The Hands.

time
I’ve learned that it’s easy to recall terror and trauma; that the memory of anything that’s caused us pain or damage or turmoil is so easily accessible and readily available.

I still remember this day in 2001 when our world came shattering and screeching to a halt. Time stood still. The safety we’ve always felt was torn from beneath us and images of terror and evil flashed before our wide eyes.

But, today, let us not remember the terror. Or, let’s remember, but not dwell on it. What you give thought to, you give power to. So, instead, recall the love.

Recall the faces and stories of those who were lost that day; how they were mothers and sons and aunts and sisters and fathers and brothers and children and friends and grandparents and how they were all the center of their own universe and how they were all – every single one of them – someone else’s everything.

Tell stories. Give memories a voice. Recall the outpouring of pride for our country; sympathy for our fellow Americans. Let us recall the kindness of strangers. Let us recall the bravery of our own. Let us recall how it felt to be united.

Let us not focus on the horror of how lives ended, but instead, focus on how those lives began; on everything between the day they were born and the day they died – because it’s everything in the middle that counts the most.

Let us not lose the lesson – because there is always a lesson, especially in the darkest moments. We’re all going to die. There is absolutely nothing we can do to avoid it. The clock is forever ticking – unstoppable even if we were to tear out the hands and rearrange the numbers in a futile attempt try to trick it into giving us one more day here. It shall not be tricked, for it is powered by a force bigger than us.

So, the lesson is not to find ways to live forever or to fight the inevitability of death. The lesson is to live every day with the knowledge that this is all temporary. To treat every person we encounter kindly and with gentle hands.

There will always be evil. There will always be those who seek to destroy, and spread hatred. It is dangerous to think we can stop it. We cannot explode it out of existence. What we can do, however, is realize that the only way to counteract it is with love. It may seem small and weak, because bombs and crashing planes are louder; but, trust in its power: The power of good and light and patience and love
and love
and love
and love
and love
and love.

This is my wish: anyone reading this, please do one deliberate act of good right now. Buy someone a coffee. Smile at a stranger. Look someone in the eye and ask them how they’re really doing. Hold a door. Hug someone for 9 seconds without pulling away. Serve a fellow human being. When you find anger, fight it with kindness. Practice patience. Notice each other. Let the despicable acts of this day catapult us into doing more good.

That is how we win.

I’ve been speaking my gratitude’s out loud every day and this usually includes a list that takes me about ten minutes to get through. But, today…today all I could say is “I am grateful to be alive,” over and over and over and over. It’s that simple today. I am just grateful to be alive; grateful that there is blood running through my veins and my heart is beating and my lungs are growing smaller and bigger,

smaller and bigger,

smaller and bigger.

Find love today. Be love today. Give love today.

9/11/2001

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Gratitude and Joy

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Last month I had what ended up being a pretty life changing experience. It has drastically impacted the my day to day journey from start to finish. Part of that experience is what I’m about to share with you.

Life has been difficult for me in the past months. While my suffering is no greater or worse than anyone else’s – it is only my experience – I was really struggling every single day. I was begging for answers, and coming up empty; until two wonderful people took the time to sit me down and give me truths I needed to hear and the healing I needed to feel. While the experience that I had is a bit too long to tell in a simple blog post (it would probably end up being more like a book), I want to pass on the simplest and easiest part of it. Anyone can do it, anytime.

Part of what these two wonderful people told me was this: “When you wake up in the morning, even if you don’t feel it, say out loud: Today I will find gratitude and joy. Say it with purpose, and again, even if you don’t feel like you’ll find either one, say you will. Even if you’re crying, say it.”

Even though I didn’t really give much creedance to that part of the advice (how could I be expected to even remember to say the very words gratitude and joy amidst one of the hardest periods of life I’ve ever faced?!? I was NOT finding gratitude or joy even when I called out to it), I trusted them, and every day from that point forward, even when I could hardly move myself to get out of bed, I said the words: Today I will find gratitude and joy. Some days (ok, quite a few days) with tears stinging my eyes, because even thinking of gratitude and joy made me hurt…they were so far from my grasp.

But….

Slowly (and in the grand scheme of things, very, very, very, quickly), I began to feel different. When I spoke that phrase aloud, I truly started to feel gratitude and joy. On certain days, I’d only remember to say it in a quiet moment of small happiness – a hot coffee, a smiling stranger, a beautiful sunset – but now, every day, I’m remembering to say it because I’m finding it every day. Now don’t confuse that with everything being perfect…it’s not. My life is a work in progress, but the clouds have parted and I have to say, I am finding joy every day. Joy…a word I never get much thought to, now fills me.

There is no magic happiness pill that will poof you into a state of bliss. And even what I’ve told you is just one small and simple part of what it takes to fill all the gaps in our lives until it pours over the brim with happiness. I am not the first to suffer, and I won’t be the last. So, I’m hoping that in passing along this little nugget, I can help someone the way I was helped – without expectation and out of love.

Today, I will find Gratitude and Joy.

– A

Muse

Santa Barbara, my own personal heaven.

Santa Barbara, my own personal heaven.

I was having a conversation with two men this past week.

One American, one British.

Both successful.

One was talking about a successful female athlete he represents (he’s a manager) and he kept mentioning again and again how difficult she was. She’s a “real pain in the ass,” he kept warning me as we discussed ways I could work with her (I should note, he adores her and wasn’t say this to be cruel or insulting…it was more admiration than anything).

I laughed saying that this made me want to work with her even more…that I don’t want to associate with women who aren’t a little bit of a pain in the ass.

I said that I myself, am a pain in the ass, and that any woman truly worth their time would be a pain in the ass, too.

The British man laughed and said he didn’t believe that I could be a pain in the ass.

I told him not to let my innocent face and seemingly sweet disposition fool him.

He asked me what I thought made me one. I replied “Because I push. I push, and push, and pick, and push, until the man I love is the best possible version of himself that he can be, and I refuse to accept anything less than from him.”

He laughed and said:

“Darling, that doesn’t make you a pain in the ass, that makes you a muse.”

I just about died right there and told him that this was the was best thing I’d ever heard come out of his mouth.

 

What a poetic and amazing way of seeing a woman…don’t you agree?