When you meet me, you meet my Dad

When you meet me, you meet my Dad

When you meet me, you meet my Dad.  You also meet my best friend (she’s amazing!), my high school calculus teacher (he taught me patience), and my first boss (So generous and always brought us Krispy Kremes).  Each time we meet someone, we share all the memories and stories of those who have shaped our lives.  We don’t even have to say the words.  They are a part of us, and the experiences that we had with them become part of our soul.  We take them with us, and we can share their story as well.

I recently was talking to a friend who had never met my Dad, and we talked about how my Dad inspired others through his ability to beat the odds as a stage 4 cancer Survivor for 20 years.  My friend said, oh, so your Dad was resilient?  Yes, he was.  And honestly, having someone else recognize and articulate the word that I was describing surprised me.  How can someone who never met my Dad, and unfortunately never will, recognize the resiliency in my Dad?  Because, I am here to tell his story.  And because he passed down the bounce back ability to all who knew him, and even those who he just had passing interactions with. By connecting with others, I have the opportunity to share more about the loved ones in my life, and that’s a story I will keep on telling.

The other day, I was talking to my neighbor about my upcoming trip to Churchill downs.  He didn’t know that I enjoyed horse racing, and he told me about how his Dad would take him to Belmont to watch the horses run and bet on the races. As a boy, my friend had seen amazing horses such as Secretariat, Ruffian, and Foolish Pleasure race.  He said he was amazed by how many lengths Secretariat would win by.  He also witnessed the match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure, and remembers the jockey jumping off Ruffian on that fateful day.  Experiences that I hadn’t experienced, but as I talked with him, I realized that I also met his Dad in the time they shared together.  Although he hadn’t thought about those days for a long time, they were right there ready to be shared.

Take a moment to honor and thank those who were and are still in your life.  Even if you haven’t spoken or saw this person in years, they are still there.  Maybe it’s the teacher who liked to say big words like Megalopolis (BC Green team, you know who I mean). Maybe it’s the childhood best friend who you have no idea where she is.  Maybe it’s the TA from Chem 115 in college who wouldn’t let your class go home early when 911 hit. No matter who it is, know that all your good and not so good experiences with them are still with you, and they have had an impact.  When you meet me, you meet my Dad.  Who do I meet when I meet you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Brighter than the Sun

Brighter than the Sun

Written by Tracey Lemming

Moths are drawn to the light, and so are we.  Many want to be in the spotlight, brighter than the sun. Our society values likes, selfies and memes over Ideas, Authenticity, and Emotions.  Comparison is a trap, and if we are not careful, we will fall in it.  Keeping up with the Kardashians, filtered photos, and unreal expectations are the name of the game.

But, what if you let go of all the expectations? Yours, others, and society’s.  The striving for perfection, always buying the next best thing, and feeling validated with the number of friends on your social account.  How would it feel to accept where you are in this moment exactly as is?  Take a moment to release the energy of always being “on” and tune into your inner wisdom.  Who do you want to be at this moment?  How will you align with your authentic self?  Your life is a canvas, and you get to paint your own masterpiece.

I found out how little I really needed when I spent 4 months in Indiana when only expecting to stay a week.  Somehow I made it from snow in March to a hot and humid July with a small suitcase.  How did I manage to make my wardrobe last through the seasons?  Friends and family.  When it grew warmer, friends cleaned out their closets and gave me their extra clothes.  I only bought 1 pair of sandals in the 4 months, and that wasn’t even necessary as my friend had let me borrow hers.  I have some really great friends and family, and I bet you do too.

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  We use 20% of the items in our life 80% of the time.  And we use the other 80% of our items, only 20% of the time.  This applies to all aspects of our lives.  Do we really need 80% of our items, or have we fallen in the trap of measuring our worthiness by the number of possessions that we have?  When I got back to North Carolina, I was overwhelmed by the number of items surrounding me, and how little I missed or needed them.  Some have meaning and usefulness, but most of them are just unnecessary stuff.  As I am preparing for new flooring, it has been a good time for me to look at what I love and use, and see what I can let go of for others to enjoy.  I have found that the less that I have wanting my energy, the more freedom and clarity that I feel.  What are some things that you could let go of that are weighing you down?

The 80/20 rule also applies to our time.  If you think about it, a lot of us are spending 80% of our time doing the same thing, while there is a vast array of other things we could be focusing on and using our energy towards.  For me, social media can be a good distraction from all the other things in my life that could be more meaningful.  However, I am aware that about 80% of the items on my newsfeed are negative and draining my energy.  I could let go of this habit and use that time connecting with others, spending more time in nature, and practicing healthier habits. If we could let go of what weighs us down, and focus on those things that bring us joy and happiness, I believe that we may find more peace.  When our focus is on the negativity that surrounds us, we see more bad stories and separation.  But if we switch our focus to unity and love, we find people and stories that uplift us.

As we continue on this roller coaster ride that 2020 has become, I invite you to let go of the distractions, the unnecessary, and the negative focus.  Instead, take inventory of those habits, activities, and loved ones who empower and elevate you.  Focus your time and energy on what brings you joy.  Turn off the news, step outside, and call a loved one.  Shifting our focus to what matters most can allow us to live a life brighter than the sun.  We get this choice every day.  Why not begin now?