Peace.

The last week has weighed heavily on my mind. There has been great loss surrounding me in both my inner circle, including family and friends, and in my community and Nation. The violence, hate and death going on in this world right now is frightening. All of the events have sparked different thoughts throughout this week so that’s what I want to share with all of you.

 

Last week, I learned that my Tia (Aunt in Spanish) Elisa passed away extremely suddenly. Within a matter of hours, my cousins and Uncle lost one of the most important people in their lives. The immediate memory that popped up about her for me was watching her dance, probably at a wedding, with the most beautiful smile on her face. I can still see her moving with such grace through the dance floor. It was one of those memories that while it’s happening you know it will be a moment you won’t forget.

When there is loss in a family, whether sudden or expected, it is amazing to me how relatively easy it is to get everyone together. Try and plan a family reunion in advance and everyone has some type of pre-planned conflict or excuse as to why they can’t make it. In this time of loss the priority of family becomes clear, and the connections realign and bring the family closer together. When the loss is sudden, it also sparks something inside of us that tells us to “seize the day” and “life is too short”. Through the grief and mourning, there is a tiny spark of motivation urging us to lead and live our lives differently.

The same thing goes for the community as well. In light of the events this past week with shootings, hate, violent protests and death, I have watched and heard about more beautiful human acts that are occurring as a result. People who would have never interact otherwise are connecting for the sake of change. Yes, there is hate and a lack of peace, but the community is also coming together to support one another and stand for justice.

What I couldn’t get out of my mind is this: why do we wait for life to slap us across the face to open our eyes? Why does it require loss or some savage act for us to want to live differently? These questions lead to my next question: what can I do? My answer was this: let your light shine.

My grandpa Richard Swanson, aka Ya-Yaps, wrote in my confirmation card to “always let your light shine - the world will be a better place”. This phrase has stuck with me and the words continue to resonate in my life. When thinking about what I can do in midst of all this darkness,  this was my immediate resolution. The unique thing about my role as a coach is that I lead with my light. There is a light that I desire to spark within people so that it doesn’t such a drastic event to wake up to your own life. In fact, in one of my training sessions, we put into writing our life purpose statement and this is what I believe to be mine:

I am the calm of the moonlight, the promise of the morning sun that awakens in others the power of choice and self-care.

I challenge you to carry with you always the importance and priority of family and the desire to live each day like it could be your last. Life really is too short - tell your loved ones that you love them and spend your days doing what makes your heart smile and do it NOW. The present is the only guarantee we have in life. Don’t take advantage of the gift you have been given!

You know, up until about 6 months ago, when I would pray, I would only pray the Lord’s Prayer and it was usually when I woke from a nightmare and needed help finding peace in order to fall back asleep. Lately, and as I learn the practice of prayer, the main topic I pray on is peace. Peace within selves, within families, within organizations, within the world... I pray for peace to wash over our lives and grant people more patience, more gratitude and more respect for one another.