• A friend once gave me a beautiful glass friendship ball. I hung it in the window above my sink where the sun would shine through it lighting my kitchen with beautiful blue hues of colour. While mopping my floor one day, the mop handle hit and dislodged it from where it hung and it crashed to the floor breaking into a million pieces. My heart sank. I scooped up the pieces desperate for way to put the pieces back together. However, that was never going to happen. It was broken beyond repair.deeclarknz.comEvery time my heart has been shattered, I have felt certain that it could never be put back together. And every time , without exception, not only has my heart mended but it has become larger, stronger and more loving for the breaking. A wonderful truth in life is that we are stronger, gentler, more resilient and more beautiful than we imagine. The Psalmist David encourages us that The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit and heals their wounds. I have found this to be true. Each and every time.deeclarknz.comThe nature of being broken is that perspective is hard to maintain when we are in pain, when in fear, when confused or worried. Brokenness limits our view, for the moment. One of the purposes of love is to help each other not stay limited in our view of life. When helping each other move beyond our limited view of life, we are lifting each other above the pain and reaching for the feeling of health.“To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” -M. Nepo

In my life, I have found that my brokenness eventually became useful in reaching out to other broken hearts. Like seeds broken open and then bear fruit, we can use our broken places to meet each other and be touched by each other. When broken of all the “stuff” that gets in the way of being in touch with others, we begin to know each other outside of our differences in this strange, mutual place of the heart. This is why when we fall, we lift each other; or when in pain, we hold each other; or why when joy floods in, we dance together. It’s a way that the many pieces of the heart loves itself back together.

Lastly, I have come to know that hurting people hurt people. When I come across such a person, they are crying out for understanding, comfort and a safe place to heal. Fire doesn’t fight fire. Nor does pain heal pain. Hurting people need to know that they can trust again, love again and hope again. 

I want my brokenness to open my heart enough that I can reach the hurting with the truth that the Psalmist David shared, that wounds can be healed and that in brokenness there is someone near to help lift them above the painful moments.

The best way to heal a broken heart is not to isolate it and close it down. The best way to heal brokenness, strangely, is the art of continuing to open yourself up. To remember that all of life is not where you are at the moment. To find usefulness in the pieces that remain. To reach outward and yes, upward. 

Even if it doesn’t feel like it today, unlike broken glass, a broken heart will mend. 


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken  

Enveloped, Rested But Reopened

  In the midst of pain there is a tendency to want to curl up. It feels very much like protection to envelop the most sensitive parts from exposure to outward battering. 

After some of my most heart wrenching moments, I found myself curled in a ball clutching my heart in a desperate attempt to shield it. Enveloped in a few moments of solace.  The problem that developed was dependence on the place that felt safe and distanced from potential discomfort. Even a caccoon which is designed to swaddle the caterpillar during metamorphisis becomes a cage to the butterfly unless she is able to break herself free when it’s time to fly.   Everyone needs a place of respite. A safe place where we can go and rest and feel comforted, and protected, and secure.   But if we remain there too long our ability to function becomes atrophied like unused muscles. Withered. Wasting away.

While we think we are protecting ourselves, it’s easy to lose our ability to freely trust or love or hope. Protection can turn to entrapment. We might begin to feel insecure, doubt ourselves, or fear the pain more than we desire to live fully. At some point we have to allow ourselves to uncurl. 

Open up.

Re-enter our messy, beautiful life.

When the sting of pain begins to wain, extend, move and stretch. Reach for the fullness of life.

Pain is a part of life. We can’t escape it. 

And we can’t hide from it.  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~Buechner

What a Seed Teaches Us About Life


deeclarknz.comI received the following comment from A Momma’s View on my blog Multiplied Love from yesterday.

“So well said and such a beautiful way to look at it! Actually interesting that we always talk about dividing and not multiplying!”

As I was writing my response to her kind comment, I decided that I wanted to share both with you.

My response: “I’m not sure why we talk about dividing. I think the idea of multiplying can be overwhelming, as if we think we can’t handle more. But I truly believe that we were fashioned for abundance. To me, that means our capacity is so much greater than we can imagine. Nature is all about multiplying. One grain of corn will multiply into many meals. A single apple seed will one day produce enough fruit to feed a family, possibly a neighborhood. On and on. I think we can learn to live higher. Multiplying the resources within us will lead us toward a flourishing life.”

A flourishing life.

Wouldn’t that be a fabulous goal to aspire to?

Isn’t it really what we all are secretly hoping for?

Isn’t it the very reason we drop to our knees in tears when disappointment strikes?

I was thinking about that apple tree or any fruit tree, really.

When a fruit tree produces loads of beautifully sweet fruit, we remark, “My fruit tree is flourishing”. Right? The seed has multiplied what it was into a flourishing bountiful tree.

But that fruit tree didn’t just start flourishing.

There was a process that occurred over time.

First, someone took a seed, prepared it properly for planting. Found just the right soil and nutrients in which to bury it.

That seed was placed in rich, dark dirt, where it dies. Yip, what it is now has to die. The potential of the fruit lies sleeping in the current form. Unless a change takes place no fruit will ever appear.

We fight the process. We fight the necessary changes. We weep over the loss of what we are at this moment. Shoot, I have even had a quite a few melt-downs along my journey. It can be painful. It can be uncomfortable. Fear of letting go of what is familiar (what I am now and the way I cope) to grasp the unfamiliar (our potential) is paralysing.

But it’s ok. You are alright. You are going to be fine. In fact, you are going to be better than fine. You are going to flourish. You are going to be everything you were designed to be. And, honestly, it is going to be better than you imagine.

You can hold onto your little seed. But a wise man once said, “I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop.”

It remains “by itself”. Dear one, do you know what that phrase means? It means alone. Alone.

That same wise man said that “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

I sat with a friend one time. Tears streaming down her face because the father of her child did not want her or the most beautiful child in the world. They were not married and she was desperate to be a family. I explained that letting go of something that constantly brought pain and tears was hard. But as long as she was clinging to this dysfunctional relationship, she could not be ready to grab hold of a really good one. If she allowed this dream of a family to be planted, the old way of being, to die, one day she would not recognise her new life compared to it’s current state.

Well, she stopped clinging to her life as it was. She let what wasn’t working die. And when I saw her last year, she was flourishing. She was.

I get that it was all she had at the time. I get that. But it wasn’t what she really wanted her life to look like. She didn’t want someone who didn’t give love. She didn’t want someone who tolerated her at his convenience. She wanted more.

By letting go, she multiplied. And she is not alone.

Now, does that mean her life is perfect? Is your? Mine’s not. Because the process does not stop once abundance shows up.

There is now pruning to do. There will be things that begin to grow that suck the life out of you. The fruit producing parts of life can not compete with the stuff that eats up all your nutrients and reserves. For the multiplying to continue, you have to keep letting go of the things that are holding back your growth.

So, I ask you, do you feel alone? If the answer is no. Awesome! You might be right in your sweet spot. If you are not feeling alone, then are you frustrated? Again, if no, you are probably flourishing.

However, if you feel alone – try getting by yourself for a little heart to heart with YOU. Not many people enjoy the stillness but you need to ask yourself some questions. Do you need to change something? Do you need to fix something? Maybe you are angry more than happy. Maybe things just never seem to work out like you planned. These are indicators. Look for the deeper causes. What do you need to let go of?

If you do not feel alone but are feeling frustrated, maybe it’s time for a little pruning to take place. What is zapping you of your energy? Are you over committed? Have you allowed old attitudes or behaviours to re-establish themselves. Is it time to cut some things off?

I have experienced a lot a grief in my life. I have grieved loss in many forms. Grieving never really goes away completely when we are talking about the loss of a loved one. Fear of experiencing that loss again became the way I approached my life.

When I first came to NZ, I was overwhelmed by prices. Food that I could buy at home for very little cost, was expensive. I like to use lemons in a lot of my recipes. I also love freshly squeezed lemonade. The price of lemons was about $15 per kg the first time I went to buy them. I made a decision to buy them anyway. I brought them home and placed them in a beautiful bowl and set them on the table. Then I stood guard over them. I did not want to waste them and I didn’t want anyone else to either. I was fearful that I would not be able to buy more at that price and I didn’t want to lose even one of them. I admired them. I never used them. One day I walked past the table and my beautiful lemons weren’t beautiful any longer. They had rotted. Every last one of them. Gone. I tried to hold onto them and lost them anyway.

Life is like that. What we desperately try to hold onto stagnates. Molds. Gets really stinky and rotten.

And we aren’t truly living. We aren’t multiplying, increasing or growing.

Life is a process of taking who we are, refining our behaviours, and letting go of the unfulfilling aspects so that we can have the abundance that our heart is truly desiring.

When we do…we flourish and our potential is realised.

What do you think? Do you want to multiply or divide? Do you want to let go in order to gain?

Why not start today?





Multiplied Love

The heart has an amazing capacity for love. It expands so that love can be multiplied. You don’t have to worry, your heart will work with you. The more you fill it, the more it can take! Even if broken, it won’t leak. You might think it can’t take anymore, but it can. It will mend and get right back to the work it does best…loving.

The One You Will Never Lose

She is always there.

Will you accept her?

Will you love her?

Will you value her?

Will you esteem her?

If you will, there will always be someone in the room who accepts her.

She, my dear, is YOU.

(A Word A Week Challange: Chilled)

Life After An Unexpected Tragedy

Have you ever had a “fact of life” that you struggled helplessly against?

One that I feel strongly about is “life goes on”. Normally, this is a very good thing. I woke up this morning as opposed to not waking up this morning. In that sense, I’m happy life goes on. However, I struggle with this fact of life after a tragedy.

For the person who has just gone through an unexpected tragedy, life comes to a shattering halt for an undetermined amount of time. Yet for the rest of the world, life is momentarily interrupted but quickly resumes at full speed. Because life must go on.

This week Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is buildings. What’s fun about tragedy? Or what do buildings have to do with tragedy? I can just hear your mind churning and trying to figure out where I’m going here.

Stay with me here.

I’m combining my love for photography and a look back at the Christchurch Earthquakes that began four years ago this month.

I woke the morning of the earthquakes to a plethora of calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages, from the USA, asking if my family and I were alright. “What? Heck yeah, we’re great! Why?” The news that earthquakes had shaken Christchurch and caused severe damage was astonishing.

Several of us spent the day watching the news and hurting with fellow New Zealand residents. Rescue workers, city engineers and volunteers jumped into action looking for damage and people who might need help or rescue. Compassionate souls donated their resources and money. I sat in front of the TV whispering prayers. We were all in a flurry of activity, whether hands on or at a distance, for days maybe even weeks.

I live at the bottom of the South Island. I am distanced by hundreds of kilometres from where the devastation took place. What happens after a tragedy for those of us not directly effected is that we tend to forget, go back to our lives, and assume that everyone else did also. Even worse, we can make assumptions about people, their lives, recovery and their approach to the aftermath.

I feel sad at the loss when I see photos of the city centre but I foolishly concluded that the primary effect was mainly aesthetic and inconvenient.

I went to Christchurch and met a family that continued to the experience painful results two years after the quakes. It was the middle of winter and their fireplace was too damaged to provide the warmth they needed. In fact, many parts of their home was completely unusable. They lived in hotels for a while but eventually had to move back home because of the financial burden. They told us horrifying stories of friends and family who were still using homemade toilets and had no access to showering or bathing facilities. People were out of work and worrying about keeping the minimal life-sustaining needs met. Fear was consuming countless hearts. The fear factor was so great that many people had moved from their life long homes in Christchurch to other parts of the world.

I was surprised at my own inability to bear burdens when they were not within my immediate view. I know the pain of unexpected tragedy but I was allowing my life to go on blindly. That fact was a struggle for my heart. How can I stay connected, compassionate, caring and supportive?

I felt pretty small and insignificant in my capabilities and offerings. My life situation prevents opportunities I would desire to provide. All I could do is ask, “what could I do that would make a difference in your situation?” Without hesitation the woman said to me, “Don’t forget about us and if you pray, pray for us.”

It was not a response I expected. Clothes? Money? Hotel? Help with repairs while I’m here? Give me something tangible to “do”. But no. She answered from her need, unaware of my ability to provide that need. She wanted to know that while she was doing the “hands on stuff” that someone, somewhere had not forgotten her plight. Secondly, she wanted someone to prayerfully ask for help on her behalf: she needed courage, she needed hope, she needed strength, she needed her faith sustained and she needed solutions in the process that were out of her control.

I remembered that day that when unexpected tragedy touches a life, the most important thing I can do is remain aware of their situation and ask them periodically what they need from me.

Today, four years have passed since the first earthquake hit the beautiful city of Christchurch. Christchurch continues to rebuild, people continue in hardships and I continue to remember and pray. Four years passes quickly for me as my life goes speeding on. However, four years is an eternity when life is devastated and changed forever by unexpected tragedy.

May I never grow indifferent to the pain around me.

My goal is to-

Be mindful.

Be there.

Ask and not assume I know.


10 Things That Are Helpful To Know About Grief

At 7:47 am this morning, my phone signalled that I had a text. I was still asleep and not quite sure I was ready to wake up. I almost ignored it. However, at the second beckoning, I reached for the phone and read, “if you get up and get dressed there is a big seal on the beach where Jake and Ella play.”

My husband knows I get very excited when I’m afforded the opportunity to be close to sea creatures. How close depends on how safe I’ll be. Nonetheless, I usually want to give it a go.

Yesterday was the first day of spring here. I could tell today was going to be a cracker of a day because sunlight was streaming through my window and beaconing me to accept his invitation.

I dressed quickly, grabbed my camera and made my way across the street to the beach where my grandchildren love to play when they visit.

As I approached the shoreline, it was like the sea and it’s dwellers were dancing with joy electrified at the birth of springtime. It was amazing! I wondered what I had missed by sleeping away morning hours as I often do.

The air was crisp, the cerulean sky was energizing and my heart was pounding with excitement. This was going to be a good day.

As I turned the corner, sure enough, there was a huge seal lying on the beach. The sun was casting a glare but I took a photo anyway. It didn’t matter.

I thought, “it’s not celebrating the day like every other creature I’ve seen. It must be sunbathing”. The closer I got, it didn’t move, didn’t scurry away as I expected. It was still, covered in sand, motionless. My excitement turned to worry. I wondered if it was alright.

I got as close as I dare, sat snapping photos in every direction waiting for it to make a move because of my presence. But nothing.

I called out to it, it ignored me.

After a while, a local who was walking his dog came inquiring if it was alive. I affirmed that it was but not moving. He explained that she (oh, “it” is a “she”) had been here yesterday with her new born pup but the pup died.

Died? She lost her baby? Yesterday?

Suddenly, my trip to the beach this morning was bitter sweet. I was in the presence of a mourner.

I sat with her for over an hour talking to her about what I imagined she must be feeling. For my heart was familiar with the pain of grief.

Shock. Fear. Loneliness. Anger. Exhaustion. Emptiness. Sadness.

She lifted her head and looked at me. Her eyes were sad and I am sure that her mouth had formed a frown. Maybe I’m crazy, but I sensed her broken heart. I think she sensed I was offering understanding.

I continued to talk to her.

She stretched her neck, opened her mouth and bellowed a deep moan.

“I know, it hurts. Loosing something we love, hurts. And it’s heart wrenching. I know.”

At that, she lay back down, motionless.

From that moment, my heart was faced with looking at it’s own experience of grief.

Many years have passed since the day I was awakened to the experience of grief but I’ve learned that grief has no expiration date. The sting is not as shocking but it never ceases to amaze me how unexpectedly it knocks at my heart’s door.

I lost my fiancé in a car accident caused by a drunken driver when I was 22 years old. I knew nothing of death. I did not know how to grieve. In fact, I felt completely lost.

I promise, I will share my story with you. After all, it is part of my journey to finding emotional healing. But not today.

Today, I want to share a few important lessons I learned about grief.

1. The shock hits like a lightening bolt. Prepared or not (and I categorically was not prepared), it’s a sucker punch to the heart.

2. Bereavement is like a waterfall. At the beginning, it seemed I had been plummeted to the pool below, tossed and tumbled in the fury of the flow. I felt powerless and numb. I was desperately hoping that I was moments from waking from a nightmare.

3. Death and grief make people uncomfortable. There were awkward encounters.

4. People offer support. It was valuable even when I didn’t know how to accept it.

5. People tell you things that are not true about grief. They mean well. It’s important to be honest with them when what they say doesn’t help. You can help take the pressure off of them by assuring them that just being there is more than enough.

6. The world doesn’t stop. It’s hard for others to understand that when their life resumed to a state normalcy yours didn’t.

7. Normal feels completely foreign. You are forever changed. Grief is not only about mourning what you lost but the process of discovering a new normal.

8. Grief does not submit itself to a time limit. Times does not heal all wounds. Your response to grief will change over time and the intensity of the emotions will decrease.

9. There are grief triggers everywhere. Don’t panic. After 32 years, today, when grief was triggered by a saddened seal, my thoughts revisited the pain and my heart reached out in my blog hoping to help a hurting heart.

10. When I was ready to live my life again, it did not mean I was disloyal to the one I lost. Although my life was forever changed; living, loving and pursuing happiness was proof that the love he left imprinted on my heart made me stronger, better, and bolder. I allowed his legacy to be about embracing life rather than the devastation of loss.

💖now that you are gone, my heart is broken. because you once were here, it is completely filled with love.💖-unknown

Anyone who has lost a loved one knows you don’t “recover”. Instead, you learn to incorporate the absence and memories into your life and channel your emotional energy into others, and eventually, your grief will walk beside you instead of consuming you” -unknown

Finally, if you are grieving, listen to your heart. Ask for help when you need it. Talk about your loved one when you need to (you will have a trusted friend who will know that bringing up the subject is a healthy thing to do). Feel. Cry. Love. Remember. Live. Hug…hug those you love…ALOT.

Reader, if you have been in the presence of a mourner and feel they may find some comfort in what you are reading, please share this post. However, please make it clear that they should read it when they and their heart are ready.

Sending my love and a great BIG HUG!

Finding Seedlings of Happiness Beneath the Weeds

September is the first of spring here although there are no guarantees for warmer weather for a while yet.

Anticipating spring and summer, I have been waiting for the garden fairy to come clean up my gardens. I’m not quite sure what her problem is as I have seen the work she has done in the yards all around me like the original energizer bunny of mulching and weeding. Major garden cleanup involving pruners and heavy cutting is NOT on my list of favorite gardening activities. Sadly, she just refused to show up at my house!

What’s that you say? No garden fairy? Shut the door!😩

My yard is extremely overgrown and looking more like a South American jungle then a place to relax with a glass of cold lemonade.

Good thing I decided to get out of my gardening funk and tackle it myself this week.

I grabbed my kitchen scissors and headed out to my jungle of a yard. Yes, scissors. I’m no gardener and sadly, scissors were the closest thing I had on hand to use as a garden tool. It made about as much sense as a surgeon with a butter knife. Nonetheless, it was what I had and I walked out of the house certain that I could take on this overgrown mess.

The first few weeks after we moved into this house last year, I was enthusiastic about tearing up these intruders. It even felt mildly satisfying, but with hectic schedules, life in general and winter weather, the chore soon wore thin. Even maddening—and my poor gardens fell into disrepair and became overgrown.

Once I got into it…ugh! no, it wasn’t therapeutic…shoot…I was optimistic but weeds and bugs and sand flies nipping at my ankles is not my idea of relaxation or mind calming therapy. It’s hard work! Yeah, I know, scissors didn’t help…you should see the callous on my thumb.

Complaining aside, something kind of wonderful happened. As I picked and pruned and tied and tidied plants that seemed to have grown the size of the Titanic, I made a few discoveries. Under all the weeds, and plants that had taken over more than their intended space, were beautiful little plants struggling to survive. Some were twisted and bending -attempting to squeeze their way up through the rubbish to reach the nourishing sunlight.

Finding these fragile little seedlings increased my enthusiasm for the task. They also made me think about my heart. While I am enjoying more wholeness everyday, my overgrown garden was a powerful metaphor for the overgrown intruders that had once prevented happiness and joy thriving within my heart.

Fear, not forgiving, bitterness, judgement, criticism and hatred were tiny at first. They seemed inconsequential and comforting solutions to events I was facing at their appearing. Mimicking a beautiful budding vine, they intertwined each other and slowly, insidiously, choked the life out of the beauty within my heart until joy began to die.

Necessary and painful weeding within my heart stripped the garden of my soul clean and exposed tender seedlings of happiness and joy twisting and bending -searching for the light of hope. Life, full life, was awaiting me but it required work on my part.

I began a step at a time for no overgrown garden is cleared in one go. I cried out for forgiveness. “Forgive us this day as we forgive those who trespass against us…” Because I received forgiveness and mercy, my heart softened and offering forgiveness and mercy became a choice I wanted to make.

I clipped back hatred and bitterness uncovered love which -by the way- is limitless when it begins to bloom.

I pulled up judgement and criticism that had mugged my compassion for others. Blossoms of friendship and stronger relationships began to flower and color my life.

Fear has been the most tangled weed to dig up. Most days, I’m braver. Some days, I’m not. However, it’s more manageable when I apply gratitude.

These days, the garden of my soul flourishes with contentment, hope, happiness and love. It sings praise and celebrates new life.

I’m exhausted after taming my garden jungle this week to regain control but I am also grateful. It reminded me that the necessary hard work is definitely worth the effort both in my yard and within my heart.

Let me encourage you to do a little digging…you might be surprised what you find buried beneath the rubbish.


Frayed Ends and Frazzled Hearts

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge : Fray

My husband and I have very different outlooks on fraying. To him, the frayed holes in his favourite pair of jeans equal comfort, breaking in and the accomplishment of finally removing the confinement found in brand new jeans. To me, frayed jeans, frayed ends on my hair and unraveling of any kind demand attention. I recognise that the fact that I am seeing the frayed ends appearing is a statement that I have been honoured with much time and use; but I am not content to live among the fray. I have to do something. Hubby, well let’s just say that he is going to attempt to take advantage of every last thread.

His Phlegmatic (Otter) personality usually insists, “she’ll be right” or “no worries”.  Not me! I want tidy little packages with bows of bright colour, weedless gardens, and balanced budgets. Yeah, how’d you know? I am a Choleric (lion) personality with a touch of Meloncholic (beaver) with a glass full of OCD on the side. Thread-bare and frayed? There has to be a cure, right? RIGHT?

While I enjoy the new. the bright and light in life…unfortunately, life isn’t like that all the time. We don’t always stay young. We aren’t always energised. We don’t always feel like charging up the mountain.

Like the dandelion, what was once a bright yellow bloom one day, will in the course of time, begin to show signs of fray. This is natural. The first stages really aren’t so bad…after all, with a dandelion…in this stage, we often look on the bright side and make a wish!

I’m sure you can understand what I mean. You get your dream job. The sweet baby you have been carrying and waiting for is finally here. The relationship you have prayed for all your life is finally happening. Life could not be better! It’s everything you hoped for…until it’s not!

Your assistant is constantly out of work with family issues and the work load is added to your already hectic work schedule. Maybe the boss says a few things you disagree with and you have to bite your tongue rather than respond. Perhaps that new relationship partner insulted you, and you had to control yourself in a public place. Or possibly you have been up night and after night with a baby that fusses hour on end. Your feelings and emotions begin to feel frayed and frazzled but you are keeping it together.

You’re restrained and applying self-control. It is what we use to “hold it together” when we might be otherwise minded.

But then…someone bumps into your cart at the grocery store and you go all commando on them…WHAT…just…happened?

Did you know that the brain is using extra energy for self-control in stressful situations?

When you are faced with repeated stressful issues, it draws on a store of mental resources that you use for self-control. If you drain those resources enough, then you may have trouble controlling yourself further, according to Psychology Today.

We don’t always hold up and together. We get tired.  I’m not just talkin’ a little bit fatigued, I’m talkin’  worn out, run down, lay on the couch and veg-out kind of tired.

You know what I’m talking about…those moments when your not sure you have anything more to fight with and you’re just about ready to scream, “UNCLE!”

The very idea of moving again has us worn to a frazzle  and with  “frayed edges,” to our feelings.

You begin feeling devastatingly alone. No one can hear you cracking. Fraying.

Maybe not at first…but then…It’s hard. It’s wrenching. It’s incredibly painful and it’s difficult to feel lightness or to see clearly.

Hanging by a thread can be really disorienting.

You might not even fully understand how you got here. You regroup and find the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

It may be hard to believe right now, but not only will it be okay, not only will you get through this, you will thrive again.

You will be clear and vibrant and you will get your MOJO back.

You are going to get through this.

You can do it.

You ARE doing it.

You have years of layers and lifetimes of experience and strengths to call on — skills that you didn’t even know you had.

You will make it through your heartbreak, your pain…just like millions of others who have felt this pain.

Other people have survived and when they got out of the frayed place, they left a breadcrumb trail out of the pain.

You can trace their steps.

My OCD tendencies cause me to want to keep pushing and FIX THIS NOW! I only end up exhausting myself. A key is to step back…renew and refresh my body,mind and spirit. Rest is important for my body to cope with the struggle(s). Period. I have to take care of myself. It’s important even if I don’t feel like it (and sometimes I don’t feel like it). When my mind is overwhelmed…I head for refreshing the spirit first. I personally find it easier to get my mind to “shut up” when I get quiet and pray. I love walks on the beach for this step. I’m out in the fresh air, listening to the waves crash into the shore and I pray. Maybe you don’t (and that’s up to you), some people meditate (I do…I meditate on the Word of Wisdom) searching for the truth that will bring me peace to frazzled heart. Once I have that wisdom, then I refresh my mind and thoughts with what I know will make a difference and help me to begin repairing the frayed ends of my life.

Maybe your frays feel more devastating and you are exhausted, lacking motivation, feeling frustrated, feeling cynical or negative. Maybe your having problems thinking clearly, your experiencing interpersonal problems, not able to take care of yourself, you’re preoccupied all the time, experiencing health problems, and generally dissatisfied. You want to take relaxation seriously, and unplug but are struggling to find a way that is beneficial and sustainable.

After the shocking news of Robin Williams recently, I realise that not everyone finds their way out of the frayed and frazzled places as easily as a quiet walk on the beach or a whispered prayer.

If this describes your situation or the situation someone you love is in…seek help. Don’t wait until your life or theirs is thread-bare…find someone you trust that can help bring the help that is needed.

I watched David Letter’s Tribute to Robin Williams and at the end he makes the statement that he didn’t realise that Robin was in so much pain. Sometimes, we don’t realise. However, we can become more aware of what is going on within our own hearts and the hearts of others so that hopefully we will see even a few of the signs. We can listen more. Ask important questions and offer what we can in meaningful ways so that the frayed ends and frazzled hearts of this world (including our own) can be mended and healed.

It may be hard to believe right now, but it’s going to be more than okay.

You may wince when you look back (understandable,) you may cry unexpectedly, but you’ll be more alive, and more You.

You will be strong.

And you will feel a curious sensation of being more useful. You might even be able to leave a few crumb (steps) for others to follow.

I certainly don’t have all the answers necessary to help you through all the trials and tribulations you’ll face when you’ve reached the end of your rope -but my hope is that I’ve offered just enough to help you begin to stop your belief that you’re the prisoner of circumstance, powerless before the fray.

Dear Stress,

Let’s break up!


Regie’s Blog: The Fine Madness (depression)

Today, I am reposting a blog my friend has written on the subject of depression. He shares his personal journey as news of Robin Williams death has rocked the air waves since yesterday.

We truly never understand the journey someone else is traveling and the fight they make to keep a balance toward well-being. We can never flippantly assume another soul has “it made” or that their struggles are not important…look inside your heart…the pain of your own struggle is not too different to the person standing near by -no matter how often they smile, laugh or even joke to hide the devastation they feel.

Please be aware that my friend uses language in this piece that you may not use and that I do not use in my blogs. I understand if you prefer not to continue from this point. The vulnerability he shares shows an inside view to the struggle for wholeness. Please visit Reggie’s Blog for the original posting.

I offer my condolences to Robin Williams’ family. I will miss his gift- he made me laugh and smile so many times through the years. He was one of my favorites. My heart is sad to hear of this loss and sad that his heart was so broken.

Over to Regie Hamm:
Posted : 08/12/2014 5:18:14 PM
The doctor looked across his desk at me and asked bluntly, “how many times have you attempted suicide?”

I just stared back at him.

“What are you talking about?” I replied, like a teenager trying to play off getting caught smoking in the bathroom.

He pressed, “Look, I know you’ve at least thought about it. But most likely you’ve actually attempted it. No one I’ve ever treated, with lithium levels as low as yours, has escaped it. Young man, you have very serious clinical depression …and you have had it for years.”

Finally, I broke down and admitted that I’d had the gun out as a teenager and I’d had the bath drawn and the blades ready in my early 20′s. But I’d never actually followed through. I backed out the first time because I didn’t want to hurt my mother like that. I backed out the second time because the pizza (I forgot I had ordered) arrived. It was literally THAT random.

I’ve battled clinical depression my entire adult life. When I was younger, people said I was “moody”. I’ve been called everything from lazy to arrogant, due to my penchant for disappearing inside myself and withdrawing from the world.

I was actually told once that I used “depression” (in air quotes) as an excuse to be an asshole. That one kind of stung …I won’t lie.

Depression is one of those words that is overused and one of those disorders that is all too often “self” diagnosed. “I’m battling depression” is an easy thing to say to get the world off your back, when maybe you just really don’t want to do something. I’ve never tried to use depression as an excuse to shut down. I find it annoying and kind of weak to do that. My grandfather didn’t have time or luxury to be depressed and self-absorbed …he was too busy laying bricks all day to feed his family.

But the truth is depression is real and it can shut you down. As much as I hate to use it as a crutch, I know when I’m “going in.” John Lennon referred to it as “the trough” …I know exactly what he meant. Those who think depression is a direct correlation to your circumstances don’t really understand what it is.

To be honest, my depression has been at bay for the last 12 years for several reasons, but one of the main reasons is MY LIFE HAS BEEN HARD for the last 12 years. Hard times don’t necessarily bring on bouts of depression for those who really suffer from it. Sometimes, tough situations call you into focus and keep you engaged in life in a very healthy way. I’ve found myself spinning into the trough during some of the happiest moments of my life …I never understood that.

I’m lucky, in a sense, because what I do for a living is sort of constant therapy for me. Some people have urged me to write more books and and write less music but the truth is music actually has a healing property for me. I need it to sustain. Making a living at it is just a by-product.

The weirdest things can set off a bout of depression. The way someone looks at you at the grocery store; a song on the radio; an ill-timed phone call from the wrong person. Often the progression goes something like this:

She walks up to me after a show and says, “I love your music. You’re so talented. I hope you make it big one day.” Normally, not one of those phrases will bother me. In fact, 99% of the time I’m completely humbled by any compliment. But that last thing she said gets me thinking, on the drive home …and the voices start …”I hope you make it big someday.” Doesn’t she know that I’ve made it big? Like a couple of times already? Of course not. She doesn’t spend her life following me and my career. Why should she? People don’t do that. They have lives.

But my own inferior patterns keep me grounded in this constant struggle. It’s not about making it big. I don’t care about that. It’s about something I can’t seem to change about myself. I’m trapped in this shell forever. The weight …the alcohol …the things I will never conquer …they keep me in prison. I’m so tired. I wish I could re-set everything. But I’ll still be me if I do …and I’ll eventually mess it all up again. There’s no way out of this. I’m tired.

My wife and kids would probably be better off without me. I bring them down on far too many days. I can’t get out of this hole. I just want to lay in bed. I don’t want to brush my teeth. I don’t want to talk to anybody. I need space and time. No one knows the wars I fight. The terrible wars …in my own head. But those people and things I fight with are as real as anything I can touch. The voices won’t shut up. They keep goading me and telling me things I don’t want to hear. They wear me down until I’m numb.

Now, I can’t feel anything. That idiot who told me happiness was choice is full of shit. I can’t control the fact that I feel so heavy I can barely walk. My body actually hurts from trying to function. That over-zealous Christian keeps telling me to just “rest in Jesus”. I have no fucking idea what that means. It’s some kind of platitude I can’t actually put into action. Does it mean lay down and pray or get in a recliner and read the bible? I don’t know. This pain is almost unbearable. People say they “need” me but the truth is we’re all alone here. We’re all the stars of our own movies. I just need the voices to be quiet. I need the noise to end. I hate music. I hate my own voice. I hate my songs.

I can’t change any of it – I’m stuck in this body with this brain forever. Can I end it? Is there an off-ramp? Pills would be painless. I could just swerve over into the oncoming lane. It would be easy …

Then my phone rings …and I’m back.

That’s how easily an off-handed compliment can send someone with depression over the edge. You shouldn’t stop complimenting people. You shouldn’t stop being kind. The point is for someone with the chemical issue, anything and everything can be a trigger. Someone asking me for directions can be the breaking point. Ironically, someone telling me I suck usually has no effect on me whatsoever. See, I know I don’t suck so that’s easy to dismiss. It’s weird and hard to explain.

I obviously don’t know the details of Robin Williams’ situation. I don’t know what his triggers were. But I do know that clinical depression is real. I’ve managed mine with exercise, diet and an absolute passionate love for my children. At this point in my life I would never do something to them like committing suicide. But I completely understand someone getting so far inside that they can’t reason. If you add drugs and alcohol to that, you have a recipe for disaster.

Robin gave the world joy, but I’m certain he never gave it to himself. Most of us who create use it as a vehicle for escape. His great comedic genius was born out of some great pain somewhere …that will probably never be obvious to the world. He fought for a lot of years to manage it. Some people simply can’t turn off the dark voices and one day they simply listen one minute too long. In that moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a mansion, staring at your Academy Award …you will feel hopeless, useless and you will be powerless. Robin Williams, the man who knew all the right things to say, more than likely found himself there.

I am certain I will never kill myself. I’ve gotten to a great place in my life. I’ve had many, MANY conversations with myself about it. I’ve leveled out my chemistry in a lot of ways. I’ve leveled out my psyche in a lot of ways. I’ve been given the gift of some amazing causes to live for. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about Angelman Syndrome and adoption. I see a great design in my having been thrown into the deep water of both those things. In short, I’ve got some great reasons to live …and I intend on doing just that.

But for those who can’t quiet the voices, I urge you to call a friend. Go to a movie. Get out of bed one more time and take a drive someplace. Go to the humane shelter and hold puppies. Go to the maternity ward of a hospital and stare at newborns. Fight for another day. Turn this curse into a gift, somehow. Put down the sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Put on some running shoes and try to get a mile away from the pain. Do whatever you can do …and don’t let the bastard win.


Thank you, Regie, for sharing your journey. I appreciate the truth you have shared. Much love from my heart to yours!