This story absolutely warmed my heart – it is one I shall never forget, and a fine illustration of why we ought never abandon hope.
Miracles happen – sometimes they need a little more time to blossom…but they are always possible.
There are certain tenants by which I live my life – though I may fall short of my own (somewhat lofty) standards at times, I know that gratitude, kindness, acceptance, patience, respect, honesty, and empathy will always be at the top of my list.
I’d rather be kind to someone who isn’t in return than meet them on a lower playing field. The Universe has a way of righting paths without my intervention…so I allow it, and Karma, to do their thing.
I am 1,000% responsible for my behavior – good, bad, and otherwise. But I will never have to own anyone else’s.
The people with whom you choose to spend the most time can have a huge impact on your life and well-being…
Look to those who love you for exactly who you are. For they are the ones who will have patience, respect, and understanding when you need it most….and, more importantly, at all times.
Look to those who push you to look deeply within yourself at the things that maybe no longer serve you so well – sometimes it’s hard to face ourselves alone.
Look to those who challenge you to internally and externally step up your game. There are those who will support and encourage you, and remind you of all the “wonderful” you have to offer (and you deserve to be reminded. OFTEN!)
Look to the people who remind you that “failure” means “lesson,” and nothing more. The people who will remind you that have the strength, the courage, and the wherewithal to get up and fight…because you’ve already done it with success so many times before.
And look to those who will not only look for the bright side no matter how grim the circumstance, but who will do everything in their power to BE the “bright” when the lights go out.
Life is full of ups and downs – when we have the right troops in our corner it’s not only easier to weather the storms, but the joys and celebrations are also multiplied many, many fold.
We will all be going through a new moon in two days – yes, right on top of St. Patty’s (if that’s your thing.) While each day is an opportunity to let go of what isn’t serving us (self-deprecating beliefs, irrational ideas, hurtful attitudes, debilitating fears…whatever it may be!), a new moon is perfect timing. You don’t necessarily have to have witchiness in your blood, nor anything special beyond desire and willingness. It’s about delving deeply within ourselves and really “seeing” the whole picture…
Many of us are our own worst enemy. We all have flaws, fears, and insecurities – all of which are very real in our minds. As a human being it is not only expected that we will harbor these feelings…but it is also okay that we do. What matters is what we do with that information, with that honesty, and with our intention.
Focused intention – and a lot of self-love – is all you really need for the magic to unfold…
It’s a small exercise, but profound. And there’s really no better time than the present to recommit to taking care of you.
HAPPY NEW MOON! ❤
Some weeks ago I started an ASL (American Sign Language) course online – I regularly volunteer with children with disabilities and had asked a mom (whose four year-old boy both has autism and is deaf) for some ASL resources. Her son additionally suffers from a little bit of separation anxiety, which isn’t horribly uncommon with autism – when he comes to our volunteer play sessions, there are times that he begins to cry and it’s terribly tricky to discern what will make him feel more comfortable. While I was already interested in learning ASL (up to 50% of autistic individuals are non-verbal), this little guy was enough to get me on the road to finding a class…as soon as possible.
The awesome news is that I also volunteer with Special Olympics-driven skating sessions once a week that includes a number of children who are either hard of hearing or completely deaf. There’s nothing quite like being able to communicate with them – being able to sign even a single word is exciting! (I definitely have a way to go!)
A couple of days ago, though, I came down with a cold of some kind – as a result of contagiously coughing, I lost my voice – and I mean completely. Talk about being in someone else’s shoes…
Horribly uncomfortable a “bug” is for any of us, it’s nothing compared to what some children and adults have to deal with on a regular, and life-long basis. In a strange way, I feel thankful that I can’t speak because it’s an exercise in understanding what it *might* be like – while I consider myself to be one of the most empathetic people I know, it is impossible to fully understand anyone’s experience without being in their skin.
I have lost my voice on one other occasion – remarkably, I was 16 spending a month in France, with very little French under my belt. I guess life likes to test my ability to communicate (which – as is clear – is NOT always done with speech.)
In any case, it’s as the saying goes – you don’t always realize what you have until you lose it. I’d never anticipate not having the ability to speak was an easy road…but it is a welcome experience. (Now I’m not exactly encouraging anyone to go out to a concert and scream at the top of his or her lungs to deliberately subdue the vocal chords…I’m just saying, there is good to everything. Yes, including getting sick and losing a primary means of communication.)
Now my husband has a little bit of a challenge playing the guessing game as far as “what is my wife trying to say now?” He’s doing a remarkable job of deciphering, decoding, and understanding what I am trying to say, and that’s not easy to do! So I’m very fortunate to have the support and patience.
Going to the store is also an enlightening experience – I can’t say “thank you,” or “excuse me” as I normally would, nor can I respond vocally to others. That leaves me feeling a little bit awkward as reciprocal speech is one of the key forms of communication many of us learned from infancy. When I indicate with gesture and my lips that I have lost my voice, people either immediately begin to whisper or act altogether more gently – it’s incredibly interesting! (I actually can’t even whisper, as that puts more stress on the vocal chords than speaking does!)
The other side of it is that I’m derailed from my activities – in part I simply don’t feel up to them physically. The pain and discomfort though. . .I think about all the children with autism suffering from sensory sensitivities without the ability to say “those lights are hurting my eyes,” “this fabric makes my skin burn,” “my chest hurts….” What is life like for them? Many “behavioral issues” are a result of such a scenario – they don’t have a means to say what they are feeling.
For the children who are deaf or hard of hearing, thankfully they do have words at their disposal (albeit non-speech, hand / facial /body gestures.) I learned “sick,” “feel,” “bathroom,” and “okay?” as quickly as I could. Fortunately I’m learning many other words too…but knowing that it will take time, it’s important I know some basics.
Even if I was feeling better, my usual day-to-day would still be a substantial challenge – I can’t make a singe phone call, for one. I can’t ask for help locating a medicine at the store. If I were in an office, I’d have to type everything out (doable, but less efficient.) I certainly can’t breakdown a Ninjutsu technique the way I could by asking questions in class, and I definitely can’t teach or volunteer. I have to rely on gestures to talk to others I might run into in my own apartment building because I am utterly devoid of my usual method of communication…
So it’s been a remarkable few days…
While I’m sure it’s not fun to be around me while I’m loudly coughing, slower-moving, and unable to answer even the easiest question, I feel truly thankful for the experience. In fact, I’m taking the opportunity to review videos from the ASL course modules that I’ve already completed – I will hopefully be seeing the Special Olympics kids on Wednesday to skate and I know a few happy ones who use ASL exclusively. 🙂
MOST of the time I *try* to be a decent human being. I try to reflect on my behaviors – good, bad, and ugly – and to conduct myself in an upstanding way as much as I can.
I ALSO fall short plenty!
As human beings, we are subject to more influences than I think we ever want to admit (hell, even the moon has me all off kilter when it’s full!) We are subject to changes in mood, for so many reasons that it would be nigh impossible to list them all. But that’s okay. We are allowed to ebb and flow, because that is just the nature of life. We don’t have to be perfect all the time, and even if we have some grandiose notion that we’d like to be. . .it doesn’t always play out that way.
But the other day a thought came to mind that stopped me right in the middle of my “if-the-car-in-front-of-me-doesn’t-speed-up-I’m-going-to-go-nuts!” rant. It was such a jarring thought that my attitude shifted. Instantaneously.
I have the wonderful fortune of volunteering with children with disabilities with two organizations – I’ve never found something that lit my heart quite as much (and that’s saying a LOT, as I am a truly passionate person about my life, my activities, and the careers I have had.) I love the kids, and I love meeting their parents – learning about them, their individualities, and what makes them happy, is an overwhelming joy.
So as I was having this moment of “can’t stand anyone” (and I think it was in reaction to a woman tailgating on the highway and giving me the middle finger, despite that I had no idea what I did to warrant it) I thought to myself. . .
What if the person in that car who I’m getting all flustered because of, or at, was one of the parents of the kids I get to work with? Would I act the same way?
I wasn’t *trying* to give myself a guilt trip, or make myself feel badly. When my behavior deviates – and I think it’s fair to say, as adults, we generally know when we are being unreasonable and inappropriate with our reactions (should we choose to be honest with ourselves!) – I am aware of it. I do try to correct myself and in effort to curb poor actions, I have said to myself everything from “you never know who has a weapon!” “you can’t take back what you say,” to “that really doesn’t make me a good person to flip someone off”…!
Doesn’t always seem to calm me down, though!
But. . .the thought that it *could be* someone in a situation such as the families whose children I work with shut me down pronto.
I would never want to behave that way with one of them. And when I think about it, I can’t imagine I really want to act that way with ANYone. What does reacting poorly say about me anyway? Nothing grand, I assure you!
When I think about it, it makes me feel sad that I would allow temporary emotions to overcome me in such a way that I lash out – in any regard. As a human being, I know it is bound to happen, and that expecting myself to be Miss. Goody Twoshoes is NOT realistic. But because I don’t know what other people are facing, and because I also know how blessed I am, I appreciated the supernal reminder. . .which stopped me from getting angry, or for the woman who flipped me off to ruin more than the few seconds of my day during which she did so.
I know I’m going to fall short sometimes, but that moment was one I know I will remember. . .
I have the blessing to work with those who have a journey fraught with challenges, and I LOVE the work because I have the opportunity to make lives better. To behave poorly as a result of flared emotions is to contribute in a negative way, and I will suffer personally when I choose that route. The only thing that would make it worse is to also hurt someone else who didn’t deserve it to begin with…and I’d say I don’t really want to decide that someone deserves any of that.
There are a thousand reasons why this idea should be prized. . .
Words have power and sometimes it is better to remain silent, lest ignorance, impatience, anger, or inability to understand cause more harm than good.
Sounds easy. . .but. . .it isn’t. It’s a life-long pursuit to manage the gift of language we’ve been given. Sometimes nothing feels better than sharing, commenting, responding, speaking. . . But a lot of times silence is a wiser, if not kinder, response.
While I am a long way from mastering the skill, it’s a good reminder that there’s a time and a place to use the gift of speech. Before engaging, thinking is often a great idea.
I really appreciated this article by Benson Wong – it just came through to my inbox today via Tiny Buddha, a site I adore. I get their e-mails regularly, and generally find myself nodding along in agreement – or simply in shared experience – as I read the various stories and entries presented. What I like is that the authors are real people, from all over the globe, sharing honest experiences…many of which you may find you can relate to.
I enjoyed Benson Wong’s post because I’m the kind of person who tries to air on the side of the positive. ALL the time. I can be a real pain in the ass, I have as many flaws as the next human being (if not more!) and I most DEFINITELY have bad days…
BUT. . .
The thing is, as an Empath, I don’t HAVE the luxury of dwelling on the bad – a perpetual focus on the negative (or – FAR worse – adding to it) is a quick trip into depression for me. I’m okay to admit that – my sensitivity is absolutely a gift, but it’s something I must always remain mindful of, lest my overactive mind, and ultra compassionate heart pull me into some quicktar. Yes, you read that right (and I made it up!) It wouldn’t be sand for me. It would be flat-out TAR.
But life is stressful some…er…MOST of the time. There’s a lot going on, ALL the time, and there always will be. There’s always going to be SOMEthing to feel anxious about, frustrated over, or peeved by. So having the reminder – or several – in your arsenal is incredibly valuable.
We ALL need to step back, breathe, and remember…especially during those down-in-the-doldrums moments…that things aren’t as bad as they seem, and that we DO have a choice about how to move forward.
Changing our focus to the positive can move mountains. Okay…maybe not literally, that would be a hefty challenge (and frankly highly impressive on a superhuman scale), but you know what I mean. A positive mindset can shift the energies in your life rather dramatically, and settle your nervous system down enough to realize that villainous “mountain” is not only scalable, but possibly a lot less threatening than you thought.