A Crowdsourced Blog Post of Encouragement

I asked my friends on Facebook what they would say to someone going through a tough time and if they had any favorite quotes, blogs, or videos that they thought would be encouraging. When I asked, I had a certain friend in mind, but as the more than 30 responses came in, I thought it would be worthwhile to share them all in one place. Check them out below and leave a comment with what you would add.

The responses came in a few different categories:

QUOTES

When you are going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

All good work is done in the defiance of management — Bob Woodward

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

“All of it is feedback and lessons. Those painful moments aren’t what you think they are- they’re actually your greatest opportunities to expand in self compassion and understanding “  - Jonathan Basker

“The only way out is through” - Jonathan Basker

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Morning Offering from John O'Donohue "To Bless the Space Between Us."

Websites/Blogs

https://www.dailyom.com

https://icanread.tumblr.com

Daily Affirmation App

Daily Hope email from Pastor Rick Warren

Nayiyah Waheed’s Instagram Account

Books

Untethered Soul- Michael Singer

The Daily Stoic Journal - Ryan Holiday

The Four Agreements

Videos

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • From my experience (no pun intended), it seems helpful to identify what the person is feeling in order to identify what might help the most. Meaning, the person who is feeling hopeless may be comforted by something very different than the person who is feeling extreme

  • Thank God for the answers that are on the way.

  • Drink Tea

  • Feeling all of the feelings just because they exist.

  • Write. Write. Write. Not to read later, to flush out. Morning pages. Also listen to Coldplay live.

  • Uplifting music, setting a happy goal (to look forward to later) ie; book a trip, watch the sunset, a concert, rezzo at fave restrurant,eat a donut...whatever endeavor that will create happiness. BE with those feelings, it's important for healing...andthen release them as soon as possible. I find being around grounded, happy, and light people always helps too. Looks like they have that part already covered. 😉 Writing without judgement definitely helps.

A Legacy of Strength

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I’ll never forget visiting Grandpa and Grandma for harvest when I was in sixth grade. It was my first solo trip by plane and I arrived just in time to hop up in the John Deere combine with Grandpa and bring in that year’s crop. They were really long days, but we had the best time talking about sports, business, and family and then were always greeted back home by Grandma’s cooking. 

One night, as we were putting away the combine and fixing a part that had come loose, Grandpa cut the palm of his hand on the exposes metal. A clean cut straight across his hand. And it was a gusher. Before I knew it, there was blood flowing down his hand and on to the ground. As I started to reach for the paper towels on the work bench, I caught him looking at me with a smile on his face. He wasn’t paying attention to his hand, or the pain I am sure he was feeling, he was watching me to see how I was reacting. When I later told my Dad this story, Dad told me that Grandpa was smiling because I didn’t flinch and that I wasn’t too much of a city kid after all. 

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The strength to love through pain is one of the things I will always remember about Grandpa. He was strong for everyone in his life, even when it was really hard for him. And a small squeeze from Grandma’s little hand was a huge source of strength for Grandpa, they were so in love.

I’ll never play a round of golf, a hand of cribbage, or sing a hymn at the top of my lungs without thinking about Grandpa. Not only because he was better at those things than anyone I’ve ever known, but he loved seeing others join in and do well at those things with him. 

I’ll also never take for granted the relationship that I have with my Dad because of the relationship my Dad had with his Dad, my Grandpa.  Dad and Grandpa worked hard on their relationship. They knew they were wired differently in parts of life, but they also knew that they loved each other more than any of their differences. My Dad made Grandpa so proud and loved him so much. For as long as I can remember, when our minivan packed to the gills with kids and suitcases would start to pull away from another visit to the Iowa farm, Grandpa wouldn’t be able to hold back the tears of saying good-bye to his son. It was love beaming from his tear soaked face and we all knew how much he loved us all, but especially Dad.  

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And now that Grandpa has passed on and is singing hymns with Grandma louder than ever before, those he leaves behind are here to carry on his legacy. A legacy of strength, love, and pride in your family no matter where they are or what lies ahead. 

Be Careful When Looking Up and Away

For me and my six year old soccer teammates, it was the biggest airplane we’d ever seen. We all yelled to each other “look up!” as its engines rumbled and roared over towards us in the distance. With our mouths wide open, it flew directly over our field and we all oohed and aahed as we felt the power of its passing all the way down to our shin pads.. 

Looking Up at 15th Street and 7th Ave (NYC - 8/21/17)

Looking Up at 15th Street and 7th Ave (NYC - 8/21/17)

Then, not even ten seconds later, we heard a more familiar sound bringing us back to the present moment. It was the sound of the referee blowing their whistle and yelling “goal!”

While we’d all been looking up and starring at the seemingly once in a life time occurrence that literally stopped us in our tracks, some savvy other six year old had dribbled the ball past all our statuesque like figures and kicked a goal passed our equally enamored goal keeper. 

I couldn’t help but think about this story for the past few weeks, and especially today, as many people I know have stopped what they were doing, some preparing for days and weeks, to look up and away from their day to day to watch approximately two minutes of interstellar synchronization. I have no doubt that it will be, for some, everything they hoped it would be and more, the best two minutes of their year. But I worry it will be a yet another distraction, a form of escapism, from the game we're all playing, another instance of letting down of our defense and a more disciplined opponent takes the chance to score. 

Looking Up with a cardboard box and reigniting everyone's childhood at St. Vincent's Park  (NYC - 8/21/17)

Looking Up with a cardboard box and reigniting everyone's childhood at St. Vincent's Park  (NYC - 8/21/17)

The game we’re all playing, whether we have come to acknowledge it or not, is to be a meaningful and lasting difference maker in this world while we are here. And this week it seems to be harder than it was last week. Actually, It feels like that has been true of most weeks recently. That the opponents of good and the advocates of evil are gaining ground while those claiming to fight for good and a future I want to be a part of have the attention span of a gerbil and the self control of a three year old in a bakery. 

This distraction, while more Science! than most, isn't unique on the constantly updated schedule of distractions. Every week, there's a new mind-suck, a new "National day of Arbitrary Consumer Product," a new tweet from a world leader we don't like “that surely has to be The Tweet that ends all this madness,” that is then openly ridiculed by those that disagree with it to an audience of others that disagree with it. The collective “of course!” and the chorus of affirmation brings a momentary comfort I imagine is as fleeting as not being the only person standing on the corner of 15th Street and 7th Avenue this afternoon holding cardboard glasses to your face while starring into the sun. 

Looking Up at St. Vincent's Park  (NYC - 8/21/17)

Looking Up at St. Vincent's Park  (NYC - 8/21/17)

But on the flip side, if we can use these more meaningful of the "distractions" as moments of refocusing and uniting as humans around the things that bring us together like our fixation with the universe beyond our own planet, then days like today can be very valuable indeed. As I walked from one meeting to the next this afternoon during the peak of the eclipse here in NYC, I had no fewer than seven people offer me their viewing glasses or to peek inside of their throwback to elementary school in the 80's breakfast cereal cardboard box.

They wanted me to see what they saw, they wanted others to step into the moment they were experiencing and share it with them. 

While we must keeping looking up towards the world we want to live in, the world we want to leave to our children and future generations, we cannot look away from the very tactical and aggressive ground game we are currently losing. Our vision must be more detailed than the eclipse path of totality, our time preference must be longer than the next three solar eclipses, and our discipline must be inspired by the billions of people in this world that experience daily pain at the hands of evil men and women that is much worse than the lingering burn of looking at the sun without special glasses . And perhaps most importantly, our invitation to share in this point of view must as inclusive and proactively intentional as my single serving eclipse friends today. 

If we don’t start building the institutions and frameworks of this future, a future that can handle truly focused and ruthlessly pragmatic action, we’ll just continue burning holes in the retinas of our collective vision while our opponents use the our next weekly scheduled distraction to score their next goal.