“Set high standards and few limitations for yourself.”- Anthony J. D’Angelo
Don’t you dare set a glass ceiling for yourself! We were made to spread like seeds and forthe good things we desire to multiply in our lives. The Worldis limitations based on shortages. As evidenced by the mass media’s favorite things to report on; shortages and lack. However, don’t fall into the trap of evaluating yourself basedupon what other people say or limitations you place on yourself. Also, don’t let circumstancesshape you and adjust your goals to them. Don’t stop aiming for the “big ticket,” because currently your bank account doesn’t reflect the cost of saidbig ticket. Rather thanlooking at what you don’t have, focus on what you do have!We tend to look more at what there isn’t than what there is.Here’sashort list that’s sure to garner an increase ofwhat you desire:
1) Be thankful a.k.a gratitude.
2) Use what you have.
3) Bless what you have.
Did you know that as babies we only have two natural fears?They are fallingor being dropped and loud noises. However, a study done on700 Adults showed that they shared a common number of fears,(about 7,000) and that somewhere between birth and adulthood we had acquired thousands of fears. We were not born to harbor fear and worry, the two main culprits responsible forsetting limits. We’re afraid of the future, afraid of what others may think, and afraid to take risks.Personally, my biggest accomplishments came when I ignored any limitations or what people said. I would bet once you do the same, the sky’s the limit! Dear readers do not be conformed to this world, there are no limitations,only the ones we allow to be set in our lives.
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bil Keane.
You hear it often “be mindful, be present, and you should meditate.”These aren’t just new age guru mumbo jumbo beliefs but they’re actually right!I’d venture to guess that I’ve spent most of my life somewhere else, and definitely the past two years. In fact, the majority of us are not where we actually are at any given moment. Whether our minds are adrift or not, many times were wishing we were elsewhere. Either we are looking to the distant past or the near future. Our“modern society,” is really talented at keeping most of us discontent with where we are, always wanting more. The funny thing is, when you stop wishing to be somewhere other thanwhere you are,suddenly life becomes much more enjoyable!When you let themind wander less and focus in more on your present surroundings, it allows you to savorlife and be in the moment. As an example, for many months I only wanted to be back in my beloved city of New York. However, once I chose to silence the noise, I realized that I was actually enjoying where I was. It’s easy to lose sight of where you are when advertisements and social media frequently remind you that you could be somewhere better. It’s as if we’re a ratrunning through a labyrinth of distractions, all the while completely missing the point that lies in the center. When you take away all that noise suddenly the point is much easier to find. What I realized is, that New York City will still be there when I’m ready to return, but my Parents(with whom I live) won’t be. As much as I have griped and protested about my current situation, the fact is I havehad invaluable time spent with my family. One of whom supports andloves me through it all. Therefore, I wish(not again!) that I’d realized this sooner. For if I had, the past few years would’ve been far less painful. When your mind wanders away from the present moment it really hurts you. Not only do you miss out on a part of your life, but also lose focus on your present goals. In a way it’s like self sabotage! Bylookingin a different direction you lose track of your chosen path, and lose ground(ie time. If your particularly goal orientated this is crucial to know! By being present and focused on your current situation, it allows you to see clearly the bull whose horns your going to grab.
America isfull ofconveniences and fastfoodyet were starving. There are many countries that harbor starving citizens, and America is no exception. It would appear that the whole world is starving, but not only for food. There is such a lack of kindness oracts forthe common good, that when it occurs it either seems out of place or people clamor towitness it.We think we want fame, food, and riches, but what we need is more love. We may be at thetop of the food chain or consider ourselves highly evolved but were actually quite simple. If you took away all the distractions and noiseof social media, advertising, and mass consumerism, We really only need basic things. Amidall the hustle and bustle for what we think we want we’ve forgotten the most important thing, each other. In losing consideration for our fellow man we also lose ourselves. Perhapsmany won’t understand this, unless they’ve beenin need of help themselves.When we’re selfish it doesn’t benefit us but actually harms us. In nature, it’sbeen shown that when a member of the animal kingdomis selfish, theyactually lower their ability to survive. It seems fit to argue then, that when people are selfish they don’t flourish. Indeed it’s when we help each other thatsociety as a whole gains. In a cityof millions, it’s not a popular web series that goes viral, but an act of kindness. Below, you too willwitness the results of a personchoosing to be selfless rather then selfish.
I know many starving artists(or actors) that would kill for thenumber of views this video received. Yetthey’re not the ones getting all the attention, instead a simple act of human kindness is taking the cake. Clearly, we desire more then entertainment, but to have a real human connection. Therefore, don’t be afraid to let down your walls and extend a helping hand!
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― J.K.Rowling.
It wasn’t all that long ago(or so it seems) that Ihad a daydream, which like most daydreams seemed unlikely to happen.While I wobbled alongin a rehab building on an indoor track, relearninghow to walk my mind wandered to a less dismal place. For motivation, I would imagine myself walking across the Brooklyn Bridge(my favorite) towardsamore joyfuland better place than my current reality. At the time walking at all was a feat, much less completing over a mile walk across an iconic bridge that was over 600 miles away from where I was. Just likehope can pull you out of a dark place; having a daydream can pull you forward towards your goal. It’s so important that you be around and supported by people who don’t find your daydreams to be preposterous. When you share your vision, it’s wonderful to be met witha vote of confidence, offers of help, or even those who treat it as a perfectly normal statement. Your dreams will have a harder time ofbeing borninto reality, if they’re planted in harsh soil. Therefore, share them with those that will encourage and help them to grow. Once I built up the endurance to walk a long distance, I then needed the funds to make the trip. Through an online fundraiser and with the help of a number of friends
and family, Iwas able toraise enough moneyto take the trip to Brooklyn. Not to mention ride Jane’s Carousel!
The supportnotonly financially, but emotionally helped bring a baby daydream to its full term reality. Withoutthe backing fromthe numerous people that believed in me, my daydream would’ve withered away.On my own I could not have reached my goal. This is proof positiveof how important it is to plant your dreams in fertile soil. The seeds born from your imagination, do best in supportive soil. Therefore,keep them safe from the thorny grounds of disbelief,negativity, worry anddoubt. Iam very fortunate to have had so much support. It is because of that, I can now tell youI walked all 1.1 miles of the Brooklyn Bridge with those very same supporters. Of course I had to leavea memento, so I made my own love lock(see here) for the occasion. Nothing is impossible my dears.
“To the world you may just be someone, but to someone you may be the whole world.”
It’s strange andsometimes emotional when I unexpectedly(or expectantly)stumble acrossobjects from my life in New York City. Essentially, while I was in a coma(not knowing if I would live)friends andfamilypacked up my belongings and my apartment. So there I was out of commission and my life(hanging in the balance)packed away into numerous boxes. They made the trek from New York, to New Jersey,and then Michigan. While Ieventually followed them. From time to time, I will be doing something and randomly see or find something thatused to live in my New York apartment. With each object I find,it opensup theflood gate of memories. I can remember when I bought it,where it was from,what I did that day,and see it in it’splace in my apartment. Everyobject holds a story. Since my life has taken a radical turn, these objects afford me the feelings that I imagine a true explorer gets.When my eyes and fingers touch upon an object from my life before themassive stroke, I feel like an Alien discovering something from a past civilization,of a time gone by. This is becausethe situation I’m in now seems so unreal. Although the objects are not foreign to me,in some way they are. Why? Becausebefore I was completely unaware of the reality that I’m enduring now. This hasgiven me the point of view of an outsider. When I’m holdingsomething in my hand(or gaze) I can actually take it in as if it weren’t mine. Leaving me to see it in a new way.Intheway that an explorer might see something and wonder what kind of life it once had. Although I know the life of my own belongings, I miss the girl that bought them. I’ve been in what seems likean alternateuniverse for the past two years. I’ve been working on bringing that girl back from the other universe. I remember everything,but even so I worry I’ll forget. I don’t want to forget what it feels like to be able to walk freely,tie a shoe,run,jump,and generally be able to controlmy body. Those objects remind me of the girl I used to be(physically)and I want Her back. I even think back to how oblivious I was to the struggles I now face(and have) wishing Icould somehow eke out some ofthose feelings back into the present. Howfortunate Iwas to beunaware of the things I know now! Those objects hold this otheruniverse within them. I wonder whatIwould do if I had known then, what I know now. Ah,yes it’s theage old question,and the answer is everything. We takeso much for granted, that it’s so important to live and enjoy life as much as you can.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
IfI have learned anything on this healing journey it’s that like a fence were all linked together. The influence of a few can be felt by many. Imagine a world where helping one another was commonplace. Perhaps that’s my 1950’s pipe dream. However, I’veseen the difference it’s made in my life so I can only conclude that it would revolutionize the world. If We could just envision our connections more clearly, perhaps We would see how paying it forward only benefits us. Even the notion of holding the dooropen for someone else, it all adds up. I remember loving every act of kindness I witnessed in otherwise pretty selfish environments. From a young gentleman giving up his seat on the subway,to the girl helping a womanhaul Her baby carriage down the treacherous stairs.Each of theseacts may seem insignificant, but imagine if they ran rampant. The way a society treats the least of it’s members(i.e. the elderly,children,animals,the handicapped) reflects it as a whole. I’ve even witnessed a pair of homeless men helping out another with no legs on the New york subway at 3 a.m! Those who haven’t struggled themselves fail to see others who are currently ina struggle. Personally I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor,and I never saw as much as when I was poor. For what seems much longer, butfor about two years I have been living as a handicapped individual. In this position it’s easy to be overlooked and feel frustratinglyhelpless. I’venoticed much more the people that open the door, go out of their way to help, and even kind words. On the other hand it’s been even easier to see acts of selfishness. There are even forays into the science of being selfless.(see here! Those who possess more selfish qualities fare worse in terms of survival in the wild. What does that tell you? Could not the same be said about humans? After all no man is an Island.Just as lovers that symbolicallypadlock themselves together on a fence in Paris, throwing the key into the river, so are We connected. My guess is there’s no findingthat key anytime soon so We should at least make the best of it until the fence rusts away or the padlock gets cut off!
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” -Tom Wolfe.
I passed out on a bathroom floor in upstate New yorkand woke upin a Hospital near my parents house in Michigan. A distance of 650 miles from the place that I called home. Needless to say I was swimming in a sea of hopelessness and loss. I had beenunfortunate enough to have had a massive stroke, which nearly killed me and was seemingly making my dreams of returning to my beloved city all but impossible. Suddenly the idea oftime passing terrified me. With each new day rather than look at the possibilities I thought of all the things Imissed or was missing out on. As far as I was concerned the prime of my life had been stolen andwas getting spent sittingin waiting rooms, at a therapy, or in Doctor offices. Recently I had the chance to go back andvisit my old neighborhood of Astoria Queens. Rather then saying“goodbye,” as my Mother suggested I chose to say“See you later.”Luckily I found that not much had changed in the neighborhood, which quelled my fears of the world changing drastically without me to be a part of it. I was somewhatapprehensive beforethe dayof visiting arrived, mostly because I was worried I would become very sad. However, once I had arrived there everything was as I rememberedandthusit was actually comforting. All the time I spentliving in fear of missing out was dashed. I chose to use this visit for motivation rather than defeat. I navigated the neighborhood easily(as I know it!) and arrived to a dinner with close friends.
Afterwards I left to have a toast inmy first apartment there.( Photo Below, right)
My former roommate and I laughed as Wereminisced and spoke of the neighborhood changes. In many ways I felt as if I hadn’t been gone at all. For months all I wanted to do was return to the city I love and Ibelieved it was lost to me.It’s very easy to buy into the naysayers that do nothing
but instill doubt. Luckily though, I have some people that remind me of the YES. The visit wasnot only to see friends but to
get a surgery that would make a difference in the speed of my “road trip,” back East. Thanks to the love and support of many they’ve kept my gas tank full and the motor running. In many ways were all on a “road trip,” I just happened to break down along the way, experienced a delay, and had to take a detour. Alongwith me in my vehicle each of my friends and family wrote me a letter ordrew me a picture. Every now and then I figure out that theseindividual pages fit together, and wherever one is missing I write my own. Soon enough it appears that it’s becoming an Atlas that’s pointing me where Ineed to go. Earlier on the map was destroyed and I thought I’d never find my way back towhere I wanted to go. Luckily though I havesome angels on my side that seem to be well equippedwith maps and
Everyone has a blog,reads a blog,or is currently the writer of one.A Google inquiry ofhow many blogs? Yields results in the millions like this one: On 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence.
The internet has not onlybecome a means of big business, but also amain facilitator of human communication and expression.Therein lies “the blog,” an omnipresent entity among the tech savvy movers and shakers.Not to mention the social butterflies, It isa great way toconnect in an increasinglydisconnected world. The one where everyone knew their neighborsseems to be a thing of our Grandparents day. Concerning all these personal gadgets and media I can recall one comedian’s observation ;“Thank you Apple for giving NewYorkers another way to ignore eachother.”As a rulesocial interaction is not encouraged on the subway. It makes strangers uncomfortable. While I completely understand that,it seems this may be happening on an evenlarger scale.When faced with a lack of social interaction, it seems We have taken to writing creative lettersin cyberspace to an invisible audience,if only in our minds. However I’ll admit I quite like having the ability to pass out well designed business cardsthatsay“I’m a writerandI have a blog.” Therefore I must be interesting, right? I find, like many I’msure that writing is cathartic.Whatever your reason, it’s a great wayto spendyour time!It’s certainly more productive then sleeping or being a couch potato that’s for sure.Personally I’m not doing it for money.Perhaps in the beginning I had grand delusions of using it as an additional source of income..That has since changed more into a means of personal satisfaction, and ultimately helping someone else.Furthermore have you heard of suchglamorous workshops for more serious bloggers called Blogcademy!? I was unfortunate enough to miss the very first one, but caught one in Chicago(see here!) which was great and fun.Being afan of creative things I find blogging to be enjoyable and like the ability to change things around like it’s silly putty.Not to mention I take satisfaction in knowing that my ex boyfriend’s blog is not as interesting nor as well designed(Ha!) that gives me some odd sort of revenge.Although, revenge aside it’s creating awhole community, and were seeing things like bloggers being invited to fashion shows,beingtapped into promoting a brand,and even gaining large followings andinternet famemuch like some Youtubers.At any rate,I say let the bloggers blog!
“I didn’t know how strong I was until that was the only choice.”
I have always been fiercely independent and prided myself on that.However since having a near death experience I’ve also been severely dependent in some ways.For quite awhile(a year?) I have had someone around to help me even with simple things like getting dressed! I felt as though all my independence had been stolen from me.Seemingly trapped in a body that was not working for me,even the little things like getting dressed suddenly became difficult. It was strange to be asked questions by healthcare workers like “Are you able to feed yourself?” Because, of course that was always a given! My world had been turned upside down and in the prime of my life I found myself in a battle to regain it.Even small steps were big ones to me.All the things I had previously not noticed or taken for granted were in stark contrast to what I was dealing with now.I’m still in the battle but now I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.This morning instead of having an “assistant,” there to help I insteaddfid everything myself, even though at times it was a struggle as I realized I was doing it on my own again I increasingly became excited and proud of myself,not all too dissimilar from a kid finally tying their own shoes.That sense of accomplishment was worth the momentary struggles of getting dressed using one arm,even better I did it in under 20 minutes! The struggles of the past gave way to victory.These things are what make you stronger. Although we see our struggles as a pain in many ways they’re the stepping stones to an eventual (and equally glorious) victory.Through such a small feat to others I found(if only a sneak peek) some of my confidence and determination.As I wheeled(wheelchair) out of the room I looked at this picture(below) and said “See you tomorrow.”