Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘giving back’

The Magic of Rainbows and Unicorns

me and dad lightning hero 4-10-16

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”~ Theodore Roosevelt

I have spent my lifetime trying to explain my seeming compulsion to serve to others, but have never found adequate words or descriptions to do justice to how I have always felt.

Last night, a thirteen-year-old struggled to find those same words.  This young man was awarded the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero award and was chosen to speak at an event where all 220 community heroes, from the last five years, were being honored for their passion and service.

When he shared about the healing power of giving back and how he had been pain-free for two years from his juvenile arthritis, I could feel his compulsion to serve from far back in the room at my table.  I thought, this kid and I could sit quietly in a room together and totally “get” where the other was coming from.

I am not sure there weren’t 218 others and their guests in the room thinking the same thing or at  least, being appreciative of his ability to share it that way.  Feeling a purpose and a drive to do something outside of ourselves is service and the benefits of it have the potential to be a life changer.

There is a healing power to giving and serving others, and to doing so from the heart and from the depths of our being.  It is the real deal—seriously, unicorns, rainbows and fairy dust kind of stuff you cannot imagine is possible.

It is far more magical when it is focused, ego-less and fiery with passion.  And even more magical when you can balance the service with self-care so that fire doesn’t burn itself out along the way.

After the program concluded and all the heroes left their respective tables to go back into the lobby for coffee and desert, I had only two thoughts in mind.  One was that I really needed to find that kid, shake his hand, and say something encouraging.  The second was that I needed to hug the amazing woman who helped behind the scenes to orchestrate all the hero events.

I found the young man in the line of people who also wanted to hug her before leaving.  I had no real encouraging or profound words as I shook his hand, but I did thank him and tell him to be sure to take care of himself too as he continued with his service.

The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation has changed so many lives as a result of the unrestricted funding they give in honor of each Community Hero award.  There were 220 heroes in five years and I believe there were nearly 350 different nonprofit organizations that benefited from those award dollars.  I am proud and humbled to be among those honored.

If you ever find yourself in need of inspiration, click here and simply watch or read the stories of all the passionate people living in the Tampa Bay area!







What the Psychic Couldn’t Have Known

Amore Flashback!

Amore Flashback!

I have had friends in the past insist I see a psychic, and I did once, but I never really wanted to.  They needed to know what would happen next in their lives.  I never wanted to know exactly what was next, nor did I really think any human could possibly know exactly anyway.

This morning I seemed to grasp a full understanding of why that might be.  In my wildest imagination, I could not have created the life I have right now and surely no psychic could have predicted the nature of the twists and turns on the road that has brought me to here.

Not only are all my basic needs taken care of (rent, bills, food, etc.), but I find that there is extra to share.  Ten years ago when I was spending Christmas at the Homeless Emergency Project contemplating death, assisted living or nursing home, I never could have dreamed that.

I have a wonderful support system both near and far made up of family, friends, and coworkers that I could never have imagined either.  Even if I had made people from scratch to be those who are among my dearest and nearest, I could not have begun to do as well as those humans placed into my world.

Physically, I am doing far better than I ever hoped.  Nine years ago, stuck in my wheelchair, I remember petting my dogs on the back patio, and saying out loud to them, “If this was as bad as it ever was, then I could live a good life in spite of it.”  Never did I dream I would walk, run, bike, drive, etc.

I gave up on my work life when I filled out all of those icky forms that tell the government all the things I was unable to do.  I was going to be happy enough if I could take care of the dogs and myself through the course of a day.

As I figured out how to do that, then I started volunteering for dog rescue and SPF, stumbled upon teaching college psychology online, and just kept getting involved in things I loved at HEP that ended up turning into paid jobs.  Soon, I will three jobs I love (which incidentally is too many) so I actually have to stop doing as much teaching, so that I can serve more people with the other two at HEP.

My point here is that we cannot possibly get so attached to outcomes or what we think we want for our lives because that in itself is full of limitations.  We cannot know what we have not experienced or found our way toward yet on our journey.  We do not know what is possible.

None of the reasons for getting here have been things I would have chosen either, quite frankly.  Signing up for an illness I thought would kill me early on, or for homelessness, or for a nursing home—well, who in their right mind would ever sign up for that madness?

I didn’t choose to sit within any of those situations long and belabor the fact that this wasn’t where my life was supposed to be.  (That is not to say I didn’t sit for a bit.)  I focused instead on figuring out ways to live happily within whatever the circumstances were, as present and as day-to-day as humanly possible, and tried to figure out what there was for me to learn.

I doubt a psychic could have seen the winding roads my story has taken me thus far, nor could they know where those lessons learned along the way might take me.  I certainly couldn’t have imagined the other side of any of them looking anything like this!  Rolling with the tide has not been easy along the way, but it sure has been well worth it so far!

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