A Way Out of the Cave

Sadness is like a dark cloud fogging over your brain with despair making you want to curl up in a ball and lie in your bed forever. If no change to the mind happened, people would stay in their dark cave forever.

Depression keeps away hope. In its darkness, light is hard to grasp. Negative thoughts stand in the way from the truth preventing the steps to a better frame of mind to be seen.

Anxiety begins with depression’s lies. Then thinking spirals into a panic not allowing for reasoning.

Who is to stop such madness but the trained mind of the person who practices climbing out of the cave knowing all too well the habitual ways of the one who prevents himself from taking the first action. Yet for that person in the cave, they sometimes have a hard time seeing the first step.

Once I sat in a dark cave.  The tour guide then lit one match.  It was amazing to everyone how much one little match lit up the whole cave.

If you find yourself or know someone in a dark cave of depression,  focus on the first action of lighting a match. The magic is in learning how to see the light. For the quicker you can ignite a flame, the more you can see all you need to see which is the first step out of the despair.

Once you see the first step, your brain begins to see a path for hope. The momentum of taking the first step motivates you to keep climbing.  If you know someone suffering from depression, or do so yourself, learn to question the current thinking.  What is it that is causing the depression?  What lies are being told?  Are those lies really true?  What can they be thankful for?

If they can name even one thing that they can be grateful for, the mind reframes.  It becomes the match giving them a different perspective of their life and their abilities. It makes them see all the times where they demonstrated strength and where those lies were not true.

Help those who cannot see the light.  Guide them to the first step.  A glimpse of hope and optimism goes a long way.  It will guide you out of a cave.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

The photograph was taken in Ireland.

Create Something #FindJoy

It is amazing how alive you feel when you do something new or create something. Especially when it is close to your passion. Whether it is painting, crafting, wood burning, wood carving, poetry, songwriting, making a terrarium, renovating or making furniture or using a pottery wheel it doesn’t have to be perfect. Let yourself feel the joy of the activity and your feeling of being immersed. What have you always wanted to create? There are unlimited options to be found on YouTube, at an art center or a workshop event near you. Start now and help fulfill your soul!

The joy is in the creation.

List ideas of what you have always wanted to create in the comments section.

Also see Gifts of Sunshine.


Giving Up Your Right Arm

Sometimes it takes a negative life event to appreciate the simple things.  When you no longer have something that you used to take for granted, it changes your perspective on what satisfies you.

March 2, as I was turning 45 an accident during a ski trip led to an AC joint injury and rotator cuff surgery.  In other words, I am unable to use my right arm for several weeks and I am told I have a year-long journey ahead to get used of my arm back to close to normal.

Normally I am an active person who loves hiking, bicycling, and most of all kayaking.  My career also drives me to work 50-60 hours a week.  All of which including keeping up with the household chores like folding laundry is very reliant on my right arm.  I have spent a lot of time with family, reading, and realizing how hard it is for me to shut down and be patient and control my mind.  The days where I’ve had breakdowns of frustration coincide with the days I have not practiced what I have read and studied for so many years.

I picked up my first self-help book at the age of 18.  That’s where my journey for self-transformation really began.  It was a book I read the summer before entering college on overcoming test anxiety through self-hypnosis.  It taught me to imagine myself doing well, through first relaxing my body, controlled breathing, and visualization.  It helped me go from a 2.6 GPA student in high school to a 3.4 student in college.  More importantly, it helped me change my self-image from someone incapable of someone capable.  Through even more personal development I went from a poor shy backward farm girl that battled lots of depression to a high performing sales professional and household breadwinner that has persevered.

Even while surpassing my income goals and material possessions the relentless drive for checking off the accomplishments wasn’t leaving me feeling satisfied.  With the combination of teachings from others wiser than me and my halftime break at 45 this year, the reality of needing to concentrate on the daily rituals of filling the soul is even more glaring.

No matter who you are, we all have a story.  Some are just better than others at hiding their struggles and some are better at coping.  Others will admit they need all the help they can get to be present and fight off negative self-talk and depression.

What is consistent in all the studies for learning to be grateful, finding your joy, life satisfaction, or as I would like to call it having your soul feel fulfilled, boils down to doing the list of things below that all encompass “Everything for the Soul.”  Beyond the natural highs, nothing will leave you fulfilled.

  • Daily gratitude journal
  • Discover new things
  • Establish a positive streak
  • Exercise
  • Read something positive
  • Create something
  • Get Sunshine
  • Connection

As you review the list of what it takes, you may recognize they aren’t material things, food, alcohol, drugs, sex or any other unhealthy addiction.  It is purely a list of things you can do to reframe your way of thinking.  All of us encounter negative self-talk.  Those happiest have been able to reprogram for the positive.  It is up to you to use the tools and resources provided to put them into your own daily practice.  Once you have recognized how the tools have helped you find satisfaction in your abilities to control your thinking please share your story in the comments section of any of the posts.

On the scale of life events for many, my temporary set back of having the use of my right arm taken away is a small price to pay for appreciation of my health.  During my recovery, I have learned of others facing even more serious health scares.  A mother, friend, and wife is battling stage four cancer, a father, son, and brother facing news of a discovered brain tumor.  Another person grieves over their lost loved one who chose to end his daily mind battle through taking his own life.

No matter our struggle, there is always someone facing something worse.  By sharing my story and findings and encouraging others to tell their stories through everthingforthesoul.com may it inspire more people to use these daily practices to reframe their mind and live a more fulfilled life.  What better life purpose than to fulfill souls!

Resource: If you struggle with addiction here’s where you can find help: http://www.mission-addiction.org/about-us/

Photograph take at Diamond Peak Ski Resort