This is the first year I recall learning of "Cyber Monday." Heck, last year was the first year I heard of "Black Friday," so I guess it's all good. I always knew that Friday after Thanksgiving was the busiest shopping day of the year, but I never knew it had a name. I guess Monday got jealous.
Anyway, there are still a couple of hours left out here on the west coast to log in to www.igive.com and choose P.U.C.K. as your charity of choice. When you search on their site, P.U.C.K. gets I think a penny per search, and when you purchase items through their site, P.U.C.K. gets a percentage of the sale! So far, iGive.com has donated $34.22 to P.U.C.K.!
Remember, enough snowflakes makes an avalanche!
In other news... Ali is super clingy right now, which is really cute, but sometimes it can get a little cumbersome. She switches on a dime between being really independent to really needy, and likes to act like a baby as well. I suppose it's all part of her own grief journey. Poor mommy. Right now, Ali calls out to mommy for every and any little thing she can think of almost every half hour from bed... almost all night long. If I go in, she gets mad and say she wants mommy. Long nights right now.
Speaking of grief journey, I was recently introduced to a PHENOMENAL new source of literature on the topic of grief. There is a gentleman by the name of Alan Wolfelt, PhD in Fort Collins, CO at www.centerforloss.com who has been writing and leading workshops, seminars, and retreats on grief for years now apparently. He has I think 37 titles on grief published! He runs a grief retreat center next to his home in Ft. Collins, and writes on every angle of the grief journey under the sun. One of the counselors I lead the Grief and Loss Retreat in AZ with attended one of his seminars and was really impressed with him. So, I went online and found his catalogue of titles and asked for one of his books for Christmas from my mom. Well, being as cool as she is, she ordered it immediately for me so I wouldn't have to wait to benefit from it! The book is called Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical ideas after your child dies. (I'm hyperlink happy tonight!). Anyhow, it is organized into 100 simple lessons, one a day, kind of. They are simple, but powerful, and based on the testimony of hundreds, perhaps thousands of parents Alan has worked with over many years. There is a new concept shared each day, with just a few bullet points to highlight the thought, and then he finishes with a call to action / action item you can take based on the point of the day.
1. Know that you will survive.
Talk about your feelings. Just sharing them with another person helps them dissipate.
Here's the best advice I can give about being that other person who is called upon to listen. You don't need to say anything. You don't have to fix, solve, or console. People need to know you are WITH THEM. If you can just BE with someone's pain without having to take it on or do anything with it, you give them the freedom to be with their pain as well. When they realize that you are really listening, it takes the lid off their self expression, and they experience the SAFETY and FREEDOM to really share what is inside of them.
Ever start talking to someone and you just know they are not listening to what you are saying?
Ever talk to someone and they cut you off with their neat-and-tidy solution to your problem before you even finish?
You don't feel much like going on, do you?
Ever talk to someone and you can tell they are with you, following every word, and giving you all the space you need to say what is bottled up?
It is like a vacuum. It allows things to surface for the speaker that otherwise might not in either of the earlier scenarios.
The gift of space. You create it in how generous you are with your listening. You create it when you shut not only your mouth, but the little running dialogue in your head you have about what they are saying. I'll stop writing for a second so you can hear that voice.
Yeah, that voice. The one that just said, "oh yeah, I know that voice." or "what voice?" or "what is he talking about?"
That's the one to really pay attention to. If you can put a lid on that little guy, you are ahead of 99% of the world in your listening ability. Try it. It's a great practice. I first learned that concept in one of the most powerful seminars I've ever taken, The Landmark Forum, back in 1998, and I've been practicing keeping it quiet in my listening ever since. It's tricky! Try it!
Angelique and I have both participated in many programs Landmark Education offers, and we can say without reservation that we would not be married today if it wasn't for what we learned about ourselves in their seminars. The distinctions they teach about how we operate as human beings are so powerful and easy to recognize that once you see them, you can't miss 'em again. They give you such insight as to why the areas of life that are important to you aren't working as well as you'd like them to. I now have multiple tools I can use to help me get unstuck whenever I am experiencing a loss of personal power, freedom, or full self-expression.
The two BIGGEST sources of our strength through this journey?
1. Our faith
2. Our training at Landmark.
Check them out. Go attend a free introduction or go to a guest event at one of their centers. I used to lead the free introductions to help people see how this seminar would support them in the games they were up to in life... or more often, how it would support them in beginning to truly play big games with the life they already have, but haven't been powerfully using.
There is a world full of spectators in the game of life, and there is a much smaller portion of players in the game of life. Most react to life, some create the life they want to see.
Are you playing the game of life? Or is the game of life playing you? Wanna get off the bleachers and finally get on the court? There is no circumstance (other than you) stopping you.
Yup. I said it.
You are a circumstance. (Me, too!)
Ouch. I know. Trust me. I know.
Most of us (it's part of being human) sentence ourselves to a point of view or place in life without actually pushing to see if there is a lid to our experience or potential at all.
Some of us push a little, and at some point give up when it 'gets too hard.'
Some don't stop pushing until they achieve their vision or goals.
Some (very few) realize they don't need to push at all. There is no lid.
Yup. No lid. Just us. We (our 'minds/thoughts) are our own lids.
All manifestation and creation begins with one pure energy. The highest, fastest vibration known to man: THOUGHT. If we can liberate our visions for what is possible from the prison of our own fears, judgements, concerns, we are free to really create. After all, what do we really know about what is or isn't possible? Where do we look to see if something is or isn't possible, anyway? The past. Has it been tried before? Have I tried it before? Bob tried it once and remember what happened to him?
Looking to the past to see if something is possible is like driving down the road looking through the rear view mirror.
There are two reasons I issued last night's challenge to you.
1. To help find a cure for EB and 400 other skin diseases.
2. To challenge you to confront what you think is or isn't possible.
Judging by the comments, and by the fact that only 1 single person emailed me with her name and the amount of her choice, I'd say there are probably a few of you that were confronted by that challenge a little... particularly in the realm of 'whether it's possible (for you) or not.'
What I imagine happened was you made a decision in the moment before ever actually trying. Others probably got hung up on 'how do I pledge my word on producing a result when I don't know how to do it?'
Heard the phrase, "ready, aim, fire?"
It's actually, "Ready, FIRE, aim."
Great example of this... I have struggled since I got back to CA with beginning a workout routine. I kept saying I needed to research whether Snap Fitness was cheaper than LA Fitness, but the one day I actually went to find out, the owner wasn't there. So, I told myself that he wasn't making it easy enough for people to join his gym, and so in making him wrong, I got to be right about not yet working out. Meanwhile, Ang (the smarter, stronger, and wiser of the two of us as you by now also recognize) kept on me. "Why don't you start exercising while you figure out which gym is better for you?"
Ready, fire, aim.
So, after about 3 weeks of whining as to why I wasn't working out yet, I finally got on my bike and went for a ride. That broke the inertia.
Inertia is a powerful law in the universe and not one to be overlooked. If you haven't done something before, or in a while, it takes a significant amount of initial energy to 'get the ball rolling.' However, once the ball is rolling, the inertia of movement leads to momentum of movement. Today, I rested, because I was WIPED OUT from the two peaks in two days and 4 hours of sleep I got last night after a long drive home. You better believe that I can't WAIT to get back on my bike tomorrow!
Can you notice the difference between:
Getting confronted, before taking action, that you won't be able to accomplish something,
trying your butt off to accomplish something, and missing the mark?
I think we are as a society so afraid to 'fail' that we don't ever try half the things we would if we didn't care if we 'failed' or not.
If a student studies for a test of a hundred points, but only gets 85 of them, does he or she fail?
Why as adults do we turn into these terminal perfectionists that say things like, "do it right or don't do it at all..." or some version of that?
Let me put it in more relevant terms... do you think I or anyone else would be mad, sad, or let down if you pledged to raise $1000 for PUCK over the next 6 months, and on May 27, 2011, you only managed to Raise $500? Isn't that $500 more snowflakes than if you never even bothered to try?
I think there is a quote that goes something like, "You only fail if you fail to try." If not... I just made up a new one! LOL. Look for it in next year's successories catalogue!
Good thing adults don't have to learn to walk. Can you imagine how THAT would go? We'd all be dragging ourselves around saying things like, "gravity is just too hard," or even better, "I tried and it didn't work for me." or "I was gonna but then I saw Judy fall and hurt herself and I said forget that! I don't wanna get hurt!" or "it's a sign. It wasn't meant to be."
Somehow, we play it safer and safer and safer, till we stop playing at all. It's safer that way! I think we don't want to get hurt again, either by someone or ourselves, for missing the mark, whatever that may be. I know for myself, "I won't do THAT again" has been useful for not burning my hand on the stove, but wasn't so useful when it came to asking girls out after I got dumped as a 15 year old. There are three male friends of mine right now in their early 40's who are total catches, but are paralyzed over giving their heart to another woman after it got ripped out once. They have imprinted in their mind that it is safer not to open the lock, and in doing so, beautiful, wonderful women pass right through their fingers and they can't - they won't - take that chance again.
It's not whether or not any of us have any fears in life. It's whether we let those fears actually call the shots. Some fears are legit... i.e. don't walk down a dark alley alone at night, but most fear in our pretty affluent, comfortable, access-to-clean-water, food, and healthcare society is a little... unnecessary.
How do you feel when you face your fears, and watch them disappear?
How do you feel when you let your fears dictate what you can or can't do?
You can be burned in wither case, for sure, but life without risk is life without reward.
Okay, enough of all that, I can sure drive a point way too far can't I? :-P
Here are 7 ideas for you to get the ball rolling:
1) Google fundraising. Holy COW there are a million ideas out there. Find one that sounds fun and GO FOR IT!
2) Do you send out Christmas Cards? In your card, make a simple request. Ask people to go to www.puckfund.org and make a donation of ANY AMOUNT to a cause you are focusing on this year. I know a woman who raises over $3000 a year EVERY year for the 3 day cancer walk she does just by asking for pledges in her Christmas letter. Her words? "It's easy."
3) Write a list of 20 people you know and respect. Write them a short letter explaining Bella's story briefly and your commitment to being a part of the cure. Simply ask them for a $50 donation. One a week. That's it.
4) Ask your email list/facebook friends to donate $1 to $5. Just post a link to the blog every day till Christmas so depending on when your friends are on fb, they'll see your post on their home page.
4.5) Email your ten closest friends on FB and ask them to help you raise the $$ you want by sending out links to PUCK or the video below on their fb pages
5) Ask that in lieu of presents you don't need this Christmas, have your friends, family, co-workers make a small donation to PUCK instead.
6) Have a garage sale. Make money for PUCK and space for your life
7) Enlist the help of your family to raise $ through their social networks.
Here's the thing: TRY.
As Angelique said today to me, "Ask them to focus on what they CAN do instead of what they CAN'T do."
Lastly, one commenter asked a great question about other research. GREAT question! Yes, DebRA has been funding other research for years, and EBMRF has funded MILLIONS to Stanford U. and more recently USC. U of MINN started this study with ZERO funding from either organization. More recently, both organizations have begun to help fund this study, but Drs Wagner and Tolar have been operating on a shoestring budget the entire time.
Dr. McGrath from England acknowledged that the work Wagner and Tolar are doing is the closest whiff of a cure ANYBODY has come upon in the past 20 years world wide in the world of EB. Even now, Dr. Wagner is consulting with Dr. McGrath to assist in this same study to begin in London. So, I couldn't agree more about not putting all your eggs in one basket, but the good news is that the other baskets have been getting WAY more $$$ for decades and have no cure to show for it, despite persistent teases that "we're only a year away..." year after year.
The key to this is that the procedure works. Kids are already growing their sibling's skin on their body. It's the process of the procedure that desperately needs refinement.
LAAAAST but not least, check out the new video of the speech I gave in LA a couple of weeks back. PLEASE FORWARD THIS VIDEO OUT to all your social networks. It was an absolute gift, so let's use it to its fullest potential! It is also posted under videos so you can go to the page on youtube and share the link from there as well.
I hope I am not wearing you all out. I know I push hard on you. I push on you to think and act in new ways that I hope add power, freedom, and maybe some new insight. I cannot keep my passion down. I hope my words in some way motivate, inspire, cause you to think about things in an empowering way.
God night to you all. I love you.