It can hap­pen in a moment, usu­ally after a life-changing real­iza­tion or event. Every­thing goes dark. The air in your body gets sucked from your lungs. A lead ball crashes into your core, leav­ing you weak. Your throat con­stricts and your body begins to sweat. Your heart races. Your tem­ples pound. We have all been there.

I can remem­ber this hap­pen­ing to me a few times in my life. Some­thing com­pletely unex­pected hap­pens. You get a dev­as­tat­ing phone call; you’re count­ing on peo­ple and no one shows up; you wake up from a lie and real­ize just how shaky the ground you’ve been stand­ing on is. These moments send you reel­ing down the rab­bit hole into the deep dark abyss.

You think you’ll never recover from what­ever it is, but most of us do even­tu­ally. Once we have regained equi­lib­rium, we look back and won­der how we got from there to here, and then we swear that we will NEVER go back there again.

Yet we do that, too. You see, that is the evo­lu­tion of life. Pain is often the cat­a­lyst for peri­ods of intense growth, when we are ready to shed the old, but are not yet ready to embrace the new. Pain is per­haps the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic when we are thrash­ing about in the murky waters of denial, shame, fear, anger, and doubt until we regain the strength to swim to the near­est shore.

The times I have spent in the rab­bit hole have been scary as well as painful. I will admit that I have wanted to run, hide or find any­thing just to make it stop. I have prayed that I would fall asleep and wake up to the real­iza­tion that it was all just a dream. The truth is, there is no way around it. We can tem­porar­ily avoid it but it will always come back until either the les­son is learned or we have been awak­ened from a deep sleep. It would be nice if growth could come in pret­tier pack­ages and with detailed instruc­tion man­u­als to fol­low, and at times it does. But if you are any­thing like me, with a stub­born streak, then there are times when the Uni­verse has no other choice but to bring the ham­mer down. Not to pun­ish us, but to awaken us.

EVERY time I have been in the dark­ness, I have learned some­thing new — about myself and about the lessons I have come to this life to learn. I have gained more insight into my deeper truth and have brought heal­ing to my core wounds. I have learned to reach out and ask for sup­port so I do not drown in the pain. And once I have climbed out of the rab­bit hole, I see the enor­mous gifts that I received from my time there.

I am not going to lie and say I look for­ward to these peri­ods of painful growth, but I will say that they no longer frighten me as they once did. You see I have got­ten the tools and recourses that I have needed to see in the dark. My faith, my pur­pose, my truth, and my courage have been loyal com­pan­ions. There are moments that I for­get that they are there, but before long I am reminded again.

We will NEVER be able to out­run the dark­ness. The more we run, the more painful the process. It will inevitably find us lurk­ing behind some tree or hid­ing under­neath the bed. We even­tu­ally have to face it.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what to do when it comes knock­ing at your door?

What if you could befriend it so that you can learn quickly what it has come to teach you? ?

AND

What if you no longer had to con­stantly fear the day that it will find you so that you can live FULLY in the present?


About Suzanne Hanna

Suzanne Hanna is a Licensed Psy­chother­a­pist, Holis­tic Health Prac­ti­tioner, Spir­i­tual Coach, Writer, and Inspi­ra­tional Speaker. She has helped hun­dreds of men and women move through their fear and pain as a way to live a more Inspired Life. Suzanne believes that it is up to the mid-lifers and beyond to come out from the shad­ows of their own fear, pain and shame in order to be the way — show­ers for the younger generations.

“I am on a mis­sion to remove the stigma around fear, pain and shame. I want to teach oth­ers about the impor­tance of the jour­ney into dark­ness in order to reclaim their power and true selves. I believe it is the ONLY way to get to per­sonal free­dom. Sev­eral years ago I went on my own ver­sion of The Wilder­ness Walk when I hiked across the United States with my golden retriever Grace. It changed my life.” http://www.thewildernesswalk.com/

Choos­ing life insur­ance can be a big deci­sion — one that you def­i­nitely want to get right. But how do you know when you should get life insur­ance? Are you ever too young or old to get life insur­ance? Who does life insur­ance work best for? How do you find the right pol­icy for you?

These are just some of the ques­tions peo­ple ask when they are think­ing about get­ting life insur­ance. And they are all good ques­tions to ask — which is why we have set our­selves the task of answer­ing them.

What does life insur­ance offer?

There is not one spe­cific type of life insur­ance. Each insurer and each pol­icy can offer dif­fer­ent lev­els of cover and dif­fer­ent types of cover. How­ever, the basic idea behind life insur­ance is that it helps to offer finan­cial pro­tec­tion to those you leave behind.

Say you have a part­ner, a few kids and a mort­gage. If you were no longer around, could your part­ner cope finan­cially? Who would pay the mort­gage, the bills, the school fees, the day-to-day expenses? If your fam­ily relies on your income, life insur­ance can offer a sub­sti­tute for that income to help them get back on their feet.

Life insur­ance also offers other fea­tures. Funeral cover can be included in a life insur­ance pol­icy, which can pro­vide a fast pay­out to help cover funeral expenses. Some poli­cies also offer early pay­outs for ter­mi­nal ill­ness or loss of sight or limbs, which could help to cover every­day expenses or med­ical treatment.

When should you get life insurance?

There is no age when you must get life insur­ance. Life insur­ance depends more on your cir­cum­stances than your age.

If you have peo­ple who depend on you finan­cially, then life insur­ance could be ben­e­fi­cial. If you have a part­ner, kids, an elderly rel­a­tive, or any­one else who depends on you, your life insur­ance pay­out could make life much eas­ier for them if you were no longer around.

Sim­i­larly, if you have finan­cial oblig­a­tions, such as a mort­gage, loans or credit card debts, you need to think about how your fam­ily would cope pay­ing those off if some­thing were to hap­pen to you. A life insur­ance pay­out could pay off the mort­gage or other debts, allow­ing your fam­ily to worry less about their finances.

How do you choose the right health insurance?

Before you look into get­ting life insur­ance, first find out if you have any cover else­where. You may have life insur­ance with work, or included in your super­an­nu­a­tion. If that’s the case, work out how much cover you have, and whether you need more.

To work out how much life insur­ance you need, try using a life insur­ance cal­cu­la­tor, or speak to a pro­fes­sional. Even if you work part time or you are a stay-at-home par­ent, don’t under­value the work you do at home as a cook, a cleaner, a nanny, and a taxi driver!

To find the best life insur­ance, research all your options and com­pare poli­cies and insur­ers. Think about how much you will pay, but don’t choose your pol­icy just because it’s cheap, as it may not offer the cover you need. When you find the right pol­icy, review it reg­u­larly to make sure it keeps pace with your chang­ing lifestyle.

For some, buy­ing a home will always be the dream. How­ever, chang­ing eco­nomic con­di­tions have cre­ated a new ideal, for those who do not want to buy, or can­not afford to buy. Gen­er­a­tion Rent, as they are some­times known, choose rent­ing over buy­ing, and are espe­cially com­mon in large cities where house prices are high.

But which option is bet­ter? Should you rent or should you buy? The answer to this will depend on your own cir­cum­stances. How­ever, here are our top six rea­sons why buy­ing is bet­ter than renting.

Improv­ing your credit

Hav­ing a mort­gage can help to improve your credit — as long as you treat it cor­rectly and always pay your repay­ments in full and on time. When you apply for credit — such as another loan or a credit card — the credit provider will check your credit his­tory to assess your credit wor­thi­ness. If you have a mort­gage and con­sis­tently pay your repay­ments on time, lenders will gen­er­ally look on your credit appli­ca­tions more favourably.

Bor­row­ing against your home

Hav­ing your own home can allow you to bor­row against it and use it as col­lat­eral. If you want to apply for a per­sonal loan, you may use your house as secu­rity. If your mort­gage is in good shape, the per­sonal loan should be eas­ier to get, and as it is secured against your house, the inter­est rate you pay may be lower. How­ever, don’t risk your home with a loan you can­not afford — only take out credit against your home if you are sure you can pay it back.

Cre­at­ing a nest egg

This is one of the main rea­sons to buy instead of rent. As you pay off your mort­gage, you own more and more of your home (unless it’s an interest-only mort­gage). Once your mort­gage has been paid off, the house is yours. When you retire, you won’t have to worry about pay­ing rent each month, and you have a sub­stan­tial asset in your name.

Buy­ing can be cheaper

In some areas and in some cir­cum­stances, buy­ing can be cheaper than rent­ing. Com­pare the dif­fer­ences in your area, and think about whether buy­ing your own place would work out cheaper in the short term and the long term. Use a mort­gage repay­ment cal­cu­la­tor to work out a home loan repay­ment sched­ule that works for you.

Not being at the whim of a landlord

When you rent, you are at the whim of your land­lord. The land­lord could choose to evict you or raise your rent. You could have a land­lord that is com­pletely use­less and leaves you with­out hot water for a week while wait­ing for your boiler to get fixed. While hav­ing a land­lord can have advan­tages (no Strata, no coun­cil rates, no main­te­nance costs), it can also have its disadvantages.

Rent money is dead money

There is the argu­ment that rent money is dead money. While you cer­tainly get a ser­vice for the money you pay your land­lord (most notably, you get a roof over your head), you are essen­tially pay­ing some­one else’s mort­gage. This can be fine in the short-term, but what about the long-term?

Autumn in Carthage

by Guest Author on April 8, 2014 · 0 comments

Autumn in Carthage Cover

I am often told it’s impor­tant to be able to cap­ture the gist of a novel in a sen­tence. What is it “about”? Well, in a sen­tence, Autumn in Carthage is “about” using the stan­dard tropes of genre fic­tion to illu­mi­nate deeper issues. As a manic reader and blog-addict, I am con­vinced that seri­ous lit­er­a­ture does not spread ideas beyond a small cir­cle of already-aware read­ers. Mid­dle­brow fic­tion, in con­trast, tends to find its way into the hands of “reg­u­lar people”-precisely the ones I wish to con­nect with.

To be spe­cific, this book was never intended to be cot­ton candy. The idea was to speak truth to power, tilt against some ortho­dox­ies, to reach beyond the bound­aries of mere enter­tain­ment and dig deep into the human con­di­tion. Offend some peo­ple, per­haps. The novel is, in large part, autopathog­ra­phy. It uses fic­tion to give shape and voice and mean­ing to my own lived expe­ri­ence with men­tal ill­ness. As a social sci­en­tist, I have always been struck by the dom­i­nance of what one might call the “indi­vid­u­al­ist fallacy”-the reduc­tion of both prob­lems and their mit­i­ga­tion to the individual’s propen­si­ties and atti­tudes. Would that this frame­work were accu­rate. The truth, how­ever, is that our expe­ri­ences with bur­dens, psy­cho­log­i­cal or oth­er­wise, are dri­ven by social insti­tu­tions and regimes. Some enable us to rise above our lim­i­ta­tions; oth­ers press down upon us. The dom­i­nant trope in this novel, then, is one man’s jour­ney through his per­sonal labyrinth to find serenity.

It remains firmly rooted in genre fic­tion. Time travel and mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ances are major tropes. Much of the action occurs against the back­drop of Colo­nial Amer­ica and the Salem Witch Tri­als. Above all, it is a love story. But the over­rid­ing pur­pose was to limn the lives of bro­ken people-who, as it hap­pens, stand at the hinge of his­tory. Pub­lic dis­course and the media seem to have two tem­plates for indi­vid­u­als with men­tal health prob­lems: docile “Uncle Toms” on the one hand and dan­ger­ous “cra­zies” on the other. The point of the nar­ra­tive was to por­tray them as full blooded human beings perched on much the same com­plex deci­sion trees as every­one else. It seemed a par­tic­u­larly impor­tant thing to do, in an era of mass shoot­ings, dark new media nar­ra­tives, and increas­ingly coer­cive laws. Neural dis­crim­i­na­tion is, of course, but one among a vast range of social patholo­gies that urgently need pub­lic atten­tion. Rage over such prob­lems is not uncom­mon. Writ­ers, how­ever, are in a unique posi­tion to pour that rage into a scaf­fold­ing of words, and make ideas public.

I deeply believe that the arrange­ment of soci­ety is not set in stone. Change can be ignited, and starts with the cre­ation of inter­ested “publics.” These con­stituen­cies then become social movements-engines for trans­for­ma­tion and renewal.

And to think that all it takes to start the process, these days, is a lap­top and a spine…


Christo­pher Zenos is a pseu­do­nym. The author is a well-published uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor who has con­tended with men­tal ill­ness all his life, and knows the beastie well. Hence the mask: As this novel’s pro­tag­o­nist puts it, suc­cess­ful Pass­ing is now a sur­vival imper­a­tive for cra­zies like him. Autumn in Carthage devel­oped, in large part, from his need to sing of this world he inhab­its: The realm of the stranger, the odd one. The man stand­ing at the win­dow, brac­ing against the wind as he gazes in won­der at the light and com­fort on the other side.

The Essential Guide to Sightseeing in Los Angeles

by Guest Author

Tweet The City of Ange­les can be found in the state of Cal­i­for­nia and is often referred to as the ‘Enter­tain­ment Cap­i­tal of the World’. This city boasts a large num­ber of world famous attrac­tions, while Los Ange­les’ nightlife scene is also extremely vibrant. Here is a selec­tion of attrac­tions that should not be missed […]

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A Physical Therapist’s Uncommon Journey

by Guest Author

Tweet The jour­ney starts down a famil­iar path. Mid­west­ern female attends col­lege, and then grad school, gets license in her pro­fes­sional field of Phys­i­cal Ther­apy, goes to work in a hos­pi­tal, then another hos­pi­tal, then another. The therapist’s feet are wet, the ropes learned and the path begins to feel stale and stag­nant. The ther­a­pist desires […]

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American Heart Month: 3 Steps to Let Go Of Stress

by Guest Author

Tweet Feb­ru­ary is Amer­i­can Heart Month and if you’re stressed for any rea­son, you may be expe­ri­enc­ing emo­tions such as frus­tra­tion, over­whelm, resent­ment, anger, and anx­i­ety. The prob­lem with these neg­a­tive emo­tions is they can have a dev­as­tat­ing impact on your health and well-being affect­ing your heart, men­tal clar­ity, pro­duc­tiv­ity, and immune sys­tem. Not only […]

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Toxic Offenders

by Guest Author

Tweet If we some­how had some high-intensity sci-fi glasses that allowed us to see the air in all its lev­els of purity, with clear being the most pure and a thick murky grey being the least, most of us would be walk­ing around in a sea of misty to murky grey. If we then decided […]

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Is Love Possible Later in Life?

by Guest Author

Tweet I have heard it said that a woman over 40 has a bet­ter chance of being killed by ter­ror­ists than she does of find­ing a hus­band. I don’t buy it. I’ve seen too many exam­ples of older cou­ples find­ing true love. My par­ents, Ken and Glo­ria Gal­lagher, were both in their 50s when they divorced […]

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The Hows and Whys of Tracking Your Sleep

by Guest Author

Tweet How are you sleep­ing at the moment — good, poorly, so-so? Sleep sci­ence assures us it’s nor­mal for the quan­tity and the qual­ity of our sleep to dip occa­sion­ally, but it can still be hard not to worry or get frus­trated when this hap­pens. You might even feel com­pelled to do some dig­ging to […]

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