Category Archives: Positivity

Love First

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It is hard to be a part of today’s world. There is so much evil, hurt, anger and suffering. I find myself avoiding the daily news because I don’t want to see another story about a parent who has killed their child, or a senior who was brutally beaten while going for a walk, or a gunman who opened fire on a crowd at an event.

Sometimes it’s just too much. We get dragged down by the sadness. The horrendous reality that another human has committed these acts is overwhelming and disturbing. It becomes difficult to sleep at night, and we lay awake praying for those who are suffering, a list that keeps getting longer and longer.

So what is the answer?

Do we avoid all media?

Do we shield our eyes when passing the newspapers in the grocery store?

Do we move to the middle of nowhere and live as a hermit in ignorant bliss?

Is it even possible to block out all of the tragedy?

Unlikely.

In today’s world of technology, all news and information is available within seconds. There’s no avoiding the chaos. And living as a hermit is not the answer.

We may not be able to shut out the trauma around us, but we can do something in response to it.

Often in these horrific events, we are given a glimpse of the goodness in people. We see strangers helping strangers. We see people protecting each other. We see people opening their homes to those in need.

We see love.

And that is what we need in these times of evil actions. We need to respond in love.

Each day, whether there has been a tragic event or not, we need to choose love. That is how we defeat evil. That is how we make our world better.

We need to love first.

We are so quick to judge one another. We are quick to gossip, quick to curse another, quick to anger, quick to inflict pain whether emotionally or physically.

What if instead we were quick to love?

What if instead of judgement, we chose compassion?

What if we responded to rudeness with kindness?

What if instead of cursing the one who cuts us off in traffic, we ask God to bless their day?

What if we choose to love first?

I think our world would become a much better place if we all choose to love first.

It starts with you and me.

Love first.

 

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Love Shines Brighter

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It often seems as though our world is completely falling apart, or turning to pure evil. Every day we wake up to disturbing and horrific news. There are stories of parents starving their own children, teens murdering their parents, and people vanishing from the streets daily due to kidnappings.

Because I work at a church, I hear many heart-breaking stories of illness, abuse, violence, and addiction. I have friends who have lived through the unimaginable, and I meet people regularly who have either gone through horrific experiences or are currently enduring them.

Then this week there was another bombing attributed to terrorism. This bombing took place in Manchester at an Ariana Grande concert, a building filled with children, teens and families.

What is happening?

Today there are so many places that were once considered safe places that no longer are – elementary & high schools, airports, churches, universities, entertainment stadiums, and the list goes on.

Today, nowhere is truly safe.

How can this be?

With all of the bad news we are bombarded with daily – in the newspapers, online and on TV – don’t you want to hide under the covers in bed some days?

Do you sometimes feel like just giving up?

I know there are times I do.

But then I hear the counter stories of all of this terrible news. There are the stories of the people in Manchester who immediately opened their homes to those displaced after the concert bombing. They welcomed strangers who couldn’t immmediately find friends or family members who were with them at the concert.

How beautiful is that?

Other times when I am ready to give up, I get the honour of witnessing an act of pure love, kindness or generosity.

A woman who has been ill and just received some terrible news from her doctor comes into the church sobbing. She is immediately embraced by two female pastors and a compassionate volunteer who comfort her and pray for her. By the time she leaves she is filled with hope and joy, and a wide smile covers her face.

In July I am going on a mission trip, and last night the team had our big fundraiser. It was an amazing example of the generosity and kindness of others. It was not just the generosity of those who attended the fundraiser and bid on auction items that blew me away, but the generosity of the whole community with donations they gave to include in our two auctions. Many of those who donated had nothing to do with our church or our mission, but gladly offered what they could. Then there were the many volunteers, aside from the team members, who gave their time and energy to help organize, set-up, prepare food and clean up for the fundraiser. We also have people consistently offering financial donations, so our team of 14 people can travel to spread the love of Jesus.

How incredible is that?

It can be easy to become discouraged by the many devastating things that are happening in our world. The news and stories are shocking and heartbreaking, and can be too much to bear. There are days I purposefully avoid the news and certain websites because I can’t handle another sad story.

Instead of getting weighed down by the bad, we need to switch our focus.

We need to focus on the good.

We need to peacefully stand against the evil, and we need to do it together, hand in hand.

I firmly believe there is more good than bad in this world. I whole-heartedly believe that the love outweighs the hate in humanity.

So let’s focus on the love.

Let’s refuse to stand for the hate.

That does not mean attacking in retaliation. It does not mean banning or abusing the Muslims in our communities because the terrorist groups claim to be acting on behalf of Islam.

Before condemning all because of the acts of few, take a moment to learn a little about the Muslim faith. I don’t know a lot about it, but I do know it is a religion of peace.

These terrorist groups are not true Muslims or working in the name of Islam.

So don’t turn on your Muslim neighbour and add to the hate.

We are angry about these acts of violence. Our hearts are broken, and we want justice for those who lost their lives or were injured.

But anger is not the way to respond. Although it feels natural, anger and hate will never win.

Let’s respond in love.

For those who, like me, are followers of Jesus, remember his teachings. He said to love our neighbour as ourselves. He sad to show grace, kindness and mercy. He asked us not to pass judgement on others, but to love our enemies. He asked us to go in peace.

Be like Jesus.

There are many examples of love, compassion, unity and kindness out there. Find them and use them as strength.

In times of struggle and strife, be the first to reach out a helping hand.

Be the love.

There’s a song by Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera that is one of my favourites. The chorus repeats “Turn up the love. Turn down the hate”.

Let’s turn up the love and overcome the hate.

Because love will always shine brighter.

 

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Every Day Birthday

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My birthday was a week ago. I had a lovely day filled with birthday wishes via email, Facebook, text and phone calls. There was a BBQ at my parents’ house where I was able to hang out with my family, which is one of my favourite things to do. The day ended perfectly because I got to to watch my beloved Blue Jays play baseball.

As I was thinking about birthdays in general, I realize they are an interesting yearly celebration our society created. It is a day where one can be completely selfish and celebrate themselves with friends and family while receiving gifts. And this all happens simply because the person was born on that day, which if you think about it, being born is not a difficult or amazing feat. Really we should be celebrating our mothers on our birthdays because they’re the ones who endured the pain and hardship of labour and giving birth to bring us into this world. They did all of the work. We just showed up screaming.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate birthdays. Birthdays are not just a celebration of that single individual, but they are a celebration of life, which is a precious thing

As a kid, birthdays are super exciting; you get to eat cake and candy, have all of your friends over and open presents. It’s a day to make a chîld feel extra special, to show them how happy you are that they exist.

Some adults respond to their birthdays in the same way as children; they get excited and throw themselves big parties. Multiple presents are of less importance in adulthood, but the chance to be the centre of attention for a full day and have everyone praise you is something many adults relish.

Then there are those who view their birthdays negatively. They cringe at getting older and finding another gray hair. They study their face endlessly for the appearance of a wrinkle or age spots. They despise having their age go up by one.

Some get depressed around their birthdays. They focus on what they don’t have, what goals they have failed to achieve, the losses they endured. They see their birthday as another year passing by where they didn’t accomplish anything. They bury themselves in shame because they are not where they thought they would be by “this” age.

Birthdays can bring a lot of stress and pressure for many.

In the past I’ve experienced everything I’ve described above at different birthdays. However, now I see things differently.

When my birthday comes along I embrace it with such gratitude that I am alive another year. There was a time that I never thought I’d make it to my 30s. I was speeding down the road of self-destruction in my early 20s and really didn’t believe I’d see past 25.

So now, I am grateful for every birthday that comes, every day that I get older. Because I once thought I wouldn’t make it this far.

And while I could easily use my birthdays to focus on what I haven’t done and where I haven’t gotten to, I instead choose to focus on what I have done. I choose to focus on what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and who I’ve helped.

But I don’t want to just do that once a year on my birthday. I want to do it every day. I want to treat everyday like my birthday where I can wake up excited that I have another day.

I want to embrace each day with joy and gratitude.

I want to learn from where I’ve been, but then focus on where I am going.

I want to celebrate life.

And I want you to celebrate it with me, every single day.

You can focus on the failures, hurts and betrayals of yesterday, or you can embrace what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown and move forward with excitement and anticipation.

You can linger in the anger of days gone by, and let that anger set the tone of your tomorrow, or you can choose to forgive, let go, and put a smile on someone else’s face.

Treat every day like it’s your birthday.

Celebrate that you are alive and opportunity lays before you.

Celebrate life!

 

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Voiceless

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Based on my title, you may think I’m about to write a meaningful, deep blog on those in the world who don’t have a voice due to where they live, their gender, the colour of their skin, their economic status or their religion. While that is a huge topic that does not get nearly enough attention, it is not what I am writing about today.

Today is about my current experience with being voiceless. Literally voiceless.

Last week I developed a nasty cold. I should have taken a few days to rest and stay in bed, but I took lots of medication, still went to work every day and carried on with my normal activities. I thought I was starting to get better by the end of the week.

Then Sunday I spent most of the day in bed, exhausted and nursing a horrible sore throat, fever and headache. On Monday I woke up with a hoarse voice and a ridiculous cough that would act up suddenly and take minutes to calm down.

By Wednesday my voice was gone, my throat still sore and the cough worse, so I finally went to get checked out.

I learned that I have laryngitis, and the only treatment for it is to rest my vocal cords. This means I can’t talk. For 7 days.

That’s pretty extreme. Not talking for an entire week – is that even possible? It’s definitely difficult given that I lead a team of people at work who depend on me for direction, and I work with customers. It’s hard to help a customer when I can’t speak.

Even if I wanted to ignore the doctor’s advice and talk, not much sound would come out anyway. My current voice is hoarse, raspy and so quiet that most can’t hear me. As one of my team members said, I’d be perfect for an anti-smoking PSA right now.

I don’t want this to linger any longer than necessary, so I am listening to the doctor and I will be talking as little as possible for the next week.

It’s weird to not be able to talk. Someone says hello and I can only respond with a smile and a wave. The clerk at Shoppers asks if I want a bag and I can only nod. Someone on my team asks what needs to be done next and I explain through gestures and pointing.

It’s interesting to try and communicate without words and sound. It’s a brand new experience, and it’s made me think about those who are permanently unable to use their voices, as well as those who don’t have things the rest of us take for granted, like sight, hearing and the ability to walk.

My admiration for those who deal with these disabilities daily has skyrocketed. The rest of us run through our days never giving a second thought to how difficult it must often be for those who can’t talk or hear or see.

Not only do we take these amazing abilities for granted, we often use them for the negative. Our voices speak complaints, gossip, anger, and harsh things about others. Our eyes judge and condemn those around us. Our ears take in the gossip, criticism and judgement of others.

I’m not saying this is all we do, but I am saying we do it too much. Myself included.

Not having my voice has made me think about how I use it.

Do I use it to build others up or knock them down?

Do I use it to express love or anger?

Do I use to spread joy or sorrow?

Is what I’m saying worth saying?

Are my words positive or negative?

Although I do use my voice for mostly positive, I can’t deny that it’s been used for the negative as well. I’ve used my voice to complain, to criticize, to judge, to hurt, to lie, and to shout in anger.

And I don’t want to anymore.

When my voice comes back to me, I want to remember what it was like to not be able to speak. I want to think before I speak and be aware of how what I am going to say may affect others.

I want my voice to encourage, to care, to love, to inspire, to compliment, to celebrate, to stand up for what I believe in, to stand up for others, and most importantly, to spread joy.

I am very lucky.

My voice may be gone now, but it will come back. I plan to be more careful about how I use it.

A voice is an incredibly powerful thing.

Use it wisely.

Joy

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At work this morning, one of our clients made a comment about how I am always so bubbly. I realize that some of you who know me really well are probably holding back laughs at the moment.

And yes, I do have a certain persona that is specifically for my job. But that persona is just an enhanced version of me. I am a friendly, positive, upbeat person. I’m a glass half full kind of girl. I am someone who laughs at myself, and with others. I look for the good in everything and everyone, and I treat everyone I meet with respect and kindness. I work hard not to judge or criticize, and I remind myself daily that I have no idea what someone could be struggling with.

Why am I like this?

I haven’t always been this way, trust me!

So, what’s my secret? How do I find the energy to be this way in a world that is often quite cruel?

Joy.

I have joy. Beautiful, simple, unadulterated, pure joy.

Don’t confuse joy with happiness. Joy, real joy, is different from happiness.

Happiness is a feeling. It comes and it goes. It can change in an instant. It can be stolen or shattered by something or someone.

But joy

Joy is something that resides within you. It’s there on the good days and on the worst days. It’s there through the pain and the struggles, but it cannot be easily taken or destroyed.

Joy is fragile, yet strong. It comes from within and has a solid foundation.

Happiness is human. Joy comes from beyond this world. Happiness is dependent on things. Joy doesn’t care about money or status or being right or getting the guy. Joy is much deeper than those earthly things.

My joy comes straight from God. When I finally surrendered to Him, He planted it within, and my faith took hold of that seed. The joy grew until it conquered my negative mind and broken heart, and it transformed me from the inside out.

My joy stays with me during the torrential downpours of life. It’s in me on the darkest days, and it comforts me through my battle with depression.

My joy is what keeps me going. It is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It is why I will never give up or give in.

My joy now allows me to forgive those who have hurt me or betrayed me. My joy releases the anger I held on to for years. Most importantly, my joy has given me the courage and freedom to finally forgive myself.

My joy rests deep in my soul and grants me peace in this chaotic world. It’s a burning fire that is nearly impossible to put out.

My joy relies on my faith. My joy is solidified in my Lord. My joy is the reason I am still here.

And I know my purpose is to share that joy, to spread it around in the hopes that I can shine a light on someone’s dark day.

My joy doesn’t mean life is perfect. But it creates hope and strength to get through anything.

If you have joy – true, pure joy – cherish it, protect it and share it.

Joy is a rare and beautiful thing. But it is not as hard to achieve as many think.

Just let go. Give up control. Lay at the feet of God and surrender to His grace.

And you will be filled with a joy that is beyond your imagination.

2015: A Year of Good

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Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe it’s 2016. To be honest, I never thought I’d make it this far. Years ago, 2016 seemed impossibly far away. And with all of the craziness in my life, the idea that I would make it to the year I turn 33 seemed to be more of a haunted dream than a reality.

Here I am, on the 2nd day of the new year, and I no longer worry about how far I will make it. I no longer question if I can survive another year. I no longer fear what lies before me.

Life is good.

It’s been a long time since I could say that and truly mean it.

2015 was a mostly positive year. The only heartbreak was the loss of my grandfather; however, even though the loss was painful, the opportunity to celebrate his life, and the knowledge that he is no longer in pain was uplifting.

2015 started with instability. I was in the middle of the ocean and I had a choice: sink or swim. I swam. And as the year continued, I rose above the water and started to soar.

In the middle of January 2015, I started a new job. It all happened really fast. I was interviewed, hired and began training all in one day. It began as a part time position, but by April, I was working almost full time. That was quite a change from 5 months earlier when I was applying for disability and believed I’d never be strong enough to work again.

This job was unlike any I’d had before. Unexpectedly, I LOVED it. I’ve had many jobs that were good jobs, and many jobs that I enjoyed, but this was different. This job gave me energy. I looked forward to going to work. I was surrounded by positivity and good people. I even took on the 5am shift 3 times a week. Anyone who knows me well knows that is saying a lot. I do NOT like mornings. But here I was, waking up at 3:45am, and driving 40 minutes to work to start at 5am. And I loved it.

Why is this job so great? For starters, I work for good people. I admire and respect my boss, and I feel valued and appreciated by her. I told her that I loved admin work and she responded immediately with extra things to do. I kept asking for more, and even though I was new and still learning, she trusted me with important responsibilities such as scheduling and payroll reports.

I also love that I have the chance to meet new people daily, and get to know those who are regulars. I’ve made friends through this job. I’ve heard stories of people’s lives, I’ve listened when people need to talk, and I’ve had opportunities every day to make people smile.

For those of you who aren’t aware of what I do, I work at a local gym that has 3 locations around Essex County. It’s a job that encourages me to stay healthy and take care of myself while I encourage others in their health and fitness goals.

As I come upon my one year anniversary at this job, I celebrate the accomplishments I’ve had. I’ve been given two raises, officially become a full time staff member, and been given a new title: HR Specialist/Shift Supervisor. And I truly love what I do. I am so filled with gratitude for this job and the opportunities I have been given. I have learned, grown and increased my confidence through this position, and I’ve had the full support of a fantastic boss.

2015 also saw me moving out on my own again; something else I wasn’t sure would ever be possible back in November 2014. I’ve been renting a room in a house in Tecumseh since May. That is about to end because the house I am living in is sold and I will be moving out next week. However, I am on to a new, exciting time. I have found a small, one bedroom cottage to rent – a tiny home that is all mine! I’ve lived in apartments and rented space in homes belonging to others, but this is the first time I will have my own little house. And best of all, it’s a 5 minute walk from the beach!

Yes, life is good. I am healthy and happy. I am standing on solid ground. And I am excited for what’s ahead.

Whether it’s continuing to grow my jewelry business, starting a book, taking a class, or more growth in my job, I am ready for whatever is next. God stands before me, and my friends and family stand beside me.

I am ready for 2016.

I am ready for another good year.

Cheering for my Team

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As a lifelong Blue Jays fan, this is a very exciting time for me. My boys have made it into the postseason for the first time since I was 10 years old. And tonight, in a crazy, epic game, they won Game 5 and are moving on to the ALCS series.

Not only has it been amazing as a fan to watch my team do so well, it has also been incredible to watch other fans, in Toronto and across Canada, get excited and cheer for the only Canadian Major League Baseball team. Yes, some are band wagoners who weren’t necessarily Jays fans before the postseason, but who cares?

Seats are selling out in Toronto, excitement fills the air, and people are coming together (as per the Jays postseason hashtag #cometogether) to cheer, support and celebrate this amazing time in Blue Jays baseball.

In the last few weeks, I have found myself starting conversations with strangers simply because they are wearing a Jays hat or shirt. It’s been an opportunity to meet and get to know new people that I immediately have something in common with – a love of the game and a love of the Jays.

As I’ve watched fans near and far rally around our Canadian team, keeping the faith even after two loses in the beginning of the postseason, and standing by as support and encouragement until the end of tonight’s unpredictable, insane win, it’s made me think beyond just baseball.

What if we, as human beings, did that for each other?

What if we rallied around each other in such an enthusiastic way to cheer on each individual and celebrate with them all of their successes?

Just think about it…

What if we put aside envy, anger, judgement and lack of interest, and instead cheered on our friends, family and strangers alike?

Most of us are lucky enough to have a good support system; people who are there to congratulate us on achievements and there to hold our hand after we fail. And this is amazing.

But I’m thinking much bigger here.

I’m thinking about being honestly, enthusiastically, undeniably thrilled for someone else’s accomplishments and successes. Without envy or protest or snide remarks.

Image if we could put aside our differences and our own desires, and just cheer for one another.

That’s a world I’d love to live in.

Image the outcome if we supported and encouraged each through good times and bad, rather than mocking or putting each other down.

My guess is that both success rates and confidence would sky rocket for many.

Right now, many people across Canada are coming together for a baseball team, a team that I love and will forever be a fan of. But what if we could also come together for each other? And not just nationwide, but worldwide.

Forget the judgement and criticism and ignorance.

Encourage.

Support.

Engage.

Inspire.

Raise your arms and cheer for each other like you would your favourite sports team.

Surprises

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I generally love surprises; at least I love good surprises. I know some people hate them and I don’t understand why. I love the unexpected things in life – the things that come along suddenly and catch you off guard. The things that make you smile and break into a fit of giggles.

I was thrown a surprise birthday party once. It was when I turned 21. It was not exactly how you imagine most surprise parties. By the time I got there, half of the guests were already partly wasted, and I was there for a good 5 minutes before someone remembered to say ‘Surprise!’ But they had got me a lei necklace and a cool fancy straw, and it made me feel special. I was touched my friends had thought to throw me a surprise birthday party.

Another favourite surprise that sticks out in my mind is when I was 25 and the man I was dating at the time sent a massive bouquet of flowers to my work for me. It wasn’t my birthday or an anniversary of any sort. It was just an ordinary day so I was completely surprised. I’m not much of a romantic, but I loved that he did that. I loved that he took the time to send those flowers just because he cared.

Those are examples of big surprises, which are always fun, but I also love the little surprises life throws at you. Those unexpected moments that interrupt your day in the best possible way.

When you’re out running errands and you bump into a friend you haven’t seen in a while and end up grabbing lunch.

When you step on the scale and realize you’ve lost 5lbs without even trying.

When you’re running late, and every light you hit is green.

When you get an email from a old friend who just wanted to say hi.

When a family member wraps you in a big hug just because they can.

When the rain has stopped and you look outside and see the perfect double rainbow.

When you’ve sworn off dating, and then suddenly meet someone that gives you butterflies.

When your pay check is more money than you expected.

When you go outside in the winter and find your neighbour has shovelled your driveway.

When you make a new friend.

When you discover a new talent or ability you have.

Life is full of surprises, both big and small. Not all surprises are good, such as losing a job or a sudden break up. But I have found that even those bad surprises often turn into something good if you let them. I was devastated when I was laid off from my job in 2013. Now I view it as one of the best things that ever happened to me.

It’s easy to enjoy the big surprises that come our way – extra money, a new love, an impromptu vacation. But I invite you to celebrate and cherish the little surprises too.

Whether they are good or bad. They can be cause for celebration or a chance to grow and learn something new.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I could know my future, would I want to?

Absolutely not.

Because even though the unknown can be scary at times, I love the unexpected. I love not knowing what’s coming next. I love the endless opportunities and possibilities before me.

I love the surprises.

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When the Cheese Moves

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This afternoon I read a book that my dad lent to me. It’s called ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a story about two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two Littlepeople, Hem and Haw, and how they each respond when someone moves their cheese. The point of the story is about change and how we respond to it. Do we rush into action on the next thing like Scurry? Do we cautiously venture into the next thing like Sniff? Do we spend time in fear and depression before we realize that we need to put aside our fears and move with the change like Haw? Or do we remain bitter toward the change, feeling we’ve been treated unfairly, and never move on like Hem?

I have always felt like I handle change quite well. I’ve learned to adapt to new situations and I am able to move with the change rather than fight against. It doesn’t mean I don’t grieve what I may have had before the change, but I generally haven’t let the fear of something different keep me from moving forward.

I owe my adaptability to my childhood. We moved around a lot so I had to be ok with change and new surroundings. It seems like every time I got comfortable somewhere, it was time to leave again. With the exception of when we left the Caribbean, I never wanted to move. But I had no choice, and I learned from my parents how to get settled into a new place, make new friends and start a new life. They were great examples of how to accept change and actively embrace it.

This provided me with both positive and negative qualities as I grew up. On the positive side, whenever someone ‘moved my cheese’, I was able to adjust to the change quickly and effectively and keep moving forward faster than most. On the negative side, if my life went too long without some change, I had a need to create it. I moved my own cheese before someone else had the chance to. That may have meant moving (which I did a lot when I lived in Toronto), making a new friend, ending a relationship, trying something different, or simply switching up my diet just so something was different.

It was almost as if I craved change. And that set me apart from most people. The majority of humans do not like change. They don’t like to be taken out of their comfort zone. Some don’t mind being challenged, but don’t make big changes because they won’t handle it well.

As I have gotten older, my cravings for a change or a ‘new cheese’ have lessened. I have become more like the rest of humanity where I like my comfort zone and want to remain in it.

And with my depression, I have developed a fear of change over the past few years. I never know what may trigger my depression since it has been the result of so many different situations over the years, so I now have a fear that any little change could trigger it.

But I am not interested in living in fear. Nor am I interested in needing to constantly change something and never being able to sit still. I want something in between.

I want to be able to move with it when my cheese moves and embrace the change. But I also want to be content with what I have when the cheese remains in one spot for a time.

Is this possible?

Can I let go of my fears in order to embrace new experiences, while at the same time be happy with where I am when there are no changes on the horizon?

I like to think I can.

I really like my life right now and I am very content in it. I am happy with my job, I have an amazing family, good friends, a great place to live, and I am healthy again.

But change is inevitable. For me. For you. Things are going to change, whether we want them to or not.

We can’t control what changes. We can’t control if we get laid off, or someone breaks up with us, or if a loved one gets sick. Changes in life are going to happen, and most of them will be out of our hands.

But we can choose how we respond to those changes. We can choose fear, which will leave us at a standstill as the rest of the world adapts. Or we can choose to move forward with the change.

What choice do we make?

Live in fear and misery wishing things were the way they used to be?

Or stepping into a new adventure and discovering the opportunity?

Despite my fears, I choose the new adventure. There are risks, yes, but I am moving toward the rewards, whatever they may be.

And while I am very content in my current life, that doesn’t mean there won’t be happiness when things change. Perhaps my joy will increase. The good may get better – I’ve experienced this happening before.

And even if it is not better, I fully believe change is a good thing. It helps us learn and grow. It stretches us beyond what we believe to be our capabilities and it allows us to surprise ourselves.

Change can bring both positive and negative results.

But it’s what we do with the change that matters.

The Good Tired

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As many of my regular readers know, on October 4th 2014, I walked out of work and went straight to my doctor because my depression had once again become too much to bear. My doctor first put me on a one week leave of absence, which quickly led to being off work indefinitely. I quit my job and wondered if I would ever be able to work full time again.

In all honesty, I thought I was done. I had reached a point where I believed I couldn’t function in a regular full time work environment, and thought I would have to be on disability for the rest of my life.

For three and a half months, I struggled with my next steps. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t healing as well as I had in the past and I was exhausted. Every moment of every day I was exhausted, even though I was doing nothing. I spent 75% of my time sleeping, which led me to feeling even more tired.

Exhaustion is a symptom of depression. It is unfotunately a very big part of depression. No matter what I could not feel energized. Yes, the depression was zapping my energy, but the fact that I had nothing to do was also stealing it.

I started to find ways to fill my days. First I did puzzles and played games on my iPad to get my mind working. I would try to plan something for each day just to get myself out of bed, even if it was as simple as going to the drug store for toothpaste.

I started making jewelry, just for something to do, and it became a hobby I really enjoyed. I filled many days creating earrings, bracelets and necklaces. I spent many hours browsing beads, wires, clasps, charms and pendants at Michaels.

I continued leading the Three Rivers Windsor gathering every Sunday evening, one of the highlights of my week.

But I was still asleep more than I was awake. And I was still always tired.

In January, I started casually looking at part time jobs as I was beginning to feel ready to try and work a few hours a week. I applied for one job on the evening of January 8th for a part time position at a gym called Beach Walk Family Fitness. Within the hour I had a response in my email and an interview set up for Tuesday January 13th.

On the 13th I had an interview at 11am. An hour later I was asked to go in for some training that evening. I began working/training the next day, and worked every day for the rest of the week.

It all happened really fast and I can admit I was overwhelmed. I went from not working and barely doing anything, to working 5 days a week, shifts ranging from 4-8 hours in length. Now I was really exhausted!

But it was a completely different kind of exhausted. For the first time in a long time, it was a good exhausted. It felt good to be tired. It was an earned tired. It was an ‘I was busy and I accomplished something today’ tired.

My head would hit the pillow at night and I was asleep almost instantly. There was no tossing and turning, no mind spinning out of control, no waking up throughout the night.

It was a good, honest, ‘I need this’, sleep.

And it was a sleep I woke easily from, which was something I hadn’t experienced in many months.

These days I still feel tired, but it is that good tired. It is the ‘I accomplished something today’ tired. It is the ‘I am living my life’ tired.

I am energized while I am awake, and I fall asleep easily when it is time for bed. I am waking up when I need to, on time, and I am falling asleep naturally when my body and mind are tired. I am no longer taking a sleep aid every night. In fact I have only taken a sleep aid twice in the last month and a half.

And it feels good. I feel good.

Before I was desperately trying to fill my days. Now I have so much I want to do and can’t always fit it all in. How great is that?

I feel alive again. I feel useful again.

And I love my new job. I had only been looking for a part time job with about 15 hours a week. With this job I have been working 25-32 hours a week since I started, and I actually want more!

This job has been a blessing. It has helped me in the healing process and helped me to feel whole again. Every day I get to meet new people. Every day I get a chance to get to know someone new. Every day I get a chance to brighten someone else’s day with a smile or a warm greeting or a listening ear. (You’d be surprised how many people open up to gym employees). And I love it!

I feel helpful and useful. My manager is continually giving me more stuff to do, and I am continually asking for more responsibility. I am being handed admin duties, and I am being given information and tasks that most employees don’t have. I am being told that I am liked and trusted.

I feel valued, and I feel appreciated, two things I didn’t often feel at my last job.

And I am feeling the good tired.

Life has turned itself around, and I once again feel as though I am on the right path. I look forward to getting up in the morning.

And it is great.

 

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