keep it all in perspective {and, a noble cause for your consideration}

Yesterday I wrote to you about a curious sensation I once felt when waking up — a physical sensation, one that mirrored a mental-emotional struggle I was enduring.

And we also discussed “knowing’ — that maybe we always know what we’re here to do in life; that the journey of searching for it is what makes it all feel so torturous.

But today, I want to discuss waking up with a different sensation: choice.

I woke up this morning with a determined push from my gut; it was just after one of those odd moments where your still-sleeping brain asserts its conscious thought upon the roaring, bubbling subconscious that writes the dreams you’re still amongst.

What I mean is that feeling of your consciousness awakening and talking before you even physically awaken.

I was sitting in this dream in the family den of my childhood house. Something was playing on the television and my mother was sitting there with me. I was either feeling sick or must have had a look of distress upon my face, because in the dream my mom asked “What’s wrong babe?” and at that moment I said — my sleeping brain was about to shake awake — “I’ve got things to do.”

My eyes thus shot open, with a curious feel of “push” in my gut. I immediately began to ponder what things I was referring to in my dream.

Thinking of the day ahead, and even where I am in my life, there were neither obligations nor a worrisome to-do list nor heavy obligations pressing upon me… no big fears to tackle today or monumental life decisions to make.

It was like the push I awoke to was choice itself: what the feeling of “push” was would become my choice. My mind was setting the stage for a day that would be dictated by decision and intention, not circumstance.

In that space, a fork was approached in the road.

To the left, Worry-Mind Road, a winding trail of broken-pavement, rife with insecurities and fears about projects I’m working on without a clue on how to make them real; a broken-record named fear that frets upon failure, over and again.

But to the right was Gratitude Terrace, a straight and wide avenue where every simple step is a gateway to the next. It’s flanked by open sidewalks that invite friends and strangers alike to come join, too. The sun shines upon it all day, and bright grass and trees breathe new oxygen into the depths of lungs, imploring you to keep going.

This choice, this fork, is one we can approach every morning.

On this morning, while still in bed, I turned on sports talk radio in Boston — a guilty pleasure that keeps me feeling connected to home in Rhode Island and Boston. But today, rather than the usual drama about this year’s Boston Red Sox, WEEI was hosting its annual radio-telethon in support of the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute — a 2-day fundraiser that has raised over $30 million for research and treatment of kids with cancer.

And as the fork-in-the-road decision was being played out in my head, as you might guess, hearing stories of young children who are battling cancer… well, it really nudges you — if not outright shoves you — in an easy direction.

It puts everything into perspective.

It makes you sit back and realize everything you have, and every facet of health you feel — even if you don’t feel great, or experience some pain, or tend to note every bit of discomfort.

And thus that determined push I awoke to became a vessel of my choice, and I chose it to be a soldier of gratitude and giving, not worry-mindedness and self-victimization.

With the a simple, determined choice, the “I have things to do” mindset I woke up to became an innate desire to metabolize that gratitude into action, giving, service, writing, life itself, laughing with friends, deep breaths, body movement.

So here we are on Tuesday morning, and I’m writing. I’m putting a note out there to hopefully encourage you to choose gratitude on this day. And I’m hoping you’ll join me in support of a great cause like the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.

{ Think back to what I said earlier, “…gratitude in action, giving, service, writing……..” }

I woke to the dawn of a beautiful morning in New York City with tepid air and quiet streets. I could have turned left. I chose to turn right. Now, I need to push Publish and keep on committing to it.

Today, remember to keep it all in perspective.

And, at the fork, go right.

P.S. — I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting of The Jimmy Fund today. Maybe you might skip the afternoon coffee and donate $3-5, or take the afternoon off from happy hour and donate the $20 you’d have used on a few drinks. It’s a simple, powerful and humbling way to keep everything in perspective, to choose gratitude, and especially to help the lives of others who so desperately need our support.

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