. There are many people spending this time alone.

Above all, never ever forget that YOU are a treasure.

With the most love I have ever had for you,

Sarah

The Right To Play Dress Up

For a couple of years, my best friend was a floppy, red-haired figure named Raggedy Ann. She loved me no matter what. I knew that because her heart told me so. One day, with the help of some fabric, yarn and a creative mom, I became her. I made those around me giggle and smile. I was “cute” instead of buck toothed and awkward. That was the very first Halloween I remember.

As years changed, so did the fads and costume changes. I have stayed true to my appreciation of the day that society says it’s OK to be something other than yourself. Though my children now have memories of embarrassment and questioning my sanity, I selfishly have no regrets. It felt good to step away from the roles of maid, chef, homework checker and nag.

The right to responsibly have fun and escape from routine once in a while has no age limit. I strongly suggest you exercise this right as another Halloween draws near.

To the princess: Let that sparkle make you feel like the beautiful person you are every day, but forget as chores and deadlines wear you down.

To the villain:  Here’s your chance to be the bad ass you sometimes wish you were. Be proud that respect and professionalism lead you to the right choices when things get tough.

To the superhero: Enjoy the cape and shield, but remember you don’t need them to fight sadness, worry, disrespect or any other emotional intruder.

And to you, no matter who you are or choose to be. Every day. Remember.

YOU are a treasure!

Nature’s Orchestra: A comparison to the Rolling Stone interview “The Salvation of Brian Wilson”

In a recent story published by Rolling Stone Magazine titled “The Salvation of Brian Wilson,” the singer/songwriter discusses how music helped him through episodes of depression. I could not agree more with his choice of therapy:

Most of us have experienced what I’ll call “random red light entertainment.” In other words, you’ve chuckled at the headbanger, the steering wheel pounder, and the “like no one is watching” singer.  My friends, I am all three. And whether you’ve seen my performances in person or just smirked at the visual, you’re welcome….that second of distraction was a treasure.

One day, the consequences of playing my music too loud may surface.  But, I am not going to ignore my need for a screaming guitar anytime soon. That sound dissolves sadness, worry, and stress. From the twelve minute drive to work to the all day cleaning spree, music is my drug.

When I am alone and in control, I avoid silence at all costs. Peaceful environments are not appealing. They are open doors that welcome stupid thoughts. I work non stop and clean things that already shine because of an illness I hate, not because I strive to be better than anyone.

I am slowly working on my ability to hide it. In doing so, I often find myself secretly scared when those around me are not. Please remember I am not a bragger or a hypocrite. In fact, I still fail more than I succeed when it comes to remembering my mission. However, when I do stop, look and appreciate, the world becomes somewhere I want to be.

A recent mini-vacation brought me to one of the most peaceful places that I am willing to travel by car. Because I packed my mental ammo, I was able to turn crickets into cymbals, a crackling fire into slaps of a bass, and a friends laughter into some of the most beautiful lyrics I have ever heard.

To my fellow professional depression hiders, you are right. This trip was far from tear-drop free. But,  guess what? I did not let it control the memories of those that deserved to be there, most importantly, me! Indeed, there is proof to my grandpa’s words “practice makes perfect.”

Please remember that whether your enemy is silence, chaos or something else, you are not alone. Close your eyes. Bring the band back together.

YOU are a treasure!