A couple weeks ago I was sitting in a room with my 13 year old daughter, my 10 year old nephew, and a group of my daughter’s friends. My daughter was in a foul mood, sulking like an angry cat. She said her cousin called her fat, and this made her very upset.
Like a big woman, her 13 year old friend decided she needed a serious talking to. She said something like:
“You’re not fat. Look at you, tall, with your nice flowing hair. You should be flicking that hair and showing everyone how good you look, instead of listening to baldy [my nephew just got a short hair cut]. Get rid of that sulk! I wanna see a smile.”
My daughter smiled, and I laughed. Everyone laughed, even my nephew.
The point is, life is too short for us to be making ourselves ugly because of an unkind or silly comment from someone else. We all should be focused on letting the world see the light in us (both our physical appearance and our spirit). That is how we bless the people around us.
Each day, we can choose to keep or to give away the goodness inside of us. How are you choosing?
If I work hard so that I may live well, when do I stop working hard and start living well?
I finally found the answer to this question, which has haunted me for what seems like forever. That is:
Living well is not about working hard, it’s about loving hard.
When I love hard or deeply, I can overcome whatever limitations I see in myself, my family and my world. When I love the people around me deeply, work is a privilege, and I get more done than I can ever do by working hard.
I needed to have a crisis to see what it is to love hard, and to have amazing results in my life. What about you, is your life about working hard or loving hard?
If you are like my daughter and a lot of kids, you know that Valentines Day is not just about romance. It is about showing love for everyone. A great way to fill ourselves with love is to have love in our heart for someone we don’t like.
In the spirit of Valentines Day, I chose to love the mobility supervisor, who secretly watched me, and cancelled my disability transportation service, concluding that I was not disabled enough to qualify. The greatest hurt to me was that she did this without giving me any time to prepare, without empathy for someone who had used the service for 7 years, and without respect. Despite this:
I choose to love her for helping me see that my physical and mental disorders are not visible to some eyes, and perhaps should be less visible to my own.
I choose to love her, for though she did not give me any time to prepare for exposure to winter condition, I found strength and resilience in myself.
I choose to love her, for even though my resulting pain and depression from exposing my stroke-damaged body to extreme-cold weather, I have learned how to be active and outdoors in the worst of winters.
I choose to love her for giving me the opportunity to share the importance of treating all people in a loving and respectful way.
I send love and light this Valentines Day, with a hope that you too will choose to love someone you find hard to love. Consider that every time we do not love, we fill ourselves with darkness, and block the good that everyone brings.
It is a new year and many of us focus the purpose of our life on achieving things. We concentrate on things like being more successful in business, getting a new job, losing weight and a whole host of other things. Yet all these things are useless without something much more important; something which is the true purpose for life and the foundation of our happiness.
Let me give you an example. I grew up being told by others, and noticing my own awareness, that my sisters were prettier than me. So I turned my attention to my brain. I became known as the one who did the best in school. What I didn’t understand was that it isn’t important how pretty, how smart, or how accomplished any of us are.
What really matters is how virtuous, loving, kind, and peaceful we are. I thought I could use my brain to become more accomplished or make better decisions than my sisters, my mother, and many others. Yet, this thinking allowed my ego to run away with me; until I had a stroke. Then the only meaningful part of me that was left to heal me and guide me through life was the love, positivity and spirituality within me. This is true with regards to all the things we consider important; such as profession, employment and relationships.
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
When we have a character focused on love and doing good deeds for others, our ego is shut down. Therefore we cannot help but become better and better at being who we are, and doing the good we are meant to do. This is the foundation for whatever we want to achieve.
What will you do to strengthen your character in 2015? Consider the following.
The time has come for us to go after many more opportunities, ask more questions, and take more risks, while welcoming the many instances that we will hear the word ‘no’.
Have you ever talked yourself out of going for a job, approaching a
person that interests you, or asking for something you needed; all because you feared rejection? Did you know that successful people experience more ‘no’ than others. They experience countless rejection and failures because they take more risks and do far more than others. We all can learn how to get what we want most in life, if we understand the true meaning of the rejecting word ‘no.’
Let’s consider the example of a mountain lion and its prey. When the mountain lion goes after a deer, it does not get discouraged, even though the deer says ‘no way!’ To many it would seem as though the mountain lion does not have a single chance of catching the too swift deer. Yet, the mountain lion does not fear. It does not get emotionally hurt. It does not take its failure personally. Instead, it keeps focus on its ultimate prize, which is to catch a deer and not necessarily the one that escaped. It uses all its many failures to become smarter, and looks for opportunities to try again, having no doubt that it will succeed. Eventually, it perseveres and turns an unsuspecting deer’s ‘no’ into ‘yes’.
The successful among us are like mountain lions. However, we all need to be like Mountain Lions and welcome the necessary rejections of life. We need these rejections to develop the perseverance, skill, and confidence of a mountain lion. We need them to test our faith, and develop greater patience and fortitude needed to fearlessly go after our greatest desires.
Rejection often brings a message that says ‘you are greater than that which you seek. You are worth far more than you imagined.’ If you allow it to, it will push you in a direction that promises something much greater that the ‘yes’ you were hoping for.
In 2015 and beyond, I will use this ‘welcoming no’ or ‘mountain lion philosophy’ to go after many possible rejections, for among this I will find my ultimate success. Will you join me?
Thought I would share the Heart&Stroke Lottery piece to which I contributed. Click here to see. I am the fifth panel. I share this and the piece I recently wrote Good News | Our everyday heroes…(Living Life in The Silent World of the Deaf), to support these organization. I do not make money from doing work for these and other charities; I contribute primarily because of the blessing they can provide to others. I also do it because I must give, and I find it difficult overcoming barriers to paid employment as a middle-aged stroke survivor. I ask for your prayers that this work will also be a blessings to me, as I continue to find my purpose and my place after my stroke blessing.
I was recently privileged to write a wonderful story about Anya, a 21-year-old Deaf young lady, which has been posted on Good News Toronto. Just a couple years ago, Anya was lost and depressed in her isolated world. Today she is an award-winner and creator of a fun exercise and sign-language education program, called “Hearing The Deaf”. It is partially done in complete silence, teaching what it’s like to be deaf in a hearing world.
Mental health is key to our well-being. We can’t be truly healthy without it. It involves how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us. Mental health is about realizing our potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, and making a contribution to our community. It may be more helpful to think of good mental health as thriving. Good mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a ‘perfect’ life. It’s about living well and feeling capable despite challenges.
Based on my story, (available on Amazon), If I had taken this test, I would have seen the alarm bells. Thankfully, I now have the mindset and the tools to focus on my mental health and the well-being of my spirit.
Can you play a part in transforming the world from a place of mental health crisis into a mental health oasis?
This past Sunday my pastor announced the name of a lady who was about to address the church. I looked around for this stranger to emerge.
The lady in front of me got up. “Me backside,” as my Jamaican grandmother would say when she was shocked. I had been sitting behind and speaking to this lady for 2 years and didn’t know her name.
She thanked the pastor and others for their support related to the recent death of her daughter! I was shocked again. I had not even expressed my condolences, all because I didn’t know her name.
I decided that would never happen to me again. So I did some research. Here is one video that will help many of us who have gotten in that awkward place of forgetting names.
I will practice, practice, practice. The main strategies I will use are to tell myself several times I am going to remember the name, find opportunities to repeat it several times once I hear it, and associate the name with some picture. Do you have others you would like to share?