Friday, May 30, 2008

"Don't be so Humble"

"Don't be so humble, you're not that great" once said Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister (at the time) to one of her ministers. As I once blogged in "Finding Fab" false humility is not a pretty site, it is not dignified nor reasonable, really it becomes more of an ego trip by which we try our hardest to glean more praise before we seemingly unwillingly accept appreciation.

Marianne Williamson said "Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you." When you have been blessed with a gift, use it! That's why you have it, to bring something beautiful into this world and be able to stand back and truly see that beauty as it is, a testament to God, humanity, Buddha or whatever you personally believe is the source of your gift.

When you use your gift, or bestow some piece of fabulousness on others, learn how to receive appreciation gracefully, please for heavens sake, save the rest of the embarrassment of witnessing you fuss and grumble pretending that you're not that special. You are special! Each of us is, so just own it already! We all yearn to be recognized and appreciated, yet when we are we don't know what to do with it, except fall into that ego trap and then fall prey to manipulative strokes. Don't let other's "stroke" you, but do let other's show you true appreciation.

As Marshall Rosenberg says "(hear) what we have done that has contributed to other's well-being," and hear the feelings and needs that were fulfilled by that act, then "take into our hearts the joyous reality that we can each enhance the quality of other's lives." Rosenberg goes on to say "receive appreciation without feelings of superiority or false humility."

Recognize that it is the power of God, or again whatever you may believe, that is working through you to give that power of enriching lives and accept appreciation with joy! Be happy with what you have done, be grateful for that opportunity, but do not be proud, do not linger, simply move on to grace the world with your next bigger and better gift.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yesterday I was at a meeting with some of the people I love working with. During the dialogue the subject of safety came about, within a larger context of course. A woman with whom I am newly acquainted, yet absolutely adore and have the utmost respect for, paid me the most wonderful compliment, she said she always feels safe with myself and another equally amazing person who was also there.

Safety is important, it's one of our most primary needs. When we feel safe with others, with an environment, it gives us the opportunity to learn and grow and be open to connect in a meaningful way with others. Having someone say that they feel safe with you is an incredible joy and a gift from which connection, inspiration and purpose can flourish.

Safety is important and when we feel safe we can be ourselves, make mistakes, and grow. What happens when that safety is destroyed? When someone trusts us with their safety and we trample it, even unknowingly the damage can be lifelong and hurts all the parties involved. I say this because when C.C. (that's what we'll call her) said she was safe with me I was honored, and I also feel safe with her, but when thinking about that honor I also thought about all the people who have put their safety in my hands only to have me let them down.

I have destroyed that sense of safety for people I cared about. I didn't mean to, I was doing the best I could with the tools I had at the time, but I stole that most basic need from fellow human beings. In my past, I have not allowed people the dignity of choosing for themselves...because I knew what was best for them, I have followed plans which stole freedom and dignity...because they needed to learn a lesson, I have restrained people...because they needed to be safe. At the time, all these things made sense, these were things we did to keep people safe. What we didn't realize, what I didn't realize was that I was stealing their safety, I was destroying whatever faith they had in me and themselves all so that myself and a whole lot of other "experts" could show how smart we were and how much we cared. I have long since abandoned all these ideas, in fact I was shown the way by a man upon whom I imposed these very things. He didn't give up on me, he kept hanging in there until I finally got it. He forgave me for all of it and showed me a better way, then he put his safety back in my hands, but this time it was mutual...we were safe together. I am so grateful for that lesson, for his faith in me even though I didn't deserve it and for the friendship that blossomed into one of the most meaningful of my life.

Don't wait too long to learn those lesson's for yourself, learn from my mistakes and cherish the faith others have put in you. You must be pretty fabulous to deserve such trust, so treat it delicately and with care and watch as possibilities unfold.

Monday, May 26, 2008


In order for a piece of music to have harmony it must have various notes and chords, preferably various instruments as well. Even if there are different instruments playing the exact same notes at the same time the music would be bland and dull. When there is harmony, there is beauty. Were it not for interesting and complex chords and notes, most of us would find music to be pretty dull. For a painting to beautiful, it must have various colors and shading, each minute detail affecting how one perceives the piece of art, were it not made up of various brush strokes, colors and details it would simply be a canvas of one color.

Life in our world means that not everyone can be just like us. If we lived in a world of one note or one color we would likely be bored and lonely. Take my husband for example, he is the exact opposite of me. He loves music, as do I, but his preference is heavy and dirty so to speak, where I love the melodies of Ravel or Mozart. He loves being active, as do I, but he loves playing with air soft rifles and running around the words, while I love quiet walks or white water rafting. We are very different, which makes us a lovely compliment to one another. Of course we have gone through our phases where we hoped to create the one into something more like the other, but we always remember that we fell in love because of our differences and those compliments as much as anything else.

Our world is made up of so many people, people of various nationalities, religions, sexes and abilities. When each of us takes the time to embrace something different from ourselves, we will find a beautiful harmony that moves us. When our views are challenged by someone else's differing viewpoint, it can cause amazing things to happen if we are open. We might further develop our own views, or find that maybe, just maybe the other guy has a point as well. Without that challenge, without difference and harmony, life would become stagnant, colorless, odorless, tasteless, there would be no passion!

Give in to difference, open your your mind to it, create incredible harmony and fill your life and someone else's with passion!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Beautiful Gift

Life has been a blurr. My work schedule has been jam packed for months and in the last month or so, mounting concerns for my son have left me feeling overwhelmed and inadequate at times. I've always thought it important to take time to enjoy the little things and often tell others to do the same, but lately I have not been so good at following my own advice. You see, I like to be busy and I want to be helpful so I often don't say no when it comes to work, I am consumed at times with hope and work toward making a difference. I'm also a full time student and mother of three, so as you can imagine, on occasion I don't know which end is up! My body doesn't help the situation, I have an autoimmune disorder (psoriatic arthritis) which causes significant pain at times. The pain I can live with, it's the lethargy that stops me in my tracks. But, I'm stubborn. I'm not good at asking for help because I want to do it all, and I'm not good at slowing down.

This past week it all started to catch up to me. I started to get a cold, which means my body fights the cold and itself, so come Thursday night I didn't want to move and couldn't fight the overwhelming need for sleep. This prompted a lecture from my mother. "why don't you take some time off work? schedule your vacation time now before you fill your calendar." I responded by saying that I wasn't going to take a vacation. When I got to work yesterday, I wasn't myself, I was exhausted and barely motivated. I joked with my lovely boss that I'm too good at my job! She is our guardian at work, she watches over us and is always there with support and wise words. Yesterday was no different, she echoed my mothers sentiments and encouraged me to schedule days to stay at the office. I did do it, but I didn't like it. I knew that if someone needed something on those days I would fill my calendar...but I tried.

For much of the afternoon I thought about rest. About how I'm not so good about taking it, and really didn't want to now. Then I got into my car at the end of the day to begin my journey to a blessed three day weekend! The most incredible thing happened (I have found that there is rhyme in the universe and things happen or are said that make everything fall into place), my radio turned on, and instantly I heard a man talking about the beauty of rest! He was a pastor discussing the importance of observing the sabbath. He wasn't saying it was because it was some dictate on high, but because it was a gift. The gift from God of rest! I listened intently, awed by the magic of that moment, and by his words of the gift. He talked about how important it is, why we need it, and about what a beautiful gift it is!

Rest is a gift! I hadn't realized it until yesterday, and I have been raised to believe that we should always be grateful for gifts. At this moment I am grateful for the gift of rest, and I am going to learn to enjoy it more and listen to my body and the wise people who love me when they offer me the gift of rest.

If you are reading this while shoving a bagel in your face, talking on the phone, throwing on your shoes and juggling a baby on your hip, then you too are too busy, so I will tell you what God and the people I love have told me...Accept the gift of rest, oh what a beautiful gift it is!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Find Your Meaning

Yesterday I blogged about choice, today I'd like to go to the next step and write about meaning. Frankel wrote about it as his main theme in "Man's Search for Meaning" (obviously). When I read his book earlier this year it completely validated what I believe and who I am! You see, I try to live my life's meaning. What is meaningful to me is my family and my work. My work is more than just a job, it is my life's passion, it's part of almost everything I do. My meaning is found in fighting oppression, making a commitment to non-violence and respecting every other human being out there. I even went so far as to write my own mission statement. (I know, I'm a nerd).

Frankel wrote that we most often find our meaning in serving others. A life lived consumed with money or success does not necessarily lead to a meaningful life. There are so many people who wander lost, lonely, afraid, they do what they think is expected of them, but do not come to understand themselves or their purpose. We each have purpose, whether you believe it comes from God or elsewhere, it is there waiting for you to discover it. When you do discover it, your life will change. You begin to forget the little things, the selfish things, the materialistic, and live toward your meaning and you make the world a better place as you do it. This may sound ridiculous or simplistic or maybe too "new agey" for you, but it is a truth that I have found and so have many others.

Live a life of love and giving, let go of bitterness, forgive yourself and others and move on to a freedom and choice you may never have known before. I can't tell you what your meaning is, I only know that it is out there waiting for you, and if you miss it, you will miss out on your life and how truly beautiful you are. You are a glorious being, meant to live up to all your potential, go out and grab life with both hands, love greatly and live with meaning!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Your Choice

At the request of my audience (all two of you) I am blogging for the first time in weeks. It seems that everyone these days is very busy and my life is certainly no exception, so I apologize to anyone who has been waiting with baited breath for my words of wisdom!

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is choice. You see, every morning from the moment we wake we have an incredible choose. We have been endowed with a great gift but more and more people are beginning to overlook it. I named this blog after my favorite book "Man's Search For Meaning" by Victor Frankel. Frankel wrote of his experience in a concentration camp in WWII, his story was not one of detail, it was not necessarily filled with great sorrow. Frankel wrote the book as a demonstration of our most powerful gift, the gift of choice. Frankel points out that it doesn't matter what we experience, what anyone does to us, we can be stripped of everything but that most important to survival...choice. We can choose our attitude, how we see the world, what meaning to attribute to our suffering or success. When beaten down by any force, we can choose to survive!

It's a simple yet beautiful concept, yet so few seem to apply it in their lives. Think about it, how many times today did you let some small event determine your mood or how you interacted with others? You all know that one person, the one who picks at everything, thinks everything is a big deal and worries over all the small details. Most of us probably work with someone like that, but we also do it at one point or another. I ask this person, I ask you...Why? In the grand scheme of things how important is it that life didn't go your way today? Aren't there people dying in China at the moment? Yet many of them struggle through with more grace than we can muster for our co workers. Aren't there children abused and abandoned, yet they cling to hope and dreams with a passion we cannot muster to love our own children. Don't get lost in the small or big things! Everything that happens shapes who we are, and we can decide what that is. We can decide to become the phoenix rising from the ashes, or we can choose to let events shape us into twisted bitter souls.

Life doesn't happen to you, you must make it happen! Wake up every day and make the choice that today will be better than yesterday,that today you will do something to help another human being, today you will be...FABULOUS!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I've heard others talk about the "hierarchy" of disability, and I have met folks with developmental disabilities who wish to separate themselves from people they see as "more disabled" than themselves, but I do often forget that people with disabilities have to deal with disphobia from people without disabilities as well as disphobia from others with disabilities.
I was suddenly reminded of this tonight.

I have been taking a sign language class so that I might be better able to communicate using asl. There are a variety of students in the class, some "traditional" college aged students, and others who are older or "non-traditional." One of my fellow non-traditional students has spoken briefly here and there about her daughter who was recently in an accident. Apparently her daughter has some paralysis due to the accident and is now using a wheelchair, they are both newly acquainted with life among disphobics and the accommodations that now have to be made.

Anyway, this evening as we were leaving our final class, my classmate was talking about how excited she was as she and her daughter just went out to eat for the first time. She talked about the fears they had before going out and the things they were doing differently now. She talked about her daughter's independence and how she fed herself for the first time and everyone was excited. She also talked about how upsetting it was that everyone stared, and it happened everywhere. At that point I interjected a little about how people sometimes react and recommended some of the disability blogs and groups that are out there. But then, it happened, she talked about her daughter's response to someone who was staring...upon becoming frustrated she said to a man "What the F**** are you looking at? I'm not F****** r*tarded ya know!" My class mate expressed being embarrassed that her daughter yelled, but she saw nothing wrong with what she said. I bit my tongue and walked away as this mother did not need a lecture from me this evening, but anyone else would have heard a mouth full! It's just always so shocking to me that for whatever reason, developmental disability is somehow seen as the lowest of the low, as if it couldn't possible get any "worse" than that, how somehow if that were the case staring and rudeness would be acceptable.

I don't really have an end to this blog or words of wisdom to offer anyone, I think I'm still shocked and, there you have it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Skin Deep

Yesterday,I spent the day at an event organized by the agency I work for. Every year we go to a camp and invite the people we serve to enjoy a day of fun and community.People from about nine counties joined us in enjoying kickboxing, music, art, gardening and animals. I came home from a long yet wonderful day and with aching feet, knees and hips I wanted to just sit and be for a while. I picked up my Mom's copy of People magazine to glance at the 100 most "beautiful" people. The magazines pages were covered from front to back with shiny pages of sparkly people. I saw faces shellacked, airbrushed, sliced and injected, I saw people covered in expensive clothes with expensive haircuts and makeup artists standing in the wings. Our society seems to be obsessed with Hollywood beauty and lifestyle these days.

Before you begin to think I'm being all "high and mighty" keep in mind that I profess myself to be a princess. For those of you who do not know me it is important to know that I shellac my face with the best of them and I love my heels and designer labels. I was raised to believe that appearances are important, I have never been able to rid myself of the idea that I must always look my best, because this is how people judge. While this belief is heavily ingrained as a part of how I see myself, I choose not to look at others this way.

Beauty is so much more than the faces smiling from within a magazine or on the television. We must remember that really, none of that is real. Hell, I'm not real. I walk around with my hair died red, a pair of spanks on to suck in the gut, and so much makeup on my face I need a chisel to remove it! But I am aware that none of this what makes me or anyone else beautiful.Real beauty is within my children's smiles. Beauty is watching my son doing something kind when he thinks no one is watching. Real beauty was all around me yesterday as I watched hundreds of people helping one another, enjoying community, and sharing in a day about ability rather than disability.

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, in every package imaginable, real beauty is what we do and who we are, not what we wear and how well we walk in heels. Beauty really does come from within and as corny as it sounds, I have seen people who are deemed so "attractive" by society that they become models, yet they are the ugliest person within, and it begins to show through, turning the external into what it really is. And I have known people who were judged to be "ugly" or "misshapen" by their families and community, and yet there is a light of love, hope, courage and sincerity that shines through to even the most cynical eye and reveals true beauty. When we connect to other people and really see them we can be endowed with visions of true beauty that once revealed will never again be hidden.

For those of you who see the boring, typical idea of beauty and let it somehow define how you see your own exterior, I beg you, look in the mirror again and see your fabulousness! Then work it! You are more beautiful than you know and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!