Posts tagged gratitude

Your Claim To Fame

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The greatest gift that we can ever give to people and the world is the example of our lifeour claim to fame. It is the only gift that, as individuals, we alone can give. The gift speaks to matters of character. Everything that we ever embody–qualities, values, principles, beliefs, opinions, ethics, morals–colors our responsibilities (our ability to respond) and contributions, and our reputation stems from the pattern that we thereby establish.


When people discover that I have a trauma background–challenges, hardships, adversities, illness, injustice–and they also discover that I have become a strong, spiritual, insightful, compassionate, courageous, resourceful, and tenacious individual rather than a bitter and brutalizing one, people ask me how I managed to embrace a Loving legacy.


First, I must confess that, in my darkest times, I have been bitter and brutalizing. There are sins of speech and deed for which I must account, and I live with the burden of remembrance for inexcusable behavior. My conscience, despite apologies, rages at me. Because of this, self-reflection, re-evaluation of my actions, and genuine amends shape my personal development.


Despite occasions of contemptible behavior, my reputation and the overarching example of my life demonstrate my conviction to uplift myself and others. From an early age, I nurtured a curiosity about people who, despite disadvantage, forged an honorable and admirable legacy—Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and everyday people spotlighted in the media. The gifts of others’ examples prompted my resiliency. I further owe my resiliency to my ability to self-reflect, my willingness to seek recovery and accept help, my capacity and desire to give and receive love, and my cultivated gratitude.


Clearly, my life has not proceeded as planned. The story of my life defies all early indicators that I would go on to enjoy a priceless marital partnership, to contribute to society through a stellar career, and to craft a retirement of continuing contributions. Yet there remains a single legacy that I aspire to leave in my wake–this above all else–that I chose Love and loved well.


What is the gift of the example of your lifeyour claim to fame? What is the first next right thing that needs to happen within you in order for you to realize this? What reputation stems from your responsibilities and contributions? What is the legacy you aspire to leave in your wake? We await your inimitable reply!

If you would like to build your character, shape your reputation, and forge a legacy, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation, and we will claim your fame together.

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Suicide… Make A Plan


The 4th of August marks the 28th anniversary of my sister Heidi’s suicide. She had been a patient in a state psychiatric facility at the time. The belt from a robe became her noose. A fellow patient found her hanging in the shower. She had left no note.


I physically feel the terror of the horrific course of events. How could Heidi come to conceive this ending to her life? How long was she suffering with suicidal intent? Was the gesture impulsive or did she know when she awoke that morning that this would be the last day of her life?


Anyone who is considering suicide needs to have a plan–a Suicide Aversion Plan to STOP the mind from killing–and it is advisable to devise one in advance of a crisis. The best time to create one is when we are well so that the plan goes into effect in the event of a suicidal emergency:

— What actions can we take to postpone the decision to act on a suicidal impulse?

  • Participate in a diversion activity, e.g., listen/dance/sing to music, create art, take a bath
  • Call a caring friend
  • Go for a walk, preferably with a caring friend but alone if necessary
  • Pray/meditate (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Make a gratitude list (This is a valuable daily habit)
  • Take a nap
  • Tell yourself that you can think about it TOMORROW


— Whom will we tell about the immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide?

  • A psychotherapist or psychiatrist
  • A hotline worker
  • A chaplain
  • A support group
  • A family member
  • A dear friend
  • An Emergency Room nurse


— What are/were our dreams? What one thing can we do to sustain them?

— Who would wish for us to live? What one thing can we do to return in love to others?


The critical aspect of the Suicide Aversion Plan is that it must command full credence, having been composed by the rational mind, even if the suicidal mind tries to argue against it. Our full faith and trust must remain with our rational self. The immense pain that spurs thoughts of suicide will change and will pass. If we are incapacitated by the pain then we must convalesce. Treat yourself with the utmost of tender care.


A wise person once gave me a sign that read: Keep breathing! I always thought that meant to not hold my breath, a rigidity that suppressed feelings. Only recently did I realize that this was an instruction to release anything that impelled me to kill myself and therefore stop breathing! Keep breathing!


If you are feeling suicidal, resiliency education is not of utmost importance right now. If you are in imminent danger, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room, preferably at a hospital that has an excellent reputation for behavioral healthcare. If you need to see your psychiatrist or psychotherapist on an emergency basis, please contact him/her and express the urgency.

“Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end!” – Unknown

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The Car – or – The Cash

I get by without a car. Doing so is sometimes problematic but not usually. It simply requires appropriate clothing for the weather, strength to carry everything, and planning for public transportation. So, imagine my gratitude and delight whenever my 84-year-old friend goes out of town for a few days or a week or more, and she loans me her car!

This time, however, she loaned it to her gardener, who has become a help to her in the off-season. My friend is a very kind woman, full of generosity and compassion. She “adopts” people as she did me. In this instance, she has chosen to extend her kindness on his behalf.

Borrowing my friend’s car is not my right; it is a privilege. And my having become accustomed to that privilege, I now feel disappointed, irritated, and jealous. I have been her friend for eight years and he, one year or less. Then again…to be honest…at one point several years ago, I limited our contact because our temperaments are quite different, and I found her unbearable.

Our renewed friendship now reflects a pleasantness. In addition to “coffee with the ladies” on Tuesday mornings, my friend and I visit once a month or so. She normally pays the entire bill. She even passes me some extra cash on occasion.

Who am I to get irritated? If I had to choose between the two gestures——car or cash——I would opt for the cash without hesitation. Nevertheless, my hurt feelings warrant expression. I choose to express my feelings to trusted others and keep the situation in perspective.

Perhaps a time will present itself when I will choose to share my feelings about the situation with my elderly friend. Perhaps hurt feelings will shift or fade. For now, I shall exercise GRACE and MAINTAIN gratitude.

If you desire a better way to cope with disappointment, anger, frustration, and other unpleasant emotions, please Contact me, Vanessa Landau, Resiliency Trainer, for Co-Creative Transformation–Resiliency Coaching–and I will guide you in adjusting yourself to the situation.

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