Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Where Are We Going?

So just where are we going? "How does it feel. How does it feel. To be on your own. With no direction home. Like a complete unknown. Like a rolling stone?" Do you relate to those lyrics from 'Like A Rolling Stone', by Bob Dylan? Do you feel like you are on your own, even when surrounded by the commotion of mankind? Have you lost your direction? Do you even know what direction you want? Are you unknown to those who should know you? Does your heart ache with pain, with trauma beyond the comprehension of those who haven't got the time to spare a moment and embrace your humanity? 'Rolling stones', wandering aimlessly, striving to have a purpose, a meaning in a world that too often dismissed us as weak and useless. A world that stigmatises those with mental health issues.
So then, maybe we have become positive, positive about being negative. When all you are used to is being devalued, when people don't care about the tears running down your cheeks, you can truly start to believe that you are not worthy of being an integral part of the human race. Negativity breeds negativity. It then becomes easy to distance ourselves from the positive possibilities that are within our grasp. The choice is there for you. You can drown in that ocean of negativity, or, you can reach out and discover that there are empathetic realities.
Seek out those who are genuine, who are sincere, who will be there for you in your hour of need. For to dismiss those who really do care means that we have surrendered to the negative environment we have tried to escape. That is irony at its saddest. So do we stay in this self-enforced hell? Do we continue to feel bad about ourselves because feeling good is an alien concept? Have we reached the point that the possiblity of feeling good makes us feel guilty? After all, we are not worthy of being happy? Or are we?
I try to maintain a positive outlook. Being positive can indeed be hard work but it is so much better than the option of living my life with no hope, no ambition, no reason for existing. Yet often, my positivity is greeted with suspicion. Suspicion by the very people who ideally want a better life. They are so absorbed with negative aspects, they dismiss my positive intentions and twist it into a negative. 'Let's 'catch' him out. He must have some 'hidden agenda'. What's in it for him?'
I do understand this type of thinking. For when you have been subjected to relentless emotional torment; it is difficult to appreciate or recognise unconditional empathy.
So just what's in it for me? I hope that by trying to help, to support those who have been undermined and disrespected, I help them, I help myself. Together, we can find our direction home. Wont you come along with me as we discover our true direction in life? Together we can inspire through the power of empathy. I throw you a 'lifejacket', please do not perceive it as an 'anchor'.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ambulance And Irony...One Year Later.

It was just a little over a year ago, January 18th, 2008, that an ambulance tried to customise the rear end of 'mid-life chrisis, divorce mobile'. My car, my baby, my Rover 820 sli, complete with all the 'toys' and the customary furry dice, was dead. May she 'rust in peace'.
I knew that I had needed more exercise, but this was ridiculous. A rather extreme way for the National Health Service to tell me: 'Mr. Klahanie, you need to do a bit more walking'. Walk I have, you don't realise just how much of a convenience your car is, until you no longer have one. It has meant that going to the shops takes several trips. It has meant that doing things like buying large bags of dirt for my garden has been cancelled. I recall, in the good old days, going into a DIY shop and buying some top soil. I noticed a sign in the DIY shop. 'Money back guarantee'. So I asked the lady at the counter: "Does that sign mean that if I am not happy with this dirt, I can bring it back?" She laughed.
Prior to that rather surreal mishap, I had been volunteer coordinating a meeting for a mental health organisation. After the meeting, I had offered one of the members, a valuable friend, a ride back to their home. It was a very cold night, I worried my friend would have to walk home alone. So after a night of positive interaction, of genuine caring and empathy, we headed for that collision course with fate, a fate that would have an impact, in more ways than one, on how I would determine where my life went from there.
I try to live my life with a positive outlook. I endeavour to be caring, kind and empathetic. If I know someone needs support, a caring word, I try to be there for them. Sometimes a small gesture, a 'hi how are you', is all it takes to make a person know that people care. So with this thought, I figured that it would be a kind expression if someone from the mental health organisation would phone up and see how the passenger in my car and myself were after what had transpired. We never got that phonecall, that act of kindness never happened. This hurt us both. It has left me with a sensation of disillusionment. This lack of a small act of kindness, concern and caring, contradicted my ideals.
Maybe I expect too much. Perhaps my expectations are just too high. I suppose it could be construed that I have irrational sensitivity. Maybe these expectations are part of my mental illness. I have to stop being so naive and realise that, no matter what line of work folks are in; people are people. Complete with their own quirks, their own idiosyncrasies, there own highs and lows. I guess sometimes, people are just too busy to demonstrate acts of kindness. I consider that very sad.
Yet, one year later, I am filled with enthusiasm and a resilient positivity. Instead of dwelling on that night and the puzzling indifference, I am moving on, big style. I have discovered new and exciting outlets in my ongoing desire to social network. I have had the great privilege to meet and interact with genuine, empathetic people. The power of empathy, 'A Symphony of Empathy' a thought provoking collaboration blog I did with dcrelief :, was a display of what I truly believe this all about.
We have begun to formulate a group of bloggers who wish to work through their mental health issues, through the therapeutic power of the written word. We are establishing a 'community of empathetic bloggers' and that gives me the strength to carry on in a world that can be so cruel.
No, I never got that phonecall. Yet somehow, with all the new positive avenues I embrace, it doesn't matter anymore.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Mime On The Radio.

Having successfully avoided the paparazzi and the adoring autograph hunters, my beautiful lady friend and I, were whisked off in a chauffeur driven limousine to the most exclusive restaurant in Monte Carlo.
So there I was in this fancy restaurant, with this beautiful women in a very low-cut dress. I was determined to maintain eye contact, after all, I am such a gentleman. She looked over at me and said: "Excuse me! My breasts are down here." ......and then I woke up.

"Welcome to Klahanie's radio variety show. Tonight we have a very special guest. For we have the great privilege of having live in the radio studio, a Marcel Marceau tribute mime artist. He is very shy and will not reveal his name. Anyway, he is now going to give us a demonstration of the fine art of miming. Wow! That was great. I hope the listening audience appreciated that.
Scheduled for the next few episodes of my radio show are the following. Next week we will be amazed by an illusionist. The week after, we will be given a demonstration in sign language. In three weeks time, we have booked (althought this could be a bit tricky) a fellow who will show us how to make smoke signals.
I must tell you that the excitement does not stop with all the preceding entertainment. We are also negotiating to have a group of boy scouts come in and show us how to tie some knots. We have requested that a couple of experts in the fine game of tiddlywinks (yes, that is the correct name), give us a nail-biting demo of this all-action pastime. With a bit of luck, we will be able to bring you an exciting exclusive on my show. We are hoping that later on in the year, to be able to broadcast two dudes playing chess! Now then, I'm sure you will agree, that is one heck of a schedule on my radio show.
Before I go and hand the microphone over to the all-night DJ, I have one last bit of truly exciting news. Quite different from our usual programme format. We have been in talks with the good folks at the world famous Calgary Stampede. They have indicated to us that there is a strong possibilty that they may bring over a contingent of cowboys, cowgirls, horses, chuckwagon racers, bucking broncos and clowns in barrels to perform in what will be a somewhat crowded and no doubt, rather smelly studio. We think, if this does happen, we have the perfect name for that episode of my show. Yes indeedy do, that episode will be titled: 'Rodeo Radio'.
And finally...I know what you have been thinking..well, guess what? There are no webcams in this radio station. Now if only someone would buy my Marcel Marceau CD."

Friday, 9 January 2009

Living Our Lives.

The freedom to live our lives, the way we want to live. Not living up to what we perceive others expect of us. It is all too easy to get trapped in a negative environment, created by others and compounded by us. Do we not have a choice?
So if you are used to living in a negative environment, you may think this is the way life must be. Well, we do have a choice. I made the choice to distance myself from the negative elements that were eroding the remaining remnants of my all too fragile self esteem. Being vulnerable, being mentally ill, made me an easy target for those who used me to detract from their own insecurites. This 'easy target' decided that something had to change.
When I distanced myself from those who only saw me when they wanted something, who weren't really interested in me or how I was feeling, made me lonelier, more isolated. Yet it was a good kind of lonely, a good kind of isolation. For now I could reflect and evaluate what I truly wanted in my life. Now I would live my life according to my rules and not cater to the whims of people who considered me a convenience but not a friend.
Now I embrace the ideals of people who care about me and show respect rather than disinterest. In turn, the new people in my life receive genuine interest and caring from me. Positive interaction, positive respect, the power of a chosen positive environment. No more undermining, no more dismissing my validity. This powerful journey along my positive route grows ever stronger. I will never go back to that dark place, that negative place that almost destroyed my dignity. I am better than that and so are you.
So if being happy, experiencing positivity seems like a distant, fading memory; know that deep within you, the flame of renewed hope still burns. You have dreams about the life you want to live. Nobody has the right to destroy your dreams, your aspirations. Do not let them.
It is too easy to be suffocated by negativity, for being positive may seem like hard work and a most daunting task. Yet choosing to be positive is worth the effort. You can now make that choice about getting on with your new life, your new adventure, your new purpose. This is about living our lives. Nobody shall clip our wings just as we are learning to fly.