Week 15 – 16 Kindness

Kindness is easily taken for granted and many times overlooked by the one providing random kindness as a significant event. What I view as normal everyday, common courtesy’s are viewed by others a extraordinary acts of kindness. For example, a pet peeve of mine is finding shopping carts left all over retail parking lots. Sometimes just ONE parking space away from a cart storage area. So I normally will gather up carts and put them in the cart storage on my way into the store, or I will take a cart from outside cart storage, even if I don’t need one, and take it into the store. A friend asked me one time why I did this. My reply was, “that is one less cart for someone else to deal with and I am going that way.”

Picking up litter wherever you see it and disposing of it properly is another good random act of kindness habit to get into. My husband would stop the car (we lived in a very small town with one stop light) and pick up cigarette packs, pop cans, etc. littering the streets and put it in the car to be disposed of at home. I frequently found litter in his pockets he would pick up in his walking travels to and from the car on errands.  Helping someone stranded alongside the road. We still get Christmas cards from a family we helped over 35 years ago stranded alongside the road during a snow storm.  We just did those kinds of things without thinking. Doing what we can for others where we can.

When I think of random acts of kindness, it involves some level of “hardship” on my part, some “cost”. Paying for someone’s meal, parking, toll booth costs, water bill, car registration, groceries, medical bills, hair cuts, hotel bills, tips larger than the price of the meal, etc. The list can be endless. Watching someone’s kids so they can go to an appointment. Cleaning their house and doing their laundry while they were ill, mowing lawn, shoveling/snoblowing snow. My husband after a snowstorm would load up the snowblower and travel around town finding people outside shoveling that shouldn’t be and send them inside and would snoblow and shovel their driveways and sidewalks. We have done all those things and more, again with little thought of the significant impact this makes on others beyond we do these things because we can.

We have been the recipient of acts of kindness. When my husband was fighting the fight of his life for four years, we had many come forward and offer their assistance and more importantly, not offer just DO. This was a very humbling experience for us. We were used to being the ones doing not receiving. They knew to offer no matter what it was we would refuse graciously, but if they DID we couldn’t undo.  We were blessed beyond measure.

The surprise acts of kindness are the most fun to do and to receive, especially in the mail. Everyone of all ages likes to receive cards in the mail. You know it is going to contain something good just because of the shape. So I send out a few cards with the card providing the message and sent out a few that I handwrote a message of admiration, encouragement, support. Some were signed, but most unsigned leaving them guessing. I had to work hard disguising my handwriting.

Leaving notes with messages like “you are worth a mint to many”  and an attached mint on their car window to cars in shopping parking lots is a lot of fun especially for a group to canvas the parking lot. How inexpensive when you can buy $1.00 bag of starlite mints from the dollar store.

We were blessed with a volunteer run movie theater in the town I used to live in. I was one of the many regular volunteers and usually worked the Wednesday afternoon matinee, regular job was making the popcorn, when all the retired seniors would attend and their movie ticket price was $1.00.  I would show up for my scheduled volunteer Wednesday  and tell the cashier to tell them their admission was already paid by an admirer and I would pay all their admissions after the movie started. Or I might pay for their matinee $2.00 special popcorn and small soda for everyone who attended that movie. Sadly, moving to a large city those prices are prohibitive of doing this for everyone watching the movie, so I will prepay for a random senior and I never know who it is. I will tell the cashier to pick a number between 1 and 20 and that number is the senior I am paying for. If it doesn’t appear there will be 20 seniors attending that showing and they picked number 20, they are to pick someone to give it to.

I am smiling remembering all these activities and how it not only made others feel but how we felt helping others. The cheapest and easiest act of kindness you can give to another is your smile. My legacy, helping others. The best is yet to be. I always keep my promises.


Week 14 – Gratitude

When given the assignment in week 13 of writing three things daily I am grateful for, my blueprint said “ugh,  you will be out of things to write down in about a week. ” Mark’s emphasis of no matter how small or seemingly insignificant write it down became my focus. Surprisingly, a week later and I am still able to come up with three things daily to be grateful for. The first three were rather difficult because I was critiquing my thoughts, “was I really grateful”, “was it really something that deserved the recognition of being awarded the distinction of being in my grateful list?”  Some days my old blueprint comes into play, and I fear using them all up and not being able to come up with 3 daily over the weeks to come. Most days, I now don’t want to stop at three and sometimes don’t. I’ve learned that gratitude is not reserved for really big events. Those big things would not come to be without all those little things along the way. Celebrate the small things. We live in abundance; there is infinite possibilities every day. I’ve learned my definitions of many words have taken on new meanings. And my level of expectation has changed, including for myself. My gratitude entries now also include things I am grateful for regarding me and who I am, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace those “flaws”. Why did I give a definition of a something different to be a flaw? I am who I am and I am grateful that there is no other like me. The best is yet to be. I always keep my promises.

Week 13 – Finish The Race

I found value in going back to finish the race where I derailed. Week twelve’s blog was to include insights from several suggested movies. Each with open, yet hidden meanings of power….internal power we each have within us yet only a few really tap into, the power of dreams.

I have watched The Door To Door Salesman many times over the years and have used portions of this movie in trainings. Bill Porter’s unconscious dream was to be and be accepted like everyone else, yet he wasn’t like everyone else. He was Bill Porter a man with lots of strikes against him, yet he finished his race becoming the top salesman in a tough industry. He did this by lessons learned from the most important person and cheerleader in his life, his Mother. Patience – when you persevere calmly in spite of difficulties. Persistence – is believing you can get what you want, you can achieve what you dream of.

Patience and persistence, simple yet so hard. Two skills I need to improve on. Patience, or lack there of may be the reason for me to hurry through life, checking off each task, item, event to get to the next thing. Never really being fully present in any of it. My husband and I were a great team complimenting each other, challenging each other, yet different. He loved the challenge of cramming as much as he could in to the same finite time per day we all have and in his mind, that was one measure of success. He enjoyed everything he did, the trips taken, the social events with friends, the people he helped, the work he did and making the impossible possible. The problem is we really don’t have the same time and his life was cut short. A regret he had, was not enjoying each moment fully and not allowing moments to become more than a few grains of sand in an hour glass. Me, it was simply to check it off to move to the next thing on the list because there is so much to be done. Interestingly, much of which is created in my own mind – my blueprint.

Persistence – never giving up even in adversity. Bill Porter knocked on the same doors that were shut in his face the week and weeks before. Always with a smile and always some compliment or little gift. He became the top salesman for Watkins because he never lost focus, believed in others and was fully present with them each time he entered their homes. Bill Porter finished his race.

Rudy – again someone with every strike against him and he never gave up on his dream. Patience and persistence. My husband and I had the pleasure of hearing Rudy Ruettiger at a conference on 10/27/97. I know this for sure because that is the date he wrote in his autographed book “Rudy’s Rules” to us. I searched our bookcases until I found his book after watching the movie again and now need to re-read the book and be fully present in his 10 rules. 1- Everyone can be anyone they want to be, 2- Make anger work for you, 3- Everyone should dream, 4 – Eliminate the confusion, 5- It is better to do something and fail than to do nothing and succeed, 6 – Get the dollar signs out of your eyes, 7 – Quit making excuses, 8- Dreams don’t have time limits, but timing is everything, 9 – Never quit and 10 – When you achieve one dream, dream another. Rudy Ruettiger finished his race.

Like in the movie, “Cool Running’s”, I am going to pick up my bobsled and finish my race. Bobsled team,  “Cool Running’s”, were losing their race even though they were still following their dream because they were trying to be like another team. They got their game back on when they returned to their Jamaican identify that got them where they were. This movie showed different dreams that could have been taken away forever, but because of persistence, the dream remained even when the path took different turns. In one case the dream was jerked away due to an opponent stumble causing 3 to lose their race and dreams of going to the Olympics as sprinters. Shifting all three to a different direction but same dream of going to the Olympics. Another’s twenty year old dream that was forgotten, resurrected because of timing and largely the poster he kept on the wall of bobsledding in the Olympics, and a picture on the wall of taking Jamaican sprinters from sprinting to bobsledding in the Olympics.  One was asked if the words “give up mean anything to you” and his response was “not a thing”. Patience, persistence, dreams. The man in the mirror was present in the movie, “look in the mirror and tell me what do you see”, one teammate asked another. The man looking in the mirror was allowing his blueprint to identify him. The teammate corrected him and told him what he saw and had him repeat it several times each time with gusto. Real life way before MKE. Their final race to win the Olympics ended early due to mechanical failure but they finished their race, they picked up their bobsled and carried it over the finish line. Even in loss they won. They finished their dream and earned the respect of all those who were afraid of them because they were different. They finished their race.

I am finishing my race, my dreams. The best is yet to be! I always keep my promises.


Week 12 – Hello Again

I admit, I have been missing in action for a month. It started rather innocently enough and then that old blueprint grabbed ahold and I have had a tough time shaking it. My old blueprint of winter depression, magnified by the holidays and further magnified of enduring this time alone without my partner in life. Looking back at my planner and tried to identify the earth shattering reason for my derailment to justify my excuse for not keeping my promises and I see diddly squat, nothing, nada, zip. Nothing huge enough to be noted in my planner for future reference to explain that week I faltered which led to a whole month of nothing. Well not NOTHING….I did do SOME of the activities during this time; Sunday Webinars, surveys some of the daily requirements, but not enough. It is all those little things that add to the big things. Same is true in life. And it is those little things that grow into the big things. But did I really do the things I said I did? What is the definition of do? If the definition is to check them off the list, then I did them. If the definition is to be fully present in the process then no, I didn’t really do anything. I did just enough not to lose, but not enough to win. I look back at my life and wonder when I quit playing to win. Where did this blueprint come from? I am in control of my life so why aren’t I. That is the question I will be present in; dissecting to keep that old blueprint chopped up and buried, so my new me can emerge and develop into who I am created and destined to be. My legacy of helping others. The best is yet to be. I always keep my promises.

Week 11 – I Need More Sits In The Car

I struggle with the sits and keeping my mind focused on being unfocused on the extra thoughts. A friend of mine who completed this course a few years ago, made an interesting comment during a conversation. She said her sits are in her car. Interesting. I had a designated sit chair in my house that was comfortable and where I could relax and let subby do it’s work. More times than not, I would finish the sit (early) thinking “ok, check that off the to do list” and carry on with my day.  In analyzing those sits, I discovered those were the sit sessions my mind was focused on everything else – the to do list. This weeks assignment of writing our DMP in ONE sentence was stressing me. My thoughts were, “how can I do this when I had enough trouble keeping it to 400 words and all those revisions”, more mental red check marks and put it out of my mind. Or so I thought. A couple of days later, I had to travel 1 1/2 hours away to take care of some business. Out of the blue during this drive, I thought “Hope Restored Wellness & Retreat Center, my legacy of helping others”.  I even verbally said “what?” And the thought replayed followed with, “your once sentence DMP, you’re welcome”. Wow! Subby at it’s best. Thank You Subby! I always keep my promises. The best is yet to be!

Ok, I guess I need to have subby be more specific. I heard back from my guide, revision necessary to my one sentence DMP; “full active sentence, with subject (guess who 😉 ) , FEELING, activity, and some numbers (money, date(s). I guess I’d better go for a joy ride sit so my subby can get to work correcting. Stay tuned.

Week 10 – Hmmmm?

I think I am finally getting this subby thing. I have always subscribed that your mind is powerful. I have seen it make people do what seemed to be impossible things and seen it make people fail at the simplest of tasks. Yet, knowing this, I have not fully endorsed that I am one of them. That my mind is just as powerful. I had an interesting experience this past week and I confess it was during a detour from MKE. I am not a TV watcher, but I would binge watch Netflix. I received an email notice that the next season of a favorite series of mine was now available on Netflix. I intentionally avoided this as I knew past behavior meant binge watching the entire season series in one viewing. So when I took a slight detour and settled into my usual Netflix viewing late at night in bed, I thought I probably should watch the final episode of the previous season to refresh my memory. I fell asleep. So the next night, I thought I would repeat the same process, I fell asleep. Two nights later I finally re-watched the entire last episode of the previous season with a rather oh hum response and no desire to watch the new season at all. I finally got the power of MY subby. I always keep my promises. The best is yet to be!

Week 9 – Life Goes On

Mother’s cardiac issues still a problem – still in A-fib so will have to live with it since electric conversion and IV meds were unsuccessful. Now old herniated discs creating intense pain and difficulty in walking. So another week’s stay for me and add new doctor appointments to address this issue along with follow up appointments for the cardiac problems and all this insurance stuff medical and property. She is right that getting old isn’t for sissy’s.  Which strengthens my resolve for building Hope Restored Wellness and Retreat Center. Our system is broken, not just the healthcare system but the people part of the system. Patients are no longer people they are a revenue source. Healthcare staff are not trained in “people”, only computerization. Patients are not interacted with as “people” only as a task to be completed. Hope is wavering. My husband’s question to me when he fought an incredible fight was what happens to those who do not have a pit bull advocate for them like me. My response was they are the ones who die early with no hope. This was why I left traditional healthcare 20 years ago. Twenty years ago and it hasn’t improved. His request was to build a center to give them hope, strength and resources to fight for what they want and how they want to be treated and not by some protocol that is dictated by insurance or the pharmaceutical companies.  Not as a number or a task but as a person.  A person who wants to live while they are dying. Think about it, we are all dying. Some quicker than others. As a nurse I have seen too many die with regrets of what they didn’t do rather than what they did do. My DMP is ensuring that I focus on what fuels me, what I am passion about, my legacy of helping others. I always keep my promises. The best is yet to be!