To Let Go …

To Let Go

Source Unknown … but deeply appreciated!

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Better Because I accepted the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge … Again!

A video popped up on my Facebook memories on August 8, 2019 … a full five years after the last time I accepted the challenge … and … at first when I started watching it, I was put off by my own energy.  I thought I sounded really sappy and far too ooey gooey. I was tempted to turn it off, but then, as I focused upon the content rather than the delivery of my message, I was actually inspired to take The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge again! And … as I now come to the completion of another 100 days, I am exceptionally grateful that I did!!

As I mentioned in the video, this ‘challenge’ is not in the least bit frivolous, gratuitous or self-indulgent. It is not intended to be an opportunity to use social media to show off the great things in my life. It is, in no way, a self-focused effort to draw attention to myself and take up space on-line.  Rather … it is a deliberate attempt to rewire the brain.

Yes … we are neurologically wired to notice what is wrong … not … what is right.  And, as the most prominent neuroscientists are teaching us, we must make a conscious effort to wire our brains in the direction of honoring the things that are going right in our orbits.

Rick Hanson, PhD.

Its a great question to ask ourselves!  Where has your mind been resting over the past week or so?  I have experienced that The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge can actually shift where our mind is mainly resting!  It invites us to recognize, acknowledge and savour all the positives that already exist in our lives. Without our deliberate effort, many of these ‘good’ things would unwittingly go unnoticed … they would simply slide out of our awareness like an egg in a Teflon pan.

And … posting on social media is a way of deepening the experience!  It is a way of holding the ‘good’ in the brain for long enough for new positive neural pathways to be generated … and … for older ones to become more highly myelinated. The time it takes to find a picture and to write a little bit about what made you happy sustains your focus and prompts the protein synthesis for rewiring our neural networks.  It’s kind of like sitting around the fire on a cold night … if you want to stay warm, you need to throw another log on the fire!  With each and every positive that we hold in our minds for at least 10 seconds, it’s like we are tossing a log onto the fire of positivity in our internal systems.

The other magnificent benefit of taking on this project is that I instinctively find myself looking for what is ‘right’ as I make my way through the day. Metaphorically speaking, I am always looking for ‘the logs’ to add to my wood pile so my fire won’t fizzle out.  In order to be able to keep my public commitment to posting something on social media that makes me happy (on a daily basis for 100 days) means that I need to really pay attention to what is making me happy every single day … the big, the little and all the shapes and sizes in-between.  It effectively shifts my gaze from unconsciously focusing upon whatever is wrong to consciously noticing what is right. Because … both dark and light co-exist in our lives. Only always.

Source Unknown but deeply appreciated!

And, believe it or not, doing this ‘Challenge’ has shifted my focus so that I am deliberately seeking out that little dot of good, even on the most challenging days.  And, in doing so, the hard stuff (that is also concurrently going on in my life!) is just a little easier to bear.  The unwelcome stuff can’t take me down as far or as fast when it is being balanced by reminders of what is going well in my world. Perception is so powerful!!

And, it’s actually been quite interesting to recognize that as I have collected my ‘happy moments’ through the day, I rarely find just one. It’s fascinating to notice how ‘what you are looking for’ is actually shaping ‘what you see’!! And, there were quite a few day when it was really hard to narrow down my options in order to choose just one of them to post.  And, on a couple of occasions, I think I even posted a ‘part 2’. 🙂

Source Unknown

And so, I would also like to point out that, for me, making a public commitment to post my ‘happiness’ on social media is a conscious strategy to ensure that I keep looking for what is right and well with my world.  At the risk of mixing my metaphors, it’s a deliberate effort to ensure I throw enough logs on my fire … and/or … that I keep watering my grass. I am a person who likes to keep my word … so … I am far more likely to keep making the effort if I make a public promise to post for 100 Days. Otherwise, in all honestly, it would be pretty easy to get busy and simply let it slide off my radar for a few days.  And then, it wouldn’t be long before I simply stopped doing it.

Source Unknown

So, as I arrive at this 100th day of my second Happiness Challenge … there is a part of me that is actually reluctant to stop. I really appreciate the way this project has shifted my gaze and filled my spirit.  I like the way this project has obviated many of the things I tend to take for granted. I like the way this project has added a sense of lightness to my perceptions. I am grateful for how my brain is being rewired. I can literally FEEL the difference.

I have been so very grateful to the others who joined me over the past 100 days.  I thoroughly enjoyed all your posts too … and … even found myself searching them out if they didn’t show up in a timely manner in my Facebook or Instagram feed.  And, I very much enjoyed the comments from those of you who weren’t doing the challenge yourselves, but were engaging with me as I did mine! Thank you for meeting me on the page!! You made the whole experience even richer for me! ❤

And so, in all honesty, it is really tempting to just keep doing it.  But, I don’t really trust that I will unless I have made a public commitment to do so. The good news is that I will get to keep doing it for a while.  I had started a secret group on Facebook with a couple of people who wanted to try it, but didn’t want to do it so visibly. And, I am happy to say that we have agreed to keep doing it together for a while longer!

Lastly … I would never expect you to believe my experience. However, I would certainly invite you to consider taking the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge if you ever get a chance. You might be surprised by the gifts you might gain.

With much gratitude for my newest neural pathways, Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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[GUEST POST]: How to Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin: 5 Easy Steps

In honor of PRIDE month …  and … in an effort to honor the human souls and tender spirits of those in the LGBTQ+ community, I invite you to let this meaningful message land in your heart.  And, perhaps it will invite each of us to consider alternate ways to truly live our lives from a place of love … despite our differences.

In less than 4 quick minutes, Emily Joy gives us some very prickly but potent points to ponder if we are seriously committed to loving one another ……………….

Thank you Emily Joy for your intense, brave reminder of what the dark side of our beliefs can look like … Karen

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Grief is Like a Ball in a Box – Lauren Herschel’s Metaphor

I have received permission from Lauren Hershel to repost this magnificent metaphor she shared on Twitter about the nature of grief:

“There’s a box with a ball in it. And a pain button.”

With appreciation to Lauren Herschel for these diagrams.

“In the beginning, the ball is huge. You can’t move the box without the ball hitting the pain button. It rattles around on its own in there and hits the button over and over. You can’t control it – it just keeps hurting. Sometimes it seems unrelenting.”

“Over time, the ball gets smaller. It hits the button less and less but when it does, it hurts just as much. It’s better because you can function day to day more easily. But the downside is that the ball randomly hits that button when you least expect it.”

“For most people, the ball never really goes away. It might hit less and less and you have more time to recover between hits, unlike when the ball was still giant. I thought this was the best description of grief I’ve heard in a long time.”  (Lauren Herschel)

Thank you so much Lauren Herschel for granting me permission to share this meaningful metaphor for grief.  I suspect it will speak to many, many people who have found themselves grappling with how to manage the ball in their box.

With deepest reverence for the unbearable ache of grief, Karen

Thrive in Spite of It Healing Retreat

‘Thrive in Spite of It’ Healing Retreat

You CAN thrive in spite of difficulties, challenges and loss!

Join Kim Forchuk, M.O.M.; Brenda Berube, Yoga Instructor; and Karen Lanser, Counsellor/Life Coach for a day of inspiration, meditation, and healing! These three ladies each bring their knowledge, life experiences and healing energy to the day. Kim brings inspiration by sharing her story and shares how she has been inspired to thrive in spite of loss. Brenda brings nurturing and relaxation through her beautiful yoga to balance and ground the energy in the room. Karen brings her gift for creating a warm and safe space for all in attendance with her compassion and understanding of the human spirit.

Register early as space is limited. Minimum of 8 and Maximum of 10 participants. Your space will be confirmed and reserved once your payment has been received.

The cost is $149.00 for the day and includes lunch and snacks/

To register please contact Karen Lanser by text or phone (403) 317-1117.

Thrive in Spite of It Healing Retreat

The soul should always stand ajar …

ecstatic experience

And … if we are paying close attention … we notice that the ecstatic experiences … those moments that inspire an internal “ahhhhhh”…  come in all shapes and sizes:

  • the birds flitting in and out of the birdhouse
  • the steam rising off the water in a hot bath
  • a text from your Bestie filled with emojis
  • a great cup of coffee
  • forehead kisses
  • the space of stillness of the morning … pregnant with potent possibilities
  • a belly laugh with your colleagues
  • a phone call from your daughter … just checking in … because they were thinking of you despite their busy schedules
  • a memory of a beautiful feline snuggled on your lap
  • the warmth of the sunshine kissing your forehead on a chilly winter walk outside
  • the smiles and support of people who really ‘know’ you when you are feeling entirely misunderstand
  • the feint flicker of a candle … bringing light to the darkness
  • a heartfelt connection that softens an experience and makes everything feel right with the world
  • eyeglasses … to clear things up and bring things into sharper focus
  • a really good, deep stretch in yoga class
  • stemware filled with a nice red blend in front of a warm fire
  • a book that is so good you don’t want it to end
  • a heartfelt and meaningful apology
  • flannel sheets in January
  • inspirational quotes that find you ‘sighing’ with deepest understanding
  • slippers … and … elastic waist bands
  • empty space on the calendar
  • glimpsing the twinkle in someone’s eye
  • a grandchild’s enthusiastic greeting and warm embrace
  • old photos of people you love
  • polar fleece jammies
  • twinkle lights
  • waking up rested
  • the anticipation of something really good
  • warm homemade buns with the butter oozing over them
  • exceptionally great service at a restaurant
  • the peace in our hearts when we can see the other side of the coin
  • being awakened in the night with the solution to the problem
  • feeling protected
  • watching a flower blossom
  • homemade borscht … hot, ready and waiting in your slow cooker for when you get home from work
  • a warm day with no wind
  • a great golf shot
  • a fabulous series on Netflix
  • knowing you made a difference for someone in your day
  • artistic creativity
  • the ‘dusted fries’ at the Kingsmen Ale House in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • a nice long walk in the sunshine
  • a 24 Cribbage hand
  • no longer being ‘lost’
  • when the gravy turns out
  • anything made with barnboard
  • finding money in your pocket
  • getting through security at the airport
  • spicy appetizers on fancy skewers
  • mutual understandings
  • fresh picked veggies out of the garden
  • a savings account with some money in it
  • children who are no longer sick
  • finding a decent parking spot at Costco on a Saturday in December
  • being able to donate to a worthy cause
  • watching your grandchildren’s extra-curricular activities
  • remission from a diagnosis
  • Lucy’s chocolate cake
  • listening to one of your favorite songs
  •  being delayed in traffic but still arriving ‘on time’
  • getting a needle threaded on your first attempt
  • flossing something out that was stuck between your teeth
  • chocolate … in all its luscious incarnations
  • purchasing something at 75% off

What stirs your soul?  Can you help me fill in the blanks?  ❤ Karen ❤

Believe in Yourself … You Can Achieve Anything!

Yes, you can be brainwashed into believing in yourself and thinking you can achieve anything … until you walk into a staff meeting at work on a seemingly regular Tuesday … and … you get fired. Yep. After 21 years of dedicated service, you get handed your walking papers. No notice. No cause.

And, for just a split second, because you cannot even fathom how this could be happening to you … you question your belief in yourself. You wonder if you would have been better off to have stifled your soul and silenced your spirit in order to save your job. But, you realize, even more quickly … that you could never have lived with yourself if you had not stood up for what you believe in. And, you remind yourself that if you had it all to do over, you wouldn’t change one darn thing, except of course … the outcome.

But, worst of all, your heart aches deeply, for all of your prior counselling clients. It is the beautiful souls you have been gifted to work with that are paying the biggest price in all of this! And you wish you could reassure them that you would never, ever in a million years, have chosen to abandon them in this way.

And you ache for any pain they might be feeling. You know that you get to move on by simply expanding your private practice and embracing all the possibilities that come with that liberty. And for you, it feels very exciting. But you know very well that this is not just about you.

And, you wake up in the night wishing you could reach out to each and every one of your people because you have been connected in the most meaningful ways. Because you know them and respect them at the deepest level. Because they trusted you. Because you knew they felt really safe with you ………. well, until now.

But you can’t instigate contact with any of these precious souls to help them make sense of any of this. You were not permitted to speak to them on your last day of work as you were escorted out of the building and for ethical reasons regarding ‘solicitation of business’ in your Standards of Practice as a social worker, you can’t initiate any personal communication with them now. And so, the silencing sucks … but you deeply respect and honor the integrities of your profession.

And so … you pray that they will know you still hold them with deepest regard. You pray that they will trust your character enough to recognize that things are not always the way the seem. And, you hope they will sense your heartfelt regret and the powerlessness you feel to honor and alleviate any of the ways they may be feeling unsupported in these moments.

And, you send compassion and courage through the ethers to each and every one of them … trusting that they will powerfully find their way through this unexpected blindside. And … you hope they feel your abiding commitment, despite your unforeseen absence in their circle of support.

And, although you are at the age where you could simply ‘retire’ right now, that option does not appeal to you because counselling is your passion … because supporting others is what your heart longs to do.

And you know that you will rise above the outrage of the circumstances … because, yes … you’ve brainwashed yourself into believing in yourself and thinking you can achieve anything.

And … you want to take this opportunity to remind your clientele – past, present and future – that they can do the same. Yes. Yes, they can.

❤ Karen ❤

“(S)he wouldn’t hurt anyone …”

Source Unknown

Your dog is beautiful. You love them. They adore you. And … you think your dog is harmless.  I know you believe this to the core of your soul … and … I would agree that your dog is completely harmless to YOU.  But this is not necessarily true when it comes to OTHERS.  Your dog has a primal instinct to protect YOU.  I completely respect that, but many dog owners aren’t aware of the challenge this innate predilection creates.

And … you may defend by saying that your dog has never ever harmed anyone.  And, I’m guessing by that you mean that they have never bitten anyone. But … ‘biting’ is not the only way your pooch can do ‘harm’.  In fact, the upset/distress/harm experienced by another because of your dog may not be at all obvious to you.  Allow me to explain …

I love to be outdoors … walking, running … metabolizing the stresses of my day with the bright sunshine warming my heart and cleansing my soul.  For me, it is not only the physical exercise, but a walk or a run is so good for my emotional and mental health. I am a counsellor (generalist practice) and EMDR therapist (trauma work) … so … I spend the bulk of my work days immersed in the pain and wounding within other people’s worlds. I love my profession. In fact, I wouldn’t want do anything else …. but … given my passionate commitment to this heart work, it’s imperative for me to find ways to release any stress and/or compassion fatigue that has accumulated in my own system.

Source Unknown

And so … my time enjoying the out of doors is such a precious piece of my own mental health.  And it remains entirely therapeutic for me … unless or until … I come upon unleashed or loose dogs. It’s not that I don’t like dogs. I do. It’s just that, unfortunately, I have come to fear the ones I am often confronted with outdoors.

My fear first began a few years ago when I was out for a morning run and crossed paths with a family … complete with stroller, preschool children and a beautiful large dog.  He was leashed as I approached them and attempted to pass by on the path. I’m guessing the canine misinterpreted the bounce in my step as an invitation to play because he unexpectedly lunged towards me and caught my upper arm between his incisors. Yes … he was tall enough to reach my bicep.

I stopped in mid stride when I felt the pain.  They just kept on walking.  I looked at the torn flesh on my arm and called out to them “Your dog just bit me.” They continued walking away, not even pausing … never mind turning back to assess the situation nor offer apology.  The person holding the leash casually called back over his shoulder … “He was just playing.” “But” I responded (pleading out helplessly to the back of their heads)“he drew blood.”

They never even looked back.  They were certain their dog meant no harm, so they completely disregarded the incident. I was aghast. And injured. And left abandoned on the path.  I stood there in utter disbelief until I could no longer see their silhouettes in the distance.

My mind was racing to comprehend what had just happened! Your dog bites a passerby and you dismiss the incident and injury as an intent to play?  What does your dismissal of the harm caused by your dog teach your young impressionable children about compassion and accountability and responsibility? I wondered how they were justifying their dismissal, disregard, ignorance of the event as they merrily continued to enjoy their walk outdoors. Correct me if I am wrong, but I’m deliberately calling it ‘ignorance’ because for them to choose to ‘ignore’ the injury is entirely ‘ignorant’ of the norms of human decency that we purport to uphold in our culture.

I still had a fair distance to go and the blood was trickling down my arm.  The local hospital was on my route home … so I stopped in to get a bandage.  The nurse was kind and compassionate … her empathy was comforting.  She cleaned the wound and warned me that if the dog’s shots were not up to date I could be at risk. She strongly recommended that I report the dog.

I pondered it all for the whole day … knowing that if I reported it, the authorities would NOT take my unprovoked injuries lightly.  We live in a relatively small town, so when my husband got home that evening, he was able to track down the dog’s owner and called him to ensure the dog’s vaccinations were current. Fortunately, they were. When my husband pressed the owner for an explanation of his conduct … he offered an apology. For me, however, it was a little too late to seem sincere. I wish I could say that the flowers he had delivered the next day made it any better. But they did not. They felt more like a ‘thank you’ for not reporting his expensive, exotic breed of dog, rather than a genuine effort to make amends for harm done.

One would think this would mark the end of the event. It was over, right?  Wrong.

Little did I know … but this was just the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. I had no idea that the emotional arousal of this experience would become registered as a traumatic event within my limbic system.  And, that the hyper-arousal and unprocessed alarm of the event could be and would be triggered and reactivated, again and again, into the future … when and if I was accosted by dogs in the great outdoors.

And, since that day … my bestie and I have been chased and charged and cornered by dogs on several occasions!  I can tell you that one feels entirely vulnerable when a dog bounds unexpectedly across and down a street and won’t let you pass by … circling your ankles with bared teeth and vicious snarls. This has happened more than once.  When the dog owner in one of these scenarios finally captured his dog … he offered no apology.  Rather, he dismissed the whole incident by contending ‘he’s just a little dog’.  YES.  And may I say. the little ones seem to have something to prove. And regardless of their stature … they still bite … hard. 

And then, of course, there are the big ‘friendly’ ones!  Like the one my hubby and I encountered this morning … he enthusiastically lumbered towards us … both uninvited and uncontrolled by the owner.  I hid behind my husband.  The owner said he was sorry to have scared me but defended that “He’s just a big goof ball … he wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Sure. Easy to say … until it happens. Upon recognizing that I wasn’t comforted by his nonchalance, he looked down at his dog and said: “Come on … let’s leave the old lady alone.” Huh??  It might not have felt so offensive if I had not so clearly heard ‘old biddy’ in his disparaging tone. Perhaps he got defensive because we all knew he had to drive right past the off leash dog park to get to the area where we were all walking.  Grrrr.

But seriously …’old’ lady??  Well … okay, maybe true.

How about ‘scared’ lady?  Most certainly truer.

How about ‘innocent’ lady?  For sure. Absolutely. 

Maybe I should just be a ‘grateful’ lady? Clearly, its better to be insulted by the owner than bitten by their dog.  Obviously … there was no need for any extra compassion, because this dog owner saw no harm done.

On another occasion, a landscaper had his dog unleashed while he was working on a yard.  He was entirely unconcerned when his dog bounded towards us. I stopped in my tracks … distressed as the dog nosed towards my crotch.  I asked him to come and get his dog.  He  assured me that his dog wouldn’t hurt me. I was frozen … terrified to move. I actually pleaded with him to please come and get his dog. He smirked … apparently amused by my fear. I was reduced to grovelling for him to come get his dog away from me.  He snickered. Yes. I was terrified and was being mocked despite my outcries for help.  When did we devolve to the place where we think it is amusing to watch people suffer?

I completely lost it. I came entirely unglued.  My bestie’s eyes grew wider with deeper concern when I dropped the f-bomb. She had never before seen me in such a state of terror.  My fight/flight system had entirely taken over my system.  I was experiencing a full out trauma response. Yes.  Even though this dog never bit me … it was still a traumatic experience.  You see…. trauma isn’t something physical that happens ‘out there’ in the world somewhere … it’s something emotional that happens internally when we become hyper/hypo aroused and alarmed beyond our window of tolerance. And when old traumatic wounds get reactivated, we will find ourselves in fight, flight or freeze.

Source Unknown

It used to be that when I saw or heard a dog barking in a yard … or in a house … I could just calmly keep on walking or running. Not so any more. Now I experience a highly alarmed visceral response. I can feel the adrenalin and cortisol coursing through my veins. I can feel my blood pressure raise. Unfortunately, my flight/flight system is activated EVERY single time. And … although I am just one … I know that I am not the only one.

My bestie has also been bitten … more than once. One time when we were out for an evening stroll, a very large dog escaped the fenced yard while it’s owners were loading groceries into the house. This dog bolted … crossed the road … and then attacked us FROM BEHIND. My bestie sought medical treatment for the wound on her backside. The owners, on this occasion, expressed concern and regret. But as a result of this experience, even passing by a fenced dog doesn’t feel safe anymore to me. Especially if they are barking or growling. Even now, my heart starts pounding at the mere thought of it …!

And so … I share this for those of you who think there is no harm in unleashing your dog.  You can’t possibly know what is being triggered internally for others when they see that your dog is uncontrolled.  You have the luxury of being comfortable because … there is no chance that your dog will harm you.  I only wish I could feel so calm and relaxed. My body responds automatically.  It is not a conscious decision on my part. I cannot voluntarily turn off my internal alarm system.  And, research indicates that it typically takes at least 30 minutes for the stress chemicals to be metabolized … often longer. And so … I can end up feeling more stressed than when I headed outdoors with the intention to ‘de-stress’. Gah.

I am writing this blog as a call for compassion.  I hope you are hearing that your dog doesn’t have to bite someone to cause them distress and/or harm. Their trauma response may be triggered by the mere presence of your unleashed dog.  And, you would be none the wiser that your enjoyment of the outdoors was at the expense of another.

So … unless you are at an off leash park … please keep your dog controlled by their leash.  And, by that I also mean, please ensure you are strong and able enough to control your dog if you are in charge of their leash.  There are many occasions where leash holders would never be able to hold back a dog that gets aggravated or activated.  And, it is not at all uncommon for us to see dogs pulling their owners along the path.  In those situations, the leash is just an unreliable illusion of control that does nothing to calm my fears.

And finally … “thank you, thank you, thank you” … to all the dog owners who are mindful and considerate of the rest of us outdoors. “Thank you” to all the dog owners who shorten the leash when they come across others. “Thank you” to all the thoughtful dog owners who position themselves between their dogs and the passersby. And “thank you” to those who are kind enough to take their dogs off the path … or … simply halt with them … to visibly display that they have complete control of their canine. Your conscientious efforts to respect and acknowledge the comfort and safety of others is duly noticed, deeply respected … and … most gratefully appreciated!

May we all (young or old!) enjoy the outdoors without fear of emotional or physical harm … Karen

 

 

 

“To The Brave Ones” … An invitation to change the world by Glennon Doyle

Yes.  In response to the school shootings … an invitation to change the world … in the name of humanity! We need it more than ever!

Here’s a full transcript of Glennon Doyle’s speech:

To The Brave Ones,

This is cruelly specific to you. No generation before you has ever faced anything like this: Students being shot and killed in classrooms while adults do nothing.

What’s happening to you — it has a new face — but underneath? It’s oldest story known to humanity. It’s the story of evil born of greed.

Because there are two kinds of evil. There is the visible evil This is the evil you see on the news. The evil that happens when a kid shoots up a school. That kind of evil is often sparked by illness, pain, circumstance, hopelessness.

But we’re here today to talk about a different kind of evil: a behind the scenes kind of evil — not the evil that led the shooter to pull the trigger — but the evil that put a weapon of war in his hand.

Brave ones, that kind evil is harder to see because it hides behind fancy suits and degrees and good arguments and slick smiles and fake patriotism. This kind of evil is born in boardrooms and private jets and golf courses and handshakes between powerful people who plan how to divide us. And it’s not complicated, Brave Ones, It’s born from nothing but old-fashioned greed. It’s born when the love of money and power trumps the love of people. It’s unleashed when power decides to sacrifice lives for money, and when they wrap their decision in the American flag, in the name of God, in the name freedom –- so we’ll smile and cheer while our deaths line their pockets.

This kind of evil, Brave Ones, is not new – it’s when the greed of a few , in order to profit, strategizes to divide us and convince us to be afraid of each other. To convince us that we are against each other, when really these greedy few are only for themselves and We the People – We the People – who have been taught to fear each other, have the very same interests: our freedom, and our safety, and our children.

Greed is powerful – always has been. But you know what’s even more powerful, Brave Ones? Courage.

The story of our country is that humanity’s greed only reigns for so long – only until the people being sacrificed rise up and together say: ENOUGH.

Like the abolitionists rose up. Like the suffragettes rose up. Like the freedom riders rose up. Like the Vietnam War protesters rose up. Like the civil rights heroes who marched with King rose up. And the civil rights heroes who knelt with Kapernick rose up. Like women all over the world rose up to say TIME’S UP because ME TOO and like the young gymnasts — who joined arms and stood on that witness stand and shook with fury and conviction as they looked Larry Nassar dead in the eye and took him down together — rose up. Like the Parkland Prophets rose up in the face of their own pain and with their passion and intolerance for hypocrisy awoke our entire nation.

And Like YOU. LIKE THE AMERICAN STUDENTS OF 2018. Who — on February 23 — rose up together to say to power: “WE SEE YOU. Your greed is not patriotism. WE ARE THE PATRIOTS and we say: No country is free whose children are not free. “

YOU, who on February 23rd, became the BECAME THE LEADERS YOU WERE WAITING FOR.

You are not alone as you make history today. You are taking your rightful place in the long line of American freedom fighters. You are staking your claim on the side of history that knows and has always known that the Power of Love Overcomes the Love of Power Everytime. History shows us again and again, Brave Ones, that the game is long but when love shows up LOVE WINS.

On behalf of us parents, as you continue to rise and overcome the world’s greed with your love – I beg you, we beg you, to remember two things.
FIRST: Please- as you rise- Honor each other’s humanity.

Our generation got this wrong, Brave Ones.

We demonize people and groups who think differently than we do. We pledge blind allegiance to tribe and party and turn up our noses and close our minds and hearts to each other. We reduce each other to headlines and clickbait. We allow power to keep us afraid of each other – arguing with each other so we’re too busy hating each other and loving our own self-righteousness to make any real change at all. We allow power to use the oldest trick in the book: Keep them afraid of each other so they don’t turn on us.

And that’s why we failed you. This is why we haven’t kept you safe. Because we –as a generation — decided that being right is more important than doing right.

So, Brave Ones, decide differently. Don’t fear each other. Talk instead of tweet. Ask Questions. Be curious instead of judgmental. Seek first to understand. Listen to the kids whose parents have brainwashed them differently than your parents have brainwashed you. Fight bad policy instead of each other. Think beyond. Beyond party, beyond race, beyond gender, beyond sexuality, beyond tribe, beyond your parents, beyond Congress, beyond the Presidency…. YOU ARE THE GENERATION of BEYOND. The categories we’ve made for ourselves are killing us. Disregard all of them, and be humans among humans. When they tell you to fear each other, LOVE each other.

And Second: Honor YOUR own humanity, Brave Ones.

Rise and fight, Yes, but don’t forget to laugh and dance, too! It’s okay to be heartbroken and angry and it’s also okay not to be. Life is brutal, yes, but life is also beautiful, and the sun still shines, and art is still being made, and food is still delicious, and people are still AMAZING!

Listen loves, in the face of fear and oppression and danger, Joy is the fiercest act of resistance.
So as you fight for your lives, Brave Ones, don’t forget the things that make life so worth fighting for.

Keep Marching, Yes, But dance while you march us into the future you are creating for all of us.

So Brave Ones: Your parents are so proud of you. We are sorry that we didn’t protect you. We were confused until you rose. It all felt hopeless until you rose. But you have restored our hope and cleared our minds and strengthened our hearts. Your courage has helped us find our courage. And we will follow you and fight beside you until till we’re all free. Because you are the ones we’ve been waiting for, too. We love you.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Everytown for Gun SafetyMarch for our Lives Elizabeth Gilbert Cheryl Strayed Brené Brown Women’s March Never Again

Video

Byron Katie talks with Oprah about making peace with challenges like weight loss … and even … the death of a loved one.

In this remarkable interview, Byron Katie invites us to consider that the challenges we are having with things are because we are believing stressful thoughts about things.  She invites us to consider how a shift in our beliefs can reduce our stress and sadness around weight loss struggles …and/or …even the death of a loved one.

Powerful shifts in perspective … k

Video

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My Tributes: Better Because of You ...

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