Today I learned that an old friend had been identified as the body found in a pond in Deerfield, Illinois yesterday. We had last talked in February. He contacted me because he was very depressed and had been experiencing suicidal thoughts. We talked for a long time. He was unemployed and about to lose his home. We talked about the reality of his situation as well as the self-defeating assumptions he was making about it.
We had met in 2001 when he became my manager at work. We quickly became friends outside of work too. He even had roles in a two short films I made. A couple of years later, he looked out for me at a time when I was extremely depressed. I was often bawling in my office cubicle. He would get me out of the office, take walks with me, make plans to get together on weekends, visit me at home... he was a great and caring friend and certainly one of the coolest bosses anyone could ever hope to have.
For the last month, I kept having the urge to reach out to him. I wanted to see how he was doing, but I kept putting it off. I'm disappointed in him. I'm also disappointed in me. I ignored my intuition. That is why I'm disappointed in me. I didn't want him to feel like I was checking up on him and decided to let him reach out to me if he wanted to talk about anything. He didn't. He knew that he could, but he didn't. That is why I'm disappointed in him.
For anyone like me that walks a path that has them meeting depressed and suicidal people, you know you can't "save" everyone. I knew when I decided to be open about my experiences with depression and suicide attempts that I'd meet people who would never embrace life. But I never thought it would be someone who had helped me so much when I was so low. I feel that I have failed horribly in returning that favor.
Don't wait. Don't delay. Don't take ANYONE in your life for granted. When somebody crosses your mind, get in touch with them. Better to find it was nothing than to learn you ignored some silent cry for help.
God bless you, Brian.
Love and Light,
-- Andy Grant, January 5, 2014
On this January morning I was looking out my home office window and had one of those amazing little moments. One of those moments of insight and introspection that may mean nothing to anyone else, but which brought tears to my eyes.
I looked out my window seeing the grey, gloomy sky, then gazing higher above, almost straight up, I saw clear blue sky. Such a gorgeous expanse of limitless blue with white puffy clouds zooming by. The clouds were moving so fast it looked like a time lapse film that compressed the cloud movements of an entire day down to seconds. I looked back at the horizon - the grey clouds sitting there motionless.
In the peripheral vision of my right eye, I could see dark, ominous trees. I turned to them to see a field of leafless, dark shapes with translucent rays of light poking though, giving the branches ominous highlights. It was rather eerie and menacing, a bit of a traditional Halloween scene.
I realized all of this was happening at the same time. All of these scenes, these views, were real; and my mood, my emotions, my outlook, changed depending on which one I focused. The overall scope was too grand for me to see all three aspects at the same time. I had to choose what I wanted to see; what I wanted to focus on. I got to choose what I wanted to experience.
The sky is always blue. It is the clouds that are sometimes grey. The sun is always shining, we just don't always see it.
Life is always good, we just aren't always aware of it. Sometimes we are deceived by the filters, the clouds, the temporarily leafless, scary trees. It is all good.
--Andy Grant, November 1, 2013
I recently discovered a very cool website, TalkingAboutSuicide.com, working to remove the stigma of suicide attempts by allowing people to openly share their stories. The site was created by Cara Anna, a journalist and suicide attempt survivor, and has dozens of frank, open discussions about depression, suicidal thinking, attempts and what comes after.
You can read my full interview here.
I'm sure you have heard of gratitude; being thankful for what you have, but are you aware of how powerful the thought and emotion gratitude can be?
My first online course, "The Power of Gratitude: Learn how to improve the quality of your life with an attitude of gratitude", is based on my in-person gratitude workshop, but it ended up being longer than my live event (over four hours of content!) and it is cheaper than attending the live event too. Plus, you decide when to take it, what speed to go through it, and you'll always have access to it. I decided to launch it at the amazing price of only $37, but I want reward my people with a special deal of only $19. That's right, use the link here and you get this 4 hour+ course for less then twenty bucks!
"This course is incredible. It really made me stop and think about so many things I take for granted each day. I enjoyed doing the exercises that were included in the course. Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious!" ~Sue
"Loving Andy Grant's wisdom and humor." ~Karen
In this course we will explore gratitude from a spiritual, energetic, and scientific perspective.
Whether you've been keeping a gratitude journal for years, once had a gratitude practice but have stopped, or even if you think the notion of gratitude having any effect on your life is utter nonsense I invite you to join me. You will take part in a number of journaling exercises and learn simple rituals you can use on a daily basis to bring about an attitude of gratitude in your life. I'll share my story later, but let me say up front that everything I'll teach you is something I used to think was a ridiculous waste of time - that is until I tried it.
I will share with you scientific studies from the field of Positive Psychology proving the amazing power of gratitude on your health, happiness, relationships and well being. You don't have to believe I word I say, just be intrigued enough to put some of the practices I'll share with you to work and then decide for yourself. Sign up now!
A couple of weeks ago a friend referred me to an interesting project, LiveThroughThis.org, a site collecting stories from suicide attempt survivors. Stories told in their own words and using their full names. I had seen other sites where people shared their stories of depression and suicide, but it was anonymous, which made it seem like something to be ashamed of; like it was a horrible secret nobody should know about. It's been years since I've gone public with my suicide attempts, so I had no interest in projects that seem to imply it was something to hide.
I love the "Live Through This" project because everybody is being completely open and transparent. There are great shots of beautiful people sharing a bit of their most painful times. I contacted the photographer, and attempt survivor herself, Dese'Rae Stage and told her I was interested in being interviewed. It turns out she had an upcoming speaking engagement in Boston, so on September 30, 2013 I visited the MIT campus (for the first time even though I've lived in Massachusetts all my life) and heard Dese'Rae's presentation on the project. She's interviewed and photographed 50 people so far, and has a list of over 150 more who are willing to share their stories. I'll be doing my interview sometime in early 2014 when she visits Boston again. I may even be speaking at MIT myself next spring.
You can also check out the project on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/livethroughthisproject
Check out the site and read a few stories. Let me know what you think. Perhaps your view of who attempts suicide will change.
Earlier this month I had the chance to meet Anita Moorjani, author of Dying To Be Me, a powerful and inspiring memoir chronicling her Near Death Experience and unexplainable healing from terminal cancer. I first heard of Anita in early 2012 while reading Wayne Dyer's excellent book, Wishes Fulfilled. He told a bit of her story and shared her primary message of unconditional self love.
I bought her book a month or so later, but didn't read it. I wanted to. I had time to. But I was scared. Everything I read or heard about Anita and her story resonated so strongly with me, so many of her words matched exactly what I've said in my own speeches that I was scared to read it. I was concerned that I'd be "ripping her off." So I ignored the book for more than a year.
This July I took Anita's online class with Hay House. I loved it. I felt like I could have been teaching so much of it. Still I didn't want to read the book. Finally, two days before I was going to see her speak in Hartford CT on Sept 14, 2013, I read her book. I devoured it, inhaled it, and I immediately got that it was the Truth. That is why it resonated so strongly with me, and why so many of her words seemed to be my own. We are both sharing the Truth. I laughed at myself as I understood that I couldn't "rip off" the Truth.
I got to spend a few minutes with Anita after her presentation. Her presence and energy are AMAZING; pure love. I shared with her how I learned the importance of self-love after multiple suicide attempts, and we had a good laugh over my resistance to reading her book. She gave me a kiss and said to keep doing what I'm doing. Deal.
Here is a metaphor she uses in her book and presentations that I really like. I can't recommend her book enough! And you don't have to face your own death to learn these lessons. Enjoy.
How do you see reality?
Although I try to share my near-death experience, there are no words that can come close to describing its depth and the amount of knowledge that came flooding through. So the best way to express it is through the use of metaphors and analogies. Hopefully, they capture a part of the essence of what I’m trying to convey at least in some small way.
Imagine, if you will, a huge, dark warehouse. You live there with only one flashlight to see by. Everything you know about what’s contained within this enormous space is what you’ve seen by the beam of one small flashlight. Whenever you want to look for something, you may or may not find it, but that doesn’t mean the thing doesn’t exist. It’s there, but you just haven’t shone your light on it. And even when you do, the object you see may be difficult to make out. You may get a fairly clear idea of it, but often you’re left wondering. You can only see what your light is focused on, and only identify that which you already know.
That is what physical life is like. We’re only aware of what we focus our senses on at any given time, and we can only understand what is already familiar.
Next, imagine that one day, someone flicks on a switch. There for the first time, in a sudden burst of brilliance and sound and color, you can see the entire warehouse, and it’s nothing like anything you’d ever imagined. Lights are blinking, flashing, glowing, and shooting sparks of red, yellow, blue, and green. You see colors you don’t recognize, ones you’ve never seen before. Music floods the room with fantastic, kaleidoscopic, surround-sound melodies you’ve never heard before.
Neon signs pulse and boogie in rainbow strobes of cherry, lemon, vermillion, grape, lavender, and gold. Electric toys run on tracks up, down, and around shelves stacked with indescribable colored boxes, packages, papers, pencils, paints, inks, cans of food, packages of multihued candies, bottles of effervescent sodas, chocolates of every possible variety, champagne, and wines from every corner of the world. Skyrockets suddenly explode in starbursts, setting off sparkling flowers, cascades of cold fire, whistling embers, and animations of light.
The vastness, complexity, depth, and breadth of everything going on around you is almost overwhelming. You can’t see all the way to the end of the space, and you know there’s more to it than what you can take in from this torrent that’s tantalizing your senses and emotions. But you do get a strong feeling that you’re actually part of something alive, infinite, and altogether fantastic, that you are part of a large and unfolding tapestry that goes beyond sight and sound.
You understand that what you used to think was your reality was, in fact, hardly a speck within the vast wonder that surrounds you. You can see how all the various parts are interrelated, how they all play off each other, how everything fits. You notice just how many different things there are in the warehouse that you’d never seen, never even dreamed of existing in such splendor and glory of color, sound, and texture—but here they are, along with everything you already knew. And even the objects you were aware of have an entirely new context so that they, too, seem completely new and strangely super-real.
Even when the switch goes back off, nothing can take away your understanding and clarity, the wonder and beauty, or the fabulous aliveness of the experience. Nothing can ever cancel your knowledge of all that exists in the warehouse. You’re now far more aware of what’s there, how to access it, and what’s possible than you ever were with your little flashlight. And you’re left with a sense of awe over everything you experienced in those blindingly lucid moments. Life has taken on a different meaning, and your new experiences moving forward are created from this awareness.
After her cancer diagnosis in 2002, Anita Moorjani experienced what most of us never have – she “crossed over” and came back to share what she learned. Her remarkable near death experience (NDE) and subsequent healing is one of the most amazing ever recorded. Anita's NDE tremendously changed her perspective on life, and inspired her critically-acclaimed New York Times best-selling book, Dying To Be Me.
Her work is now ingrained with the depths and insights she gained while in the other realm and has propelled her to the forefront of the world of personal transformation and NDE. She is the embodiment of the truth that we all have the inner power and wisdom to overcome even life’s most adverse situations, as she’s the living proof of this possibility.
-- Andy Grant, June 26, 2013
When I was growing up and dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, I was told by doctors that depression was "in my genes" and there was nothing I could do about it except to take antidepressants for the rest of my life. Such declarations made me feel more hopeless, flawed and broken. Especially since for years, medication gave me nothing but side effects. If medication has worked for you, awesome. I'm happy for you. If it hasn't, maybe you've fallen victim to some myths too.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting a couple of doctors I wish I'd had when I was growing up. Dr. Kim and Dr. Mario are a husband and wife team going by the name, The Thrive Doctors. They teach the very things I've discovered the hard way, that our thoughts do indeed impact our health and that by changing the way you think about your health, you can improve your wellbeing, vitality, and happiness.
The Thrive Doctors have released a series of videos this week that I think are fantastic!
Check this video out! It completely debunks six medical myths that have been fooling people for years. The truths contained in this video haven't even been released to the public. And, most within the medical community don't even know about them.
According to Dr. Mario, "The healing process is about acknowledging that the healing power resides within every human being. Health care providers are really health care reminders." Health Care Reminders, I LOVE that!
It’s so refreshing to hear doctors go beyond old ways of thinking and really get it.
Better health starts with changing your thoughts. Enjoy the video.
Here's to thriving!