Tag Archives: love

Online Course: Happy Vibes Today!

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This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I’ve finally done it! I have created an online course/program to walk people through the steps I not only take daily, but also the process involved in my healing that has taken several years.

Healing from trauma/loss/abuse, releasing the past, processing our emotions, and dealing with mistakes are not easy things to face, but through this program I will walk you through the steps I’ve learned over the years not only from some amazing therapy, but also from trial and error, and my own research into mental health and the science behind happiness!

Feel free to check out my FB PAGE HERE, or visit my newly launched website for more information or contact me with any questions. I’m so excited you’ve decided to join me on this journey, and I would love to have you along for the ride!

Namaste,

-Chase

2020 Vision

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As 2019 comes to a close people will inevitably start talking about their New Years Resolutions! Lose weight, save more money, cut back on splurges, go back to school, etc. However, you don’t have to have some huge drastic resolution. Most of those are left by the wayside by the end of February anyways. Sometimes the only resolution we can make is to just keep pushing forward and hopefully do better tomorrow than we did today. Granted, it’s not a “normal” resolution, but for me it is. There are days that I really struggle. Sometimes just getting out of bed before noon feels like an accomplishment and should be rewarded with at least a participation award. Yet other days I thrive and I’m up by 8am with coffee poured, music playing, laundry in the wash, and half of my house already cleaned by 9am. These are two very different days and I never know which one I’m going to have until it happens. I wake up in a great mood, or not so great mood, but how I handle that is on me. I can allow it to bother me and bring me down, or I can make myself go. I can continue through my morning routine of positive affirmations, stretching/yoga, listening to music, drinking coffee, cleaning house, playing with Maggie (my doggo!), and then starting work. Normally by the time I’m ready to start working my day has already changed for the better. It’s amazing what will happen when I focus on the positives and not the negatives. You’ll hear me say a lot (if you continue reading my blog, and I REALLY hope you do) that you must be an ACTIVE participant in your recovery. I take mental health meds every single morning, but that doesn’t mean I can remain in bed and expect them to magically work. Absolutely not! I have to work with them. I have to become more active, eat better, listen to upbeat music, read inspiring books, talk to positive happy people, and I have to be present. The medicine will only do so much, but we have to do part of the work too. It’s not easy, and sometimes it sucks, but it will only get worse if we don’t try. It’s like training for a marathon only to arrive on the day of the run and expect all your training will run the marathon for you. Nope, not how it works sugar! You have the skills and your muscles are stronger, but you still have to put forth the effort to get to the finish line. Let’s do it together!

I’ve already heard sooooo many people talking about 2020 vision for this coming year. Yeah, it’s a cute pun, but I wish I had 2020 vision for my future. I wish I had a crystal ball that could tell me everything that was going to happen in the next year so I could prepare for it. I wish I could see all the bad and good things that are going to happen, but I can’t. The lesson here is we have to learn to trust our higher power, whatever you may call it. I call it Spirit, some call it God. Whatever works for you, we have to believe that this Universe is too big for things to just happen. We are not always in control, and sometimes that for the best. Over the past two years I’ve had some wild stuff happen and it’s because I had quit being active in my recovery. I relapsed (on pain medicine and in my mental health), I quit doing the things I KNEW helped my mental illness, and I began to isolate myself, a lot. The crazy thing is that when it comes to those things I sort of do have 2020 vision. I know that if I start doing those things I will get worse, my mental health will decline, and typically a drug relapse is not far behind. Yet, when all this happens many of us think, “How did I not see this coming? How did I not catch it?” Well, chances are we did see it coming. And if we didn’t, I can assure you our family and friends saw it. When bad things happen, especially dealing with my addiction or mental health, I tend to say, “Well hindsight is 2020.” Yet it takes me a while to learn that if I had been more present each day I would’ve caught on to the downward spiral in which I was spinning. When you’re draining a tub you see the water going out, and you still have a chance to plug the drain before it all disappears, yet many of us (myself included) tend to get in this zone of just watching everything go down, mostly because we’re just downright exhausted. Then when the water is out of the tub we frantically plug the drain and pray that the water would just come back.

So for the year 2020 I encourage you to develop more 2020 vision when it comes to your mental health and/or addiction, or whatever problem you may be having. Become a present and active participant in your recovery and your health. I have even allowed close family and trusted friends to let me know if they see me headed in the wrong direction. As someone with depression and anxiety our brains often play tricks on us, but typically those outside of your head will see the signs that something is going wrong before you do. If you have a trusted friend or family member that you would be willing to hear this from then I encourage to to talk to them. I told my parents and best friend, “I don’t always notice when I’m getting bad so I need you guys to watch out for me. If you see something or start to notice a negative pattern please tell me so I can fix it before it gets worse.” I have been hospitalized three times and each time could’ve been prevented if I had been more present and proactive with my mental health.

So let’s go into 2020 with a clear vision of what we want and how we’re going to achieve it, and not just a bunch of empty resolutions with which we know we won’t follow through. Let’s be there for each other. Depression/Suicidal Ideation/Anxiety/Etc is a deadly, silent, and invisible illness. We MUST rely on our support systems to get us through the hard times. If you don’t have a support system then reach out to me. I love you guys! You’re stronger than you realize and we can do this. Let’s start this new year off right. Let’s make 2020 the best yet!

-Chase

*Feel free to email me anytime or follow my page on Facebook or Twitter 🙂

Broken Glass

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Why is it that we are always looking for happiness, but we refuse to do any work to get it?  Why do we read “self help” books, but not take the advice of the authors?  Happiness is not hard to obtain, and it simply involves changing the way you think.

Just the other night I had a friend of mine (who also happens to be a Shaman) over for dinner.  In the midst of cooking, a glass fell off the counter and shattered all over the floor.  I cleaned it up, threw it in the trash, and continued cooking.  I bought the glass at the Dollar Tree so I knew they will have more that only cost one dollar.  Why get upset over something that is so easily fixable?  In Buddhism we are taught that our suffering is brought about by attachment.  Nothing lasts forever, and I knew the moment I bought the glass that there was a chance it would break at some point.  Therefore, I didn’t get attached to the glass, but I did enjoy it while I had it.  My reaction could’ve been totally different.  I could’ve been angry that the glass broke, and I could’ve allowed myself to get upset over something so small.  However, my friend and I continued cooking, and I have yet to replace the glass.  The empty space in the cabinet where the glass once sat is somewhat a reminder that impermanence is all around us.  Enjoy the things, and the people, that you have in your life now, while you still have them.  Don’t wait until they’re gone to appreciate them or tell them you love them.  Tell them now, today.  Change the way you react to certain situations and happiness is soon to follow! 🙂

Getting Off My Butt!

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that I apologize.

There are some days that my depression hits pretty hard.  Those days really suck.  However, I am reminded that I need to get out of bed or off the couch and find something I enjoy doing.  Those are  the days that I really have to try.  I have to focus on being happy.  That has both pros and cons.  The pros being that I’m happier, but the con is that I actually have to try.  People who don’t suffer from depression sometimes take it for granted that they’re happy.  It becomes quite a task for me sometimes, but it’s always worth it in the end.  I think my fear of getting as depressed as I was before motivates me to get my butt up and do something!

Granted, just getting up and “doing something” is not always going to fix your depression, or make it better, but most times it does (at least for me).  My day starts with making my bed.  If my bed is not made in the morning it seems my whole day is off balanced.  Making my day sets the mood for the rest of my day, and helps prevent me from going back to bed lol.  After my bed is made I start my coffee and take a shower.  I then open the shades, open doors, light a candle, meditate, listen to music, clean, organize, etc. I try my best to be productive throughout the day, so that when I’m ready to wind down for bed I can be content with my day.  I hate feeling like I’ve wasted the day.  As I’ve written before, I stay away from negative news, and only read positive things online.  I also enjoy watching comedies on TV…really anything that makes me smile!  For those of you who have been reading my blog you’ve probably noticed I have a “touch” of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  I like order, neatness, and I like everything to be in its place.  Keeping everything neat is something I CAN control, so it helps a lot with my anxiety which is something I CAN’T control.  It probably sounds crazy, but it works for me! 🙂

During the day I also focus on some of the little things that make me happy or make me smile.  The smell of coffee in the morning, the feeling of my mint body wash on my skin, the accomplished feeling of doing housework, all of these things make me feel better.  I challenge you to focus on some of the little things to help you get through your day.  Even go as far as rewarding yourself for things you accomplish.  Every day is a new day, so make sure you take advantage of it! 🙂

I Love Burning Things!

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I love burning things.  Absolutely love it.  Now, let me explain.

By “things” I’m talking about incense sticks, candles, and sage smudging sticks.  The other night I noticed I was feeling a little down.  I looked around my room and realized it had become a little bit cluttered.  The room felt stagnant and devoid of open, breathable air.  I got up, opened my window, grabbed a box from the basement, packed away a few things, cleaned (vacuumed, dusted, etc) then decided to light a sage stick so that I could smudge my room.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with “smudging” it is the act of using a bundle of sage (sometimes mixed with other things like cedar, sandalwood, lemon grass, etc.) in order to run off any negative energy in the room.  You light it on fire, then blow it out allowing the smoke to fill the room.  I use a leather bound group of feathers to “sweep” the smoke around the room.  The smoke will cling to, and remove, any unwanted energy.  You are literally smoking out the bad vibes.  This may be all in my head, and it may not do a single thing except fill your room with a small amount of smoke, but it works for me.

I’m obsessed with Native American medicine, healing rituals, crystals, chakras, etc. so any chance I get to learn something about any of these things I’m all over it!  Smudging makes me happy, crystal healing/protection, makes me happy, learning about alternative medicine makes me happy.  All these things are things that I enjoy doing and learning about and they bring me some form of happiness.  So why not light a stick of sage and walk around my room, waving the smoke with a feather?  I discovered a year or so ago that I’m an Empath.  I pick up on the energy of others, whether good or bad, and that energy will affect my own.  Yes, for those of you who don’t understand or follow any of this you will probably stop reading my blog at this point.  You probably think I’m nuts, and that’s okay.  You’re entitled to your opinion 😉 I first realized that I’m an empathic person when I had to attend a funeral.  Upon walking in I immediately felt the sadness, my chest became heavy, my lungs tightened, I was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the day I was extremely depressed.  After the funeral I went home and went straight to bed.  I was exhausted.  I didn’t even really know the person who had passed, but the sad and negative energy that I picked up had literally saddened my heart and it truly affected the rest of my day.  The next day I woke up and decided to do something about it.  I smudged my room (and myself), drank some coffee, cleaned, played some upbeat music, and meditated.  I told myself it’s okay to feel for the family and their loss, but there’s nothing I can do about it so I have to allow those feelings to pass.  And they did.  A few years ago the task of attending a funeral could’ve sent me into a deep depression for a few weeks, but the fact that I now know how to handle it means I can be there to comfort others in their time of need without allowing their energy to attack my own.

I’m sure some of you think I’m nuts, but I challenge you next time you’re feeling down to open a window, play some music, pray or meditate, smile, watch a funny movie, get moving/exercise, clean, and allow all the negative energy that’s getting you down to move on.  Don’t let it stay there because the longer you do, the harder it will be to get rid of.  Have a wonderful day!

Tie-Dye Bandana

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This summer I decided to teach myself the beautiful art of tie-dye!  I went all out buying several white shirts, several white bandanas, and even a cloth tote bag.  I was determined to make the most beautiful tie-dye creations that anyone had ever seen.  Now, let me preface by saying that I am quite OCD, so I wanted this tie-dye project to be absolutely perfect.  That was my first mistake.

The shirts actually turned out pretty good, however, the bandanas and the tote not so much.  Honestly, they looked pretty awful.  Yes, I was upset, but then I remembered that tie-dye isn’t about perfect; it’s about having fun and using color to express yourself.  Once I realized this the bandanas actually started to look halfway decent.  The tote still looked terrible, so I just trashed it! HAHA!  There were several spots on the bandana where I had put too much dye and it caused the colors to run together making either a black or brown muddy smudge.  Other places I didn’t put enough dye and they were very light and there were even some white spots where I had missed putting the dye all together.  I’m the type of person who always tries to see good out of every situation, and I also try to use each of those situations as a learning experience.

The bandana is kind of like my life.  Some spots were lightly covered with dye.  Those times in my life were the easy times.  School was great, my health was great, everything was going well.  Then there were other times, like the dark loaded down spots on the bandana, that were extremely difficult.  Losing my aunt Lisa (who was like a second mother to me) was one of  those times.  Unable to cope I decided to just take a few extra pain pills before the funeral, which eventually led to an even darker place in my life.  Those were the black spots on the bandana.  There was absolutely no light.  No good, and no positive in my life at that point.  However, I sought out help and the white spots on the bandana started to show up again.  I lost 135lbs, had finally beaten my depression (for the most part, and with the help of medication & therapy), had gained victory over my substance abuse, and was genuinely happy with my life.  I was no longer living in a fog, and I can honestly say that I’m extremely pleased with where I am now.  I’ve said before that if I had to go through all that again just to be where I am, I would.  I wouldn’t like it, but I would do it.

How does your bandana look?  Is it mostly dark?  Covered with light spots?  Regardless of how your bandana looks it’s still yours, and you shouldn’t just throw it away.  Life may absolutely bog you down with tough times, but they won’t last forever.  Life may also bless you with wonderful moments.  Sometimes you have to wait out the storm in order to see the rainbow 😉 (As cliché as that is!)

I challenge you to try and look at all the situations in your life as a learning experience.  Good or bad, try to find the “silver lining” and not just focus on the negative.  There’s bound to be some positive moments in there somewhere!

Running On Empty

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A few years ago I was driving home when my car died and I came to a rolling stop in the middle of the road.  Luckily, I was on a down hill slop so I coasted into an empty parking lot.  Not sure what was going on I looked around and then realized it had been several days since I had gotten gas.  Yes, my car had run out of gas.  I was one of “those people” who had allowed their car to run on empty and eventually deplete the required fuel in order to run properly.  I buried my head in my hands in shame and mentally beat myself up for being so stupid.  It was almost 11pm and I had to do something I really dreaded…call my dad.  I sat there for a few more minutes after finally picking up my phone and dialing home.  Dad came to my rescue with a gas can and a stern talking to about not ignoring the gas light.  Dad followed me home and I have never again allowed myself to run out of gas.

Sometimes, in life, we have these moments.  We are literally running on empty and eventually we just stop all together.  We sit, we cry, we beat ourselves up, but eventually we have to pick ourselves up and move forward.  It’s not always an easy thing to do, and we may dread it and even put it off for as long as possible.  However, if we stay where we stop then everything stops.  It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s even okay to let someone take the wheel for a short period, but don’t quit.

I had gotten to the point where I had given up.  I had quit and I didn’t care about continuing on.  After several years of some pretty rough substance abuse, and very severe depression, I had finally realized that I wasn’t going to get better on my own.  I had to ask for help, and I did.  I got the help I needed and I was finally able to move on.  There are still bumps in the road, and you may even run out of gas again later on, but just know that the possibility to move on is always an option.  I still pass gas stations and, out of habit, will check my gas tank indicator to make sure I’m not running on empty.  I know that, just because I fill up, it does mean my car will continue on forever.  I have to check it and stay on top of things to make sure I don’t end up in the same situation as before.  Our lives are the same way.  Don’t give up just because you run out of gas, or hit a bump in the road.  Keep going.  You’re not alone!

Cold Bottled Water

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I love watching “random acts of kindness” videos on YouTube, not only because it gives me ideas of things I can do, but because it actually restores my faith in humanity.  It reminds me that not everyone out there is a murderer, thief, rapist, etc.  When we turn on the news all we generally hear is bad stuff.  It’s so depressing, and I’ve learned that it’s not good for my mental well-being to spend my time watching the news.  I do have a news app on my phone that keeps me updated on the really important stuff, but that’s it.  The only time that I ever watch the news is to see the weather, and I have an app on my phone for that as well 😉

I love good news and random acts of kindness, so I try my best to be that person to actually do the acts of kindness.  If I can help one person, or make someones’ day then it’s definitely worth it!  You never know what someone is going through, and they may be fighting a battle that has them dangling by their final thread.  That person may be planning to go home and end their life, but your one small act of kindness may remind them that it’s not all bad.  There are still some people in the world who care.  So if you are feeling down today, or just haven’t heard it in a while, remember that I love you!  I care that you’re in the world, and if you’re reading my blog right now that means that you are somewhat a part of my life.

I challenge you to be that person who makes a difference in someones’ life.  It doesn’t have to be anything big and drastic.  Maybe just pay for someones’ meal at the drive-thru behind you, or give a few bottles of cold water to a construction crew during the summer.  Buy those packs of thank you cards (the ones that have like 20 in a pack) and write them out to the nurses at your local hospital.  Yes, there will be a lot, but the work they do is incredible and they don’t always get thanked for what they do.  I try my best to smile at people, make people laugh, give to someone in need, and send as many positive vibes to others as I can.  Being kind doesn’t cost a single cent, so why not share it?!  In the words of Ellen DeGeneres, “Be kind to one another!”

Late Introduction

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Hello there, and welcome to my blog (even though I’m a little late on this haha)!  I’m so glad you’ve decided to join me on my journey to finding happiness, and becoming physically and mentally healthier!  Let me tell you a little about myself.

I grew up in a small town in middle Tennessee, I have two sisters, and I’m the glorious middle child!  My parents are both teachers and I graduated from high school in 2008.  I’m a gay Buddhist who loves to learn, and I currently work as a 911 Operator/Emergency dispatcher for two counties.  I attended college for a few years at the University of Memphis before moving back home and changing my major from vocal music performance to psychology.  I now attend part time online/night classes at Motlow State.

I’ve always struggled with depression, but it wasn’t until June 16, 2012 (after a very serious bout of depression and substance abuse) that I finally decided I needed professional help.  I checked myself into a rehab facility at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital for ten days and came out a new person!  Since then I have turned my life around tremendously!  For the first time in a VERY long time I actually enjoy waking up every day, and even wake up early to take in as many minutes as possible during the day.  I cannot tell you how happy I am to be alive and free of all substance that used to bog me down.  I’ve learned to face my problems, learn from them, and help teach others not to make the same mistakes.  I’ve since lost 135lbs, been promoted at work, saved SOOOO much more money, and improved so much compared to the person I was.  Plus I smile…a lot! 🙂

I decided to start a blog not only as a way to journal my thoughts and feelings, but to also help others who may be suffering.  I’ve learned to focus on the good things in life rather than the bad things, but I don’t ignore them completely.  I wake up every day, make my bed, and typically start my day with some yoga, a light breakfast, and some coffee.  I spend this time thinking of things that make me happy, and I also try to center my mind for the day to make sure I get started off on the right foot. My day may consist of many things: working, hiking, camping, swimming, kayaking, walking, dancing, singing, cleaning, etc. but I always do them the best I can, and I make sure I enjoy every minute.  You must be an active participant in your own recovery.  Let me repeat, you MUST BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN YOUR OWN RECOVERY AND MENTAL HEALTH.  You cannot just sit by and expect to get better.  Yes, you may be on medication (as I am; a basic depression pill), but you still have to play a lead role in getting better.  Medication can only do so much, and it’s not a fix.  There are still days when I struggle, but those days just remind me that there is still work that needs to be done.

Now that all that is out of the way, I look forward to having you take this journey with me!  Please, feel free to ask questions, leave comments, and share my blog entries.  I want to help others so if you feel that someone you know could benefit from a post or something I’ve said, I won’t mind a bit for you to share it with them.  We are all brothers and sisters of the same species in this amazing universe that we live in!  I’m here for you! 🙂

Laughing Loudly

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I once read that by making yourself smile and/or laugh you actually lift your mood.  Whether it’s a genuine, real smile or a completely forced one, it doesn’t matter.  Whenever you smile it sends a message to your brain that says, “Hey!  I’m smiling, there must be something good going on.  Let’s party!”  Plus, it often makes you feel a little silly which normally causes you to laugh…at yourself! 🙂

I’m Buddhist and I love watching videos of the Dalai Lama, whether it’s an interview, or just a biography type documentary.  He is always smiling and laughing, and while watching the video I often find myself smiling as well.  His happiness just radiates and it’s incredibly contagious!  Don’t believe me, just click HERE!  You can also click HERE to check out a hilarious video of babies laughing!  There’s just something about watching people laugh that just cracks me up.  It’s also very rewarding to make someone else laugh.  I often tell little corny jokes throughout the day in order to brighten someones day, and it’s so much fun.

It seems I’m always challenging people to do something that makes their lives just a little bit happier so here you go:  I challenge you to find something to laugh about or smile about every day, preferably several times during the day.  Try smiling at someone in order to pass that smile onto them, which will inevitably move onto someone else.  You never know what someone is going through, and maybe they need a smile.  They are incredible gifts that are free to give so feel free to give as many away as possible!  You will definitely make someones day just a little bit better.