The image above captures me transitioning. Preparing. Taking stock. As the Thanksgiving holiday closes and the Christmas holiday approaches, time seems to disappear. Our lives become a blur. So much to do, so little time.
We have lists of lists. Overlapping events on the calendar. Food dishes to prepare. Presents to wrap. Cards to send. Joy to bring.
Because I've taken time to think about what's to come, my hope is this: I'll forgive myself if everything doesn't get done. I'll slow down long enough to savor the moments I am able to squeeze in with my family and friends. And I'll let the warm feelings of knowing 'I am loved, I am taken care of, and I have so many good things to be happy for' wash over me.
Aside from food and gifts and stuff, I want to bring the best version of myself to every gathering I'm blessed enough to attend throughout the holiday season. Because it's the memories that last. That means digging my heels in if I need a moment. That means self love and deep breaths every day. That means letting things go that I don't have time for, and being OK with that.
I hope you're preparing yourself for the flurry of events to come over the next month like I am. Let's make a pact to make room for the good stuff and let go of the things we can't get to or are distracting us from the joyful feelings this season brings. Namaste and Happy Holidays my friends!
Ever since I read this quote for the first time many years ago, it stuck with me. When I'm feeling weighed down by madness, unexpected change, negativity - this quote never fails to pop into my head, reminding me to look for the good around me.
I want to share an experience and a thought I encountered this week. One is about meeting a helper. One is about being a helper.
First, my experience meeting a helper in the most unexpected of places: Village Inn. Joel and I were both looking to do something to lift our spirits after a week of being bombarded with negative and unsettling change in both our personal and professional lives. We decided to visit Festival of Trees at Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. We go every year and it always puts us in a warm and giving mood. As usual, we had a great time taking in the Christmas trees, music, and spirit.
We wanted to top off the night by eating at one of our favorite restaurants, Village Inn. Ironically, they gave us a $5 off coupon to Village Inn at Festival of Trees - so going there was written in the stars. And I'm so glad for that. When we arrived at the restaurant they were bursting at the seams. So crowded, a bustle of activity. We were seated and greeted by the person I'll start to gush about: Charlie. Charlie became the helper in our story, and someone we'll remember for a long time.
In looking at Mr. Rogers' face and remembering Charlie's, they had a lot in common. The main features being eyes and a smile that beam with genuine kindness. His service was lovely, but the way he delivered the words he spoke to us and those around us was truly one-of-a-kind. There was no falsity about him. He sincerely liked what he was doing and interacting with his customers. What brought us the greatest joy was watching him with the children that were on either side of our booth. I wish I could have taken a photo if it wouldn't have been completely creepy. Imagine a grandparent seeing their grandchild. That's what it was like. And he was greeting complete strangers.
At the end of our (wonderful) experience we decided that we wanted to let Charlie know how much his kindness was appreciated. We spoke with his manager and left him a very generous tip. The thing about helpers is that they are often overlooked. We wanted Charlie to know that we saw him. That his positivity and genuine goodness restored some of the feelings of hope we'd lost. Thank the good Lord for helpers like Charlie.
Now on to my second topic, a thought about being a helper. We've all seen in the news that there has been an increasing number of harassment claims from a wide range of people throughout the country. People are receiving rude notes, yells from the street, online comments, you name it. People are making other people feel like they don't matter. Like they're not worthy to be themselves and/or live in this country. When the fact is, we're all so much more alike than we are different.
I plan to be a helper by reaching out to the people I see in the news or online that are receiving negative or threatening messages. And I hope you'll join me in this. The internet gives us access to more personal information than I'm comfortable with, but in times like this, I hope it comes in handy. I've already looked up the names and addresses of a couple of different people who were recently harassed and plan to send them a note of support. And if I see something online, I'm going to post my support over and over again. Let's show that the support for the people being attacked is greater than the perceived hate towards them.
Let's vow to recognize the helpers we encounter. And at the same time, let's be helpers ourselves in any way, shape, or form we can be, at this time, and always.
I started my day today at 5 a.m. sobbing on my bathroom floor. I felt overwhelmed. Desperate. TERRIFIED. A knot growing in my stomach.
I went to sleep hopeful for a different outcome than what appeared to be presenting itself to the world before I closed my eyes. My dreams pivoted around the Electoral Votes map, filled with reds and blues. I felt hope. Promise for a good outcome. Excitement for the future.
Then I woke up.
Today we mourn.
No matter who has held the Presidential seat, I have respected them because I respect the position. That respect disappeared this morning. I don't anticipate its return any time soon. The elected candidate has done nothing but disrespect our country, our people, our environment. Fought dirty, told lies, shown his true (despicable) colors. Denied the existence of major issues. Amplified issues that will certainly make America a nation to be mocked, pitied, and feared. Cruelly picked on and degraded women, minorities, those with special needs. He's demeaned pretty much every category of human being in some way aside from people "like him."
I'm not like him. So I feel included in the ridicule he's cast upon so many people. My respect will never be granted to him. Never. He is not my Commander in Chief. He does not share my values. We have seen who he is at his core and he is a nasty man. A man I am embarrassed and ashamed of.
Other candidates were not perfect either, but they stood for something bigger. They sacrificed their time serving our country and fighting for progress. They didn't rely on creating fear within the hearts of so many and promising to reverse so much of the inclusive change that has been made in this country.
Tomorrow we RISE.
I also felt another feeling after I wiped my tears away this morning. An ignited fire. A fire to continue to live in a positive way that serves others, if not more fiercely. A fire to fight for what I'm passionate about, especially regarding the issues the new President-elect stands for. A fire to unite with others (especially women, see my post below) to impact our community, nation, and world.
The anger I am feeling is giving me so much drive. I hope for those of you that did not support this candidate felt the same fire. Let's recognize that we have a new leader, but not obligated to serve him. Let's serve our country in the best way we can, by focusing on love and kindness and progress. Let's not allow all of the beautiful things that have changed in our country revert back to what they were before - some non-existent.
We have to unite more now than ever. We have to carry the strength that President Obama would expect of us. We can't give up, if for nothing else, for his sake. We have to make it through the next four years in the best possible way we can.
Keep your chin up.
As a woman, I'm obviously biased in favor of my gender. I believe women are beautiful forces to be reckoned with. On their own, extraordinary. When supported by other women, unstoppable.
I'm tired of picking women apart. I'm tired of hearing others pick women apart. I'm also tired of the double standards that exist between men and women. A lot of times, women get the short end of the stick. We're judged on our looks, actions, intelligence in such a specific and critical way. More than men have or ever will be.
That's why we need to stick together. In understanding and in solidarity.
I want to live my life to the absolute fullest, being 100% authentic. Don't you? Yes? Then let's do it!
The thing is, we can't do it on our own. Yes, we are very powerful as individuals, but like I mentioned earlier, when we come together, there's nothing like it. When we stop picking each other part, and instead, ask how we can be of help in propelling each other forward, that's where the magic happens.
We need more comradery among women. I think it's getting better and better, but I want there to be an unquestionable unity among all of us. No matter if we are strangers or friends. See a woman, be there for them. Whether it is with a kind word, helping hand, or even something as simple as a "like" or positive comment on social media. Show your support.