Let’s talk about suicide. Volunteers anyone?

I’d say most of us consider suicide a sensitive topic, and it’s rare to come across someone who’s outspoken about their suicidal experiences. But is suicide more prevalent in this day and age, or is it because of social media that makes it seem more common?

My name is Tai, and I would like to share my views and experiences on the choices of life and death. I’m recovering from substance addiction and depression, and I attend the CAMH addictions and mental health program.

In my group therapy sessions we often discuss emotional well-being and its effect on choice-making. During one of our sessions a particular member came out and admitted that he had attempted suicide. Not only did he surprise the entire group and myself, but also caught the counselor off guard because she didn’t quite know how to respond to him.

He recounted that fateful night with vivid description, where he went out and purchased what he needed to hang himself. Continue reading

Do You Own Your Ideas?

Janice gravatarA note from Cafe: I really wanted to thank my friend Seto for taking the time to write this post, especially given that he doesn’t write very often (and for someone who doesn’t, I think he writes really well!). In my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to put your personal experiences and opinions out there for people to judge, so I appreciate that he’s taken on a topic that I have been afraid to talk about on my blog :)

Also, my apologies for having been MIA on your blogs as of late. It’s been a busy couple of past weeks, but I’ll be coming around to visit soon!

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Being a long-time friend of Janice and a follower of her blog, I can say that she’s a diverse writer, excellent singer and has created a great, positive vibe on Your Daily Dose. I’ve always enjoyed rallying ideas with her about random topics. I’m not sure if I’ve changed any of her ideas, but she’s not afraid to put her ideas up to the challenge which is all that matters.

Which leads me to why I chose to write about: Ideas and self: Do you own your ideas? It may sound like a vague topic, but from my experience, all of my values, goals and even emotions have evolved by developing ideas into my own rather than accepting them as is. To me, ideas make the world go round. Ideas pass by us every day — some we laugh at and dismiss, while others are so rooted in our values and principles that we naturally develop tunnel vision. Continue reading

Writing From the Heart: Question #2 (First Comes Love)

Love, health, happiness, money, fame.

Maybe it isn’t as simple as it seems. But it seems pretty simple to me.

Love: I feel that for most people, finding that person who they want to spend the rest of their life with is ultimately what we work towards. Of course we don’t want life to only be about that — we want to have our own personal achievements, maybe travel the world, excel in our careers. But it seems to be human nature that much of what we do — from making an effort in how we look to finding a “good” job — are ultimately to make us more “attractive” to potential life mates. Am I sounding like an evolutionary psychologist yet?

But — and I don’t know if it’s me just being a softie at heart — I don’t know that it’s just for us to find a partner who we can make babies with to carry on our lineage (*it’s the circle of liiiiife!*). Okay, seriously, I really believe that for most people, we want to feel that love and passion that you can’t just find in a friend. I remember that even throughout all those years where I was a total man-hater *ahem* I still found myself always writing in my journal about how I wish there was “that guy” out there. Blegh, so corny. But true.

Of course, love can also be referring to the love from family and friends. I don’t see how anything can beat being surrounded by people you love and who love you. If love is not at the top of your list, I need an explanation!!

Health: I feel like this could be a hard one to put at the top of the list unless you’ve experienced what it’s like to not have good health. Doesn’t matter if you have all the money in the world — if you have to be confined to your bed or hooked up on tubes, or are constantly feeling unwell, how do you enjoy life? I’m sure there are people who find ways, but I’m going to guess that they have some serious support and love behind them, which brings me back to my first point ;)

Happiness: Where does happiness come from? The true feeling of happiness that I’ve experienced has mostly come from love, which is why this is not right at the top. But happiness does also come from having peace of mind, good mental health, a strong sense of self, and so on — things that come from inside the individual rather than from another person. If I think about it like that — happiness as good mental health, it’s actually hard for me to decide which to put on top, happiness or health (which I think of as physical health), because mental health is all-important to me. Hmm, maybe not so simple?

Money: I do understand how money can make life easier and I’d be naive to say that it’s not important at all. Money lets me have amazing experiences around the world and go out to relax on weekends. I love those things!! But I would never trade money for love, health or happiness and I know that you could be rich but still totally unhappy and feeling like you didn’t have enough! Blegh.

Fame: This was easy to put at the bottom since I don’t think I’d like the famous lifestyle. I’m actually a pretty private person and there are certain things I like to keep to myself. I could imagine myself being one of those people who would punch a nosy reporter in the face if they got all up in my biz!

- Cafe

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: In order of importance how would you rank: happiness, money, love, health, fame? Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)

Photo Credits: Question 2Love, Health, Happiness, Money, Fame

Titanic Communication — Men vs Women

Janice gravatarWhat up, y’all? Today I have the great delight of introducing you to one of my best friends, ‘Tage, who has written this very humorous yet — I have to admit — accurate portrayal of men and women in relationships.

Show him some love and let him know what you think — ’cause I know you all HAVE to have an opinion on this one ;)

- Cafe

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It is the oldest adage in the world….men and women communicate differently. The thing is, one of the reasons for this phenomenon is that…well….men don’t seem to ever talk about this at all! (Funny, eh?) Therefore, differences widen, myths develop, and the dog house has frequent visitors (usually men, why is that?)

Well, women, I’m here to offer a glimpse into the rarely seen abyss of the male psyche (now I say abyss since it is yet unproven whether or not intelligent life lives within).

Nonetheless, here goes…but be warned….it will be… *gasp*….honest.

First and foremost…and this is most important I think…communication is and should always be about the listener. I consider myself a decent talker but if the person I am speaking to leaves the conversation in a daze then, simply put, I have failed, no matter how many impressive metaphors or jedi-mind tricks I pulled. With this in mind, I am constantly aware of my listener and trying to adjust what I say and how I say it, ensuring that I am understood. This does not mean I always succeed (I’ve slept in the dog house once or twice when I couldn’t talk my way out of something) but at least I gradually learned the important lesson of listener-focused communication.

“And don’t come out until you’re listener-focused, bitch.”

Continue reading

Why Do You Blog?

When I first started out as a new blogger on WordPress a couple or so months ago, I was trying to get used to the new landscape, the new community. How could I search for other like-minded bloggers? How did you work these Widgets? And what did “Freshly Pressed” mean?

As I became more and more familiar with the WordPress neighbourhood, I kept thinking back to a post that I previously wrote – Why Do We Blog? Although I still stood by everything I said in that post, I started realizing that it didn’t truly capture the myriad of reasons, motivations, and inspirations that drive Bloggers to, at times obsessively, update their readers with the newest thing that’s gotten their wheels turning. I started realizing that blogging was truly a passion for many — a way to fulfill something that they might not be able to fulfill elsewhere.

Walking down a block in the WordPress community. (Sorry to those I couldn’t fit into the drawing, I just included bloggers as they accepted my invitation to participate! Karen — there definitely needs to be a Starbucks in WordPressville!)

I’ve taken quite a few strolls through the WordPress ‘hood and come across many different types of blogs and Bloggers, but I know that I’ve only caught a small glimpse of what’s out there. There is just no shortage of what people can and do write about. We blog about our best recipes, music we love, beauty tips, fashion ideas, places we’ve traveled to, marathons we’ve run, our eating disorders, our depression, addictions, stories we’re writing, our goals and dreams, things we find hilarious, things that inspire and challenge us, things that piss us off, and so on. We write about our opinions on things that matter to us, or maybe things that don’t really matter but that we’re gonna give our two cents on regardless. Some of us want the world to know exactly who we are and what we look like, and others find freedom in anonymity.

But what’s really interesting to me is that, in the end, despite the differences we may have, we all share one thing in common: we choose to speak out in this public space, to share our stories with potentially hundreds or thousands of other people whom we will likely never know or meet. We know that out of the thousands of readers who walk through our community (and we are a community) every day, at least one, at some point, will hear us. Some people might think blogging is silly — just a bunch of people ranting about nothing — but I’m always amazed to see how much people can affect others simply with their words and images. Many of us seek to touch or inspire others with our experiences, ideas and creations — and from having read your blogs, I know that there are so many who end up doing just that.

Two inspiring bloggers, Nadia and Den, who have never met each other but created a blog together that spreads optimism far and wide! (Photos from: Writing a blog & Dear Optimists)

It’s taken me a very long time to write this post, because I have found it difficult to convey to you, my dear readers, why blogging is such a staple in so many people’s lives. I didn’t think that it could be complete without a few words from just a handful of great Bloggers who have one way or another inspired me, gotten me to think, or simply made me laugh so hard that it hurt. So I asked them the question: “Why do you blog?” and here’s what they had to say …

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“There many forms of expression, whether by music or art. In writing we take inspiration from within ourselves and place it in words, sharing with everyone our most sincere thoughts.”

– Andy from My story to you.. (Life)

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“I blog as a way to connect. I blog to entertain, to provoke, to question, to confront. Blogging is my unapologetic way of sharing myself with the world. And it can be said that life’s greatest insights come at such moments of vulnerability.”

– Fraser McGuire at Unsolicited Advice (General Interest)

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“Why did I start blogging? Because I felt like I had something to say and needed someone to say it to. There sometimes feels like there are things in my head that are trying to escape. It’s like my brain has a cage around it and there are thoughts and ideas trying to get out. Blogging allows me to reach an audience. It cleans out my brain and keeps me creating. It’s an easy schedule to maintain, since I make the schedule. I also want people to like me and tell me I’m handsome. That’s why I do everything I do.”

– Tim at Mooselicker (Humor)

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“I created a blog to show my ability in Graphic arts and media communication.”

– Jake at Time After Time (Graphic Arts & Photography)

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“Writing makes me happy. I`ve always wanted to write but I think I was always afraid of how it would be recieved or what people think. It`s hard when people critique something that you love doing. This blog was my way of breaking away from that and creating a happy place that I can always come to. Also, someone needs to document ridiculous things that happen in everyday life ;)”

- Karen at The Skinny Jeans and Starbucks Chronicles (Humor)

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“I blog mainly because I love writing and telling stories and disseminating knowledge — it’s an extension of my everyday life as a teacher. I also blog because there’s nothing like making someone laugh, or smile, or think about things a little differently, and blogging gives you the most immediately available means to reach others and touch them in some way with your words and experiences. I blog to share what I know, to question what I don’t know, and to examine what I think I know or what I could know. I blog to share my newest works in progress and my experiences writing and revising with my readers, and to hold myself accountable for completing those projects — there’s nothing like those emails demanding the monthly sneak peek! For me, in the end, it’s all about individual and collective understanding and communication. I blog because it is one immediately tangible way to be in relationship with the rest of the world.”

– Melissa Ridley Elmes at Cerridwen’s Cauldron (Lifestyle & Eclectic)

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“I blog for a lot of reasons, but mostly, I like the process of figuring out how to say something in the most direct and resonant way. How can I make this funnier? How can I make this more emotional? How can I make it more true? And because blogging is so hurried, I have to make those decisions in a compressed timeframe. It’s an academic exercise, but in the best way.”

- Yoona at Yoonanimous (Fashion, Food & Other Ephemera)

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“One of the greatest inspirations for this blog is my desire to help people find the beauty in life, and therefore find their own Wonderland.”

– CT at insearchofwonderland (Self Improvement & Enlightenment)

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“We blog because we want to make people smile, we want them to read our post of the day and realize that sometimes, the little things in life are all we have, and to cherish the short moments of bliss, the smiles, the laughs and the hugs that people have on a daily basis but are so small that sometimes they forget about them when the bigger, tougher parts of life overwhelm. We blog because we like to make others feel good, which in turn makes us feel good and want to continue making others feel good, and thus keep a circular motion of positivity that continues on and on and on and on…do you think we are the ones making people smile? Well the reality is that those very same people that we make smile are just as equally making us smile as well.

That, my friend, is why we blog.”

- Den and Nadia at Dear Optimists (Humor & Optimism :)

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And as for me? “I always had a hard time expressing my opinions and feelings through talking about things when I was growing up. Sometimes I still do. Writing allows me to get all of it out in a way that makes sense. But this blog isn’t just about me. There is so much that I want to say and share with others, but I also love hearing about others’ perspectives and own experiences and getting a good discussion going. This blog is my creative space that let’s me explore, discover, and share.”

- Cafe at Your Daily Dose (A Mixed Bag ‘O Goodies ;)

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Thanks so much to the Bloggers who took the time to participate in this post and send me your answers. I would love to hear from more bloggers about your own motivations and inspirations for blogging! So answer me this, my dear readers:

For the Bloggers: Why do YOU blog?  (Don’t forget to leave a link to your blog!)

For the Non-Bloggers (or the Not-Yet-Bloggers): Why don’t you blog? (Just never thought about it before? Don’t think you can write? Don’t have the time?). And if you were to create your own blog, what do you think you’d blog about?

- Cafe <3