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Friday, April 19, 2013

When Things Go to Hell

A beautiful sunrise for you all:-)
What a week, eh? As I write this, the police have already killed one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and are in hot pursuit of the other. And it's not the only tragedy of the week. This post is not about tragedy though, so I'm not dwelling there or getting into all the reasons why we should be fearful or sad. I think human beings are far too aware of that already. I'm more interested in how we can react positively to these tragic situations. In that light, I would first like to offer my love and condolences to all those lost and injured, and their loved ones. While it's always a good idea to forget our sorrow, people should never be forgotten.

I have been largely impressed by the role of social media this week, and incredibly impressed by my friends. Social media has helped to keep people in touch with each other, and positive, loving posts have been passed around relentlessly; far more than fearful and ugly ones. One of my favorites has been a quote by Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." The quote became so popular that it made the news.

And people DID look for the helpers, and BECAME the helpers in droves. Humanity at it's worst was offset completely by an overwhelming and heartwarming show of humanity at it's most-loving best. And the media actually reported the positive! I LOVE that when a small minority tries to impose their ugliness on the world, the world responds with ever-increasing kindness and love. That's what I will take away from everything that happened this week. I will use these tragic events to strengthen my faith in humanity and to increase my love of same. Imagine how powerful that sentiment can be as it ripples out and touches us all, encouraging everyone to do the same. It seems to be where most of us are at, anyway. I understand that it's more difficult for some.

I think of it like panning for gold. If you simply eliminate the focus on things that cause pain and heartbreak, you will be left with everything good. That's what you keep and take with you. The more you practice "panning", the more adept you become at sifting through and eliminating the scurf. I will admit that at times, it really IS work, but it's worth it.

So today I offer you my faith and love, and I promise to put that energy forward into the world on behalf of those who have suffered. In that spirit I have found a photo a beautiful sunrise for you all, to remind you that no matter how bad the storm, the sun always rises again to bring us light, life and hope:-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Journey of a Thousand Miles...

I've spent a lot of time paralyzed. I've imagined all sorts of possibilities for myself, both positive and negative. I've allowed myself to be so consumed by immediate need that it swallowed me whole. I've let fear overwhelm me and a thousand little things stand in the way of forward movement. I think all of those things are understandable sometimes, especially in the wake of sadness, deep disappointment and hurt that is hard to process and amidst the loud babble of unmet needs. DooDoo happens. But how long it happens for can be entirely flexible. I don't mean that, all of a sudden, all of those distractions are just going to go away. I have learned that distractions and hardship persist; people will always behave in ways that defy my personal view of fair or reasonable and the one thing that I can control is how I react to it. There is power in that notion. Think about it: The whole world can be crumbling down around you, but if you decide you are having a beautiful day, nothing can touch you.

It's a powerful place to be, above the influence of hurt and fear. All our most base instincts want us to react, to share our pain, to let those around us know we suffer and to blame the randomness of circumstance for that suffering. I've done it. At times, my reaction to those who have hurt me has been to hurt them back. And what an ugly cycle. So much better to reframe, to decide that hurtful people have no place in our lives and to move forward accordingly. When what's detrimental is dislodged, it leaves a space to be filled by someone or something positive. This I know. I also know that Karma serves us all. It doesn't matter how badly somebody has treated you, because it all comes around in the end. Your job is to stay compassionate, keep your own behavior above reproach and move on. You don't have to wait for the pain to stop to move forward, you just have to make the decision.

I have goals. I have set them aside and waited. I've waited for my computer so I would have my materials, I have waited for the chaos around me to subside, I have waited for the proverbial "sign". I have wasted a lot of time and I can't wait anymore. Sometimes moving forward means having to backtrack, so that's what I'll do. It will take longer, but not as long as I've already waited. My life is, and has been, on hold. I'm tired of waiting for the stars to align. Yes, I am afraid of failure. I've put a lot of eggs in one basket. I've worked long and hard without pay with the expectation of an eventual payoff. When is "eventual"?

Some say I've done the most difficult part already, but that's subjective. For me, the writing is the easy part; it's what comes next that presents me with the greatest challenge. But like any journey, it begins with the first step...