What a cheery and happy title for a Monday morning, huh? But stay with me here because it really is all about hope and optimism with me. Over the weekend I was reading the latest issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and particularly delighted in Martha Beck’s column. Beck details the ten life lessons you should “unlearn.” I found myself highlighting practically every other word. This, of course, helped me decide that this may be inspiring to you all, as well.

Having experienced a double whammy of loss recently and being painfully aware that loss is inevitable in life, it is helpful and optimistic to see the silver lining. Loss teaches us some very valuable lessons and helps open our hearts to love and appreciation. It teaches us how to heal and how to live.

Beck writes:

Ten years ago I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I’d smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. What I now know is that losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That’s the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you’ve abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home.

Whether the loss you are experiencing is the death of a loved one, the end of  a relationship, or the distance of friends, it is important to understand and appreciate the cycle of breaking and healing. Loss does not define us, it does not make us unlucky or cursed, it is simply a part of life. Yes, it is probably the most difficult part of life, but it is one that helps us learn and grow and strengthens us. From loss we learn that we are stronger than we ever believed possible.

What She Knows For Sure

This month’s issue of O, The Oprah Magazine is absolutely filled to the brim with fabulous articles, pertinent advice and anecdotes to help us all deal with being “overwhelmed.” There are so many articles and thoughts expressed in this issue that I want to mention and all I can say is how excited I am that I decided to begin this venture at this point in my life. I am at a crossroad, that stage where you can still feel all of the vibrancy of childhood, but are on the brink of major adult decisions and events. What better time to begin a personal revolution of change and adventure? When I began my Oprah Project, where I was planning on reading all of Oprah’s Book Club selections and documenting the effect they had on my life, I ended up discouraging myself by being my own worst critic and asking “Why Bother?” As Martha Beck writes in her column, ARE YOU ON THE RIGHT COURSE, I let my “Clever Critic” overpower me. I listened to my own self-doubts and was discouraged before I truly let myself begin. I over thought my Oprah Project and put in on the creativity crushing back-burner.

So when I read about Robyn Okrant’s challenge in The New York Times, I was both inspired and discouraged. Inspired because I had a similar desire to improve my life through a well thought out plan and encouragement from a media figure whom I admire and respect, Oprah. Discouraged because I immediately thought, “Why Bother?” Why bother because Robyn is already doing it, so why should I even throw my hat in the ring? Here is why I should bother…because this is MY life. Only I can have this particular perspective. Only I can see the changes that occur in my life by becoming more present, more aware and more grateful for all of the blessings in my life. In Martha Beck’s column, one of the women she profiles decides that she is going to write a love letter to cigarettes because that is what she really wanted to do. Martha writes,

“For the first time, Maida’s voice didn’t sound clever; it sounded real. Raw, alive, filled with emotional energy. When an email arrived that very day, I thought Maida’s superhero was unleashed. But no, her message came from the paralyzing Clever Critic. Another author, it appeared, had a new book about quitting cigarettes. This announcement,’ Maida wrote, ‘has stymied my enthusiasm.’ The email I sent back wasn’t gentle: “As your coach (and I mean this lovingly), I’m ordering you to cut the crap, cork the dithering in your brain, and write what you were planning to write. Now, soldier!”

If I had not taken the time to fully immerse myself in this month’s Oprah Magazine, which I typically don’t allow myself enough time to just sit and read a magazine cover-to-cover because I am usually too busy crossing things off my to-do list, I would not have read all of these inspiring articles. I am following Martha Beck’s advice and pursuing my adventure. I am unleashing my superhero and I am ready for great things.