Oakwood Cemetery's Death Letter Project - North Carolina was selected as the 2019 Keeping it Personal Event Award Recipient by the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association
Out of 47 nominations from 3 continents our project was selected as the winner.
https://spark.adobe.com/page/Ik1TyxsWmoguP/ (See the project)
https://spark.adobe.com/page/rIN92zwBzbhz3/ (See Amber's letter)
Words of wisdom from my former skating coach, that also apply to life.
She meant it literally at the time, because if you look straight down doing figures in skating, you'll fall on your face. You must look ahead to see what's coming in order to make adjustments and adapt.
Life is constantly changing. The things that happen to and around us are actually devoid of meaning, until we as humans give them meaning. Don't let your present circumstances limit your vision for your future.
Being grateful for what was
embrace what now is
and allow for what is yet to be.
On this magical Christmas Day, a point of reflection: The only things that truly matter are not things...They are our experiences, our contributions, our relationships--and how we create meaning from each of these.
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Last year, after mending a broken foot, I wrote about some of the overarching lessons learned through that experience, for which I created a charm bracelet as a physical reminder (October 2017 blog entry). There was a fourth lesson, probably the most difficult one for me. I've since added a charm for it.
The lesson was for accepting help. Even with a broken foot, I stubbornly refused to accept any help, at least at first. "No, I can do it! I've got it!" Until I realized just how exhausting trying to do everything myself--especially whilst injured and healing--truly was. And people seemed to genuinely WANT to help. They were everywhere: friends, neighbors, colleagues, and a surprising number of strangers. Many shared their own stories of having gone through something similar in the past. Each was an opportunity for real connection.
The fourth charm is an open heart with a wing in the interior. It symbolizes this connection between people--the helpers (Good Samaritans!) and the person being helped.
This was a tough lesson for me. It's seriously difficult to acknowledge that you need help, especially when you are accustomed to being the helper. I believe this is true for so many of us. We so value independence and believe we should be able to do everything on our own, to our own detriment. We refuse help when offered, believing that it makes us look weak. But what if the opposite is actually true? What if being able to acknowledge and accept that we may need some additional support instead makes us courageous, as well as affords an opportunity to connect with a fellow human being? And that it helps the helper just as much, to be of service to someone? Think about it--were the situation reversed, wouldn't most of us be willing to offer that very assistance?
It occurred to me whilst walking along a popular nature trail, sometimes I passed some people, sometimes people passed me. Life is like that. With cars, for example. Sometimes you'll be ahead of others, sometimes other people will be ahead, even seemingly ZOOM past you. A lot has to do with what kind of vehicle you have, as well as how well you've maintained it, or even if you have a vehicle at all or have to deal with driving someone else's.
A racecar won't function well in the same conditions that a jeep would, and vice versa. And neither would get very far if you didn't give them fuel or proper maintenance. A lot has to do with road conditions, timing and obstacles, too. Not everyone will experience the same ones nor the same intensity, frequency or duration. And of course, not everyone chooses the same path or destination. Yet we all have the same FINAL destination. So it really is all about the journey itself, which makes us each simultaneously utterly unique and recognizably similar in our life paths.
Throughout my time healing a broken foot, there were several lessons. During a conversation with a colleague, I was asked how I planned to remember these lessons after the healing was done. So I decided to put together a charm bracelet as a visual aid to recall the most salient ones...
The first charm is a pine cone. It was the actual physical object on which I had tripped, resulting in the injury. A pine cone also happens to symbolize intuition. I had been running around as usual, trying to do ten things at once, up in my head instead of focusing on things around me. So to me, it meant that if you ignore your intuition, what's right in front of you, it can trip you up. Paying attention to the "pine cones" in our lives is really about being mindful, being in the present moment.
The next charm is a sea turtle. When my foot broke, it was a quite forcible lesson in slowing down--whether I liked it or not!--as I could suddenly no longer walk, drive, stand up in the shower, or do other daily activities for several months. Yet I made it a point of focusing on what I still COULD do, and making adaptations, such as in the yoga routine I created while still in the cast boot. The sea turtle, therefore, is meant to remind me to slow down, but keep on swimming.
The last charm is a flamingo. Well, I'm a native Floridian, so all that standing on one foot reminded me of the flamingo. And if you've ever seen those beautiful pink birds, they actually do stand around serenely on one leg, perfectly balanced. So the flamingo is to remind me to find the balance in the imbalance--and to keep it classy! ;)
How have you committed life lessons to memory?
After I broke my foot and was no longer able to get to my regular yoga classes, I developed an amateur yoga routine that could be done at home, throughout recovery. This is the link to the YouTube video I created. My hope is that it will also be useful to others who have had foot injuries, and still want to do something to remain active.
Be smart, be careful, listen to your body, and be thankful for all the things you can still do!
Stop searching for meaning--immediately. Human beings are meaning makers. Go create your own. Yes, now!