Snapshots

My pup is about to turn 2. Having adopted her when she was a mere 6 weeks old and no more than 5 pounds, it’s hard to believe. She still has the same wide-eyed curiosity, which I hope she never loses, and the same perky ears, which she still hasn’t grown into, and I expect never will. I like it that way. If I could keep her young forever, I probably would.

Have you ever reached an age, and wished you could stop the hands of time, and celebrate life as a perennial year after year, without adding any extra candles to your cake?

Like with so many of life’s significant moments, we try to remember what things were like before: before we met the person we’d settle down with, before diaper changes and school dances, before we lost someone close to us, before we landed the job we always wanted.

As we get older, it becomes harder to view events of our lives in isolation. We create categories: graduated, moved cross-country, started a new job; got married, bought a new house, had our first child; ran my first 5k, ran my first half-marathon, ran my first marathon. The early, most formative years of our life simply become summed up as “childhood”.

I encountered an article recently that found part of the reason time seems to move so much faster as we get older is because we begin grouping the separate pieces of our experience into a concrete whole. Our minds no longer distinguish a trip to the park as walking around the pond, feeding the ducks, and picnicking in the grass. For a child, each of these components can feel new and different each time. For an adult, they simply become compressed into a familiar outing.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact age at which this starts to happen. For some of us, it might be quite early; for others, not until much later. Or perhaps, if we become better at differentiating the unique parts of our experience, and welcoming how they vary from one time to the next, we can delay this feeling for some time.

I sometimes struggle to remember what it was like before I adopted Lyla. In my mind, she had already been a long time coming. Once I got her, my days were separated into “before” and “after”.

Like with so many of life’s significant moments, we try to remember what things were like before: before we met the person we’d settle down with, before diaper changes and school dances, before we lost someone close to us, before we landed the job we always wanted.

If you ask a child what he did yesterday, he might tell you about something that happened 3 weeks ago. If you ask what he’s doing this weekend, he might look at you as if you’ve asked him to solve a complex math problem. Young children have such a simplistic notion of time, with dozens of moments making up the before and after of each of their days.

They don’t define their lives by the order of its occurrences, but merely by the occurrences themselves. What upset them before naptime may be forgotten by the time they wake up, and what happens this week loses much of its significance by the time the next rolls around.

If you’re longing to remember what life was like before, focus on today. Take a mental snapshot of this moment and hold on to it for now. Before is only the present as defined by the future. So slow down, and savor it.

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Daily Graces

I was reminded recently of bringing more awareness to the subtle and often overlooked moments of our days, the small graces that can bring us joy or a sense of calm in the midst of chaos, with 2 simple questions: What are the small graces that you are awake to in your life? What practices help you tune into them? Having a daily gratitude practice helps tremendously. I no longer neglect to notice the warmth of the morning sunlight beaming in through the windows or the effortless ease that comes from sipping a hot cup of tea at the end of the day. Rather, I’ve become better able to pause and take these moments in with deep gratitude and a greater feeling of presence.

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Lessons in Resilience: The Stories We Tell and Why They Matter

Lessons in Resilience: The Stories We Tell and Why They Matter

DailyGood

We all have a story within us, that is continually reshaped by our struggles and victories, our tests and triumphs. We may not always choose how the plot of our life unfolds, but we can choose whether we see a tragedy as a beginning or an ending. We can choose how we stand up to our villains, and make peace with battles we’ve lost, and those we continue to fight. We can tell our stories in a way that empowers us, rather than diminishes our strengths. Most of all, we can use our stories for good, to lift ourselves up, and to help those around us who are still learning to stand, and stand again.

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Giving Back 2018

I’m so excited to share with you my Giving Back 2018 Campaign! Inspired by a desire to give back to the community at large, and use my time and talents to support the needs of those who are struggling, I’ve chosen to devote each month to a unique cause close to my heart. Want to get involved? Stay tuned as I track my progress, and see below for ideas and resources to help you start your own campaign! Questions, or have an organization you think I should know about? Drop me a line using the form below. I hope you feel inspired to find ways to give back in your own corner of the world!

March
Book Drive
Get involved: Reading Partners

April
Earth Day Cleanup
Get involved: Earth Day Network

May
Blood Drive
Get involved: American Red Cross

June
Social Justice
Get involved: Amnesty International

July
Youth & Families
Get involved: UNICEF

August
Women’s Rights
Get involved: Global Fund for Women, Girls Inc.

September
Animal Advocacy
Get involved: The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA

October
Mental Health Awareness
Get involved: National Alliance on Mental Illness

November
Feeding the Hungry
Get involved: U.S. Hunger Relief Organization: Feeding America

December
Holiday Giving
Get involved: The Salvation Army

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