Sharing a story of the Valley:: A helpful guide for those not in depression

I find it interesting how often we do not want to talk about the things that suck. , the things that are difficult, the things that are uncomfortable, or the things that are tough to make sense of. Right now there are two enormously demanding scenario’s playing out on two different sides of the world, one being the tragedy of the earthquake in Nepal and the other being the uprising in Baltimore in reaction to the death of Freddie grey. Both situations are in need of enormous amounts of compassion exemplified by walking with the people impacted and inserting yourself into where they are. These things suck, they are taxing, they are demoralizing, they are paralyzing, and disappointing. whether it be a death of a kid in Baltimore or a death of a child in Nepal they are both injustices, I have things I want to say about this injustices and how they should be addressed, but they are not my story to tell. I do not know Nepal and I do not know what it is like to be a person of color in Baltimore. I can support them and bring awareness , but I question is that what we really need. awareness was needed last week because now the fire is burning and damage is done and I do not mean this in a pun like manner but in a metaphorical manner that brings light to the problem that has persisted before these tragedies struck. We need to tell these stories, but more importantly we need to go ahead and tell other stories before they become an issue. We can not just speak about suicide when it becomes an issue we can not just speak about Ebola when it is in America we can not just speak about Haiti when an earthquake hits, but we need to speak. So those with a story, with pain, with inspiration, with tragedy, with no light at the end of the tunnel. So here is to sharing a story. It is not eh story that is predominate right now, but is still a story that needs to be shared. We need something for people to relate to, to bring the humanity back into struggles and into injustice. To start that I share this. It does not relate to the issue’s dominating the news waves, but it is a narrative that dominates many of our hearts in big and small take a listen here is the story I need to tell right now.
depression is a funny thing because you go through life in a way that you know you do not want to, but there is also knowledge that there is a reality out there we are not living in. there is something more and you keep stretching for it. we stretch and stretch and when something does not work or it feels like we have failed then it feels like our world has come to an end. we don’t have energy, joy, hope, motivation. some say we are like a rubber band and sometimes we just get stretched until we can not stretch anymore and we break, but I do not find that completely true because that breaking point is based on a set of feelings over particular circumstances and the effort that you put into moving forward. work is frail, efforts are dire and our motives waiver. experiences are positive and negative feelings go up and down and truth is difficult to cling too.
I think there is a difference between life sucking and fighting depression. circumstances build how we feel about life but it is difficult to shape our view of life by these experiences. for me personally when I have moved away from the feelings that these experiences provide I come to the reality of how I view myself, life and god. this is also what I have come to know as reality. for me depression is coming to the place that you do not view reality in a positive way and you view your reality as a deep valley that you are stuck in.
it just takes one punch to get knocked out, but takes a miracle to take a step forward. The hope level is at what feels like an all-time low and most of the time I believe that most things work against me. this is not a foundational belief, but something that is concluded from life’s circumstances. don’t get me wrong I believe, but I have a whole bunch of unbelief and any issue big or small that gets piled on makes me feel like my world is going to cave in because I do not have enough belief.

being real is the hardest thing. saying ok or alright to the proverbial how are you question is about the extent of the desire to let others into your life. not only do you not want to hash out your problems again because it is exhausting and makes you feel worse, but the taxation that you are experiencing is something that you do not want to put onto others. then there is the ego that tells you that nothing will get better by talking and you can talk somebody’s ear off and nothing will change because if you remember this is a heart issue not a circumstantial issue.

no money, no sex, no trip to the movies, no cartons of ice cream, no promotion, no child, no vacation will make things better. they are just cover ups. they are just positive experiences that allow us to live in a momentary alternate reality that does not last. escapism is so often convenient. most often it takes form in menial things like TV shows, video games books, and work. feelings do not want to be talked about because we are so tired of addressing our feelings. in fact I have noticed an apathy towards feelings because the only recollection of feelings are the negative ones. I would say there is even a feeling of wanting to do away with feelings all together. there is much more comfort found in being the numb blob state. I would say I am tired of having life be built on feelings. To conquer depression will take a reformation of foundation that will not be built on sand, but a sturdy rock. the one feeling that is not hard to describe and express is the one of being stuck or trapped.

there is a way, there is hope; oh really I have not heard that before. pardon my sarcasm it comes from a place of frustration of being told I hope you feel better or you will figure it out just give it time. I don’t want time and I don’t want your convenient dose of hope. If you find yourself about to say this the best thing you can do is enter in with questions, take time, remind the person that you care and that you would like to stay involved. that will be important and meaningful. it will take enormous amount of strength for the depressed person to let you in and if you let them off easy with a “nice” reply it will be received as rejection. that is the cold hard truth. words of truth are not meaningful enough, but truth that comes in the form of action will be the most crucial. The most meaningful thing to a depressed person is sacrifice. yes this may be important to anybody, but it means the most because it shows they are accepted for who the person is as a whole.

a joyful song is painful to a heavy heart. depression literally feels like you are in a valley and when the joys of life are celebrated in front of you it brings out the hardness of your heart. yes it may not be shown, but to you inside you despise it. you want emotions and feelings to cling to that are familiar and the joyful celebratory feelings are not them. they almost act like a taunt of this is where you are not. the energetic feel good music is something that does not vibe with you and you just want to get away from it when it is around you. it reminds you of everything you are not and when you are trying to return back to a healthy balance this reminds you of the shame and guilt that still lies beneath the harden skin.

despising niceness seems to be a common occurrence because you want to find meaning in your suffering and the nice fluffy stuff does not cut it. it seems so fake and not worth anything that you would rather it not be there than to endure it. you long for genuine connection and when others have it you become jealous. It is so hard to open because each time you open up a bit you are making yourself vulnerable. To give that nice response seems so difficult because life does not seem nice and saying any of the standard reply’s to how are you which are alright, ok, and good; does not feel adequate or even correct. Being honest while depressed is like trying to balance a ball on your nose while standing a ball. You have to balance two different ends; the weight of the world and the weight you put onto others. the last thing you feel is right as somebody that is depressed is to impose on somebody. Finding the balance of being able to ask for help and dealing with the reality is paralyzing. Like I said sacrifice is going to be what allows us to move forward out of the depression because it will allow us to have the comfort to cry out for help. If you get one thing out of this remember that sacrifice displays acceptance.

This was extremely hard for me to post, I have had it written for a while, but had not posted it. there are important things going on in the world and in each one of us, so please listen, please try to understand, each of us just wants to be accepted so give us an opportunity to explain ourselves.
Please share your story, write it and display it. if you do not have a place to display it, come here and I will provide space for you. I do not want this to take place of any other important issue’s going on, but I want this to be an invitation. The experience you live in is the experience that others see and sharing that story will happen one way or another, so come share your story. It Is important.
It may be difficult, but it is important.

What do you need to share: a poetic encouragement

come share your story
nobody can tell you what to feel or what your experience is. you are equal just as I am. we are made of the same skin cells, we all fell and searching for the same well. my heart beyond writing the last post about being authentic was to get us to be in touch with how we feel. I want us to be real. the way we have been created is in mind, body, spirit and heart and if we leave one of them out it is not the whole deal., kind of like an off shade of teal I am afraid we hold back. the desire for authenticity does not lack. the freedom and opportunity to share our experience are note there , so they pile up like a big stack.

you are equal , so I put myself on the same plane of equal rights. ignorance and lack of education of you impair my sight. I think you have a story worth sharing , just like each star in the night. there may be pain , anger, frustration or rejection; with a crying heart I plead come share with all your might. I know it feels awful , I can’t take another topple , but your bravery will be beautiful. we need it, we miss it, it’s a secret that we want it.
so come share your story observe how you feel, come be real, I got your back , we all need a protector as we heal. layers get peeled away with our prayers because you know you have somebody that care’s. pain it sticks like distain, the feeling lingers swims through your vain until it becomes crippling like a cane. wash me clean, forgive me don’t make me mean, the past delivers us to the present and we do not want to be seen
I know the vulnerability , but I ask for you to come share your story
rain can wash away the stain, your existence does not have to be its Bain. look at the them, the problem, the blem the ish of society, but remember your propriety. it starts with you for there is no us without you. the innovation of this nation begins with your own restoration
we all have reservation, but your voice has beauty, your voice has power, your voice can build a tower
what do you need to share, , do you have a tare, will you take a dare? All these questions to sort through, all for what a lonely stare.
I am calling you out. Lori, tori, Cory, everyone in-between come share your story
what do you need to share about?
I am going to share about depression next time. what would you like to share? come share on this space i want to open up for you to share.

If not for Second Chance’s by Philippe Lazaro book launch promo

hey friends,
so my dear friend Philippe wrote a book that is magnificent. I had the honor and pleasure to be a part of this journey and write the forward for the book, which i will put below so you can get a taste of what it is about. if you know you want to buy it before even reading the forward the link is right here. enjoy the epilog and the book. i am confident you will enjoy it and have a few laughs.

So I went on a road trip with this guy name Philippe. It was the tail end of our trip and we had just visited Multnomah falls in northern Oregon, which was really pretty and majestic and all those things that falls are. We hit the road after that for a long trek to make it all the way to Sacramento, ca, so Phil is settled in driving after just seeing the water falls relaxed and happy that he was able to get his camera off for the last big thing of our trip. About an hour and a half later Phil sees some flashing lights behind him. I am as well relaxed just enjoying the drive and he starts to slow down, so I ask what’s going on. Well I would have my answer about 30 seconds later when a highway 5 patrol officer comes to our window and explains to Philippe that he was speeding and he was going to receive a ticket. Now I am not here to spoil the story you are about to read, so I am telling a story he did not share, whether he likes it or not( if it makes the print version then that means he did not mind). I am also not trying to tell on my friend, but I am using this as an example of when I have seen and experience Philippe process his second chance. He truly was bummed and he had not intent in speeding and was an honest mistake, but he was able to take this negative experience and not let it affect him because he believed he had a second chance. To borrow a term from Victor Frankel, Philippe has a redemptive perspective on his suffering. After asking Phil if he was bummed and letting him process what happened I realized he had accepted his second chance when he got his camera back out to take a few more pictures while driving. Well I think that is all I can add to this story as the co-pilot, so now let me tell you what you are getting yourself into.
Second chances… I wonder about all those times if I would have done that differently or if I would be different if I would not have done that. Earlier in my life I often would catch myself asking why does this have to happen to me or what is next, as ways of expressing frustration and hopelessness with the way I viewed my life. it kept me on the edge of my seat, but not in the good way. it was the worrying kind, you know the kind that drains life. so this story of second chances is something that I can really resonate with and not just because of my hopeless stories from my past, but because this second chance life is something that takes effort every day of my life. I would have no other person explain second chances than Philippe. He himself is a unique individual, but his story is even more unique and resemblent of what happens when you take a chance.
as a dear friend of Philippe and a partner in this adventure I can say that you will find nothing short of authenticity and genuine thoughtfulness. I do not say that to give my friend a boost or to make myself sound good since you will probably learn a great deal about me as well as Phil, but I say it because his words display a desire of connection. connection with you as the reader, connection with god, and connection with himself. Phil allows you to walk with him, but I think his goal is more for him to walk with you. this is a story about his journey, but more importantly it is an invitation for you to take a journey, so put on your reading boots and get ready to discover life as a second chance.

Behind these pages you will find this book has the exquisite illustrative resemblance of Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller, but the delightful eloquence of Walter Mitty. this book by no means is just for hipsters, but those that see life as a second chance an want to live it to the fullest. the search for a second chance is something that we all search for and we all long for. you will get taken through the joys and the burdens of second chances, but if it were not for those journey’s where would we find hope. the experiences of living with 7 other guys and a dang cute dog will allow you to see that there is always something to persevere through. this was so cleverly done that it seemed like you were traveling alongside Philippe the whole time. the collaboration of the two experiences will allow you to see the character that has been built and shaped through this redemptive process.

For me restoration is a big theme of my life, which is essentially making the old new or bringing hope and life back to something that did not have it. in our day to day lives we can get caught in fog’s or desert’s where life just does not seem to make sense and you feel lost, but once you make it to the other side of that fog bank or desert then we are able to look back and make a choice of wanting things to be different or accepting the tough journey you just went on as it is. it is said hindsight is often the clearest sight, but looking forward is the most joyful. the last part I added but I think it is fitting for us to realize the gratitude and appreciation for life that comes from seeing life as a second chance. a second chance is something that we have to grasp because if we do not it will just pass us by and the only way we will be able to grasp redemption is by grace, so without giving out anymore idea’s about second chances I will allow you to enter into the adventure that Phil is about to take you on. Do not forget your reading boots.

and now if you want to buy it here is the link again

A reassessment on being real: 5 ways to move towards authenticity

be real, be real son

about a year ago I wrote on this phrase and what it meant to be real. my goal was to encourage others to be real in efforts to try to build authenticity. I felt it was Ernest and honest, but what I have now realized is that my efforts were outward focused instead of focusing inward where the real value in transformation is. I have come to believe strongly that we must have inward transformation before transformation takes place outwardly. integrity must take place inwardly before it can be seen outwardly” Peter Scazzero
being real is not something that we should put priority on in expressing outwardly unless first we have been real with ourselves. there is a difference between processing authentically and putting on a front when expressing yourself. one comes from a place of saying I am unsure what is happening and I am still trying to figure it out and the other comes from a place of I got this I know who I am. don’t get me wrong it is great if you know who you are and you have the freedom to express that, but make sure it is authentic because if it is not then it can be noticed from a mile away.
I have realized that I thought I knew who I was but I was not really living as that person. this can get really confusing , so I will make it simple. I thought and believed I was a beloved child of god, but my real beliefs about myself were what I was living in. I guess you can say it was a convergence of walking the walk and talking the talk. authenticity was not what I was living in. I was trying, aiming, and saying I was this particular identity but that really was not me because it had not taken place inwardly. it was just something that I understood and wanted to try to live outwardly.

I think it would be valuable to share what I have learned, so here are 5 things to help us be real in an authentic way.
1 acknowledge your feelings and emotions. you were created with these for a reason so the more we ignore them the more we cover up who we really are. The more we dive into them the easier it will be to connect with the place of peace and joy
2 observe your feelings and emotions. this one is similar to the previous but a little bit different because observing means there is no judgement or action taken. it just looks like, hmm that’s interesting I am reacting that way
3 ask why. this is so uncomfortable, but so necessary. why am I feeling this way why are these emotions being stirred what is causing this reaction; are all healthy responses. Emotions can not be separated from your spirit and if you let them they will let you back to your creator.
4 dive into your past. our past defines us in so many ways and often it is the hurt and pain that are used to shape us. The goal is to understand the hurt and the painful experiences and come to terms with them, so that we can accept what has happened to us, who we are and who we can become. This is the essential part because this is the part that will allow us to flourish into our true identity, the beloved child, the sis our authentic self.
5 ask others what they observe and what they think. it is said we are our own worst critique, so let’s allow others to help us with some helpful observations of how you could love yourself better and love others better and become more authentic.

the season of life I am in right now has me in a difficult and grueling time. I have been humbled by it and been shown the hardness of my heart and the poverty of my spirit. I want the foundation of my life built on truth found in love, but that is not easy, in fact I was told there will be much suffering. I was walking by what sounded good for the longest time and if you are walking blindly that is a recipe for disaster, so, now, I am trying to blindly walk with faith.