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Every newsletter I seem to read in the recent weeks is a strategy or list of to-do’s for coping during difficult economic times. Of course, I’m no dummy and I recognize why, but I decided to do a different type of list for the New Year. One that talks about inspiration, which in my opinion is the one true blues-buster in the world.
The word “inspire” in the dictionary means “to fill with animating, quickening or exalting influence”. Going into such a potentially bleak year such as 2009, I personally want to forget about my worries and remember instead those things that fill me with this said animating, quickening or exalting influence. Inspiration is the true fire starter in all of us– in our business, at home, and even in the middle of the night when we lie sleepless in the dark.
Here are the people and ideas they embody that inspire me to live the way I live, doing the jobs that I do and interact with people in the way that feels right to me:
The Peace Pilgrim
For over 25 years, a woman known only as the “Peace Pilgrim” walked more than 25 miles on a personal mission of spreading the message of peace. I ran across her name at renowned speaker and author Dr. Wayne Dyer’s seminar. When I read her philosophies which were compiled into a book by her fans, what inspired me the most was her absolute trust in the goodness of other people and her desire to teach the world about the uselessness of conflict. She walked for decades with no food, money, and the clothes on her back. She had no home. Taking refuge in the kindness of strangers, incredibly she was never harmed during her long and difficult journey. My favourite quote from The Peace Pilgrim sums up what I strive for (but sometimes fail at) every day of my life: “If someone does an unkind thing to me, I feel only compassion instead of resentment. Even upon those who cause suffering I look with deep compassion, knowing the harvest of sorrow that lies in store for them”
The Peace Pilgrim inspires me to be better in life and at work.
Women survivors of war-torn countries
Of course I knew that wars were going on in Africa and that rape was happening as part of that but until I read a few books on the subject and was introduced to an organization called Women for Women International, I had no idea that rape was now being used as a weapon of war to systemically break down the fabric of society. Imagine if you can stomach to, a woman who is raped in front of her entire family. Where the family is lined up deliberately—from her grandparents to her husband to her children to watch a group of men rape her. Then, this same woman who often has contracted AIDS and is pregnant as a result of the rapes is rejected socially by her family, her husband and the society at large. In addition to this outrage, her house is burnt down and she has to flee with her children to the woods where she needs to feed and protect these children since her husband and parents have also abandoned her.
These women have to survive incredible pain and odds to get to help. Of course, most die trying. Women for Women International is a non-profit organization that helps train these women in survival and business skills to support their children. I have recently adopted one of these survivors as my sister and will support her education in a trade of her choice to help her live.
What I find most inspiring about these women is their will to survive. When asked about the global economic crisis, one Congo war survivor laughed and said “that’s nothing—it will pass”. I take that seriously, coming from a woman who has lost all her loved ones, her dignity and lives in constant threat to her personal security.
Thinking of mere economy troubles in comparison to these women’s situation, for some very strange reason inspires me tremendously and gives me hope.
My Teachers
My teachers come from many directions and they inspire me on a daily basis. They are authors and speakers and coaches who have seen more and lived more than I can ever hope to. They introduce me to new teachers and new ideas. Some of these people are: the afore mentioned Dr. Dyer who taught me for the first time that we are not our name or our job or our bodies. Dr. Bruce Lipton, the scientist who taught me that our environment influences cell biology far more than genetics. Immaculée Ilibagiza, author of the book Left to Tell, who forgave her family’s killers after the Rwandan holocaust. She taught me that forgiveness is the start to everything positive in life. My Corporate Coach U teacher Sophie Mathewson who handled our classes with such grace and presence, even though her beloved husband had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Sophie’s lesson for me was one of courage and resilience. There are so many more teachers that I wish I could list here.
Last but not least, there’s a group of people who inspire me so much that I am certain that I am fulfilling my life purpose by knowing them—these are my clients.
My Clients
People who hire personal coaches are a different breed than the average person you might meet. They are deeply interested in becoming better and have no qualms asking for help in doing it. They value each teacher and savor each lesson. Maybe I find my clients so inspiring because in a way they are very similar to me and I admire their efforts so much. These are the people who actually work on their dreams. They don’t moan and complain with no results. I am proud of and inspired by each and every one of them.
I hope my New Year’s e-zine has reminded you about what inspires you to do what you do each day. I hope it has renewed your zest in continuing to reach out for those things that you feel are missing in your life currently.
Happy New Year everyone!
With kindness as always,
Chala

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