Make It A Great Day

DSCN1900This week a colleague shared the meaning of his “tag line.” It was a heart stopping conversation.

His brother has been a quadriplegic since his early twenties after a freak fall. Having worked in rehabilitation, I was curious about his story.

He married a woman with cerebral palsy knowing they would not have long together. Given she too was confined to a wheel chair, their primary connection was face to face conversation.

Most relationships are enriched and complicated by differences of values, where we live, work, social engagements, travel, sex, sports, health, intellectual stimulation, attraction, family issues, etc. We make it about all of that! These two made it work within the confines of full bodied presence to one another.

For work, he makes websites for people with disabilities through use of voice command technology. Sometimes in the process he gets bedsores and the only way he can heal is through laying flat for weeks at a time, being turned frequently.

One day, his brother asked him, how do you do it? How do you lay there for hours doing nothing?

He replied, “It’s what I must do to live.”

This amazing man could be complaining and, instead, finds the resiliency to encourage others by frequently saying, “Make it a great day!”

My friend stated, “He’s always reminding me…” “This is why it’s my tag line.”

What grace at work!

Answering the call to help others

DSC_1079Whether you are a medical professional, academic, executive leader, business owner, mom or manager, you are committed to offering care to those you serve.

While this is an enriching rewarding path, it can be extremely demanding, even draining at times. Where do you find support in face of depleting energy?

As a professional and a caregiver, I understand. My own journey through divorce took me to a place with having felt exhausted, yet unable to sleep well, overwhelmed by needs of those around me, and feeling as though there was no time to stop and restore myself. I was building a coaching practice, participating in training for furthering my education and raising two amazing sons. This life transition involved not only loss and grief, but relearning how to be in the world on my own. While my story is not uncommon in many ways; it has been expanding, heart opening and grown my compassion.

Initially, my unconscious “strategy” was to keep busy. I thought everything would be okay if I just kept moving forward and kept my head above water. Well, I was wrong. I couldn’t sleep. I became increasingly exhausted and agitated, encountering anger. I used to see anger as bad, as something to fear or push away. I now know it is a messenger, inviting one to look at something deeper that wants our attention.

One day, I realized…“I need to stop. I need to take a moment and take a breath.”

This was the beginning of my becoming mindful, taking time to breathe and hearing myself, finally, seeing what was truly important. My practice with Vipassana meditation introduced me to a new sweet spot inside, offering more clarity, focus and peace. There was a coming home to what I call the heartbeat of life.

One of the things I’m most grateful for in my own experience – both the good and the challenging – is how my mindfulness practice has grown my self-compassion, along with empathy for others. In fact, I really believe it has saved my life. How? As I’ve been faced with loss, grief and change, I’ve found mindfulness to be a gateway to joy.

Mindfulness has created a new place of freedom. Given the gifts of the practice and learning that keeps evolving, I am committed to serving other professionals and caregivers who want support for accessing their own peace, tools for greater well-being and leadership.