39. Count Your Blessings

“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” – Marianne Williamson

Last week I was blessed with an invite to serve at an amazing event in Phoenix called Project Connect.  Project Connect is a monthly event that brings members of the community together with homeless people who are attempting to find solutions to their life problems and short comings. There are tables and services for clothing, food, shelter, medical, spiritual, drug problems and many other chances to move up in the world. I am a huge fan of this program since both parties get to grow through this experience.

I was able to walk two people through the process. The first was a woman who had been sober for a few months and was looking to get a test to find out if she was HIV positive. I was able to hold space for her and be there for this stranger in a very challenging and scary time in her life. I was honored to be placed in such a position to share the strength this world has given me with this woman.

The second person I was graced with gave me his sheet, he looked very run down. As I looked at his sheet I saw his birthday right away.  He was born on 9/25/1980…my birthday was yesterday, 9/26/1980. I was brought face to face with a man the same age as me who was living a much tougher life than I could even fathom today. All he wanted was a new ID and I helped convince him to get a shower, hair cut and some new clothes. With just those few things this mans whole aura seemed to brighten up. Being able to serve brightened me as well. On Wednesday I tracked him down and gave him a few gifts that I thought he would like. That process of giving to him provided me with such a gift of loving what I have in this moment.

I am not sure if what I gave to this man will change him at all, what I do know is that I have an even deeper gratitude for all the blessings that I have. I celebrated my birthday yesterday by reaching out to so many people who have helped me along my path. I used to often be focused on what I was going to get out of people and situations like holidays and birthdays. Today I count my blessings and find places where I can give back to others on days like this, as a result I am given a gift that is more valuable than any material thing could ever provide, that is the gift of joy and serenity that the Universe gives me for giving freely of myself. I love this life and I cannot wait to see how I can serve my fellows this next year!

Affirmation: I am blessed! My blessings allow me to bless others. I am grateful for all my blessings. Thank You Life!

Call To Action: Find a way that you can be a blessing in someone else’s life today. Try and see if you can be that blessing anonymously. If you would like to share that here with the CYLF community we would love that. If you would rather, answer these two questions in the comments. What are you grateful today? What was a blessing in your life today?

38. Teach The Positive

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” – Henry Brooks Adams

During one of my clinical rotations I was assigned to a behavior health clinic. Teaching is one of the most important roles as a nurse, and one of our assignments was to teach “something” to an assigned group of patients. I was assigned to a group of young adolescents who exhibited signs of depression through the act of cutting. Knowing that many of these patients were not actually trying to kill themselves but were merely trying to mimic the physiological changes that occur with the sympathetic nervous system, I knew a standard power point or lecture would have been useless.

I needed to get them engaged and make them feel that fight or flight response through a non-life threatening outlet.  In an attempt to imitate the rush felt with the fight or flight response I gave them all an ice cube and instructed them to hold it tightly in their hand until it was completely melted.  At first they laughed, but as time went on they began to feel a familiar sensation, the sympathetic nervous system began to kick in. Their breaths became quicker and shallow and their hearts began to beat faster. During this time period we discussed the reasons behind the urge to cut, the way it made them feel during the act, how they felt after, and what they could do to replace the urge. I did the exercise with them, which developed trust, giving them the ability to open up and express their feelings with me. This was a simple, but compelling exercise because it gave them the power to stop without the repercussions of a life threatening scenario.

I was able to create a fun and engaged, but serious, learning environment providing tools that could help deviate from lethal masochistic behaviors. I will never know the true outcome from my teaching, but I am confident I made a positive influence.  I can think of so many times that a positive attitude made all the difference between weather I was able to accept a lesson or disregaurd it.  What I know today is that my role is to bring the most positive parts of my life experience to others so that they can experience some of the same joys that I do.

Affirmation: I am a teacher, and I will continue to positively influence those around me.

Call to Action: Make a vow to replace a negative action with a positive action in your life.  Follow this up with sharing your results with those around you, so they too can make a positive change that will have an affect on life’s eternity.

37. Release

“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, ‘I release the need for this in my life’.” – Wayne Dyer

Last weekend I got the chance to attend a TEDx event. The last speaker of the day really caught my attention. I am a doer, and a guy that likes to accomplish things. The speaker’s talk was titled “The Power of Quitting”, reading ahead in the program I was not sure that was a talk for me. I was very wrong.

The speaker, Rachael Horner, had three points; decide which goals are worthwhile, quit early, and be pragmatic about our approach. I thought about the times I hung on to things that were no longer serving me, and I refused to release. Many of these things, once I was able to let go of them, I was grateful they had finally left my life.

The destructive behaviors in my life were the easy ones to see right away, what a gift it was to quit. The things that were not as easy to see were the jobs I held on to a bit too long, the relationships that last just days longer than needed, and the things I am still holding onto today that I should have already quit.

Today, I challenge you to look at what is and is not worthwhile in your life, quit those things that are not worthwhile now, and acknowledge those mistakes and learn from them.

Affirmation: I release and I let go, I let the Spirit run my life, my heart is open wide!

Call to Action: Please share with us what goal you are going to move on from, and how you will use that time towards something more worthwhile.

36. Truth

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

I told a lie today. I was at a coffee shop inside of a grocery store. The woman working was older and moving a little slowly, but she was really nice and let me know it was going to be a minute because she was putting together a big order. I wasn’t in a hurry so I let her know she could take her time and I waited patiently. Another employee of the store came over extremely upset, “Has she even taken your order?!?! We’ve been having complaints about her!” I was shocked and stammered, “Ye-ye- yes she has.”  I do not know why I lied to her. I do not know if I felt some loyalty to the older woman. I do not know if I felt I had to protect her. I would like to think that is the case, but what does that say about me? Am I so co-dependent I have to protect a complete stranger? I got caught in the very lie I just told. The elderly woman asked me what I would like less than 30 seconds after and I know the angry woman heard her. She stomped off in a huff. I told a self-deprecating joke to lighten the mood and the elderly woman seemed to enjoy that.

I thought about the experience for my whole car ride and then again as I write this post. When is it ok to lie? I was protecting the woman so, I should be a hero right? Wrong, every conclusion I came up with is the truth is the only thing I should speak. The lie is only going to harm the elderly woman in the long run. Maybe she needs to move on and get a new job. Maybe she needs a scolding from her boss to learn how to move faster. Maybe a hundred other things that I do not know the answer to and I cannot see the future but little white lies are wrong.

My challenge for the week is to catch myself whenever I tell a little white lie and speak the truth.

Affirmation: My truth is valuable to those around me. I know my truth and it is the best version of my story.

Call to action: Think about a time when you lied and why. Tell somebody about it. Set yourself free. If you catch any dishonesty crop up this week share it with us and find your truth.