Let it Shine

Cartoon drawing of two happy kids holding the globe. Copyrighted image.

In the past week, several women I work with were facing illnesses, some serious, some not. They all had their concerns and found it difficult to work, but plugged away, at least one to her detriment.

She was frightened of losing her job because she’d taken too much time off. It’s not that she doesn’t believe she could find another; she knows she could. But she likes her job, is content with the environment and culture, and most particularly, really likes her supervisor. She knows that doesn’t always happen and she doesn’t want to lose it.

I listened to her, and I listened to another woman with serious back problems who is optimistic there are viable options to relieve her pain. While in the ladies’ room, I talked to a woman who spoke little English, but understood it well, about her family in Mexico, some of whom were hit by the earthquake last month.  They are all alive, with only minor injuries, but are facing challenges.

Talking to these ladies makes my job better.

We talk about small acts of kindness, and each of us has our own personality and ways of reaching out to others. In the area I live, drivers are respectful of each other, paying attention when someone signals they want to change lanes and allowing drivers to pull into traffic from side roads and parking lots.

I’ve never seen this anywhere else. It’s not as if I live in a small town. Traffic can be heavy. It’s courtesy, small acts of kindness. Unique to my corner of the world in many ways, part of the personality of this area.

I’m lucky to have a dedicated group of blog followers who, I sense, are prone to giving, each in their own way. I’ve gotten to know some of you fairly well through your writing, and I know many of you have distinctly different personalities than mine. Your kindness is perhaps shown in a way I couldn’t fathom doing myself.

I’m inviting you to share the ways you spread kindness on your blog, and I will happily re-blog anyone who lets me know of a post inspired by what I’ve written here. And since writing and blogging are also unique to the individual, anything you write that you tell me was inspired by this post, I will re-blog (okay, there are limits, but I will let you know if you’ve reached one, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen).

Some of you have things to say I believe some of my followers might relate to, so I’m going to re-blog some posts I see during the week or have seen recently that I found inspiring.

I look forward, as always, to seeing what you’ll  write.


Image (children holding globe) © lavitrei — Bigstockphoto.com (background) © aerial3 — Bigstockphoto.com

 

A Swing and A Smile

Last night the temperature dropped considerably, and when I left for work today, I needed a sweater. First time this season, and much earlier than I anticipated.

It was a mild summer, and now I’m wondering what winter will look like. The snow I can do without — we have so few snow plows in this area, a few flakes and we’re homebound for days. However, I wouldn’t mind some brisk weather.

A good cold snap and beautiful fall leaves. A winning team. A steady paycheck. I’d like to walk around the block with a swing in my step and a smile in my eyes.

I’d like my nails to grow out a bit, instead of constantly tearing off just as they reach a decent length. If I can keep my hair just the way it is… (okay, that won’t happen, but at least I know where I want it).

Cat sniffing flowersA new sofa would be so nice…books pouring out of my bookcase…a solid savings account.

It can happen, it really can. The end of an era is drawing near, and a new one is beginning.

I can’t wait.


Anticipate

Image Credits: © geosap — stock.adobe.com

So Onward

I have an idea of what I want to do with my life, where I want to go and how I want to be in this world, but getting there is hard.

I’ve had these thoughts before, and pursued my dream. While I may have achieved my goals, that didn’t ultimately bring me happiness. Still, time has taught me so much. It’s possible this time I could find success.

Today I have a better understanding of what holds me back, what I do to myself that leads to failure, or at the very least, failed expectations. I understand my mental health issues (well, still learning there) as well as the source of my insecurities — and the reality of others’.

The bottom line is, I won’t be happy if I compromise my future. So onward — commit to the future, commit to myself.

Take a deep breath and dive in.


Photo Credit: © Dan Nikonov — Fotolia

Commit

The Pursuit of Passion (and lesser things)

We speak of passion with great enthusiasm, as in “pursue your passion.” I agree, finding joy in life is a good thing, and finding fulfillment and purpose is a treasure. But too much of a good thing has its drawbacks.

I cringe a bit at the word “passion.” It connotes a drive to do something at the expense of other, necessary tasks in life. There can be a lack of balance when you’re passionate about cause, a skill, a person…anything. Of course, sometimes, that lack of balance is part of what gets the job done. For a period of time, letting your passion drive you is a good thing.

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Wild Thing, I think I love you…

Political candidates and those who campaign for them need to be passionate, for example. When you’re in love, you’d better be fully engulfed in your feelings for that other person, or forget about a long-term commitment.

It’s also a term that’s thrown around fairly easily, one that plays on your emotions but isn’t always easy to define in practical terms. I enjoy knitting. I’m an avid knitter, and I always have a project or two in the works. I love to share and compare with other knitters, encourage them in their projects and pursue the next big undertaking with vigor. I have dozens of knitting magazines (including every Vogue Knitting since 1982, which isn’t as many as it might sound like — for years they only published two issues annually). I dabble in design.

Yet I would not say I am passionate about knitting. To me, that would imply some sacrifice, a devotion that goes beyond what is appropriate for my favorite hobby. I have several friends who own yarn shops. I’ve asked them if knitting is their passion, and they laugh and say no. They love it, love their work and are dedicated to the success of their stores. But there is a balance in their lives, and their passion, if they can name one, is more likely their grandchildren.

For years I was also a devout reader. I read as many books as I could get hold of, and while circumstances dampened my enthusiasm for reading (something I never would have thought possible, and I resent those who caused it), that flame likely will never be fully doused. I still enjoy the feel and promise of a new book, and today, when I order one online, I can’t wait to open that box and just hold the book.

So I’m an avid reader as well as knitter. Perhaps there is a little more passion there, for I will firmly say, “you can’t spoil a child with books.” (I know, I know, some of you could provide solid examples contradicting that statement, but look at the heart of what I’m saying. And if a child throws a fit because he or she doesn’t get a new book every time the family goes to Walmart, that has nothing to do with books.)

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Wait while I finish this thought…that’s not true, you are important to me!

The one thing I will say I feel compelled to do, even when I have nothing to say (hence the need for a blog haha), is write. That might come close to being a passion. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if I could write for a living…the jobs I’ve found for writers, however, generally are for someone younger, more entry-level. I’m not sure that’s the kind of writing I want to commit myself to on a daily basis.

I have found a way to make room for all the things I can get lost in doing. If any one of them became a job, would I leave behind my joy and what now brings me peace? Let’s face it, too much of anything is going to hurt you in some way.

That goes for the body as well as the mind. As I grow older, I’m increasingly mindful of the toll everyday activities, no matter how seemingly benign, can take on our bodies. Anything we do for an extended period of time has its price.

I just spent months nursing a thumb injury my doctor and physical therapists believe was caused, at least in part, by knitting. When I posted a story about that, one of my blogging buddies commented how she’d hurt herself reading paperbacks.

Yes, find what you love doing, what re-energizes you. But remember, our bodies and minds need variety to stay healthy. We may not love everything we do with the same fervor, but the balance is what keeps us alive, physically and emotionally.


Images © geosap — Adobe Stock

Avid

Keep Going

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
― Winston S. Churchill

 
It hurts. It gets old. It’s a dull pain one day and a sharp pain the next. Getting through the bad times wears you down and shapes you at the same time. You can’t see your way out and you’re convinced it will never end.

I’ve been there, and it’s hard. There are those saying, get it together. And you think you should have more together than you do.

Several years ago I was the victim of a horrible injustice, the target of powerful people convinced of a truth that did not exist. It ruined my life, no doubt about it. I was in a shambles. There seemingly was no way out of my situation, no way around the binding realities.

Whatever my part had been in the events that led to my despair, it was disproportionate to the result. I didn’t know who my friends were, who I could trust and who trusted me. Who cared for me?

Little by little I came to realize that the people most important to me cared. Yes, I’d lost some friends who bought into the half-truths and manipulated stories, and there was nothing I could do about it. Some of those people were important to me, and I mourn the loss of their friendship to this day. But I had to move forward, and rely on those who proved themselves true and kind of character.

My family saved my life. If nothing else, these events brought me closer to all of them, and for that I am grateful.

As time went on, things changed. I got a job, one I’m good at with people who care about me like family. While I still live in a less than desirable apartment complex, I have a new car (well, it’s a year old now) that has given me the opportunity to visit my mom on several occasions, both for pleasure and to care for her when she needs it.

And the future doesn’t look quite as grim. There appear to be options that will end all of this when the time comes.

Are these good times? Actually, I’ll be disappointed if that turns out to be the truth. These are better times, and hopefully good times, joyous times lie ahead. But I don’t know. I’m content with what I have now.

I fear the return of bad times, likely not the same bad times but something else, before experiencing truly good times again. If that’s the case, so be it. I can only take what I’m given and seek what can be found.

For my friends who are suffering, it can last an eternity, I know. Some of what gets you out of the pain is your own spirit, some is good fortune and some is dumb luck. I have no magic formula. But believe in the future.

Keep going.


Photo Credit: © EcoView — Fotolia