Wednesday, May 27, 2015


When you hear the word “miracle,” what comes to mind? It’s a subjective word, so everyone has a different answer based on their experience and perceptions. We all tend to agree on the “large scale” miracles- walking on water, mothers lifting cars, people (and pets) returning home after being presumed dead, and so on. But I’ve found it’s how we perceive the smaller scale miracles, that is, the miracles in the everyday, that directly affect our joy and appreciation of life.
With the things that are possible today in terms of education and technology, it’s so easy to become cynical and take certain things for granted, including the very fact that we are alive. We’ve come to expect 2-day shipping when we purchase something online, not considering such a thing was inconceivable 100, or even 10, years ago. Watching incredibly advanced graphics on a screen in high-definition often takes priority over seeing something in real life. It’s no wonder many of us have grown disenchanted with the world around us.
Part of this may have something to do with the monotony of schedules and the feeling that we’re “just getting by.”  “You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle” (Paulo Coehlo). It’s true- when we put on our blinders, the world loses its colors and we move through days on autopilot. Things must be really grand and spectacular in order to stand out and grab our attention, otherwise they go by unnoticed and unappreciated. Albert Einstein once said “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” If you could choose, which would you pick?
I believe many of us would choose to see the miracle in everything and in each moment: “To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle” (Walt Whitman). You don’t have to be a poet or a dreamer to find the beauty in everything, nor do you have to be a survivor of a traumatic event to know how to appreciate each sunrise, each breath. There’s no limit- nothing can stop you! “To be alive, to be able to see, to’s all a miracle. I have adapted the technique of living life from miracle to miracle” (Arthur Rubinstein)
Today, I’m able to see and be blessed by the miracle of life. Being surrounded by my children has been incredibly beneficial to me. As they grow, I’ve been granted the gift of seeing the world anew through their eyes, as they grow and interact with the world. As much as I wanted to be spiteful and angry at the world for my oldest son’s experience, he endured, and continues to thrive.
It’s profoundly amazing when you think about how, of all the ways things could have gone, for reasons beyond our comprehension, everything happened exactly the way it did, so that you, me, and everyone else arrived here in the world. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


What have I done to deserve this?
We’ve all had this thought at some point or another in our lives- whether about something good or something bad. The idea of “deserving” and fixating on this notion is a recipe for resentment, disappointment, and sadness. In believing we deserve something (be it an object or circumstance), we assign the labels of “good” or “bad” to ourselves. This affects how we interact with the world and our perception of our role within it. This post is about the danger of “deserving” and shifting toward acceptance.

When something bad happens, people will often either take the stance of “What have I done to deserve this” or “Of course, this is happening because I deserve it.” Both of these thoughts can be damaging. They invite the “I am a victim” stance on the world. Unfortunately, once we develop this relationship with our surroundings, it gets perpetuated and becomes a difficult pattern to alter. But how? It involves a perception shift from thinking about bad experiences as opportunities for growth, rather than punishments (and yes, it is a tough pill to swallow at first). After all, “You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you” (Mary Tyler Moore). Difficult situations are never intended to break or destroy, but to give us an opportunity to see how strong and capable we really are- what other way is there to discover this? “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it” (Buddha). The blessing may be that in facing a difficult situation, you overcome a fear that has held you back in the past. After, you migh be able to face other situations without this fear, knowing that you have already defeated it.
On the other hand, there are those who question when good things come their way, wondering what they have done to deserve such good fortune. Or, they are perhaps skeptical that a situation is too good to be true. Again, this isn’t something for us to judge- “God never made a promise that was too good to be true” (Dwight L. Moody). If your life is being rewarded, accept that it is happening for a reason beyond your control. A force greater than yourself believes that you are deserving, and that is enough. A common response to situations that seem to good to be true is self-sabotage, where a person will ruin a situation (consciously or unconsciously) because he/she is so utterly convinced of being unworthy of anything beautiful or good.
When you feel that something is a punishment or reward, remember that there is a reason for everything, even if you don’t understand what it is yet. As Idina Menzel has said, “Things happen for a reason, and in their own time.” For anyone whose children love Frozen, she also said (or, more appropriately, sang) “Let it go” and it isn’t bad advice. It’s also pretty catchy. Good, bad, or indifferent-there is a purpose for everything that happens in your life-stay strong and have a little faith.