I saw this video posted on the Vivid Life website which is another of the homes for my writing and Blog Talk Radio show called It’s All About Relationships. It was the perfect reminder of how, despite appearances, we may never know what is going on in the hearts and minds of those with whom we cross paths. Filmed at the Cleveland Clinic, it is a day in the life of various patients and family members who walk or are wheeled through their doors. The captions that run across the screen carry with them powerful and poignant meaning with descriptions such as “dreading the appointment”, “just signed a DNR”, “husband was given a terminal diagnosis”, “just found out he is a dad”, “tumor benign” “tumor malignant” and “coming off of a 12 hour shift”.
Think about your own day. When you woke up this morning, what was your initial thought? Did it have to do with pain, illness or injury for yourself or someone you know? Was it “Thank God, I’m ok or that my loved one woke up beside me.”? How about ” What will tomorrow bring?” The truth is, in a 24 hour period, any or all of those things could be so. Consider your interactions with the clerk in the supermarket who may be ringing up the wrong price for your items or the person driving in front of you who may be going more slowly than you prefer. An initial reaction could be impatience or even anger. What if the reasons for their actions have to do with anticipating or having received unpleasant news? Would that make you feel any more compassion for them?
I am flashing back 14 1/2 years ago when my husband was a patient in the ICU of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia for the last 5 1/2 weeks of his life while awaiting a liver transplant that never occurred. Those 40 days and 40 nights (what I called my ‘Biblical travail’) that I lived there with him, I had several of those thoughts as I strolled the hallways. I got to know many of the families whose loved ones were in the care of those I thought of as ‘angels in scrubs’. We became family of choice and chance as a result and for a few years after Michael passed, I remained in contact with some of them. I blessed the staff and wondered how they managed to maintain their pleasant personae while they themselves might have experienced vicarious traumatization in the course of doing their jobs and who knows what their personal lives were like? As a medical social worker, I know that health care workers can fall to prey to it. As I took an occasional foray out into the world, I would watch folks doing ‘normal people things’ such as eating in restaurants, going to work, playing with their children, taking their dogs for a walk, bicycling, roller blading, going to the movies and wondered if they had any clue what was going on behind the walls of the hospital. Had they once been where I was and eased their way back into their daily lives, leaving the struggle behind them or were they still carrying their burdens? I smiled at them too, knowing that someday I would join their ranks and create a ‘new sense of normal.’ I have, but hold onto the sense of empathy for those in throes.
I encourage you to watch this short video and put yourselves in the place of each of these people knowing that “it came to pass, not to stay.”
http://youtu.be/Wl2_knlv_xw “IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE OTHERS’ HEARTS”: LIFE, in 4 min”
“It’s APRIL’s FOOLS Day.. Where are you fooling yourself that you are unworthy, undeserving, unloved or unable to reach for what you dream of????”-Jan Schneider
This silly holiday celebrated world wide has its origin 7 centuries ago. “The custom of playing tricks on friends on April 1st is believed to have originated in France in the middle 1500s when King Charles IX adopted a new calender and those that refused to accept January 1st as the new years day became the butt of jokes. Read further on http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/how-did-april-fools-day-begin-and-how-did-it-get-its-name”
People set up elaborate hoaxes and play jokes on unwitting family, friends and co-workers. I can’t recall the last time I did either, but I am amply aware of the mischievous job I do of fooling myself into believing I am less than worthy, successful and enough to have my dreams and desires come to fruition. Recently, my dreamlife has been telling me that this is so. As I was napping on Saturday, I found myself on my radio show interviewing Barbara Marx-Hubbard (from her website: “Barbara Marx Hubbard has been called “the voice for conscious evolution of our time” by Deepak Chopra and is the subject of Neale Donald Walsch’s new book “The Mother of Invention.” A prolific author, visionary, social innovator, evolutionary thinker and educator, she is co-founder and chairperson of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She is the producer and narrator of the award-winning documentary series entitled Humanity Ascending: A New Way through Together and has recently partnered with The Shift Network as a global ambassador for the conscious evolution movement; a shift from evolution by chance towards evolution by choice.” In all my years as a journalist, I had not had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara, but she symbolizes a powerful woman with world wide impact who has been a credible voice for a sustainable future. When I do the show, I am here in my home in the Philadelphia area, connected via laptop and skype, headset on and my guest is wherever in the world they happen to be and my engineer is in Canada. In my dream, I took a walk without being tethered to the computer, and the headset seemed to have no limit. I was wandering through a small town, speaking with Barbara and a little boy who I felt was around two, was tugging at me and repeating what sounded like ‘Amanda Rideout’. Then an older man in his 70’s was trying to get my attention too and I kept waving him off and pointing at the headset. After the interview, I walked into my childhood living room and saw the man casually lounging on the sofa. I say to him “When I have this headset on, it means I am on the radio. Please don’t talk to me then.” He smiles, leans back and says “Don’t you recognize your own father?” I dissolve into tears and collapse in his arms and then I wake up. Whew! The 5th anniversary of his passing in April 3rd, so it’s no surprise that he showed up in my dream.
Then, when I woke up, I went on to Facebook and this video was the first thing that popped up on the feed. Is the Universe speaking or what?
Here is the trailer for a new video….Can you feel the impulse of evolution? We are ONE. Enjoy this trailer – a wonderful film by Planetary Collective. What, if any, perspective shifts occurred for you after watching this? http://vimeo.com/55073825
On Easter Sunday, I had lunch with friends, one of whom is Ken Kaplan whose calling is dream interpretation. I have shared numerous nocturnal meanderings over the years and he has impeccably perused them with me and assisted me in clarifying the messages. Yesterday was no exception. What became apparent was that I have become increasingly comfortable with expanding my horizons, untethered by previous limiting thoughts and beliefs. I was ready for my ‘walkabout’ in the world. Aligning with Barbara’s vision was on the agenda as well. We figured out that the little boy represented the child part of me and the reason he showed up as a boy and not a girl was that when I was young I did ‘kid’ stuff with my dad, not stereotypical girl activities, such as digging in the dirt, bicycling, skating, kite flying and helping him in the garage. I sensed he was telling me that I needed to return to more just for the heck of it, with no particular purpose play time.
The older man represented the ‘old school’ way of thinking that women aren’t supposed to be successful and he kept trying to distract me from what I was focused on and getting the job done. It was when I faced him, that he turned into my dad who was always supportive of my endeavors. Not sure still the significance of the name Amanda Rideoout, except if I break it down, it sounds like ‘a man to ride out.’ Wondering if it connects with the idea of a partner with whom to ride out into the world.
This morning, I am entering into the day with eyes wide open, unwilling to be fooled any longer.
“Ask for what you want and be prepared to ger it.”-Maya Angelou
Wise words from Maya Angelou and on the surface, quite simple. It begs the question: why then is it so challenging to do? While some of us have the first part of the verbal equation down, when it comes to opening our minds and hearts to the second aspect, we are sadly inept at times. I know I am. And there are those who can’t even determine what it is that they want, to such an extent that they can’t even ask, let alone prepare to receive. Perhaps it comes from learning that they have no right to ask, so they don’t even bother formulating dreams, or if they have expressed their most heartfelt desires, someone (either well-meaning or cruel), tells them it isn’t possible. In my therapy practice over the years, I have wept (on the inside) at some of the stories related by clients who have had their parades rained on multiple times, so they have given up even hoping that some seed they had planted would blossom into a magnificent garden. I remind them that their history isn’t their destiny and they have every right to see their vision become concrete reality and that to feel it, hear it, taste it, touch it and smell it; breathing it all in, they will call it to themselves. I have witnessed that process in action more times than I can count in my own life.
Wondering what keeps me from embracing my chosen reality at times. When I put a call out the Universe (and I do have a hotline to Spirit and so do you), I marvel at what and who shows up. This idea of preparation to receive is a part of the process, since when I prepare, I leave physical and emotional space into which can pour marvels beyond my widest dreams. As my capacity to receive that for which I have asked has increased, there is simply more to receive. It seems to be one of those irrefutable laws of the Universe, that ‘nature abhors a vaccuum’. Something’s gotta fill the space. Wouldn’t you rather have it be something you would enjoy? I know I would prefer that.
Recently, I have been pondering the flow of abundance in my life. When fear thoughts snarl at me that I will never do enough or have enough; I am turned around and reminded that there was always enough (shhh…don’t tell the inner critic since she will find a way to reinforce those bizarre beliefs) and always will be. Opportunities to do what I love and be well compensated for it have been showing up. I express gratitude that additional ways of earning income have been finding me. When I really want to do a number on myself, I play the silly ‘what if game?’ What if I didn’t have all of these multiple streams of income?” ( but I do) My intention gets set daily, but I still would beneft from remembering that things can take time, while others seem to manna-fest at the speed of thought.
On this day, when bird song is serenading me, when the sun is streaming through the curtains, when I have two coaching clients, am getting together with a dear friend and her new baby, going to the gym for my ‘playout’ and then offering a reiki/massage session tonight, I feel truly blessed that I on the everlasting giving/receiving cycle.
One of my role models for grace-filled living at the end of life was Gilda Radner. Her antics on Saturday Night Live were part of my late adolescence into early adulthood. Characters Emily Litella (“Never mind.”) and Roseanne Rosanadana (“It’s always something.”) were among my favorites. Little did I know that many years later, I would be working for an organization created after her death from cancer. Gilda’s Club is a non-residential community offering support for those diagnosed with cancer, as well as their families and friends. It was founded by Gilda’s husband Gene Wilder, her brother Michael Radner and her counselor Joanna Bull who I had the joy of meeting and interviewing when the signature red door Delaware Valley (PA) chapter opened. I have facilitated groups for them and clowned around as my character Feather who is a winged faerie.
Prior to her passing, Gilda wrote a book called “It’s Always Something” that was made into a tv movie. A passage that remains with me jumped out again after I saw this image on my friend and radio producer Shayne Traviss’ Facebook page.
““I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.” -Gilda Radner
Change can be scary. It can also be exhilirating. One of the most oft heard concerns that have come from my clients over the years is fear of the future. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” “What if things don’t work out?” “I don’t know what to do with my life.” To the first of those statements, I have said “The truth is, we don’t know moment to moment what will transpire, so I prefer to live as if it will be something that I would label positive.” To the second, I have shared “I have found that things work out for the Highest Good even if it feels sucky at the time.” and to the third, “Great! You have a whole lifetime to figure it out, start now. What lights you up from the inside and turns you into a human sparkler?”
There are some days when I wake up with trepidation and hestitation about what the day will bring and others anticipation. Although I may not be able to control my first thought upon opening my eyes, I certainly have the choice about those that follow. Even in the midst of the dark nights of the soul that I have faced, I have instinctively known that the sun would eventually peek through. I do take into account that I was raised to be optimistic and resilient, knowing that love would prevail over fear and darkness.
So, what if you could willingly embrace life on life’s terms, stand with head held high, arms outstretched welcoming what the day will bring?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACCcU0X0dW0 What The Day Brings-by Brad