Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

Letter for a Friend: A Colorful Life

Recently, I have found myself coping with some darker days. Life is not always optimistic and at times, you can really feel like it is not on your side. I shared these days in a similar place to a friend of mine. We both dealt with a feelings of loss, grief, anger, and guilt.

I settled upon the idea that I would write a post for him. Easier said than done when what you are feeling is the same difficulty you want to write in spite of. I wrote this friend an email, and the contents of this email are what I will share with you all. No picture, no cutesy doodle. Just words.

I guess what we all need to realize is that a colorful life is what we should wish for, and without any one color, light, dark, or otherwise, our days, our experiences, our lives would not be as alive and complete.

Letter for a Friend: A Colorful Life

I am incredibly sorry you are dealing with this sense of loss. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Knowing that you love someone and that the entire situation has changed can be very difficult to deal with. 
 
I appreciate your kind words and your compliments towards my sense of honesty and self-awareness. It has taken a lot of practice and, unfortunately, I must deal with the waves of grief, guilt, and anger (with varying levels of intensity). At the time of my loss, I had no way of processing what was happening, and how my life would be forever changed. I can promise you (while still accepting and thanking you for your kindness) that I continue to truly struggle with painting a similar picture of meaning, compassion, health, and healing. The hues of my picture can be found in a darker palette, and at times, the canvas all together is thrown out with overbearing sadness. Still, there are moments where I remind myself that each day is its own clean slate. The world is not black and white, and while we spend our lives working through the gray, inside and outside of our heads, our world is meant to be lived in FULL color. Every color imaginable works its way in– the darks that paint our days with sadness one day merely fill in the shadows of another. The lightest shades of a new morning can fill our worlds so completely that our eyes struggle to find darkness at all.
 
I encourage us both to take the darks, lights, and everything in between as part of this “artistic” process. We experience life as playful artists, and when we test our boundaries, our emotions, and ourselves, we can create some truly breath-taking moments with every emotional hue we possess.
 
I wish you the same vibrancy in your days as I do my own.
Love and Light,
Carly
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“You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.”

– J. Askenberg

Suit up, kid. You’re in the middle of the game of your life. (Literally.)

You may not win them all, but you have to play to have that chance.

Don’t let a little rain stop you. Get your uniform dirty. Wear your colors with pride.

Take that stride to the plate and make it count. BATTER UP.

Have a great week, everyone.

Love and Light,

Carly

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“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence- it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

– Peter Drucker

At times, you may find that life can be a bit bumpy. In fact, those bumps may be large enough to make you confuse which direction is up.

The only thing that can make that worse is using out-dated methods to smooth out the wrinkles. Finding what works for you can be the difference between a small dip and a solid crash-and-burn.

You can’t always avoid every up and down, but you can remind yourself of how much you do know and trust your instincts. You’ve moved on, you’ve learned a lot.

Pilot your own life.

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“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”

Chief Tecumseh

espresso

 

In the morning, light pours into my bedroom.  It’s kind of a pain to fall asleep with the blinds open and the curtains pulled back, but it’s worth it to be greeted by light.  Then, for me, it’s baked oatmeal and one shot of espresso.  I’m not a morning person, and I probably haven’t had a single thought about anything worth remembering until I’ve begun to absorb some caffeine.  A quick aside- I’ve never understood why people don’t drink more espresso, is it the whip cream thing?  And then, a clean shave.  I (almost) always use a sharp razor, not a Gillette, and have replaced that blue goop with fluffy and fragrant lavender shave soap applied by a badger hair shave brush.

I’m sharing my routine with you, because I’ve found that from the first ray of sunshine to the first bite of oatmeal, the last sip of espresso to the last bit of shave soap, I tend to concentrate on how lucky I am to enjoy these little luxuries.  They are simple joys.  When you appreciate your situation first thing in the morning, you start the day off right.  And when you start the day off right, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.

If you’re a snooze button 12 times, rush out of bed and into the car to sit in traffic on the way to the job you dread kind of person, consider what you give up each morning.  You’ve missed the chance to be gracious, to take a few minutes to yourself to think about your day, to think about what you can do for someone else today.  By the time you’re expressing you’re road rage, you’ve given up the chance to work out that day or your opportunity to reflect in your journal.  Approaching the beginning of your day differently might change your outlook on school or work, especially if you’ve taken a few minutes to give thanks that you have gainful employment and think about how you can make a difference at work that day.  An improved outlook is often the key to improved performance.

So much of this blog is about having a positive and gracious attitude.  The reason is simple- life is better that way.  The time to establish that attitude is first thing in the morning.

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“…And tonight I thank the stars, as I count my lucky scars…”

But Honestly, The Foo Fighters

A friend of mine posted this quote as a Facebook status, it immediately stuck me. The song and these lyrics have been with me for the past couple weeks and I can’t keep it cooped up in my head any longer.

How often do we take a step outside, breathe in the crisp, cool air (some places more crisp and cool than others), and simply thank the universe for another day, another hour, another moment? We can look up and lose sight of the light things around us and remind ourselves how small we are in the middle of this enormous place. Our scars remind us of not just what we have experienced, but what we have survived. And in that moment, we get lost in that incredible feeling.

We should not only be grateful for our time on earth but our own strength, our spirit, our unfailing efforts to live the life we are given.

So tonight (and every night I can), I will look up at the stars, fill my lungs with the incredible energy and light that surrounds me daily, as I remind myself once more that every experience is one for growth and even the biggest problems are only a blip, a hiccup. Fill the universe with your optimism as the universe fills you with exactly what you need… a hefty helping of hope and a reminder that you are here and have made it through it all.

Have a wonderful week, friends. Breathe it all in and remind yourself, you’ve earned your spot here.

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“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”

- Jackie Robinson

This post was submitted by our friend Joelle Wisnieski, a graduate of Akron University whose laughter lights up the room.

Robinson

As a first basemen myself, Jackie is one of my role models. A wonderful ball player and a passionate civil rights activist, he continued to play his hand when anyone would have understood if he folded, but more than that he really PLAYED. Not only was he the first African-American to play in major league baseball, but he was then named rookie of the year. I mean who has the courage to steal home 19 times! And I’m not talking about 19 attempts… that is 19 runs that Robinson scored by stealing home base during his baseball career. I think that this quote by Jackie pretty much sums up his attitude toward baseball and toward life. Life is NOT a spectator sport. Unfortunately, still sometimes find myself living as if it is one… letting my life pass before my eyes with minimal involvement, challenge, passion.  I don’t want to live that way – and I’m guessing neither do you.  Recently I found that I had all these dreams and aspirations for my life. I want to help people. I want to teach, and travel, and love. I want to enjoy the little things but experience the big things… but most importantly I want to make a difference. But then I took stock of my life and I was very upset at what I found. I’ve been wasting time, precious time. When I could have been making an effort to help someone, be a friend to someone, or maybe even to learn something new – what was I doing instead? – watching the latest episode of “The Bachelor” or rereading “The Hobbit.”  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some TV drama and I enjoy an excellent literary story, but what else was I doing.  At that moment I realized that I was sitting in the grandstand with my feet resting on the railing in front of me, but I also looked at the field and realized that they had been calling for a first basemen to come play.  I refuse to take a seat when there is one amazing life to be lived! We all have moments in life when we look around and don’t understand how we fell into a ditch. But don’t forget it is never too late to get your hands dirty and climb out.  Don’t live your life as a spectator (because I agree with Jackie on this topic) – it would be a waste. Instead, go out and play. Learn something new, go somewhere you have never been, challenge yourself and the people around you. I promise you won’t regret grabbing your glove and taking the field.

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“Whatever you may be celebrating or grieving, may you practice courage every day and let it nurture your spirit however weary or uplifted it may be. There is hope in our celebrations, and strength in our brokenness. May you embrace your own sweet surrender with faith and courage along the way.”

– Kelly Rae Roberts

Hello Courage

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On Empathy and Elephants…

It’s not really our style to write without a quote or clip for inspiration. But I’ve been struggling with writer’s block all year, and today my VP of Operations shared a metaphor that I knew I had to pass on to you.

long-tusked-elephant-0710

Consider a man standing face to face with an elephant. When you ask him to describe his experience, he says that when the elephant flaps his giant ears, the man is cooled by the breeze. He describes looking past the long lashes and into the eyes, into the gentle and wise soul of his huge companion. He describes being wrapped in the pachyderm’s powerful trunk and passing handfuls of peanuts through the ivory tusks and into the mammoth mouth.

Now consider a second man who is standing on the wrong side of the same elephant. When he tells his tale (pun intended) he says “It’s a giant butt. No really…it’s just a giant butt. Baby got back. Yesterday, this thing peed, and I about drowned. It pooped, and I’m still looking for my car. It stinks. A lot.”

Empathy is seeing the whole elephant. When you’re standing up front, don’t forget that it’s not all motherhood and apple pie. Somebody’s standing on the other side and dealing with the consequences of the actions taken at the front. The view’s not so magnificent, and they’re going to want to join you up front soon. When you’re standing on the back-side, consider what’s going on up front. When is it your turn to take over at the helm? When you’re up front, wouldn’t you want to be sure that someone was going to clean up the peanuts from the other side? Empathy is about seeing the whole elephant.

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“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t exhaust yourself on a day that has already ended. Use that energy to move on and into the next day, full of hope and opportunity.

Today is a New Day.jpg

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“Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”

– Orison Swett Marden

While most of us hope to physically thaw out this upcoming week, take a moment to provide yourself with some powerful motivational imagery.

Imagine looking before you at all obstacles standing in your way. Ignite your passion and resolve to conquer these struggles and watch the obstacles themselves and the stress that surrounds them melt away as you press on.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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