riselikeair:

“ ‘Normal’ is just a euphemism for being accepted but acceptance and inclusion are not about having things in common, they’re about the personal decision to see the good in people. ”

This blog is a breath of fresh air. Just one more look at labelling and judging. Do you fall into the trap of discerning “normal”? Time to rethink it.

Originally posted on Breathe This Life:

quote-the-only-normal-people-are-the-one-s-you-don-t-know-very-well-alfred-adler-1465

There I was, nervously standing in the junior high cafeteria lunch line, cash in hand, waiting for my turn to pay. Adam Sandler’s “Lunch Lady Land” played in my head.

Focus, Tom!

I had three minutes between picking up my food-tray, paying for it and finding an open seat. But an empty seat doesn’t make it open, as I soon found out. “Think fast, Tom!” My eyes darted around as I attempted to lock eyes with a friendly face. I had one chance get it right and a miscalculation would mean public rejection, a ruined reputation, embarrassment and hurt feelings.

There! I saw my buddy Chad and slowly meandered to his table but as I laid down my tray, I was assaulted with a sudden onslaught of questions and insults. “Why are you sitting here?” “Who wants you here?” “Name ONE person at this table who is your friend.”

Frantically…

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We all have tendencies to judge.  I know, it’s natural. It’s about being aware that we’re judging, realizing we might not actually see the whole picture or know the whole story.  Once we acknowledge that we’re better able to tease the “facts” out and make better decisions.  Often our initial labels and judgements are proven to be less than accurate.

A friend passed a video on this morning and in just a few minutes, it proves the point oh so well.  Don’t be too quick to judge.  And don’t forget, other people judge us too quickly too – so don’t let their labels and judgments define you. Don’t let it become a battle.

Be you.

That’s who you are.

And no one, not a single other person, not even your identical twin can be a better you than you

Not by far!

And that is truer than true.

The video is a collection of Ameriquest commercials which tackles the subject of judgment in hilarious fashion, which in our opinion always drives the point home better.

Remember.  “Don’t judge too quickly. We won’t.”

If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilites the benefit of the doubt?  David Sedaris

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.  From: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Please note:  Rise Like Air is not affiliated with Ameriquest in anyway and makes no endorsement for or judgement against the corporation.

© 2015  JFries / Rise Like Air

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Image from PopSugar

Image from PopSugar

 

Sharon Silver wrote a great article on PopSugar in March. The subject certainly isn’t new. We as humans, have a penchant to label. It makes us feel  knowledgeable, organized, and mainly, in control. We go happily along each day judging things, places and especially people, including ourselves. Let’s be clear, you can’t label anything unless you first judge it, form an opinion and then voila!  Affix a label and life is suddenly ordered, we can breath a sigh of relief. But that label, often tells a very incomplete story. By affixing that label, we may have unwittingly changed the story, and not necessarily in a positive way.

Words are so powerful, and we wield their sharp edges without a second thought for where the blade may land or the damage it may inflict.

Silver shares a story about an encounter she witnessed while shopping.  Unfortunately it isn’t a unique case and what’s even more unfortunate, is that all too often, the person honestly thinks they’re doing the right thing, the best for their child.

I was in line at the grocery store when I heard a mom very calmly and very firmly whisper to her son, “Are you an awful boy?” The little one tried to pull his body away from his mom, as if to escape the sting of his beloved mother’s words, but he couldn’t. He very sadly dropped his head and said, “Yes.”

This little one’s face told the whole story. It was obvious this was not the first time mom had said those words to him. You could literally see the effects of his mom’s words being accepted by his emotional self. You could see the words becoming part of how he will define himself, now, and in the future — I am an awful person.

via How to Talk to Kids When They Misbehave | POPSUGAR Moms.

I don’t know why this is such a hard lesson for so many of us to learn.  Words that motivate, encourage when used with guidance and caring consistently provide better results in improving behaviours and overall success.

Too many people equate this approach with being “soft” or “settling for less”.  That is definitely not the case.  Discipline, expectations and assistance are all still part of the picture.

Most of us have experienced people who have been cruel to us with their words at some point in our lives. We know how it makes us feel. Most of us have managed to “put it behind us” and have moved on. Yet, as adults we tend to fall back on methods that we’ve experienced, even when, if we’re honest with ourselves, we know didn’t work well for us.  But somehow, we suddenly think, “but that must be the way it’s done”.

It’s not easy to change our habits, it’s even harder when we feel pressured, under stress, short tempered, lacking sleep or simply busy. But when we see the changes that our efforts result in, it doesn’t take long to realize that the effort is more than worth it.

I like Sharon Silver’s suggestions for dealing with misbehaviour, 3 good questions.

  • Was what you did safe?
  • Was it respectful?
  • Was it kind?

That’s a pretty impressive starting point. You see, we usually don’t have to use hurtful words to get the message across.  As a matter of fact, using words that hurt simply put the other person on the defensive and removes the focus from the issue and the solution. These questions let the other person gain understanding themselves. For most people, that’s enough to start a change in behaviour.

Labelling people, even with “positive” labels stunts growth as surely as a plant is if you put a pot over it and keep it in the dark. Instead be the sunshine and rain that let’s that flower grow and bloom brilliantly.

The change starts with us. It starts now. Listen to yourself, listen to your family, listen to your children’s teachers.  Start using language that actually has a positive impact and you will be astounded at the changes you begin to see.  The sparkle in your child’s eye and their desire to please and do well will likely grow visibly, right before your very eyes.

 

©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Happy Monday everyone.

20150412-202550-73550998.jpg

 

Lanterns flicker in the night,

Holding the dark at bay.

Safe within its light,

Our fears are kept away.

 

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it.

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What's your "lucky charm"?

What’s your “lucky charm”?

There’s a secret you need to know.

Lean in and listen closely.

You are your own best good luck charm.

You carry it with you all the time

And everywhere you go.

Seems obvious now doesn’t it?

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air Thanks for stopping by, we always appreciate it.

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Michelle Nicholson- Managing Editor-The Star Newspaper: March 6, 2015.

Michelle Nicholson- Managing Editor-The Star Newspaper: March 6, 2015.

Last month, just before International Women’s Day, our local paper ran the above editorial.  Considering our little paper is, well, quite little, I’m always impressed with the quality and content.  Michelle Nicholson’s editorial caught my eye and she has been gracious enough to allow me to reprint it here. I chose to wait awhile because I think we need reminders more often than once a year to ensure we don’t become complacent for the other 360+ days in the year. The editorial is simple enough, a gathering called Pamper Yourself Expo held in a very small community.  Just a blip on the radar.  But that’s the point.

There are fantastic women absolutely everywhere!  In sprawling cities, tiny towns, on farms, on the road, in their homes, in the workplace.  Wonderful women, super women, everyday women.  Women that make the world go round every moment of every day. Michelle recognized that the expo was filled with wonder women. Wendy, Betty and Janet, awesome women, and I’m sure they weren’t the only ones there.

A celebration of awesomeness. I’m glad to see more women admitting that we’re important.  Women who no longer just smile and say, “Oh it was nothing.”  It is something!  Our contributions are important, are meaningful, are needed.  There is no reason why we shouldn’t admit our awesomeness, our value and accomplishments. Michelle notes all too accurately,

How come we as women don’t see our own awesomeness or the awesomeness of the women around us on a more consistent basis? We need a day to celebrate being a woman.  Men don’t.  Telling.

It’s not easy to change our thought patterns, our habits or the way we look at ourselves and each other.  Our perceptions have been coloured for so long by society, patriarchal attitudes and poor representation in history that we’ve come to accept it as true reality rather than just an incomplete perception. However, we are women, staying the course, changing, flexible, adaptable, these are all traits that lurk under the surface within us if we haven’t already teased them to the surface.  It’s time, as Michelle says, to

remind each and every woman and myself:  you are awesome, you are loved, you have value and you can do it.

It’s not about one day a year, it’s about every single day.  Women step up to the plate every day.  We work, we love, we toil, we pick up the slack, we persevere.  Some days we succeed, some days we don’t, but we keep going.  It’s not about doing it alone, being a hero or being perfect.  I think International Women’s Day has it right.

We together: Stronger, Better

It’s time to look for the best in each other, to be part of the whole.  It’s not about competing or being better than someone else.  It’s about working together, being together and supporting each other – together.  It’s about today, and every other day too.

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an’ pretend

‘Cause I’ve heard it all before

And I’ve been down there on the floor

No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Helen Reddy – I Am Woman

A very special thank you to Michelle Nicholson from The Star for allowing me to share her thoughts with you.

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Photo Credit:  Jade Beall Photography from the "Bottle and Breast" shoot.  Rise Like Air has no ownership of this photo.

Photo Credit: Jade Beall Photography from the “Bottle and Breast” shoot.
Rise Like Air has no ownership of this photo.

I was reading Jade Beall’s FB post yesterday which included a photo from her “Bottle and Breast” shoot.  It was of the most beautiful mom Maveny and her sweet twin boys Oliver and Elliot.  What struck me the most was how much guilt this mom felt for things that are the most natural and common experiences of mothers in the world.  Breast feeding isn’t always easy or possible, isn’t now, never was.  Bearing children has never been a walk in the park for most women. At some point whether it’s pregnancy, labour and delivery, child rearing or letting go – at some point, it’s going to get tough.  Fair warning.

Yet somewhere we’ve gone from trying to empower women and mothers to judging them.  Empowerment means doing what’s right for your baby, yourself and your family.  That does not mean what’s right for anyone else.

About not being able to carry her beautiful babies to term Maveny laments, “Right off the bat I felt guilty for not being able to carry them until they were bigger.” About not being able to nurse and having to pump instead, she remembers, “I felt at the time this was another failure.” And about having to stop pumping and begin feeding her boys formula, “I was disappointed, but I reminded myself that our journey is not going to look like everyone else’s.”  And finally the realization and acceptance, that,

There is nothing wrong with that. I got what was most important to me, that time back to hold them and whisper things to them and enjoy our time uninterrupted. I had finally found my stride as a mother. I had found my delight.

Too many of us are trying to find a way to be the perfect mother.  Do it all, do it right, do it now.  That’s the mantra unconsciously muttered by countless mothers. And as if we aren’t hard enough on ourselves, we’ve got another array of mothers and women and whoever else judging our every move, ready to pounce on the slightest perceived infraction to perfect mothering. Most of us have experienced at least one such look down your nose type of comment, such as, “We wouldn’t introduce a pacifier,” or “I never laid little Stevie on his stomach ever!” or “Always carrying a baby spoils her,” or maybe it was phrased as an innocent question, “She’s still not sleeping through the night?” or “You use formula?” or my favourite, “He’s still not potty trained?”

I’m all in favour of opinions, just not always sharing them in every circumstance. No matter how hard we try we’re going to end up doing some things better than others. Parenting, no matter how well read or versed, is all ways a little bit of trial and error and a little bit of trial by fire.

The best thing any of us can be is supportive and patient rather than judgemental.

As women some of us will choose to become mothers, some will choose not to while yet others will have it thrust upon them and some will only be able to dream.  As Maveny said, “our journey is not going to look like everyone else’s. There is nothing wrong with that.”

Maveny’s story started me thinking about the process of going from a woman to a mother and the wide range of experience that entails. In the end all I have to ask, are your children loved, healthy and thriving? Then let’s toss the guilt.

As a Woman,
You join, you love.
You conceive, you love.
You carry, you love.
You birth, you love.

As a Mother,
You nourish, you love.
You teach, you love.
You protect, you love.
You listen, you love.
You worry, you love.
You hope, you love.
You argue, you love.
You guide, you love.

You weep, you love.
You support, you love.
You release, you love.
You watch, you love.
You wait, you love.
You smile, you love.

You accept, you love.
You love, you love.
You love.

Y    L

O   O

U   V

      E

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

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source unknown

Much has been written about happiness, how to be happy, how to stay happy.

I believe happiness is different for each of us.  Even if we are happy for the same list of reasons, those same reasons touch each of us uniquely individual way.

We strive to find the balance, walk the tight rope that ensures we stay on the fine line that is happiness. I’ve done that for a very long time.  Trying to grasp happiness so tightly that I can’t lose it, living in fear that I will wobble  causing my toe to touch the opposite of happiness.

Slowly I’m coming to realize that clinging to happiness really living in happiness, it’s living in fear of loss. I’m learning that happiness is a lot like beauty. It can be obvious, bright shades of yellow, loud and big! It can be unexpected, slightly more subtle, shades of pink, maybe a bit reserved. Or it can even be elusive, where you have to look for the silver lining or experience a mix of emotions that change the hue of happiness. In this world, if one listens to the news, there is plenty of “evidence” to validate unhappiness.

I’m beginning to really understand the wisdom in being happy for no reason, for being happy simply because I can choose to be happy.  I can choose it.  I realized that it is true – whether I make a conscious choice and take steps to fulfill it, or allow my choices to be random unconscious manifestations, it’s a choice non the less.

We are creatures obsessed with reasons. Why does this happen? Why did you make that decision? Why is the sky blue? Why is snow cold? Why is a rock rough? We judge, we label, we file away. Our judgements become key in determining our happiness.

I used to live my life thinking in the future, “I’ll be happy when I get through this project.”  Then I finally asked myself, “Why make your happiness dependent on a timeframe and not feel happy now? So right there I chose to change my thought. I felt a bit silly and like I might not be telling the whole truth, but I said, “I’m happy because I’m gaining lots of experience as I work through this project.” I allowed myself to enjoy that accomplishment. Because it was ongoing, I was able to remind myself I could be happy at any time.

I realize that’s still a reason.  It can be difficult to think of life without attaching judgements, labels and reasons to everything. After all we’re pretty good at it, although often not very accurate in the outcome. So what about being happy for no reason – or at least simply because you can.

“I’m happy,” period. No conscious reason, just a set intention everyday, with a good dose of an attitude of gratitude.  And maybe that’s part of it, we don’t need to focus on why we’re happy as much as focussing on gratitude for what we do have. It’s the old chicken and the egg question. In this case, maybe it’s not that we need a reason to be happy, but that if we choose happiness we will end up with plenty of reasons to be grateful and, well, even happier.

So I’m working at being happy for no reason, just being happy for the sake of happiness. That way when life throws me that curve ball it inevitably will, I’ll be ready.

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

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I emerged from the hospital weakened, with thin limbs and thinned hair. Now unable to work, I was left at home to convalesce. Getting up from a chair or lifting a glass of water took concentration and effort. If time dilates when one moves at high speeds, does it contract when one moves barely at all? It must: The day shortened considerably. A full day’s activity might be a medical appointment, or a visit from a friend. The rest of the time was rest.

via Before I Go, by By Paul Kalanithi – Photography by Gregg Segal.

We all know our time on this earth is limited.  Most of us are able to ignore it at least for a time and we live like we have forever.  But we don’t.

When you realize that your time is close to being over, time takes on a new meaning.   The above essay is one of the most articulate, profound and poignant pieces I’ve ever read.

Dr. Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who recently passed away from metastic lung cancer.  In this, one of his last pieces of writing shortly before his death, he shared how the concept of time changed for him during his illness, recovery and then recurrence of cancer.

We each deal with tragedy, pain and challenges differently.  But during those trials and tribulations, the pain and the fear, it is the smallest and simplest things that bring us joy.

Never discount the small joys we are each capable of sharing with others, no matter the day or the need.

© 2015 JFries / Rise Like Air

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riselikeair:

Inspiration to put a smile on your face, a spring in your step and determination in your attitude.

Originally posted on Inspirational Blogs:

dgar A. Guest

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