What is the opposite of depression?*

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*According to writer, Andrew Solomon, it is vitality! That makes a lot of sense to me.

I listened to his talk on the video below and could relate to much of what he said. I had my first encounter with depression when I was in my 20’s and have experienced it on and off over the years. I have used a variety of methods to help me feel and do better.

Solomon raises the issue of “psychological vs physiological” and proclaims that we don’t have enough scientific evidence to choose either one. Maybe in time there will be a better answer.

Most of the time my depression is not noticeable to other people. I function quite well. I remember learning about “putting one foot in front of the other” and another tip was “just keep breathing” – these sayings were helpful at times.

Anyway, I won’t go on about depression apart from asking you to be aware among your family and friends and be brave enough to ask them if they are okay and be prepared to listen to their response. Thanks 🙂

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What do love and economics have in common?

Just recently while looking through some old documents I found my high school reports. I was surprised to see that I got top of my class in economics. I did enjoy the subject but didn’t pursue it any further beyond school.

Then today I was thinking about my Mum who passed away ten years ago. Over the years I tried to demonstrate my love and appreciation of her. Did I succeed in showing my love for her? I will never really know.

Then I got to thinking that love (as well as economics) responds to supply and demand to some degree. I tried to show my love through my words, gifts and time spent with her. That is what makes me feel loved.

Have you ever come across a book called “The Five Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman? The five languages are very briefly described as follows:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch.

The book suggests that if we know the other’s love language we can learn to say and do the right things to make the special someone feel loved.

When we randomly respond to people by doing and saying what we ourselves want to hear and receive we may just miss the point.

Just with supply and demand in the economy we can be more successful if we are in tune with what our loved ones desire. Now I don’t claim to have a handle on this but thinking about it helped me see where relationships break down and misunderstandings can occur.

We mean well and love as best as we can and hopefully our good intentions are recognised.

flowers from Tom 008 (Copy)

 

 

Life’s lessons

I have heard the following expression at various times in my life. Are you familiar with it?

” Whatever or whoever is in front of you is your teacher.”

It is not always easy to remember this when I am in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Sometimes I might get caught with someone talking about things I don’t believe in. I try to stay silent and listen – after all, they may have some greater insight into the issue than I do.

Or maybe someone doesn’t turn up on time when I am on a tight schedule. Maybe I need to learn patience or that some things are more important than punctuality.

What about when it is a really tough situation and I don’t feel like learning? The word compassion (for myself and the other person/s) comes to mind plus the ability to distance myself from the situation and try to be objective.

Not an easy thing to do, however I acknowledge there are still plenty of lessons for me to learn in life and I try to remain open to them. Just because I am in my sixth decade doesn’t mean I can put my feet up and relax! And yes, sometimes I get it wrong.

wisdom

 

 

 

 

A holy man and a snake with a bad attitude.

I am enjoying some lessons with the School of Practical Philosophy online. The story below was provided for study.  Enjoy and see what you make of it :-).

    Once there was a snake with a rather bad attitude. The small village near where the snake lived was very fearful of this snake because he would strike without warning and devour its prey. It was known to eat hens, dogs, and even big animals like cows. However, what was most upsetting to the villagers was that the snake had begun to eat their children. The villagers gathered at the edge of the field, and with drumming and shouting, and sticks and stones, and made up their minds to find the snake and to kill it.

A holy man came upon this loud and angry crowd and asked, “What is all this commotion?” The villagers told him of the snake’s villainy. The holy man asked, “If I make this snake stop doing these evil deeds, will you spare his life?” The villagers reluctantly agreed to give the snake – and the holy man – one chance. The holy man entered the field and commanded the snake to come to him. “What issss it?” the snake hissed. The holy man’s words were simple: “Enough! There is no need for this. There is plenty of food without eating the villager’s children or their animals.” The holy man spoke with kindness and authority and the snake knew his words to be true. He nodded in agreement and slithered away.

It was not long before the villagers discovered that the snake would not harm them. They were grateful, but some of the villagers in their anger and hurt over what had been done, began to beat the snake with sticks and stones. The abuse continued until he couldn’t take no more and hid underneath a large rock, determined not to break its word to the holy man. But he said to himself, “Why is this happening to me? I followed the holy man’s words.” Soon the fearful snake was near death from the beatings and the lack of food.

One day, he heard the footsteps of the holy man and with his last bit of strength crawled out to meet him on the path. The holy man, seeing how terribly beaten and sickly the snake looked, asked, “What has happened to you?” The snake told the story of the beatings and torment and how for days it had hidden underneath a rock to protect itself.

The holy man stood silently shaking his head. “Oh, foolish snake,” he said. I told you not to bite but I did not tell you not to hiss.”  With this the snake understood and slithered away.

Source: I believe the story can be found in In the Land of Difficult People: 24 Timeless Tales Reveal How to Tame Beasts by Terrence L. GARGIULO, Gini Graham SCOTT. I am unsure of its origins.

Legacy and Learning

microscopic view

I love learning new things. My most recent ‘new thing’ is learning how to write feature articles. It is online learning through the Australian Writers Centre. It is a great course and I am getting a lot out of it.

One exercise was to interview a fellow student and write a profile about them. I paired up with Miranda from Queensland and we agreed to a Skype interview. We stuck to the ten minutes recommended and it was really interesting.

Miranda emailed me after the Skype session and asked if she could interview me again about what ‘legacy’ meant to me. I had a few days to think about it. I became aware of how little thought I had given to what my legacy is, or would be, after I am gone.

If you would like to read what Miranda wrote, here is the link to her site and the article Red Hat Chronicles. 

I hope you enjoy it and maybe think a little about what your legacy might be :-).

 

Old photos and an old song …

I must be feeling nostalgic. I was looking for an old photo today – one of me on my brother’s shoulders – I was terrified at the time. I couldn’t find it but, as happens with photos, I got caught up in looking at photos at my parents’ home when my children were little. It was always such a busy place with people coming and going – the kettle was always on!

My parents had fifteen grandchildren and most of them lived close by. I left home when I was seventeen and wasn’t able to visit as often as I would have liked. My Mum was an amazing grandma (considering she worked full time as a nurse as well) and really loved each and every one of her grandchildren and later, great grandchildren. Here are a few photos that give a bit of a feel to what it was like at “Nan and Pops” place …

Flowers

I am very grateful for my family every day, but today was extra special. Wonderful to speak to each of my three sons and two grandsons, great lunch with Andrew and Rachelle and Rogue. And here are the flowers I got too …