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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Be still, and know, He is God

Be still, and Know, I am God… this is the most profound text for me in the Bible. How hard it is to be still and know He is God, when your heart is broken and you feel hopeless and alone. The agonizing pain after the death of my son Emile almost drove me insane. I felt like running down the street screaming, ripping off my clothes and tearing out my hair. Every time that text would come back to me, be still, and know, I am God. If we can heed that advice and just be still and feel Him with us and holding us, we will be more able to overcome tragedies in our lives. Questions and what ifs and should have’s would run through my thoughts and my heart would feel ripped open by unseen claws. The guilt I felt for not seeing that there was something wrong with Emile made me want to hide away or bury myself under rocks. If only I spoke to him and asked him what was plaguing his mind, but I never did. I had to become still and know, He is God. With crazy thoughts running through your mind and feelings of self-blame, guilt and regret assaulting your senses it is the hardest thing to do. I prayed for months and begged God to take the unbearable pain away from me. Not until I heeded that text did my mind come to a rest. The pain didn’t leave me instantaneously but I was able to breathe for times in the knowledge it too will end. When you are in the midst of heartache all you can see is that pain and all that went wrong in your life, you don’t feel like being still. We ask continuously, what we did wrong to deserve this. Why does this have to happen to me? Instead try to still your mind and know He is God. Everything happens for a reason and it will be revealed to us in time, if we choose to see it for what it is. It doesn’t help us in our situation to blame ourselves or others for our problems and heartache. It doesn’t help to play those images over and over in your mind’s eye. It robs you of the peace you are so deserving of. When you feel the pain of your situation overcome you, be still, and know, He is God. Give it all over to Him and let it go, it is not yours to hold close and cuddle. It will just hurt you more so when you feed it all the time. Give all your pain to Him and know, he will take it away if you let Him. He will soothe your aching soul and fill you with acceptance and clarity of mind. Instead of all the negative hurtful feelings and thoughts meditate on the love, peace and light that are awaiting you. Blessed Be and Namaste.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't let depression destroy your life

If you have suffered from depression you will know the helplessness and despair of living with it every day of your life. Real depression is not like the blues where you can pull yourself out of or “pull your self together”. It is a debilitating illness that can destroy your life as well as those around you. I have suffered from depression for 17 years which became acutely intense when I lost my son Emile. With the help of the right medication and therapy I am able to live a normal life again. Unfortunately when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain it takes time to find the right medication that will work with you. There are also all kinds of different depression a person can suffer from. I don’t have much knowledge about all of them only mine which is where the brain has an imbalance of serotonin.

A person who doesn't suffer from and have never suffered from depression has no idea what it is like to live with it. They think we can just make a decision and be over it. If only it was that easy. After my son Emile died I couldn't get out of my bed to do anything. There was no reason for me to live any more, or so I thought. Suicide was a calling siren that occupied my mind day and night. I was absolutely obsessed with death and wanted it to fetch me right away. You can’t explain this to anyone, they think you are insane or pitying yourself. For you at that moment it is reality and feels like the only way out of the unbearable pain and despair you are feeling. I tried to follow Emile on two occasions but it wasn't meant to be. I tried grief counseling, trauma therapy and talking to other depression sufferers.
Nothing seemed to help me. Then after a suicide attempt someone referred me to a psychologist that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to treat his patients. It teaches you to control your emotions and grief and not let it control you. When you are suffering from depression you are very emotional and when your mind starts running away with you, you feel completely helpless against its onslaught. We are the master of our minds not the other way around. However, we need to learn to control our minds, and it is not an easy task. With every thought we start a pattern that can lead to a loss of control and ultimately to a feeling of complete despair.
One thought of pain and unhappiness leads to another worse one and before you can stop it you are in the midst of darkness that feels completely encompassing with no way out. With that comes the feeling of madness as well. At one stage I thought I was losing my mind and with just a step in the wrong direction I was going to go insane and never be able to come back again. It truly felt as if I was hanging onto sanity by a thread. Your mind is very powerful if you let it be. It can make you feel utter despair, helpless, useless, of no account to life or those around you and that life has no meaning at all. Fortunately with the right therapy and medication it can be overcome and used to make life worth living again.
Meditation was another great tool that helped me see things in reality and not the way my mind was
distorting it. It helps to empty the mind of all thoughts and concentrate on something positive, like the love of God. It wasn't easy in the beginning because my thoughts seemed to have their own life. With lots of practice I used that on many occasions to center my thoughts on the positive and everything I still had to be thankful for and reasons to live. Life is a wonderful gift and we are here for a reason so don’t let your depression take the joy of life away from you. If you need to talk to someone please feel free to contact me, I know what you are suffering through. We are all in this together.
Blessed Be and Namaste!

Why me?

Have you ever asked yourself this question “Why me”? When your heart has been broken and it feels as if your life has come to an end. I wondered about this after I lost my son Emile to suicide on 5 February 2006. After a lot of soul searching I came to the conclusion that it was meant to be. How else could I have learned to feel compassion, sympathy and real empathy if I never felt the unbearable pain of loss? Kahlil Gibran says: “But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.” How very true these words are. How can we truly live and love if we don’t give it our all? When the rug has been pulled from under our feet and we have lost our footing in life, then can we really begin to feel love and compassion for others. We can’t go through life and care about the world and other people if we haven’t been broken and walked the path of healing. Why not you and I? What are we better than others not to experience the most unbearable pain on earth? We can’t grow if we haven’t truly felt out heart scatter into million pieces. Real life is not just roses and moonshine, it is to feel lost and broken and alone, and have the courage to get up and start all over again. I want to laugh all of my laughter and weep all of my tears and feel deeply for humans and God. I heard a saying once, when you are down the only way is up. Don’t feel that your life is over now that you have lost so much and your heart is broken, now is the time to get out there and feel and live this beautiful life God has given you to live. Go out and learn your lessons even if it breaks your heart. You are not alone, God has a plan for you and if you accept your fate it will be revealed to you. Every minute of every day is a gift to make life and the world a better place. I say to you now if you coast through life without a care in the world you will learn nothing worthwhile and your soul will never grow. I thank God for the opportunity He gave me to learn lessons in life and be grateful for life, the little time I have here on earth to grow as a soul. Don’t waste it on regret and guilt. Try to make right where you erred and give it your all. It is but one teardrop in the ocean of life. When death comes for you one day, you must be able to say; I have lived and I have learned and I have loved with all my heart.
Blessed Be

Lets talk about suicide

I thought we could talk about suicide today and hear what others have to say about it and how it has affected their lives. There are so many misconceptions about it and a stigma attached to it. The word for suicide in my mother tongue, Afrikaans, translated straight to English reads “self-murder”. What an awful word to use to describe one’s passing. Here in South Africa suicide is against the law and if you attempt it you can be arrested for attempted murder. People still think you go straight to hell if you die from suicide. My son Emile died by suicide and I had in laws and an acquaintance told me that his soul will never rest. Can you imagine the horror of that thought?
It is frowned upon all over the world and communities still point the finger at the immediate family members as the cause of it. “You must have been a bad parent or done something for that to happen to you,” it is said. What most don’t know is that when you have decided in your mind to take your own life, nothing anyone can say or do will change your mind. Most don’t even talk about it and just go ahead and do it. It has nothing to do with parents or loved ones, it is getting rid of the pain that is the ultimate goal. Unfortunately it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
There are many signs when a person is planning this last and fateful step but it is only recognized after the fact. Emile started giving his things away, and he was very quiet the last two weeks of his life. I thought he was contemplating life and what he should do in his future. When a decision like this is made in their minds they feel a quiet calm descend because they have the solution to their problems and pain. Some may even
appear happy and content with life. We ask ourselves all kinds of futile questions after the suicide of someone we love, but we will never have the answers to our questions, until we meet them again on the other side.
 Until we are in that same situation we can never imagine what they were thinking or going through. I know if Emile knew how much unbearable pain and agony I would suffer for years, he would never have done what he did. Every thought of life and the people they love disappear from their minds. All they can think about its getting away from this turmoil and incredible unbearable emotional distress. They want to kill the pain assaulting their whole being, not themselves. When someone has cancer you will feel compassion and sympathy for them, so why can’t people feel the same about suicide. It is an illness of the mind and it kills most in the end. Nobody who is in their right mind will do this to themselves and others. I think they lose their selves somewhere along the way and can’t function in a normal way any more.
Blessed Be and Namaste,

Life is like a tree

I was lying under a tree one day and was looking up at the branches running from the main trunk and realized that our lives are just like trees. The bottom part is our birth and our lives growing up with our parents. Then we have choices in live we can make and different paths to take, just like the branches in a tree. Every branch leads to its own shape and different little branches and leaves. Sometimes one of the branches dies and starts growing again from one of the smaller branches.
We die a little on this road called life with pain and suffering we live through and tragedies that befall us. Each branch represents a different road we choose to take and that leads to different situations we will find ourselves in life. Some choices lead to a longer life and others to a shorter life. We can’t blame anyone for the things we choose to do or paths we choose to take. When you leave your parent’s home your life is in your own hands.
We become responsible for what happens in our lives and anything that goes wrong can’t be blamed on others or situations that shaped our lives. We make our own mistakes and we have free will to choose to do the right or wrong thing. Like the branches in a tree, life comes to an end at some time or another and one day we will have to account for our actions and mistakes. We can’t call on anyone to be a witness to our lives or blame others for our trespasses.
 Nobody can force us to take drugs or kill an innocent person or any other kind of wrong action we decided upon. It will then just be between us and God. When others have been hateful to you and it made you a bitter person, they won’t be punished for it. When things go wrong in our lives it is the way we react to it and use it to become better human beings that count. Bitterness and hate will not make you a better person and it will definitely not make you feel peace and joy. Each of us is responsible for our own lives and what we become because of our experiences.
Blessed Be and Namaste!!

Missing children

One of the most horrific things for any parent to go through must be when your child goes missing without a trace. In the 80’s here in South Africa 5 young girls between the ages of 11 and 13 went missing within 2 years. No trace was ever found of them. There were extensive investigations and random places were dug up but nothing was ever found. When my son Emile died by suicide that was the only thing that kept me sane, the knowledge that he was safe. I can not imagine the horror of the parents of children who go missing every year. The despair they must feel and live with every day. The horrible questions that must plague their mind all the time; is my chid safe? Does he or she have a place to sleep and food to eat? Are they being molested and tortured? I am sure most of these parents go insane with worry and fear. I don’t think anyone can live with the not knowing. We have all read stories like this in newspapers and see it on television all the time. In some cases they are found and reunited with their parents and life can go on again in a fashion. At times when the pain of losing Emile is at its worst I just imagine him safe in heaven and that he will never suffer in any way again. I am asking all of you to pray for parents who have lost their children and still don’t know where they are. I have read accounts of parents who said they just wish the body could be found so that they can lay their child to rest and mourn him or her properly. I am sure there are parents who belong to Humanity Healing Network who find themselves in this situation. I am praying for you and asking angels to give you strength to carry on and not lose hope. Or if there is no more hope of finding your child alive that you will be able to bury your child and know they are now safe with our Creator. I am sending peaceful and positive thoughts across the world to parents whose children are lost. May God give you mercy and bring closure to your suffering. Blessed Be and Namaste.

Our children, Our all

We carried our children for nine months and gave birth to them and took care of them most their lives. When they fell down and scraped a knee we were there to kiss it better and wipe off their tears. When someone was hateful to them we would tell them they are wonderful and beautiful. If they didn't succeed in something we told them it didn't matter and we love them. It doesn't stop when they grow up and start leading their own lives. With adulthood comes other problems and we are still there for them. How it breaks a mother's heart to see her child taking drugs and destroying their lives. What immeasurable pain it is to see your child in a prison cell convicted of murder or something else. It doesn't matter how our children's lives turn out to be we will always be their mothers and love them. It makes no difference if they become successful and live a good life or if they fail and take the wrong paths, we love them unconditionally. And we will always love them. When you see a young man in shackles led to a prison there is a mother somewhere who is crying for him. When you see a young man begging on the streets there is a mother somewhere who worries about him. If you see young girls on the streets selling their bodies for drugs, they have a mother who wants what is best for them. I know this is not always true for all children but I bet it is for most. We do the best we can to make our children's lives good for them to the best of our abilities. It hurts so much to see your beautiful child suffer mental illness and there is nothing you can do to help him or her or take it away. You ache so deeply when your child suffers from depression and they feel unworthy of life. When your child becomes involved with bad things you wish you can take them away from it and make them see what they are doing to themselves. We lie awake at night wondering if our kids are safe and if they will come home. The worst thing for a mother is to let go of her child when they reach the age to become independent. No matter how old your child is they are you precious jewel. We stand by helpless and see them stumbling and making the wrong choices in their lives when all we want to do is take them in our arms and tell them we love them. Every mother will understand what I am writing here. We just want the best for our kids and we will go to any lengths to make that true. All mothers make mistakes and the wrong choices but our intentions are good. When you hold that innocent little baby in your arms you just want the world to be good and wonderful for him or her. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way and our hearts break for them over and over. For all mothers suffering out there in the world, I salute you! WE stand united against the world for our kids!!
Blessed Be and Namaste.

Spread Peace

To try and have peace in your life is a very difficult undertaking. People will upset you and make you feel like lashing out. Things will go wrong to make you angry and helpless. The key to attaining peace is to meditate on it and try to practise it every day. When someone attacks you, before you lash out take a deep breath and think peaceful thoughts. A harsh word can be deflected with a soft word of love. When someone insults you tell them in a soft loving way that you were hurt and that is was uncalled for. We are programmed from kids to defend ourselves so we instantly go into defensive mode when we are hurt. The walls come up and we distance ourselves from the ones who hurt us. Most of the times the ones who dish out the hurt are hurting themselves and need to make others hurt as well. When you feel like slapping someone, hug them instead and say you understand they are having a hard day. I read a saying on the net; “Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting a battle.” You don’t know what is going on in the life of that unfriendly police officer or nurse. They are probably having a difficult time at home and don’t know how to work thru the pain. When I encounter an unfriendly person somewhere I try to be kind and most of the time they change their attitude. Your soft and kind words can just make that person feel life isn’t as bad as they think it is at that moment. We see people but we don’t know what goes on in their lives or in their minds. They may be facing a divorce or awaiting bad news from the doctor or have a husband beating them regularly. Not everyone talks about the struggles they go thru in life and keep it inside. When there is no release for pain it is easy to be miserable and hurtful. This can also cause what is called the ripple effect. When you make someone’s day better they will feel better about themselves and will in turn be nicer to someone else. So one nice thing you do for someone can make others benefit from it as well without you even knowing about it. Try it next time when you encounter an angry and unfriendly person. You may be surprised what your loving words can bring out in them. Blessed be and Namaste!!

You are special

Each one of us is special and unique and wonderfully made. There is nobody in this world that is like you. Maybe someone somewhere looks a little like you or talks like you, but they can never be you. When God made you it was with something special in mind. Only you think and walk and talk and feel the way you do. The bible says it so beautiful in Psalm 139; "For you have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
Everything about us was known to God before we were even born and everything will happen the way it is suppose to in our lives. We are special to Him in all our ways. "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they were all written. The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." Even when we hurt and feel despair and anger at Him He understands why we do. You can be completely honest with Him about your feelings because He knows what they are in any way. "You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down. And you are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold oh Lord you know it altogether." This tells me we are special and loved by Him and He will guide our lives if we let him. It doesn't matter who you are or what you are, you are precious to Him. We all have a role to play in this world no matter how big or small, it fits into the puzzle of life. Not one of us is here without any reason. It sometimes feels that way, but it is the evil forces who want us to feel like no account in life. Please know you are a wonderful and precious creation of God and he loves you very much. Nobody on earth can love you the way He does. Only our creator loves us completely unconditionally. Go and look at yourself in the mirror and see the person God made with purpose and love.
May God bless you today and always!!