A Rose Is A Rose: It’s Just About… Life

rose_usda-web

Sometimes you come across something that captures your attention, heart and mind. Just yesterday I read an excerpt by Timothy Gallwey, a life coach who works in the field of what he calls the “inner game”. I’m not currently reading Gallwey’s book, but in the middle of another book, The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey, the author pauses to share one of Gallwey’s best insights, one I had not read before:

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed.

When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; we do not criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place, and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development.

The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change. Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

A flower is no better when it blooms than when it is merely a bud; at each stage it is the same thing… a flower in the process of expressing its potential.

The story of the rose is about human potential and about not being defined by what you do, but rather by who you are.

A rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Sometimes words have such power they do truly make you stop and reflect. Sometimes, many times, it’s more than a quote, it’s a message.

What are you truly left to do with your life but to understand you are that seed!

You must allow yourself to bloom, find who and what will water and nurture you so you can live up to your potential. You are who you are from the time you are born until the day you die – and within all that time, within all those days the potential is there, sometimes lying dormant inside you.

Tapping into and expressing your potential makes the world a better place.

Work on becoming more, on who you are and who you are meant to be and never, ever lose sight of that goal. Stay steadfast in your progress, it takes time, but the world is forever in need of one more rose.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, Financial Services

The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

Get blog posts from It’s Just About… Life & The Sunday Series sent directly to your e-mail inbox, register for free today.

 

 

 

 

The Sunday Series (59), with Mark Brodinsky

We never know what might push us to the limit, make us step out over the edge and peer down into the abyss. The question is how do you pull yourself back? It  can be done. No matter how dark… there is light and a way to use that light to inspire others. One man is proving it every day.

I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.

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The Sunday Series (59): Coming Out of The Dark

jeff emmerson

Jeff Emmerson has adult ADHD, it just took 35 years to figure that out. Millions of other people also share this mental health condition, and its OK to admit it. The problem is many don’t, are afraid, or remain misdiagnosed because they don’t realize that what is holding them back from living the life they deserve, from reaching their potential and making a difference is a condition that requires attention and focus, the same mind control they struggle to provide for themselves.

Jeff says he knew way back during his high school years that he wanted to inspire others. Those thoughts got him fired up, brightened his world, gave him strength. The problem was in the years to come the road to get to that place of inspiration would take so many twists and turns, especially in Jeff’s own mind, it didn’t seem possible.

During his youth, time after time, after wanting to be a pro-hockey goal tender, a body builder and then a host of other activities and eventually as he aged, working multiple low-paying, low-skilled jobs, Jeff remained angry and unsettled, unable to focus on work, or even in a meaningful, nurturing relationship with the opposite sex.

Then the wheels came off the cart.

“I had been so affected by my brother’s suicide”, says Jeff. “It is part of what pushed me.” Back in 2008, Jeff’s brother Ryan, took his own life. Jeff says Ryan was troubled with physical ailments, a spectrum of issues, but also had a wife and new daughter and a “ton of other stuff going on.” Jeff says the loss of his brother “did a huge number on me. It kills a part of everyone around you. I never experienced anything like that and it’s something I pray no one has to go through.”

Ryan Emmerson - Kitchener, Ontario. We LOVE you and miss you!

Suicide. It carries a stigma which some quickly conclude as selfish, leaving others behind because you just can’t handle the unfairness of life, after all life is not fair. But Jeff says it’s just not the case. “For me as I look back, the first thing is it that absolutely someone is not thinking about themselves at the time, people are in their own world, completely self-absorbed and in such pain you can’t think about others and you are in this spiral, this rabbit hole, this place… this dark place, wallowing in exhaustion and who-knows-what going on mentally. We should be less quick to judge and slug those people off as selfish – remember but for the grace of God go I. it can get a hold of anyone in any walk of life, not matter what you have going on for you.”

While his brother committing suicide rocked Jeff’s world, the trouble truly began years before with that lack of focus, what Jeff refers to as a racing mind.  After the loss of his brother, a very short-term marriage (4 months) and a failed attempt go back to school in his early 30’s all pointed to signs that something was amiss for Jeff Emmerson, but no one had yet gotten a handle on it.

It wasn’t until Jeff also nearly lost his own grip on reality. But it took the opportunity of nearly following in his brothers footsteps to bring it all to light. Jeff was working different jobs and eventually in 2011 had stepped into the world of entrepreneurship – as a copywriter and riding a wave, as so many others were, in the sea of the social media explosion. Jeff says in his business he had backed himself into a corner where he wasn’t building his client base quick enough and he was feeling down, way down, so low that Jeff was ready to fall apart, to end it all, just like his brother Ryan. Jeff had found love a second time and his new wife Aimee knew her husband had been depressed, feeling down, and always told her husband, “hey, don’t be afraid to wave the white flag and tell me I need someone to help me because I don’t know what to do.”

Jeff says he still remembers the feeling as he got ready to wrap the metal cable of the home gym around his neck: “inner self-hatred and self-loathing, feeling like I let down my wife, feeling like a complete failure. I had been hyper-focused for all these years, in the gym (where Jeff worked out as a body builder and helped others as well), so driven, but failing so many times, especially with different jobs and not knowing why. I had been so intensely positive at times and now I was so intensely the reverse. That was the formula for finally breaking down and wanting to die, wanting to end it all.” Jeff  planned to use that metal cable and end the suffering he was feeling, the hurt and the shame.

“I was a guy so full of pride. Everyone around me knows me as this guy – driven, with lots of potential, which made it tougher. The perception of others mattered to me more than how I felt about myself. But it was my wife who had told me not to be ashamed, to ask for help, and the thought of her support, combined with my own feelings about my Dad, who adopted me at eight weeks old. I thought, for him to lose two boys in his lifetime, there was no way he would make it. He never gave up on me once, no matter what, he has been a hero to me. All these thoughts were rapidly going through my head and the pain of leaning into that metal cable and ending it all became too much. I got down, went upstairs and in tears told my wife what I had just tried to do. She immediately drove me to the hospital.”

Jeff and Dad

Jeff and Dad

The years of pain and suffering for Jeff were about to be given a medical name – but his journey had just begun. Jeff was diagnosed with adult ADHD and a lesser version of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia.

jeff in treamment

Eight million people suffer with adult ADHD. That’s 4% of the US population alone, but many of those who have it feel alone. That’s why it can sometimes lead to or be linked with depression, or worse. Now that there was a root to the problem, the challenge for Jeff was to get better. That was late 2011 and though he started treatment and was put on several different medications, the trouble persisted. Still trying to hold down different jobs, Jeff was too anxious, his racing mind and anxiety raised suspicions, like the time he tried to get a job as an armored car driver. He kept harassing the recruiters to see if he got hired, so much so the employer started to question the decision of this man handling the responsibility of the position and handling a weapon. Though Jeff had acquired a firearms license, even the person who gave him the license wondered if it was the right move, because during the entire process Jeff never left her alone. “I kept asking”, says Jeff. “My mind always racing, the questioning yourself, the spiral that can easily happen. We worry so much over one thing that some people go and self-medicate or make a terrible decision, hopped up on speed and in a bad mood. It’s the quick mind, the worry, the anxiety, the panic.”

Adult ADHD Author Jeff Emmerson

By January 2013, Jeff voluntarily checked himself into a mental health center. He was going to get his life straight, and he realized the inspiration he wanted to bring to others was going to be about ADHD and he would eventually write a memoir. It wasn’t until the middle of last year that Jeff decided to get off the medication, (which Jeff warns you should only do with medical supervision or suffer dire consequences),  because at least in his case, it’s the counseling, the chance to talk through his issues which for him is the greatest “drug”.

Jeff started his ReThink ADHD blog, (http://jeffemmerson.com/),  with his number one goal to raise awareness, which is why a lot of what he writes about is for people who don’t have ADHD, so others can recognized the symptoms and are not so quick to judge those who might be suffering. “I have to admit I get off a little bit on standing up and speaking out” says Jeff, “I’m like a freight train inside. I still have that and always will. I am building my blog, building my Twitter account, writing articles for a few websites and going on from there.” Jeff helps his wife with her thriving business as a pioneer in the areas of digital strategy and search engine optimization and what he learns has helped Jeff to build his own brand and to spread the word about adult ADHD. And Jeff is doing a phenomenal job, having built a Twitter following alone of nearly 90,000 people, (https://twitter.com/ReThink_ADHD)

Adult-ADHD-Blog-Creator-Jeff-Emmerson-holding-Dr.-Richard-Sauls-Book-ADHD-Doesnt-Exist

Jeff says his vision for this is not 100% laser focused yet, and to be fair how many times in his life has Jeff been able to focus 100% on anything? But he says he is committed to the cause: “it’s number one the warrior inside, the whole Rocky story. I am the kid who was the person who was driven and encountered adversity. It’s not about the money, this is personal. It’s about my brother and about mental health. Being a friend, being someone who listens. You don’t get a blood test to prove you have ADHD and if people don’t start to realize this, then tons are going to suffer.”

For Jeff it’s the inspiration to change, to make a difference for others, to let them know they can pull back from the edge, turn away from the abyss and find that one ray of  light in the midst of darkness. Jeff Emmerson plans to be that light, he has a story to share and he is asking the world to listen.

jeff and dog

Until next time, thanks for taking the time

Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, Financial Services

The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

For comments, feedback and suggestions for The Sunday Series, leave a comment on the blog, reach me on social media or e-mail: markbrodinsky@gmail.com

 

Start All Over: It’s Just About… Life

start over

“Every morning when we wake up, we are confronted with a choice: another day just like the last, or a clean slate to start all over.” – Mark Sanborn, Author.

A new day has begun. The choice is yours. Is it up on the treadmill? Hopefully yes, or at least some form of exercise – but what about the treadmill of life? You know the one that is moving you forward, sometimes very fast and even up difficult hills, but it’s the same one that is taking you to nowhere, because your life is simply about running in place.

Every day just like the last.

It doesn’t take much to get trapped on that treadmill. Every day will present its challenges and you are running hard to stay ahead, but still stuck right where you are because you have neglected the one thing that will most certainly make the difference in your life, hands down, if you put some time and attention into it.

That difference is you. Change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Remember life is not meant to impress you, only to test you. You must take charge to be impressive to yourself and to others. It’s hard to love, serve and care unless you do so for yourself first. It’s starting from the inside-out. The distance between ordinary and extraordinary is so small, and the deciding factor is how much you desire to grow.

Activities as simple as exercise, reading 10 pages of a book, having a calendar plan for your day, your work, your family time, paying attention to what you put in your body, (and eventually your brain since you are what you eat), and finding even one person with whom to share a laugh, a smile, to inspire, or to lend a helping hand today –  on purpose, intentional, with the sole focus of making the day happen – instead of the day happening to you.

Even one of the activities just mentioned, done consistently over time, will start you on the path toward growth, forward motion, not remaining stuck where you are. Your day and your life are defined by your daily agenda. Adding even one activity, focusing on one daily discipline each day can change the trajectory of your life and no doubt the lives of those around you. You change and others around you can see and feel it too, it becomes inspiration in motion. Energy, synergy, a spark to light a fire.

It’s far from an overnight success, nothing in life worth having ever is, but it’s all about progress. Make the smallest, incremental change and feel like you have made progress that day and you feel great. Feeling great, despite all of life’s daily challenges will help you see the silver lining in every day and that is in your control.

And I know you are asking, so what happens if I do this and my day doesn’t go as planned?  What if the day falls far short of my expectations, despite my focus on me, on change, on growth? What if it is still a “bad” day?

That’s an easy one. Wake up tomorrow with a clean slate… and start all over again.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Financial Services

Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

Feedback, comments, suggestions – email: markbrodinsky@gmail.com

Get posts from It’s Just About… Life & The Sunday Series sent directly to your inbox by adding your name and e-mail on this blog.

 

 

 

The Sunday Series (58), with Mark Brodinsky

Sometimes it’s those who are at the mercy of others, who can do little or nothing to help themselves, where you find the true need for change. It takes courage to make a stand, to reach out, create hope and inspire others who support your efforts, because they can see you are committed to a purpose larger than yourself.  This is the essence of life.

I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.

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The Sunday Series (58): Save 90

Holly

“Their lives matter. They feel pain and suffering and we owe it to them to do everything we can to care for them because they can’t care for themselves.” – D. Stone

Deborah Stone is committed to helping to save lives, the lives of those who bring joy to so many, but in turn get the raw end of the deal when they are lost, released, forgotten, or given up for adoption. Yes, they are animals, but to anyone who has ever brought a pet into their lives you know they mean so much more. Pets become family…and family matters.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

ELT LITL FOR BLOG

Just about a 18 months ago Deborah lost her latest rescue, Elton, when he passed away from cancer. It was a painful loss and Deborah thought she might be finished with dog adoptions, but a few days later she found herself online, looking for another dog to rescue. She says she was “blown away” with the amazing online resources focused on rescues, so much so that Deborah, a former reporter for WJZ-TV and currently a free-lance writer and video producer, wanted to write an article about all she had discovered in her search for rescues and shelters. But then her step-daughter told her to find out a little more about BCAS, the Baltimore County Animal Shelter.

The stories Deborah saw and heard about the BCAS troubled her deeply – the shelter was not even coming close to the percentages of most shelters when it came to animal releases vs kills. The BCAS was, as recently as 2013,  euthanizing nearly half  its animal population. For Deborah, this was unacceptable, way below the national average and she wanted to help enact change. During her two decades as a TV news reporter Deborah had remained objective and made sure she was never be part of any news story she was working on. Now out on her own as a free-lance writer and video producer, Deborah could share her sentiments, get involved and use her passion and put her talents to work for a cause bigger than herself.

Her new purpose: Save 90. (http://save90.blogspot.com/)

deb stone working

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
- Dean Koontz (author)

90% is the percentage of animals being saved in many shelters around the country. The BCAS was falling way short of that goal and Deborah and others protested for change. This was new territory for the well-respected former TV reporter, but when you feel strongly about a cause, you need to make your voice heard. These days if you want to share your voice, one of the best ways to do it is not to simply speak so those in close proximity can hear, but to get your voice heard by people across the community and all over the world. Start a blog.

In August of last year, Deborah launched her blog, Save 90.  The focus so far is the Baltimore County Animal Shelter, and efforts like this are not without precedence and tremendous success. Another shelter, The Baltimore (City) Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), was once much worse than the County equivalent. Back in 2005 BARCS was killing about 98% of its pet population. But a  change in leadership, a call for partnership with Baltimore City and tremendous community support, as well as non-profit status, helped to turn things around. BARCS now has a euthanasia rate of only about 23%. Change can happen. Lives, even those of dogs and cats matter. If not, why would anyone go out of their way to make them part of their lives?

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”
– Jonathan Safran Foer, (author) 

To be completely transparent for a moment, let me say that I met Deborah nearly two decades ago when I too worked at WJZ-TV. I bring this up only because I know her, her sincerity, her drive and too many times people view animal stories and the people who fight for them as wacky, crazy, or who simply have too much time on their hands and put animals lives before those of humans. Such is not the case here. I know Deborah has a cause for which she believes is worth fighting for and she is systematically going about the proper steps and channels to enact change… especially where the government is involved.

“Why I’m doing this is to inform people”, says Deborah, “for something they might never know about…and it happens like a million other things the government does that you don’t know about. If you don’t know it goes unchecked, and there are lives at stake.”

Save 90 is now part of Deborah’s purpose and passion and it is starting to make a difference. The release vs kill rate at the Baltimore County Animal Shelter is improving and even this weekend a push is on to promote animal adoptions.

cats for adoption

Those who wield the power of political persuasion are taking notice. Earlier this month the Baltimore County Council passed Bill 2-15. Councilwoman Vicki Almond drafted the legislation and all six of her fellow Council members signed on as co-sponsors. The bill will create an Animal Services Advisory Commission to look into the BCAS and make recommendations.

Politicians are not the only ones paying attention.  To garner even more support Deborah is reaching out to Baltimore County business people who are supporting the Save 90 mission in video advertisements you can see on the blog. Advertisers are asked to make a donation – something with the # 90 in it – which means they can donate $90 or give more and the money is donated directly to rescue groups to help animals find a home. So far Deborah has been able to collect and donate about $5,000.  When money is donated, the recipient videotapes a thank you which is then posted on the Save 90 blog as proof they have received the donation and is putting it to good use to help improve the lives of the animals.  To increase public awareness the next step for Deborah is gaining some prominent celebrity endorsements for Save 90 and the topics of animal rescue and shelter support.

“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.” - Cesar Millan, (dog trainer)

So what’s it like to rescue an animal?

Deborah knows first-hand, currently caring for the 3rd dog rescue she has had in her life, a poodle mix named Dewey. “Rescuing an animal is an interesting experience”, says Deborah. “Very often the animal comes to you with emotional issues because of their background – they may have been abused or neglected – you don’t know. My most recent one is the sweetest, most wonderful dog, but he came with issues. Dewey was about one year old when we adopted him and I don’t think he had ever been walked…the pads of his paws were completely pink and smooth. I don’t know if he lived in a grassy area, or was just kept in a cage. He had never seen a car. I took him for a walk, he saw a car and he almost had a stroke. He took some extra attention to house break as well, but it’s all worth it.”

The most satisfying experiences in life are the ones you struggle to achieve.  There is the very positive, heartwarming feeling you get from saving a dog like Dewey. Deborah says, “the good side is you feel like you have saved their life and very often they are very, very attached to you. Dewey adores me and I know every day I gave him a chance. Every day I live in the joy of having given him a chance with life and happiness. He’s a very happy dog.”

DEWEY FOR BLOG

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
– Mark Twain

Deborah says there could be some fundraisers in the future for Save 90 and she is keeping watch on the status of several shelters, including the BCAS. The big issue right now is volunteerism. In the city, BARCS has 400 volunteers who work with the animal shelter. The Maryland SPCA has 800 volunteers. The Baltimore County Animal Shelter has about 20 volunteers and Deborah says the county won’t let them do much of anything. She would like to see a much more robust volunteer and foster program. The idea would be for a county resident to keep an animal in their home as a foster pet, until it found a permanent place to live. Deborah also says she would like to see the BCAS coordinate much more actively with local rescue organizations, who so far have not had great things to say about the county animal shelter.

“These are our communities animals”, says Deborah, “and it is our responsibility to care for our these animals and if it’s not on your radar then who knows what is really going on and how much these animals suffer. It is our job to make sure these animals lives are as good as they can be.”

Ollie Art Picture

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras, (photographer and writer)

Anyone who has ever loved a dog or cat knows the feeling.  The right pet can change the trajectory of your life, adding a component of unconditional love unmatched by other living species. Deborah Stone has experienced this love, and any of you reading this who own a pet most likely know the same, myself included. Yet it is these animals who lack the ability to fight for themselves. They can only give and receive love, but are incapable of fighting for their own self-worth. They can experience pain and suffering but are helpless to change their own situation. Sometimes someone, somewhere has to step up and fight for those who can’t do it for themselves.

Deborah Stone and Save 90.

deb and dewey

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark

If you know of a Baltimore County business owner who might like to advertise on Save 90, please ask them to contact Deborah at debstone01@comcast.net.

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Emmy Winner, Financial Services

Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

Follow It’s Just About… Life & The Sunday Series by entering your name and e-mail address.  Feedback and comments are welcome on the blog, on social media, or by e-mail: markbrodinsky@gmail.com