Thursday, March 15, 2012

Today and Tomorrow

Life is full of peaks and valleys.
Some years ago a good friend said our best hope is for the lows not to be too low and our highs not so high that we can't sustain them.
I learned very young that we are not promised tomorrow. This moment is what we have for sure. We are all reminded of that from time to time. Today I was. And my heart is with two young people who know their mother's time is limited on this earth.
My heart aches for that family. Tomorrow it could be you - it could be me - on the short end - or on the grieving end.
Then I can't help thinking about all the crazy, unnecessary dramas we create for one another and wonder what we would do - if we knew - if we really knew - tomorrow is not promised.
That friend who talked about the highs and lows said something else - she said, put any issue on a scale of 1 to 10 - 10 being death. Where it rates is a good indication of how much energy you should put into it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I think there are three categories of energy - good energy, wasted energy and downright bad energy.
Good energy is when we are creating harmony and joy - lifting one another up. It's when we are acting and speaking in ways that are uplifting to all around us. Our words and actions are unquestionable. We are doing no harm.
Then there is wasted energy. It may not have a bad intent but we cause ourselves or others to expend unnecessary energy. Like when someone needs to remind us to get the minutes done for a meeting that we know we need to do. They had to expend energy that could have been used for something else.
It turns into downright bad energy when our actions or inaction causes others to expend a great deal of energy trying to correct what has been done. We've all been in situations with people where we actually have to try to predict what bad behavior may come next in order to avoid greater problems. This is particularly difficult when it is someone we care deeply about.
In my experience, I began to overlook, excuse and even defend behavior that I would never do. I compromised my own ethics to make room for this person in my life. No amount of talking had any effect in driving toward creation of harmony and good energy. There was simply no understanding of consequences and no empathy regarding the impact on others.
It then became a question of my choices. How far would I go to overlook, excuse and defend these things? It's like slow boiling a lobster. The water gets slowly hotter and you don't realize you're getting cooked. The more cooked you are, the harder it is to jump out of the pan.
Then I asked myself - 'If I knew all that I know about this person but did not have a close relationship with this person - would I be excusing or defending these kinds of behavior?'
When the answer was far beyond no into the absolutely NOT range, I had to make my choices clear. I'm not responsible for what other's say and do. I'm responsible for me.
For me, that means putting my energy toward becoming a better person creating positive energy not draining anyone else in any way. That is a really difficult path, especially if anyone close to you has a different mindset.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mover's and Shakers

I was quite surprised at the Venango Chamber of Commerce annual dinner to join Connie Shull as Volunteers of the Year. It is rather humbling actually. I'm surrounded by people who serve this community. My circle of friends include people who are contributors to multiple organizations. You see their faces at nearly every major non-profit event. They are the doers in this community.
When you see them at those events, working hard to sell raffle tickets or 50/50's or setting up the room ... What you don't see are the countless hours they have contributed before the event to ensure it's success.
They are not whining and saying "why doesn't somebody"... They are the ones saying "I will".
They are running the non-profit organizations and working many hours beyond their meager pay. And while they run their organization with the skills of CEO's, they are champions and volunteers for other organizations.
Our community is full of many very AWESOME movers and shakers with great heart and commitment. Anything I have contributed is solely due to them carrying me along. So much to write about. Our paper should do a column "profiles in volunteerism". There is no shortage of stories to tell in Venango County. A lot of people are Living Big to make a difference.