Blogging on The Brightside

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

Arise and seize the day!

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The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy.

–Robin Williams, Patch AdamsBuzLaVyCYAAgy1v

 

While the loss of Robin Williams is tragic, we must remember the innumerable lessons in happiness, cheer, comedy, and laughter that he taught to us, sometimes, as in Dead Poets Society, quite literally.  He played some of the most iconic characters to ever have touched our hearts, like Peter Pan who taught us to never grow up, and Patch Adams, for whom laughter was the best medicine.  Mrs. Doubtfire exemplified that our parents will always be there for us, but even Genie couldn’t bring people back from the dead.

“The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy.”  And I hope that you delight in stirring glee in someone else’s heart by making them smile, and laugh, and roll their eyes because, in his words,  “you’re only given a little of madness.  You must not lose it.”

 

 

 

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“The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”

–Jim Hightower

Marcus-Pfister-Rainbow-Fish-to-the-Rescue-205522

 

It’s been a while, friends.  Hasn’t it?  Have a wonderful week.

 

 

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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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“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

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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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“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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“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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“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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