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Unleashing Your Potential through the Power of Words

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Give Kindness for Christmas

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato

Life is tough. And it’s always something.

Some people are struggling to put food on the table. Others are facing a life-threatening illness.

Some people have lost loved ones. Others are estranged from their family.

Some people are lonely. Others are in relationships but still feel alone and isolated.

Some people just can’t stand their job. Others can’t seem to find one.

Which is why this Christmas … and every day of the year … we should give the gift of kindness.

While it sounds cheesy, it is the one gesture that can turn someone’s crappy morning or afternoon into a better day – and it doesn’t have to cost anything. All of us are struggling, which is why empathy cannot only heal the soul but give others hope. Showing that you care, that you are willing to go out of your way to open a door, or let an older person step in front of you in the grocery store checkout line, or allow someone INTO your lane on the freeway, can make a huge difference.

Even avoiding posting spoilers for the latest Stars War movie is an act of kindness.

I make it a point to try to be kind to everyone. And I admit I am not always successful. When I find it challenging, when someone is incredibly mean or inconsiderate, I try very hard to put myself into his or her shoes. At the end of the day, I figure you can get more accomplished with kindness than meanness.

Being kind also has the power to catch people off guard. Mean people rarely expect kindness in return.

For me, the greatest gift someone can give me is an act of kindness. Fortunately, I have been showered with these gifts all of my life. In many instances they have been life affirming – and life saving. The nurses at City of Hope come immediately to mind.

So as you hassle the mall for last-minute shopping, or struggle to find a parking space at the grocery store, or deal with traffic jams or crowded airports or cranky baristas, try to give the gift of kindness.

It will go a long way helping you get into the Christmas spirit -- and stay there throughout the year.

 

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com

Counting Our Miracles

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

In a season that celebrates miracles, we don’t have to look far to start counting OUR miracles. Just the fact you are ALIVE, BREATHING and READING this blog is such a miracle. And the computer or mobile device that allows you to access this blog is a miracle. And the fact that humans developed language that allows us to communicate with each other is a miracle. And the fact that I am physically writing this blog on a crisp, clear, California morning – and not six feet under -- is a miracle.

Indeed, there is no shortage of miracles.

Instead there seems to be a shortage of time – and resolve -- to count our miracles.

In a holiday season that stresses materialism over miracles and sales over spirit, we tend to lose the wonder of the countless things that make our lives so precious, and so worth living. Even in our darkest days, there is always something to celebrate – always miracles to count.

Some miracles are obvious. Researchers developed rituximab, the immunotherapy that demolished my non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in 1999 – just in time for my 2013 diagnosis. The birth of my children and grandchildren. The food on my table. The exquisite beauty of nature. The fact that I passed my statistics class in my MBA program with a B.

And some miracles are subtler (or not). Our favorite movies, television shows, musicians and authors. Paint. Central air and heat. The Internet. Adele (Hello?). White boards and markers. Transportation – planes, trains and automobiles. Wine. Coffee. Chocolate.

It is tempting to liken counting our miracles to keeping a gratitude journal (a practice I wholeheartedly endorse). Yet counting our miracles brings us to a higher level of wonder and appreciation. And it keeps our spirit light on the days when circumstances in AND out of our control want to drag us down.

Counting our miracles:

·      Allows us to be present as we live our lives.

·      Helps prevent us from taking anyone or anything for granted.

·      Moves us from a “victim” mentality to a place of empowerment.

And where do you begin? Simply look in the mirror. YOU are a miracle.

Start counting.

Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com