Saturday, July 3, 2010

Simple choices

Photo courtesy of
There is a lot of distress, sadness, worry and hopelessness going on in our world right now. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a daily focus of concern and frustration as the fallout affects our environment, ecosystems, marine, mammal and avian wildlife, and robs hardworking people of their livelihoods. This newest affront is striking our country already hard hit by a tumbling economy that has caused unemployment rates to soar, affecting millions of people across the nation.

Today I read a blog post of an online acquaintance who is in a very difficult situation and seems to be at wit's end. I have been there, more times than I would prefer to remember. I sat and reflected on these constant bombardments of challenging occurrences, wondering how in the world it is possible to reach out and make a difference. I feel frustration that I cannot help others who are struggling and feeling fear and hopelessness. While I realize that each person has a responsibility to address their own life and deal with their own struggles in an authentic manner, it is still difficult to see so much sadness in the world. I recognize that I have a duty to my own life and that the majority of my energies must focus on keeping my own house, physical and emotional health in good order.

Photo courtesy of
None of this keeps my heart from being affected by the sadness that is sweeping the world. Do I have any widespread solutions to address that sadness? I wish I did. That would be any sane person's wish, to be able to make sweeping and positive changes and improvements to negative situations the world over.

Some days, the simple truth is that the best each of us can do is put one foot in front of the other. Choose to get out of bed today. Choose to get dressed and go through the process of searching for a job along with the millions of other unemployed U.S. citizens. Choose to find reasons to smile, despite overwhelming odds and concrete situations over which to feel concerns. Choose to seek uplifting experiences, however small they may be. Choose to reach out to someone else who might be fearful and struggling and offer them a kind word. Choose to find happiness in the midst of admittedly trying circumstances. Any single one of these choices can make a difference. Any single one of these choices could, quite possibly, cause an energetic shift in an individual's life and start the ball rolling. As most of us know, just getting forward momentum to happen is one of the biggest challenges when our life feels stuck in permanent limbo mode.

My life is no different. I am living with professional setbacks that have hit over and over due to the struggling economy. I am faced with daily challenges that try my patience and have me concerned about my own livelihood. I, too, struggle with fears and doubts about how to keep my own momentum moving forward. For me, what works is to step outside of my own situation and touch other lives. I do that here, at Healing Morning blog. I also do it with small gestures where I reach out to friends with phone calls and emails, encouraging and supporting them through their own dark days.
Most recently, I stumbled across a wonderful website that has a program called Cup of Joe for a Joe that allows anyone to purchase a cup of coffee for a soldier in any branch of the Armed Services. It is a very simple process. Click on the website link under the photograph to the right to pull up their page. Scroll down a little bit and look on the right hand side of the page where it says Buy a Cup of Joe Now. In this window, you will see that you can purchase a single cup of coffee for $2 U.S., and the window will also give you the opportunity to purchase larger gifts, or even choose your own amount. I chose to purchase $30 worth of coffee gifts. This will purchase 15 cups of coffee for 15 soldiers. It was a stretch for my current financial situation, but it was a conscious choice I made.

Less than two days later, I began receiving email alerts telling me that my coffee gifts were being picked up. Some of the soldiers are writing very kind Thank You emails. Some of them are requesting to become email pen pals, and they are all based around the world at various installations. This was the small thing that I did this past week to lift my heart and help me feel that I could make a difference in the world. It might not be a huge thing, buying a cup of coffee for a soldier, but it made me happy to do it. Many of the emails I have received tell me that iced coffees and fruity smoothies are popular, along with some type of cappuchino drink that has enough caffeine shots in it to keep a bull elephant wired for a month! Every single email alert I have received has been full of sincere thanks from each soldier.

Photo courtesy of
I know from many friends who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces that many soldiers do not receive regular mail from home. This is something that I find troubling, and this was another motivation to send these Cup of Joe gifts. I want our soldiers to know that people back home do care and that we think of the hard work they do everyday, and that we appreciate the sacrifices they make to uphold the tenets upon which this country was founded. This is my small thing that helps me to feel hopeful in the face of difficult times. As I am able, I will send more Cup of Joe gifts and touch more soldiers' lives in this small way. Yes, I am unapologetically patriotic. Yes, I think it matters to reach out and support every soldier who is far from home. Now is not the time to debate politics and argue what is right and wrong about where U.S. troops are based. This blog post is meant to focus on a simple kindness that I think and know makes a small difference. I choose this action because it does touch lives and it makes me happy to do so.

For those of you who are interested, you can also follow the Cup of Joe program on Facebook, and also via Twitter with these links. I make it a habit to share the program on both social media forums in the hopes that friends and colleagues will decide to join the program and share it with their friends.
Life is a series of challenges for all of us. It is the small moments in between that I believe add color, texture, depth, growth and beauty. For an avid coffee avoider - I really dislike the smell of coffee and prefer tea - I find it a bit ironic and entertaining that coffee is proving to be such a thing of beauty in this manner. The Cup of Joe for a Joe program is my simple choice and I find it satisfying that through my eyes, it produces beauty and hope. That, for today, is enough to encourage me to continue.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.