In the early 1980s, Oprah Winfrey was a 28-year-old talk show host in Baltimore. She read a book called The Color Purple and it completely changed her life. She had been abused as a child and had never told anyone. A character in the book had the same thing happen to her so Oprah finally felt like she wasn’t alone. She felt heard and validated. She went to the book store and bought every available copy of the book. She carried them around in a backpack and handed them out to friends, colleagues and strangers, urging them to read the story. Continue reading
Ann Dowd is a 61-year-old working actor. For thirty years she has played under the radar supporting roles in movies including Philadelphia, Marley & Me, Lorenzo’s Oil and Manchurian Candidate and television shows including Law & Order, NYPD Blue, The X-Files and Chicago Hope. But she never received a prestigious award for her work.
Until last night. She took home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the character she plays in the screen version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. She started her acceptance speech with, “Well, I think this is a dream…” Continue reading
Artist Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
Sometimes it may feel like you are taking two steps forward and one step back. But that still means you are moving forward. No matter how small the increment, moving ahead is always the motion that counts. Continue reading
Someone mentioned the art of allowing to me yesterday and it got me thinking. For many of us, we are not comfortable allowing things to happen as they may. It seems like we are not in control or not working to make things as they should be. If we aren’t satisfied with something at work or on a child’s sports team or in a friendship, we keep gnawing away at it and tying ourselves in knots. Why didn’t it work out this way? Why didn’t they do this or that? Continue reading
In his book The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor talks about perspective and whether people see themselves as lucky or unlucky. He often tells a story at speaking events and asks people in the audience what they think. Continue reading
I pulled myself out of bed this morning and did a 6am hot yoga class. As I lay on the studio floor waiting to start, the instructor said something that brought tears to my eyes. She said, “It’s my seven year old daughter’s birthday today. Seven years ago she took her first breath. A breath no one thought she would take. So in honour of her, can we all remember to be grateful for each breath we take?” Continue reading
New beginnings. Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
The first day of school always holds a little anxiety for most students, parents and teachers. Class lists and new shoes. Fresh notebooks and sharpened pencils. Continue reading
African-American author and civil rights leader Harold Washington Thurman once said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Continue reading
Are we getting older or bolder? Each day we have the opportunity to think we have missed our chance to do something or we can just jump in and do it.
And the bolder we are the younger we feel.
Last weekend I literally leaped right out of my comfort zone and went ziplining with my kids for the first time. Continue reading
I heard something on the radio this morning that piqued my interest. They were speaking about how these days many of us live inside an online community. We feel connected with those in our virtual networks but not with those physically around us as we move through our day.
If we were sitting in a coffee shop and saw someone crying at the table beside us, would we be brave enough to offer a kind word? Or would we continue to scroll through our phone thinking that it’s none of our business?
Do we hold doors open for others or are we too busy tearing around trying to keep a schedule? Do we chat with the person checking us in to an appointment or checking us out at the grocery store?
Are we in the moment? Maybe we should worry less about our followers and concentrate more on being a leader. Leading with bravery and vulnerability is a challenge, but when a connection is made it is empowering for both parties. It is something we need to consciously practice. To not be a bystander if there is a situation, but to ask if anyone needs help. To not look at things as a story to tell later but as a story to help write.
We all need to feel validated. To feel that we are more alike than different. To feel that we are not alone.
Doctor and researcher Dean Ornish said, “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”
Let’s focus on our intention to bond with others as we walk through our day. Those face to face connections will brighten our mood and fuel our soul.