Archive for February, 2012
All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.
Leap Day. That extra day smooshed into the end of February. I like to look at it as having an extra 24 hours to be thankful.
It’s also book release day, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with you about the my newest book Just One Little Thing.
The book is a continuation of the story of my journey towards gratitude following the death of my son Stephen. In my first book, Gratitude in Grief, I captured the first two months of the most difficult journey of my life. Just One Little Thing is the story of the complete year. In it, I have shared pieces of Gratitude in Grief, but have mixed it with unpublished writing that shows my journey towards a grateful life in the most imperfect of circumstances.
After releasing my first book just seven months after Stephen died, I just let it kind of sit out there, believing that the people who needed it would find it. Funny enough, people did. I still marvel at that, how people found it, and reached out to me.
My son Brendan, surveying the numerous emails and cards I started to receive from people on their own journey back from hurt, asked me to promise him something. He said, “Mom, promise that when people write to you, that no matter how long it takes, you write all of them back. Because if they wrote to you, they must be hurting like we are.”
I made that promise and I am still working on it today. The truth is, it is not a hard promise to keep. The letters I receive from people both save and inspire me each and every day, and remind me that we are all together on our life journey, learning from each other, holding each other up, or showing them a glimmer of light in their own darkness.
My journey following the release of Gratitude in Grief has been one of magic and mystery, bringing me to people and places that I could never have imagined. But, after the book was out there, I felt a little lost. I kept writing, and searching for gratitude, but had no idea what I would do with my life from that point forward. Forever changed, I was stuck in this place where I just did not fit anymore. I was a nurse, but could not nurse. I did not have it in me anymore. I was a writer, but wondered if I would every be able to reconnect with that source that pushed the creation of my first book at a pace I never thought possible.
Each day, I would get up and write some, and connect with others, but I always felt like the message about one little thing was unfinished somehow. Two words kept popping into my head.
I did not fit into my old life. I did not know if I could sustain my new life.
So, I went back to the letters that people wrote to me. I read each one, and reviewed my response, looking for an answer about my life and direction. After reviewing the emails and letters, I made an important discovery. In the time since releasing the book and the blog, I had responded to over 10,000 emails. And in those emails, many of the people who wrote to me told me they were now looking for their one little thing. People from every corner of the earth, looking for their one little thing.
And then I knew. I knew I had to keep talking about the power of one little thing.
So, I launched a Facebook community on July 4, 2011, on the anniversary of Stephen’s death. And then I started to write again, and finish telling the story I started with Gratitude in Grief.
And, with my renewed focus on gratitude and putting my faith in the fact that something larger than me had this figured out, I pushed ahead.
I am both proud and terrified to share Just One Little Thing with you. It is a labor of love, and each word in that book saved me. Each tiny piece of gratitude saved my life, and served as confirmation that I was going to be okay. Although it discusses a serious topic, I feel that it is a hopeful book. I am sharing with you my roadmap back from darkness. I hope that for some, it can help you create your own.
For JOLT’ers, this is the story of how we got here. This is my son’s ripple…
Thank you for all of your love and support. I consider each and every JOLT’er to be a friend of mine, and love being a part of your journey as well.
Alas! must it ever be so?
Do we stand in our own light, wherever we go,
And fight our own shadows forever? ~Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton
Well Happy Groundhog Day! This is the day each year that we gaze towards a nervous rodent in a hole to predict the future. According to Wikipedia, the holiday began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries. But before that it has origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog.
If you haven’t already heard, here’s the news that Punxsutawney Phil delivered this morning….
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if I buy into the weather prediction by rodent approach. But the more I think about it, how can I deny the puffy prophet his credit when sometimes, we all live our lives like Punxsutawney Phil?
Life gets cold, and we retreat into our little havens, where we feel safe and can control our circumstances, because we have limited many of the pressures of the outside world. Then, when we finally decide to venture outside, and leave our comfort zone, the first sign of a shadow, and we retreat, retreat, retreat. We run back into our safe place, to sit and wait out what we perceive to be the ongoing and extended winter in our life.
But what if we’re wrong? What if it is only our shadow? What would happen if we stretched ourselves a little, stayed out in the less than perfect weather? Would we find ourselves stuck in a storm or would we find that we could happily survive outside of our cave living a happy life even if the weather was not completely sunny?
It’s hard to say, but the way I see it, if there is a higher power watching us today as we are watching Punxsutawney Phil, I think he would hope that we see the upcoming spring. There’s life to live, and we only have today once, no matter what the weather.
Phil decided it was six more weeks of winter for us. How about you? What are you deciding?
I will leave you with a proverb that I just love.
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. ~Maori Proverb
Have a shadow free kind of day,