Hopeful Thankfulness and Responsibility for Change

This morning I awoke after a scant 2 hours of sleep to listen to President Obama speak about enduring hope.

America’s re-elected President, even with election results still coming in, spoke of the “stubborn hope” that persists against most odds and makes us work all the harder for the ideal image we believe in.

I sit at my keyboard this morning in Italy with my own hope-fire burning a little brighter.

Sunset over Brooklyn BridgeYes, I am bolstered by what I see as positive election results in Senate races (go ahead and let the door give you a hard smack on the way out you rape down-players and marginalizers of women’s and all citizen’s rights) and, yes, the Presidential returns.

More than what I heard this morning, I hold close to my heart the words I read yesterday from President Obama to a 10 year old to, in the face of bullying for being different, “treat others as you would like to be treated,” and a reminder that “what matters above all is the love that we show one another.

Politics completely aside, I have seen that resilient faith, hope and love in action over the last weeks in my friends and acquaintances in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

New York State of Mind

Today also marks 4 years since I moved to New York City. I miss “my city” today more than ever.

In my first month or 2 of living there I was talking to a born and raised, many year resident who, when I expressed my reservations at considering myself a New Yorker yet, assured me that “if you have spent even one night here with the intention of being a resident, you are a New Yorker.” I’ll take it.

New York alwaysSo abroad, when asked where I am from, I claim NYC — partly because it is easiest but mostly because it gives me pride to do so.

I was speaking to a policewoman yesterday (long story but suffice to say that the amount of my stupidity in one weekend continues to manifest and this time in the form of misplaced incredibly important documents) She, while repeatedly lamenting the fact that she had yet to visit, asked what it was that made the city so great.

“The energy,” I said, knowing that my face was expressing the flutters I felt vibrating from remembrance, “sure you can find anything, anything you want there, but there is just something about the energy of the city that is like no other place I’ve found. It is too much for some but me? I get off the subway and light up just being there.”

It was difficult to leave New York for Georgia and now Italy. I consoled myself with the thought, oft spoken aloud, that “New York will always be there when I’m ready to go back.”

Part of the unique energy of the city is constant change, yet part of it also is a resilient permanency of the place.

Today finds me in Firenze but I am still a New Yorker at heart. I spent the night watching returns and IMing with my girls back home. I cast my absentee vote with pride to be part of the splendid, crazy, chaotic, great experiment we call America.

The politics might have been ugly and divisive over the last year but from my vantage point what I see is determined effort to persist and thrive.

Giving Hope and Hope in Giving

Defiant Souls PrevailWhat I heard my President speak about this morning was doing the work. What I see on my Facebook feed is pictures of 100s of meals prepared, friends — themselves still without power — volunteering to help strangers, shopping carts and truck beds full of supplies enroute to the devastated areas, and offers of help from all corners of the country.

“We must struggle together,” indeed.

I have sent my positive energies as well as my pennies to help in whatever small way I can. I completely believe in one person making a difference in one life compounds like interest and makes the planet a better place.

You can donate here or here or follow and support the efforts of my outstanding fellow GRTs to help the citizens of NYC and NJ.

And/Or, because we are global citizens always, you can read about and donate to my own impossible improbable campaign to get six-pack abs to help children in Guatemala get an education and a better way of life. (just read it, it makes sense, promise) Not to at all marginalize what my fellow Northeastern citizens are facing, but lack of electricity, water, clean living conditions, safety and education are things that these kids are face in every day life.

I’m writing this and you’re reading this on a screen — we have the electricity, technology and education to make this communication happen — and for that we should be thankful. Take a moment, right now, close your eyes and be grateful for what seemingly commonplace gifts you have in your life.

Eyes back open to the bounty before you, and I could couch this in pretty words but another thing I love about NYC is residents’ often blunt brevity so: Now Pay up.

Give your money, time or blood but give back because you can. Turn your appreciation for what you have — because you damn well have a great deal — into generosity to others who are struggling now and struggle daily.

Blue Skies of NYCToday I am thankful for the reassuring smile of that policewoman. I am appreciative of waking up in effing Italy and the wonderful opportunities I have been able to take advantage of over the last 2 months, not to mention 4 years, while still calling NYC my home.

I am thankful for my friends and my fellow Americans who inspire me and refuel my hope for positive planetary change.

I am thankful for the reminder that is simply not enough just to hope for a better world, we must all — together — work for it.

I’m turing my gratitude and hope into positive change for others. Are you?

Always BE IN,

PS. Seriously, you have $5 to spare, skip your coffee or beer tonight or for the week and just freakin DONATE.

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