Share the Love


“Love is all you need”

-The Beatles

I remember when I was in the first grade and the teacher gave out construction paper, scissors, glue, and crayons then spent a half of the day making Valentines for classmates. I  made them for all of the girls and even some of my guy friends. She told us to write something nice. Maybe if you were brave you even asked one of the girls to be your Valentine, but all of the rest just said “I think your sweet,” “Happy Valentines day,” or “your cool.” It was a day of friendship and compliments. None of us felt sorry for ourselves. None of the first graders went into the day with a Valentine but we all came home with cut out hearts folded over with little notes in them. Maybe we even held someone’s hand that day.

Valentines Day has had many meanings over the years for me. The best Valentines are the ones that I share my love, my friendship, and get into the spirit of things. You don’t have to have a Valentine to share you love with a friend. I’m sure there is probably some app or email program that sends out electronic valentines, or bring it back to the first grade cut out some construction paper hearts and give them out to people you come in contact with today, regardless if you are romantic with them. Let’s get into the spirit and share the love this year.

Affirmation: I can be the person to bring joy to those around me.

Call to Action: Don’t just get caught up in just the romantic part of Valentines Day. Share the love with friends, family, and coworkers. Make construction paper hearts, send out emails, texts, or just call some people and let them know that they are important to you.Image

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.

35. Engage

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”   — Leo Buscaglia

We all have an innate desire to be loved or feel important from the time we are born all the way through the time we die.  I use the word important synonymously for the word love because when we are feeling important we feel meaningful and significant which plays an important role in the intense emotion of love.

I am prior military, and I specifically remember this period in my life with an abundance of love. The first time I put on my uniform with crisp starched creases and spit shinned boats I held my head up higher than I have ever held it before.  I felt a surge of goose bumps make their way from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. My eyes began to swell with fluid and I knew if I blinked tears would stream down my face and it would show weakness, so I stared off into space without blinking and thought about how my actions will afford people the opportunity for freedom.  After boot camp I flew home in my uniform and strangers approached me and shook my hand, thanking me for my service.  To this day my response is the same. I blush, smile and nonchalantly say you’re welcome. This small gesture by these strangers made me feel loved and important; they made me feel like my existence had boundless meaning.

During my time of service my day-to-day life seemed routine. I felt I was living my life just like others my age, in reality I was experiencing a whole different way of living.  As a veteran people frequently ask me what my job was in the Navy. I explain that my rate or job title was a Boatswain’s Mate, and one of the duties is to drive the ship. Immediately they become enamored that someone so petite could do such a job. I further go on to explain that I was a master helmsman and that while I may be petite I can drive a nuclear aircraft carrier better than Vin Diesel can race a car in Fast and Furious.  Being able to reminisce over this period in my life I am able to realize and put into perspective all the accomplishments achieved, giving me a surge of significance. Without the innate desire to feel important and loved I would have never been able to obtain life with such meaning.

Small conversations such as these can make people feel their worth. Through worth, love can be empowering providing a building block for growth through positive energy.

Affirmation: Today I will make a stranger or a loved one feel important. I will put a genuine smile on their face and make them feel the energy that radiates from love.

Call to Action:  Engage in a conversation with someone you see frequently but whom you have never spoken with. When asking someone how their day is really take the time and engage in the conversation, ask questions and make them feel like they are the only living soul that matters for that moment. Let a stranger know that you appreciate who they are and what they do. Make those around you feel important.

34. Support

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Heads up CYLF family, today we are going to do some heavy lifting.

Right about the time I turned 15, for a number of reasons, I  began to obsess about suicide. It lasted for about 4-5 long dark months. Obviously I did not act on those thoughts, but they are near and dear to me today because I can relate to people that are suffering from those ideations.

The topic of suicide has entered my life the last three days which is odd because I do not dwell or discuss it often. Tuesday, during a meal with about 12 people, the epidemic of veterans committing suicide was discussed. Wednesday, I talked to a friend and we talked about the importance of support for people struggling with suicidal thoughts. Yesterday as I was driving home from a busy day this came on the radio.

In the 3 minute radio report Antoinette Tuff was able to talk to, and bond with a would be school shooter. She was able to make a real and personal connection through a quick conversation about suicide. About a minute into the report I started bawling as I was driving down the interstate.

It might have been because I was tired, hungry, or maybe all those memories of the 15 year-old me came rushing back. The two profound facts is that Mrs. Huff continued talking to this man even with a gun in his hand, and she told him she loved him. It was a true example of love for a complete stranger.

If you are struggling with this here is a link to find help. The organization is called To Write Love On Her Arms.

We can make a difference. Through connection, love, and understanding we are able to show each other life can be bigger than any material gift or possession.

Affirmation: Today I connect with my fellows through Love in order to understand them better. The collective, we will hold and raise each other up.

Call to Action: Make an effort to reach out to another human being. Call an old friend, buy a stranger a meal, or say thank you to a co-worker for something. We never know when our positivity and enthusiasm towards life will touch another’s soul. Please share how someone has touched your soul, or how you were able to make a difference for someone.

29. Experience

“What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print.” – Isadora Duncan

Last weekend at a resort in Phoenix Arizona several thousand people gathered together to celebrate their lives and inspire the lives of others.  I was blessed to be a part of the planning and culmination of this event and could not be more proud of the results that were apparent throughout and after the weekend had passed.  Part of my job in putting this event together was to get the word out to people so they would not miss out on the experience of being a part of something so big and beautiful.  I recognized I can share a concept and an idea, I can do it with love and enthusiasm, but a concept will never have as much weight as an experience.

My life today is so much different than when I was younger, thanks to some very vivid experiences I have been graced with.  These experiences gave me the ability to see how my choices were giving me a life I no longer wanted.  When I look at my life in reverse, all of the great changes have taken place came as a result of some experience that opened a window of willingness to take action for a change.  I often see people who are begging and pleading for a change and I do my best to tell them how the changes in my life have taken place. Sometimes, I feel so strongly about these things that I want to scream at the top of my lungs to help inspire someone but then, like this weekend, I am reminded if the words could help someone change then no one would have issues or problems.

I know today, life is what I make of it and the best I can do is help others get out in the world to have their own experiences.  My life happens out in the world and the only way I can capitalize on that is by becoming a part of it as much as I can.  The world is waiting for all of us when we step away from this page.  With a little bit of action maybe this will be the Friday that you truly change your life.

Affirmation: A good life is not just a concept; today I will take the action to make it my actual experience.

Call to Action: This is the juice as my friend would say.  Every week we share an idea that can inspire change.  What this week calls for is going out and being that change and sharing with us the results.  I know what my next step is and today I am going to choose to take it, the result will be an experience that I can build on to.  The world is waiting for you.

23. Health

“Our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it.” -Unknown

As I was browsing the internet the other day I saw the quote above and was completely struck by how simple yet profound it was.  I immediately brought into mind all of the little bumps and bruises I have had over the course of my life time and how consuming they become, so much so that they outweigh anything else that the present moment offers.  Next I started to think about the people in my life who I have seen come under much greater physical challenges than I have ever had to face and how their whole reality was transformed and focused on this lack of health.

My experiences as I stated are small but it seems even the little things create such a mental circus in my head.  I recently chomped on my tongue so hard that it hurt for a week.  I would tell myself every time that I felt the pain while eating to never eat so unconsciously again that something like this could happen.  That process held up for that week being reminded over and over again how great it is to not experience pain when eating or swallowing.  Just as every other example that I could site, once the pain went away I completely forgot about the resolutions that I had made to live more consciously and take better care of myself, I was really just back to business as usual.

There are several experiences that I have seen in others on a much more severe scale that have been shown to be much more transformative.  The first one that comes to mind is the great change in attitude and outlook that I have seen enter some cancer survivors that I know.  Through the process of losing all conception of what health was and being forced to see the value in it, once recovery would take place, it seems an inner shift occurs as well and their whole attitude and outlook on life transforms too.  They had experienced drastic changes physically that offered a gateway to gratitude for something as simple as a pain free day.

With this knowledge I get to ask myself a few questions; Am I healthy?  Am I showing gratitude for the health that I have?  What am I doing to stay and grow in healthy ways today?  If I honestly look at these questions I can quickly say that overall I am a very healthy person, I exercise, I eat consciously and I try my best to focus on the things that are good in me today.  So in some ways I believe I am grateful but I think that I have so much room to grow in this area.  When I bit my tongue I spent so much time and focus on how painful and problematic that issue was, I have never focused that much love into the little things that my body blesses me with everyday.  When I look at it this way it seems like a complete lack of balance. I know in this moment that I don’t want to have to wait to lose something to see the blessings I have right in front of me today.

Affirmation: I am blessed to recognize the value of the health that I have in this moment; today I will focus on all the parts of me that are perfect healthy and whole.

Call to Action: Time to do some work!  My back hurts, my leg is sore, I have a blister…  These stories become our complete reality but while they are obvious concerns the rest of the machine that makes up our bodies are working in perfect harmony.  Today my back may be hurt but that will not define me, My head is clear, My hands feel strong, I breathe with ease and comfort and I can enjoy even the spiciest meal with complete comfort.  Also this may be the time to look at some of those things which are consciously taking away this precious gift of health that you can still seize.  Time to get honest, eh? What health blessings do you have today?  I have ten fingers and toes and for that I am grateful.

happy healthy whole

19. Do What You Love

Do what you love, you will be better at it.  It sounds pretty simple but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this right away.  -LL Cool J

One night last week I was down at the ballpark enjoying America’s past time.  The home team was winning so I had a smile on my face.  We were sitting in the bleachers and had some hot dogs; not too bad for 20 bucks. At our stadium they have a big 50/50 raffle that I tend to donate to, there are employees of the park that walk around the isles during the game and help sell tickets to raise money for their cause and also for the cause of one lucky winner.  When the man came by this week I knew I recognized him but could not place him right away.  He looked really happy and I realized that’s why I was having trouble placing him. It was an old roommate of mine and the whole time I lived with him he never looked happy. Sure he smiled, he was happy at times, but his overall demeanor was less than thrilled on a regular basis.

I was so taken back with his 180 degree personality shift I wasn’t really sure how to react. When he came back around later on in the game and I told him he looked really good and really happy. He replied, “That’s cause I love this job! I have always wanted to work for a baseball team.” He went on to tell me he wanted to work for another team eventually, but for 162 days a year he works at his dream job. He doesn’t have the position he hopes to have someday but he is very happy to have his entry-level job.

I think about how he looked when I lived with him and how he looked at his new job and at first thought I am amazed. When I took some time to think about what he said and the situation as a whole It really rang true what they say, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life again.”  I am following my dreams today which was not always the case and I am certainly not yet where I want to be but I have started to take the first steps to my dream, just as my old roommate has.  My truth today is the same as his, I am doing what I always wanted to do and it makes me happy.

Affirmation:  I am now willing to let my fears fall free me so that I can start to be who I always wanted to be.

Call to Action: I think it is very easy to get stuck in a situation that is “good enough” and never take that risk to follow our dreams.  All dreams that are realized start with small steps and commitment to the path that it takes to get there.  I know you have some dreams, maybe today is the day that you take the first step and feel some of the joy that comes with doing what you want.

job love

14. Winner

“The odd were against us, but we deserve to be where we are.” – Steve Gerrard

I was struck by an amazing thought the other day while I was out for a run on a beautiful afternoon.  It came like a flash, and I was filled with this sense of duty and purpose, in that moment I was at perfect peace and was fully aware of the greatness of my life and experience.  The thought that I had was simple and I know that I have had it before but like most things it would stay for a bit and then fade, as a result I would forget one of the most amazing things that truly can inspire me at any moment. The thought “I am truly blessed to be alive, the chances of me getting to be must be astronomical.”  What I knew after thinking that was that I am grateful for this chance today and this experience and I want to make sure that I am showing that gratitude in every moment of my life.

For the past week or so I have been revisiting this idea, enjoying the feeling that comes when I think about how special I really am to have this chance to experience life and also how special everyone else is who has gotten their chance as well.  As usual I wanted to look a bit deeper into what the odds really are, did I really hit the lottery already? Have I already been granted the greatest gift the universe can bestow.  So I hit the internet up for some answers.  First I would like to say that I have gambled in my life and I know that a 1 out of 100 chance is pretty poor odds.  Furthermore my chances of winning the powerball seem so unlikely but they are around 1 in 175,223,510.  Now my odds of being born at this time in history are about 1 in 6000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000, that is 100 zeros if you wanna count.  I would call that the not a snowballs chance in hell number.

But here I am!  Writing this to you and there you are.  We are the winners!  We are enjoying this thing called life. Life is filled with all sorts of experiences but it seems that when I take this idea of how fortunate I am into them, regardless of how they make me feel in a moment, I am still one of the biggest winners this world has ever known.  It seems so easy to get down and live completely separated from gratitude for this gift, but constant recognition of this divine miracle seems to be an amazing way to connect to what is the real truth in this world; You are so special and amazing beyond measure, you make a 1 in a million chance seem like child’s play.

Affirmation:  I am so blessed to be right here right now.

Call to Action: Take some time throughout the next several days to feel how special you are.  With that feeling in mind how will you celebrate your victory?

12. Connecting

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last weekend I had the chance to travel through several states and log many miles with a group of people in a van.  Over the course of the weekend we were able to go through several stages of growth together since we all had a common goal on our journey.  At the beginning of the trip it was a bit awkward because the group was comprised of 11 people who knew each other mostly as acquaintances.  At some point everyone in the van started to get out of their shells through accepting the group and the role that we all had collectively as well as individually.  The music inspired conversation which turned into jokes and joy for everyone involved.  At some point we also came up with a chant made us smile and turned some heads which finished with the phrase, “No Regrets.” We continued to bond and by the time we returned it seemed that we didn’t want to part since our conversations continued to deepen throughout the journey.

Over the past several days since the trip we have all seemingly found reasons to get together and relive the moments that we shared on our trip and also make new memories together.  I really feel that once we all started to let our guard down and talk about our lives honestly and from the heart our little community began to bond in a very beautiful way.  The most interesting part to me when I look at this experience from the outside is how we all grew once we freed ourselves from judgement and accepted each other and our mission.

I think the lesson that I learned and that I want to share with you is that I find so much growth for myself through the times I spend with others.  I also find that there is not much that is more inspirational than to see someone else grow and change in front of my eyes.  When we left I am certain that we were all thinking about our goal for the trip but I feel that it was in the journey that we found the most growth.  The only way that this can happen though is to get involved and take an active role in the lives that we have been given.  I am so proud of my new crew that took that chance at being uncomfortable and put themselves in a position to show me once again that I am completed by the people that I surround myself with.  Thank you all for being a part of my experience, I love my CYLfriday crew, No Regrets!

Affirmation: Today I embrace my journey. I make memories and connections with all who I come in contact with. I love the idea that all people can be old friends when I let them in.

Call To Action: Share with us a recent time that you have had deep meaningful conversation with someone other that a dear friend. When was the last time you were vulnerable, and the result was something unpredictable and beautiful?

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11. Reach Out

“Don’t be afraid to talk, be afraid of staying quite.” – Eugene Lebid

I was talking to a friend the other day who proclaimed that her life was ruined, her future was hopeless, and she had no one to turn to. I quickly spouted off a list of family members and friends that could potentially help her. All of which were immediately rebutted with reasons why they could not or would not based on past interactions. I simply replied maybe this time it will be different.

I know the feelings of hopelessness and isolation.   I have been in that same position where I cannot see the light. It usually takes another person to point out that there is hope and the light is very close. I often forget how many people are in this world that I can turn to. I forget that when I need help all I have to do is ask. I forget that I have been here before and it is always darkest before the dawn. By reaching out and being vulnerable, I have grown in many ways. The majority of this growth was ignited by some of the most unlikely people, or so I thought. It is a great joy to go from seemingly hopeless to seeing a world of light and possibilities.

I beg of you to reach out. Talk about what is bothering you. Share your struggles with us and may we help you bear the load. When we keep things bottled inside it only makes us sick. When we share we heal and learn that maybe other people have been in our same situation and can lead us to what helped them.

Affirmation: I am loved. I have someone I can share with. I am a part of a community. I can be there for my friends who need me.

Call to action: Share something with a friend or loved one that you decided to keep to yourself. Maybe they are waiting for your call now. You can leave a comment below about how this changed your life today, or email us directly if you don’t want to talk to any of your friends.