is . . . Too slow for those who wait,
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice;
But for those who love. . . Time is Eternity!
I'm bewildered and overwhelmed, I seek the gentle
guidance of a person I know will respond with compassion. Life is complicated enough without having to listen to
the caustic remarks of someone's misdirected strength.
living is determined not so much by what
life brings to you
as by the attitude you bring
to life; not so much by what happens
to you as
by the way your mind looks at what happens.
year of dealing with my injury, I was back on the slopes in
time for the 1997 World Championships in Nagano, Japan, site
of the following year's Winter Olympic Games. I couldn't
wait to show the world that Nikki Stone was back. What I
didn't realize was that the world hadn't waited while Nikki
Stone was recuperating.
with the same jumps I had perfected before my injury, I found
that many of my fellow athletes had increased their degree of
difficulty and were performing more advanced jumps. Even
if I executed my maneuvers perfectly, it would still be a long
shot for me to make it to the podium. I ended the World
Championship finals in eleventh place.
I'm not stupid. I knew eleventh place was a long way
from where I needed to be in order to stand atop that
salt in my wounds, a sports journalist wrote, "Nikki
Stone will never stand on the podium again." Ouch!
I had two options: feel sorry for myself and fall victim
to what the reporter had to say. Or prove him wrong by
sticking my neck out and believing in myself.
decided to take that second option and prove that journalist
wrong. I was going to build my confidence to do some of
those more difficult jumps so that he would have to eat his
words. No one was going to count me out.
back from such a severe injury, I had a big task in
front of me. I was trying to instill
confidence in myself at a time when I was just
rebounding from my lowest low. I had to
remember that I was actually jumping again when ten
doctors had told me it wouldn't be possible.
That alone was something to be proud of.
I did know that, to accomplish my goals, I needed to
step up my game. Doing harder jumps was going
to prove to be just as big a challenge since I was
so afraid of heights. Double flips require you
to jump thirty feet high. To do triple flips,
I would have to launch myself fifty feet in the
air--the height of a five-story building. I
felt queasy looking down from such a height.
How was I going to tackle this timidity? I had
to concentrate on my successful acrobatic and
landing abilities, and try to ignore my fear of
I continued preparing for the Olympics, I realized
the jumps weren't the only thing I needed to
change. My practice had to be much different
than it was four years earlier. I knew it was
important to keep my peripheral vision on the
competition, but if I was only worrying about their
training, I wouldn't be focusing enough on my own
practice. If I was in a sprinting race and
turned around to see what the other runners were
doing, they would blow by me. I had to keep
looking forward and worry about my own progress,
pushing full steam ahead.
my strengths and determining my most appropriate
preparations gave me the confidence I needed.
And my confidence gave me a shot at proving that
is not something we are born with. It's
something we develop. We all have the ability
to develop confidence. We have to be willing
to stick our necks out, knowing that we may feel a
bit uncomfortable at first. But it will pay
Peter T. Mcintyre said, "Confidence comes not
from always being right, but from not fearing to be
you know you have better odds at winning the
lottery than an Olympic medal? To bring
home one of those coveted medals—or achieve
any great personal goal in life—you need a
lot more than luck. You need a game
plan. What if you could learn the
secrets of success from an Olympian? A
Nobel Prize winner? A Fortune 500 CEO?
Along with anecdotes from her own dramatic
journey, Olympic gold medalist Nikki Stone has
compiled a treasure trove of compelling
stories to illustrate each step on the path to
success. She’s gathered humorous,
heartwarming and hugely inspirational tales
from some of today’s most brilliant business
leaders, scientists, soldiers, inventors,
philanthropists, musicians, athletes and
entrepreneurs…a host of people whose very
names epitomize achievement.
Can I Contribute to the World Today?
just after 4 a.m. as I write these words. I'm usually not up
this early, but a stray dog decided to bark just outside my window
at three, and I wasn't able to get back to sleep. So rather
than lay there in bed wishing I could fall asleep (wishing that
life were somehow other than it really was at the moment), I
decided to get up and get some things done. I have a long
trip to take this weekend, so I can get ready for that. I
have classes to prepare, so I can do that.
as I sit here thinking about the day to come, I realize that there
are several ways that I can look at the hours ahead. First
of all, the conditioned response that I would feel if I did what
most people seem to do would be to dread the coming hours, because
I just know that I'm going to be tired all day long. The
reality there, though, is that I know that's not necessarily
true--I may get a bit tired during the day, but I did get quite a
bit of sleep last night, so it shouldn't be all that much of a
problem. Besides, my energy levels during the day are up to
me for the most part, and even if I do get tired, there are ways
that I can raise my energy levels and wake myself up (and none of
them involve caffeine!).
that makes this a day like most others, not a day of being
tired. But does it have to be just another day, or can I
make it something special? I think that most of us like
special days, but few of us approach days with the express purpose
of turning our days into something exceptional; instead, we tend
to sit around and wait for special things to come our way.
And in my experience, that just doesn't happen all that often,
unless we prime the pump by contributing exceptional things
things don't have to be expensive or exotic or even
material. I've found that I respond to words even more than
I respond to material gifts. When someone compliments me out
of the blue or encourages me to keep up what I'm doing, I carry
that with me for a very long time. I've found out from
others that this is true for them. A student once wrote me a
beautiful letter in which he mentioned the fact that I said hello
to him and smiled every time I saw him on campus, and that it
meant a lot to him. A simple smile and a hello was something
that this young man remembered, and I never would have guessed
that this action on my part made any difference at all.
Kelly says, "There are six billion people on the planet, and
5.9 billion of them go to bed every night starving for one honest
word of appreciation." I know that many of them go to
bed after I've had an opportunity to encourage them, praise them,
or thank them, yet I've chosen not to, for whatever reason.
I don't know why--it wouldn't have cost me anything, and there
would have been no risk at all. I think it's because
sometimes I'm so involved in what's going on in my own life, my
own tasks and needs and wants, that I simply don't recognize such
opportunities when they arise, and I don't recognize the needs in
now that I'm aware of this dynamic, what am I going to do about
simple: all I have to do is start being aware of my opportunities
to give, my chances to contribute to this world in any way, no
matter how small. Perhaps that smile and a greeting will
brighten up another person's day in a small way--and many small
contributions to this person's life may make a significant
difference as time goes on.
word of encouragement can be like a cool breeze on a hot day to
many people. Not enough people receive encouragement on a
regular basis, it seems, and if that fact is going to change, then
the change needs to begin with us as we encourage people
unconditionally to seek out their own dreams and hopes and
aspirations, and to do as well as they can on their current tasks,
be they at work, in the family, at school, or wherever else people
can use encouragement.
someone pays me a compliment, it sticks with me. For a long
time. For not only has someone else noticed that I've done
something well, but they've also taken the time to tell me that
they've noticed. That means a lot to me. So I have to
assume that when I compliment someone else sincerely, that
compliment will mean something, even if it seems it doesn't.
Perhaps it will be like a tiny twig that a bird brings to build
its nest--the twig itself doesn't seem to mean much, but when it's
put into place with many other twigs, it's very important.
speaking of birds, I recently read a nice idea for contributing to
the world that makes a lot of sense. A character in a novel
(Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli) saves her hair after haircuts to put
outside for birds to use in their nests. This is truly a
gift that she'll never see used, but one that could be very
positive to a bird or three.
that type of gift gets to be a habit that builds in its benefits
as time goes on. Using recycling bins, picking up pieces of
litter on the street, holding doors open for others, helping
people to carry things, letting someone else into traffic, a
sincere thank you to someone who normally doesn't get thanked--all
of these things are simple actions, but they're also real
contributions to the positive energy of the world in which we
doesn't take much to contribute. We can give of our hearts
and minds--a gift doesn't have to be monetary or material to be
significant. But if I want my day to be brighter and more
memorable, then I have to make the decision to make it so--I
can't simply wait around and hope that something's going to happen
to make my day special. That sort of thing may happen every
once in a while, but if I want my days to be special, it's up to
me to do things to make them special, rather than waiting for
something great to fall from the sky into my life.
A Couple of
Nice Songs from Martina McBride.
didn't write them, but she sings them and makes them her
own. I don't really have favorite singers or actors, but I
have a special place in my heart for Martina McBride because of
the positive, uplifting material that she chooses to sing.
These are just two of the songs that always make me want to hear
more of what she does:
Douglas, Barry Dean
a touching video of this song, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCRrrP0EhPc
I met God's Will on a Halloween night
He was dressed as a bag of leaves
It hid the braces on his legs at first
His smile was as bright as the August sun
When he looked at me
As he struggled down the driveway, it almost
Made me hurt
Will don't walk too good
Will don't talk too good
He won't do the things that the other kids do,
In our neighborhood
I've been searchin', wonderin', thinkin'
Lost and lookin' all my life
I've been wounded, jaded, loved and hated
I've wrestled wrong and right
He was a boy without a father
And his mother's miracle
I've been readin', writin', prayin', fightin'
I guess I would be still
Yeah, that was until
I knew God's Will
Will's mom had to work two jobs
We'd watch him when she had to work late
And we'd all laugh like I hadn't laughed
Since I don't know when
"Hey Jude" was his favorite song
At dinner he'd ask to pray
And then he'd pray for everybody in the world but him
Before they moved to California
His mother said, they didn't think he'd live
And she said each day that I have him, well it's just
And I never got to tell her, that the boy
Showed me the truth
In crayon red, on notebook paper, he'd written
"Me and God love you"
I've been searchin', prayin', wounded, jaded
I guess I would be still
Yeah that was until...
I met God's Will on a Halloween night
He was dressed as a bag of leaves
Martina does receive partial writing credit for this song:
McBride, Brett Warren, Nick Trevisick, Brad Warren
She was only ten when her daddy got fired
He drank away the family home and left them all alone
And then her mommy was just too tired
So she got sent away
She moved in with her aunt in Arizona
Everything was fine until she told on Uncle Bill
When he said he only wanted to hold her
She had to run away
But when it rains, the past gets washed away, and then
She smiles 'cause she knows in the end
The world gets beautiful, beautiful again
Her boyfriend said I'm way too young to get married
But she made up her mind that somehow she was gonna
Find a way to keep that baby she carried
And he just walked away
And when she's lying all alone
Thinkin' about her life she wonders
If she is wrong to believe in a better world
Then she sees her little girl
And she knows she is right 'cause
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
The Wisdom of Children
Love. Accept the
miraculous. Be open to possibilities. Take part in the
ongoing act of creation.
We've heard all
this before. We know we should love one another and enjoy
creation. But how? That's the hard part. St.
Paul was feuding with some of the other apostles when he wrote the
famous love passage in Corinthians, and the people he was writing
to were arguing among themselves. It is one thing to know
that love is the key to a life of peace and joy, but it is another
thing to be loving.
If you want to
become more loving, I can tell you where to find good
teachers. Animals can teach us a lot about living in the
moment and appreciating the day. About being in the right
relationship with God and your fellow creatures. About not
being affected by money and not moaning and whining about
If you want human
teachers, I can tell you where to find them, too. At
lectures and seminars I tell people they'd be happier if they grew
down rather than up. My adult audiences usually agree when I
go on to explain that many grown-ups aren't very good
company. We listened when people told us, "Grow
up. Get serious." We have a limited view of the
world. There is a sadness about us. We grew up, got
serious and became depressed adults.
mythmakers, and storytellers all advise us to be more
childlike. Who inherits the kingdom of heaven? Who
sees the truth about the emperor's new clothes? Who lives a
timeless life? As a parent and physician, I have learned
that when you lose the ability to be childlike you put your life
and your health in danger. Children, sick or well, can teach
us about honesty and feelings. They can show us how to be
loving in the face of adversity and even death. I have seen
many children beat cancer--some by getting well and others by
living fully despite the cancer that ended their young lives
early. Many children with cancer have written letters and
some have written books telling what they learned from being sick,
and those letters and books are some of the wisest writings I've
I saw the wisdom
of children in my own family many years ago when it appeared that
our son, Keith at the age of seven, had cancer. He had
complained about his leg hurting and finally, at his urging, we
took an X-ray that showed a defect in the bone. I
immediately assumed cancer. As a physician, I knew that the
only treatment available was an amputation, and that even with
this treatment our beautiful child would probably be dead in a
year. He was scheduled for surgery to biopsy the tumor, but
in the week before his biopsy I viewed him as dead-within-a-year.
I was already
living in a tragic future, mourning a death that hadn't yet
occurred. I couldn't play with the children or have any fun
or make love because I thought I knew what was going to
happen. I wanted to tell all the children in the house,
"Be quiet. Go to your rooms. Your brother is
going to be dead in a year."
The children knew
something was wrong with their brother, and they knew it might be
serious. But they didn't know the statistics so they did not
live in a tragic future. They went about playing, having
fun, living each day as it came and not worrying about events that
might or might not happen. For that week, I was separated
from the family by my grief. Then the biopsy results came
back and the tumor was a rare but totally benign growth. So
our beautiful son was not dead-within-a-year and I was able to
rejoin the family. Keith told me I had handled things
poorly. I agreed because I needed him as my teacher.
The experience helped me understand what the parents of my
patients go through, and it also taught me the folly of living in
the future. . . .
Here is a list of
survival traits. This list was compiled from the works of
many different authors, all of whom had a common experience.
See if you can guess what they have in common.
Live life to the
fullest; no one knows what will happen tomorrow.
comes; use it to master the art of living.
Live one day at a
Share hope with
a light at the end of the tunnel.
No one knows the
power of the individual.
It's all right to
God is always
there to help.
Don't wait for
tragedy; say it today: "I love you and I'm glad you are
What do the
authors of those twelve pieces of wisdom have in common? For
one thing, the authors are all children. No doubt you are
familiar with some of these maxims. You can find similar
messages in popular songs or storybooks. I know I had heard
most of their suggestions twenty years ago when I thought our son
had cancer, but I certainly didn't act as if I knew the value of
living one day at a time.
contributed these items are not simply repeating platitudes from
songs or storybooks. They know what they are talking about,
because each author has or had a life-threatening cancer.
I've been fortunate enough to meet some of these children, and I
consider them my teachers because they live the message
is a well-loved brand name, and his collection of anecdotes,
stories, and supportive advice does have its amusing
moments. Among the topics Siegel covers are how to find
peace of mind; how to love, encourage, and forgive other
people as well as yourself; and how to thrive in bad times
and survive the good times. For those ready to be uplifted
by the soothing repetition of time-tested homilies, Siegel
delivers the goods.