Depression Doesn’t Care About Your First World Problems.

DEPRESSION DOESN’T CARE ABOUT WHERE OR HOW YOU LIVE. (**Trigger warning – discussion about suicide)

I think the world is messed up, big parts of it anyway. The bit I live in, however, is comparatively great. The problems I’m subject to by default of living here would be generally known as “first world problems”. So let’s be clear. The problems of the world, society or our immediate community, unless we live in conditions of considerable duress or oppression such as in detention or forced isolation, or subject to violence, are unlikely to make us suicidal.

Generally speaking, people in the Western world are not suffering from depression and wanting to harm themselves because life is hard and the world is or seems awful. They want to leave the world because that seems like a way of helping everyone else.

People say suicide is selfish. From my experience, when you’re having the thoughts, it seems like the most selfless thing in the world. It seems like the thing which will most better the lives of the people you care about. It’s the only way you can think of to give them relief from the fucked up waste of space that is you and all the shit that comes with you.

Depressed persons don’t end their lives because they are bored of their spoiled lives and success, or because they feel the world is awful and they want to leave. They do it because it seems like the most logical way to break through the dead end we reach every day, trying to come up with a solution for the way we think and feel about things, and about ourselves. It’s being unable to step outside ourselves and our thoughts any more, and becoming completely identified with our perceptions and responses. It’s being tired of waking up and thinking, I don’t think I can go around in this circle in my head again. I just can’t do it.

Ending ones own life is certainly a tragedy. It hurts others, which is not ever the intention of the one leaving. However, I want that we also honor the choice to leave. It took courage, and the best interests of those of us left behind were without doubt in mind. They did not believe there was any other option, and for that we may in time forgive them. As one who has felt those feelings and thought those thoughts, I can say it was the thought of what my actions would bring upon my family, and realizing I did in fact believe they loved me and would suffer loss, that gave me faith enough to wait it out. But I do not judge those who decide not to. We will all be together again in time.

Nothing that is loved ever dies.
Respectfully,
Jo xxx

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When A Foot In The Door Isn’t Enough.

DON’T JUST AIM TO GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR. YOU HAVE TWO FEET FOR A REASON.

I like to support local makers and artisans via my shop. I also know what it’s like trying to bridge the gap into retail and reach people with your goods when you don’t have a shop or market stall. That’s why when people come in and ask if they can show me what they make, depending on what it is, I will usually say yes. (Sorry to the lady who hoped last week I’d stock her State Of Origin cushions, but kudos for asking.)
I appreciate it takes courage to front up to a shop owner and ask for a foot in the door, that’s why I try to help by giving one. But here’s the surprise. For every one who comes back with their goods, one I never see again, even though I expressed positive interest in their product.
I believe for many of us, the hardest part isn’t breaking the ice, it’s actually following through. I think some people expect me to say no, and are so surprised I say yes that they don’t know, or aren’t ready to do, what comes next. So they do nothing.
I’ve been threatening to write a certain book for years now. I have drafts all over the place for if. It even has a great title. But all that stuff is easy. Saying “I am writing a book” and making a play at it, talking about it and even designing pretty covers for it is fun and easy. I could even sell that damn book right now just on the concept, I know it. It sounds like a breakthrough to say I know I can write that book. But that’s not the breakthrough. That will come when I actually do it.
I encourage you, you may be thinking appropriate your idea, or someone with your idea, is the hard part. It’s not. Get that over with, because it’s a breeze compared with what’s next. Following through. Now that takes some guts. Best get started now. 🔮🗝💜🦋🕯 #smallbusinessadvice #footinthedoor #followthrough

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Mindful Consumption

You know how you end up with a truckload of stuff you hate? Just buy because you like buying. Take stuff home because you like the feeling of stuffing your car with bags from posh shops. Go into that major chain department store and spend $300 on….argh, god knows how even happens. Buy what the influencer got for free. Or follow the red price stickers and convince yourself that retailer has actually marked stuff down. Go on, kid yourself.

Mindful stewardship of possessions means mindful choosing to begin with at every level, from the manufacturer, to the wholesaler, to the retailer, to the consumer. It means listening in as a consumer to your needs, and not using consumption of goods as self-medication. It’s recognising the messages coming from everywhere telling us we are what we own. We are not. We cannot become better, different or more worthy because of what we have.

Less is actually more when it comes to mindful consumption, and we need to reduce our need for goods to lessen impact on our environment and generally improve our emotional health. Take a thing in your hand when you’re thinking of buying it, and ask yourself if the joy it’s giving you now will be there in a month, a year? Did you know you wanted one of these way before this moment? Or did that price or red sticker make you believe it was a need, not a want?

My shop is a cacophony of colours and shapes and pieces from everywhere, each handpicked because of the vibe I got when I chose them. I want that each piece in my shop finds it’s owner, it’s curator, it’s proud wearer. Am I raving? It’s because I believe in the exchange of energy that goes on in trading as a business. I don’t want to just sell stuff. I want to support people’s healthy beliefs about themselves and the world around them. I want to operate on a deeper level than just making a pile of money out of a pile of stuff. It’s an energy thing. Join me.
🔮🗝💜🕯🦋 #livewithless #curatedontclutter #energy

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Influencer, Or Influence?

I am not aligned with the concept of the social media “influencer”. Whilst I appreciate it’s a legitimate profession, it is no more or less than garden variety sales. Maya Angelou is an influence. Oprah Winfrey is an influence. Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert are influences – not “influencers”. We are impacted and inspired by who they are, by their risk-taking and their inroads into uncharted territory. We are empowered to rise, to venture, to grow. Yes, we buy their books or subscribe to their podcasts, but their influence is such that we need not be initiated into their tribes with pennies and pounds. Their voices ring truth inside us, call us out, draw us forward. That’s influence.
It’s fine to be influenced. It doesn’t make us gullible or stupid. There is however a difference between being an “influencer”, and being an influence. We are the difference. With one, we serve to empower her, and with the other, she serves to empower us. You choose which perspective resonates with your values. Because trust me – you know how to choose for yourself. 😉😉😉 #influencer #influence #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

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Prayer Flags

I’ve been wanting to create some Prayer Flags for a while now. Prayer Flags are something I’ve owned for years. A hippy mainstay, what dreadlocked boho goddess doesn’t fly a string of prayer flags in her house or garden?

Traditionally, Tibetan prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The idea that prayer flags somehow carry prayers to God on the wait or wind is a misconception. Prayer Flags are really better described as affirmation banners – their message is meant to permeate the space they are hung in or around, bringing benefits not just to the owner, but to anyone who comes into that space.

My Prayer Flags are created with words of affirmation I find partilarly powerful or meaningful. I am guided by the piece as I work on it with the word in mind, and ask it to tell me what it wants to look like! I am always guided to the finished result. It’s a joy working on them!

My favourite piece has been the “breathe” flag I made for my friend Zoe from 4ever Fitness and Health in Inverell for her studio. As we discussed colours and design, I had ideas of bright blues and greens, and maybe even a mandala design. However, as I started working on it, the piece began to tell me very firmly exactly what it wanted! I’ve never felt so strongly directed by inspiration to make a custom piece a certain way. Thankfully, Zoe loves it, and I do too 🙂

I’ve uploaded five new Prayer Banners to my Etsy store today, and they’ll be appearing also at Markets At The Fair at Erina Fair this Sunday the 30th of July, if not sold beforehand.

Please contact me if you’d like a custom Prayer Flag for your home, studio, or as a gift.

Cheers,

JO 🙂

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Sister Jo Bangles story is my story.

Sister Jo Bangles has a story. And her story is my story.

Just over two years ago, I suffered an emotional and mental crisis. A breakdown, followed by months of debilitating depression. I quit my job. I stopped writing. In fact, at the time I became unwell, I had a book released by a publisher after years of trying to be published, and I found myself barely able to tell people about it, let alone promote it. We moved back with my parents so we could cope financially on one income. I felt ashamed, crippled and helpless. All I wanted to do was hide in a hole or sleep. Thank God good friends and family encouraged me to seek out quality mental health support. It saved my life.

As I began to recover, I realized it was important I didn’t develop a habit of staying away from people and places. I needed also to avoid being with and believing the depression, which told me there was nothing worthwhile in the world, and I was finished as a person, and as a creator. I decided I’d get up, and get out of the house as often as I could. I started getting in the habit of visiting op-shops, a past time I’d always loved and which gave me joy. While browsing through the shelves looking for bargains, I didn’t think depressing thoughts. Whenever I was out and about on the op shop trail, I was happy, and my heart was light.

I brought home a ton of crap in those few months.

I found a small community of folks doing what I was doing, and trading their goodies through social media. I began to grow a little pocket money making venture – more op shop money, woohoo!

An unstoppable creative, I remembered some jewelry pieces I’d seen on Pinterest, and I thought I could make the kind of jewelry I liked from the bits I was finding in my explorations. I looked at a few videos online on how to make jewelry. And I was away.

Before long, I decided to get my sewing machine out and make a few pieces from op shop finds. I had never been one for buying new clothes anyway, and I saw so much inspiration on Pinterest I knew I could never run out of ideas!

What I love most still about creating these pieces is the feeling I get having gathered something which was considered no longer useful or beautiful, and giving it new life. It gives me so much bliss to resurrect the torn, the broken and the thrown away things of this world, to be a force against our disposable culture and throwaway mentality.

What really continues to inspire me is knowing Sister Jo Bangles has at her heart a culture of embracing, rather than hiding imperfection, of celebrating vulnerability rather than rejecting it, and of allowing the loose threads and ragged seams be seen, and seen as beautiful and worthy.

I know that in my own vulnerability, in my imperfection and brokenness, I am worthy and beautiful. Society may see me as an aging woman with mental health issues, unemployable perhaps, overweight (whatever that is), scarred and broken in places, not rich, without all the trappings to show for a “successful” life, but that’s not who or what I am. I am creative, bold, vulnerable, beautiful, strong, worthy and courageous. I’m a survivor. I have so much living left to do.

Just like all my Sister Jo Bangles creations.

I trust they bring you as much joy as they do me.

Love, Jo xxx

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