Category Archives: health

Thank You For Your Service

Today is a day for remembering our veterans. Yet we often exclude and even look with shame on those who take their own live. The following is a different take, a brief story which can save our own lives and that of our loved-ones.

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He was my cousin. He was my friend. He was a quiet and kind man, with an offbeat sense of humour.

He spoke with subdued meanness about the father he never knew. Perhaps that was a clue. Perhaps that was the beginning.

suicide

The last time I saw him, he had returned home from fighting America’s war In the land of Iraq. I asked him, “what are you going to do now that you are home”

He replied, “I want to go back and blow some brains out”

“You’re not serious,” I questioned, wondering if this was an ugly example of his warped sense of humour.  He didn’t respond. I don’t think he smiled.

In search of a more loving mood, I change the conversation. But I could not find his smile. I could not find his love.

The day I heard of his fate, I realized I had been speaking to a ghost; for the cousin and friend I once knew never returned from Iraq.

With his wife and son away from home, he took a gun pointed it to his head and like he had spoken, blew his own brains out.

Now I say tearful thanks to him for bringing greater attention to the mental illness that comes from the many wars of our lives.

His broken life sheds light on the millions of mentally ill living with sicknesses our eyes cannot see, struggling to cope with the ravages of life.

As mental illness spreads like a virus, we urgently see the need to learn how to love and how to save another mind, another lost loved-one.

To all desolate war veterans driven to take their own life, thank you for your service. Thank God for your life.

Finding Hope in Suffering

It is hoped that this video will be an encouragement to you  or someone you love at some point in your life. Having friends and family with or who died as a result of cancer or other diseases, and being a stroke survivor as well as currently experiencing eye disease, this is very real for me.

Wake Up

Can you imagine a voice, without a body, speaking to you out of nowhere, not once but three separate times? That’s what happened to me the first year after my stroke. The voice, who I am sure was of God, said:

  • You are love

  • Share your story with the world

  • Believe

For a long time I thought that if I spoke too much about this, people would think I’m mad or just another religious fanatic. Plus, I thought, who am I to think God would speak to me. I couldn’t throw Him away, so I subconsciously decided to just bury him as a minor character in my story, Rising Like a Phoenix.

Without fully understanding why, I also had to bury the book until I could understandGodspeaks-cc and accept its true purpose.  This happened just a few weeks ago, when the words in the adjoining poem came out of me. I knew then that for sure I had not written my story but His story.

He woke me up for the first time with the stroke. When I was in the hospital and overwhelmed with love, I was seeing him.  I was seeing my true self. When I was helping other stroke survivors as well as other patients, I was being him (as shown by Jesus). I was being my true self.

I was being my God-self, which is our medicine for healing. This is our path, as believers, for achieving the purpose for which we came here. My journey and that of many others are his testimony to that truth.

I am writing a second edition of Rising Like a Phoenix, with a few modifications to better demonstrate this revelation.  After this, I will get back to A Path to Success, which is all about how we can be Him, be ourselves, and find our success in life.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

 

Choose to Defeat the Darkness Inside

A couple weeks ago I was sitting in a room with my 13 year old daughter, my 10 year old nephew, and a group of my daughter’s friends.  My daughter was in a foul mood, sulking like an angry cat. She said her cousin called her fat, and this made her very upset.

Like a big woman, her 13 year old friend decided she needed a serious talking to. She said something like:

“You’re not fat. Look at you, tall, with your nice flowing hair. You should be flicking that hair and showing everyone how good you look, instead of listening to baldy [my nephew just got a short hair cut]. Get rid of that sulk! I wanna see a smile.”

My daughter smiled, and I laughed. Everyone laughed, even my nephew.

The point is, life is too short for us to be making ourselves ugly because of an unkind or silly comment from someone else. We all should be focused on letting the world see the light in us (both our physical appearance and our spirit). That is how we bless the people around us.

Each day, we can choose to keep or to give away the goodness inside of us.  How are you choosing?

Say a Prayer for Cecilia

ceciliaCecilia has been fighting for her life for the last couple weeks, as a result of a horrible hit and run accident.

Anyone who has had a disability as well as constant health challenges, yet at the same time is an uplifting beacon of love and friendship for others, deserves a great blessing. Cecilia, a gifted young lady who is visually impaired and a brain cancer survivor, is such a person.

I met Cecilia at the gym about 5 years ago. She was an arts and crafts volunteer, working with children at the gym where I workout. I admired her general love for my daughter and other children, including her gift for making creative little paper toys to put smiles on people’s faces (as shown above) . We became good friends, and shared about our personal health challenges. I admired the fact that she never used this as an excuse to complain or stop contributing to life.

We had been sending a text to each other every Saturday morning, just before we met up at the gym. If either of us couldn’t be there, we’d let the other know. So two weeks ago when she didn’t respond to my text and I didn’t see her at the gym, I was a bit concerned. The same thing happened the week after. I was so concerned that I tried to contact her this past Monday. No success. I knew something was wrong. I feared it was a return of her brain cancer.

On Tuesday I got the call from her dad. He told me about the horrible car accident, and the search for the driver who caused the accident and ran away from the scene. Cecilia was so badly hurt that she was on life support and in a coma for a while.  She just recently came out of the coma, and though she is unable to communicate with me, she told her dad to call me and tell me what happened.

Though she is pretty broken up, I thank God that she is alive and is stable now. She is still facing a great battle. Her dad is asking for much prayers.

I have no idea what God has planned for Cecilia or any of us. I can only hope and pray that His plans includes a healing miracle for this inspiring young lady. Please pray with me.

Loving Hard

If I work hard so that I may live well, when do I stop working hard and start living well?

I finally found the answer to this question, which has haunted me for what seems like forever. That is:

Living well is not about working hard, it’s about loving hard.

When I love hard or deeply, I can overcome whatever limitations I see in myself, my family and my world. When I love the people around me deeply, work is a privilege, and I get more done than I can ever do by working hard.

I needed to have a crisis to see what it is to love hard, and to have amazing results in my life. What about you, is your life about working hard or loving hard?

Could some of us be missing the purpose of life?

It is a new year and many of us focus the purpose of our life on achieving things. We concentrate on things like being more successful in business, getting a new job, losing weight and a whole host of other things. Yet all these things are useless without something much more important; something which is the true purpose for life and the foundation of our happiness.

Let me give you an example. I grew up being told by others, and noticing my own awareness, that my sisters were prettier than me. So I turned my attention to my brain. I became known as the one who did the best in school. What I didn’t understand was that it isn’t important how pretty, how smart, or how accomplished any of us are.

character
What really matters is how virtuous, loving, kind, and peaceful we are. I thought I could use my brain to become more accomplished or make better decisions than my sisters, my mother, and many others. Yet, this thinking allowed my ego to run away with me; until I had a stroke. Then the only meaningful part of me that was left to heal me and guide me through life was the love, positivity and spirituality within me. This is true with regards to all the things we consider important; such as profession, employment and relationships.

Buddha said:

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

When we have a character focused on love and doing good deeds for others, our ego is shut down. Therefore we cannot help but become better and better at being who we are, and doing the good we are meant to do. This is the foundation for whatever we want to achieve.

What will you do to strengthen your character in 2015? Consider the following.

character

Online Dating and Professionals

onlinedatingI told one of my best friends that I had signed up on a dating website. She too is divorced and would love a second chance at a relationship. However, as a professional, she found it embarrassing, and was afraid that people she knew might see her. I understood what she was saying for I felt that way, until I decided to live in the 21st century.

In my single yesterday world, years have gone by and I have not meeting any potential partners. I therefore chose to add to my comfortable normal hang-outs (church, the gym, and various professional places), and go where there are many potential partners waiting to meet me.

I had to go on-line, where I personally know of four professional women who met their partners.

It’s been a few days since I reluctantly signed up, and I am learning how to be real. This is not an easy thing, for I have a limp and limited income. Nonetheless, my supposed weaknesses have turned out to be my greatest blessings, for they are guiding me to myself and to my ideal partner.

Will I succeed in finding what I want? I have faith that I will, on the web or off.  Either way, just looking and talking awaken something in me that has been sleeping for far too long.

I truly believe, if we go for what you want, we almost always find some great blessing.

Single Parenting and A Defiant Pre-Teen

dawnanddaughter2Until I find myself a husband, I’ve got to do my best to raise a  mentally, physically and spiritually healthy child on my own. It’s not easy, especially with a pre-teen daughter (12-year-old), who is the greatest fun, but also feels the need to flex her royal muscles.

This morning I went into her room, as I do every morning, to ensure she was up for school. She was in bed reading!

Flabbergasted, I asked her what she was doing bed.

She answered “I felt like reading.”

I did not feel like responding to her attempts to irritate me. So I said what I often say, “there are always consequences for our actions.”

She shrugged her shoulders and mumbled, “umm,” meaning she didn’t care.

She is normally a good kid except when she wants to test me, and she was certainly testing me.  I, however, was not in any mood for an argument. So I had to think of something good to help her feel the consequences of how she chose to address me.

I went downstairs to the kitchen. After dressing, she entered the kitchen in a nonchalant manner.

“I need tooth paste,” she said.

“umm,” I responded shrugging my shoulder. I was giving her a taste of her own medicine.

“uhh,” she said shockingly, expressing her total confusion.

“You felt this was an appropriate way to address me,” I said. She was not ready to give in, so she said “I’ll just take yours,” and off she went.

Normally I would stay and say goodbye as she goes out the door.  I didn’t this time and I regret that. I went off to my computer in the basement.

She called me. I did not answer. She came downstairs saw me working on the computer, and knew it wasn’t over.

My own behaviour was probably the actions of an imperfect mother, or one who had no-one to bounce her ideas off of. Still, I was and am still determined to teach her a lesson.

She left for school without saying goodbye, and I am sorry for that. I like to always say “goodbye, have a great day,” as she goes out the door. I will try not to let that happen again.

The good thing is that she knows  it’s not over, and will come home, as she has done before, sheepishly ready for her consequence. That consequence will be a good one. I am creating a sheet which will list her disrespectful  as well as her extraordinarily good behaviours. That sheet will be shared weekly with her father, my mother, her uncles, her aunt, and others. It will affect the costume she asked her uncle for as well as her precious Christmas gifts.  It will begin with today’s behaviour, where it goes from there is up to her. I want her to see a visible link between behaviour and consequences.

What do you think. What would you do?

World Mental Health Day

infographic_wmhd

 

Many of us work hard to take care of our bodies. Few of us do the same for our mind and spirit. As a result, one in five North Americans suffer from mental illness, more in some other parts of the world. Moreover, mental health issues represent an increasingly alarming cost to people and organizations around the world.

Realizing the global mental health crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) started World Mental Health Day in 1992. What’s going on in your country, your community or your life?  Can you see the rising number of people around you, dealing with mental issues?

Just this past week, I spoke to 3 people who revealed their issues.  One admitted she was on medication for severe depression. Another told me she had tried to commit suicide several times and showed me the slash mark on her arm. Another was clearly out of touch with reality; she told me several fantastic stories that could have sent anyone into depression.

How can we help? We start by being real with ourselves, talking care of our mind and spirit, and inspiring those around us to do the same. What else?