Blogging on The Brightside

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

“Sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.”

— Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

One of my favorite quotes from this book is a very simple reminder of how life doesn’t always go the way we planned. We aren’t always given the timing we would like. We aren’t given the opportunities we want, and we certainly say when or where they might happen.

Sometimes we just have to suit up, stand up tall, and go forward. It is in these moments of struggle and difficulty that another quote comes to mind.

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

Let life pull you back to shoot you towards something better. And even though you may feel like you’re not “equipped” to deal with it, I know you can do it. Ray and I… We’re “betting on you.

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“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

— John F. Kennedy

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“Thank goodness for all the things you are not, thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot, and left all alone in some punkerish place, like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.”

— Dr. Seuss

We haven’t forgotten about you. So don’t forget about yourself.

Do something good for yourself. Read a book. Take a long walk. Breathe in the crisp fall air and savor the sunshine while it’s here. Make your life unimaginably good and fulfilling. Find a way to make each day your best day.

Be good to you, so you can be good to others this week. And as part of our practice of gratitude, be thankful for exactly who you are. Because that is exactly what the world needs you to be.


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“We all owe everyone for everything that happens in our lives. But it’s not owing like a debt to one person–it’s really that we owe everyone for everything. Our whole lives can change in an instant–so each person that keeps that from happening, no matter how small a role they play, is also responsible for all of it. Just by giving friendship and love, you keep the people around you from giving up–and each expression of friendship or love may be the one that makes all the difference.”

— Mary Anne Schwalbe

This quote, stolen from The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, seemed an excellent reminder of how much we depend upon other people.

Before any of you get bent out of shape as I know I might have a couple years ago, I remind you that needing people is part of the human experience. It is not a weakness to depend upon others, nor is it something you can escape. Just shy of being a hermit or a recluse, you interact with people everyday and what they do for the world will impact you. They may bring you your coffee. They may drive the bus you ride to work or gather your trash each week. You may do more for them than they could for you. Similar to the author’s relationship to our quoted speaker, this woman had given him life. (Not the easiest thank-you card to right…) They have brought you to this point in your life. They helped get you HERE. That’s a pretty astounding task when you stop to think about it.

In a season of gratitude and joy, I would remind all of us to share some of that gratitude with the people who deserve it most– the people around us daily. These are the people who light the fire in our souls. These are the people who may carpool with us to work or simply let us merge in traffic. Make gratitude something you practice constantly, no matter how big or small the act may be.

It is also in this spirit that I thank each of you. It is because of you that we do this and we hope that we can help bring you to a better place just for having read this post. We are connected by what we read, but we are also connected by so much more.

Love and light,


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“Permanent is not; impermanent is not; a self is not; not a self [is not]; clean is not; not clean is not; happy is not; suffering is not.”

Seventy Verses on Emptiness, Nagarjuna (as referenced by “The End of Your Life Book Club”)

Reading a new book recently, I stumbled across this quote. Regardless of your philosophical beliefs, this may find it’s way into your understanding of each moment of your life and how you see yourself in those moments.

Things that may seem to be certain are not. Things that seem uncertain and impermanent may become solidified and confused for concrete. You cannot let the ground beneath you become quicksand within your mind. You can’t let something you “pencil in” become gospel at a moment’s notice.

You are here. You may not always be. Believe me, THAT  part was hardest for me to read. And while that may be difficult, it is nicer to know that you are yourself, that YOUR SELF is as balanced between two sides of the same coin. You ARE here and THAT means more than anything else.

Clean or not, doesn’t matter. Life can be messy. You know that and you can be prepared by simply showing up and being your genuine self.

Happiness. We all want it to stay forever. Unfortunately, it make take strong gust or a simple breeze to scatter the pieces of our lives all over the place. The “good” news remains that suffering is as permanent as happiness. Both cannot last forever, and while that may be unfortunate, it can be an enormous blessing as well.

Take a moment to recognize how the only thing you can count on is this moment. Right here, right now. And if you can do that, you can accept that the next moment requires no more focus than this one. Be ready for this moment. That is all you can do. Find within yourself the grace to accept that permanent is only a word, never a promise or a point of fact. Right here and right now. Be present.

I wish all of you the peace in knowing that this moment is your own. I also wish you comfort in knowing that you decide whether or not you face the next step, moment, days, weeks, months, with the same strength and perseverance. It won’t always be certain. It won’t always be clean. It won’t always be happy or unbearable. You have to trust in yourself that whatever it turns out to be, you are ready for.

Take it from me. You are always more capable than you believe yourself to be. That is what IS.

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“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

– Mark Twain



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