Prompt #2: Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.
As I searched my quotes collection, I was presented by not one quote, but four. Collectively, these four embrace the way I see my place in the world, the way I choose my life path and how I walk it. They embody who I am as a “health activist”.
I begin with a state of Wonder:
Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.
Wonder is where I begin and end. Wonder keeps me humble when I get too full of myself, too sure of my answers. Wonder keeps me in the questions which is, for me, where the juice is in life.
I then move on to Attitude:
I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt,anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal-and soon they’ll forget my number.
Attitude keeps me focused on possibility and keeps me out of trouble. Doubt, anxiety and fear are wrong turns and black holes. As humans, we are story-tellers, believing and repeating whatever stories are transmitted by “the telephone of the mind”. The stories coming through color the fabric of my life, either moving me forward or stopping me in my tracks. I’ve always said that if I’m going to make something up, I’d better make it good.
Passion is next in my health activist lineup:
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear of falling
Or of catching fire
I choose to inhabit my days
To allow my living to open me
Making me less afraid
To loosen my heart
So that it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise
I choose to risk my significance.
—DAWNA MARKOVA, from I Will Not Die An Unlived Life
Passion is what fuels me in the face of fear. It is the desire not to waste one moment of what Mary Oliver refers to as my “one wild and precious life”. Staying present, as in “inhabiting my days”, takes vigilance. Yet each time I loosen my heart to give of myself, the only thing I really can give anyway.
And so finally I come to Oneness:
Good work finds the way between pride and despair.
It graces with health. It heals with grace.
It preserves the given so that it remains a gift
By it, we lose loneliness:
we clasp the hands of those who go before us,
and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other's arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move
also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except
—Wendell Berry, from What Are People For?
It is through my good work that I see my connection with everything and everyone, and am brought back to the wonder in which I began. In my work as a life coach, I help others find their own answers. As a caregiver’s coach I help caregiver’s find their own best path through caregiving, and a path back to themselves. As a long-term care Ombudsman, I support Elders in speaking to exercise their right to a satisfying life. And as a culture change advocate in long-term care, I will do what I can to reinvent our cultural attitudes toward aging and the environments in which we age.