Open Hearted Musings

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Let Beauty Open Your Heart

Flowergrowing_TrueColorsbyA-HoOHMI take time every day during my morning practice to appreciate beauty in the natural world. It centers and grounds me, opens my heart and raises my vibrational level to appreciation and awe. At the splendor of our world. At the talents of the wonderful people who share their work here.  Photo credit for today’s image: True colors by A-Ho  Enjoy.

Life has had its ups and downs recently.  Especially, I haven’t felt all that well – gut issues and major fatigue.  I have been sleeping a lot trying to heal, swimming, taking a break from writing.  Even so, my morning “appreciating beauty” practice, which falls into the category of meditation with open eyes, really does help me stay grateful and open-hearted.  This in turn not only feeds my soul, it also of course increases the energy in my body.

Just sharing, hope you are well. hugs, gerry


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Peace is the Power

quietsunset_PEACEisthePower

I do love sharing the pieces I make for my facebook version of OHM.  Hope you like it.

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Speaking of PEACE, of which I hope you have a lot, today I transferred an edited version of a long post from this blog in February 2011 over to my new self hosted blog, “How Gandhi’s Story Shaped History.” It was written during the Arab Spring’s honeymoon. You can click above or find it in the right sidebar of this blog under Open Hearted Musings…not surprisingly, the name of my new blog.  I mention it because not that many of you, dear readers, are following me over there yet. (hint, hint)

I’m actually not quite sure what to do about all my past posts – a lot of them are not up to my current standard – I had not yet really developed my “voice’ as a writer.  At the same time, I don’t want to completely lose the work I have put into this blog here.
I guess I have to go through them one by one, as I have time, and edit some, leave some.

Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Have a great Tuesday, hugs, gerry


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Depression is not Destiny Review

dannyBakerCover

Danny Baker’s Brilliant (free) Memoir

I first became aware of this young man’s impressive and open-hearted campaign, called “Depression is not Destiny” on Facebook.   I was working on my “Imagine Yourself Happy” facebook page and someone had shared a post of his I related to and loved.  I’m pretty sure I shared it.  I received a link to his memoir, and in truth, I didn’t actually read it.  How was someone in their 20’s ready to write a memoir, I asked myself.

This morning I received (probably another) email inviting me to review his work on his website.  It’s Sunday morning, my sweetie is asleep, I have no freelancing orders to attend to, why not?

I downloaded the (pdf file) and intended just to read a paragraph here or there so I could give the young man a boost.

I couldn’t put it down!

Here is someone who writes honestly and compellingly about what it actually feels like on the inside when mental illness is trying to pull you over the abyss.  It is a chronological report of his struggles – with girls, with alcoholism, with perfectionism, wrongheaded goals – and with deep, recurrent bouts of suicidal depression, with ignorant doctors and medicine-induced psychosis and a great psychologist, several stays on the psych wards, and finally with recovery.  Danny’s a brilliant writer and so he doesn’t just tell you about it – he TAKES YOU THERE.  He’s a fighter and you’re fighting right beside him all the way.

The dragon will NOT eat Danny, a reference to my post, You Can’t Let The Dragon Eat You.  Nor will she have me, even if she sometimes still tries to take a nip when I’m not watching.  The challenge is always to recognize her before I think SHE is ME.

And he has to be brilliant because he says the same thing I always say, “Depression is a LIAR.”

From his Huffington Post article “What I would have missed out on if I had committed suicide.”

“But worst of all was the fact that at times, I couldn’t see any way out of my ghastly misery. As anyone who’s ever suffered from clinical depression will tell you, it’s an expert at convincing you that your despair is eternal, and destined to oppress you for the rest of your days. And it was when I was in that horrifically black place, staring down the barrel of what I truly believed would only be a lifetime of wretched agony, that my thoughts turned to suicide… I know that depression is an expert at robbing you of your hope, and making you feel as if you’re destined to a life of unremitting misery and despair, but depression is a liar. Recovery is possible.

As a writer, I have to say he must be brilliant at PR too, because he already has a huge following, and has articles on Huffington Post,which means he is able to help huge numbers of people! Bravo!

If you’ve ever been seriously depressed, you will love having someone actually put the experience into words.  It gives you a kind of validation to know someone else has felt those feelings, had those thoughts, and it gives you hope to know that recovery is possible.

If you have a friend or family member who struggles with unrelenting sadness and unexplained bouts of lethargy that are undermining their success at life, you will find hope and understanding by reading Danny’s story.

I heartily recommend you read Danny’s Story and I’d love to hear your reactions in the comments.

Hugs,  Gerry


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RELEASE THOSE NEGATIVE VIBES!

“Today refuse to see yourself as a recipient of negative vibrations or as a victim of subtle or gross influence around you. Practice broadcasting the high vibrations of your inner radiance remembering all the while that the place upon which you stand is holy simply because you are standing there.”     Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith

birds singingHmmmm…. I love mornings like this morning when all the doors and windows are open, the air is fresh and sweet after a rain, I hear the birds singing.  Down the street  a dog barks as people pass by during their morning constitutional. I truly have a magical life and I glory in the hours I can just “be”  that jubilant, peaceful, “All’s well with the world”  energy.   Everything is quiet around me, and Mother Nature is at her prettiest.  I have unhurried time for my spiritual practice and my personal writing before it’s time to respond to the demands of the world.  I am abuzz with spiritual energy!

But then –  as the day progresses the phone starts ringing, chores need doing, relationships need tending and that morning “peak”gradually tends to diminish.  This is not bad, different parts of life require different energies.  You can’t drive the kids to school or do your job with the same dreamy energy as you sit in a bubble-bath.  It’s mostly all good, as long as I can stay focused on my function as a transmitter of positive vibes.  See quote and photo above.

It seems though that I can be easily thrown off balance stressed by other people’s fear, demands and anger even if it is about things that aren’t even about me or under my control.  I am trying to reduce my stress because that’s important for my health.  These stress chemicals wreak havoc on my digestion, my heart rate, my sleep, my weight, my chronic pain, my ability to think clearly.  I find that as I get older (I’m 72), this is getting worse.

Girl_suffering_form_anxiety_wikicommonsHere’s how bad it is.  Even if my sweeetie is watching an action movie in the evening  before I retire, which he surely should be able to enjoy, I can’t handle it. I have to go to another room and close the door.  Even the music, well sometimes especially the music, but also the hatred, violence and vulgarity, they just run right through me and trigger responses that clearly they have nothing to do with the movie nor my sweetie.   I can’t think clearly.   Oh, I said that already, but truly, I can’t put a sentence together or answer a question.  My heart rate goes up.  I feel fear in the pit of my stomach and I feel like I have just been attacked, personally.  It’s just a MOVIE on the TV set.  It has nothing to do with me at all.  Still, it’s just like running into a WALL and being injured and winded.

Now make that a young family member with bipolar disorder being extremely intense over the phone, and sometimes I can’t think straight for an hour or more.   That  happened last week.  I told this family member I loved him but could not handle his intensity right now and would have to get off the phone. I got a headache, I felt like crying.  It used to happen around a negative co-worker.  It often happens if I’m around a LOT of other people and it’s noisy – I get what I call “sensory overload” and  I get into a very unhealthy and nervous state.  I repeat – the worst is, I can’t THINK.

I know it’s an issue of boundaries.  Mine are too porous.  So, as to boundaries, no I am not willing to cut the young man out of my life as the rest of the family has done.  I did take care of myself by getting off the phone and telling him the phones would all be off for a couple of hours.  (He has a tendency to call over and over until finally someone picks up the phone.)   Later when we spoke he was calm and we had a good conversation.  Last time I got into the pool and took a swim. (Lucky me, I know).

And yes, I’m an empath. If other people’s energy can sometimes drain or deplete you, if you are a healer or someone people turn to for advice, you may be too.    Dr. Judith Orloff has a test to see if you are too. It’s just a few questions – take a peek.

My sweetie recommends I imagine a cocoon of white light around myself, filtering out anything that will harm or alarm me.  But I have never been successful at doing that unless everything is serene and quiet around me – like my “me” time in the early mornings – and while it is protective in the way of building up a storehouse of  self-love, that’s not when I need it.  Once the negativity has gotten through, it’s the wrong remedy.

EE-Meditation-Grounding-Kundalini-ChakraBut here’s a Grounding Cord technique  that is much more help.  In this exercise I both release the negative into the earth to be recycled and reclaim my own pure soul energy.  It extends and deepens my favorite meditation, “breathing and smiling.”  It does require that I retire to the ladies room or somewhere for a few minutes, but it puts ME back in control of my emotions and not the amorphous cloud of other people’s emotions.  The essence is to sit comfortably, straight up, and imagine a cord reaching from your root chakra straight down through all the layers into the core of the earth.  Everything extra you have picked up from anyone else, you send down that cord to be filtered and recycled.  Just the grounding  right away restores balance  – remember I said I felt knocked off balance?

But the other half of the exercise is where the extra magic is for me.  Here I picture a giant ball of light, any color I like, and reclaim all that positive soul energy of mine.   My own addition is to smile as I send my reclaimed energy back to my open heart.

Go ahead and click the link for a more compete explanation of this powerful technique, and go ahead – release all those negative vibes…


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SHOWER YOURSELF WITH LOVE

revgerry:

This morning’s musings.

Originally posted on IMAGINE YOURSELF HAPPY™:

HappyElephantunderwaterfall_Lise Jacques

Just shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel”  James Taylor

I have had a very difficult time with self-love in my lifetime.  It doesn’t matter how it started; it caused me untold heartache and was either at the root of my depression or its most unwavering symptom.  Yes, I know, my neurochemistry.

But still, in my recovery, even when the neurochemistry had been successfully treated for several years – and even to this day, truth be told – self-love requires ongoing conscious effort.  And no wonder I felt “unlovable,” those are the words that accompanied my dark moods, I didn’t love myself and so I didn’t expect anyone else would either.

It is so easy to slip into the “unworthy” mode, and to take the fact that not everybody on the planet likes or loves me as evidence of my being unloveable.

Poppycock! Here’s an exercise I…

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ROBIN WILLIAMS, ANOTHER VICTIM OF THIS CRUEL DRAGON, DEPRESSION

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ANOTHER VICTIM OF THIS CRUEL DRAGON,

DEPRESSION

reposted from my new blog, OpenHeartedMusings.com

I just heard – it’s just coming over the inter-wires,

Robin_Williams_2011a_(2)“Robin Williams, 63, Found Dead At His N. CA Home”

The story says he had been suffering deep depression lately, and it is likely that he committed suicide.

I don’t know precisely what Robin was thinking at that time, but I know he did not want to hurt anyone.  I know he put this day off for as long as possible, just so he would not hurt anyone.  Finally, we can’t know the exact nature of the final battle, but we know the dragon won.

Robin was a fighter, I know it.  Even with all of his talent, all of his resources, his genius, his compassion, the dragon still won.  I am heartbroken.

I know there are people who will see him as a weakling, who will think he had a character defect of some sort to give in,  but do not count me amongst that crowd.    It is exactly as if cancer won or Alzheimers or heart disease.

No one who has not been there knows anything about the darkness that surrounded Robin.  They can’t feel the  dementors tearing away at his soul or know the strength it took to keep them at bay, day by day.

The disease turns off important parts of your brain.  On a brain scan they are dark, just like the darkness around you.  You can see NO options…only despair…always and forever despair…of course there are options, but you can’t see them.

There is no other way that you can see to end the ever-present searing emotional agony, because the disease has obscured your vision and eviscerated your brain, and you long for only release.

God bless Robin and each one who battles deep depression.

Give us strength to fight another day.

Robin Williams gave us all so much of himself.  May there be celebrations in heaven as he comes across the bridge of light and may his burdens at last be lifted as he knows only Light and Love forevermore.

originally posted on my new blog, http://www.openheartedmusings.com

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