Category Archives: Gratitude

Lost Opportunity or a Wake-Up Call?

wayne-dyer-divorcevv-5da35There are many people who have inspired my path of personal growth, but none as profoundly as Dr. Wayne Dyer. When I first discovered my passion and purpose in life it was connected to words of wisdom and inspiration spoken by Dr. Dyer. For over ten years I have listened to audio recordings, watched videos of his seminars, read his books and even was honored to receive a gift to attend one of his seminars here in Ft. Lauderdale. I’ve had a plan in the back of my mind to see him again and walk up, shake his hand, thank him for his profound authenticity and vulnerable sharing of himself to the world and give him a copy of my book, PROUD.

Several years after I began following his work, I found out I went to school with a few of his daughters, while I was not close to them I remember their names, Skye and Serena. My uncle told me he and his family used to attend the church we grew up attending.

In many of his books and speaking engagements he shared about his experience as a child growing up in the foster care system and how he never let it hold him back. His stories of struggle and overcoming were part of what inspired me to become a foster parent.

When I found out that he passed away today from my friend who gifted me the tickets to see him several years ago, my initial reaction was one of devastation and sorrow, tears instantly welled up in my eyes. This person, whom I never even had the opportunity to physically talk to had somehow managed to touch my soul and inspire me to be a better person. So much so that I wanted to model my life after his, I wanted to be able to touch, move and inspire people with my words and the vulnerable sharing of my life. At that moment I felt like I had lost my opportunity to say thank you, I waited too long because I needed to have just the right time to finish my book, gather up the courage to put myself out there and I allowed my fear to win.

As tears stung my eyes and I gazed upon the Florida sky, the reality of the impermanence of this physical life sat heavy in my heart. Time does not stand still for anyone, regardless of their impact on the world. Dr. Dyer at 75 lived a tremendous life, inspired millions, enjoyed the pleasure of self-made abundance and spoke constantly of the love for his family. I know he died with peace in his heart.

I have a passion and purpose to inspire others aching to get out yet there are also mountains of excuses that seem to always get in my way. Today, in my grief I remembered why Dr. Wayne Dyer inspired me so much, he never let his excuses get in his way, he could have let his circumstances hold him back yet he did not. He pushed through his resistance and with a truth and braveness few have he then wrote about it as a way to share his growth with others.

Dr. Dyer, thank you for everything you were strong enough to share, allowing us to learn through and with you. Today I lit a candle for you and while I was not able to say thank you in person I am sure your spirit knows, you have inspired my life in so many ways. Namaste.

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If we could only bottle this…

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You know those moments in life when everything is just working? When everything feels so right? I think I finally discovered the key ingredient…and I knew it all along, without actually SEEING it.

Gratitude. Overwhelming, unbelievable amounts of pure unadulterated gratitude!

Last night was one of those nights. Many of you know, I am the Youth Program Director for SunServe, a non-profit social services agency that focuses on serving the LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and straight allies) community here in South Florida.

At quarter to six last night a steady stream of queer youth began filtering into the youth room to be part of our Triple Power Party. What is the Triple Power Party you might ask? Well, it was the Ribbon Cutting and Launch event for our new Youth Drop In and Cyber Center “The Rainbow Room,” a going away party for our long standing youth/adult advisor (6yrs with us) and staff member (1year) Andrew Frosch. As well as an acknowledgement of  Valentines day week with hearts, lots of love and pink cupcakes.

At six thirty we gathered the youth, parents, family, friends, adult advisors, volunteers and staff for the ribbon cutting. With the snip of the ribbon we open the doors to unveil everything we worked so long and hard for that was FINALLY complete!

I stood by and watched dozens of youth walk around oohing and ahhing, exclaiming “wow” and “cool.”  It was overwhelming, and I was flooded with gratitude.

I really ‘effin LOVE what I do! I love creating a safe space for our queer youth to be themselves, I love when they come talk to me about what’s going on in their life. I love being able to be a mentor and a steadfast adult in their lives.

I looked over to see my partner Ian laughing with on of our youth and again I was filled with gratitude. I have a truly amazing life partner; we have such beautiful communication and unconditional love. She was with me 100% during the youth space renovation journey that consumed (quite literally) the last 2 months of my life. She was painting walls, installing cabinets, mirrors, pictures, making countless home depot runs (you name it); if we needed it, she was there.

Then I see two of my very best friends Tabatha and Jaime. They were standing right in front for the ribbon cutting. Forgiving me for virtually disappearing for the last two months. Tabatha tells me “I had the launch booked from the very first eblast announcement.”

I am surrounded by an unbelievable new staff, alongside my life changing old staff (one moving away for love and another took a promotion within the company) my boss who is beaming, youth who are in awe, friends who are proud, our incredible adult advisors and parents of youth. Last night was just an all around wow, awwww, yessss night!

It’s hard to maintain an emotional high like that for long…and that’s okay. Life is meant to be ups and downs… It often takes a great amount of suffering to awaken you to a glorious moment. But the good news is you can always generate gratitude, even in the darkest moments, there is always something to be grateful for.

When have you had moments like this?

What are you grateful for?

Inspired…

 

MandiSignature

 

 

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We all need commUNITY!

“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”
Marianne Williamson

As a follow-up to yesterday’s article Shame and the Dangers of SHOULD, I want to give some gratitude to the allies in our community. The power of a united commUNITY with a loving mission can truly transform the world.

The generally accepted statistic is that 10% of the population is LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). That is a very small percentage when it comes to shouting for equal rights. We need our straight allies who love, support and stand up WITH US! This recent election was a HUGE illustration of that. Marriage equality was won in 3 states, Maine, Maryland and Washington and Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. These were BOLD moves and it took more than 10% of people to vote this way; we couldn’t have done it without the support from our entire commUNITY!

There is a great shift in consciousness that is happening and it is SO EXCITING to be part of it! Last weekend I was privileged to work on a film project with youth from SunServe and Drag it OUT. The film crew that came out and donated their time, awesome equipment and passion to assist the creation of this project was a team of 5 amazing straight guys – WOW! The youth were so floored, they rarely get to witness such acceptance and celebration!

The film is a short PSA (Public Service Announcement) that speaks to LGBT youth who are struggling with their identity and have not yet connected to a commUNITY. The film begins with one youth all alone, walking down the street, she’s struggling a great deal and feels all alone, she begins to run, faster and faster – trying to get away from all her problems. Through creative editing we illustrate the internal chaos we all have sometimes. Inserting audio clips of disapproving politicians, religious leaders, even our own voice that says “you’re not good enough” or “you SHOULDN’T be this way.”  At the height of panic in this short clip the background begins to fill up in other young people, all sending love to the youth in crisis. The film ends with a friend that reaches out and touches the youth’s shoulder, letting her know – she’s not alone. Information is then shared about how to reach out and connect to resources in the community…. because we ALL need commUNITY in our lives.

Creating this PSA was way beyond exciting, it was downright exhilarating! Doing something that makes a difference for others feels great! I am excited to share the video below of the back scenes footage of the film – stay tuned for the FULL COMPLETED PSA!

How are YOU involved in your commUNITY?

To get connected check out GLBTNearme.org and search for a youth group near you. You can also also join an online LGBT youth community at TrevorSpace.

Click the link to check out the “Behind the Scenes” of the Drag it OUT and SunServe PSA Filming

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Thank you for your SUPPORT!!

The indiegogo campaign was a fabulous success! The goal was 1000 and 700 was raised – very close!

The money raised will be used to generate the first printing and provide books with worksheets to LGBTQA centers in Florida.

So excited for the book release Saturday Sept 8th! Will we see you there?

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