CAN and WILL…and BELIEVE

leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

As a very small child, whenever I would get discouraged, I would plop myself down on the floor like a doll made of rags and let out a hopeless wail. “I Can’t…..” would be my pitiful cry. “I don’t know how, it’s too hard, I’m too tired.”

My mother would turn on a dime, narrow her dark Italian eyes, laser beam them into me and say in a voice as commanding as any Military General ever born, ” You CAN and you WILL. HOW does not matter. THAT  we can figure out. Now GET UP!”

Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you, that  was the end of my temper tantrum.

Quitting has never been an option in our family of scrappy little fighters. Raised by my Mother, a woman who raised three children on her own after waking up one day to find her husband had made other plans for his life, she had learned to take surprises and situations and  wrestle them into the life that SHE wanted for us. SHE expected to rise to challenges and goals and she expected no less from us. There were no acceptable excuses. She had an answer for everything. Being tired? Everyone gets tired. So what, learn to rest, balance and push through. Being scared doesn’t cut it. Only fools are stupid enough to not be scared. Not having all the answers is not a reason not to start.  Only the truly stupid think they are wise, the wise know there is always more yet to learn. In my mother’s world, If you want something you have to go for it. If it is right for you and the people you love, then there is no excuse for not doing it. You CAN and you WILL. And she does.

Then why is it not that simple for the rest of us? Not so black and white? The simple determination to march into battle for your noble cause day after day…why does it again and again reduce us to whining, sniveling, crying children?

It took me a long time to learn the third part of my mother’s power.  She had had it all along. It was a mysterious strength that gave her indomitable spirit. That kept her strong and unflinching when she left her secure job, the only thing that put food on the table for her and her three small children and took her measly $3000 and invested every dime she had to start her own business. She could have FAILED. We could have lost everything. She had one thing in her back pocket that was so powerful that it propelled her forward and would not let her down. She had something that most people didn’t have.

She knew that the only way to get from a life that had a steady-but a measly paycheck where she had to work double shifts in a factory and leave her small children home alone was to take a chance. She knew that although the risk was great, that we wouldn’t have insurance at first, that we would have less money to begin with, that we would have no reliable income AT ALL to begin with, that she could make it on her own elbow grease. That something to look forward to with hope was better than a lifetime of looking at what she would have if she changed nothing.

I didn’t understand what that something was at such an early age. She was just my Mom. Maybe I thought that all moms were fierce warriors who went out each day to take on the world.

Later in life, I went into sales. Real Estate sales specifically, although I dabbled my way up to that in other types of sales jobs before that. Sales is HARD. Being rejected is hard. Initiating contacts, talking to strangers, making cold calls, learning contract negotiations, managing files, hand holding nervous and temperamental clients is all hard and very stressful. The overwhelming majority of Real Estate agents quit within 3-6 months of getting their license. They say anyone can become a Realtor. It takes a good one to stay one. I decided to stack my odds. I hired the industry’s best Real Estate coach in the business to coach me and teach me the tools I needed to succeed. All that I learned in the six years of being one of the top agents in our company is more than a blog could hold.  But one of the major things that I paid good money to learn had been right there at home all my life.

CAN & WILL.

Beverly Buffini is the wife of Brian Buffini, Brian being the head of Buffini & Company, the coaching company I was just referring to. Beverly Buffini worked with him and toured with him and spoke at the seminars because frankly she was so inspiring that everywhere she went the crowd went nuts. Beverly grew up to be an All-American volleyball player at the University of Tennessee where she was inducted into the Tennessee Hall of Fame in the first class of women ever to achieve that honor. She went on to become a member of the US National Volleyball Team that participated in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. She now uses her skills of discipline, determination, and focus to juggle raising six kids, and writing, and touring as a motivational speaker. Listening to her speak was one of my greatest inspired moments.

Beverly brought home for me the third part of the ingredients for success in her book, I CAN, I WILL, I BELIEVE. For each of the areas that she wrote about, and spoke about, Beverly outlined her viewpoints on the power behind each of those words. Summarizing, she wrote about:

CAN: to be able mentally or spiritually. She attributes the childhood story The Little Engine That Could with the basis for CAN. Perhaps not too coincidently, that story was one that my mom read to us almost every night. The basis of pushing away negative fears and focusing on the positive is the foundation for any dream to come true. In Beverly’s words, ” Particuarly in my athletic endeavors, I learned to be patient, that success only comes when and if the I CAN attitude endures over time. Giving up was not an option when things got tough. I had to persist if I wanted to make my hopes and dreams a reality. With that mindset, I could achieve my specific goals.”

WILL: is the reinforcement of purpose, drive and discipline necessary to spring CAN into life. WILL is the Action word that makes it happen. Webster’s defines WILL as a concious choice and a strong, fixed purpose. She spoke about the choices and priority shifting that it takes to keep the WILL going. She talks about sacrifice and risk. She states, “What was the principle lesson I learned from this? That in order to achieve and find fullfillment and enjoyment in achieving, I had to step beyond the familiar and accept personal risk. I learned that even condemnation or ridicule were possibilities if my choices did not coincide with someone else’s expectations.

BELIEVE: to take as true or real, to have confidence in something or someone; to have faith, especially religious faith (Webster). For some of us, myself included, Faith of a higher power would be moved up to the front of that defination, and for Beverly she says, “For me, I believe has a significance far beyond simply believing that I can and will do what I set out to do. I believe that we are inspired and helped by God and that we have a responsibilty to do our best to live up to that inspiration. I also get a sense of being assisted and directed by a Force beyond myself, and I desire that feeling.”

I Can, I Will, I Believe. I came out of that motivational seminar on fire. I bought the book. Heck. I bought the T-shirt. Honest, I really did. It’s royal blue with big bold white letters going right across my chest and anytime I need a little extra power pumped in to my self esteem I put it on and strut around.  All because she made my mother’s CAN & WILL tangible.

They say you can’t be a prophet in your own backyard. I guess I had to go far away and pay good money to hear what Mom had been saying all along.  I had to hear it from someone else to understand that the secret ingredient that made my mother stand so hard and fast is her faith. Belief in a higher power (God), Belief that she is doing what is right for her family, belief that if you believe in it, work hard for it, visualize it then you CAN make it happen.

By the way, that’s a far cry from stick it on a poster board, stare at it every day and sit back and wait for it to arrive. That would never be my mother’s style. While those that wait-are busy waiting, my mother and her clan are busy doing the WILL part and BELIEVING that with those two together…..why yes…yes you CAN.

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Returning Home

Attitude of Gratitude, leaving a legacy, The Inspired Life

There is only one success~ to be able to spend your life in your own way.
~Charles Marley

We re-entered our “normal” life late last night after an amazing ten days away in California. The trip, spanning the area outside of Los Angeles for the first half of the trip in hotel luxury, changed scenery to hilly San Francisco and then up farther into the hills to a campsite of rugged beauty and log cabins for a Memorial Day weekend of volunteering for a family camp for families with children who have cancer.

There is so much to say. So much to process. My heart is full. Overflowing actually. Beautiful little faces are still smiling up at me when I close my eyes, bittersweet pain still reaches out and grabs at my heart when I remember the daily challenges these families face. The fear. The bravery. The strength. I felt small in my ability to wipe away the terror. Huge in my ability to love and give little hugs and kisses to babies and three year olds looking up to me for a sign of hope. We all did what we could. Sometimes my *could* was wiping down counters, serving food, washing dishes. One day it was helping on the zip line and cheering on tiny tots and their parents who faced this new fear just as bravely as they tackled cancer. Head on and with passion.

This was not a sad place. It was a valley of hope. A treasure chest of inspirations. It was a festival of dance parties, camp fires, marshmellow roasts, hugs and laughter. It was a waterfall of courage, washing over you, bathing you in new priorities, reminding you of the important battles, releasing you of the small unimportant ones. Sometimes we forget that all we really have to do is just let go.

So many things just don’t matter. You can really choose what is important when you are reminded of what is worth fighting for. Family, life, loved ones. Hope…

Home now to laundry and meetings with the end of the school year and a broken down ice machine and oh by the way…the dogs need a bath. And the new month is here and the bills need to be paid and the grocery list will need to be done and Michael is graduating and they still need to be signed up for swimming and ……..

yes….I’m home. And I do need to do all that, and I do need to answer my e-mails and I do need to re-enter my life. But I don’t want to forget. The lessons of this vacation and the peace of unplugging and the importance of priorities and family and hope and love.

There will be much more to say. So much more. Right now, I have only a question.

If You could live your life the way you wanted it with absolutely NO FEAR OF FAILURE, what would your life look like? What would it take for you to get there?

The Pebble People

Attitude of Gratitude, leaving a legacy, The Inspired Life

Get ready to meet the Pebble People.

I’m getting ready to take down The Blog Log… For a very good reason.

I’m not building a LOG here. WE are building a community. A community of people who share, get to know each other, get to communicate with each other, share ideas, inspiration and help each other.

A neighborhood. A place where people come to hang out.

When I first arrived at Life’s Little Inspirations, and took the dust covers off of all the old antique furniture and started trying to spruce the place up, I used to think that maybe this was a house. But the longer I’ve been hanging out here the last few months, now I think it’s maybe more like a community arts center. Lively conversations with good friends Karen and Ellen, sitting around the table, chatting about balancing our balloons,something we all struggle with I found out! All of the the art and people that come in and hang around the big old giant kitchen table, with their creativity and creations, Daz with all of his brilliant paintings, and Amy with her art, and Brett with his crazy shoes and Tei with her Band of Rogues, Melissa with poetry readings, hanging out by the huge old stone fireplace on the weekends, everyone sitting cross-legged on the rug telling stories and sharing ideas and things that matter to them…the vision is getting clearer. It is all becoming a community of like-minded writers, artists, and inspiring, warm-hearted friends all making a difference in our own journeys though the world we travel in.

 

Sometimes we tease each other, some times we share stories, some of us share projects and cross each others blogs with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. ALWAYS we support each other and always we cheer each other on. Holding each other accountable and helping each other dream, laugh, win. We help each get through the day. We help each other grow.

So instead of a blog-roll, I am growing a community page for those who are frequent members of the Life’s Little Inspirations Community. The ones who comment often, contribute and make the journey together. The ones making a commitment to be there for each other, to reach out and be a part of this with each other.

The Pebble People Page.

The ones who are willing to Pick up their Pebble and throw it in the water and watch how it makes a wave. Realize that their Pebble DOES make a difference. The ones who understand that yes, they may have JUST a pebble, but even a pebble makes a wave and every wave is connected. Every comment counts, every member of our community counts and is celebrated and important. Every opinion matters and forms us.

I have been working on the page and it’s growing. It will be a page-not a post- and it will always be there-as a link to the major contributor’s of this community. You can help me write whatever you like about your site and yourself as we work it out. If you are one of the frequent contributors here, you can be assured you will be on it, if you want to be. If you don’t have a blog, no worries, you will be on it anyway.This isn’t an advertisement for blogging. It’s a way for each of you in the community to get to know each other better and tell each other something about yourself.

Thanks you for being part of this community. We are all pebbles in the water, making waves.

How do you see this community growing and what are you enjoying the most about it?

NOTE:
Starting this Monday this week, I will be in California. Partially on a mind retreat, writing and painting and then at the end of the week, John and I will be doing some volunteer work at a camp. I will be writing, I don’t know how much posting and commenting I will do. I am planning on unplugging as much as possible and letting the Muses do their thing. Please come on in and keep the community going…I filled the fridge, there is plenty of coffee and lots of logs for the fireplace. I’ll check in as much as I can. You guys are awesome.

 

A Mother’s Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude, family, leaving a legacy, The Inspired Life

 

Mother’s Day Weekend is here. It is a special day for me, special because I have been in active duty now for 31 years. Plus 11 years as a grandmother. I wouldn’t trade a single day. Not even the stormy ones.

Yes, it’s true…I had an early start. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you hit a home run.

Although, I didn’t wake one day and say, “Gee…I think I’ll try being a sixteen year old mom, won’t that be a smart idea!”  I did learn more from that rocky road than all of the other hard knock classes I took put together.

I learned about unconditional love. I learned about commitment. I learned about priorities. (You learn about that sort of thing in the middle of the night with an asthmatic child who can’t breathe and you haven’t slept in three days.) I learned about money. I learned about not having any.

Yep…kids teach you everything. All of mine have taught me new things. My oldest, being the pioneer daughter, blazing the trail for the others, had it the hardest. She had to dig her way through the hardest clay, my skills as a parent, untried and alone for the most part. We experimented together. Frick and frack, figuring it out as we went along. We learned a lot together. The rest of them should send her Mother’s day cards.

When she was 16, she wrote a poem and gave it to me for Mother’s Day.

I appeared like lightning piercing the sky;
Greatly unexpected, a hindrance was I.
Washing away goals, changing dreams like the tide,
I crushed her youth the moment I arrived.

But her love flourished with each passing day,
As she accepted her life, the gift that I gave.
Our life was not charted, predicted, or planned;
We faced our troubles hand in hand.

They flooded our lives, right from the start,
But made us two people; stronger of heart.
She welcomed my presence for she did know,
That when a storm goes by, it leaves a rainbow.

 

 I CRIED……

But it was true. All of my children are exquisite rainbows with the most glorious colors in the universe.

I know that all of the mothers out there feel the same way about their rainbows too. So for mothers everywhere this weekend, I am sharing my gratitude for all of our children and for everything they have taught us, shown us and shared with us.

 For the gift of being a mother.

Happy Mother’s Day Moms.

I have been blessed.

The Attitude of Staying Put

Attitude of Gratitude, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

If you have missed the story of Jason McElwain, take a minute to watch this short video about this amazing young man. Warning…Kleenex alert ahead…..

 

I could just stop right there. Say THE END. There is plenty of inspiration to the story without adding a single word. It is really very remarkable and heart-warming. But something really struck me about this story that didn’t stand out right away with all the *Rockyness* and miracle of it.

The fact that J-Mac as they called him, was even there is an amazing thing. How many of us, how many kids, after being turned away, after failing to make the team, year after year,  only being 5’6, let alone being autistic, would have stuck that out in this instant pudding world of give me my glory right now?

My friend Brett, Over at Six Weeks says “Fail Early, Fail Often”- but hey, come on now, at some point, the majority of us would have said,”Um, I really wanted to play ball here…so if you’re not gonna let me have a turn…Um…I think I’ll just mosey on over and try somethin’ else.”

Nope. J-Mac had Sticking Power.  J-Mac understood the magic of Staying Put. He didn’t have an agenda. He loved the sport and he wanted to be a part of it. Every SINGLE year he gave it his best shot and then played the card he was given with a winning attitude.

” At 5’6 he didn’t make the Junior Varsity Basketball team. Instead he became the team manager. The role he has now played for the varsity as a Senior. In the last three years, in his white shirt and his black tie, he’s missed only one game.”

He approached his job not as someone who had no options left, not as someone sulking or bitter because his dream of playing ball could never come true. Not as someone with limited options in life.

He approached his work with pride and privilege. Proud to be doing his part to make the team the best it could be.

In his own words:

What I tried to do is set up the clocks, get the water for the games and be enthusiastic.

It was his job to be enthusiastic. And he was proud and happy to do it.

I’m just normal like other people. That’s the way I am

Well……..actually??? Jason…what I’m thinking is….maybe not. Maybe you are a whole lot of something more.

While we “normal” people are out here whining and griping about what we didn’t get and how our *luck* ran out, and how It isn’t fair, and how “One of these days our ship is going to come in” , and “You’ll see, I’ll show that SOB…I’ll make him/her PAY for not giving me that Promotion/job/pay raise/(fill-in-the blank-with-what ever you might be feeling sorry for yourself for…)”  You, JASON,  were out there day in and day out giving it your best shot with an enthusiastic, wonderful attitude, GRATEFUL to be around the game that you love, expecting nothing in return except the privilege of showing up the next day too.

The Attitude of Staying Put. Of Giving it all You’ve Got. With Love. With Gratitude.

That…Makes…Magic.

Look what it did for Jason McElwain.

Having Faith

leaving a legacy, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
-Robert Benchley

It’s a good thing that Robert didn’t find out earlier. What a different world it might have been. Robert Benchley sold his first piece of paid writing in 1914 and his work continues to sell, inspire and entertain to this day.

His son Nathanial Benchley became a well known author of children and teen books and wrote the book The Off-islanders in 1962, which became the motion picture titled “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. He received an Academy award nomination for writing the Adapted Screenplay. His novel, Welcome to Xanadu became the 1975 movie Sweet Hostage.

Perhaps younger fans will be most familiar with his grandson, Peter Benchley, author of the famed novel Jaws.

Three generations of authors influencing our history. What would have happened if he had *realized* he had no talent? Would he have inspired his son or his grandson to become writers? How would their lives have been different? How would yours? Where were you the first time you saw that famous shark rise out of the ocean?

Writer’s words change lives. They change other peoples thoughts, they propel people to action. They make us laugh. They make us cry. Sometimes they make us angry.

Or fall in love.

But I’m not a writer-so you say. Maybe you think you have no talent. Maybe you think the words you have bubbling up inside you are words that no one needs to hear? Maybe you never pick up a pen. Maybe you write with spoken words, or paint or dance or modeling clay. But you do have something to say. And if you are holding it in, is it building up inside of you? Maybe you have never paid attention to it before. Listen. You can feel it. It’s that yearning. It’s that pressure that pushes out from inside of you. It wants to go somewhere. It wants to be heard. It needs to be heard.

 We all have a voice and we all have something to say. We all have questions as to the what and the why’s of this world and no-we might not have all the answers, but its ok to write while we are journeying on, working them out together, forming new ideas, hearing new solutions. Sharing our experiences with each other.

Somebody is listening somewhere. Somebody needs to hear what you have already figured out. Somebody needs a hand up, a little help along the way. Or they need to know that you are struggling too, that they are not alone. They need to know that they are not a lone tree falling in the forest. That you are there and will catch them when they fall, that your words will hold them up-because you have been there first. Maybe all you have to say today is great job or I love you, but these can be powerful words too. Don’t underestimate what you have to say. Someone needs to hear it.

But I’m not good enough.-Yes you are. Write from your heart. Write from your soul. Speak the words. Let it out and have faith that somebody is listening. If you are true to what you are feeling, I promise, someone else is feeling it too. None of us are ever truly alone.

But I’m not creative enough- I believe that true creativity comes from letting go. Not pushing it. Not trying too hard to cram all the pieces together. Get empty and see what comes to fill in the space. Say what if…and let the pieces fall into all new places. Don’t hold on to anything, just follow the wave and it will take you places you would never have dreamed of.

But I don’t have time– I don’t think we have time NOT to. Taking the time to formulate our thoughts and feelings, perhaps putting them down on paper or whatever medium we choose is a valuable use of time that grounds us. It highlights our center, our values, our key trouble spots and the secrets that lie within. Whether we are writing for others, or ourselves, these words need an outlet. It isn’t a healthy thing to ignore them while they clamor away for attention like a nagging child inside of us. Ignored for too long, they become sullen, depressed, hidden in the corner, while we become more and more detached from the authentic self that is our true spirit. Get out your pen! Go find yourself! Go listen to what you have to say!

I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.
-William Faulkner

I have my grandmother’s stories and poetry. Long gone now, she wrote not for fame or fortune but to be connected to her spirit. She wrote her poems to God. She poured out her questions, cried out her heartache, searched for the answers to the mysteries that defied her.

She was an artistic, creative soul. Lost sometimes in the depth of Bi-polar confusion, she struggled to make sense of the ever-changing world in her mind. Through her stories, through her poetry, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will always have a glimpse into the brilliance that resided there. She was beautiful. Her writing is her legacy. Did she know we would be listening? One of her poems, written on a Christmas morning was titled “To my Grandchildren.”

WE listen.

Have faith. Write. Write from your heart. Somebody is listening.

 

 

The Garden Gate

family, Healthy Lifestyles, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life, Uncategorized

 

Through the gate is something more. Does it make you wonder? What lies beyond the garden gate? What majesty? What splendor?


Or are you busy rushing by, not taking time to notice. Does every moment have you booked, tick-tock, your time is over….wake up tomorrow, do it again..tick-tock…tick-tock…tick-tock.

Busyness. Rushing around. Fitting it all in. Adding one more thing to the already over loaded to-do list. Juggling all the balls up in the air. Praying, hoping they will just stay up there. Somehow.

God, it’s exhausting.

Where is the balance? Where is the peace and tranquility? Where is the time for creativity, family, laughter?

At the Garden Gate.

At the garden gate, if you choose to open the gate and walk in, you will find the peace you are looking for. You will find the time to spend with family. You can paint. You can play. You can read, You can play ball, go for walks, exercise, whatever you want to do. Go fishing. What do you want to do beyond the gate? What dream have you been putting on hold? It can happen.

You just have to make that choice. Go ahead. Walk through the gate.

But….if I walk through the gate….I won’t have time for………

What? Finish that thought. What are the time wasters that are keeping you from walking through the Garden Gate?

Are you….

Over-promised with commitments that really aren’t that important to you anymore but you don’t know how to get out of?

Over-extended with family and friend obligations that feel like *have-to* events that cut into meaningful family time?

Over-prioritizing unnecessary time-wasters like Internet, computer games, TV that are really just procrastination devices?

Overwhelmed with disorganized habits and clutter that slow you down and cause you to be inefficient with your time?

What others? There are more, many more.

What can we do to get closer to the gate? To open it more often? At least get in for a visit now and then. Maybe hang out on the weekends for starters. Then work our way up to an hour or two every day. After awhile, you may realize a wonderful surprise. It is possible to LIVE in the garden all the time. It can become a lifestyle. It isn’t easy at first, and it takes breaking some habits. But it’s worth it. The garden is a beautiful, peaceful, wonderful place to live where you have time to explore your hobbies and spend time with families and friends, and enjoy long interesting conversations filled with laughter and fun.

Here are a few of the things that our family has done to enjoy more time beyond the Garden Gate.

Turn off the TV. Unless we are enjoying a family night watching a movie together with popcorn and the whole fun deal, the TV isn’t on. No sitcoms, no news, no droning on in the background sucking away our attention. We are free to pay attention to each other and play with each other.

Reduce clutter, get organized This is an on-going challenge. We have been on a mission for the past two years to reduce any and all clutter and unnecessary gadgets and materialistic *stuff* from our lives. Result? Less stuff=less to clean and take care of. Easier ability to organize the important things that we do want to keep. That means more family time to play.

Prioritize value of commitments. We took a hard look at the groups, clubs and meetings we were a part of and started analyzing their value to our family. It was an eye-opener! We began the process of evaluating our commitments differently. Time started showing up right there! This is a constant review that is always being re-evaluated. What are your family values? How do your commitments measure up?

Schedule time for things you want to do. Get your family’s stuff on the calendar FIRST. It is going to be much easier to say  “Oh, I’m so sorry we can’t make it to the 100th birthday party this month, we already have something on the calendar”  when you actually DO have something on the calendar. There isn’t any reason to mention that the calendar says “spend the entire day playing with our family.” Your family is priority number one. AND oh by the way…so are you.

Plan dinner time. Bringing back the family dinner time in the dining room has done more to slow down our lives then all the rest. Planning menus ahead of time, being prepared and having a relaxing, non-rushed dinner with a set table, candles and everyone enjoying conversation has been a wonderful experience. There have been many evenings that we have sat chatting and laughing all the way until bedtime. I strongly recommend the return of candle-lit dining room dinners as often as possible. They are magical!

 

Through the Garden Gate is a simpler time with more focus on getting back to basics, nature, family and good friends. Spending quality time doing the things that are truly important to you, not the things that are on your *should* list or your *I feel guilty so I have to* list. It’s not a life built around keeping up with the latest gadgets and the ‘Jones’ and making sure you are on the right side of the Star-Bellied Sneetches this week. It’s about letting go. Cutting back. Focusing on the Truly Important.

Would you care to join us beyond the Garden Gate? It’s beautiful in here. Come on in…

Being Enough

family, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

Ah, the weekend. Family time for me, what about you? How will you be spending these next few days? Share and let us know!

I will be going to birthday parties for my nephew and myself. We promise to eat cake for all of you! It has been an entire week of eating and parties around here for birthday week. Any surprise we were inspired by cannoli and pie?

Every birthday gives me a reason to take a moment and reflect on where I am and what I am doing with my life. Am I on track? Am I following the goals and steps that I have laid out to get where I want to be? Am I living an on-purpose life or am I just blowing in the wind?

Sometimes all the striving gets to be a little much. Planning for the future always needs to be balanced with accepting where I am right now, right this minute and being OK with who I am. I remind myself that I am in the place I am at so that I can learn and grow and help others where they are at. We are all where we need to be at the moment to become who we are growing to be. I don’t need to wait to become something more before I get on with the job of living and doing my life’s work.

One of my favorite authors sums this up well, and as I like to share with you some of my favorite authors on the weekends, here is an excerpt from a passage in the book The Sound of Paper, Starting from Scratch, by Julia Cameron.

If you haven’t read any of her books, I highly recommend them to you. The Sound of Paper is one of my favorites.

Have a wonderful weekend friends. Please…take a moment to say hi!

Wendi

Remembering Who We Are

A great deal of the difficulty in making art springs from this conviction that what we are at any given moment is not enough. We want to be better, wiser, more ready to write before we write. We want to be more in the mood, more inspired, more alive before we try to paint. And yet, over the long years of work, it is clear that some of the best writing comes through when we are not feeling struck with light. Some of the finest painting gets done on the days when we just show up at the easel because that is our job. In other words, when we practice self-acceptance of where  we are and who we are instead of striving, always, to be better. We are enough, exactly as we are.

It is very easy to forget our divine origins. It is very easy to see ourselves as the products of our birth families, shaped and colored only by those transactions. We are much larger than that. We are each a soul, unique and distinctive, bringing to bear on life a rich legacy of spiritual gifts if we but open ourselves to the possibility that we are not merely the products of our conditioning. We are spiritual beings with spiritual business to transact here on this earth. We have a destiny to fulfill.

Julia Cameron

The Pie Theory: A Story About Pie.

leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

Love is not a piece of pie; Love is all the stars in the sky
Love is not a slice to give, Love is grains of sand to live

Love cannot be handed out, passed around and then run out
Love is endless as the sea, the more I give, it gives back to me.

 

A simple rhyme I made up to teach my children about love when they were very small. Love is not a slice of pie. You can’t cut it up, hand it out and run out. It can’t be done.

As they got older, they started to understand that the Pie Theory is more than just about love. Love is the most profound example of the Pie Theory, but it isn’t by any means its only application.

The Pie Theory is about giving. Genuine, heartfelt giving. Every slice of yummy pie you give out is going to come back to you. Probably double, maybe more. You won’t always see the direct correlation, but trust me, it’s there.

Pie Doesn’t Lie. It can’t be fooled. You can’t pretend to give out pie, when you are only *loaning it out* to get something back. You have to REALLY give it out and never expect to see it again. Just give it away with a smile and take a walk.  Expect nothing. Because loaning pie just gets you your own pie back or worse off, no pie at all.

Here is the bad news. It works the same way with yucky pie too. Better make sure you have some really tasty fresh ingredients that you would enjoy eating in that pie of yours before you hand it out…  if you are handing out Onion and Old Fish Pie-I hope you plan on eating heaps of it yourself.

Pie Doesn’t Lie. It can’t be tricked.

Now the sad thing about pie is that some people are into hanging on to all their pie for themselves. They like their pie. They don’t want to lose their slices. They don’t trust the pie. They think very carefully about to whom and when they are handing out their pie. They may not have held on to the whole thing, they may have shared a slice or two, but they don’t get back much new pie either. So for them, there really isn’t much pie and they learn to hoard and hang on to the pie. Their own pie gets old and stale and tasteless. No new tasty, interesting pie comes to take its place.

In the end, they die with just a little old tasteless pie, no twinkling stars in the sky.

It’s sad..very, very sad.

Try this. Try to give away all the pie. ALL the pie. It can’t be done. It keeps coming back. Soon you will have so much pie you won’t know what to do with it all. You will become FAT with pie. Then you can go on to the next problem. How to store and balance the abundance of pie in your life.

That’s a much nicer problem to have.

Pie anyone?

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Amazing Mountains

Attitude of Gratitude, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life

 Ricky Hoyt was born with Cerebral Palsy. At eight months, his parents learned the devastating news that their precious child would be a spastic quadriplegic who would never be able to speak. They were told to put him away in an institution and to forget they had ever had him.

Horrified by those words, Judy and Dick Hoyt vowed to love and protect their son and give him every opportunity to reach his fullest potential. They had never even heard of the words Cerebral Palsy before. They had never known a person in a wheelchair before. In the biography It’s only a Mountain, Ricky’s mother Judy goes from ignorance to becoming a leading advocate for people with disabilities. Her commitment and and unwavering fight to improve understanding and acceptance for both her son and the disabled community as a whole opened the door of opportunity that has allowed Ricky to do so much more than anyone ever expected including living in his own apartment and graduating from Boston University in 1993 with a degree in Special Education.

Ricky Hoyt is also an athlete. With his 65 year old father Dick Hoyt, the two of them form  Team Hoyt, a father and son team that have competed in a combination of 958 marathons and Ironman triathlons, which consist of 26.2 miles of running,112 miles of biking and 2.4 miles of swimming. They have climbed mountains together and once ran 3,735 miles across America.

I  had the honor of meeting these amazing men when they gave a presentation during a conference I had attended. The name of their presentation was simply:

I CAN

The Hoyt family was given a mountain to climb, one that seemed impossible to reach. Instead of saying “I can’t” they faced that challenge with an “I can” attitude and turned that mountain into a miracle.

Ricky’s first race began because he wanted to help raise money for another boy who had been injured in a car accident and had lost the use of his legs. The local town had organized a race to raise money for his family to pay medical bills. Ricky wanted to participate but knew he couldn’t run alone. He needed someone to push his wheelchair for him. Dick said yes without a second thought, even though at the time, he was in no shape to run the five miles that they were signed up for.

When they finished the race, every inch of Dick’s body was screaming out in pain. Yet he recalls that Ricky had the biggest smile on his face that anyone had ever seen. Later that evening, Ricky typed the following note in his computer. “Dad, when I am running, it feels like I’m not even handicapped.”

I remember when Dick Hoyt shared that story with us, the love  poured through him when he spoke. His voice caught and he had to swallow hard when he said, “I found a way that I could give my son the freedom and athletic experience that he has always admired in others. I could give Rick the joy of a person that has been freed from the bondage of a disability.”

And so Dick Hoyt began to run. He began to train. They found a special wheelchair that Ricky could be pushed in while Dick ran with him. They discovered a way to put a seat-pod in the front of Dick’s bike so that Ricky could ride on the front of the bike. Dick learned how to swim-and how to pull Ricky in a boat while he swam- so that they could compete in Ironman Triathlons. The Hoyt Team was born.

The Hoyt Team has inspired countless of handicapped and non-handicapped people all over the world with their love of each other and with their drive and determination to be the very best they can be. The Hoyt Family’s CAN Attitude makes one believe that anything is possible.

I got to spend a few minutes talking with Ricky and Dick that weekend. What impressed me more than anything was the close bond between them. Although Ricky can’t say a single word, his eyes speak volumes. The love and laughter that sparks back and forth between the two of them while they banter with nods and gestures put a lump in my throat. This was a father loving his son the way his son needed to be loved in an amazing way. Their gift of love to each other was a beautiful thing to watch.

Dick’s act of love for Ricky is a profound example of giving someone what they need. In return they have both been blessed with so much more. It inspires me to think about my life and the ways that I can show my love to the important people in my life. I may not have to carry them through marathons or triathlons, but am I willing to sacrifice and make the effort to show how much I care? Do I take the time to focus on what I can give, and how I can make a difference?

Dick Hoyt reminds me that love is a verb.  A word of action. A word of doing unto others. A word of caring. A word of CAN.

What CAN we do today to let our loved ones know how much we love them?

 * Be sure to check out the inspiring video of Dick and Ricky in the CAN link above*