There is a little space high on top of two of our porch posts and for some reason late last night a small bird had tucked itself into bed on the top. Later I noticed a second little bird had tucked itself in, too.... but on the second post. It was very cold out. I was curious. Why did two cold little birds use separate posts?
I am sure there is a reason. Mother Nature is wise after all. But I so wished I could make an introduction. I so wished I could create a safe spot to meet in the middle, and some quietness where they could discover each other. I so wish I could have taught them that together they could keep each other warm.
One bird might shyly say that they were having a hard time with the cold weather. The other bird's eyes might open wide, and they might smile as birds do, and say, "Gee. Me too."
Why do we stand so much on our single posts? This life is so busy that sometimes we forget how important community is. We humans, to live our lives well, must make sure our own wells are full. It is only in being full ourselves that we can give more to others.
Come one, come all, little birds. We are all in this together. It is why every avatar sent to humanity thus far taught some form of the golden rule, “Do unto the people just like you and ignore the upsets of all of those other people.”
🙄 🤔 🤭 😬. Did you know this face 😬 means “oops”?
Oops! My bad!
An email from “The Daily Stoic” presented the Marcus Aurelius version of the golden rule:
In fact, what we see in Marcus Aurelius over and over again is the idea that we must treat other people better than they treat us. Because they didn’t mean to do wrong, because they aren’t as informed as we are, because they have their own problems. And that we treat people well not because we ourselves would like to be treated well, but because to do anything less is a betrayal of our own values and standards.
Sometimes we can feel really cold... in our bodies these winter mornings, but also in our hearts. Can we come to a warmer place on a cold afternoon? Can we consider the energy we are offering the world? Is our own behavior a betrayal of our own values and standards? What are my values and standards? What is my personal code?
My friend Carol posted on Facebook this morning:
“The left wing and the right wing are on the same bird.”
That there is some 🍇🍐🥑🧀🥗🍕🥕🥦🧁🍿🍪 for 💭 🧠!! (Food for thought.😬)
"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."
I see you over there, you precious darling person, standing on that post. I see you.
Melissa Regan is a Storyteller who is honored to celebrate the life you live and the people you love. She partners with individuals at significant times of life and loss, supporting them by creating and presenting their loved ones story at a service or by planning an inspirational day of rememberance and reflection.
Melissa spent time as a critical care nurse before she became specialized in the field of organ donation. Melissa was well known for the care she gave grieving families and did this delicate work for 14 years. Her experience lead to her teaching heartfelt methods of communication to donation specialists around the world.
Inspired by everything these families taught her, she expanded her perspective on life by studying Positive Psychology, earning both a CiPP and a CAPP. She received training as an end of life doula through INELDA. She has a special grace all her own when it comes to supporting us at times of change and loss.
Melissa is a wife, mother, lifelong learner, and a lover of the wonder you can find in a single moment. She brings this wonder to her public speaking, connecting us to the grandness and depth always present in the day to day.
“Take a day to be thoughtful... the rest of your life is here.”
Grab on to a thought that amuses you.
Appreciate some little thing.
Show some interest in something new.
Daydream about a time or place that brought you great joy.
Inspire yourself to do, be, or see something inspirational.
I am so grateful for clear roads on this cold winter day!!
What the heck am I talking about?
Positive emotions broaden our idea's about possible actions, open our awareness to a wide range of thoughts, and make us more receptive and creative.
Everything I listed comes under the heading of positive emotions.
The day does not have to "happen" to you.
Sometimes I wake up scared, and it eases my heart to sing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” to myself, in my own head. I pray happy things for the world. I think thankful thoughts about people I admire. I reach for something better. I feel relief.
Reach for better thoughts as you start each day.
I do it before I even get out of bed. It is called paving your way, pre-paving. When can you pave your own way?
Pave your day in the shower next time.
Pave your day on your commute.
Listen to your favorite inspirational music and it is paving things for you.
Pave your day while waiting in line.
Pave your way to a brighter day with some simple new thoughts.
Being more positive is just a thought....really hear that! Being more positive IS JUST A THOUGHT.
~ from the work of Barbara Fredrickson as written up by Daniel Pink and somewhat translated by Many Lovely Reasons, directly for y-o-u ❤️🎉⭐️⛄️🌴🎈🐝 I write things to you that I do not want to forget for myself. ❤️
This little one is pre-paving something ❤️🌲🌲🌲
I turned to the woman who was randomly next to me. I thought of her face as serious, I thought of her as reserved, I thought of her as uncertain. First impression.
We were told to hold our hands up to each other without touching. (Picture us saying “stop” to each other with both hands.) We were told to hold our hands close enough so that we could feel the life force of the other and when our hands were an inch or so apart I actually startled because I could so easily feel her energy in my hands. Our surprised eyes met and then glanced away. We were strangers, after all.
As the music started and with no words, one of us was to lead slow movements with our hands and body position while the other mirrored the movements. Anyone watching us should not be able to guess who was the image.
I had been studying for 100 delightful hours with a group of women and 1 man as we completed “Let Your Yoga Dance” teacher training at Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I had come to love my classmates and teachers and any one of them I could have looked deeply and continuously into their eyes for any length of time because of the devoted teaching of Megha Nancy Buttenheim. But here we were, just after graduation, in the Main Hall of Kripalu at the public “Noon Dance.” After playing in a puppy pile of love all week this felt different.
I was relieved to hear, “Look into your partners third eye, between the eyebrows. Sometimes it is awkward to look someone in the eye.” We had glanced again at each other shyly but it was not a glance we could hold. So we began safely studying each other’s foreheads. The music surrounded us.
As she was more of a “guest” than I, I politely waited for her to move first. She did not move. In my head I painted her as “grim”. So I slowly started moving my hands up and to the right. Ever…so…slowly. Our hands continued to move and at the speed of a tortoise in the sun I tilted my head to the right. She did not follow, for she was my image… she was truly with me. She was a lazy tortoise, too.
At some point our eyes met and held without effort. I cannot tell you when that moment was, and yet when I became aware of it I felt richness. In mutual acknowledgement our hands moved to our hearts. They rested a moment. We saw each other. Our faces had softened. My first impression was erased and I saw her warmth and beauty.
She became the leader and I was her image and my heart felt happy, as she was bolder with her movements. As the music peaked we both lead and followed at the same time. The song came to an end.
We held our gaze, my four-minute friend and I.
Suddenly our hands went up to our hearts again. We shared the gentlest of tiny smiles with closed lips.
Only our eyes truly spoke, and they danced as our bodies had. We nodded tiny royal nods of respect.
We stepped back from each other, not sharing a word. We parted. Yet today I hold the essence of her so fondly. As a gift to myself I have locked my moment with her forever into my life by journaling about her. I hope she carries a part of me as well.
Keep your heart open for delightful strangers.
The holiday stretch is over, and now we settle in. I ask my darling peeps not to be typical.
As you step into a fresh new year, do not focus on the vices you long to wrestle into submission, the pounds you want to drop, the problems you want to solve; the regrets of the past year.
I ask that you review your strongest moments of last year. Recognize the times when you were the most content; the times when you made your friends burst out in laughter; the times when you realized you were mistaken and apologized warmly; the times when your heart was bursting with love.
There was that moment at work when you spoke with such intelligence; there were all those times when you gestured to other cars to move ahead of you in traffic as you held in place. That dollar that you put into the tip jar when only you were watching; the time you walked with the dog and picked up litter you were clearly not responsible for. I remember when you gave someone the benefit of the doubt, too; and did not create a negative story in your head. You were so magnificent that day, so strong when you were simply offering love.
You had moments when you were the best of men; moments when you were the best of women; and those moments filled you up. So just treat yourself to a bit more of that; do that a few more times; focus on your strengths and use them to their fullest. That is where your power is. Be more of the very best of you, darling peeps. Offer a little bit more of the best of you and see how that makes you feel. Much love to you and yours ❤️
Oh, look! We have a new year coming. 🌲🌲🌲
We live on the most beautiful planet. Darling little babies arrive every day with fresh wisdom. We have doggies to run with and kitty cats to hold on our laps. We can choose to be kind to one another. We can treat others the way we would like to be treated. We are that free!
Make sure the ones you love know how you feel about them. Time is precious and sacred. ❤❤❤
Appreciate your own courage, how well you handle things. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Look for the times when you were your kindest. Sit with the memories. 🌺🌺🌺
Nurture the goodness in yourself and others. 🐶🐶🐶
Expect good things. Wish that good things happen for your friends and their friends and their friends.... and soon the wish will connect back to you. 🌲🌲🌲
Learn something new tomorrow. Share it. ❄❄❄
I wish you a wonderful, happy evening and year! You are one of the best people I know! I promise.
Holidays are life markers in a way, moments in time that cause pause and reflection. They arrive with excitement and celebration, but sometimes the festiveness is dampened by an edginess, or a sadness, because of life changes we all go through. 😥
Wow, I am feeling the changes this year. My family lost three men since last Thanksgiving, two within the last few weeks. My husband’s cousin Onofrio lived almost 6 extra years after a lung transplant, years rich with life. My stepdad Budsie, we had lost little by little in roughly the same 6 years from Alzheimer’s. And the father of my children left as suddenly as if he had been struck by lightening out of the blue; or kidnapped by aliens; clearly placed in the “much too young to die”category by most.
It is also our our first Christmas in sixteen years without our dog, Skippy.
We, as humans, are all going to have holidays that tug at our hearts. No one gets out of here alive. Sometimes we leave suddenly. Sometimes we have a diagnosis we dance with for awhile. Some live 100 years, skating through life’s challenges with aplomb. And we do not know which one we are, or will be.
Line up here everyone, and be depressed!
No. Line up here and feel the richness. Line up here and find the beauty. Line up here and live just in this moment. Line up here with the family and friends who are here, knowing those gone are safe.
Line up! Do not miss a day, or a moment. Feel the joy and feel the sadness. This is your life, after all. Don’t waste a minute of it. Grab it by the lapels. Laugh if you spill the gravy. And grab onto someone and hold on tight if you need to cry. Permission to dip low sometimes; just for goodness sakes scramble back up. Love the world while we are here together.
Mary Oliver says it in another way:
Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
So sad this afternoon peeps, over the events of today. I spent occasional weekends in the simple town of Sandy Hook CT many times in my 20's. Beautiful little New England town.
We cannot begin to understand how this could take place. This is much more than a gun question. This shooter did not gain access to guns and become crazed; he was crazed and gained access to guns.
What can we all do?
Once upon a time the young man who shot so many today was a kindergartener himself. I wonder what happened to him along the way. As a society, did we miss something? Was there something we could have done differently? Were there signs we should have noticed as he grew, signs that he was different or distressed and needed extra care? Was there a neighbor, or a parent of a friend, or a coach on a team that noticed something was "off" for this growing boy but squashed the feeling and forgot it? Did his parents need help dealing with him? Did they need help on how to parent?
If he did get lots of help and interventions, let's look at them critically. If he was on medication, let's seriously look at side effects and follow up.
Right now, all we can do is feel the grief. Then in honor of those lost, let's take a bounce from it. What do we want our world to be like? Let us be that world. In our tiny little lives, lets be the best we can be. Maybe we can love all children. Support all children. Reach out to all children. Donate to causes that help children. Support Planned Parenthood that helps people determine when they are ready to have children. Be a big brother or big sister. Set the best example for our own children. Set the best example for everyone else's children. Maybe we can all be a little bit better, a little bit kinder, a little bit more careful in what we say. "This monster who shot 20 children" (just heard on the news) was not always the monster. I am not at all defending him. I just want to make sure if we could have done anything to stop this years ago, we start doing it. Each and every one of us in our own little corners of the world.
“My friend donated her son’s organs and would like to know who his organs went to - how can she find out - she is still so devastated by his sudden loss and worries whether she did the right thing donating his organs - he did not specify he wanted to - he died suddenly, a young man, just a few years ago.”
Dearest, most generous Mamma;
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful boy. I can only try to imagine how his loss has impacted you, and how it must still feel, carrying on without him for several years. There are no real words for this, I think. I want to know his name so I can speak it out loud. I want to hear how he was when he was little, and how he changed as he grew. I wonder what you most loved about him. How he was a challenge to you. What his favorite food was. Did he have a favorite book. What was the first movie he saw. I know these details live in your heart and they probably do not get much chance to be spoken. That is a part of loss, I think; people stop asking about a very deep, sacred part of our hearts.
It might have been the worst day of your life, the day you lost him. The worst day. A day you were living a tragedy. And yet on that day, filled with foreign words and lights and sounds and the horror of the sudden loss of someone young, one of the dearest to you in this world- on that day, there was something about you, and something about your dear son, that allowed you to think of helping others. That fact shines so very bright to me about the two of you.
Mamma, at your worst moment, you and your boy gave the world your best. Not everyone can meet the world with such generosity. I think your generosity together at a devastating time is the brightest star in the sky of your life together. It was every ounce of what we call heroic. You saved lives when your son’s life was ended. You gave what you could not have. Wow.
We sometimes lose sight of the significance of life saving when it comes by way of organ donation. Let me frame this life saving in a new way, using current news. In France there was a little boy who was dangling from a balcony six stories up. “Man scales building to save dangling child” will bring you the video on the web. If we watch that video we see a man who put everything on the line to save the life of another. If your son saved one life, he is this heroic. Chances are, your son at his age saved more lives than one. For every life your son saved, picture him scaling that wall to save a scared, waiting person who is going to die if your son does not reach them. Please put your son’s life-saving in every life saving event you hear about. You and your son saved lives as if he had pulled two people out of a burning building. Pulled three people out of icy water. Pulled four people out of a crashed airplane. That heroic.
In all my years working with transplant patients and donor families, I found this to be true. Some recipients can find the words to say “thank you.” Other recipients will struggle as they start to write something and then worry it is not good enough. It is hard for them to convey the depth of the gratitude they feel. They may think of their donor and donor family every day, even pray for them, and still you might not hear anything. Please hold the thought: “My son and I are being loved and honored every day by the people we saved. Every day, their families and friends are grateful for the gift of life.” I know this to be so very true! Let your heart feel that appreciation and respect every day.
Please contact the donation organization that worked with you that day those years ago and speak to their family support staff. You can ask for an update on the health of the recipients. Do not be afraid to talk to them about some of your sadness, too. They will understand. If you have any specific questions about your son’s case, no question is an improper question. We would want you to have ease and a solid understanding, so that nothing worries you. If you have some fears about that day, call and ask. Action conquers fear.
You will probably never know the people your son saved. But you can meet someone that was saved by a transplant. Transplant recipients generally love all donor families. Find out how you can hear a recipient speak. Maybe you could attend the next transplant games so you could swim in a sea of love for donor families for a few days. I so want you to feel honored, and supported. You are part of a family of people that have saved lives. This family has walked in your very shoes. If you have never spent time with this family I would think it would feel good. I urge you to try it, even if you are shy.
With all my heart I hope you will be able to feel the power of what you did. With all my heart I believe your son is safe, and he keeps an eye on his recipients and you. With all my heart I think he wants you to feel better.
Maybe he put the idea in your head to talk to your friend about your sadness, so she could ask me your questions, so I could write this to you. For him.
In Philadelphia in 2014 a few attractive looking educated 20 something's had dinner and then while walking on to the next fun thing allegedly attacked and beat a gay couple because they were a gay couple. Wow. I mean, really. This generation? I mean, how does that hatred exist. And it was pretty astonishing ... we are the city of brotherly love! These folks attended the Catholic School just miles away from where I live. Two men and one woman were arrested.
I guess being a woman I was most struck by her participation. The woman, in her mid 20's and blonde and pretty... I just wonder what was on her mind. Had she ever really thought about who she was and what her values were, I wonder. What did she stand for? Why had she chosen this hatred for herself? Same for the men. It is tragic for the men that were attacked but also for our neighborhood and world that here were a dozen or so young adults who were so thought less. Even if they did not attack they watched and did not try to stop what was happening. Had no inner code that caused them to step forward even if they risked injury themselves.
I see people with this code all the time through my work talking to grieving families about organ donation? Families that have blessed and saved the lives of others are all colors and religions and ages and education levels. Their commonality is an inner code of wisdom about what they stand for. I see the very best most loving and beautiful people all the time and they have all changed me and caused me to be a better person. Oh, there is so much hope and goodness in the world.
I say to all those who have little ones at home. Day to day you are shaping your child's values. Every day they are sponges. So live your best and most loving life and treat them like the wisest little sages you ever met. Discuss things with them. Get their opinions on things. And very early, let them make decisions for themselves. Ask them what they think they should do before you give advice. You are simply providing them with a loving nest to grow in. They have to be able to think for themselves and know who they are and that comes with being trusted to make decisions at an early age. Respect them. Speak to them as politely as you would your most treasured friend. See them as wise and knowing. See the best in them. Talk about their goodness to others. They are here to teach you, truly.
I am glad I did not have a cell phone to distract me when my boys were little. I am glad we did not have a TV in the car so that my 4 year old son was actually looking out the window and noticing and thinking as we drove one day. So he saw the people picketing and he asked me what the signs said. Then he wanted to know what abortion was, and so I told him, and once he heard the definition I asked him what he thought about it... and my 4 year old taught me some things from his purity of thought. Those times are the sacred times of parenting. Is there enough time and quiet in your life, enough space, for times like these? I so hope there is.
“To be mature you have to realize what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them. They spend great effort and sometimes make great sacrifices for values that, fundamentally, meet no real needs of their own. Perhaps they have imbibed the values of their particular profession or job, of their community or their neighbors, of their parents or family. Not to arrive at a clear understanding of one’s own values is a tragic waste. You have missed the whole point of what life is for."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
So today, maybe we can build character. Cook together. Ride in he car together without the radio. Have dinner together. Talk. What did you see at school/work today that made you happy? Did you see anyone do anything you thought was nice? Can you think of something we could do to surprise Grandma? This happened in the world today, what do you think about it? What do you think you would do if you were there?
Do you know what my greatest gift right now is? That my three sons are three of the loveliest people I know. That other people tell me the same thing, how wonderful they are. I never tire of it. They are adults, and out in the world, and making the world a better place. Do everything you can right now, to treat yourself to that.
The Moon a Year Ago, and Still She Shines
Yesterday I was moving through moon beams. I have been spending wonderful time each month with my parents in Massachusetts. I wake up at 4AM when I make the trip, leaving 20 mins later. Yesterday from my moms walkway, the sky had scattered clouds while stars twinkled through. Orion was in front of me from where I stood. The air was fresh and the degrees were comforting. I took a minute to appreciate the perfection.
Within 20 minutes I had my travel coffee and my little ancient dog was already asleep on the front seat floor. I consider anyone on the road at that hour friends of mine. Co-travelers, watching out for each other. There are fewer of them after the route 2 exit, as people get off and head toward Boston.
Route 84 in Connecticut brought me a new companion. The magnificent harvest moon! For she hung right above the road I was on for miles! She was looking directly at me! She was gorgeous! A few flocks of geese flew over the highway just ahead of me, and she shone on all of us. Sliding my window open I could hear them honk! It was such a display! I was driving through a Disney movie. I was the heroine, finding her way, claiming my space in this world.
And then slowly the sun eased its way in. The perfect distance from us. The day started with its cheeks blushing, a gorgeous pink, a faint blue. A shy start to the day we label October 5th, 2017.
Through all this, the music shuffled in my phone in perfect synchronicity, playing through my car speakers.
This was all readily available to anyone who happened to catch it. Who are we to deserve this? Who are we to be so blessed?
Gifts all around, when we choose to see them.