Monthly Archives: December 2016

Even 2/3’s full can be exhausting.

I’m not a lover of looking backwards or looking too far forward, but I do think this is a good time to reflect on a few things:

  1. Life can be exhausting. If you are like me, you are working and/or raising kids, in a marriage or a relationship, trying to manage your home, your health, and just keeping your head above water.  It’s a freaking lot of s***.  Acknowledge it. Embrace it.  Admit that  even though life is 2/3’s full – there is 1/3 that’s completely exhausting.  You know to whom you can admit that too.  Allow yourself this year to get a hug and a smile when you are spent. You are not alone.
  2. Are you really emotionally transparent? We have walls, boundaries, fears, you name it and we have it. But think of those people you love to be around – they are emotionally transparent. Those are the friends we should surround ourselves with this year.  Thank those in your life who play that role.
  3. To whom much is given, much is expected. Or, in Uncle Ben’s words of wisdom to Peter Parker in Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.”  The idea here is that we are and should be responsible for what we have. If we are blessed with talents, wealth, knowledge, time, love, good health and the like, it is expected that we use those things well and to benefit others. If you believe you have been given any of these in this life time – then we are held to a higher standard and should give back.
  4. The world doesn’t owe us anything (no one does) but we owe the world. Enough said.
  5. Promise yourself that you won’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy stealers, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  6. Look around, keep your eyes open and watch the next place in your life beautifully unfold.  Ask yourself: Am I open to the universe or is fear standing in my way?
  7. Create (and cultivate) relationships. Relationships cost you nothing but give more back then you can ever imagine.
  8. Finally, know that there isn’t a solution to every problem.  2017 (and life) will be full of those things we can’t solve. Pause.  Breathe.  Appreciate. Lean on those in your life. And, of course Love.

Here’s my theme song for the new year.  Two-thirds’ full, right?  Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!

Even not giving can turn out to be a gift.

Today a friend thanked me for helping her do something that felt good.  It was an easy one on my end.  I gave her a couple of my “caring bags” – large plastic baggies where I put a pair of wool socks, a warm hat and gloves and a granola bar.  I’m giving them to friends so they can give them away to those in need.  She gave her first one to someone today and thanked me for the gift of an “awesome” feeling.  To my friend: It was all YOU.

This all started with my umbrella project  (giving away umbrellas to those I see standing in the rain with nothing).  It’s been great.  But the one experience that really stuck with me was the umbrella I didn’t give away.

I drive home on Glenwood Ave. and late one night there was a guy, pants hanging down quite low, standing in the pouring rain with no jacket and no umbrella.  I decided to pull over and offer him one (my kids worry about this project – but I can’t help myself).  I stopped, rolled down my window and asked “Would you like an umbrella [holding it toward the window].”  “No!” he angrily responded.  My response, “Ok. Have a great night!”  Then, as I started to roll up my window I heard … “Hey … Thanks.  I appreciate it.”

It was a powerful moment for both of us.  We give with no agenda.  With no care for race or gender or economic status.  At that split second – I think (hope) he realized that there was no agenda.  Just me and an umbrella. And maybe, just maybe, it hit his heart as it hit mine. A gift with nothing but words exchanged.

In these crazy times – let’s just keep giving, keep working, and keep spreading the kindness and love.  There will always be anger and hurt.  And, of course, there will always be love! 🙂

Here’s my song of the week (year) (lifetime).  I hope it puts a smile on your face! (words below) xoxo

 

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart
You see it’s getting late
Oh, please don’t hesitate
Put a little love in your heart
And the world will be a better place [x2]
For you and me
You just wait and see
Another day goes by
Still the children cry
Put a little love in your heart
If you want the world to know
We won’t let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart
And the world (and the world) will be a better place
All the world (all the world) will be a better place
For you (for you)
And me (and me)
You just wait (just wait)
And see, wait and see
Take a good look around
And if you’re looking down
Put a little love in your heart
I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart
And the…

He left her the day she came home with her baby son.

While it might seem normal to you that I would meet someone in the sauna and learn her life story in five minutes, I’m still constantly in awe of the people that come into my life.

When she was in her last few weeks of pregnancy with her second son, she found out her husband was cheating on her (turns out I know him).  She confronted him and the day he brought her and the new baby home, he turned around, got on a plane and left her for the “other woman.”  She raised her two (now 30-something) boys herself.  She almost lost her house in the divorce, but her wonderful neighbor co-signed on a loan so she could stay.  When her son graduated from school, the “other” woman confided in her that she knew what it was like to be cheated on by her husband (of course he did it to her too).  She later met and married a wonderful man, who recently passed away.  She’s now alone again and wondering what’s next.  Her story took my breath away.

One thing I noticed immediately about her was that she had no complaints.  In fact, she literally said  – “I have the most amazing children and I got to raise them myself – I wouldn’t trade that for all the hurt that came with it.”  Her energy felt light and bright.

In our everyday life we are surrounded by a variety of people. Some of them are a joy to be with, and their loving presence nurtures and encourages us. Others have the opposite effect: draining us of our energy, making us feel tired and exhausted. We have to work hard to refuse that energy.

There is no question that our well-being is influenced by those around us.  And, if we can keep this in the fore of our minds, it will increase the quality of our life and give us energy.

Of course, we affect others – even at a subtle level. Think about how you use your energy with others.  Is it creating a safe and open space for people to share or is it one where you are just taking from others?  Obviously it is not possible to be happy all the time and sometimes we do need energy from others.  But are you a bright light for those in your life?

This woman – she survived.  She found a way to live her life with a half-full (maybe totally full) heart.  To thrive rather than not – and in the face of some horrible situations.  And I must tell you – it felt empowering and beautiful to be in her presence.

Choose wisely my friends – “People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person, or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.” ~ Plato

Have an amazing week!