Archives for posts with tag: perspective

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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‘Tis the season to be jolly and giving. Some of us have just a few people on our lists and others have a list to rival the old man’s in red himself.

But even before the big day arrives, there’s a gift worth giving. And the first deserving person is…

you

Brené Brown talks about the power of permission slips when dealing or reckoning with emotions in her best seller “Rising Strong”. After all dealing with emotions can be difficult, something we’d rather avoid than face head on.

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The act of giving yourself permission to engage with your emotions in a situation is incredibly empowering.  On one hand it sounds so simple, but as Brown puts it,

“This work takes practice. Awkward, uncomfortable practise.” And by the way, you’re worth the gift.

Maybe it’s the neighbour’s annual party you dread.

I give myself permission to say no.

Or that new job offer in a different city

I give myself permission to feel excited and adventurous.

When you lose someone you love.

I give myself permission to feel sad and to grieve.

Maybe it’s after a divorce.

I give myself permission to feel afraid and lonely.

Or after losing a big business deal.

I give myself permission to learn from my experiences.

When a friend lies about you.

I give myself permission to feel hurt and angry.

Maybe before a first date.

I give myself permission to smile in anticipation and be myself.

Or after a first date.

I give myself permission to feel excited and good about myself.

Maybe after a promotion.

I give myself permission to believe in my abilities.

Or after a life altering diagnosis.

I give myself permission to feel afraid and hopeful.

 

So… grab a piece of paper and your favourite pen…

However and whatever you celebrate this time of year give yourself the gift of permission and may your spirits rise like air all year.

After all, it really is all good, it’s just how you choose to look at things.

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

I’ve been taking stock, realizing that while I’ve got a great life, I want more. Not so much Get More, but Grow More. I don’t want to stagnate. Experience awaits.

And cue life gets in the way. And that’s okay! For awhile anyway. Sometimes at least. Until….

Until life simply becomes and excuse…

So about a month ago Brian Canavan a coach I highly respect and have worked with, posted a challenge on Facebook called Pause Reset Go! A free intensive five day boot camp to help get you moving and grooving to where you want and need to be. I’m going to say right up front it was worth it. The boot in the backside I needed.

The “common sense secret” is its about more than setting goals – it’s about far more than that. Setting goals, well that’s a pretty tiny part on one hand. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a critically important tiny part, the lynch pin so to speak. But you can have the best goals, exactly the “kind you need” goals – but you better have a pretty good idea of how to get there. Actually a better than good idea. You need a plan. Crap. There’s always a hitch.

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Ok, easy enough, I can do this. But wait one minute. You need the tools to make that very important plan become a successful reality.  And… don’t forget I have my own arsenal of talents, skills and more that are important to making this dream aka goal a reality. Yep, all this in five days.  Ok, after five days I hadn’t met my ultimate goal. BUT. And this is a very big BUT….

I knew where I AM right now.  I knew where I wanted to be/what I wanted to do. I had inventoried my arsenal. I had a plan of how to put it together in manageable flexible steps. I had an accountability partner ready to help me stay on track . Most importantly I had the confidence to begin and the motivation to continue.

Baby steps. Second Guess.

An article I read on The Thought Catalogue by Brianna West helped me come to see this process as self care, doing what I need to do to be “me”. But I have to admit, I’ve always thought of self care as the warm fuzzy kind relax and kick back type of thing.  This is a very different kind of self care. It’s the tough love self care. It’s the I don’t want to adult today but I’m going to put on my big girl panties and rock and roll (or whatever metaphor works for you) kind of self care. It’s hard and awkward and scary. AND WORTH IT! Every gut wrenching, mind spinning, self doubting moment of it.

It’s the taking classes, budgeting, saying no to the hard things, yes to the right things, letting go of what doesn’t serve and letting in what does. It’s the risk taking, soul searching, mistake making moments.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to not build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

The Thought Catalogue – This Is What Self-Care Really Looks Like, Brianna West

It comes down to what I want and what I’m ready and willing to do to get it. To get what I want. It’s time.

On your Mark…

Get Set…

GOAL!

(and do all the things that go into making that goal a successful reality).

©️ 2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

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Have A Great Day

That’s usually how I sign my emails, end my phone calls.

But the other day I paused before I hit send.

Because I knew the person wasn’t having a great day.  Not even a great week, or month or year.  Not even a good one if you took the time to ask them, more importantly if you took the time to listen, and to maybe read between the “I’m ok thank you’s”.

Words. Those dang pesky things. Those letters we put together to try to convey our thoughts, ideas, beliefs and feelings.

I contemplated, what do I really mean when I say “Have a great day!”?

The dictionary defines great as remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness. I’ve come to realize that life is mainly about how we choose to perceive things, and that includes how we interpret “great” in our own reality.

For a new mom with her second baby a great day might be 2 children napping at the same time and an adult conversation.

When a loved one is hospitalized with a stroke a great day might be when they recognize you and can say your name again.

A parent with an autistic child may tell you it was a great day because their child hugged them for the first time in six months.

Someone grieving the loss of a loved one might say it was a great day the first time they woke up and didn’t burst into tears.

Someone living with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy has a great day when they don’t feel nauseous, have an appetite and feel strong enough to go out.

An unexpected visit can change a miserable day into a great day for a someone experiencing loneliness.

When losing someone to Alzheimer’s a great day is realizing today they remember you.

For someone struggling with depression, a great day is the day you feel hope again.

Great days.

They don’t have to be big.

There doesn’t have to be fanfare.

Sometimes to anyone else they can even be inconspicuous. Great days are a very personal thing. Great days are made up of tiny little special moments. We just have to see them.

No matter how you feel. Find your great. No matter how big, how obvious, unexpected or elusive. Find it. Make it if you must. Embrace it. So have a GREEEAAATTT day.

Because it’s all good.  It’s really just how you choose to look at it.

 

©2017 J Fries/Rise Like Air

On October 23rd I opened my new copy of The Kindness Boomerang. It felt so good to have a copy of my own again. You see I tend to gift a lot of them, and I was without one for myself for weeks.

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The Kindness Boomerang is a book by Life Vest Inside founder Orly Wahba who inspires us to change the world with kindness. It’s all about everyday people doing everyday things a little more consciously.

I’ve learned through these daily kindness exercises it’s true, the little things really are the big things.

So I opened the book and the act for that day was

Eat and shop locally today.

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Excerpt from The Kindness Boomerang by Orly Wahba

It just so happened that I was about to buy some sticky sweet honey from our local apiarist, commonly known as a beekeeper, who is just down the road at Zee-Bee Honey. I had to smile as I made the arrangements with the owner (and my friend) Michelle.

Saskatchewan produced honey courtesy of the bees from Zee-Bee Honey

The Steve Maraboli quote accompanying the act fit perfectly,

Every single time you help somebody stand up you are helping humanity rise.

It was another one of those “rise like air” feeling occasions. Everyday people doing everyday things a little more consciously everyday. I like it when things come together with that peaceful sweet serendipity.  Just another reminder that really, “it’s all good”. It’s all in how you look at it.

©2017 Jewel Fries/Rise Like Air

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lara-blog

Lara Heller is a multi talented screen actress for films including The Cut, Ben Hur and The Odyssey. All these films are natured based-shooting in beautiful majestic locations like the hills of the Badlands in Canada, Snowdonia in the mountains and the jungles of Thailand. Nature is a sanctuary for this family throughout all aspects of their life.

And here’s the really exciting part… (sssshhhhhh….) In May I was honoured to be able to tell Lara’s story of her father’s perseverance and kindness towards their community in Life Vest Inside’s The Kindness Flash.  I discovered what started out as a simple act of planting a few flowers turned into a statement of kindness that would last season after season.

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I hope you enjoy Lara’s Everyday Kindness Story, Sowing The Seeds Of Happiness

Lara remembers how how her father always loved nature. Lara and her siblings grew up in the tiny mountain village in Germany that had a grand total of 100 people. Upon moving to Brighton her father missed the wild flowers he’d enjoyed so much in his homeland. He was sad that little children passed on the street every day and the trees were bare. He decided to take it upon himself to make a change and proceeded to plant daffodils under one tree.

The children all looked at the pretty little bed of bright yellow. The tree stood out. Elderly people smiled walking past. Children stopped and showed their parents. It was amazing and beautiful how a single tree decorated with flowers could attract so much attention!

Sadly, one morning the Town Council put out wood shavings on all the trees including the one with daffodils crushing all the little flowers. Devastated, the family ran out and asked why. The reply was also devastating,  ‘Council orders-it looks different to the others. They need to be the same.’

Lara’s father chose not to become angry. Instead he proceeded to plant daffodils under all the trees! The next spring the whole street looked the same, each tree an explosion of yellow flowers. Children laughed again and neighbours sent Lara’s family letters as a thank you.

Lara reminds us beautifully that,

quote-openDaffodils like kind deeds multiple. Every year there are more little yellow trumpets waving in the wind. And our neighbours have planted more flowers under their trees. Kindness isn’t always encouraged but that doesn’t mean we give up. As my father taught me-plant enough seeds and suddenly they’ll all blossom.quote-close

reprinted from The Kindness Flash #14 May edition ©2017 Life Vest Inside

Where there is a will, there is likely a way. If there is not a way there is a lesson.

What a beautiful reward, the ongoing multiplication of kindness and blossoms. Bloom and grow. Remember you can check out Lara’s work here.

 

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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A few days ago I got a message from fellow blogger Vaibhav Gupta saying a mutual friend had passed on my name and he was wondering if I’d be interested in being interviewed for his blog  TalkBack Tuesday.   (Stay tuned… for news when it will be available)

I was in complete shock, but after reviewing what was required I jumped at the opportunity. A little outside my comfort zone, how perfect is that?

But seriously, how could I not.

Talkback Tuesday is a feature for and about everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.

Everyday people…. life as complex… large… confusing…  Ok, that’s sounding about right.

So early in the morning I was at my key board on FB messenger answering unprepared, refreshing and thought provoking questions. It was  really a unique and enlightening experience I will treasure for a long time to come. Afterwards, I messaged my friend Soumya who had recommend me and I said, “Thank you so much for giving Vaibhav my name.” She responded with a brief but breathtaking message,

Your are one of the most amazing people I know.

I got teary, because I’ll be honest, I seldom, feel like I’m an amazing person. As another friend of mine would say, “I’m just me, just a guy.” Well in my case, “just a girl”. And that really is how I see myself.  Just me, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies.  Lots and lots of cracks – that let the light in, maybe get filled with gold now and then. Truly a work in progress, hopefully a masterpiece at the same time? Pretty much like I see everyone else to be honest. I mean, I have some really lousy days and on those days I don’t always do amazing things. I started to think about all the everyday people I know who really are amazing, at least to me. Like people I know recovering from brain surgery, quickly growing families, couples picking up shards of marriages or just trying to make relationships better, parents with a hole in their hearts that can’t be filled, people letting go of their past, embracing their futures, tenants uncertain about security and shelter, people just trying to honestly figure out life, I mean REALLY figure it out.. AMAZING people.

Then it hit me.

Amazing, everyday people struggle too

I realized that struggling, and bad days, even feeling overwhelmed doesn’t ever stop us from being amazing; just maybe from recognizing it ourselves.

We struggle. We struggle to find our smile, to find our confidence, to find time, to be real, to get it right, and to just be ourselves. We struggle, to find words, to connect the dots, to achieve what we think we want. We can make it easier or harder on ourselves or we can cross our fingers and hope for the best. But through all of that, we can be and are amazing, in so many incredibly magical jaw dropping ways.

So we struggle. There is purpose.

And we succeed. 

So go out there and be AMAZING; just be YOU!

Soumya, just so you know, you are with out a doubt one of the most amazing people I know. Thank you for being you.

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Dedicated to all the amazing people I know and there are so very many of you. Thank you

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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It’s Sunday!!  We have made it through another week and another one is beckoning us. Take a moment for a deep breath and a personal high five!

For some of us it was an amazingly fantastic week. For some of us it was hell on wheels. Some were able to Rise Like Air and others teetered on the precipice edge.

There were tears of joy, success and happiness. Tears of frustration, pain and fear.

That’s what life is. Amazing ups and downs and lessons and perspective. It’s about choices and learning and trying.  It encompasses falling down, crawling and getting back up. But today I think it’s most about simply living and loving and liberating.

Today I’m making one choice. To smile. Maybe it will make a little difference. Maybe a big difference. Maybe someone else will notice, maybe they won’t. But I will notice.

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Have a fantastic Sunday. Make it yours. Do it your way.  No regrets, no apologies. No shame, no blame, no guilt. Just love, light and living.  And of course….

Rise

Like 

Air…

See 

Beautiful…

It’s

All 

Good…

 

©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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I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed considering I’d only had about 5 hours sleep at best. Awake, but at the same time not really ready to face the day. Although I looked forward to some time to myself to get things done and be with my own thoughts.

A friend messaged me, “I hope you have a great day.”   I responded with, “That would be nice for a change. I see the ‘good’ in my life but I’m just not quite ‘there’ yet either.” Don’t get me wrong, I really do see the good in my life. My life is definitely good, especially if I compare it to many others less fortunate in so many possible ways. And I am grateful for it, very grateful. However, I’m just not quite ‘there’ yet.”

I’m not done yet.  I still have growing and giving and living to do to name just a few. And, I sincerely hope you do too.

Now there was nothing really unusual about the exchange I had with my friend. I tend to hang with a group of people that regularly wish each other well and make candid comments along the way. But this time there was a shift, a click between my head and heart, whatever you want to call it.

I embraced that wish, that hope. I allowed myself to simply be grateful for it, the wish, the hope my friend had for me. In truth I hadn’t really been looking forward to my day, it didn’t really involve any of my “favourite things”. In fact, from my perspective, it looked like a bit of a downer, except for the company I’d be keeping.

But off I went and little tiny bright spots started showing up. And just as importantly (because really I believe bright spots are always there) I was open to recognizing them.

As I was getting ready to head to the city, I realized that I was going to mark another item off my ever growing bucket list! Play D&D, something I’ve wanted to do for over 30 years!  Traffic moved steadily for a change, the light turned green when I got there. I had to wait at a red light, but just as an important call came in that I could take. I took a family member for lab work and we parked right in front of the door and were literally in and out within 5 minutes.

I had started my day with a blank countenance. After receiving “the” message the corners of my mouth begged to twitch upwards just a bit. The bucket list realization kept it twitching. After the lab I had a recognizable smile on my face. And this was all before 9:30.

Off to deliver our farm fresh eggs. Yippee Parking spot right in front. Except…. I was going to have to parallel park. Growing up I was told girls didn’t really need to be good at parking because well, I guess exercise was good for us and we could park and walk. Anyway, it’s bothered me for my entire driving life and I’ve decided to overcome it. So today, I parked (ok, the spot was amply big, but I backed in first try. YES!) I’m pretty sure I was walking a little taller with a bit of a swagger in my step.

Then I had to get fuel, I went in to get a few things and pay. On my way out a young man filling up a car turned and smiled saying, “Have a great day!” Getting back into my car, my smile was replace by a full grin.

Next stop, grocery shopping, a test of any sane person in my opinion, let alone me. As we entered the store, the young man who had just brought in all the carts offered us each one and gave us the warmest smile. Found what I was looking for, prices didn’t hurt and as I got in line I realized my companion for the day just happened to be right in front of me getting ready to pay. Ok, so now I had to chuckle. The clerk was the kindest soul, loading the heavy bag into my passenger’s cart and she generously shared her brilliant, shiny smile with both of us.

Upon reaching the car, I discovered the shopping bags I always keep there had been removed by someone else and not returned. Normally this would have caused me a little consternation I will admit. While I did note the fact, it just didn’t matter. The groceries fit. I had a cooler so that was what really mattered. No problem, grin intact. Groceries packed snuggly into the car, we were headed home.

I enjoyed a lovely homemade meal with my parents and before I left saw a post from a friend about Remembrance Day that just touched me to the core and I knew I wanted to honour it. I didn’t wait, took the initiative and contacted them right away. I have been given permission regarding my request, catch the foreshadowing there? My cheeks were starting to get a bit sore from smiling so much, muscles haven’t been getting enough exercise maybe.

Then it was home, unload groceries, hand off the car for the next set of errands… and get another surprise. There is my son working on his university physics assignment. I actually was able to help on a problem he was working through. Now anyone who really knows me at all is rereading that sentence in utter disbelief. Ok, I didn’t do the actual math, but still. I was enough!

And then it hit me. My friend’s hope, their wish for me was coming true. I was having a great day. There were no “big memorable” things. It was just a whole lot of little everyday things. Things that happen every single day.

Today, I made the connection and I recognized those little everyday things.

To be honest, not everything went swimmingly well. I feel like I might be catching the cold I’ve been avoiding. I had to divert in traffic twice, but I still got to where I was going on time. I had to follow a wide load that I couldn’t get around, but again, in the end it had no negative impact and I guess I was friendlier to the environment by driving a little slower. I had to wait again for large farm machinery on the grid road, but the appreciate smile and wave of the operator made my 90 second delay more than worth it. There were probably others less than perfect moments, but I don’t remember them!

What I realize is that as I connected more and more with the good around me and was grateful, I really did begin to experience more things to be grateful for, more. Or at the very least, I was able to recognize the opportunity to experience more and smart enough to accept the gift.  I didn’t notice the frustrations and annoyances as much or to the painful depth I know I am capable of. My cup is now full again. I am grateful.

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Never underestimate the power of a good morning text and a heart felt wish with a dash of hope either. Thank you from the bottom of my heart my friend. Today is a great day. I’m very glad you’re in it.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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