Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Everyone looks for it – the silver lining. What if we suddenly realized that it has been here all the time, deep within us?

For me the silver lining is in stillness. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult for most to find. There's too much noise, too much busy work, too much trying to escape from ourselves and our thoughts. Too many possessions and the yearning for more. We try to fill ourselves up with stuff, stuff we don’t need and can’t afford in hopes that it will fill that empty space inside us and lead us to the silver lining.

 Having more stuff won’t make us happy. It goes home with us and sits in a drawer or on a shelf, trapping dust, but seldom our attention. Why can’t we embrace what we already hold and treasure those things that are the most important? Buying things to add to a collection of more things isn’t what makes us feel alive. Doing things that make us feel alive is what we need. Following our hearts, just might be our awakening.

One young soldier Gracie and I met had lost both legs and both eyes. Stumbling to find the right words, I simply asked if there was anything I could do for him. What he said took my breath away. “I have no legs and I have no eyes. But I have my friends, my family and my faith, and I will be okay.”  If you choose the negative, it will take your life.

How many times I have heard it, “All we have is now.” I have a friend who was unraveled by a wild purple iris clinging to a cliff in Colorado. Men don’t want to confess these feelings. But my friend knows these are the things that truly matter the most.


What I have learned from therapy dogs, and their unconditional acceptance and love of those struggling to heal, is to celebrate the smallest things. Each celebration is a baby step toward recovery. As you turn your dreams into goals, you might realize you have had the silver lining all along. It is within all of us. You must simply listen, and pay attention and your life will open in ways you never imagined.  Give all you have to your purpose. Do great things for others.  “How?” I suggest writing a list of one hundred things you truly love, those things that make your heart sing. Yes, it sounds like alot. But as you write, you will be 'listening' to your life. You will be surprised. Then as your heart heads toward what you love, your life will change. There is a purpose for your being and you must find it, but only when your heart is ready to listen.

Rabbi Kula in ‘Yearnings’ reflects that “Happiness always points outwards.” Doing something outside of ourselves that others will benefit from is powerful stuff. This is the 'stuff' we need to focus on. It is both addictive and luscious.

Like the soldiers the Soldiers' Angels Support Dogs work with, we’re all survivors of one sort or another. And the reason we’re on this earth is to help ease the pain of others. And the beautiful side effect of doing so is that we suddenly realize we have helped ourselves.

I can’t remember who said it or where I read it, but it carries huge significance for me. “Why do we live where our souls aren’t?”  

Jason an amputee from Iraq, with much to be angry about, has found unashamedly talking of his love for his wife to be healing for others. He buys her flowers and offers advice to another soldier who says his “wife didn’t sign on for a blind cripple.”  Little matters in this world, if we have not learned how to touch the heart of another and to be touched.

As the soldiers and patients pass through my days and my life, I realize they are my heroes and my teachers.
And once again I reflect back to Gracie and how, even if a patient gives up on themselves, Gracie never gives up on them. Another mystery of the heart perhaps. But through Gracie,  I have found the silver lining and my heart has found its home.


"Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen - that stillness becomes a radiance."

~Morgan Freeman~

"Once I knew only darkness and stillness... my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living."

~Helen Keller~

"One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on."
~D.H. Lawrence~

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