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Category Archives: Sadness

autumn dusk_empathy queen
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There is no such thing as perfection. Even in nature, it is not only the greenest of trees, or sunniest of days, that appeal to us. Our spirits find comfort in darkened skies, barren landscapes, frosty moons, and cloudy sunsets. It becomes perfection, in a fleeting moment, as it satisfies our individual moods and reflects our changing perspectives.

Perfection is a changeable factor. We want everything to be so pretty, colorful, bright, and perhaps well matched. To others, it is the crazy quilt combination and rough-hewn irregularity that expresses perfection. We can never create perfection for someone else because as hard as we try, it is our bias that we are using. As long as someone else has the right to approve or disapprove, to hold dear or discard, to treasure or to turn away, we will never feel perfected or completely embraced in it.

There is no such thing as perfection, unless we will it to be so, in how we view it within ourselves and consider it among the gifts of our heart or mind.

Every effort to do the right thing is a blessing. But the recipient does not always know that it is a gift, they may not even know who the giver is. We attempt to please someone else with what they can see and receive from us. But, sometimes, just giving what the other person needs is the most “perfect” thing, even that which does not seem so to us.

We can love in the best possible way we know how and others will discard it. We can try to say the most perfect words and someone else will choose not to hear it. The illusion of perfection is that the effort to attain it wears you down. Perfection should feel good, peaceful, and a spark of bliss. It is elusive; perfection is confined to a moment in time that you believe to be so. However, it is constantly changing, tipping forward or backward in our personal view of good and bad.

To those who can share such a moment with someone else, you have been gifted a tremendous blessing. However, not all of us who cannot, are “less than.” We are each seeking our moments of joy, insight, understanding, value, appreciation, empathy, compassion, and enduring good. We make the best decisions that we can at the time. In trying to bring about positive change, we seek to create perfection in a place or manner that apathy never can.

Perfection is a desire; striving to improve is a positive thing. Regret, and pain, because we have not achieved such a state, tears down and weakens. If it saps your strength, if the energy is felt and seen around you, as it is in empathetic people, and it hurts you, then it is not perfection.

Perfection is Divine; it is G-d given and not man made. We do not know what is perfect, or right, when things occur in our lives. We pray that it is for our best, but we question that as well. There is beauty in darkness, and sadness in clarity. Highly sensitive people are aware of their feelings and those of others. The noise, the temperature, the smells, and the sensory overload can be too much. Perfection may be the quiet moment in the morning, with the first sip of a wonderful cup of coffee, enjoyed alone. Quiet may be your version of perfection rather than a star-studded gala affair.

Do not regret not being a part of all that the media shows us to be the “perfect” holiday season or necessary start to the New Year. Greet new beginnings at your own pace. There is not only one day out of the year that carries the magic of the spirit. That day, that time, that minute, can be whenever it seems perfectly appropriate to you and it is not subject to anyone else’s approval but yours.

Releasing the need for someone else’s company or approval may be the kindest thing we can do for ourselves. So, even in pain, there is good if we consider it to be so. Even if it only lasts a minute, if our focus on our difficulties and disappointments only lasts as long as a sigh… We have glimpsed peace and the next moment is ours to determine how to move forward, or stand, until we are ready to move again.

Robin Williams madness

The death of Robin Williams has come as a complete shock to all but it lingers in the hazy parts of our brain. It seems beyond comprehension that Robin Williams died of suicide, succumbing to his severe depression. How could the funniest man in the room suffer from depression?

Robin Williams’ performances were broad ranges of manic brilliance, comic timing, creative thinking, heartfelt emotions and vulnerability. He won his only Oscar for playing an empathetic therapist in “Good Will Hunting.” His performance had to be inspired by his real life experiences. It may be that Robin Williams suffered from a dual diagnosis depression. 60% of people suffering from depression have a dual diagnosis; this means that they suffer depression and substance abuse.

His brilliance, his humor, his open heart, his philanthropy, being a loving father, and his vulnerable, honest and searing explanations of the demons that he was fighting touched us in the deepest parts of our brain and hearts. With all of his accolades, he did not hide from the dark side of life. He was open and honest for anyone that could understand or learn from his challenges.

robin williams good will hunting

We are struggling to understand how a bright light suffered from such deep darkness and despair.

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“You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear,” he said in 1989. “Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it’s going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you’ve laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That’s what I do when I do my act.” — Robin Williams

Robin Williams fought valiantly and sought help for his addictions multiple times. He worked to make us laugh as he wore his own mask (and a big red nose as Patch Adams).

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For those who think that depression is a sign of weakness or only a disease for the poor and homeless, remember Robin Williams’ 30 plus years of acting, performing, laughter and heart. Remember that he made us laugh when we felt we could not take another step in our own sadness. We sought escape from the struggles and challenges in our own lives by laughing along with him.

He left a legacy of laughter, but also a reminder that even the funniest, most brilliant, man in the room could suffer from depression.

Rest in Peace.

Robin Williams optimism

Over 20,000,000 million people in the U.S. are affected by Mental Illness. One of our best and brightest just died from it.
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generations by gilad

My mother passed away a year ago, two weeks before Mother’s Day. This year the Mother’s Day ads started early and I had a whole month to mourn the lack of someone to shop for or search for the perfect card. However, the truth is that it has been an acknowledgement and reminiscence of all that has transpired each day since.

Memories float to the surface among my tears like blurry Monet images of life. There is no “new normal” as people told me because nothing feels normal. Someone was offended because I called 30 year olds “kids.” Regardless of the age, if you have a parent, then you are someone’s child. Even when your mother is 70, she still recalls the memories of pregnancy and birth and those moments that made you one of her kids. She still demands and deserves respect for the status in life and the milestones achieved. Her memories dominate and no day goes by that she is not remembered, good or bad, for who she was as part of my life.

We are forever children trapped in the timelessness of memories, traveling through time to the feeling of adolescent 12 year olds; not yet a teen and not still a child, but not old enough to be on our own. We needed the reassurance of a parent who cared about us and knew where we were and cared that we were fed, cared if we had clean clothes to wear and a clean bed to sleep in. We were expected to do our homework and chores around the house. Big ones help the little ones.

Now, we try to protect each other without our North Star. The guidance and celestial being that connected us all is somewhere out “there” but certainly not here. My siblings and I are more cautious, gentler, and more fragile. Some of us are new grandparents and yet, we have no Mother. Those beautiful babies made us the matriarchs of our individual families, but the Mother of us all cannot see the photos nor answer the phone when one is born to share our news. There is no replacement for the original.

There are piles of emails in my inbox reminding me to think of what Mom really wants and to capture the photos of us together. Reservations have been made to celebrate Mother’s Day and show her how much we care with handmade Belgian waffles. There are no cards for me nor have I achieved that status of special planning. Life has gone on and work continues no matter the day. Hallmark goes on without me and maybe when I am older it will seem that I am a mother worth celebrating. For now, children are still growing and busy with their lives. They have not reached the age where they understand what it means to mother for a lifetime.

Yet, I have reached the stage where I cannot understand why mothers cannot last a lifetime. I knew that there was going to be a passing, there had to be a greeting and a farewell. There would be angels guarding and lighting the way and I am supposed to meet that moment with gratitude that she was not alone. But the only constant is that I miss her and she was my mother and she is no more.

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we-all-have-our-baggage

Several days ago, I saw a Daily Post prompt asking people if they hold a grudge or “forgive and forget.” Since then, this topic has been rolling around my brain, so I can assuredly say that I do not forget!

My brain and memories are very important to me. The things that I remember can be painful and did hurt, but they also informed me, taught me, and developed my sensitivity and empathy.

Having taught, I do remember the students, both good and bad, who have been part of the lessons along the way. I have not forgotten the lousy bosses or corporate back-stabbing. I recall my New York commutes and muggings. Those who were selfish, egotistical, mean, rude, disparaging and dispirited are part of the cadre of remembered.

People who behave that way, and treat others that way, are an anathema to me. I cannot possibly understand why they want to be remembered as that kind of person or why they would want others to remember the stupid things they should have forgotten to say out loud!

The bullies have not been forgotten though time has removed some of the sting. Yet, the words have not been forgotten and the body language and facial micro-movements have been catalogued in my brain. My memory has served as a training ground and provided me with people skills and self awareness.

So, do I hold a grudge? Well, I have to keep going and moving forward. But, I never forget. I cannot forget the history of my family and the stories archived of their lives and legacy. History is doomed to repeat itself, so based on all that has occurred in just the last 100 years, as well as the last 100 days, none of us should ever forget the past.

I cannot forget the stigma and shame of people afraid to take medication for fear of what others will say about them or their children. People forget the bravery it takes to tackle personal challenges head on. I cannot forget what economic issues my family experienced, so my empathy is well developed towards others who struggle. The tears that have been shed in grief, loss and despair are not forgotten because I have felt them too.

Watching loved ones’ health deteriorate so severely and completely, I cannot forget the pain I see in someone else’s eyes. I try to remember my manners even when others behave badly; courtesy, kindness and compassion should never be forgotten.

In fact, it really is not ever forgotten. To anyone who has struggled financially, an unexpected check in a birthday card or the kindness of strangers means the world. For someone spending days in the hospital, and nights alone, a cup of coffee or a check-in call really can be a life saver. An individual so split with grief cannot think about the numerous errands and demands of daily life and will cry with relief when someone offers a helping hand. The flowers received or the laugh shared helps to temporarily forget the difficulties and traumas that still lie outside the door.

Caring and compassionate behavior has the power to change lives and move worlds. Kindness is the Grace of memory.

To the people I wish I could forget, I will remember the lies you said to my face and behind my back always. It is a reminder of what people can do to others in the name of the ego and false friendship.

To the people who helped to light my path when it was dark and desolate, you gave me a gift that I will always remember. It is my hope that I will share it with as many people as I can and that they will remember to share it with others. Your kindness and example will not be forgotten, and while I may not carry a grudge (on the outside), I will carry a grin in my heart and growth within my soul.

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