Shoes

Maybe you sorted your shoes when you sorted out your clothes. If not, let’s do that today. Shoes can be a major thing in some people’s life. They can cost an arm and a leg. Thousands of dollars are spent on shoes. Then again, some people couldn’t care less about their shoes. They wear them scruffy and needing to be repaired and they don’t care. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about shoes, what matters is how they look. Are they doing their job?

I remember going into a corporate meeting where there were a lot of young women wearing fabulous shoes with high heels and I thought, “I need to get me some of those.” So I went out an bought a pair of high heeled shoes. I loved them; they looked fabulous. Wearing them was however, a completely different story. I could hardly walk in them. They didn’t fit right. I could have gotten away with it, and did when I was a young woman. But I’m not that age any more. That’s not to say that I have to wear big honking ‘comfortable’ shoes that could climb a mountain or wade a river. But your shoes have to do a few things:

1. They have to be appropriate to the job you are doing

2. They have to be clean and in good repair

3. They need to help you stand and walk in a powerful way.

Today, sort your shoes out. Throw out or give to Good Will, or some other charity the ones that you don’t wear any more. Don’t keep old, unwearable shoes around, they smell and they take up room. Depression may like you to keep old footwear around, because a big clump of smelly old shoes is exactly what depression feeds on and we don’t want that. We don’t want to feed depression with nasty, skanky shoes. So get rid. Place your good shoes side by side in an orderly fashion. I know they get kicked out of order really fast—I find it hard to keep them orderly—and there is all kinds of shoe shelving to help in that way. But I don’t have that in my closet, so I just work on keeping my shoes neat. And if I can do it, so can you. Remember, this is a journey we are taking together. So let’s step it up today and step out with joy in our well-maintained and well-cared for shoes.

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Dress

We make up business cards to introduce ourselves, but the moment we walk into a room we are telling everyone just by the way we dress, exactly who we are. The way we dress tells our story better than anything else. Of course there is the way we walk and stand but before that…there is dress. Depression loves you to not dress very well. It loves you to not hang up your clothes so that they are wrinkly. It loves you to wear the same thing over and over and over again. It loves you not to make an effort. So my dear life warrior, in order to kick depression, we need to talk about how you dress.

First off, are your clothes hanging up or are they tossed on the floor. If they are on hangers great, if not let’s pick them up and put them on hangers. They will so appreciate you for taking care of them. What? You think your clothes don’t have thoughts! On some level everything has thoughts. A screwed up t-shirt thinks, “no one cares about me.” Once you have them on hangers you can sort them out. Some of your clothes you need to throw out or give to Good Will. Here’s the key: if you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, it probably needs to be tossed—unless it’s some very special piece of clothing that your are keeping just because. As soon as you have sorted the wheat from the chaff, remove the bags from your home. Don’t sort out clothes and leave them lying around waiting to be taken somewhere, do it today.

When you are at Good Will, you may want to pick up something colorful for yourself or if you have money, go on a little shopping spree. Buy clothes that make you feel amazing.

Every day I wear clothes that make me feel good. It’s a way to kick depression. When I look in the mirror and see myself looking good, I feel good. It’s as simple as that. Even on days when I am not doing anything I don’t hang around in my PJ’s. I want to be able to answer the door to anyone who comes along, and feel good about myself. How you present yourself to the world is also how you present yourself to you. Depression of course doesn’t want you to put forward your best face. It wants you to drag around in PJ’s all day long—because that way you will continue to feel in the pit of despair.

Today my friend, look at what you are wearing. Throw out what you don’t need. Get something new in your wardrobe and be prepared to put your best face forward—I know it’s corny but the old phrase, “dress for success” still holds true. Yes, it maybe you work for a company that wears t-shirts and shorts, or has a uniform; whatever your dress code is—make sure your clothes are clean and look like they’ve spent their nights on a hanger and not balled up on the floor.

P.S. This is an enjoyable thing to do—to throw out the old and bring on the new. So enjoy today and dress like a life warrior!

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Meditation

Meditation is prayer. It is a way of becoming quiet of calming the mind and getting in touch with our inner spirit. It is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. I have meditated for years. However, I never made a consistent practice of it until now. I just didn’t made it important, but because I feel so much more relaxed after mediating I include it as a powerful combat mode to kick depression. Here are some simple steps that we can both follow to help us make it a daily practice. I will be with you along the way, you are never alone my friend. Here goes:

1. Early in the morning and before you go to sleep are great times to meditate.

2. Begin by stretching to loosen your muscles.

3. Sit in a comfortable position.

4. Focus your attention on the point between your eyebrows.

5. Breathe out and breathe in.

6, Sit for just a few minutes to begin with and as days go by add minutes as you are able.

It is better to mediate for five minutes twice a day than not to meditate at all. So let’s be kind to ourselves and make it a simple and joyful moment of peace, calm and equanimity. At one time I got very competitive with my meditation, if I heard someone was sitting for half an hour, I felt I had to do that. Or if someone was sitting for three hours, I felt I wasn’t putting forth the right effort and that they were a better meditator than me.

My friend, don’t do that. Depression would love you to be all competitive, because it knows if you get into being competitive with meditation, you will undoubtedly give it up. Meditation is not a competitive sport. It is simply sitting down, or walking quietly, or even standing or laying down, and becoming still. It is letting your thoughts pass through your mind so you do not pay them any particular attention. That is the art of meditation, to let things go. So let things go and sit and be still….and above all enjoy!

There are also mantras that you can use to help calm your mind and stop it from chattering away to you. Read any book on meditation and you will find many different mantras that you can use. For example silently repeating the sound of “Om” as you breathe in and out, or silently saying the word “Love.”

Today, let’s meditate. Please join me.

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Dance

It follows as night follows day, that if I talk about music, the next day I just have to talk about dance. Dancing is magical and transforming. It breathes new life into our mind, bodies and spirits. It triggers long-forgotten memories and turns depression into joy. Researchers say regular dancing gives you a great mind-body workout. It keeps your brain healthy as you age by increasing the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow.  Just remembering dance steps, and sequences boosts your brain power! A 2003 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week makes people less likely to develop dementia.

Life Warrior dancing is a great combat move to kick depression. So let’s experiment. If you used to dance and are getting back into it, you can pick up where you left off.  Maybe you have a friend you can go with. There are all kinds of places you can get dance classes: dance school, dance studio, health club, or community recreation center. Some YMCAs, churches, or synagogues offer group dance classes followed by a social hour. And if you are differently abled, there is even wheelchair dancing or Dancing Dreams, a non-profit organization that provides classes for aspiring dancers with mental and physical disabilities….or DanceAbility International that brings together people with and without disabilities.

Today, my friend, you are going to kick depression. You are going to go on line and find out where there are some dance classes near you. If you don’t have a friend who can go with you, call the place up and find out if they will take single people. I am absolutely certain they will! This may be a big push for you. I am not saying to actually go and dance if you really, really hate it. But for today, just find out where you can go and dance. If it feels something you would like to do….then my friend let’s do it. Let’s dance depression out of our lives and tap into our hearts with the steps of life.

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Music

Music is food for the soul. It uplifts, inspires and brings joy and clarity. I have actually cried listening to music; who can forget Elton John playing Candle in the Wind? All music is beautiful: the lyrics, the instruments and the voices. I love many different types of music. Right now I am listening to The Walrus on the Celtic Grace album by the Aureole Trio. And now, on comes A Day Without Rain by Enya. I use Pandora, and it plays on my TV as I write. In the mornings we often play Frank Sinatra. I know it shows our age, but we just love it. I can’t imagine a world without music. I even love the sappy music in grocery stores and elevators. It’s not always my choice of music, but then it’s good to expand our musical habits.

There’s a new study from Austria’s General Hospital of Salzburg that shows how valuable music is to our health. In the study, 65 patients aged between 21 and 68 with chronic back pain after back surgery were divided into two groups. One group received standard medical care and physiotherapy. The other group as well as getting medical care and attention listened to music and received visualisation classes (25 minutes every day for three weeks). Results found the group who listened to music and used imagery experienced better pain relief than the group who did not.

Clinical psychologist Franz Wendtner who led the study says: “Music is an important part of our physical and emotional wellbeing – ever since we were babies in our mother’s womb listening to her heartbeat and breathing rhythms. Listening to music for about 25 minutes every day for at least ten days can help prevent back pain and also make you sleep better.”

Experts believe any type of classical music such as Mozart or Beethoven can help relieve muscle pain. Calm, slow music is also thought to help. I actually enjoy most types of music. My grandchildren are great for introducing me to new music. I hear all different kinds just because they are around and playing it.

Depression of course does not like music. It would never think to put on an uplifting piece of classical music. It would much rather you had deaf ears to any kind of creative sound. But when you think of all the creativity and inspiration that goes into a piece of music, how can we deny ourselves the joy of listening?

We use music to celebrate every kind of ritual, and so of course depression doesn’t want to celebrate! Why would it? Celebrating life and having vitality is not what depression wants. Depression wants to keep us stuck in a dark, soundless place where we just let life pass us by. But why wait for an official celebration to play music? We need to fill our souls with music every day. I notice that even monks and nuns who have taken a vow of silence always seem to sing at some point in the day. Life without song is a life unsung. Today let’s sing our lives into being. We don’t have to sing alone; there are so many voices out there already singing. Just pick a favorite and listen. And if you can muster up the energy to sing along, then do it. Celebrate your life with a song—it is worth celebrating every day—and we must do it for ourselves because it feels soooo good.

Posted in Action, Breathe, combat move, Depression, Flow, Fun, Happiness, Kick Depression, Life Warrior, Listen, Love, Music, Vitality | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teddy

When I was a little girl I had a teddy. He was blonde brown and had two brown glass eyes. He started out life quite fluffy, but over the years he became quite flat and his fur was matted—but I loved Teddy with all my heart. When we went on vacation Teddy had to come with us, and I agonized that he was put in a suitcase. How would he breathe, so he had to come out and I held him all the way to our vacation caravan.

I don’t have teddy any more, he must have gotten too dirty over the years, or maybe I just left him behind. I have new teddy’s now, two of them: one dark brown and one blonde brown. I don’t think of them much, they basically just sit on one of my meditation cushions. One looking at the ceiling and the other out the window. They remind me of my childhood when I believed in my teddy. I believed that teddy could look after me and protect me when I slept. He was a real friend.

It’s important to have something like a teddy in our lives.

Depression hates teddy bears. Anything that brings comfort is not to be loved or enjoyed. So teddy bears are shunned and most likely thrown out or put on a top shelf gathering dust. But if you think about it; why does a child love teddy bears and soft cuddly toys? They love them because they are soft and cuddly. They make children feel better. So why wouldn’t a teddy bear speak to the child that is still within us?

Today, find a teddy bear or a soft toy. It doesn’t have to be a big one. Any teddy or soft toy will do. I want you to go ahead and give it a hug. I am going to do it right now alongside you. Just a minute while I grab teddy. How funny, my dark brown teddy actually has quite a grumpy face—so I gave it a hug to make it feel better.

It reminds me of the other week. I was at my daughter’s house helping her do some laundry. Her laundry room is in the basement and not exactly inspiring. And there were three of four old teddy bears lying on a shelf. So I stuck them up in-between the pipes and had them waving—it turned a boring laundry room into a happier place.

Being a life warrior and learning combat moves to kick depression is about seeking out the small things in life that make life a little bit more joy filled. Every time you make a combat move to kick depression you are helping everyone around you. When my daughter goes into her laundry room I bet she smiles. She may think, ‘oh mom!’ But ‘oh mom’ made her smile! My friend let’s smile today.

Posted in Action, awareness, Breathe, combat move, Depression, Happiness, Kick Depression, Life Warrior, Purpose, Self-Help, smile, Vitality, Wake Up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tchotchkies

Tchotchies is derived from the Yiddish language to describe little decorative things of no purpose that we love to set around the house. I love tchotchkies. The word alone tumbles around the mouth like hot buttered toast. I think everyone should have at least one or two scattered around the home. We have so many our house is a veritable tchotchkie fest. I think they all get up in the middle of the night and talk to each other, “Why are you here?” “I have no idea.” “What’s your purpose?” “I don’t have one, the home owners just love me!” “Yeah, me too.”

And that is the whole purpose of a tchotchkie, to have no purpose.  A grumpy person might look at a tchotchkie and want to hurl it out the window. Grumpiness makes a person feel there is no purpose in life, and a tchotchkie is like throwing it in their face. “Nah, nah, nah na na–me tchotchkie–living proof there is no purpose.” I remember one time wanting to get rid of my husband’s tchotchkie’s just because I was depressed and didn’t want anyone else to be happy. A tchotchkie as the definition describes is something of no purpose that we love to set around the house—and what would a depressed person do with that kind of thing?

How many tchotchkies do you have in your home? Did you lovingly set them in place. My husband does that. He loves to go around the house and move his tchotchkies around. Now that I have used my combat moves to kick depression, I love his tchotchkies. They remind me of loving things just because.

There is no reason to love a tchotchkie except that it is there. It has no use, no intrinsic value. A tchotchkie should not be valuable in monetary terms otherwise it has a purpose, and a tchotchkie has no purpose except to be loved.

Today, look at your tchotchkies, and if you don’t have any, please go out and purchase something. It doesn’t have to cost much—you can find something at Good Will. Find your tchotchkie and put it somewhere where you can see it when you wake up in the morning. I have one that I am looking at right now. It is a camel. It’s about two feet tall and is made of ceramic and colorfully painted. It used to stand outside the front door until it fell over and chipped. We stuck it together of course—because that’s what you do with tchotchkies. Today, remind yourself that not everything has to have a purpose except to be loved and make you feel good. Good luck with your tchotchkie hunting—and remember to place them in places where they will just love to be.

Posted in Art, awareness, Believe, combat move, Depression, Fun, Happiness, Kick Depression, Life Warrior, Purpose, Self-Help, Tchotchkie | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment