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Gratitude – A lesson From the Wizard of Oz

October 5th, 2010 1 comment

In 1939, Hollywood filmed a picture called the “Wizard of Oz”. It became a legend and has been shown thousands of times around the globe. One of the most unique things, which set it apart from the other films in that year, was the use of black and white in the beginning of the movie. The black and white landscape of Dorothy’s Kansas symbolizes the lack of “something” in her life.  I believe that “something” is gratitude.

Without gratitude, it feel like all the color has been sucked out of our lives.  Everything is shades of gray.  Depression seeps in and we are plodding through our lives with little joy.  Our lives can feel as though it is a painful task that must be completed.  Living in a world without gratitude is as drab as the scenery in Dorothy’s Kansas.

Gratitude is the paint brush in our lives.  When I am truly grateful for something it makes my world feel brighter. I notice the green of the trees. The color of the flowers. It is the emotion of feeling fully awake and alive.

Every day we are given opportunities to be grateful. They may come cloaked as events we couldn’t possible feel gratitude. we could have career difficulties, or finances aren’t good. There are many things in our every day happenings we could choose sadness, depression and fear.  Or, we can choose to feel grateful. It is all a matter of perception and choices.  It is possible to find something good in even the most horrendous situations.  Napoleon Hill said,   “Every adversity, every failure, and every unpleasant experience carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit which may prove to be a blessing in disguise.”

Even when our lives feel filled with heavy thunderstorms. Full of lightning, loud thunder, heavy rain and damaging winds. We can chose our perception of these events.  We can realize our lives are like nature.   The sun will come out and the earth has been nourished with life giving rain.  The clouds will move on, leaving us a beautiful, colorful rainbow.  It takes a storm to make a rainbow.

The business man, J. C. Penney said it best, “I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

Gratitude is an emotion which needs to be practiced. We can practice it as we write in our journal.  We practice when we tell our families what we enjoy about them.  We can look for the best in situations even as the storm is raging.  That is when it isn’t easy to remember the rainbow yet to come. But, if we are diligent, and practice gratitude every day, our perceptions will change and we will be rewarded with even more things to be grateful for. I like to think of gratitude as our direct link with the Divine.

Dorothy had to work so hard to get home.  She had many lessons to learn in Oz.  She finally clicked her ruby slippers together while repeating over and over, “there is no place like home”.  what was her attitude when she finally made it back to Auntie Em and her family? It was gratitude. Let gratitude bring the change from black and white to color in your life.

Gratitude works best when it it expressed.  What are you grateful for? Leave me a comment and share with all of us.

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3 Tips on How to Overcome Holiday Stress and Depression

December 10th, 2009 1 comment

thumbnail.aspxChristmas time, what a wonderful time of year!  An evening drive around the city is eye candy.  Spectacular light displays, Christmas cards, music we hear only once a year, parties, and getting together with loved ones.  If this time of year is so full of wonderful things, why are more people stressed and depressed?

This has been a tough year on a lot of people with the economy and job losses.  Money can be tight this time of year.  People are trying to spread themselves thin with all the holiday activities.  How can we enjoy the seasonal activities and still keep our sanity?  Here are few tips and techniques that might come in handy.

1.  Get enough rest.  When we are battling fatigue our nerves can become very close to the surface.  For most people 7 – 8 hours a night is optimal.  The holiday season, before Christmas to after the New Year dawns, is a time when our usual time commitments can be added to very easily.  It can feel like the entire family is going all directions, running 100 mile an hour with their hair on fire.  Being well rested can help our stress levels.

2.  Learn to say no.  It can seem like adding one or two extra volunteer projects should be easy enough.  But, one or two more things can stretch the already busy schedule to critical mass.  Think it over carefully before volunteering for each project.

3.  Decide to enjoy Christmas!  For someone that has lost a loved one near Christmas, or family can’t make it home to celebrate the season, this can be a long and lonely holiday season.  Try out a few new holiday traditions.  Most of all, especially when  grief is involved, be kind to yourself.  It is OK to be sad when you’ve experienced loss.  That is a natural reaction.  Try not to block yourself off from others.  If you are alone for the holidays, this would be a good time to find others that are in the same situation.  Fill that lonely time by being of service to others.  The homeless shelter might need help serving Christmas dinner, or volunteer to deliver Christmas baskets to the poor.  There are trees in hospitals and grocery stores that have children’s names and ages and suggestions for gifts that you might enjoy shopping for them.  Seeking out the company of other people might give a small reprieve from the sadness. If it becomes unbearable, seek out a professional who has been schooled in dealing with grief and talk with them; clergy, doctors, or mental health professionals.  Don’t be ashamed.  Everyone needs a little help at times.

I have included a link to an article that goes into more detail and could be helpful to you.  May you have a blessed Christmas season!

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How Can I Escape the Darkness of Depression?

September 29th, 2009 No comments

Double-alaskan-rainbowToday, I would like to present a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  It is the topic of depression.  I am sure right now you are asking yourself, “Nan, why should I listen to you about this subject?  Are you a doctor?”  My answer to you would be, “no, I am not a doctor.  I am not going to give you medical advice and you should not view this as such.  You should always seek out a professional for treatment if you are prone to depression.  My only qualification for this is the fact that I have survived depression and I learned what worked for me.  I would like to share the things that helped me.  Then you can make up your own mind.

So, now the choice is yours.  You can click out of this site, or get comfortable and read what I have to say.  From there you can decide for yourself.

I believe there are clinical reasons for being depressed.  I believe that depression can be caused by chemical imbalances.  I also believe in miracle healings from our mind.  Have I lost you yet?  If you are still reading, you must be open for a change.

Which brings me to my first tip.

1.  To get rid of depression, one must take responsibility for their life and be open for a change.  I know you are probably thinking, “who wouldn’t be open for not feeling depressed anymore?”  Believe it or not, some times people feel more comfortable with the feelings of depression than without those feelings.  Deciding to overcome the feelings of depression can leave some people outside their comfort zone.  Often times, people will use the excuse of “I am depressed” to not take responsibility for their problems, choosing to stay in the victim mode.  I mean no offense to anyone, I have been there myself.  The first step to recovering from depression is to take responsibility for your life and desire a change.

2.  Changing our perception.  I have heard people talk about depression as their mind looking for the “click spot”.  What I mean by that is our minds get used to certain feelings almost like a habit.  It is like clicking through the gears until you find that familiar spot.  That could relate back to the chemical imbalance that have been feeding our brains.  If we are used to the feelings of depression, it can feel strange to entertain thoughts of hope and wellness.  In a way, we have to retrain our brains.  We can start by looking for the blessings in our lives.  Set a goal of thinking of 10 things every day that you are thankful for.  The first few days it might seem difficult to find those 10 things.  As time goes on, those 10 things will flow to you.  Get a journal and label it “my blessings”.  Write in it every day.  Instead of dwelling on the feelings of depression, or the negative effects of complaining.  You will start training yourself to look for the blessings and bright spots in your day. Acknowledging the blessings can lift our mood and change the body’s chemicals that are feeding our brains.

3. Learn forgiveness.  I have heard and I believe that depression is anger that is turned inward.  If depression is an issue in your life then chances are there are people in your life that you have not forgiven.  Often times, the one we have not forgiven is ourselves.  I am not trying to down play any one’s pain.  I know many people have terrible things that happen in their lives; rape, murder of a loved one, disloyalty, job loss, financial troubles, etc.  I have experienced a few myself.  Many years ago, my grandmother was murdered in her home.  It sent our family into a tailspin.  She was our family’s matriarch, and to all of us, our trusted adviser.  I can’t express to you the sorrow and anger I felt.  I knew that I would not be free until I could forgive her killer.  When I embraced forgiveness for that person that was responsible for this horrendous deed to her, and to our family, I began to feel free.  I will always miss her, but I don’t dwell on how she passed.

4.  Read self improvement daily.  You will stumble on things that will help you in your quest for a depression free life.  There is so much information available in books and on the Internet.  Learn about happiness.  Happiness, after all, is a daily decision.

5.  Try using some EFT techniques.  EFT stands for “Emotional Freedom Technique”.  Our bodies have fields of energy surrounding them.  Sometimes, that energy gets messed up and EFT realigns our energies.  Don’t pooh-pooh it until your try it.  It really helped me.  A wonderful site for this is the World Center for EFT founded by Gary Craig.  They have a free training manual and a very user friendly site.  Carol Look, an EFT practitioner, sends out a great online newsletter every month.  You can sign up for her newsletter and she has a link to her past newsletters.

Depression can handicap your life, if you allow it.  It is like living in a black and white world with a cotton fog surrounding our minds.  Leaving depression is like stepping out into the sunshine into a world that is vivid with color.  It can be the rainbow after the storm.

I would like it if you left me comments and share with all of us how you have handled depression.  Sharing helps others. 

I would like to thank  Eric Rolph for his beautiful picture Double Alaskan Rainbow!

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Setting goals is another way to train our brains for happiness and success.  The 7 day goal setting course is still available.  A fast and easy way to learn.  It is delivered right to your email account every day for a week.  What could be better?  Click here for more info!

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