Tag Archives: perspective

Touched by a stranger

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These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. The world’s been spinning on it’s axis at regular speed but it’s felt like warped speed to me. Since the start of July – we haven’t stopped. East coast road trips, New York visits and returning to San Diego with immediate guests, the invasion of Comic-Con and more guests on the way – needless to say it’s been a bit busy. But busy doesn’t prevent perspective nor impede wisdom from those you truly wish to ‘see’.

Sunset LBNY

At the same time of the first world ‘busy’ and joyful choice of travel and visiting with loved ones, news of another kind entered our world. The teacher of one of my wisest yoga instructors passed away suddenly, shaking an international community to its core. This man of wisdom, talent and grace who has touched my life through writings, meditation apps and Sarah’s teachings – this man who helped so many thousands find their own way, himself struggled with mental illness. Michael Stone shared his knowledge of psychotherapy, yoga and Buddhism and fostered a world-wide community of followers he met and ones he never will. All of a sudden, the world seemed quieter.

“To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world” -Dr. Seuss

Loss is difficult on all levels. Trying to explain how someone you never met impacted your life often seems to fall on a spectrum of ‘how can you be sad’ or ‘you never even knew him’. Unfortunately, I am like millions of others who have dealt with loss of loved ones and those close to them and although losing this ‘stranger’ is on a completely different plane, it’s not any less real. Loss hurts. Sadness happens. Hearts break for loved ones going through massive, tragic changes and for those around them who want to do something yet know there’s nothing that can make this moment hurt any less. The pain is palpable.

sunset San Diego

And then there was Ari. The courageous, witty, brave, spunky, vivacious warrior I never met who put a smile on my face whenever his name crossed my screen. This child of a university friend touched the lives of thousands across the globe. His arrival into the world wasn’t easy, was fraught with danger and life through him curve balls even before he was smacking them out of the park as one of the biggest baseball fans around. He was the pinnacle of a fighter. Somehow, this kid whose heart needed replacing actually had a spirit that was larger than all of ours combined. This tough as nails Red Sox fan filled with courage, wit, wisdom, grace and fierce love for his family and teams – this little stranger changed lives. His and his family’s struggle with waiting for a heart for over 200 days (spending 180+ in the hospital), losing their house to mold and having insurance give them NOTHING for it, finally getting a new heart (while fully acknowledging the loss and gift of the family who would help theirs) and the thrill of going home was shared the world over. He met some of his biggest idols, played in the yard, hugged his siblings, went to the golf course with dad and loved his family fiercely – and after stealing hearts around the globe, he took a turn for the worse and in the words of his parents’ social media posting ‘passed away peacefully…listening to the Red Sox’.

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” – Piglet

This tiny person who I never met reminded me of that elusive perspective, growth, journey and struggle. From stories of his parents, friends and those who loved him, the world knew he dreamed big, loved fiercely and had the courage of the bravest warriors. In his short time, he made a huge impact. His optimism, fighting spirit, zest for life and calm demeanor reminds us all of the important things in life. His struggles were real from the get go but they didn’t stop him nor his parents from helping him to live his best life, shine with the brightest of lights, share his whole heart and soul and find tenacity of strength when much seemed lost.

Thankful

I’ve been on a journey of searching for perspective for quite some time. Call it growth, seeking or whatever you will, but I’ve found myself interacting with people, writings and things I never would have before – the universe seems to be doing her thing and smacking me in the face with whatever she feels necessary. I’ve always believed that people come into our lives for a reason, even if the reason is one we never know.

“We touch other people’s lives simply by existing” – JK Rowling

This weekend, San Diego swelled with passionate people doing their Comic-Con thing and being present in the moment. This last month I got the opportunity to hang with close friends, see new things and hug family. Yet these two individuals (whose constant struggle never seemed to divert their spirit), these two individuals I never got the pleasure of meeting, tugged at my heart in ways I never expected. Seeking never gets old. Trying to be the you you’d like to be today is a journey that has twists, turns, stops, starts, crashes, weaving winding madness and always seems to change direction. I am devastated for the families and close circles of these two lives cut short. Since learning of their stories, they have been on my mind (and the minds of many) constantly. Michael and Ari have taught me lessons filled with grit, heart and wisdom. If only for a short time, I couldn’t be happier to have ‘known’ them.

Heart Mission Beach

Tears have flowed around the world and although I know the world will continue to spin on it’s axis, for awhile, it feels like that axis is off kilter and won’t be the same again. It’s painful to realize that nothing’s guaranteed; but, we can do our best to be present, be awake and seek that silver lining. Young and old we can all make a difference. These strangers have taught me lessons of which I will keep always. Their presence is felt and their lessons and love live on in all they’ve touched. We may not be family, we may not have ever met, but I will never forget them.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same” – Flavia Weedin

Lessons from significant strangers

Cheer for your teams with immense passion

Love fiercely

Have courage of the bravest warriors

Keep the faith

Cherish family and friends

Spread positivity

Smile wide

Practice kindness

Help others

Laugh often

Remember to be a kid

Any opportunity you get to play – take it!

Share your story

Ask for help

Try to keep a calm demeanor

Treat people equally

Be flexible

Listen closely

Be present

Look towards the future

Live in the moment

Share your sparkle

Dream big

Be the light

The public social media pages of each of these special people have further information on how to help. If you choose – send words of love, monetary donations or acts of kindness. The little boy with the giant spirit was helped by the most generous gift of organ donation – if it’s a way you’d like to help someone else – please do so. Above all, remember their lessons, perspective, choice, attitude and light – you can never know someone else’s battles, but you can always, always be kind.

Thank you for the lessons. I will remember you – always.

 

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Growing through change

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Have you ever had one of those experiences where you’ve been fully changed? Something experienced, transpired, or happened and on the inside, you no longer feel like the same person, yet on the outside, to the world at large, you’re still you? It feels so obvious to you yet this new you is foreign to those around you. It seems you now react differently, respond differently, make different choices and have different insights to the same old questions or actions of those you’re around. To you, these changes seem positive – almost as if you can’t imagine going back to the way things were – but to others in your life who can not understand what’s happened, they’re frustrated. What happens now? Read the rest of this entry

Learn Things

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Learn things...thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Mat and I don’t watch a lot of shows – we don’t even have a television. Of the few we try to catch, one that often brings a smile is NCIS New Orleans®. Scott Bakula’s lead character sends his agents out into the city to, as he says,  ‘learn things’. We seem to have adapted this idea to our life, and no matter the situation, that has become a goal. Perhaps all of our travel together has had that as a backstory, but it is quite apparent these days in life in San Diego. It’s been a year and a half in a new city, with new career goals, new people, and new adventures and ‘learn things’ has become a constant. Read the rest of this entry

If those yearbooks could talk…

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I wonder what they'd say...thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Remember them? Remember the agony of choosing the appropriate quote to go under your senior photo in that high school yearbook? I recall hours of searching movie lines, lyrics and quotes to find one that I thought worked best. And then there was that question that would accompany your photo…’where do you see yourself in ten years’? Seriously? How on earth could I know that answer at seventeen years old and would there be any possibility it would be true in a decade? I certainly couldn’t foresee a teaching career and full on career change, a love of travel, life on two coasts, freelancing or a spouse from the other side of the world. Read the rest of this entry

Yes I can. Yes I will.

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Glacier National Park - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Have you seen the new Under Armour® ads with the ‘I Will’ campaign? Have you heard of the ‘Say Yes More‘ events run by David Cornthwaite in England? Both approaches ignite positivity and encourage ‘doing’ through motivation and inspiration at every turn. These ideas can take even our own worlds by storm – that is, if we let them. Read the rest of this entry

Musings from the bus

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San Diego MTS Bus 3 - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

We have one car in San Diego. Most of the time, it’s easy to maneuver – sometimes it takes a bit of strategic planning and logistic analysis. More often than not…I take the bus. Recently, I’ve had to go to a bunch of doctor visits about 25 minutes away and San Diego’s Bus 3 has been my route of choice. Only a block from my doorstep – it’s easily accessible and filled with a cast of characters who often make the minutes tick by quickly. The other day was no different. Read the rest of this entry

How do you ignore ‘the boxes’?

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I’m realizing more and more that people put each other in boxes. It happens to the best of us. We’re either the boxer putter inners or those who have been put in the box, but at one point or another, it’s happened. Do you find yourself doing it? Do you find others doing it to you? What do you think of that ‘category’ mentality?

at Soussevlei Dune 45 - the gift of travel Read the rest of this entry

Game changer

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You each came here for a reason tonight”, she said. That Thursday night yoga class struck again. “This class might fit into your schedule best“, she continued, after recognizing that everyone’s reasons for taking time on their mat tonight was different. Cassandra continued class with a story of a book she’s reading that changed her way of looking at the world. She continued with “behave the way you want to feel”,  expressing that this is the mantra of the book. I instantly became an active listener. Amidst other descriptors, she went on to share bits of the book’s ‘truthbombs’ she has found helpful and how embracing this outlook as opposed to seeking life’s accomplishments has changed her thought process. As she glanced around the room, I’m sure she saw my brain churning.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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Sometimes…you just have to go outside!

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Who knew San Diego had a cloudy period? We didn’t. One of the three locals we met when we got here mentioned something about May Grey and June Gloom. Figuring, at the time, it didn’t matter as long as it wasn’t snow or cold, we kind of dismissed it. Well, we’re just about on the other side of it now, but, trust me, it definitely does exist. It was still warm and fully outside-able, but it was definitely a time without a lot of sun over the past six or so weeks. She’s back now – don’t worry.

At San Diego Safari Park 2015 - the gift of travel Read the rest of this entry

Two Weeks In…

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Life is Good-thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

It’s been officially two weeks since we no longer have a permanent address in Long Beach, New York. We’ve been ‘settling in’. Well, who even knows what that actually means, but we’ve been enjoying life in sunny San Diego. In that time (aside from the everyday joys), we commemorated ANZAC Day with other Aussies and Kiwis on the deck of the USS Midway, celebrated the husband’s April birthday with baseball, beach and breakfasts and hung out with San Diego’s animal population at the Safari Park in Escondido.

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments” -Rose Kennedy Read the rest of this entry