Giving Back

Mental Health Awareness, Not Just October and a New Cause Calendar

It’s hard to believe that October is already here. I find the rest of the year always goes so fast after Halloween. This past year I decided to forgo many of the usual get-togethers and celebrations I have held in the past to focus on more personal matters.

I have posted less, trying to focus on quality not quantity; what has been happening in my life has had a lasting and permanent impact on my life, so that influenced my writing and point-of-view, prompting me to adjust the look, feel of my site a few months ago and resolve to a new site mantra: today is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.

So the in honor of Mental Health Awareness Week—a cause near and dear to me—I have added a new page, an Awareness Calendar, listing all (or many) of the days, weeks and months dedicated to social advocacy and social responsibly for a variety of causes. This lives in a new section called Resources where Anniversaries, Birthstones and annual Holidays still reside and new ones may surface (stay tuned).

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Subway Acts Of Kindness

As I stepped on the train yesterday morning, the car was nearly empty. There was a striking woman in a dove gray dress–clearly new–sitting in the middle of the train and two empty seats next to her. As is polite subway etiquette, when possible, I left an empty seat between us, and sat down.

By the time we got to the next express stop, the train was filling up, and a man sat between us. He had a bag and a cup of coffee. He started fidgeting with his earbuds to get into “commuter mode”–coffee, music, in transit. Well, things weren’t going so well, the cord from his earphones got tangled around the cup, and before we left the station, the cup became unbalanced, fell out of his grip the lid disengaged and spilled all over the dove gray dress.

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Kindergarden, Career and My Friday Savior

As a young wife (24 when I married my ex-husband) and then a young mom (25 when my first was born), thinking about family planning and the ripple effect on how I would eventually balance life / career was not top-of-mind. Possibly it was immaturity, possibly it was naiveté, probably it was a combination of the two. I was already in the workforce, but still sussing out what I wanted and where I wanted to go. My daughter was born in the midst of the dot-com boom, and by way of good choices and good fortune, I found myself in a great position to leave corporate America and consult from a home office giving me the opportunity to be with my new baby and still be part of the working world.

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Spring Cleaning and Shopping From My Closet

The changing of the seasons is always fun for me. After a few months of the same wardrobe I am pretty tired of the same-old-same-old and a closet refresh–even if it’s simply pulling out items from another time–is a nice change of pace. My favorite style-switch-over is winter to spring/summer so this time of year gives me fashion-joy like none other.

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Giving Forgiveness, Finding Empathy

Forgiveness is tricky. It’s very difficult to get from a place of anger and resentment to forgiveness. The best way I know how to forgive is to try to find empathy for the respective person or people–attempting to put myself in their shoes and see the world from their point-of-view. This is, of course, a process and it takes time, patience and fortitude (and the amount of time is commensurate with the level of resentment), but it’s usually worked for me.

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Dream Makers

20130511-180612.jpgI heard someone use the term “dream maker” the other day, as in: everyone needs a dream maker. It immediately resonated with me and, of course, I agreed completely. We all need a dream maker, a champion, a partner-in-crime…

To me, a dream maker is someone who helps me see beyond the physical and non-physical obstacles that come between idea and actualization, between a seed of belief and full-on faith, between “this could be” to “this will be..and here’s how.” I thought about the dream makers I’ve encountered in my life–family, teachers, friends, bosses, colleagues–and I have a list of about five so I am fortunate that each one taught me something different adding to the tapestry of actualization, faith, this will be and how… But the biggest piece, the final piece (and–for me at least–the hardest) is more ongoing: knowing my value.

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Boston: Giving Some Peace of Mind

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Words cannot express the sadness and confusion unfolding in my living room right now. I hate that we live in a world where I have to answer questions from my children like: “why did someone bomb a race?” (I don’t know) and “did any children die?” (yes) and “will it happen here too?” (I don’t know).

What I do know is that in these moments one of the bests gifts we can give each other is peace of mind, and so if you need to connect to loved one as a result of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the Red Cross has a Safe and Well Listing that aids in that effort. And as always, you can donate funds or give blood to the Red Cross too.

Tonight, I’m hugging my loved ones tighter and counting my blessings twice.

Giving Back: Holiday Charities and Shopping

Over the next 31 days, it’s easy to get caught up in buying and acquiring. I feel incredibly lucky (thus far and knock wood) to have been able to provide my family with a holiday that includes delicious food, a warm house and a bunch of selections from their respective lists… but I know not everyone is as fortunate. Please take a few minutes to check out the opportunities to help other families during this festive season, I’ve included a few below.

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Practical Gifts: Be Prepared in an Emergency

emergency_kit.jpgThe aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is reverberating across my hometown and I expect it will for a while. The news is still on almost 24/7 and there are still areas without power, water, heat and compounding that, others have lost their homes, their lives and loved ones. As a New Yorker, it’s incredibly eerie and reminiscent of the events of 9/11 and to some extent, the Blackout of 2003 when we were glued to not only the news but the ticker-tape text augmenting the audio/visual on the screen–as if there just was just too much information to consume no single person could actually digest it all.

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Giving Back: Hurricane Sandy

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The city I love was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy. I’ve lived here my whole life and never have I seen anything like this before. The entire tri-state area–New York, New Jersey and Connecticut–as well as areas from North Carolina all the way up north through New England saw devastation and damage, loss of lives, homes and personal property.

I feel incredibly lucky that my family is safe, warm and together having weathered the storm unscathed. Not everyone was as lucky and my heart goes out to those who have woken up this morning to a life phenomenally different than it was just 48 hours ago. If you too were fortunate, please join me in donating to the Red Cross-no amount is too small.

Related Links:
NYTimes.com: Tracking The Storm
RedCross.org: Sandy Forces Cancellation of About 100 Blood Drives
I Love New York: Gifts For My City
Giving Back: Gift Shopping For Good