As a small child, even as young as two years old, I felt an overwhelming responsibility to my father. I felt that, although he was physically stronger and certainly older than I, it was up to me to protect him because he was fragile and vulnerable. It was many years later that I learned of my father's struggle with depression, and his suicide attempt as a teenager and final success. What I learned through my window view of his depression is that everyone goes through their life experience in their own way, we are all a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and there is nothing more powerful than the capacity of love, hope and joy to shine through.

Everyone who is born has a unique fingerprint. I like to use this as a metaphor for how unique we all are and how we each have our own path to follow. At any given time, you may not know why something is happening in your life, but you can be sure that the sequence of events is unique to you and who you are. Think about it: No one on earth has ever had the exact same experiences as anyone else on earth. Sure, we can have similar experiences, but not the exact same ones, and our reactions to them are unique as well. To me, this means that no one can truly tell anyone else how to live his or her life. We can give advice, we can certainly help each other, but in the end, we must experience life through our own senses and on our own terms. It's in our uniqueness where our true power resides.

Humans are resilient beings who are constantly expanding in consciousness and creation (if you don't believe me, look at our accomplishments of the last 20 years alone!). Some people experience a tremendous stress like depression, and then turn their lives around and help hundreds, maybe thousands, of people recover from the same stress. We have the capacity to come back from the brink of death to full health and vitality. Each one of us has a special strength, some would call it a "gift," that can change the world if we let it. We have only to believe in ourselves and our strengths will shine through, opening the gateways to more love, hope and joy on earth.

Our true capacity for love, hope and joy expand in the world as we open to who we truly are. We are limitless and much more than just our physical bodies or our minds. Our natural state is joy, and it feels all the more painful when we experience something like depression, because it is so opposite of who we really are. Like a tiny flower growing between a crack in the sidewalk, no matter how bad it gets, there is always some comedy relief, or a flicker of hope that gets through.

Of course, I was never able to actually protect my father. These days, many years later, I believe more in compassion than protection, as each of us is here to experience our own paths, the "good" and the "bad," as we expand in consciousness. We certainly do affect each other as we're living our lives, and this is a wonderful part of life-it gives us contrast and variation, and it gives us a chance to find out more deeply who we really are. I am grateful for my father and his life, showing anyone who looked closely enough his vulnerabilities. But he showed me so much more than that. He showed me to look for the flowers in life-the beauty that always comes through, no matter what.

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Please sign up for tonight's (November 19, 2007) free teleseminar with Dr. Shoshana Bennett: an expert in the field of depression, as well as a free meditation session, free "New Relaxed Me" eSeries, more information, and practical solutions: visit

Kim Markison is a master hypnotherapist. Her lifelong path is to teach and show everyone how powerful and extraordinary they really are. To align with that path and purpose, she is creating unique, empowering hypnosis meditations for HypnoFreedom. Each one is designed for complete relaxation and stress relief, so no matter which one you listen to, you will always arrive at the center of your being to safely enjoy who you truly are.