Make a difference: be the good

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This past week proved fraught with disappointments and discontent. On Friday, I woke up feeling sad, out of sorts. Most of my disquiet revolves around the unrest in our world—the tropical storms ravaging the Southeastern U.S. and the fires burning through the Northwest, the recent earthquake in Mexico, the political turmoil on the forefront of our nation. If I don’t pitch my tent in these valleys, I’m able to rally. But I can so easily get sucked into social media and news reports under the guise I need to remain informed, yet I end up more unsettled. I don’t want to live with my head in the sand, but I also think it can be easier to become uber-focused on all the negativity and everything that’s wrong in the world. Rather than glorify enmity and division, however, let’s consider how we might make a positive difference to those in need—whether near or far. Because there’s still good: be the good.

How will you make a difference?

Photo courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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PSA: One wrong choice *can* change a life forever

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Thirteen years ago, an officer rang my doorbell to inform my 12-year-old daughter and me that a drunk driver ran a red light and T-boned my husband’s vehicle. Rescuers completed fatality paperwork onsite and the Jaws of Life extricated him from the wreckage (pictured above). He flew in a helicopter to a Level 1 trauma hospital where the head of OR performed emergency surgery. My husband sustained a ruptured spleen, cracked ribs, a displaced clavicle, crushed hip, collapsed lung, lacerations, contusions and a diffuse traumatic brain injury. For 59 days, I watched (and cheered) my husband on through a medicated coma, and five weeks of inpatient therapy where he learned how to feed himself again, to write, to walk. Following two months of outpatient therapy, and approximately a half year after the accident, he returned to work full time. His injuries and the subsequent life-long deficits are because someone chose to drive while intoxicated. Do the right thing: call a friend or a taxi. But don’t drive drunk.

Finding hope in the most unlikely places

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On a Monday morning I drove to work as is my habit, my mind preoccupied with a litany of tasks I hoped to accomplish. In addition to eight hours on the job, I needed to pick up a couple prescriptions for an infection I’m battling, get to yoga to create a little breathing space and decide what color my painter will be painting my kitchen cabinets. Plus make room to practice my Spanish. Underneath the surface, I whispered prayers for close family and friends struggling with illness and grief, those undergoing surgery and others wrestling with financial and spiritual drought. When I pulled into my parking spot, my mind still flitting from thought to thought, a flowering branch caught my attention. Its peachy blossoms, the only blooms noticeable in my row of stalls, encouraged me with its new growth. A simple reminder—in the midst of shadows, hardships and yes, my friends, Monday mornings—that infused my spirit with restored hope.

What is something that renews your hope?

Hang in there: finding solace amidst the fallout

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It’s okay if you fall down and lose your spark.
Just make sure that when you get back up,
you rise as the whole damn fire. ~ Colette Werden

The physiological responses that accompany love and heartache can be similar. For example, a new relationship often triggers the pulse to race, or butterflies to replace hunger pangs. Heartache, too, can cause the heartbeat to fluctuate, or a loss of appetite. I find myself seized by the latter illustration—tears swift to dampen my lashes, my belly hollow. During a recent trip, I picked up a silver kitty pendant that hangs onto the delicate chain by its front legs—a twofold reminder: that life is fragile, and to ‘hang in there.’ On the heels of my post, ‘Letting go…,’ I wear this talisman for solace, of sorts, amidst the fallout of a severed friendship. My spark(le) may have dimmed, but soon I will fan the flames and ignite my passion ablaze.

Where do you find solace within the heartache?

Photo source: sanctuaryspring.com.

Letting go doesn’t mean loving less

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At times, it feels like our journey through this one life is fraught with trials and setbacks more so than smooth sailing. Times when we could use an encouraging word, a hug or a shoulder on which to cry. A friend of mine is going through such a time and, earlier this week—despite my attempt to practice mindfulness (see ‘A month of mindfulness…’)—I allowed frustration over a situation out of my control to instead control my tongue. Unfortunately, this resulted in words spouted off between us, words that stung, words that could not be retracted. And, ultimately, a falling out. Although I tried to right it, the damage had been done and I realized the only thing I could do was to let go. To give my friend space. It doesn’t mean I love any less; it means I love enough to allow someone else to take my place. To pick up where I left off.

How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Photo courtesy of usamedeniz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A lesson in irony: in memory of Rob

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Life can prove ironic in the simple, the mundane. And in the crushing blows, the fracture between hope and fate. This week, I discovered that Marlene, a cashier at my neighborhood grocery store, had been writing letters to Rob—a cashier who was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 3 lung cancer. I haven’t seen Rob since we spoke in August 2016, right before his birthday trip to Hawaii, and then, upon his return from the tropical getaway, he took an extended leave from his job to tackle one of more significance: the fight for his life. Just the other day, I wrote a letter and brought it to the market the next morning for Marlene to include in her envelope. As I concluded my shopping, another cashier greeted me and I knew, without words, that Rob’s fight was over. Read more about Rob:  ‘Slow down, listen more…,’ ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ and ‘Borrowed time…’ And don’t wait for Someday.

How is irony at work in your life?

Dealing with loss: a new way to approach closed doors

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Open doors are often viewed as gateways to fresh opportunities. Conversely, we might assume a closed door denotes an end. However, I read an article recently that describes doors in an expanded light: closed doors can also signify new beginnings. When a metaphorical door is closed in our lives, and we accept it as our new reality, we grant ourselves permission to grow in other areas. Perhaps you’ve experienced a closed door through the loss of a friendship, hope or health. Rather than mourn the end, I believe it’s healthier to carve out space to reconnect with or rediscover the spark of your truest self. This may be revealed in your sacred place—through a creative outlet or a commune with nature, meditation or a mini-getaway. Allow the door to your heart to remain open. Resume living. And trust that, although your path might look different than you’d imaged, it can lead to a new beginning if you allow it.

What door has recently closed in your life?

Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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