Sharing the Light

“That’s barely burning” I said as I looked down at the jar candle. I like to use candles in the bathroom instead of the bright lights and loud fan. It just makes a shower or bath that much more calming. Without a thought, I grabbed another jar candle, lit it and it burned bright. Perfect!

Upon exiting the shower, what I saw next made me stop and reflect for a minute. I looked over and both jar candles were burning brightly and had the exact same flame height. It was as if the brightly light candle had somehow shared it’s light with the other one and now both were burning brightly.

I immediately thought of my life and how at times I’ve felt discouraged, lost and just not “burning bright”. Every time someone has appeared with a bright countenance, encouragement, and just shared their light. By being in their presence, it helped me to become brighter.

As I took this deeper, I wondered if it was really that simple. Had I been making it too hard for so long? Could it be that all I need to do is just humbly and gratefully let my light shine day every day, to everyone no matter what, no matter the situation? Could it be that in times of despair, all I really needed to do was be there? Taking it one step further; why wait for things to be bad, why not BE there ALL the time?

The water dripped onto the floor as these insights flowed through my mind. Who knew lighting a couple of candles could trigger such deep thoughts and emotions. Who knew that such changes in my perspective could occur from such a simple act.

What a feeling of freedom to just BE….and share the light.

Have a beautiful day!

Attention helps us Thrive

This is an excerpt from my new book Climb that Fence, take that Leap which is a compilation of animal stories and the life insights I observed. I wrote it to encourage people to make positive changes and bring more awareness to the animals. Available on Amazon, I hope you enjoy the stories and I’d love to hear yours, so feel free to drop me a line.

Things Come Alive with Attention:
Ever since I took Keiko (my cat) to the park that day and let her out every evening, she was wired. Every morning she was under foot, walking around the kitchen and living room. I’d be upstairs getting dressed and here would come this spindly, almost wobbly cat blasting up the stairs.

At times, it was really annoying to hear the constant meowing, so I’d pick her up. “What is your problem?” I’d ask. I thought she might be in pain. As soon as I picked her up, all I heard was the familiar sound of contentment: purring.

What had changed with her? I had not given her any different medicine, and she had become skinnier by the day. But something was obviously different.

Let’s see, she went from just hanging around the house and receiving whatever “leftover” attention I had to being the first to receive attention. She received my attention first and foremost, and we spent quality time together.

Even if I had other things I “should have” been doing, I took time to make sure she went outside and had fun. The more time I spent with her, the more alive she became.

Just like a plant that requires water regularly, we all need regular, meaningful attention—validation that we are loved, that someone cares, that we make a difference. Without that knowing, we become lethargic and lost, and we lose hope.

When we think that no one cares, it often shows. It is easy to put on a tough exterior and give the appearance that we don’t care, but deep down it can be pretty lonely on our own.

The basic need to be loved is universal among people and animals. Pets fill that need and do it unconditionally. No matter the day, our relationship, or our status, our pets love us anyway. That’s why we enjoy them so much and why they’re often used in therapy. There’s something soothing about petting a happy fur ball.

Stop and think right now: Where can you show some attention that would make a difference? Where have you taken someone/a pet for granted? Write a thank you note, make a phone call, bring home dinner, turn off the TV, etc. Take a few minutes out of your day and give some love.

Just a few minutes is all it takes. You’ll be surprised how alive someone will feel. Guess what, so will you!!!

Benefit of the Doubt

“Hi” I said as a co-worker approached in the hall. No response at all, again. We’ve worked together for years and successfully completed projects so I always expect some sort of response. Doesn’t have to be verbose, just an acknowledgement would be fine. Seriously, how hard is it to say hello back and be a little friendly? This had gone on for several months and I finally just accepted it as normal.

Recently this individual has taken up one of my favorite hobbies and naturally began asking questions. Now we laugh, research, talk for extended times and somehow squeeze in some work. Is this the same person who doesn’t say Hi to me in the hall?

One day we were outside discussing nothing in particular and this individual opened up about some tremendous personal issues. I’ve heard a lot of personal issues, so unfortunately, I anticipate the ending. His story was different though; it just kept going with life altering obstacles one right after another and often multiple challenges at the same time. I just stared in disbelief and felt an overwhelming sense of compassion. It all made sense now….

When I have a headache, neck ache, or don’t feel good I’m not the most friendly, excitable, person. Toss in stress from personal issues and you may see me but I’m not really here.

Often other people are dealing with incredible circumstances that they don’t share. They may appear aloof, unfriendly, or unsociable, but in reality they’re just dealing the best they can. Headaches are usually gone in a few hours, but life events can go on for months or even years.

The next time I encounter someone less than friendly, I’m going to just send them some compassion. Who knows what they’re facing and a little compassion might be just what they need.