Re-Defining Moments

reflective drop

Sometimes the moments that turn our world upside down…are the very moments that bring shining clarity.

Defining moments. Do you have one? Or several?

It’s hard to believe that my defining moment was over 5 and a half years ago. Time is a weird thing. Because it seems like these really big moments – moments that change everything, like a birth of a child, or a death of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis – are both like yesterday and a life time ago at the same time.

For me, it was the moment I gave up. I surrendered to my demons. Depression had won. I will spare the terrifying details, but I am incredibly lucky to have survived to tell about it.

I choose to write about this now and then for a few reasons. I don’t want to ever forget it, or take my life for granted. And I promised to find a way to make that terrible negative into an incredible positive…though at the time, I had no idea what that even meant or if it were even possible.

At the time it was termed a break down. But since the years have passed, it has turned into my break THROUGH. Break away. Break loose. Break free. Break ANYTHING but, down.

But no one had a way of knowing that. And it’s not a common thing. Most people that go through something like that don’t bounce back. If anything, they become a repeat statistic and a disabled victim of society.

So people steered clear and waited…holding their breath to see what might become of me. Heck. I was one of those people too. I had no idea if I had what it took to rise above and become a fully functioning person again. For months it was like walking on thin ice for sure.

But to their surprise…and even more to mine…I am kicking some break-through ass over here people! I mean can I get a witness? And this is not a bragging moment about how great I am. This is a bragging moment about how THANKFUL I am! I mean this could have easily gone south and be a very dark story – probably on a grave stone.

So what set me apart from the stats? How did I beat the odds of becoming a revolving door into the psyche ward of what I have termed “catch and release”?

In one simple and easy word…Perspective.

It sounds too damn easy, right? So easy, it’s elusive. A trick. Too good to be true.

But here is the thing. Changing your perspective is not as easy as it sounds. It’s the same reason addicts rarely can break their chains. Chemicals carve deep canyons of darkness into our brains that make it almost impossible to climb out of in order to create new paths, and carve new canyons of light.

Changing your perspective is not as easy as just making a quick rash decision or new year resolution. It requires intense, thoughtful, soul searching reflection. It requires active intention…followed by actual actions. And then repetitive, intentional, thoughtful actions. Then follow up to those actions, and so on. It’s actual work!

Actions reaching toward a defined goal. Just as if you were working out. This is like a work out for your brain, emotions and soul. And instead of a goal of getting your body fit and healthy…your goal is to get brain and emotions fit and healthy. Just like working out – you have to be committed and do it even on the days you don’t feel like it! (And physically working out doesn’t hurt either).

And people…NEVER, EVER, discount the possibility or need to take doctor prescribed medication. It is really, really foolish to think you don’t need it. It’s as foolish as a diabetic refusing their meds. And in time, you may or may not even need them…but if a medical professional recommends it…for God’s sake try it. Depression is a chemical imbalance. Take it from me…Depression cannot be beaten on prayers alone.

I equate medication to a catalyst that flings you towards your goal of getting healthy. No matter how hard I had tried to break free of my dark canyon, I couldn’t jump high enough without that damn medication. As much as I may hate to admit it…it was just the kick in the ass I needed.

Each day I took baby steps. I had no idea what to expect. I just knew I had to keep taking one little step at a time. It required getting out of my comfort zone. Letting go of the past. Cutting off destructive people in my life. And most of all…finding the beauty in the every day life that was all around me. Everything that I took for granted before, was now like a child like wonder.

I didn’t know at the time how pivotal that last point was going to be in my life. I had always been a nature nut, but I didn’t know it was going to change me or save my life.

In my quest to go out and find beauty right where I was, I ended up discovering a whole new world I didn’t know really existed – right under my nose…under my feet…all around.

Rebuilding myself was not easy. It honestly was like being reborn. Maybe that is why it all came together the way it did. I had become child like. As if I were breathing, walking and seeing things – all for the first time.

I started going out and looking at frost up close for the first time – with the stubborn curiosity of a child. And what I found was extraordinary! The sheer detail in one tiny flake of frost is incredibly fascinating and humbling. Then I started studying individual snowflakes. And in the spring it was all about the morning dew drops

on ordinary grass and weeds that transformed the yard into sparkling jewels and reflective drops.

And now…I find it everywhere. Beauty in nearly everything. That has spilled over into many other areas of my life. I am more patient, kind, and forgiving – but far, far from perfect, and I don’t get it right every time. My kids and husband will be the first to tell you, I am still have limits and can lose my mind now and then. And there are still people in my life that present ever growth building potential. : )

The goal has never been perfection anyway! And that should never be your goal for anything either! That only sets you up for failure and giving up.

The goal is just baby steps forward, every day, toward some kind of goal. That’s all I still continue to do now. I just update my goals from time to time to keep me reaching and growing. Even when I take a few steps backwards…I am still so much farther forward than I was almost 6 years ago.

Newsflash…that’s all any successful person is doing anyway! Taking baby steps forward and totally winging it! I was reminded of that when I watched Cast Away this weekend. Great movie, and there is a line in there where he says, “I just had to keep breathing, and keep going. One day at a time”.

Look. There is no road map to any of this. But know you are not alone in any of this as well. Nature Nut stuff may not be your thing, and that is ok. But find something. Find your inner nerd child/kid and run with it like your life depended on it.

Life is short. Life is unfair. Life is hard. All obvious clichés. But life is also full of crazy beauty. Find it.

I share a lot of the beauty I find now with others online. Sometimes people are just as amazed as I was at some of these sights. And that spurs me on to keep going and dig even deeper. It’s not just for myself now, but helping others find the beauty right where they are too.

What started out as one day at a time, one photo at a time, has become a real passion. I am not the best photographer by any means. I don’t go out thinking I’m going to get the greatest shot ever. I just have fun. In my mind, I’m just a kid with a camera on a scavenger hunt. Cause that’s just it – I never know what I might find. And 9 times out of 10 the best picture I get any given day is a shot I had not planned on getting.

Look me up on Instagram @findbeautywhereyouare and if you find some amazing beauty right where you are – #it to #findbeautywhereyouare

It’s my little movement and tribute to jumping out of my dark canyon into a new lighter, sillier path. It would be the best compliment ever and be one more baby step toward making that negative into something positive, and towards something much bigger than me.

 

3 Simple Secrets to a Happy New Year

Embrace the simple things in life. The mundane and ordinary become extraordinary if you just look for it.

Embrace the simple things in life. The mundane and ordinary become extraordinary if you just look for it.

If you are tired of making meaningless New Year’s Resolutions, or worse, making the same old ones every year and never living up to them…try something new this year.

Give yourself the gift of a new perspective.

I did 3 years ago and I am happier, more thankful, and less restless than I have ever been in my entire life.

Here are the 3 simple things that changed my life:

1. Acceptance
Accept that you are who you are, and your life is what it is. Also, accept your friends and family for who they are (hint – you can’t change them anyway).

You are who you are. If you are not happy with that, dig a little deeper to figure out why. There is usually a good reason. Comparing yourself to others is one of the number one reasons people are not happy with who they are. So, you are not the cover girl of a magazine. Do you sit there and compare your friends or family to things like that? Do you pick them apart like you do yourself? Just stop!

Stop comparing yourself to other people – what they look like, what they wear, how they live, what they have, and even what they think of you (or more accurately – what YOU think they think of you – because you are probably wrong anyway). Accept you for you and move on. You are actually pretty freaking great, if only you would stop looking everywhere else for yourself.

Your life is what it is. Get over the fact that your life may be harder than someone else’s, or that you feel you were dealt a losing hand in life. If you can read this, you are not blind, you have technology, and chances are – honestly you are doing pretty ok. So stop comparing your life to that of reality TV shows…because that is NOT reality.

If you are truly unhappy with your lot in life, the great news is that you actually can make some intentional choices to influence and change some of the circumstances if you are truly that unhappy. One of the easiest and biggest changes you can make is accepting your lot in life and learning to be ok with it. Instead of hounding yourself for bad choices, or mistakes or focusing on how your life is not what you thought it would be…just accept it. Then figure out ways to embrace it.

For example. I found myself at a place in life where I had TWO failed marriages! Not just one…TWO! And it got even messier because I had one child with each husband! People…this is a devastating place to be and looks bad on paper…sounds bad when trying to explain it. It is just pretty ugly. How could I ever just accept this and crazier…EMBRACE IT?!?

I had to accept it. Plain and simple. I had to get over the judgment from myself and others. I had to just quietly say…ok. This is what it is. It is not what I had pictured for my life and for my girls, but life happens. It was not easy. It took years and intention to come to a peaceful acceptance, but I can honestly say now that if anyone has an issue with my past or my situation…it is THEIR issue – not MINE! That is incredibly freeing!

Lastly – accept others for who they are. You cannot change other people. I can’t change you by you reading this. You have to make a conscious decision to want to change. So it is with others. You have to accept people at face value for who they are and be very honest about it. Don’t get in relationships thinking you are going to change someone. Don’t think you can change how your relatives live or think. You have to just accept them.

Just because you accept them doesn’t mean you have to like everything they do or who they are or how they treat you or others. It just means – wake up and accept the reality. Don’t feel bad for putting up healthy barriers if needed if their behaviors are unhealthy or a negative influence on you. Once you accept they are who they are – it allows you disengage a little bit and realize their actions are not your responsibility.

They may still drive you nuts – and that in itself just is what it is. You know they drive you crazy, you know their antics…just accept it. This too is very freeing. It makes you kind of just sit back and enjoy the ride a little more instead of erroneously thinking or believing that you can change anyone else.

2 Forgiveness
Forgive yourself and forgive others.

By the way – I put forgiveness after acceptance for a reason. You can’t even get to forgiveness until you honestly master acceptance.

Forgiving myself: I thought that forgiving others would be easier than forgiving myself, but I found out that we are inherently very selfish and ego driven. Even the most humble of us. We have our wounds and we lick them when we are hurt. So what I found, is that I actually had to forgive myself before honestly being able to forgive others.

It’s kind of like that whole airplane analogy. You know – “In case of pressure loss inside of the cabin, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before trying to help others”.

So that’s what I had to do. But strangely enough, I couldn’t forgive myself straight out.

I had to imagine myself as one of my own daughters. Yea…I know, sounds weird, stay with me here. I pictured my own daughters and how much I loved them and how I would never want them to beat themselves up over stuff. I want them to love themselves, thrive, and not be held down by the prison of forgiveness and resentment. So with that mental image, I had to realize I too was a child and that I too deserved forgiveness.

With that simple mental exercise I was not only able to forgive myself, but actually become an advocate for myself over time. Just as I want my own girls to be brave and strong and be able to stand up for themselves…I too had to do that, model that, be that. For me AND them.

Forgiving others: After I took some time to really forgive myself (because this takes work and intentional practice) I started choosing certain people that I would forgive.

And it’s not like I had to sit down with them and have some awkward conversation. In fact – I never even told them. I just forgave them! Because the real truth is that forgiveness is not for the other people…it’s for you! I had some big things to forgive. In my life I have been verbally, mentally, physically and sexually abused. It was a long, ugly list and it took some time. But once I was able to apply actual forgiveness, I felt an incredible burden lift from my shoulders. All the resentment, anger, and bitterness I had been carrying around for YEARS started giving way.

Forgiving someone does not condone what they have done. Let’s be very clear. Forgiveness just releases YOU from the prison of being controlled and handicapped by what they did. It’s your get out of jail free card! And you should keep it handy because this also takes practice. But I promise you will get the hang of it and will start to feel like water rippling down the back of a duck the more you do it.

3. Surrender
Surrender control and expectations.

And yes, I put this last for a reason. You can’t get to this point without mastering the other two.

I was what you could call a control freak. And the crazy thing is that I didn’t even know it! I was the passive aggressive type. I pretended to be humble, meek, a martyr really, and as if I didn’t have any mind of my own, choices of my own or control over anything. But the whole time, I had some hidden agenda of how I thought everything was SUPPOSED to be, and how everyone was supposed to act. It was pure hell.

I had to first accept I was doing this, then forgive myself for acting like that, and then STOP doing it.

Since I have been able to surrender control of everything that happens I have been incredibly peaceful. I guess it was a lot of weight on my shoulders running the world and all.

Life is crazy and unpredictable. People are imperfect. Crazy stuff happens and people are usually the cause of it. But how freeing it is to realize – none of it is really in your control! I was able to sit back and let life happen – and actually enjoy the phenomenal uncertainty of it! Control is a total illusion and I now laugh at people who think they have it.

This is not to say you are an aimless boat on an ocean…you can still have direction and purpose. In fact, you will probably have more after you let go of all the responsibilities of orchestrating every little move and predicting the outcome.

Simplicity:
I could have called this the 4 simple secrets, but Simplicity is the just the BONUS or outcome and result of applying these 3 principles so you can rejoice and embrace the simple things in life.  It’s like the little gift or reward that just happens after you do all the hard work above!!  The mundane and ordinary become extraordinary if you just look for it. Allow yourself to slow down. Now that you are not in a race against time or anyone else, or blinded by anger or depression, you can slow down a little, relax and see the beauty all around!

Life can be a beautiful ride, but it may take some perspective to find it. I can’t guarantee you will be a changed person if you can accomplish all these things because of course – that is up to YOU! However, I can only attest to the fact that these three things were life changers for me.

I am more thankful on a daily basis than ever. And I am still the same twice divorced girl that suffered all kinds of abuse and made some really dumb choices in my life so far, and will probably do more stupid stuff along the way. My life didn’t change as much as I changed how I saw and live my life.

I’m rooting for you in 2014! Take baby steps. This is like working out. You have to start small, and take it day by day. You will slip up and that’s ok. The more you practice these skills, the easier they will become.

Cheers to a new thankful, peaceful, happy you!

I’m so thankful it rained on my parade

ImageI had the honor of speaking at a women’s retreat a few weeks ago.  It was the second time I’ve been asked to do this.  Last time I even led and sang some of the music. I am not bragging.  I am in awe of it all, because I almost wasn’t here for any of it.

You see…it rained on my parade.  What does that really mean anyway?  It means you are pissed because things didn’t go the way you planned.  Well…it rained on my parade…for a long time.  And I got more than a little pissed…I got really depressed.  Nothing in my life had turned out the way I had planned.  Nothing.  And because of that…I chose to focus on everything negative and was missing out on the tons of blessings all around me.

But you see…life has a funny way of helping us out.  And sometimes things don’t work out for a reason, and by pouting about it, being mad and resentful…we are only delaying ourselves the joy and peace of what is next.  Don’t waste as many years as I did being a control freak.  You can’t control the weather, a sick mom, a cheating spouse, or anyone else for that matter.

So I had the privilege to speak about some of the hardest lessons I have learned in life, and share them very personally with an overwhelming 60+ women last week.  It was hot, it was crowded…there wasn’t enough chairs, but no one seemed to care. 

I wasn’t nervous really.  I was just hopeful that I would say what someone needed to hear.  I was hopeful that some of the hardest things I have endured wouldn’t be in vain.  I was hopeful that I would be able to articulate, not just the darkest parts of my life…but the victory and transformation that occurred.  I was hopeful that I might instill hope into someone that might have lost theirs, just as I had lost mine at one time.

But the funny thing about hope and inspiration is that…it’s not about the person trying to spread hope as much as the person that has lost it and finds enough courage to grab on to it one more time.  No one can “give” anyone else hope.  Hope is only received by the individual willing to believe in it.

I knew that.  And maybe that is why I was not nervous, but rather…hopeful, yet, realistic and even a little sad.  Because as I sat there in that crowded room looking out at all these women – all so very beautiful in their own unique way, my heart jumped as I saw the faces of women, young and old.   They had all come to hear – How To Take A Compliment And Find Beauty In The Small Things.

That is what my topic was about. 

As I went through a little survey I had devised, I could see that it had already struck a chord.  How hard it is to receive a compliment sometimes.  But the reality is that it is only hard when…you don’t believe the compliment.  And the thing that really sucks is that most of us don’t.

We shy away from compliments.  We may feel awkward.  I did for years.  Admittedly, still do sometimes…but I have been working very hard at believing and receiving the compliments.  Not in an arrogant, vain way like, “Sank you dahlink, yes, I know I am all that and a bag of pretzels too”.  More like in an accepting, grateful and graceful way.  Because grace is what got me this far.

There, in that room, in a matter of 40 minutes or so, I shared years of my own inner struggles, and how I have come to find peace.  How complete chaos turned to calm.  Now…I still have moments of chaos, but I don’t “live” in chaos.

It all came down to Accepting.  Accepting that I cannot change the past, I cannot change people, I cannot control most circumstances, but I can just simply accept things the way they are.  And let it be.

I also had to surrender my pride, which can be masked with self pity.  I had to surrender my control and plans.  I had to surrender and admit I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t have to.  And just let it be.

I had to make a conscious effort to quiet the noise in my head…all the questions, all the things I wondered about that had no definitive answers…I had to just let it be!

This is not a subliminal message for the Beatles by the way, but they were on to something there.

I said a lot in that hour.  And the really cool thing was that I got to hear from them too.  We shared some really cool things together.  I shared much more than I could write right now and truth be said, I probably wouldn’t even remember all of it anyway.  It was very interactive, and I am so thankful for that.

I wasn’t speaking to them.  I was sharing with them. 

A few came up afterwards and hugged me, we laughed, we cried, we chatted a bit more.  One lady even said it was the best thing she has heard including from professors in college.  Again…not bragging…I was just in awe of it.  I guess there is a difference between reading and regurgitating knowledge, vs. living it.

And one girl stayed after…waiting patiently.  I didn’t even realize she was waiting for me.  Her nonchalant, slouched posture in the corner of the room made it seem she was just bored out of her mind waiting on a friend.

But she was waiting.  Waiting to tell me that she was at the very end of her rope and had been for quite some time. 

We sat and talked for over an hour. 

I honestly don’t know if anything I said sunk in, or made a difference.  I can hope.  But it’s not about me, or anything I said.  It’s all about her, and anyone else that needed to hear it – that hope can prevail.  It’s about whether or not they mustered up the courage one more time to grab hold of something that only they can do for themselves.

To believe.  Believe they are worth it. To see life IS beautiful – even among the chaos.  To believe that there is beauty and freedom in not being able to control anything but your own outlook and perspective.  To believe and understand that only you can break yourself out of your own prison of doubt, confusion and fear.

To believe you can let go, let it be, and find peace in it all. 

I can’t do that for anyone.  I can only show that it can happen…

Here was my trick.  I couldn’t do it for me…or at least the right now me.  I had to see myself as a child.  

I saw my own precious, sweet, beautiful daughters.  I want everything good for them.  Peace, hope, happiness, love…you name it.  They are innocent, beautiful, amazing gifts! 

But wasn’t I once too?  I had to find my inner girl.  And realize that I too, was worthy of such things.  May sound silly, but it was really the only way.  I realized the very best way to give them those same gifts of acceptance, peace, love and joy…was to model it, live it, believe it. 

I’d like to say I succeed at it every day, but why would I need grace then?  And people…I am a walking picture of what grace is all about, let me tell you.  I AM a grace junkie!

Like I said…I wasn’t talking to them…I was sharing with them…and listening, and watching, and learning. 

That’s what we do.  We are not in this alone.  Don’t fool yourself and think you are.

I am very thankful for that opportunity.  It was really amazing.  I am very thankful that some of my very hard and humbling lessons are not in vain.  The one thing I prayed in that hospital room was that my sadness would not be in vain. 

If you are down, or running low on hope…dare to be courageous and grab it up again.  But do yourself a huge favor first.  Free your hands and mind of control.  Hope cannot be controlled.  It can only be received.  And you are the only one that can do that for yourself. 

And if you are too tired or just not able to do it…seek some professional help.  You are not alone and only pride is stopping you.  Let go of that too while you are at it.  You will be so glad you did. 

Because grace and beauty is all around us.  Little encouragements all along our path, just waiting to be found.  But you have to be looking for them.  You can can’t receive it your eyes are closed. 

The next time it rains on your parade…go outside afterwards and open your eyes.  If you let go of the control, and the pride and the anger, that the rain ruined your parade or picnic…you might see something so small and so beautiful that you just may suprise yourself and laugh as you think to yourself…I am so glad it rained on my parade…because I would have missed this!

The Dark Side of the Mood

Sounds like I was jamming to some Floyd with a cold, eh?

Some people are just more prone to depression. It is actually attributed to a certain personality profile and trait – that doesn’t mean that everyone with that profile will have depression…they are just more likely to. If you add to it really shitty circumstances you can bet there will be bouts of it.

There are several things at work in depression, I will call them the ABC’s of depression. Attitude, Behavior and Chemistry.

Attitude. How you see the world. How were you trained to see the world? Optimistically or negatively? How were you brought up to view yourself? Your circumstances and situation? What was modeled to you? I am not giving anyone a wild card to blame anyone else for your own attitude and personal responsibility to choose happiness…but there is something to “modeling”. This is where you tend to even accidentally “model” whatever you were exposed to long term in your formative years.

You can fight the uphill battle and strive towards beauty and happiness, but when overwhelmed and beat down, it is easy to slip back into the modeled, or comfort zone of attitude, which may be very negative.

However, Attitude is the first and foremost key to beating most (not all) depression. You do have the power to change your attitude. You are the only one that can control that. It really is that simple. And that ridiculously difficult.

Then there is Behavior. What do you do on a regular basis? Are you into constructive or destructive behavior habits? Are you in a downward spiral? Are you going through the motions? Do you chose to be around constructive or destructive people? Are you making intentional decisions or just being blown around in the wind? If so, are you doing anything to attempt to change it? This doesn’t happen overnight.

Behavior is very hard to change. In fact, it can only be done effectively after you have had a real change of attitude. Attitude is like the rudder of the ship. One small turn can change the whole course. Behavior is like the ship itself. Once the attitude or rudder makes that change, the ship, or behavior start to follow.

Behavior is hard to change because we are such slaves to our habits. Some habits are even addictions in some form or fashion. That is why rehab often fails…forcing a ship or behavior without the catalyst – or attitude, is usually futile.

But it CAN be done. Attitudes can be changed. Behaviors can be modified. It just requires persistence, resistance, believing, and lots and lots of daily work and support is important too.

Lastly, the C. The Chemistry. This is the trickiest of all. God only knows what is really going on here. Science is making break throughs I guess…but it is still largely trial and error.

Trial and error with some catastrophic consequences. Some anti depression medications have actually caused people to kill themselves because they may have been misdiagnosed as just depressed when they were actually bi-polar. I mean this isn’t child’s play. Most drugs have negative side effects like nausea or feeling dizzy…well, how about delusions of grandeur and suicidal tendencies? Now THERE are some good family memories.

Chemistry is the hardest to figure out. Are you clinically crazy? Or just having a piss poor attitude about life like everyone does now and then? And what is normal anyway? It’s all so flattering and glamorous, really.

There are tons of fund raisers and campaigns for all kinds of diseases and conditions…but depression is just a taboo and figment of the imagination. It is an embarrassing, character flaw or weakness of an individual. It is not given kindness, tolerance, empathy or consideration. It is often met with confusion and irritation, which – ironically causes even more depression.

I guess if you know anyone that suffers any of these ABC’s of depression, the best thing to do is treat them kindly. Don’t kick them when they are down. A depressed person is already painfully aware of their flaws.

Know that it will pass, but give them a little break. Maybe even some tough love, as long as it is really love…not frustration. A hug is also always good. Encouragement, not bullshitting or patronizing – cause even crazy can spot a fake.

But the main thing is…let them have their moment. Let them cry. Let them get it out. Let them have a pity party and then move on. Ignoring the pain only increases it. Telling them that their pity parties are really unattractive doesn’t help. An acknowledgement of their sadness, a distraction with some kind of humor and kind arm around a shoulder can do wonders.

If all that doesn’t work, perhaps chemistry is at play here. If it lasts for weeks or months…maybe. If everything else in their lives are seemingly ok, but yet, they continue to reside in the dark…maybe. And maybe then it is worth consulting a doctor. I just don’t know. But if depression is really an illness…it does deserve treatment just like anything else.

Lastly – a comment on love. What is this elusive thing that most seek, but not all find anyway? Is it a place of peace? Is it contentment? Why do some need it more than others? Depression craves love and acceptance. Not a hero, not a rescue…just companionship. Unconditional love. But the problem is that – people don’t love unconditionally. People love with conditions and limits, and rankings, and on and on.

So you are left with your own attitude, your own behavior, your own chemistry. In this world. Battling up hill, hoping, dreaming, believing in whatever you may believe in. Hoping for some relief from this wretched world. Needing to believe in some kind of heaven, or God, or story line bigger than ourselves.

The key is knowing that moments like this won’t last forever. These moments when we cross over into the shadow of our souls for a brief time. Moments like this make the light even brighter when we travel back out of the shadow. It is just a temporary lapse of unreason, as we strain ourselves back to clarity, and happiness. Because no one can live for long on the dark side of the mood.