Early Spring 2009

Dear Friends

When I opened my front door yesterday, I was greeted by one of our gloriously sunny yet crisp mornings here in Southern California. Marring my beautiful view, though, were at least a half dozen cardboard boxes scattered on the sidewalk in front of my house. Now, any green-loving environmentalist such as myself would have rolled up her shirt sleeves and started breaking down those boxes faster than you could say 'Keep California Beautiful.' You’d think. Unfortunately, I'm embarrassed to say that my inner 4-year-old was holding court in my brain that morning. 'You didn’t put those boxes there, so why should you have to take care of them?!' 'If you clean this up, it'll encourage others to dump their trash here. The next thing you know, your sidewalk's a landfill.' For longer than I care to admit, I stewed over those boxes, dragging my heels and justifying my inaction with an overriding sense of 'It isn't my mess!' (So much for 'being the change' I'd like to see in the world!)

Then I thought of how my friend Robin recently responded to an image she saw on TV (let alone something in front of her own house!). During Hurricane Ike, she watched in horror as the camera panned in on a dog whose owners had left him tied to a wooden picnic table in Houston, Texas. The water was creeping higher and higher and was up to his neck. She couldn't rest until she knew that the dog was okay. She called and emailed the TV station, sheriff's dept., nearest police dept., Humane Society, ASPCA, and finally an animal emergency hotline that let her know the dog was being taken care of.

As I thought of how Robin worked so hard to rectify a situation she had nothing to do with, guilt descended upon me. So what if those boxes weren't technically 'my responsibility' (as if the person who dumped them would suddenly have a bout of conscience and come pick them up)? As I began breaking down the boxes and hauling them to my recycling bin, I'd like to think that some of my old thought processes began to break down as well.

I wondered if I'd worked so hard over the years not to act as an 'enabler' that I'd thrown the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to taking ACTION for situations that don't feel like 'my' responsibility. Sometimes I get so bogged down in who's responsible for what that I forget the importance of making things right. The reality is that if something is affecting us, it IS our mess, and rather than pretending that it doesn't exist or blaming someone else, there is usually something we can do about it.

In this brand new year, my hope is that we focus on New Year's actions instead of making the same old tired resolutions. Think of how different our lives would be if we just 'did' instead of saying, 'I'm going to . . .' While I silently fumed over those boxes for hours, it probably took me fewer than five minutes to take care of the situation. My hope for all of us this year is for less stewing and more doing! Wishing you all a beautiful new year!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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Holiday 2007

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