The Actions Of Giving Thanks

Today is the day labeled Thanksgiving when many spend the day with family cooking, eating, and watching football. It is meant to reflect on what we are thankful for. For some, the tradition of going around the table, reflecting on what they are grateful for still stands. For others, even that has faded through time. We tend to take for granted just what we have in front of us. Sometimes we even sit around complaining and arguing over politics (this year vaccinations) and getting angry at others viewpoints that don’t match ours.

But you are Blessed….

There are many today without food, without heat, of a warm house, and many, in places all around, that live on the streets without food, shelter or the basics. Their bed is made of concrete and their blankets are made of cardboard and plastic. Today is no different than yesterday for them. There is no celebration.

There are government agencies and mayors considering and acting to remove tent cities of the homeless. Some make laws to prevent feeding the homeless in the parks, placing barriers in areas they sleep. They are viewed as an issue, or a problem. What if instead, we could ask on a case by case story of what do you need and how can we help you to help others? Even those still waiting would be given hope to hold on.

They matter….

They are people with a story. They have endured what most of us have not. They are families. They are Veteran’s, and they are people with a powerful purpose, because they are still here through it all. Being able to say “I have been there” is the beginning of an inspirational story that gives hope to others.

Moving these people so you can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They matter too. They are a part of our society, and the answer lies in finding the reason why and addressing it.

Support group administrators are usually those who have been there. Perhaps our public services such as housing and fuel assistance could use their help. It would be a position from the heart, since they know what the journey is like. It’s not just about forms and verifications, it’s about people and families struggling to survive.

Who are they?

They are from every walk of life. They come from backgrounds of bother rich and poor. Family, neighbors, coworkers, and those we have cared about in a season of their lives. They have talents and dreams. They have the strongest example of endurance and many are even Veterans. Don’t we owe it to our Veterans? Don’t we owe it to our society as a whole to help them? Or is our society really an “every man for himself” mindset? Let’s stop demonizing our homeless. Stop trying to move them out of sight or making it a crime to be one. They are fellow human beings. They matter and they are not even living a survival standard of life. Winter is coming and the cold is here. Some will not survive it.

Your part….

After reading this (thank you), and as you climb into your warm bed tonight, could you consider saying a prayer for those that don’t have a bed or a blanket in the cold? Then tomorrow, before you start your Black Friday shopping, perhaps you could try out a new perspective on those you consider a problem. Do one thing that can help one. There are links below to help one survive. There are also many organizations that need your help. Consider donating to fuel assistance, food share, homeless shelters, or a Veterans organization. Even sending an email to your government officials in support of the homeless. Anything you can think of in, or outside the box of ideas. Perhaps even share this with those you know. You never know who could be impacted from your actions.

So today may be a day of turkey and stuffing and pies, but there are those out there that could use your prayers when you’re giving thanks. They matter too.

sheltersuit.com

www.tcrmi.org

Written by Melody Belliveau

The Commitment of Suicide

The term “committed suicide” cuts some people because of the insinuation that the person who took his own life was guilty somehow. They are the ones we lost. Emotions without hope won over and took them away. They weren’t guilty, simply hurting, but they do leave suffering for others behind. It rocks those who knew them to the very core, and some, unable to get over the guilt for not preventing it, become a shell of who they were.

So how do we reach someone who is considering it?

How do we prevent it when we cannot take away their pain? Sometimes it’s not even that they want to end their pain but they want to stop being a source of pain and burden to others. So what can reach them if we can’t hand them self belief?

Perhaps a change of perception might help. We have all made commitments in our lives and we’ve broken some too. Life is all about change. Without being able to see the future, we have no idea what changes can take place.

The act of suicide is a commitment to never move forward with who you are and the possibilities that you hold inside of you. To never again change the trajectory of who you are. You will be remembered for that commitment above all others, and you will shatter more than just yourself.

Perhaps if we can spread this viewpoint and make it a focus of not “commit” but rather “commitment”, we can focus on what a true commitment it is, rather than a desperate act. For it is not an act of committing. It is the commitment of suicide. It is the no backing out destruction that one can never change, no matter how much hurt it causes.

Before you choose that commitment

Consider this:

“…Ladies and Gentlemen, you’ve got to understand that the reason that you are existing in this world right now is because you have things that must be done and only certain people are qualified, to take it to the level that it needs to be taken to…” Never Give Up featuring Coach Pain. You have a purpose that is unique to you. You have gifts inside you that you need to seek out. Your experiences in life give you an inside view of things that others need your help with. Even our pain can be a tool, and the bigger the struggle, the bigger the purpose. “Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministries will come out of your deepest hurts.” Rick Warren

If you find yourself in this place, and choose against the commitment of suicide, you have a powerful message for others. You have a message of life and death importance, and that truly matters. You matter. You have a powerful purpose. Perhaps… “You’re being called to anchor all of your presence, your personality, your soul and your spirit in the here and now. To fully commit to living this life, right now. To commit to putting two feet completely in.” Rebecca Campbell from the Starseed Oracle Guidebook. You are so much more than your wounds and its time to show the world all that you can be.

Make the commitment to your life to give hope to others who are hurting. We are in this together and if we can stop just one from making the commitment of suicide, we have helped spare a world of pain. Let’s do this together. The commitment of suicide desperately needs to be prevented.

For everyone

Check in on those around you, especially with the holidays upon us. Talk about the tough stuff and tell them you are here for them and ask if there is anything you can do to help. You never know who’s life you might save with your support.

Written by Melody Belliveau

A Kindness Challenge

Yesterday was World Kindness Day. Many posted the reminder to be kind. Perhaps the world was a little kinder yesterday because of it. Words, deeds, and gestures of kindness need to be done and felt every day, not just once a year when we put out reminders.

I would like to focus it on a more challenging emotional, “in your soul” can be difficult challenge. Because, the need is out there, in homes, in communities, and in places all around the world and I desperately want to blur the divide. It cannot be done without true kindness.

Where we are

For so many, a line has been drawn between the vaccinated and those who are not. Valued relationships have been ended and anger has been spilled. But we do not stand on one side of the line. We are all mixed together – by families, communities, workplaces and anywhere else our presence is. We are blended together whether we choose to be or not. For most at this point, a perspective has been chosen. You have little chance to convince.

What do you do with that?

“Be the kindness you wish to see in the world” is a challenge for those who see the other side is the enemy or the threat. Your belief does not justify the actions of being unkind. Not if you view kindness as essential. It just makes it more of a commitment. Both sides comes with a fear. Both sides come with some uncertainty. Both sides can be right and wrong – and it’s never a pass to be unkind.

So I ask you, now that World Kindness Day has ended, and the focus has faded, could you make a commitment to blur the line of an adversary perspective and simply practice kindness? Let’s not look at each other as enemies and instead understand that we are all in this together.

Advocate with your heart, but without an adversary approach. Use compassion, not contempt. How will you present yourself to the world? Kindness is up to us.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Indigenous People’s Day

Today is the holiday that gifts the ability to learn the healing of shadow work. It’s a day to give reverence to the true people of the land and acknowledge the consequences of our ancestors limited views. Ironic that we teach some of it to our children in Disney’s movie Pocahontas, (although the story itself is filled with untruths), yet as adults we dismiss the very concepts they speak of in the movie.

Mother Nature

The earth is not something to be owned, but respected. We are all in this together and are connected to nature and each other. Oh how we could have learned so much from them! Did you know that nature has elements of healing for us? From Qi Energy, plant and herbal remedies, to their respect for the moon and the sun.

Did you know Columbus brought with him an imbalance to the land he wasn’t able to see? He didn’t realize coming to this land was an opportunity to learn a new perspective of life that he was missing. Instead his people began the force of his only view on others.

Today, see if you can learn something new about the natives of the land, that you wish your ancestors had learned. Dig deep and then share it. Show people the gold nuggets of wisdom they hold in their heritage.

What I see

For me, they believe in the herbs of the land. It is not the prescription medications that made a difference in my health. It was simply an herb. Why don’t we look there first, instead of when nothing else works? There is so much to learn of Mother Nature’s healing ability to heal us when we align with it.

Mother Nature and the respect for her have been the greatest message I have learned from our Indigenous People, our true Natives. We need that message desperately, as even the scientists are pointing out.

You matter

And today, on your day of reverence, I see you, and I honor you. You have so much to teach us, and I for one, want to learn from you. We all need you to teach us the wisdom our ancestors wouldn’t listen to. Some of us are ready to receive it.

Written By Melody Belliveau

Remembering With Cause

9/11 We will never forget

Twenty years ago, our country was thrown into a state of unity through shock, horror, sadness and grief. A day that started out as simply routine in our busy lives. Those who were here remember exactly where they were when the unimaginable became a reality. Many watched live in horror, while others watched from live TV breaking news.

We responded with compassion and vulnerability for each other, and American pride sprang up in an instant and a unity took place that is rarely seen. The tragedy was bitter but there was a light that came into view because of it.

The Heroes Journey

Our first responders, veterans, and even civilians dove into the role of the heroes journey in an instant, working beyond normal capabilities. Many gave their lives selflessly and other family generations grew as a result of those that had been saved.

Today

Videos and photographs have been shared through the day that brought tears to many eyes. The Grand Ole Opry did an Opry Livestream tribute in partnership with The Wounded Warriors Project. Songs were sung and words were spoken that could be felt in one’s soul. I Dare You To Love was one of those songs. I take up the challenge and ask you to do the same.

Can we make this remembrance a chance to put down our differences and feel our shared vulnerabilities that were once raw in our very beings? Can we stop seeing each other through the lens of divide and contempt for each other? Don’t look at each other as red or blue, black or white, native or immigrant to look down on.

The left out

We left out a group of Americans and visitors to our country following that event. We saw them , not by their soul or character, but by the resemblance to our enemy. We scorned them instead of embracing them with empathy for what they were also going through. Can we look at them now and see their soul? Can we use this reverence to welcome in the refugees we’ve taken in now? They feel the terror of war and are in need of making this their country and home.

Who we are

We are capable of it. We have seen what we are made of. We can make it even more powerful than it was 20 years ago. In the present climate, it’s a challenge that will take intention. Let us hold on to it for longer than a day, a week a month or even a year, or maybe even 20. Today showed us we can. I dare you to love, better than you ever have before.

Let’s let our military and first responders know how much we appreciate all that they do, because when we need them, they are there. Support our heroes……..

And never forget those we’ve lost. They matter and so do you.

Written by Melody Belliveau

The New Divide

Although the pandemic has shown us it’s a small world and we are all in this together, it also became a source of conspiracy theories and mandates as well. Not wearing masks became a political statement and lockdowns for safety were met with protests and even violence.

Now we have a new divide…

Those who are vaccinating, and those who won’t. Families are being torn and friendships are being lost, because personal beliefs are no longer a value to those vaccinated. They see the unvaccinated as a threat, pitting man against man and friend against friend. So who is in the right? Perhaps they both are right, and both are wrong. Let’s sit in the middle and see how…

The New Freedom

When our numbers started going down we had mask mandates and the new vaccines were being administered. But the mask mandate was lifted with an “honor system” and people started feeling the threat was over. We did not give the virus a chance to die out, but merely a chance to adapt. Going without masks gave it a chance to climb once more, and not only for those unvaccinated, but through those vaccinated who thought their risk was over as well.

So to those viewing the unvaccinated as a threat to society and willing to sacrifice family and friendships over it, consider this…..

If they are social distancing and wearing masks but you are not, you may be the bigger threat. It is a fact that you can catch and spread Delta fully vaccinated. Choosing not to wear a mask or social distance simply because you are not mandated to, does not keep you from catching and spreading it. You feeling the freedom of vaccination is an issue and does not lessen your ability to spread it.

Those who took the jab feel a sense of service to their community and loved ones. Are they being brave and selfless? Absolutely, but wearing masks and following guidelines for all makes them even more so.

Until next year rolls around, (and if they accurately keep track) we won’t know the true effective rate of the vaccines, just as the way we judge each seasons flu shot effectiveness when the season has faded out.

This is all still a new experience for us all, both with COVID as the world has struggled, so the vaccines are as well. There are plenty of uncertainties and questions to go around. What we don’t need is anger and feuding on either side about your choice. Just use the precautions that are becoming evident both sides need. Follow your belief, but always be open to learning more. We all need moral support at this time.

Will you be part of those that practice compassion freely, or will you be part of the fire that burns us down? Each and every one of us has a role to play. Make yours an intentional one. How you treat others doesn’t stop with the ones we agree with, it’s more importantly those we don’t.

This is another chance to show what we’re made of. Do we really want it to be hate? Each of us decides for ourselves, regardless of what we’ve heard or how we feel. Compassion not contempt.

Written by Melody Belliveau

A Matter of Growth

The pictures above are of the seedling of a mighty tree. It is growing in a hole in the sidewalk, and you can tell by the tattered leaves, it’s growth has caused it to be stepped upon. Have others noticed it? Perhaps, but for those stepping on it, probably not.

Its size potential I’m sure is mighty, but will it be able to survive in the hole and grow to what it was meant to be? It’s doubtful because of where it is located. I cannot help but feel sad for it. So what can I do to give it meaning (besides trying to transplant it)? I pondered that question (after all, it is my hashtag #MelodysEyes). What possible message can this tree have for others whether it survives or not?

How about this message perspective….

Most of us have heard the term “Glass Ceiling” in business. The phrase was meant to bring awareness to unfair practices of holding people down, denying them advancement. What is the true cost of the glass ceiling? It is the foot on the mighty. It prevents the beauty and magnificence they were born to be. Those under the “glass ceiling” have mighty potential or they wouldn’t be able to see the glass. Could there be a mighty tree in your company? We will never know the potential someone has until we stop limiting how they grow. Like the seedling in the picture, perhaps relocation is the only way it can grow.

Your environment

What is the environment you are a part of? Does everyone have room to grow or are there those putting their best efforts in to grow, but only being stepped upon in the pathway? Employer or employee, what are you a part of? Are you proud of what it stands for, not just for yourself, but for those around you?

That is the type of conversations that are needed and actions to observe. Do you see those working hard being passed over time and time again? We need to start to notice and question and be a part of that change. Is there a reflection in your business, at any time, “we all know (so & so) deserved that promotion. If It keeps happening they are going to leave.”? A thought, a water-cooler conversation, those are things we need to pay attention to. Not an easy thing to recognize – but important. Sooner or later you might need to react with your own role.

What’s your character?

What kind of character do you have? If that unexpected promotion is offered to you, and deep down, you who know who truly deserved it, what would you do? Would you reflect on the benefits of it to your family and accept it, or would you be able to speak out and tell them why you are turning it down? That could even cause them to see, and become aware of an issue they never recognized. You will never know if you accept it. You will have to choose whether to listen to your soul and see what’s right, or your ego that keeps you in the safety of your own outcome. After all, couldn’t the company get upset if you turn it down?

What about them?

What if that person (a mighty tree in their own) gets stepped on (by you) and they decide to leave because of it? What wound would their absence create in your work environment? Could it even hurt your work because they are gone? Maybe they felt no choice but to look elsewhere to provide the benefits that position offered.

When it comes down to it, does your character allow you to step on someone else’s growth when you know they are trying? That is all on you.

If we all look beyond our own spot and help each other, we become the business family that inspires others. Notice them. It’s the first step to change.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Memorial Day: Reflection of Respect

The meanings…

The meaning of Memorial Day has a tendency to mean a wide variety of things to different people, from a day off from school or work (sometimes with pay), or a family barb-a-cue planned with the symbol of the beginning of the Summer season. Although these things may very well be accurate, there is a meaning, the true meaning, that must never be forgotten. Sacrifices have been made by many that we seem to take for granted. They deserve our recognition and respect for all they gave up.

The souls…

It is the Military Soldiers that gave up their lives to serve. They are the true soul of our country. The biggest sacrifice one can give is their life for others and that is what they did. They must never be forgotten. May their souls soar high.

Who they were to others…

It is the spouses of those who’ve given all that are left behind with families to raise and nights alone without them, that now has no happy ending. They must go on with a hollow pain in their chest while they remain strong for their children. Their sacrifice is felt everyday, not just Memorial Day.

It is their service buddies that have managed to return only to find that life will never be the same. Many live with survivors guilt that tears away at the very fabric of their souls. Services they need to live on, of both physical and mental health, are a never-ending struggle to obtain. They are the forgotten and disrespected living among us, unable to understand why.

It is the parents of the fallen that feel the void with every breath they take. No matter what age they were, they were the child they loved. It is a scar on their soul that will be felt until their last breath. It is a pain that can only be accepted, but never erased.

It is the brothers and sisters who see them in the eyes of their children, wishing they could have been there to celebrate the milestones, to enjoy the get-togethers of family celebrations. The heartfelt conversations they now must have sitting by their gravesite instead.

It is the children who mourn the loss of their parent. Never able to seek their advice on life, especially during the difficult challenges they face. They will never see the nod of approval when they accomplish something that stirs feelings of pride. Those tears will remain with them through the many stages of their lives.

The friends who anxiously await their return to fill them in on things they used to chat about that will now only have a reflection of their memories and the last hugs they gave them before their departure.

Those are the ones who are the true meaning of Memorial Day and many will spend it with some time at the gravesite to pay their respects as a way to connect. Where they visit, coins are left on the headstones.

Penny – from those who stopped by to pay their respects

Nickle – from those who attended boot camp with them

Dime – from those who served in the Armed Forces with them

Quarter – from those who were with them when they were killed

So while you take the day to do your celebrating, please take some time reflecting on the Heroes of the true meaning and I urge you to take some time to visit a Soldiers grave and leave a penny and a prayer. Let’s show those left behind the respect of that reflection. My prayer is that every Soldier have a penny left behind on their stone. If you see other silver coins, don’t disturb them but rather say an added prayer for the one who left it.

They matter, every one of them. One of the worst sayings is a Soldier dies twice – one with their sacrifice, and again when they are forgotten. We must not forget them.

Celebrate today, but celebrate the life they gave for everyone. If you know someone who feels this day for who they lost, reach out to them, and let them know they matter.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Insignificant….

You notice others

For those of you who feel like little people deep inside and can’t shake the feeling of being insignificant; you matter and I’ll tell you why. You see people. You see souls and can relate. You are the ones who stand out in your own way. It doesn’t matter what your station is in life because you are spread from top to bottom. We’ve all heard the compliment, “He (or she) was so great to meet! He is such a down-to-earth regular guy!” You see each other and you make each other feel it.

Not overlooked

No matter where, shine your light and those who are meant to notice you will. In the 3 pictures, there are 2 beautiful flowers that obviously didn’t care where they were, they shined their beauty. They were not planted and they were not given the best, but it didn’t take away from their beauty.

They are tiny and easy to overlook. But they were noticed, and now, 2 small flowers in the curb are being seen by many (hopefully). I believe that in itself makes them significant, simply by being what they are.

See the beauty in yourself

You need to believe it yourself, deep in your soul and grow beyond the limits of your environment. Find a way to become the you that you were meant to be. You have your own beauty, find a way to own it. You matter more than you know.

Written by Melody Belliveau

And the World Watched…

The Verdict

Today was an important day, not only for the United States, but for the world as well. A man (whether you think he was walking the wrong path in life or not) was given justice in his death that meant much to many. Perhaps that was his purpose in life, beyond the mortality of it, and as a point, because of it.

His Destiny

His destiny, created a unity and a change that parallels Martin Luther King Jr. Our circumstances do not negate the fact that we all have a purpose. You can look down on George Floyd if you choose. It does not change the impact of his life. This jury chose to show the world EVERY black life matters. By doing so, they chose right from wrong not blue verses black. Our constitution was adopted on Everyone, not just a selected few. It is incoherent that there is a mind set that not every soul does.

Look at the right and wrong of the actions nothing more because that is all we have in this. This is what destiny of change looks like. It is the bigger picture and anyone who minimizes what this means, minimizes the impact. Even Derek Chauvin in his wrongs did much for equality, even if simply to emphasize the traumatizing lack of it.

Our Divide

The unrest, divide, and anger is growing, not only in our country, but around the world. We as “humankind” hold the control……Be…..Kind…… It’s in our united race.

There isn’t a race or label out there that doesn’t have a soul and a purpose. Using the examples of wrong can create an impact of right, but only, by our choice of actions. We need to treat others like they matter, because they do.

Written By Melody Belliveau