It’s been quite a week here in the states. My heart goes out to all those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Whether you’ve lost a family member or friend, live in the community where the crime occurred, or feel deeply saddened for those who are suffering, it’s important to take extra good care of yourself during this time.
This week, as we head into the busy holiday season, I want to invite you to think about what brings you joy. What do you love to do during this time of year? Who do you love to spend time with? When the end of the season comes, what do you wish you had done more of?
Last week I traveled to New York to teach at the Hay House Writer’s Workshop on Sunday afternoon. When I arrived, I had a chance to meet a few of the attendees before hitting the stage. One young man, Jameal, approached to say hello and I immediately recognized his name as someone I had spoken to several times during my show on Hay House Radio. It’s always so fun for me to put a face with a familiar name and I asked Jameal if I might give him a hug.
During stressful times, one of the things that sees us through is self-confidence – confidence in our ability to weather a storm, to take the necessary actions to honor our self-care, and to face our fear even when everything inside us wants to run and hide.
Several years ago, when life was pretty stressful during my husband Michael’s illness, I shared a story about how grace entered my life at a time when I really needed to know I wasn’t alone. Since many people feel challenged right now, I wanted to share this story again in the hopes that it reminds you to ask for and see signs of grace in your life.
Years ago, during a very difficult time in my life, I went to a place I always go to for comfort and clarity: I took a walk on the beach. It was a cool, rainy day, and the clouds above hung so low I felt I could reach out and touch them. As I slogged through the sand, I thought about my life and the challenges I faced. With each step I felt the weight of anxiety that traveled with me. Then, I noticed something shiny sticking out of the sand.
While shopping for clothes on a quiet afternoon, I encountered a frustrated worker who decided to take her irritation out on me. As I left a dressing room with clothes on my arm, the young woman yelled - actually yelled - at me for not putting them on a nearby return rack.
It all started with the dishwasher. After a good night's sleep, I walked into the kitchen one morning to make a cup of tea and found my husband loading dirty dishes into the top rack. I stood quietly by, taking special note of how he "tossed" them in without much concern for how they were placed. Once he was done and safely in his office, I, knowing full well that the dishwasher needed to be loaded correctly, walked over, opened the front of the machine, and proceeded to rearrange what he had done. Just then, Michael walked back into the room.
When I was a little girl my dad used to call me Sarah Heartburn - a funny twist on the French movie actress Sarah Bernhardt - because I had a tendency to be a bit dramatic when things didn't go my way. The truth was that I was a highly sensitive child. I cried easily, felt deeply hurt when kids called me names or made fun of me, and was prone to bouts of loneliness and a kind of sadness that I didn't understand. It wasn't until I read "The Highly Sensitive Person," by Elaine Aron, as an adult, that I understood what was going on.
I hate being disappointed. There's nothing worse than getting your hopes up only to have them squelched when something doesn't turn out the way you plan. And that's precisely why I hate to disappoint others. Over the years I've watched myself go on autopilot when someone asks for a favor, saying "yes" when I know in my gut that I'd rather not do it. Or I've suffered, spending too much time trying to come up with a graceful way to let someone down so they wouldn't feel hurt or angry at my "no."