Shining No More

 

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Here’s my problem with what’s going on right now in the United States. Throughout history, at times when the rest of the world was torn by extreme nationalism, militarism, xenophobia, and protectionism, the United States has always stood as a shining example of hope, inclusion, and goodness. Today, as a wave of these negative and destructive impulses sweep across Europe and other parts of the world, the United States is leading the charge. We are the excuse, the example for the rest of the world to continue creating policies based on fear, intolerance, and hate. The most powerful country in the world, that “shining city upon a hill,” has put out its light.

Take it!

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You can take my job, my friends, my hope. You can take my vision, my dignity, my energy. You can take my color, my creativity, my enthusiasm. You can take my money, my things, my victories. You can take my physical health, my mental health, my sleep.
You can take all of these and more.

But you cannot take my will.

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Stay the course. Keep the faith. You’re a hero.

Standing Watching Shadows

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A song…

These eyes have seen
trouble in a weary world.
And I might step out
but I can’t find the door.
And it seems you have been broken
but you don’t break down.
Final words have been spoken
but you aren’t on the ground.
We are standing watching shadows disappear.

I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind.
We are standing watching shadows disappear.

We see the sun
shining through a smoky veil.
Then all at once
they can’t even tell.
Where one becomes another
we don’t say and we won’t show.
Your father and my brother
they will never know.
We are standing watching shadows disappear.

I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind. I don’t mind.
We are standing watching shadows disappear.

And strange the sound
of everything we’re going go be.
And we have found
that it’s our chains that make us free.
And when we stand together
there’s a chain that just won’t break.
It’s light as a feather
and the struggle fades away.
We are standing watching shadows disappear.

So stand up. Stand up. Stand up. We can stand right up.
We can stand, stand right up, we can stand right up.

And all at once
I am not afraid.
And I can see your shining face.
So I lift my eyes up
from the cold, cold ground.
Well there’s no way that I’m taking this
sitting down.
So stand up. Stand up. Stand up. Stand up.

And will you stand right up
look him in the eyes.
When he pulls his trigger
it ain’t you that dies.

Stand up. Stand up. We can stand right up!

_______

 

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Stay the course. Keep the faith. You’re a hero.

Clear-Eyed


Depression distorts reality, making the world appear bleak and pointless. Depression tells us that we are stupid, ugly, and have no purpose. Depression says, “don’t try, don’t hope, and don’t believe that things can get better.” Depression lies and lies and lies. In the fog it’s hard to see clearly.

It’s incredible the difference between the mind under the influence of depression and the healthy mind. It’s as though two different people reside in the same body, one dark, empty, morose, the other realistic, sometimes happy, clear-eyed. In the fog things are seen and said that would appear crazy to one standing in the clear light of mental health. In the darkness, one truly believes in the ghosts under the bed.

The blend of chemistry that leads to the dark mood is mysterious at best. The science is soft. And it seems environment can’t be ruled out as at least a partial cause. Thankfully, it appears that the thinking such as we learn in cognitive behaviorial therapy (CBT) can have an impact on mood. I’ve found, however, that when I’m in the depths it’s near impossible to think my way out.

To remain clear-eyed is the goal. Seeing reality as it is, not as depression would have us believe. Understanding that for every negative there are ten positives. For  every set-back, an opportunity. For every moment of melancholy, infinite moments of joy, possibility, and redemption.