How Do We Make Sense Of Anything These Days?
How Do We Make Sense Of Anything These Days?
It’s impossible to make sense out of senseless tragedies like the recent one in Las Vegas.
I don’t know how you all feel, or how this latest catastrophic event affected your life. If you knew any of the people involved I’m sure you were crippled with emotional angst, despair, pain and so many other emotions.
Even if you didn’t know anyone personally affected, I’m sure you felt similar feelings...... I felt helpless, horrified, sadness, and for a few days.....depleted of hope for a brighter future.
We all experience different symptoms when something like this happens, but we also need to realize that we all possess different tools to cope, and to rise above these devastating times. We can’t let evil prevail, and with a little soul searching we can look to our strengths and support one another.
There is no explanation to these kinds of atrocities and I think we need to first realize this before we can begin to heal. If we can lean on each other in times of need, we can overcome.
One of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela reads,
When we replace I with we, even illness can become wellness.
When difficult times hit my life, I didn’t know if my son was going to live. Staying in the ICU at BC Children's Hospital, I saw many critically sick babies, some of which passed away. I was at a complete loss; I wanted to crawl into a dark hole and I remember walking around like a zombie, wishing someone could give me some kind of drug to go into a coma until it was all over.
Fortunately, a morsel of strength wiggled its way in and, by the grace of God, I was able to believe in myself...believe that although I can’t control so many things in life, I could control me and my power to overcome.
My destiny changed the day my son Avery was born. Now it has become my life's purpose to help others who have gone through adversity. It doesn’t happen overnight but in time we can recover, and maybe even find a new purpose.
We can find support systems and even one day become a support system for someone else. We mustn't let situations that are out of our control cripple us. Otherwise. we become defeated and the enemy wins.
Events will happen in our life that we will never make sense out of, things we can never control. But, we will always have a choice with how we deal with it and, just maybe, if we try, we can find a way to make positive change for the future. That’s when we will win.
Have you ever tasted or smelled something that reminded you of someone, or maybe a particular time or place you were at?
Well, today I had a piece of Juicy Fruit gum and instantly I was taken back to forty years ago!
I immediately became flooded with all kinds of wonderful memories spent with my grandma from my youth, and time seemed to stop still for a few moments. Much of my younger years and best memories were growing up with my grandma, and she always had juicy fruit gum.
It’s funny how little reminders of our life experiences surface when we least expect it. Life gets so busy and time goes by so fast; how wonderful that we have little reminders of the amazing people who were an important part of our life at one time.
Often on my bike rides I spend the time thinking of all I need to do for the rest of the day...and week, but on my ride today, I practiced my gratitude affirmations. Instead of getting so caught up with all the hustle and bustle life brings, and the daily life stressors of what needs to get done, I just looked around and took in all the beauty, and felt thankful.
Sometimes we forget to live in the present.....to enjoy the good moments and all we have to be appreciative for. These days it seems we have lists for our lists, and with all the technology we have you’d think life would be simpler.
Perhaps, we take on more because we can. But nonetheless, let’s not lose sight of the present, or the wonderful memories that shape us. Just because we can take on more, does it mean we have to?
Of course, we all know that famous cliché....take time to smell the roses. But how often do we?
There are opportunities we miss and memories to reminisce, so maybe, with a little effort, we can try and be more aware of our daily encounters and reap some of the benefits they offer.
The purpose of my blogs has always been to give a little enlightenment, but I never thought I’d be inspired by a stick of gum...so just think of the endless opportunities that present themselves and take a little time to enjoy. There may not be a rose bush around but there will always be something else if your eyes are open.
What Inspires You?
My Friend Has Reenforced My Belief That Anything Is Possible.....His Story Is Remarkable & Stunning!
Recently I made a new friend and am very excited about it. I’m proud to be friends with someone so remarkable.
His name is Dan Keplinger and he is a famous artist among many other talents.
A documentary about him called King Gimp won an Oscar in 2000. But what makes Dan so unique and amazing is how he produces such masterpieces, with the determination to bring it to life and give it meaning.
Born with cerebral palsy and very limited motor control, he passed all expectations and found his passion and expression through art. Whether it is a sculpture, chalk, or paintbrush on acrylic, there is no conventional way that Dan expresses.
When I first viewed some of Dan’s paintings I was very impressed, but when I saw how he paints, with a paintbrush attached to his forehead, I was astounded. It really is incredible.
Dan’s determination to not let his disability define or limit him is nothing short of heroic. Becoming a mentor to all those who have challenges, and anyone battling with inadequacy or limitations, his conviction demonstrates we can all live a prosperous and abundant life.
In his own words,
“At first glance, my work addresses my perception of society as a person with a disability. Objects such as my head-stick and my wheel chair are referenced in my artwork as symbols of my everyday obstacles. These pieces, however, are about much more than my disability. I morph and combine these objects with images of my body to create my own vocabulary, which pertains to different life circumstances. Self-perception can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. No matter how much one explains their situation, we can never fully understand the extent of their individual circumstances, nor think as they do. Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition. We all face them in everyday life, yet we have the ability to choose how we approach them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during the difficult times in our lives. In my work I hope to encourage viewers to realize that they have the ability to persevere.” - Dan Keplinger
For anyone who feels they are stuck in life, or at a crossroad of some sort, whether you are typical or special needs, I highly recommend you watch Dan’s documentary, King Gimp. I’m sure it will bring a new clarity, and possibly change your perspective on life.
One of my favourite pieces.
When I first talked to Dan and learned about all his great accomplishments, I instantly became a huge advocate and supporter.
Having a daughter with autism and a son who survived a critical heart defect with mild cerebral palsy, I felt I could identify with his story and strength to overcome.
Even though I wasn’t the one with special needs, my life as a mom wasn’t typical, or anything I had anticipated it would be. But it wasn’t long until I would understand I had a choice, and instead of wallowing in anguish, I became a much stronger person and transformed my experience into a larger purpose, just like Dan.
We have chosen to learn from adversity....to take our experiences and give them a purpose, to mentor others who follow in our footsteps and help them rise to their best potential.
Thanks Dan for sharing your gifts with us and demonstrating that despite your struggles, life can be wonderful....it’s our future to decide.
Here is a great link of Dan’s to check out:
Photo courtesy of Dan's Facebook page.
What Does Success Mean to You?
What Does Success Mean to You?
Sometimes I wonder if I should have been a philosopher because I'm always trying to figure things out, pondering life, and placing things in perspective.
Take success for one.....It’s such a broad spectrum to be defined; however, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I believe so is success! It's what we think of ourselves that really matters. What anyone else thinks of us shouldn’t really hold a lot of stock.
Of course, we can care about what other people think, especially one’s we have a relationship with, but their opinion doesn’t determine our worth. Only we have that right.
What success is to one person, may be considered as failure by another. Take Hilary Clinton for example; many think she is a failure because she lost the presidency to Barack Obama and recently Donald Trump. But many think Hilary is a great success because of all her other many accomplishments in Senate.
There are people I know who don't believe they are successful because they don't have their dream house, or a million dollars in the bank. Well, if that's what they believe then I guess, in their own right, they are not successful.
I don't have my dream car or millions of dollars in the bank, but I believe I'm successful because I raised two amazing children, I do my best to stay healthy, I have wonderful relationships in my life, and I am doing what I love.
So really, why wait for New Years to make a Resolution, let's try to pay attention and acknowledge the successes we have. I bet more will follow. After all, whatever frequency we are vibrating in, we will get more of!
Let's choose the positive ones and see what happens!
Good luck and God Bless!
What Makes You Happy?
What Makes You Happy?
It amazes me how some of the people who don’t have much money, success, possessions, etc., have some of the happiest lives I know. What is their secret....and why are they so happy?
Of course, there are a few obvious answers, like maybe they have found their soul mate and could happily live in a tent for the rest of their life. Then there are others who have simple desires and needs....as long as they have their health, food and water, that is all they require to lead a happy, fulfilled life.
I sometimes wish I was one of those people, and I sure admire those who are.
My grandma was like that. Even after losing her leg she would sing and dance around her tiny farm house like it was a castle! She didn’t want much, and she was one of the happiest people I know.
I decided to explore this area of life because I think sometimes we get so caught up with our determination to get more and more, and our ego’s get in the way. We tend to want to compare what we have to what others have.....with what others are doing, and we lose sight of what we are doing; what truly will make us happy.
I began to look at myself lately, and try to figure out what I’m going to do with my remaining time. Am I satisfied and happy with my state of being?
I think when we hit our fifties and on, we realize that we are over the halfway mark, and begin to do some reflecting. I’m okay with being over that mark....as long as the remaining years are happy and spent with joy and fulfillment. Of course, we will always have some not so great days, but the good should far outweigh the bad.
It’s certainly a good idea to have some goals, or a bucket list. I don’t have one, just a ‘hall pass’ with Jon Bon Jovi’s name on it (kidding!)
Perhaps I will start a bucket list, though, since It’s a good idea to write our goals and dreams down; it kind of makes it a real thing when we can visually see it. From what I understand about the ‘Law of Attraction’, it is very helpful to visualize how we wish to see our future, and play out in our mind all our fantastic dreams unfolding.
Quantum physics has proved that the vibration of our feelings and thoughts actually increases the success to transmit manifestation. I tried this for my TED Talk.
Being an aspiring personal development public speaker, it was a very important ambition of mine to do a TED Talk. I began to watch many of the talks on YouTube, and I visualized the imagery of how it would feel standing on the red circle carpet in front of hundreds of people. I would picture the crowd and feel the nervous tension of my body tightening, and the excitement prior to my name being called on stage.
So, is that how I passed the audition to get accepted? I tend to believe it was.
Some people say they are happy people because the first thing they do when they wake up is say a bunch of positive affirmations to get the day started off on the ’right foot.’ Many find their relationship to God plays a huge role in their feelings of abundance and content.
A lot of happy people say the key to being so joyful is to surround themselves with other happy people. I really like this one, and wholeheartedly agree..... after all, it is common sense.
It sure would be difficult to remain in a positive state of mind if we were around grumpy and negative people all the time! As I mentioned in my TED Talk, a successful Harvard study has shown that being around people who are pleasing and smile a lot significantly increases our ‘feel good’ hormones, and promotes us to feel more bliss in our own life. It also helps us to live longer too!
These are all great ideas, and my motto is....whatever works!
I work on counting my blessing every day, and say them out loud so I can hear them. It really helps keep in mind that there are things to be grateful for, even in troubled times.
Let’s give it a try by doing a little self-analysis and measure our ‘happy monitors’. It’s never too late to make a few adjustments in order to experience more joy and spread our smiles to others.
It’s when we become aware that we can make positive change that makes anything possible!
Good Luck and God Bless
Is it Better to Have Loved and Lost Than to Never Have Loved at All?
Is it Better to Have Loved and Lost Than to Never Have Loved at All?
Recently, I lost my faithful doggy side kick and best friend, Mya.
We did everything together....walks everyday, and often bike rides. Being a four pound Chihuahua, she easily fit nestled into the basket hooked to the steering wheel, and especially loved sticking her nose in the air as we sped down the hills on the mountain.
She slept with me, on my pillow every night, and followed my every move around the house.
Mya could always sense if I was going to be going somewhere, and always parked herself by the door so I wouldn’t miss taking her with me. I spent way more time with her than my husband or children.
I knew her health was failing due to an enlarged heart, but with medication our vet said it was difficult to say how much time we had left with her. I knew she was on borrowed time, but you are never prepared to say good-bye.
On Monday, we drove up the hill to our favorite walking spot. I could tell she was more listless because normally she can’t wait to get out the door, but on this particular morning she just looked at me.
I picked her up thinking a walk would perk her up, but sadly no....she took a few steps and lied down. Her panting and labored breathing began to escalate and I just knew this would be our last trip up the mountain.
I began to sob uncontrollably as I picked her up and held her in my arms. She seemed more content with me holding her so I did our usual route carrying her. Tears streamed down as I feared this would be our last walk together, and it was.
Our vet said her lungs were filled with fluid and her little heart has given up.
After eleven years, it was Mya’s time to rest in peace.
Needless to say, I was a mess, and our whole family was too. I walked around completely vacant for days, feeling so lonely not having my sidekick beside me. The doorbell rings and there’s no barking. My hand lifts above my head on the pillow in the middle of the night and there is no Mya there to comfort me. That welcoming smile and wagging tail at the end of a stressful day is gone. Walks and bike rides are empty and lonely.
Life is not the same.
In time, the tears will get fewer and further in between, and smiles will slowly replace tears as wonderful memories allow us to adjust to our new normal.
My mom says she has loved and lost too many animals and that is why she will never get another one. I get that....I have lost many of my cats and dogs in my life that I loved dearly.
Perhaps we get to a point when we say, “I’ve lost too many and I just can’t do it anymore.” You never get used to it, and you can never get prepared for it.
I can’t say if we will get another dog....the pain of losing Mya is too raw right now. However, thankfully most of us humans have this wondrous gift to eventually dull out the pain and fondly remember the fun times we spent together. I thank God for this ability to know time heals our wounds.
Scars may remain, but if we look at it in a positive light...those scars can be a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy the time we have with our loved ones, and fondly remember the ones who once were.
Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, so let’s make the best of everyday and everyone.