Blogging on The Brightside

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

“Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

— John F. Kennedy

While we may not control everything, but when we can take charge, we need to have the energy and the passion to go our there and get what we want.

Make it happen. Go out there and get what you want.

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Most People

“And she thinks ‘most people don’t talk enough about how lucky they are
Most people don’t know what it takes for me to get through the day
Most people don’t talk enough about the love in their hearts,’
But she doesn’t know most people feel that same way.”

— Dawes, “Most People”

Don’t allow yourself to think that you are the only person to feel the way you feel. At times, I come across a feeling or a situation that can make things seem as though they are so isolated that no one else can possibly understand. Sometimes it just feels like “most people” don’t get it. What we have to realize is that “most people” DO. Once we open our hearts and minds to those around us and we may be surprised what we find. What began as strangers become confidants, and those empathetic listeners, at our best moments, become friends.

Don’t get caught up in thinking “most people” don’t get it.

Become part of the larger group that wants to make a change for the better.

 

 

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Life Lessons One Year Later

I read this and thought I should share with everyone.  Have a great weekend, all!

BY GRETCHEN BLEILER

A year ago, I was working on double backflips with my coach and I had a very bad accident. While getting ready for the double, I threw my warm-up trick too hard and made a split decision in the air to keep rotating into the double, even though I hadn’t thrown for it. When I landed back onto the trampoline, my knees were still tightly tucked and the force and angle of my body caused my knee to come crushing into my face, shattering my eye socket, breaking my nose, splitting open my eyebrow and giving myself the worst concussion that I’ve ever experienced.

I’ll spare you the complicated and gruesome details of the next week leading up to my surgery, but it was hell. For anyone that’s ever had surgery, you know that everyone heals at a different pace and in different ways depending on who they are and what happened to them. Based on my competitive and pinpoint nature, I expected the fast track to recovery after surgery and it turned out to be a very humbling experience.

After a few post-op visits and debates with different care providers, the prognosis was that I had come a long way since my accident and the quality of my vision was good. It was possible and likely that my vision would continue to get better, but at the same time it was insinuated that if it didn’t, I was in a pretty good place. Thinking back on where my vision actually was at that point now is disturbing because I remember having an extremely short range of motion in almost every direction. Meaning that if I just looked up slightly, I would have double vision. And this was good? They did know that I was a professional snowboarder and that because of this I would need more range than the “average” person…right? In my opinion, though, the “average” person probably wants to look up at the stars at night just as much as I want to look up at that lip that is 22 feet above me and see one lip not two! So, as you can see, not having tangible solutions just didn’t work for me. And after a period of being extremely pissed, frustrated, angry and scared, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and work with my “A” team (the people who have helped me accomplish my goals in snowboarding and life) to collaborate on a plan to find some solutions and recover.

If I had learned nothing else from this entire experience, then just understanding that doctors are human and most of them are very specialized in very specific areas would have been enough. That’s something a lot of us fail to remember; for some reason we all grow up thinking that doctors know the answers to EVERYTHING in all subjects because they are doctors. Let me tell you my doctor was a super hero in what he did for me. He saved my eye, my appearance and my vision. People tell me all the time that I must have had a really good doctor because they would never have known what had happened to me based on aesthetics. But when the super hero has rescued you, and you’re ready to continue on with your life, you don’t turn around and ask the super hero what you should do with your life now!

And that’s why it’s important for YOU (or someone you trust) to take control over the entire big picture plan of your recovery, no matter how big or small your injury may be. Because at the end of the day this is your life and you get to live it to the best of your abilities. That means if you hear a comment directed towards you like: “this is the best it’s gonna get, so start getting used to it,” then you respond in one way or another with: “I understand that is what you believe based on your experiences and knowledge, and I respect you and your belief, but I’m going to choose to disagree and find someone who believes that they can help me.” It’s taking the initiative and finding a solution. It’s the hard road; it’s the road less traveled. And you may spend a lot of time looking and never find what you’re looking for, but I know that I would sure as hell rather try!

My one-year anniversary of this day has just recently passed and now that I’ve almost recovered, and am back on my snowboard and almost back to my full potential, it seems like this experience is almost behind me and I’m in a place where I can reflect and share the valuable things that I’ve learned. So here goes:

-Don’t let anyone tell you “this is the best it’s going to get” and put limitations on you, whether it’s an injury or life in general.

-S*!t happens. I had just come off a breakthrough season where I truly felt I was on the verge of grasping my full potential, and then I was knocked down to zero. I’ve asked the question, “why?” and tried to look for hidden or not so hidden meanings, but sometimes in life it’s as easy as “stuff just happens.”

-You can’t always muscle through challenges, obstacles and life. Once I got back on snow, I figured that because my vision was back that the level of riding I had been at before the accident would come right back. That just wasn’t the case, and the harder I tried on snow to get back to where I was, the worse it got. Only when I let go of the past and rode just purely for the enjoyment of what it was, without expectations or ulterior motives, did I begin to soften and naturally fall back into stride … which leads me to the next lesson:

-Let go of expectations because they will only hold you back. Being gently and easy on yourself may seem like taking the scenic route when you’re in a hurry, but it’s the only way to truly process and move forward in a true and healthy way.

-Do live in this moment. Comparing yourself to where you were is living in the past. You are a different version of yourself now than you were and living for then will surely rob you of who and what you are now.

-Be grateful for where you are right now. For me, having my vision back was the biggest victory that I could have escaped this experience with, but it took a long time for me to truly understand that concept. In the beginning I could only see what I wasn’t doing and where I was lacking. I just wanted to be back at my highest level of snowboarding. Then I found that beating myself up was actually draining my passion and love for what I was actually doing, which directly affected the way I would perform. Gratitude brings you back to being that witnessing awareness that is whole and unwavering.

-Don’t focus on time or a cookie cutter schedule.  Focus on what your body is telling you.  Your body knows best and intuitively knows how to heal, if you listen and are presently aware.

-Do the rehab every day; even a year after surgery you have the potential to break through any scar tissue or limitations. Just as in life, once you have found what is working for you, you want to apply that routine every day to break through old habits and patterns that are holding you back.

A lot of these lessons are similar concepts but just said or experienced in different ways. But what I’ve found is that we learn the same lessons in different ways throughout life based on where we are in our process. And where I am in my process is heading into summertime riding with a lot of goals that I’m eager to accomplish. And if I’ve learned anything at all from my own experiences, I’m going to go up to Mount Hood and, while I will be aware of those goals, I’m going to detach from their end results and enjoy sliding around on the snow in warm weather and that beautiful environment. I’m going to be grateful for my healthy body that lets me push myself physically and mentally to ride with style and meaning every day because that’s why I love to snowboard, but at the same time being presently aware and listening to my body as I do, and I’m going to laugh and I’m going to soak in being with some of my best friends and husband and dog all the while!

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“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

 

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“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

Arthur Rubinstein

One incredible attribute of the universe, which I have discovered, is the law of attraction.  Your thoughts and feelings tend to materialize into the things, people, situations, and events in your life.  That’s why it’s important for us to find ourselves thinking positively.  Success attracts success, and misery breeds failure.  You attract people like yourself.  When we wake up grateful for the wonderful things in our lives, they tend to stay in our lives.  When we are excited and engaged in our work, work is exciting and engaging.  Love life.  It will love you back.

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“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”

— John Maeda

Let simplicity flood your days and remind yourself that sometimes, it CAN be that simple. Life is as difficult as we make it.

Today, I ask that you simply choose to live and let the rest happen as it should. Eliminate what is obviously clouding your vision for your right life and add in what matters most to you.

In doing so, you will find your true strength nestled between what is meant to be and the overwhelming presence of a life simply being LIVED.

Simplicity and Strength

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“The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals, and you can never let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.”

–Michael Jordan

Focus on the moment, on achieving one goal at a time.  With each achieved goal you are closer to victory and success.  Sometimes you will lose, but your overwhelming persistence and hard work will ensure that you have more ups than downs.

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“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.”

Napoleon Hill

When you read about successful people, you’ll likely read about many devastating failures leading up to and intermixed with their wild successes.  And when you meet successful people, you start to learn that the reason they were successful in the first place is because they have a lot of practice failing and have matured and learn from their failures.   If you want to learn to be successful, you’ve got to put yourself out there and take chances.  You’ve go to apply for jobs you might not ever get and audition for parts you might not fit the role for exactly.  You’ll be disappointed and frustrated and angry, but keep pushing.  Then, you will find yourself with great responsibilities, great successes, and a heaping sense of fulfillment.

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“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”

–Joshua 1:9

This post was brought to you by a close friend, Katie Trenney. There are moments in life where the “bright side” is more difficult to find. This post reflects about on that kind of moment. In an instant, your world can be shaken to the point of complete and total disorientation. You don’t know which way is up, your faith is shaken. Believing in the good and finding what you can hold onto during those dark times is what keeps us going. We hope that Kevin and his friends are able to find the strength to make it through this extremely difficult times. Our thoughts and prayers go out to each of you.


Two nights ago, I attended the Taylor Swift concert in Pittsburgh with a couple friends.  After tailgating for a few hours and then listening to Taylor sing about her feelings, we piled back into the car to make the drive home.  About 20 minutes into our trip, tragedy struck.  My friend Kevin, who was sitting in the back seat with me, began to have a seizure.  At first we thought he was kidding, but quickly realized that it was real.

Sarah, our driver, pulled over immediately.  The girl sitting in the passenger seat, Rebecca, jumped out of the car and called 911 while Sarah and I quickly tried to get Kevin lay down onto his side.  As Kevin laid on the backseat of the car becoming sick, Rebecca struggled to give the 911 operator our location, and Sarah and I yelled at Kevin trying to get him to respond.  When the police arrived, they tried asking Kevin simple questions.

“What’s your name?”

“What year is it?”

“Where are you?”

Growing more and more frustrated, Kevin tried to answer the questions but he was unable to respond. The ambulance arrived shortly after and decided that he needed to be transported to a hospital.  They took him up the road to St. Margaret’s for preliminary testing, and Sarah, Rebecca, and I continued our drive home – drained and shaken from the events of that night.  At about 4 a.m. I got a text from Kevin’s mother telling me that there were abnormalities on his brain and he was being sent to UPMC for more intense testing.  Later, I got the news of the bleeding in Kevin’s brain.  While his motor skills remained strong, his speech and memory had been affected.
Yesterday, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook were flooded with posts about Kevin.  Positive thoughts and prayers were sent to him throughout the day from his loving family and friends.  Kevin is still in the ICU at UPMC and is being monitored by doctors.  They’re not sure if his speech and memory will come back 100%, but have confidence that he will improve during speech therapy.

 
The words of Joshua 1:9 comfort me.  This verse has become life verse. Over the past 36(ish) hours, I have said it to myself over and over again.  It’s a constant reminder that God is in control.  Kevin is in good hands and will (hopefully) come out of this stronger and better than ever.
If you have a minute to spare today, say a prayer for my friend Kevin. Ask God to help him be strong.

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“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

While I anxiously await good news (or any news at all), I thought it was important to remind myself (and YOU) how great life can be if we just smile, breathe, and go slowly. Regardless of what happens next, a deep breath, a grin, and a calm pace can make all the difference.

Love and Light,

Carly

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