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Posts Tagged recovery

Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes for Depression

http://youtu.be/7HDFEbsGRlA

Are you wondering what you can do to overcome depression in addition to psychotherapy and medication? You may want to watch the video above which features Stephen Ilardi, associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, sharing his research findings regarding how life style changes can significantly reduce symptoms of depression. Youre probably in control of much more than you realize.

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When A Loving Heart Breaks

cowper Titania sleeps
To a wounded angel.

Youre so brave, so strong, so beautiful,

and you can fly so high…

Im so often in awe of you, did you know that?

And please believe me when I tell you

that I cherish you every bit as much

when youre stooping

as when you soar…

And right now, crumpled to the ground,

with your wings folded down around you,

I think I love you even more…

Everything happens for a reason,

good people have told you,

and youve done your very best to believe them.

This philosophy offers such comfort and peace.

And in retrospect, when looking back upon my own life,

for the most part, it rings true.

So much that was painful or disappointing

later proved to serve me.

And I know with all of my heart

that your own pain, one distant day, may serve you.

But I cant offer up that everything happens for a reason to you.

My throat closes around those words the moment they occur to me,

and bitterness rises up to meet them.

How can there possibly be a reason for innocent children

to be tortured physically, sexually, emotionally or spiritually?

Whats the reason for the breaking of a tender heart?

The reward for the shattering of a soul?

There is no reason that I can accept,

and Ive long since given up my quest to acquire one.

I refuse to promise that the agony that you suffer now

will surely compensate you later,

and that youll be the better for it.

As a therapist, Ive looked into too many pain filled eyes.

Eyes that reflect such grief, such regret, such sorrow

Eyes that ask WHY? WHY? WHY?

And you know what?

There never was a why that I found acceptable.

Not a single explanation that was ever good enough for me.

And so my weary angel,

I come to you emptied of answers.

I cant take away your WHY

and replace it with an explanation.

I wish I could.

I want so very much to take your pain away.

Although I cannot take away,

I come to you with a modest offering.

One so small, that Im humbled as I hold it out to you.

Its a small stone with one word engraved upon its surface.

The word is AND.

You were hurt so very badly

AND yet in spite of the hurt, youve grown.

You were deeply wounded

AND still you survived.

You were exposed to the worst in human behavior

AND yet youve always tried to give your best.

Your voice was silenced

AND still youve heard and responded to the pain of others.

You were touched by evil

AND youve chosen to embrace goodness.

You were betrayed

AND still you seek to trust.

Youve been vulnerable and exposed

AND still youve sheltered lost souls with your wings.

Your agony cant be denied,

but neither, my precious sister,

can all of the ANDs that are contained within you.

They too have shaped you,

and even as your pain has left you grounded,

the ANDs will surely make up the magic

that will lead you once again to fly.

Take them with you…

Tammie Fowles

http://sageplace.com/

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Living with Grief and Listening to Winter

hughes Heart of Snow

The sky is grey today.  My boots crunch and my body tenses when I first step out into this frigid January morning.  I move slowly, huddled against  the cold,  still baring the gravity of  grief and the weariness of long nights with too few exits and too many echoes.

Getting out of bed took little effort yesterday,  my mind was alert,  my movements fluid, and the sun was shining.  I breathed a sigh of relief, finally able to recognize the promise of a morning  without my mother in it.  I didnt have to force myself to leave my house, and I jogged and jumped and danced during my water aerobics class. My body felt light and graceful.  It was going to be a good day.

Someone began to sing, these boots are made for walking and I cheerfully joined her in song, hands on my hips and legs lifting high.  And then my eyes met those of a woman who is older than my mother and the pain slammed into my chest without warning.  I was breathless as a memory consumed all of my oxygen. My young and sexy mother is singing that song while I  prance around her in my imaginary boots.  We are pointing at each other, warning that one of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.  In that moment, all was perfect.  The depression had not found her, she was cancer free - healthy,  happy, and ALIVE.  I was safe.

My eyes filled with tears and to my horror, it occurred to me that I could start crying in a public pool surrounded by perfectly nice and normal women. I took a deep breath, clenched my jaw, called upon my well practiced will, and pulled myself together.

Rumi wrote that our lives are like guest houses. If my life truly is like a guest house, then grief, an unwelcome guest, has settled in for the time being. I cannot move out, and there will be no eviction. And so, If Im to avoid structural and collateral damage, then Ill  need to make accommodations.  Grief, I will make a place at my table for you, but I will not feed you.  Instead, I will infuse my cooking with love and gratitude and nurture my family with them.  And I will stop wasting energy trying to lock you out, instead, Ill open all of my windows and invite beauty in.

My walk is complete. I return to the home that I now share with grief, close the door, absorb the heat, and resolve to not long for spring, but to listen to winter

The Winter of Listening

No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire,
what disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

Even with the summer
so far off
I feel it grown in me
now and ready
to arrive in the world.

All those years
listening to those
who had
nothing to say.

All those years
forgetting
how everything
has its own voice
to make
itself heard.

All those years
forgetting
how easily
you can belong
to everything
simply by listening.

And the slow
difficulty
of remembering
how everything
is born from
an opposite
and miraculous
otherness.

Silence and winter
has led me to that
otherness.

So let this winter
of listening
be enough
for the new life
I must call my own.

David Whyte

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To all those Abused as Children

The following is a poem by wise and compassionate poet, counselor, and retired Episcopal priest, Alla Renee Bozrath that I first discovered in the book, Life Prayers: 365 Prayers, Blessings and Affirmations to Celebrate the Human Journey edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon. If you are a seeker, a griever, or are struggling in any way right now, I encourage you to explore her wonderful work.

Dont look back,
battered child,
Time then hurt you,
Let time heal you.
Dont look back.

Dont look back,
beaten child.
They knew not what
they did except what
was done unto them.
Dont look back.

Dont look back,
abandoned child,
abused, neglected child.
Denial is salt in your wounds.
Dwelling in repeating
the deliberate disappearance
of your soul.
Dont perpetuate this harm.

Break the cycle,
wait -
stop it here.

Speak out the paralyzing secret
and begin to come back to yourself.
Cry it out to compassionate ears
and be held in the hearts of your witnesses.

The truth shall make you free
but first it will shatter you.
What was broken can be mended,
what was lost, restored.
Find yourself, then,
pure and whole, a child of God.
Look back long enough to let go.
Alla Renee Bozarth

Look Back
Long Enough
and then
Let Go..

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Self Discovery and The Art Box

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual
Arthur Koestler

Dan Montgomery, author of How to Survive Practically Anything draws often on his clients creativity to help facilitate their journeys of self discovery. One technique he uses for this purpose is called, the art box.

If youd like to try this technique, first, select a box of any size or shape that can serve to represent your whole self (body/mind/spirit/soul.) Next, collect any pictures, lyrics, poems, photos, drawings, objects, etc. that symbolize the various aspects of your life. Decorate the outside of the box with objects that represents those parts of yourself that the whole world sees. Place in the interior of the box those symbols and objects that represent your inner life.

Just as were always in process, the boxes as well are never truly completed as the expectation is that youll periodically modify your box to reflect change and growth. The potential for self discovery and catharsis when we engage in these kinds of creative activities is really quite remarkable. Go ahead and try it. Open yourself up to the wise spirit of your own creativity.

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