Snow

Today is about snow. Don’t worry if you never see snow. If you live in the desert or some sunny place that never gets snow. Or you live in a place that does get snow, but it’s not winter right now. I am talking the concept of snow.

Snow is frozen water. It comes down from the sky and covers the land in white. It falls thick or thin. It comes down in great chunks of white, or slight wisps of almost white that it hardly seems like snow. As soon as it begins to fall, the snow ploughs come out in force—especially if you live in a city like Chicago. Snow ploughs and salting trucks. People wear their warmest coats, hats, scarves and gloves. Children love the snow because it’s a chance to play. Older people generally hate the snow because they have to shovel it away which is hard work. Or they fear slipping on the ice and breaking something. Snow can clog up the freeways. Snow can cover a hill and become a playground for sledding.

It's Fun Making Snow Angels

It’s Fun Making Snow Angels

Young couples may make snow angels and laugh and throw snow balls at each other. Movies may show lovers in a sled being pulled by a horse and have a gentleman at the reins ignoring their kisses.

Snow is a magical thing that can turn winter into a wonderland, or a barren landscape into a magical scene. Snow in other words, is what you make of it.

A very bright light that mimics the sunligh

A very bright light that mimics the sunligh

When it snows, or rains, or is sunny outside, our mood changes. There is even an illness caused by lack of sun: SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of year; usually winter. One way to help SAD is to have Light Therapy. It is a special lamp with a very bright light that mimics the sunlight. Patients are asked to sit a couple of feet away from the light box for about thirty minutes a day, usually early morning to mimic sunrise.

Living Life Fearlessly

Living Life Fearlessly

Today is about looking for the brightness of snow. It’s about seeing the goodness in things. Everything has two sides to it. Black and white. You could not have black without white. Up and down, you could not have up without down. Near and far—you get the picture. Some people look at snow as a chance to play and have fun; others look at it with fear and trepidation. What are you looking at today? Are you seeing snow as a chance to play, or a chance to be scared? What is scaring you? Whatever it is, there is another side to it. Whatever you are afraid of, there is an aspect that says, ‘do not be afraid.’

Snow is either wonderful or terrible. It’s a point of view. The same people who hate snow, will be the same people who hate warmth. So today, be a lover of snow. Love the thing in your life that you are usually not loving. Love the snow in your life. See the beauty in your life. Love the clean, fresh aspects of your life. Find the magic in your life. Snow is magical after all. It falls from above and covers the land in purity. Allow the light of the world to fall upon you today. Allow the snow of life to purify your spirit, your soul, your mind, your body. Mediate on being covered with the purity of snow. Feel the coolness and freshness fill every part of your being. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Parking

This is not just about parking a car, this is about parking in general. Parking means to put something in a place and leave it there for a while. “Can I park in your office for a while?” “Can I park my car in your driveway?” “Can I park my kids with you for the afternoon?” Parking is about leaving something somewhere else. We don’t even think about it. I am going to the grocery store and I need to park my car….it’s obvious. I don’t think about it before I go—unless of course I’m into parking karma: “Let a parking space appear just where I need to be.’ I’ve done that and it seems like a magic. I have willed a parking space into being and boom, there it is. A car pulls out just as I arrive, and it is in exactly the right spot.

This is not just about parking a car

This is not just about parking a car

Recently a friend and I did that and it felt like magic. We had been driving around the coffee shop trying to find a parking space, and then we asked for one, “Please let someone pull out and leave a parking space in front of the store.” And boom like magic it happened. We felt like magical beings. It was wonderful.

But I’m not talking about that kind of parking. I am talking about the kind of parking a depressed person tends to do. I was one, so I know. In fact, I can go back as far as a teenager. As I mentioned earlier, my mom died when I was eleven, and so I was a motherless teen. Fortunately, my best friend had the most wonderful mom in the world. Mrs. Dawson. She was fabulous. I went to my friends house every weekend and slept over. Sunday morning we would wake up and the kitchen was always filled with the smell of egg and bacon, toast, and baked beans—hey I’m originally from the UK and that’s the kind of breakfast we love. Anyhow, Mrs. Dawson was so wonderful to take me in like that and I will appreciate her generosity for the rest of my life.

But—I also took my problems and parked them with my friend. I always had a story about my mean step mother and how she had made me do the ironing, or not given me an allowance. What a brat I was. And I expected my best friend to always be interested. Until this one day, I arrived as usual at the weekend and began telling one of my sob stories, when my friend and her brother began to sing. “Don’t tell me your troubles, I’ve got troubles of my own. Don’t tell me your troubles, just leave me alone….” They were laughing of course. They were not so mean to just sing it deadpan and serious into my face. But I got the message. I was parking my troubles at their doorstep and expecting them to be interested.

Parking my troubles

Parking my troubles

I thought people would be interested in my nasty step mother and her wicked ways—and for a time they were. But over, and over, and over. It’s too much for a person to bear. We can’t keep on parking our troubles on other people, especially people who love us. It’s too hard for them to sing the song, “Don’t tell me your troubles….” But I bet in their hearts they wish you would stop.

I remember my therapist, yes I got a therapist when I had Bells Palsy, but that’s another story I will tell you later….but I remember her saying to me, “Val if you need to tell your story, come and tell it to me. We all need someone to listen, but don’t be telling all your friends about it all the time. That’s what I am here for, to listen.”

I heeded her advice. I stopped telling my sob stories all the time. Today it is time to stop parking your problems on everyone else. It is time to move on. Put your mind in shift. Drive away from parking your troubles onto people. If you need to tell your problems to someone, find a therapist like I did. It is refreshing to do that, because a therapist is a great parking spot for your problems and troubles. They have chosen to be a parking spot for troubles. Your friends and family, co-workers and bosses did not. Once or twice, yes of course it’s okay to share your troubles but every day? No. Today, as soon as you realize you are parking your troubles again; put your mind into shift and drive your thoughts in another direction. The best way to do this is to let them drive for a while. Ask them a question. “How are you doing today?” And then sit back in the passenger seat and listen. You don’t have to be parking your troubles, let someone else do it. Or better still, find an uplifting topic. “Hey do you remember your last vacation. What was the most wonderful thing you remember about it?” Or, “I hear your son is getting married, how are the wedding arrangements going?” Or, “I’m looking for something new to do this weekend, do you have any ideas?”

Move your mind into shift

Move your mind into shift

Today stop parking your troubles and move your mind into shift. Change gears and move forward. Ask questions and keep driving to a new destination. A new topic. A new interest. Focus on the other person and let them drive the conversation. You will feel better as a result. They will feel better as a result. Result—Forward motion my friend. Forward motion.

Stairs

Do you ever think about stairs? Most likely not unless you are an architect. file7191239966317 (1) They can be small or large. Big sweeping staircases and narrow short staircases. Stairs take us places. Stairs take you up, or down. Stairs are amazing things. They have to be a certain way for our feet to have room. A short tread and you wouldn’t have enough room for your foot. Too long, and you would have to take many steps.

Stairs through the woods

Stairs through the woods

I had a stairway when I went to primary school that went through a wood. The stairs were edged with logs, and in between was about two feet of woodland path. I loved climbing those stairs. They didn’t even feel like stairs, more like a secret pathway. Perhaps you have been on one like that, through a wooded area?

Maybe you live in an apartment block without an elevator, and you walk up concrete stairs, or at work there maybe some stairs leading up to the front door of the building. You will notice that as you go about your daily life, you are bound to come across stairs. For people with disabilities, stairs can be a real difficult place to be. Fortunately, many places have ramps beside the stairs, so that wheelchairs can be easily maneuvered up and down. For today, we are going to talk ramps as being the same as stairs. They take us up and down.

For today, find a stairway or a ramp that takes you up somewhere. It could be just a few feet up or many feet up. It doesn’t matter how high the stairs or the ramps are, it is about going up. We tend to think of positive thoughts lifting us up, and negative thoughts taking us down. Today every time you walk up a stair or go up a ramp, you are going to think something positive. For example, I am on a planet I am alive. I am moving, I am alive. I am able to maneuver up these stairs, I am alive.

And when you go down the stairs or ramp, you are going to be aware of letting go. I am going down and leaving the past situation, issue or relationship that has caused me pain or sorrow behind. It is in the past. I am no longer at the effect of this thing. I am ready to let go. With each descending step I am letting go of the past. And with each ascending step I am walking into my new future.

Stairs help you let go

Stairs help you let go

Don’t worry if you find yourself on the stair and can’t remember if you are letting go of the past or walking into your wonderful future. … these are your stairs, your life and you can make it any way you want it to be The stairs are simply a reminder that you are in charge of your life…and now is the time to let go of the past and walk into a new tomorrow.

A new tomorrow that is made up of this moment. This moment is the making of your new life. It doesn’t mean that everything is necessarily going to change drastically, or that someone will come into your life and make everything fabulous. This is about you being in charge of you. You are taking charge of your life and you are opting to make good choices. So stairs today my friend. Stairs help you let go, they tread away the old and step into the new. Today is about the new. No matter how old, or how long you have suffered, you are here now and you are making different choices. You are a life warrior and today you are stepping into a new way of being…a gorgeous talented being who deserves to step out with joy, confidence and purpose.

Water

Water is the Most Wonderful Thing

Water is the Most Wonderful Thing

A Bathroom Faucet a Blessing

A Bathroom Faucet a Blessing

Ever think about water? It’s so necessary to our life and yet we rarely think about it. Oh yes, if you work out, or read about being healthy, you will know that you are supposed to drink a certain amount of water each day. But what about water itself? Water is a way of washing clean the mind, body and spirit. Have you ever dragged yourself out of bed and stood under the shower? Allowing water to cascade over your head and down your body to your toes. Water is the most wonderful thing. And for many of us on the planet it is clean, and drinkable and good. It is a blessing. Not everyone has it. Not everyone has a shower or a bathtub or a faucet.

Beside the Ocean

Beside the Ocean

If you have to opportunity to bathe or shower in water, think of it as a gift from God, or from creation or the universe. Somebody came before you and built a home where you have water coming into the pipes. All you have to do is turn on a tap and out comes all this lovely, clean refreshing water.  Maybe you are lucky enough to have a gym with a swimming pool, or even have your own swimming pool. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a Jacuzzi, or a bath tub. Or maybe you are lucky enough to have clean water coming out of a tap and you are able to drink it. May be it is raining today where you are and you are lucky enough to enjoy the rain pouring down from the heavens watering the planet, feeding the plants, the flowers and the trees. Maybe you are lucky enough to live on a lake, or beside the ocean. Whatever place you live in, today it is about water.

Water is cleansing. It is not accident that the bible talks about washing feet, and baptizing people in water. Water has a healing power beyond any other. It is the opposite of air, water cleanses. It refreshes. It makes dirty things clean. That is what today is all about…healing and cleansing. Maybe you are reading this and you have already gotten dressed for the day….if that is so and you are able to bathe this evening…then do so. If you have not yet showered for the day…do so. If you do not have the ability to shower or bathe, take a glass of water and drink. Feel the water cleansing your body of all toxins. Feel it cleanse your soul of depression. Feel it washing away all past thoughts of guilt or should and shouldn’t have’s. Water has an immense power to cleanse and today we are going to take the opportunity to cleanse ourselves. Whether you bathe or drink, or gaze…let your gaze rest on water. Allow your mind, body and spirit to be cleansed and purified. No more guilt. No more negative thoughts, no more past. Just today we are cleansing ourselves with water. Oh…and just in case you are thinking it has to be a big water deal…it doesn’t. You know how much or how long you need to be with the water. Enjoy. Enjoy, enjoy. Wash away anything negative and allow all positive things to come into your space. Enjoy.

Art

The Chicago Bean

The Chicago Bean

Do you enjoy art? Have you been to an art museum? Have you ever strolled around the art district in your town? I recently spent a day in Chicago visiting the Art Institute, and then going to some art galleries. It was fabulous. Some of the paintings in the Art Institute were painted hundreds of years ago. The eye of the painter was recording people, situations, and the imagination. The colors, the different paint strokes, the style of painting….it was an amazing array of human endeavor.

Mountains of Tibet

Mountains of Tibet

If we didn’t have art and people making sculptures and creating canvases that tell a story, where would we be? Life would be very boring. Nothing to tell us about our history, our past and the different lives that people have had. Art is a way of making depression seem very small and insignificant. How can depression possibly win against the vivacious art that has been made by human beings? Art has a way of making us less self-absorbed. Suddenly we are plunged into the imagination of other people. Some who lived many different lives than ours.

Elephant Painting

Elephant Painting

Art is what separates us from animals. A giraffe does not have the ability to make a painting. And even though there are elephants who are given a brush, some paint and a canvas and do actually make paintings–mainly animals don’t make art as we know it. Being an artist gives a person an opportunity to make something from the imagination come true. I was once in a VA hospital and was shown an art exhibition of some of the patients. I could see how the imagination had come to life and enabled people to express themselves in an entirely different way from normal. Today, look for art in your daily life. Notice how much art surrounds you. You most likely have at least one piece of art in your home. If you venture outside, you will see art in all kinds of forms from graphic art on posters, to photographic art in newspapers and magazines.

Colorful Artwork

Colorful Artwork

Allow the colors, shapes and styles to flood your mind. Allow the colors to stir your brain. Allow the shapes to stimulate your imagination. Is there something you want to do with your life that is different from what you are doing? Do you want to allow your imagination to create a different vision for yourself? Do you want to wear a bright color instead of the black you may be wearing? Let yourself be immersed in art today. Look for the colors, the style the shapes and bring the energy of art into your world. Allow the world of art to stir your soul and engage your spirit. Just for today….let it be about art, and you will enjoy a more artful way of living.

Action

Val Gee at Base Camp Mount Everest

Val Gee at Base Camp Mount Everest

Taking action is the biggest way to stop depression. Depression loves doing nothing. It loves for people to just sit around, or lie in bed, or give up from doing something. When you take action, depression cannot work very well. It hates when you get up and do something. It much prefers when you are inactive. Inactivity means that your blood is slow, your cells are just hanging around, you don’t even have to breathe very hard. It would be peaceful except that depression doesn’t even like peace. It prefers people to be in a state of sloth. Make the bed? No, don’t bother. Wash the dishes? What for?  Work out? What’s the point?

Action means doing something. That’s what today is all about. Doing something. Taking action. Getting out of the rut and moving about. It doesn’t really matter what you do. The whole point of today is to be an action figure. So whether you have a desk job, or have to do things outside, today is about action. Walk the stairs instead of the elevator. Park a little further away than you normally would. At the top of every hour, move about. You can even do like they tell you on the airplane to stop Deep Vein Thrombosis….move your legs, circle your ankles, lift your knees.

You see, action is what stops depression from taking hold. Remember the story about the person who was so depressed he couldn’t get out of bed. He had to telephone his dad to come help him. He realized that he needed to take action, but he couldn’t move. He knew that action was what would break the depression, but he had to get help.

If you need help, please go see a doctor, a therapist, a family member or a friend. You may need medication if you are seriously depressed. This is not about toughing it out and not seeking help. This is about being a Life Warrior, and we all need help. However, if you are not seriously depressed and you can take action, do it. Even if you seek help and take medication, you still need to do the things that keep depression at bay….and action is one of those things. Take action. Do something that you would not normally do. Go for a walk. Take a short jog. Join the gym. Learn a new hobby. Today is about action. Action. Act. Take action. Action my friend.

Here

You are here. Have you ever seen those directories in shopping malls. You want to find a certain store and you see the huge directory like a plinth standing there. Often times there are other people standing around it trying to find the place they want to get to. You look at it and you find the store you want….next thing…you have to find where you are. You Are Here. Then you work out the best way to get to your store.

You Are Here

You Are Here

If you do not know where you are, how can you get to where you want to go? It’s pretty much impossible. You have to know where you are so you can go in the right direction to where you want to end up. So you are here. You are in a place where you saw this writing and you started to read. So where do we want to go? Which place do we want to end up in together? Do we want to make our journey difficult or easy. Do we want to take the escalators or climb the wall? It is our choice. Your choice for you and my choice for me. But what matters is that we are both here together right now….making a choice of where we want to go.

You Only See the Past in The Rear View Mirror

You Only See the Past in The Rear View Mirror

For me, I want to go to a place where depression is a thing of the past. I want to look behind me and see depression in my rear view mirror getting smaller and smaller as I go from here to there. How about you? Do you want to see depression in your rear view mirror? Or do you want to bring it along to the next place. You are here right now with me and I do not want to bring depression along on the journey. It is not a comforting companion. It is boring, it tells the same old monotonous story day after day. It is very self-absorbed and thinks of nobody but itself. Depression is depressing.

So we are here right now. Where do we want to go? Today, just for today, lets choose to go somewhere we have never been before. Let’s take a different route to work. Let’s choose a different type of coffee or tea. Let’s dress in something a bit different today. Let’s eat something we don’t normally eat….just to get a different taste. Let’s take a walk somewhere we haven’t been before. Let’s talk to a stranger, or smile, or say something kind or give a dollar to a homeless person. Just for today, lets not be the critical parent that tells us we are no good, or we’ve done something wrong….let’s be the nurturing parent to ourselves. Let’s tell ourselves, “Good Job!” Because today you are here, and here is a really good place to be because it is the first step on a journey to self-discovery. And you will discover that you are a really wonderful, talented, gorgeous human being.

Val Gee Journey to Mount Everest

Val Gee Journey to Mount Everest