Blogging on The Brightside

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

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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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“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

— John Green

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“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

— Lao Tzu

May you find strength in the ones who love you. These are the ones who risk heartbreak to show you they care. Love is unconditional. No matter what, they choose to love you.

May you gain courage from each person to whom you give your heart openly. You lay your heart on the line every time you care for them. To love someone is to be the most genuine version of yourself. That vulnerability is unparalleled.

You have fought for love. You have fought for your happiness. Today is a day to celebrate love in its may forms and revel in the joy love can bring.

I hope that today (and every day) you find a moment to realize how much love surrounds you and know you are more loved than you can possibly imagine.

Love and light,

Carly

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“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

– Jim Valvano

Today is my father’s birthday. Daddy, Dad, Daddio, Papa Bear. (As I grew, so did the list of names I called him by.)

My father has always reminded me, even during my dark moments, that he loves me and that I make him so incredibly proud. Living my life to the fullest is the best thing I can do for him as I carry not only his looks, but his stories, his jokes, and his unfailing efforts to make a difference in the lives of his family. He believed in my every step of the way, and I am a better person for it.

I love you with all the hearts, Papa Bear.

Carly

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“Do not allow yourself to be blinded by fear and anger. Everything is only as it is.”

— Yuki Urushibara

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As you begin this week, remind yourself that fear and anger can be great motivators, but should not be a perpetual source with which you get through each day.

Do not overthink. In assumptions, over-analyzing, and general t00-much-on-my-mind-edness, we make literal monsters out of everyday struggles and and catastrophes out of real, substantial issues.

Remind yourself of one simple phrase: It is what it is.

When something scares you or angers you, you lose your sight of the situation and often times, you lose yourself. Don’t allow the shadow cast by difficult mask your conviction to make it happen.

It is what it is, and what is is life. Chaotic, fast-paced, dizzying, and beautiful.

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“Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.”

— Jim Beaver, Life’s That Way: A Memoir

I’m sure I could come across a dozen different quotes about cancer. I could find quotes based upon survival, perseverance, hardship, struggle, overcoming obstacles. They would all work out just fine. But sometimes, you just need to spell it out. No flowery words, no over-the-top metaphors. Plain and simple.

Individuals who have fought or continue to fight are the strongest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. They make the impossible happen everyday. They get out of bed when their body physically holds them back. They go to work, they raise children, they support their families. They love as deeply as ever and savor every moment of life they have. They are miraculous and beautiful.

Everyone is affected by cancer in some way. Everyone has someone who has felt its wrath. It’s time that we rose up as one and said enough is enough and mean it.

To those in the fight… to those survivors…

To the supporters and the loved ones, the caregivers and those left behind…

Put on your ass-kicking boots, tie ’em up tight, and give it your all.

Cancer won’t give up without a fight, and neither should we.

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