Great experiences don’t always feel great

Yes Changes Everything!January 15, 2009

Shortly after takeoff, US Airways Flight 1549 loses power in both engines. In what aviators call a “bird strike,” a flock of geese flying straight into the plane’s propellers has disabled them instantly.

In the cockpit, Captain Sully Sullenberger quickly realizes it would be impossible to reach any airport, meaning a crash landing is his only option. Drawing on 42 years of aviation experience, he steers the plane — a giant jetliner called and Airbus — into the Hudson River, gliding to a safe landing that spares the lives of 155 passengers and crew members.

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Love changes us

Happy October, beautiful someone!

A long time ago, I was taking a fitness class in New York City. It was early morning, a Saturday in the middle of winter. I was going through a seriously bad patch — my husband had decided he was done with marriage. This was a shock, and I hurt everywhere. I remember thinking, “Now I know I have a soul because I can feel it tearing in half.”

I’ve never been good at hiding my feelings, so I’m sure I looked pretty bad. Anyway, after class the instructor walked over to me, put an arm around my shoulder and squeezed tight. Then she turned to me. “I don’t know what you’re going through, but you’re going to be okay,” she said. After all the yelling at home, I think my knees must have given way a little at the gentleness in her voice.

“I want to give you something,” she said.

She reached into her pocket and took out $100 bill which she pressed into my hand.

“This is for you—and only for you,” she said. “Do something nice for yourself with it.”

Before I could say anything, she gave me a hug and walked away.

I watched her, my mouth hanging open, the money in my hand.

I still remember

Everything at home moved fast after that, and I never ended up going back to that studio. Still, divorce, meeting the love of my life, remarriage and two babies later, I remember that day so vividly. It was a moment when I experienced pure love — someone understanding that I was in pain and, like an angel, being inexplicably generous to me, expecting absolutely nothing in return.

I like to think that experience did more than just make an impression on me. It changed the way I thought about love and generosity. It was so powerful that it made me want to do more than just receive love. It made me want to pass love on by looking for chances to be generous in small and big ways.

Let love change us

And reading this story, maybe you do too, beautiful someone? Maybe together we can follow my angel instructor’s example by giving financially when we can, but also by letting a car in on the highway. Smiling at that annoying guy at CVS. Letting the harried mom with two small kids go ahead of us in line at the store. Telling the waiter who brought the wrong drink that it’s “totally no big deal.” Dropping a few extra groceries off at the food pantry. Raking an elderly neighbor’s leaves.

And remembering that love, in itself, doesn’t change things.

Love changes us, and we change things.

Yes doesn’t have to scream—it’s that powerful

 

There is this amazing story about the day John Lennon and Yoko Ono met: in the Fall of 1966, Yoko was in London for an art exhibition. Already an accomplished avant-garde artist, Yoko was displaying her works at the Indica Gallery as part of an exhibition called Unfinished Paintings and Objects.

John visited the gallery the day before the show was scheduled to open. He was skeptical about the displays, and the artist herself, who greeted him with a card that read, literally, “Breathe.”

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“The infinite capacity of hope”

Hi Beautiful Someone,

Sorry for the long post, but I really wanted to share this excerpt from my new book, Yes Changes Everything! Please enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Yes Changes Everything!

What do you know about Helen Keller? Probably that she was blind and deaf and lived a long and influential life. Me too. But it was only after coming across one of my favorite Helen Keller quotes on optimism that I started to look closer at her life and realize how truly remarkable she was.

Helen Keller was born a healthy baby in 1880 on a farm near Tuscumbia, Alabama. At six months, she began to talk and at 12 months to walk. Before age 2, however, an illness — later they would speculate scarlet fever or meningitis — had taken Helen’s ability to see and hear. She would live in darkness and silence for the rest of her life.

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Our own four-minute mile

Yes Changes Everything!For decades, running the mile in less than four minutes was considered impossible, beyond the physical capacity of the human body. Then one day in 1954 on the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England, something incredible happened: in front of 3,000 spectators, a 25-year-old medical student named Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

More amazing than the achievement itself was what happened afterward. Though forever, runners had tried without success to break the four-minute mile, within a few weeks, the record was broken again. In a few years, the mile had been run in less than four minutes hundreds of times. Today, the record stands at just over 3 minutes and 43 seconds.

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