Archives for posts with tag: love

Set your heart on fire

Seek those who fan your flames

Rumi

Credit J Fries 2018

There is beauty in the ashes of a heart that burned for what it loved

Ariana

One loving heart sets another on fire

St Agustine

Love is friendship set on fire

Look a little closer in those delicate eyes, her heart’s a wild creature and her soul’s on fire

– NR Hart

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire

-Ferdinand Foch

Create what sets your heart on fire

It will illuminate the path ahead

©️2018 J Fries/Rise Like Air

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We have now officially ushered out 2017 and introduced ourselves to 2018.

I’m not sure how old i was when I remember I expected to feel something different when I woke up after my birthday, or on New Year’s Day. After all something defining had occurred right? Another year older, another year past.

I realized then it wasn’t the magic of the clock turning to a new day, there wasn’t a wham bang sudden change. I grew another year older day by day and 2017 passed day by day like every other year. Today is just the day after yesterday. Just like every other day. It’s what we choose to do with that extraordinarily ordinary day that matters. Every one of them.

Some of us are bounding in to 2018 with smiles, hope, plans and attitude. Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Sometimes it seems there is only hardship and sadness on the road ahead of us. But, in amongst the challenges life puts in front of each of us right now, may we also find our way to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the music and be touched by the love hidden in each day that dawns before us.

And I say to you as well,

Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Wishing you a blessed 2018! Every extraordinarily ordinary day of it.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

Monday dawned sunny and bright. I was fortunate to awake to the sound of waves lapping at the lakeshore and the sun peeking over the hill top.

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(sunset shot the night before)

There was already a lot of ugly and sadness I could have focussed on if I had let myself. And I admit the temptation to let it swallow me whole was palpable, but I put my big girl panties on, pulled up my positive pants, threw on a great pair of shoes, straightened my tiara and topped it off with bright lipstick and mascara! Well in truth, I took a deep breath, threw back the covers and made a CHOICE to CHOOSE beautiful; to see it, believe it and channel it. And I made that choice over and over when the temptation to doubt tapped me on the shoulder.

Later in the day the headline on my news feed about Manchester appeared.  Manchester – a place from far away that I’ve always associated with sports and music for some reason until that head line. The choice to see beautiful became even more difficult. My shoulders slumped, I just felt heavy.  I felt raw and numb all at once. I think a lot of us did.

Tuesday morning Huffington Post reported “explosion killed 22 people and injured 59, many of them teenagers.”  at an Ariana Grande concert. I witnessed the feelings come out through social media and in the news.

A friend posted, “Tears for those who just went to a concert. Tears for the world.”

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A cousin asked,

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And then I read my friend Michelle’s eloquent and heart felt Facebook post and am honoured that she gave me permission to share her words with you. When things happen which are impossible to make sense of, in the end all we really want to do is keep our precious treasures, those we love, safe.

Bubble wrap.
I need so much Bubble Wrap.

You know… The stuff you use to keep the things that are most precious to you, safe from harm. We wrap them up so they don’t get broken.

Bubble Wrap… Safe, dependable Bubble Wrap.

It may give one peace of mind, but there isn’t enough bubble wrap in the world on a day like today. On any kind of day in a world like the one we live in this day.

“Prayers for…”
“Our hearts and thoughts…”
“We stand with…”

These phrases are like labels now. Words we use to tape together the Bubble Wrap that we place around our hearts and minds to help keep us sane enough from locking our children in their rooms and nailing shut our windows and doors to keep out all the Bogeymen outside that lurk within a world that keeps getting smaller, from stealing their innocence, our naivete, and our collective sense of normalcy.

There is nothing normal about any of this. Even though this insanity is quickly seeming to become the norm. Padded rooms were once for the insane and yet, here I am, wishing I could wrap every precious being in my world in Bubble Wrap. How insane is that? And yet, Bubble Wrap was my first wish… My first “logical to me” thought while my heart screamed “Why?” and it’s echoes throbbed through my head.

Just as “There are no words…” is heard echoing thoughout the world.

But there are words…
“Please.” and “Stop.”

And there are so many echoes.

Because there will never, ever be enough Bubble Wrap.

©Michelle Laing Hoffman 2017

 

But until that plea is answered, in amongst the tragic and terrible burns the eternal flame of human kindness and compassion.

Huffington Post reported, “Public transport shut down, and taxis offered to give stranded people free rides home, while residents opened their homes to provide lodging.”

As the BBC noted, Then there are people like this young man who says “We can react in a lot of ways. We can react in anger. Or we can react by doing. This city is a community.”   The news outlets are capturing more than the devastation and carnage, they are capturing the humanity, compassion and resilience as well.

I think Grande summed it up for many of us with her tweet, “broken. from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I don’t have words.”

“When someone says, “There are no words,” it is there I will find them and we will meet in the silent language of grief.” Benjamin Allen

While I have no words left, I do have kindness and compassion, and with those I will continue to shine my light more brightly so the darkness has no place to grow.

Please.  Stop.

Shine Brightly.

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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“Remember there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams

When Orly Wahba was four years old she told her parents she dreamed of changing the world with kindness. Years later as a middle school teacher, after receiving devastating news about the death of a student, she became motivated to make that dream a reality. Inspired by the life vest inside sign she saw while waiting on the plane for take off, the plan that  would see her four year old self’s dream materialize began to take shape.  Orly’s amazing vision would  eventually lead to the making of The Kindness Boomerang video, forming the non profit Life Vest Inside, including the Dance For Kindness movement and now, most recently, the release, January 3rd 2017 of Orly Wahba’s book, The Kindness Boomerang – How To Save The World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts.

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Orly has always believed, without a doubt, that small acts of kindness perpetrated by everyday people change the world. She often quotes Margaret Mead,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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Orly Wahba, Author and founder of LVI

Six years ago when she started Life Vest Inside I was fortunate enough to come across the video The Kindness Boomerang. That eventually lead me to getting to know Orly and volunteering at Life Vest Inside. I was also fortunate enough to enjoy being part of the experience seeing this book become a reality. I recently picked up a couple of copies and on January 19th I opened the book. I couldn’t help but smile at the entry, my favourite topic,

PERSPECTIVE!

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After giving one of my former students an Act of Kindness card that read, “hold the door open for someone,” I received phone call the very next day with loads and loads of excitement coming through the other end. “You won’t believe what happened after you gave me the cards yesterday!… Everywhere I turned there was a door that someone needed to be opened! It was crazy!” I smiled, chuckled, and said, “Those doors were there yesterday and the day before – but it’s only now that your awareness is heightened that you’re really seeing them!” You’d be surprise by the endless kindness possibilities out there. It’s all about increased awareness. Let’s start seeing the world through the lens of kindness. – Orly Wahba – The Kindness Boomerang

And that, my friends, is the crazy thing about perspective! Once you shift it even slightly and you relax with it all of a sudden you see the world completely differently!

I hear it all the time.  I see it for myself. The world changes, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically but it almost always always always changes.

As Orly’s surprised student discovered, what we see was always there, just waiting. Waiting oh so patiently for us to see it, to become aware. To bring it beyond reality, but instead to embrace it as our own very personal reality. Our own world.  And then, oh my, our lives change. And the lives around us change. And the world changes. And life is very very good.

Here’s the thing. One of my biggest frustrations in life right now is realizing how many people just do not get this concept. My second biggest frustration is trying to help others recognize it.

Like most things, I’ve come to understand all I can do is plant the seed and patiently water, nurture and yes, wait. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing someone else’s eyes get wide and watching them connect the dots that bring them from coincidence to how many doors needed opening to “Those doors were there yesterday and the day before – but it’s only now that your awareness is heightened that you’re really seeing them!”

I get the biggest emotional high when I’m fortunate enough to witness those magical, dare I say almost spiritual moments. They do more than touch the mind, they touch the heart and most importantly, they reach deep and touch the soul.

Here’s the thing.  The Kindness Boomerang holds 365 opportunities to make that connection, to touch minds, hearts, souls and lives. And when you finish the first 365 days, you can start all over again.

So are you ready?  Are you ready to throw the boomerang and have it come back to you? Heads up, because I guarantee you it will. You just never know when it will happen – so be ready.

Interested in being part of the movement to change the world simply by living the Kindness Lifestyle? Then consider picking up a copy The Kindness Boomerang today. It makes the perfect gift for anyone and the best place to start sharing a little kindness is with yourself.

Consider becoming a Life Vest Inside Kindness Ambassador and meeting, inspiring and being inspired by like minded people from around the world.

If you’re interested in watching the short film that started it all please enjoy “The Kindness Boomerang”

 

Orly and Life Vest Inside sharing the Kindness Boomerang in NYC

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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bell1

Today I’m home from work sick and I really don’t feel good. But sometimes opportunity comes in the form of what we initially think isn’t so great.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day too.

And I so want to talk. Anyone who knows me even a little isn’t surprised by that I’m sure. I want to talk about Mental Health. I want to talk about the fact that people you know well, people you walk by the street every day, total strangers that smile broadly at you SUFFER from mental illness, things like depression, OCD, anxiety and a plethora of other ones and YOU probably know nothing about it.

I want to talk about the myths, assumptions, stigma. I want to talk about the far too many lives lost every day to mental illness. I want to talk about the families and friends, lovers and children left wondering, trying to make sense, trying to carry one. I want to talk about the hopelessness and the hope. The fear and the courage. The present and the future.

But most importantly, today…

I WANT TO LISTEN…

I WANT TO UNDERSTAND…

I WANT TO SIT WITH YOU…

I WANT TO LEARN…

I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND…

I WANT TO BE QUIET…

I WANT TO BE LOUD…

I WANT TO BE THERE…

AND I AM.

I ask each of you to take time not only today, but everyday to really look, seek out and listen. For those needing help, don’t give up… find it. Talk to someone. And keep talking and keep trying. Please.

I don’t want add any more names to the list. It’s too long. It’s already too personal.

A young man took his life in our area just this week. A friend of his had posted on FB earlier in the summer “My biggest fear is losing people.” A cyber friend had a “lovely smiling” previous coworker taker her own life this past week.

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Bell Let’s Talk

So take the time. Don’t assume. Ask a friend. Be a friend.

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I am here. Reach out. I mean it. Whether you know me or not. I’m here. Please let’s talk. I will listen. You are not alone. Honest, even if it feels that way. Let’s work to change it together.

In memory of all those we’ve lost and in eternal hope that we lose no more.

Related blog: Out Of The Ashes We Rise (in memory of Todd Pidhorodetsky April 21, 1970-March 6, 2010)

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I went to the lake for three days. On my own. Because I said I wanted to. Apparently, this raised some eyebrows, caused some speculation.

Though I owe no one an explanation I’ll tell you. I only hope you can handle the truth and it is all you thought it would be.

I had a most delicious rendezvous with an old love. And oh my, shhhhh, but it really was delicious. Time stood still and disappeared all at once.

Now I admit that at first I felt more than a little trepidation, but it disappeared when I caught my first glimpse of them. It was like no time had passed at all.

It was cold so we curled up in blankets, sipped whiskey and water while we read books together, taking turns flipping the pages. We laughed and reminisced, finishing each other’s sentences. We went for walks hand in hand, telling each other stories. And when we got back we shared our thoughts and feelings, our dreams and relationships and our regrets because we genuinely wanted to. We played our favourite music and danced with abandon, laughing until our sides ached and tears ran down our cheeks. And when we couldn’t laugh anymore, we drank in each other’s spirit, curling up to sleep peacefully each night. We cherished each other unabashedly and it was divine and peacefully beautiful.

As the end drew near we looked into each other’s sparkling eyes and promised we would never let time or distraction separate us again. We hugged until we melted into each other and then it was time to leave. We never said good bye, because it wasn’t. It was hello.

When I arrived home I felt no guilt or shame as I walked by the mirror. Pausing, I recognized the smile. I winked, and my re-found love winked back at me. “Hello,” I grinned. Delicious.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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You may have heard this or seen this on social media but when I came across it this week it really has been sitting with me.

 

I am enough.

I keep telling myself that. It does’t mean I can’t do more, or be better, or be different or that this is the end or the time to stop, or that I’m perfect or finished. But it does mean, for the most part, we can all stop sweating life. We are enough. We really are. I know it’s easy to argue that, I can come up with lots of evidence that may “prove” I’m really not enough, but either or, those are just opinions, perspective.

 

Now here’s the wow moment I got last night. When I believe I’m enough, I actually become enough, find my flow state and shine.  When I believe I’m not enough, I struggle, I shrink, I slow down and I stagnate. Wow!

 

Here’s the other thing I realized. While I try my best to get my validation from within – because I know in my head that’s the only true validation there is, some external validation is still nice and something I think most of us require at least a little of. When I surround myself with people who believe I’m enough and tell me and show me sincerely that I’m enough, I shine. I glow. I am motivated, I have power and focus and direction and and and and life is good!  However, when I’m with people who do not help me feel like I’m enough…. well you get the picture.

 

I think most of us are very much like this. As well, most of us also have both kinds of people in our lives. I love the posters that say surround yourself with the people who help and let go of those who don’t. I believe that so much, but also know that in the real world, while it might be just that simple… it isn’t that easy.  Wow, so not easy. Because sometimes those people are pretty close to you. I’ve also learned though that you can not change anyone. They can only change themselves. You can be a catalyst, you can help but you are powerless to really do any more than that. So…. you can set boundaries, make requests, but you can’t actually make them change or treat you the way you want. What you do about that becomes your choice.

 

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I realized something else. Some people just seem to be jerks, they want to bring themselves up by bringing you down. But there is another, more subtle way most often used by those who actually care a lot about us, that constructive criticism. Now personally, and many will argue with me I’m sure but I don’t believe there is such a thing. You’re either critical or you’re constructive. I get what the goal is, but it seldom works. At least, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t work as well as pretty much anything else you could choose! Now sometimes, used sporadically and at the right times with the right person sure, it’s all good. But too often the message received isn’t wow I can do better! It’s, wow, I didn’t do well enough. Therefore, I’m not enough. I believe it takes a pretty strong person and a very determined person to weather regular “constructive criticism” well.

 

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My editor  was a perfect example motivating me and setting me up for success. She did not give me false praise, she did not tell me my manuscript was perfect, because we both knew it wasn’t. She did however tell me all the good things and work in the things I could improve. But she always made me feel like I’d done well. She made me realize I am enough and that made me want to make every change she suggested.  Here’s an example from her notes.

 

You and I must be kindred spirits because you seem to love using the semi colon as much as I used to. My professors had to break me of the habit. They aren’t really very necessary – especially in fiction for young adults. They are used to tie together two complete sentences (not fragments), which, together, form a whole idea. But usually it’s better to just end one sentence with a period and start a new sentence. I’ve removed most of your semi colons, as my profs always removed mine. Welcome to the club! 🙂 – Natasha Morrow

 

I admit I am sensitive to criticism even when I ask people to review things or give me honest feedback. May I say, my editor could have shredded me and made me feel like an idiot but she didn’t, she ensured that she made me feel like I’m not only enough, but part of a club, I’m freaking normal for pete sake! And by starting out her feedback so positively she as able to be a bit more forthright later on without me feeling bad at all, I was actually craving more info so I could make my story the best it could be – without feeling like it was “not enough” as it was either. Thank you Natasha Morrow, you are wonderful.

 

I am definitely enough. So are you. So is the person that is driving you nuts today. And the person who cut you off in traffic, cut in front of you in line, took your parking spot, and left the toilet seat up or the milk on the cupboard.

 

We are all enough, masterpieces, works in progress. That doesn’t mean we are done, or that we’ll always agree or get along. But I have started to say under my breath when someone makes me want to snap.  You are enough, just the way you are and I am enough too.

 

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 Marisa Peers video about how so many of us have this overwhelming feeling of not being enough and just how important reminding ourselves and each other that we actually are enough really is was very interesting. (50 minutes)

 

 I fell out of gratitude for a while and it resulted in me seeing less good so I started with small again. Things like I’m grateful for the sun. I’m grateful for 5 minutes alone. I’m grateful no one knocked on the bathroom door (ummm no, I don’t have small children).
My gratitudes have evolved in the few weeks I’ve been dedicated to doing them. I’ve also found that for me at least for now, mornings are my best time to reflect on my gratitudes so that’s when I write them down. I review them in the evening and sometimes add a few more. Here are todays. 🙂

 

  • I am grateful for all the good in my life, even when I don’t recognize it
  • I am grateful for all the challenges in my life because they enable me to grow
  • I am grateful for all the opportunities in my life because they give me hope
  • I am grateful for all the people in my life because they are my teachers
  • I am grateful for my life because within it I find my purpose
 
 

 

Even on the bad days, it’s important to remind yourself, there’s plenty to be grateful for if you are willing to practise being present and look for it with an open mind and an open heart.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Thank you. Thank you for showing me that I could be seen, that I was something more than a walking ghost filled with other people’s stories but my own dreams. Thank you for telling me you loved me when neither of us knew what that even meant. If it weren’t for you, I’d never know […]

via To The Men Who’ve Left — quirrk

I don’t think this blogger has ever written anything I didn’t like but somehow I fell in absolute love with this piece, poignantly straight from the heart.  One of the kindest souls I know eloquently reflects that everyone is in our life for a reason, even those who are here to teach us lessons are very much a blessing. Relationships are always an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s especially grand when we recognize the lessons and are able to reinvent pain into grace and gratitude.

Some days are better. Some days are worse. Some days just are.

But somehow, I knew this day had some good in it when I sat in a hammock overlooking a lake, gazing into a blue sky with a white fluffy heart shaped cloud right above me. Somehow, you just know it when stuff like that happens. Even if recognizing that experience is all the good you can muster. It’s pretty good.

 

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Interesting thing, I’ve learned that every single day has something good in it, just sometimes I don’t seem able to expend the necessary effort looking for it.  Now that I’ve recognized it and stopped arguing it I’m expending the effort and energy.

I’ve discovered it is very easy to see that not so good, the negative, the problems… and then to “happily” cling to them. The day can be beautifully bright, our kids remembered to pick up their toys, our spouses remembered to appreciate us and then that idiot cuts us off in traffic. Well there goes the hole dang day! We focus on that one thing that went wrong, a cloud appears over our head, our shoulders sag, our jaw sets and we do the exact opposite of what Alice Herz-Sommer advises. Instead of “seeing the bad but looking where it is good.”  we decide, usually quite unconsciously, to forget about the good and cling desperately to that one little annoyance. And like a cancer…. it grows until the blackness surrounds us.

And the weirdest part…. really, it’s up to us to choose. We choose everyday all day and way too often our choices don’t serve us or others.

So I’m taking this sign as a reminder to see the love and wonder in the world, even in the clouds.

Have a great day, find your own sign and remember – the choice is yours. Choose to look to the good, even when there’s bad knocking on your front door. May there always be a heart cloud above you showering you with mother nature’s love and a blue sky filling your own heart with hope.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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When I saw this photo on Facebook yesterday it resonated with me and took me right back to a defining moment in my childhood.

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I was a daddy’s girl. I loved hanging out with him and he willingly let me do so. Thanks Dad!  I was quiet and shy. As I grew up I began to notice that I seemed to be referred to most often as “Alf’s daughter” or “Alf’s girl”

“Hey, it’s Alf’s daughter” or “Just ask Alf’s girl” or “Send it with Alf’s daughter” It began to dawn on me that was how people thought of me.  Not as an individual but as Alf’s daughter.

As a teenager I was working on the farm catching chickens.  My girlfriend and I were a bit of an anomaly being the only girls working amongst a group of males.  Her dad’s name was Joe and my dad’s was Alf.  We became known as Little Joe and Little Alf.

At first it was sort of cute. But after awhile it became annoying. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why but each time I heard it I got a little more frustrated until one night I said quite matter of factly “My name is Jewel, not Little Alf”.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was a teenager and finally trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into what seemed like a rather large and somewhat scary world. I was starting to think for myself and I wasn’t quite daddy’s “little” girl anymore. As a matter of fact I was beginning to push limits and disagree with my parents about as much as I agreed with them. I needed to be an individual. I needed to be recognized and acknowledged as one.

They laughed, most of them still called me Little Alf. It was a defining moment for me. I knew that I would have to work to step out of the shadow of my father. So I did. For years it defined me, the decisions I made, the things I did, the places I lived.

Yet it stuck with me. To this day I feel like I’m still working at it. I’ve made my place in the world, I am my own person, yet I always feel there is a shadow, not necessarily my dad anymore, but an undefined shadow that could overtake me, engulf my individuality and make me disappear into a something else.

Sure, I know it’s “all in my head” but it doesn’t make it any less real.

So seeing this picture posted yesterday really helped to remind me that I am someone, and I’m not the only one who knows it.  We are all “someone”. So be the someone you want to be. Be all you can be. Start defining yourself right now, your way. It’s never too late. It’s always the right time.

I AM someone. My connection to others doesn’t determine my value.

If this speaks to you, don’t hesitate. If you really want to start do something right now, within the next 5 seconds to start the process. If you don’t, you probably won’t.  Why  5 seconds? Because that’s apparently how our brains work. If you are sparked and do something to make it real within 5 seconds you are far more likely to carry on.  If you hesitate and wait beyond the 5 seconds you won’t do it at all. Want to know more? Watch Mel Robbins explain it all in her TEDx talk.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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