Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Paper Bag of Me

"And what do you do?" is a question that has bothered me for as long as I can remember. 

It bothered me most often during the last three years - after leaving a lifetime (truly - about 25 years) working in healthcare and taking time off to be at home; raising my daughters, taking my mom to doctor visits here or there, doing laundry, making art and keeping our house afloat.  

But long before that, it bothered. Because "what do you do?" it is often the question used to define someone. And the answers bother me as much as the question. I am not a person who likes to be defined by what I do. 

Because for me . . . I am so much more than my job. So lately, I have been thinking about what defines me. 

What is the true, authentic definition of me? 

Am I the "insurance lady" in a doctors office? The wanna-be artist? Healthcare worker? A mother? Daughter? Wife? Am I the brownie leader who makes the little ones laugh? Or the woman who has struggled with her weight her whole entire life? Am I the girl with short hair? Or the girl who loved theater so much, but never took a chance on herself? Yes, while all of those things are stories of me, do they actually define me? 

When I leave this world, what will be remembered about me? 

I read through a lot of blog posts, watched Ted talks, and read tons of articles while thinking this whole concept through. One of the posts I read (so sorry - I cannot remember the source, or I would certainly credit it here), spoke about imagining being handed a paper bag and being asked to fill it with things that would represent you. 

I like that idea. 

My paper bag. 

When I start to think of what I would put in my paper bag, I realize that I would fill it more with thoughts and ideas than actually items. Of course, I'd love to have a pencil, a marker, a paint brush or two . . . may be a few photos here or there . . . but mostly, I would fill it with words.  

Kindness. Laughter. Faith. Hope. Truth. Love. 

Because those are the things I want to me known for. 

Not my job. Not the work that I do. 

I want to be known for the feeling I give to people while with them. I want to be known for the giving of positive energy. For what I out out. I know I haven't saved the world - but I hope that in some small, tiny way - I can bring some joy to those I share my world with, either by a smile, a laugh, or a moment of complete and total love. 

That is what I think my definition is. 

What I do - that's just how I fill my days. But who I am, I think, is so much more. 

Wishing you peace, my friends. Always. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Because of Them . . .


. . . I love life even more than I ever imagined. 

Because of them . . .

     I smile wider and laugh longer. 

Because of them . . . 

     I try to be the best person I can be, each and every day. 
Because of them . . . 

     I live this life with more passion, more energy, more faith, more inspiration, more adventures, more focus, more spirit, more excitement, more tenderness, more peace, more love, more joy, more radiance, more abundance, more clarity, more generosity, more purpose, more magic. 

Because of them . . . 

     I live this life with More. 

Because of them . . . 

     I live. 

And because of them . . . I thank God, each and every moment. 

Wishing you peace, my friends. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

When the Universe Calls, Twice


I love when the Universe calls, you know? When you find yourself almost to the breaking point with thoughts of "life is rough and people can be pretty cruel and there is no way that I can make a difference" - and then suddenly, a change. When the Universe reminds you of what matters. That yes, even in the simplest of ways, you can make a difference. 

Yes, I love when that happens. 

And this week, the Universe called me. Twice

Most of you know that I went back into the work force two months ago - starting a new job at a pediatricians office on December 1st actually. Back in healthcare - the field that I have worked in for almost 25 years. It is a great fit for me (three days a week), and allows me enough flexibility that I can still have plenty of time to live out my creative dreams - and (most importantly) bring additional funds to our home on a regular basis. 

Something is different about how I am approaching this job. Maybe it is because I have been home for three years and had ample time to relax before getting back into the work force. Maybe it is because I am a little older - a little wiser - a little more aware of this precious thing called life. Maybe I have had a lot of time to fill my creative pitcher, having spent three awesome years putting inspiration into my art. Maybe it is because I found a job where I think I can do good work - with people who I do really enjoy - and know that I can leave it behind every day without the responsibility or stress coming home with me, as so many jobs in my past had. 

Whatever it is, I am so grateful for it. 

But Monday, I was feeling a little bummed about it. A random phone call with a cranky parent found me during what must have been a vulnerable moment. Her rudeness and complete and total misinterpretation of what I was telling her was really upsetting, and I left work feeling utterly and totally deflated. 

My happiness bubble had burst. 

I thought about it the whole ride home. What could I have said differently to her? What would have changed her approach or attitude with me? Was there something I could have done to explain the scenario that would have made her less hostile? I played it over and over in my mind. 

I came home to a house full of family - my girls, husband, my nephews, in laws, a few extra strays - and a wide variety of activities taking place. I excused myself to our bedroom and found myself writing about the day on Facebook. Because as I often to - I needed to write it out to work through it (my cheap form of therapy).

Facebook. It can be awesome therapy when you need it most. Universe call #1 - my Facebook friends. Because in their wonderful, caring, supportive, and wise ways - my Facebook friends came back with words that only they could provide - when I truly needed it most. I didn't expect (or even think about) what their replies would be to the sharing of my day. But their words far outweighed the negativity I felt. 

My bubble was filling up again. Slowly. 

The next morning, I woke with a plan. To start anew. To not allow that one phone call, that one moment, to reflect on my spirit. So I armed myself with my strongest weapons - my peace ring (a gift from Katie and Ella about 5 years ago), and my positivity bracelet. When I wear those two things - I  feel as if nothing can tear me down. 

And then, the Universe called, again. 

This time in the form of another patients parent. A mother, who was calling to try and get her 9 year old son into our office for a first time ADHD visit with one of our physicians. She was distraught, after having just receiving a very serious phone call from her sons school over their concerns for him, and she was at her wits' end. I could hear it in her voice. She was calm, but I could hear the fear, the worry, the exhaustion with each and every word. 

And for those few moments on the phone with her, I knew that I had the ability to help her. To help calm her nerves. To let her know that she wasn't alone. To just listen to her. 

(Sometimes I think all we really need is to be heard.)  

I told her to take a breath. 

I told her that I understood. 

I told her that she was going to get through this. That I know it isn't easy. But she will get through it. 

And I believe she will. 

It wasn't a long phone call - it didn't have to be. But I know it was what she needed. And in the best way possible - it was exactly what I needed, too. 

My happiness bubble is full again. 

And the Universe? It continues to amaze me. 

Wishing you a full bubble, and lots of peace dear friends. 

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