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Encourage

Enough IS Enough

I’m going to tell you something you may or may not already know.  Are you ready?

You are enough.

Enough what?  Enough you.  Beautiful enough, rich enough, smart enough, cool enough, enough-enough.

As I make my way through all the online teachers, coaches and gurus….and through the burgeoning self-help section at the bookstore…I’m repeatedly struck by the same “icky” feeling.  This uncomfortable feeling that the self-help medicine men and women of the world, are making us feel worse than we already do.  Hearing them tell me that something is lacking in my life, or giving me fancy tips to become a better me, makes me wonder if I’m not a very good me to begin with.  I have this feeling that I have so much to fix – that I’m nowhere near complete.

Plan: Don't Get Sidetracked

Plan: Don’t Get Sidetracked

It’s January 2nd, 2016.  The beginning of a new year – complete with new plans, dreams, hopes, wishes and yes….even some fears.  For me, it’s the fear of not following my plans and dreams.  A vicious cycle, eh?  I’ve found what gets in the way is…life.  I get sidetracked.  Pulled off the road by a seductive sign, promising a cold beverage at the end of a dirt path.  It’s so very easy to lose sight of our destination – there are so many distractions.

I find the beginning of a new year quite thrilling – the promise of what’s ahead, the clean feeling of washing the past years unfulfilled pixie dust from my hands.  We get to start fresh, renewed, with nothing but the days ahead to entice us.

But the truth is, life, and our living of it, gets in the way.  John Lennon said it best – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  We hear ya, John.  We get so wrapped up in our day to day living that we forget the big picture…and in that forgetfulness, we wake up Rip Van Winkle style and wonder if we’ve been napping for 20 years.

So – the question is clear – how do we stay focused on what matters most to us?  How do we avoid leaving the track?

HK

Back in 4th grade, in an English textbook, I read about Helen Keller.

I was amazed.

It was the first time I had heard of her and her story.  This child born healthy, contracted a disease which left her deaf and blind by the age of 19 months.  What chance did she have for a normal life?  None by most of our standards.  And yet she persevered.

Here was a woman…a child really, that fought through adversity…with every strike in the book against her, and grew into a successful author, lecturer and political activist.  She graduated from Radcliffe of all places – becoming the first deaf and blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The movie “The Miracle Worker” was an eye-opening portrayal of the darkness Helen endured.  It was beyond my young mind’s comprehension.  I was perhaps 10 years old and had no reference for such a human plight.  I didn’t personally know anyone who was blind or deaf…and if I had, I’m sure I would’ve been afraid of them, as so many of us are by things we don’t quite understand.

What was it like to live in darkness?  Without sound?  It was, in my imagination, the worst kind of prison.  How does one communicate?  Or feel inside?  I had no idea.

Back then, I called Helen my idol.  I suspect I didn’t really understand what I was saying.  It wasn’t that I wanted to “be her” – I just had this immense respect for her courage and rise above it all attitude…and I was awe-struck by it.  It blew my blossoming mind that this was possible…that people could beat that which held them down, that they could create a good life out of the ashes of illness and darkness.

This quote of Helen’s is one of my personal favorites:

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.

It speaks to what I believe to be true about life….it is either daring or it is nothing.  Life is not secure – and believing it is so – is nothing short of delusion.  We are meant to experience the good and bad that life has to offer – Helen has certainly taught me that.

Although she’s been gone for some time now,  I hope Helen’s story lives on in today’s 4th grade textbooks for children to read about – so that future generations can understand and appreciate their good fortune simply by looking up and seeing the blue sky. – BB