Ai miei piedi
Creative Commons License photo credit: fabbio

"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." ~ Buddha

“My piece of bread only belongs to me when I know that everyone else has a share, and that no one starves while I eat.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

Today, I would like to take you on a little journey…one that began nearly fourteen years ago.

It was a cold winter day that welcomed the birth of our daughter.  Rebekah.  Our second child (of what would be three).  Our only daughter.

While I speak from my (very male) perspective – the whole birthing process that day was one of much ease.  A baby girl…a tiny baby girl.  While my memory fades me as to the exact details of this moment, I very much remember the joy of a healthy, happy baby.

Our first moments alone with this new life, a few short hours after birth…cuddling a small, precious, new life.

(just each of us were at our birth…precious and new life)

And in a moment…

In a moment…it all changed.  From a little baby wiggling her toes, cooing, crying…to blue.  Blue, the color.  Blue, her skin.

Panic.  An urgent search for a nurse, someone, anyone, to help.

She was whisked away.  Gone from our arms.  And for what seemed like an eternity (although it was mere minutes), we didn't know.  We didn't know where she was, what was going on, what had happened.

Alone.  Not knowing.  A sinking feeling.

(some of the most challenging moments as a parent)

A few minutes later, the nurse returned.  Although, she had stopped breathing for a brief period, Rebekah would be okay,.  Because of this experience, she would stay mostly in an incubator, with constant monitoring while at her hospital stay.

Within a few days, she came home. 

…home…

What a wonderful feeling, and one, perhaps, that we didn't even fully realize at the time. 

Life.  Is Precious.  Is so worth fighting for.  Is beautiful.  Is such an amazing experience we are given.

We Are The Lucky Ones

Rebekah is one of the lucky ones.  She has been lost – like that moment we felt at her birth.  Moments where life and all it's preciousness flash before your eyes. 

…one of the lucky ones…

She is loved, she is cared for…by many.

She has an education…one that continues for this thriving thirteen year old. 

She leads an active and healthy lifestyle.

She has a place of safety and comfort…home…always there for her.

She has opportunities that some cannot even imagine.

She has love and support that some cannot begin to even fathom.

And Those Not So Lucky

Not all girls are so lucky.  In fact, all too many girls have to face difficult moments alone, have to do or be things that no child should have to endure, have to bear too much of the harsh realities of their world at an age that is way too young for these things.

Lost.

Lost in so much more than the physical sense.  Lost emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. 

Life snatched away.

We can look around the corner in the neighborhoods we live in (it's there), we can look to the inner cities around our world, we can look to under developed countries, we can look to families that seemingly have it all. 

And this exists.  Girls…lost…at an age when they should still be celebrating the joy of their childhood.

The Girl Effect

What if…

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What if every girl, across our global community, was loved for who she is. 

What if every girl, across our global community, was cared for in times of need.

What if every girl, across our global community, was treated with respect for the amazing soul that she is.

What if every girl, across our global community, was given the opportunity to become educated.

What if…

What if each of us, in some way, went out today, and made a difference.  To a girl. 


This piece today is part of an effort to bring greater awareness to the effect we can each have, by helping to give every girl, everywhere, a life filled with promise and hope.

To learn more, visit The Girl Effect.  We can all make a difference.

A special thank you to Tara Sophia Mohr, for creating a space for writers to share in spreading this message of hope and inspiration.

The gentle pleasures of life in my wild marshland...!!! / La douceur de vivre dans mon marais sauvage...!!!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Denis Collette…!!!

Will You

Will you go with the flow

Giving the love that is in your heart

So that others may be carried in its current

~

Will you honor a dream

By taking a leap towards it

Closing the distance with bold action and intent

~

Will you meet happiness where it lives

Accepting only the present moment as real

And knowing all you need for contentment resides there

~

Will you accept your own love

And care for yourself in a way that reflects that

By nurturing your spirit from an endless source of respect

~

Will you let it slide

The imagined slight, the minor irritation

And trade it for the peace that comes from a mind at ease

~

Will you give back

For no other reason than

It is simply the person you choose to be

~

Will you walk in faith

Knowing All That Is lives inside you

And it is inconceivable to think you are ever alone

~

Will you dwell in possibility

Where imagination takes over

And doors open before you even knock

~

Will you breathe from your belly

Filling yourself with a deep inhale

And releasing what no longer serves you

~

Will you allow today to unfold before you

By letting each moment be what it is

Without having the need to change or control it

~

Will you?

~ words written by Emma, of Graceful Balance

Pass only at your own risk
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vicki & Chuck Rogers

"When you play it too safe, you’re taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we’re given." ~ Barbara Sher

What are you up to today? 

Today.

Are you playing it safe?  Are you doing what you've always done?  Are you towing the company line?  Are you doing what's expected?

And how does that make you feel?  Really and deeply, how do you feel about that?

Perhaps it is good.

Perhaps, though…you feel some twinge to be more authentic to who you really are.

There's this one little thing, though.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." ~ Elbert Hubbard

Failing.

Will you crash, will you stumble and look foolish?  Will you somehow fail?

Yes.

Yes, you will.  You WILL have some things that just don't go the way you're hoping.  And that may feel painful for a while. 

There is good there, though.  It is most definitely there.  Believe it.

And Nature Speaks to Us
Let me share a personal experience that happened.  Recently, I was in Arizona, with my oldest son and a cousin on mine.  We were there to do some mountain biking (and jeeping…which was a whole lot of fun…although it doesn't relate to this story). 

None of us are expert mountain bikers.  So, we chose to do an intermediate trail (because we happen to sometimes let our heads get a little bigger than they should…) in the beautiful and scenic Sedona area of Arizona.  This trail proved to be challenging for us, although still also do-able (well…there were moments where we were wondering about that, too…). 

…back to the story.

We had been out for several hours, out in the backcountry of this beautiful locale.  And we approached a flat, easy biking area (note:  there weren't a lot of these areas on the trail we had chosen!).  I happened to be the lead biker at the time (how I had taken that position…I'm not sure!!)

Around a corner I came, and was greeted by a large flat rock area…that dropped off to another large flat rock area. 

The few people we'd seen on our way out (we were coming back at this time) had walked their bikes down from one rock area to the next. 

I was sure I could land it…that I could jump from one surface down to the next, without walking my bike. (do you see my brilliance shining through????)

The next thing I remember, I am sliding across the lower rock, face down.  Meanwhile my bike is upon these rocks, some distance behind me. 

After coming to a stop, I slowly (very slowly!) stood up.  One glove is ripped, and my hand is swollen.  My chest hurts.  I cautiously walk back to my bike.  My son, Jakob, explains to me how he came around the corner to see me flying through the air (I don't remember that part…I just remember skidding across that rock after *crash* landing!).  He, after seeing this, decides to walk his bike down the rocks! (he's good with lessons like that!)

Anyway, I came away with a badly bruised hand, and what I think is a cracked rib.
[Note:  Please do not use any of this information as medical advice.  What I did should have probably involved a trip to the nearest medical center.]

And I got back on that bike.  Back on, and we rode for several hours after that.

Was I less carefree after that?  Perhaps, yes.  (I was well aware of my hand and chest at this point!) 

However, I was also more aware of my surroundings.  I was seeing these rocks in a new light.  The trail became more real.  The obstacles…something I put more focus on.  And in all, a greater appreciation for the natural surroundings all around me.

Back to The Day to Day of Living
What happens when we take a chance?  When we try something new?  When we "jump off that cliff"

Sometimes, some pretty amazing and wonderful things happen.

And sometimes…some very challenging things happen, too. 

Sometimes…we fail. 

…or so it appears.

What if.

What if we choose to get back up, brush ourselves off, and get back on that bike that's taking us down the trail of life?

When we do this – we can soar to new heights!!  We can, because we are looking now with new eyes, at what before our taking of this "chance", was just a possibility.  So, even when we fail, when we falter, when we fall – there are still such great, great things we can come from this!

"I failed my way to success." ~ Thomas Edison

Take a chance.  Do something a bit out of your comfort zone.  Live your life!

Today. 

Because tomorrow is no guarantee.

Postlude
I'm looking to leap here in this space, too.  More on this in the coming months, as it all comes together.  Rest assured, that this place will still exist, although I'm ready to move toward Jungle 2.0.  And there might even be some crashes along the way.  I'm looking forward to it all (I figure it can't be as painful as my chest feels right now!!).

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