Blogging on The Brightside

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

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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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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“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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Genius is eternal patience.

-Michelangelo

13_michelangelo_sistine_chapel_ceiling_fresco

Michelangelo, the world’s best known sculptor, was commissioned to paint well over 5,000 square feet of frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  The project required him to learn the technique of buon fresco, the most difficult type of painting undertaken by only the masters, and challenged him to learn to paint perspective correctly on a curved surface 60 feet above the viewer.  Besides these challenges, it was truly an exercise in patience.

He did it mostly by  himself.  Sure, there were assistants to carry his paints up and down the scaffolds, but most of the brushstrokes were his own.  He painted for four years, bent over backwards and painting over his head.  The master complained that the project forever ruined his vision.  500 years later, all who visit the chapel stand awestruck for a few minutes to soak up the splendor of the work.

You’re going to lose your patience this week.  You’ll sit in traffic or get put on hold for hours.  Your computer is going to freeze, probably before you remember to hit ‘save’, and your boss is going to give a ridiculous and tedious assignment.  Your baked potatoes will take longer to bake than you expect.  The check out line will be too long.  Your kids will need to use the bathroom when it’s time to get on the bus.  But if you can take a deep breath and keep it together, your patience might lead to a stroke of genius.

Have a great week everyone.

-rge

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“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”

— Anne Lamott

A series of really terrible, heart-breaking events can really be a long line of lights that guide you to the blessings you’ve hidden in the darkness of your own being.

Shine a little light on the hope.

 

Shine a LIght

 

 

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“but hold on to what you believe in the light when the darkness has robbed you of your sight.”

–mumford & sons

Candle[1]

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“Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

One day to celebrate the life of this great man is nowhere near enough. Choosing ONE quote was next to impossible.

All that he stood for, all that he fought for remains today. We can only hope for such an impact when our time on Earth is done.

I encourage all of you to take a moment today and read some other quotes by this amazing man.

It is my hope that you will remind yourself today and always of the amazing progress we have made and the progress that is yet to come.

Today, especially, we take a moment to reflect on the life of a revolutionary individual. The light he cast upon us will never be forgotten.

Carve your tunnel. Leave your mark. Remind others of the light within their own being. Make today count for him. And for all of us.

Tunnel

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Make a Difference

charlie brown

Here’s a quiz for you:

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners .

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3 Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

Charles Schultz provides us with a wonderful example of what really matters in life. It doesn’t matter what titles you earn, what medals, you have hanging around your neck, or what “average’ is. All of the pieces of paper saying you are the best will fade in time. What matters is that you make a difference in the life of another person. Answering that second set of questions is proof that you have made a difference and that others have made a difference in your life.

Take a hint from these people. Learn how to be a difference-maker, a game changer. Find a way to show someone else the way. Be the light they may so desperately need. Be memorable. Make a difference.

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“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you’re gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.”

— Charles Lint

Do something good. Light up the darkness. And what may start as a glimmer could be a source of blinding, undeniable hope for someone else.

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“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”

— Patrick Overton

Spread your wings and take flight.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the darkness in our lives, it is that beautiful things can come from it– the stars, the light in our own being, a beacon of light from someone else. Use the unknown and fill it with your optimistic spirit.

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