Viewing entries tagged

Incapable to Inspirational

A woman born in 1880 becoming a world-famous speaker and author, traveling to over 40 countries, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame is basically unheard of.  Women of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were little known.  However, we all know Helen Keller, not because of her disabilities but in spite of them.  

Keller born with both sight and hearing contracted a disease that left her blind and deaf, and therefore, mute before she was two.  When Anne Sullivan arrived to teach 7-year old Helen to communicate, Keller was frustrated.  The exasperation was not because she didn’t understand the signs Sullivan was making in her hand, even though she didn’t. It was because she did not realize that every object has a word associated with it.  As soon as she made that connection, she wore her teacher out demanding the names of all the objects she could find.

As an adult Helen often spoke of the joy life gave her.  She expressed gratitude for the abilities she possessed and named curiosity and imagination as two of her priced possessions.  Her philosophy — happiness comes from within — is difficult to argue with, especially when we know her story.  

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only though experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.

I find myself completely in awe of her perspective, her bravery, her determination.  The shocking thing about all of her accomplishments is they started with curiosity and imagination.  A curious attitude asks, “How can we solve this with what we have?”  Imagination challenges the assumption, “I can’t do this!”  Curiosity and imagination expand your perspective.  

In a world, where women did not have much influence and disabled people were labeled useless, Helen Keller became an advocate, an inspiration, and a trail blazer.  It all started with a little curiosity and a lot of imagination.  





On the Road Again

Over the next few weeks many of us will be on the road traveling to Grandma’s house for the holidays.  The fun side of road tripping is the anticipation of the unexpected.  What will you see that you didn’t plan on?  Wildlife in the road?  Picturesque scenery?  Babbling brooks?   License plates from Canada?  Horseback riders? 1950 vintage cars?  People giving out free apple cider?  Even better than the suspense of the unknown is the expectancy of arriving at the final destination.  It’s so much fun to know you are going to see your Grandma and Grandpa at the end of the journey.  It’s worth the long, hard road.

As a child, every Christmas we would take a road trip from the almost southern tip of Texas all the way to Kansas.  We would drive for an entire day and still be in Texas.  Then we’d drive another full day before arriving at our final destination.  People who can sleep in vehicles love to travel.  Have you ever noticed that? I’m not a good traveler.  

On these long road trips as a child, I would bring a bag full of games, books, activities to pass the time.  (Remember: this was before you could watch a movie in a car or hold a device in your hand that provided endless entertainment.)  My mother would lay her seat back into my lap before we pulled out of the driveway and would be snoring by the time we got to the end of the street.  My sister would make it all the way out of town before she’d ask if she could put her head in my lap so she could take a nap.  There was just enough room in my lap for a small head between the front seat and my torso.  And then I would get my book out and begin to read.  It was important for my sister to sleep because she gets car sick.  Have I mentioned, I am not a big fan of road trips?

One summer during junior high, my family of four took a trip up the east coast in a small two door hatch back that didn’t start with just a crank of the key.  It’s worth noting that my sister and I have not to this day grown any taller than we were in junior high.  For all practical purposes, there were four grown adults in this little hatch back.  Back to the car that didn’t start with just a turn of the key: if you got behind it and pushed it for a short distance, the cranking of the key would then get you off and going.  On this particular trip, my sister was too sick to help push!  Another important note about our traveling etiquette is we had one rule: we must stop every two hours to get out and move around. After the first three days, I lost track of how many days it took to get to Connecticut. Yes, I pushed the car a few feet every two hours so that we could get it started again.  I am not fond of travel.  I prefer just to be there.

If you’re like me, as you approach 2016, you may feel like you’re getting on the road again. We are all starting a new journey to new destination with unexpected detours along the way.  

Walking into the unknown can be the most daunting part of a journey.  

The best way to combat doubt is to just start.  Was the engine going to turn over in that little hatch back?  We didn’t know until we started pushing.  So just start!

Don’t underestimate the impact you have on the people around you.  

The way in which you show up every day in 2016 can inject meaning and inspiration for everyone.  So ask yourself: Is there a way I can bring more satisfaction, more significance, more encouragement here?

Encourage curiosity.  

One of the best things about a road trip is following a new trail.  Follow your curiosity and encourage others.  Having the right answer isn’t the objective.  Finding the right question is what will bring creativity and imagination.  

So I’m encouraging all of us to start the new road trip called 2016 armed with this map: just start, pay attention to the way we show up, encourage curiosity.  This is going to be my favorite journey yet!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you will do to encourage curiosity.