It matters.

20130610-020956.jpg I think I’ve mentioned starfish at least once or twice in this chaotic mess that is my blog…but I don’t think I’ve ever said why. As for why I chose this particular moment in time to share why, it’s been on my mind. A lot. I’ve done a lot of talking to a particular friend lately and the subject of “little things matter” has come up. A lot.

The Starfish Story has been told and retold, but the original story (“The Star Thrower”) was written by a man named Loren Eisley. I adopted this story/message about eight-ish years ago. I don’t even remember how it came to cross my path, how I found it, or where/when I heard it. But when I did, it took root within my soul and still continues to do so to this day. I consider the Starfish Story to be…my mantra?…my “rule book”?…the driving force behind all that I do? Regardless of what you want to call it, the story has great meaning to me and its message is one I not only want to exude, it’s one I want to share/spread. I often use the story to illustrate/explain why the little things matter and/or how one simple action/decision can make a difference. Yes, sometimes it’s a bad/hurtful difference, but the way I share/talk/use it focuses on a good/positive difference. I also use the story to thank people who have “thrown me back into the ocean”…explaining to them how/why whatever they did or said mattered…if only to this one…if only to me.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo F. Bascalgia

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

I’ve written many times about the impact of words and how a simple act of caring could mean the world to someone, even if you never knew it…even if you didn’t think what you did/said mattered. If you take anything away from this, take with you the knowledge that you not only have the ability to make a difference, big or small…you have probably already made a difference for someone whether you know it or not.

So…without further ado…the Starfish Story:

A young girl was walking along a beach after the tide had gone out, leaving thousands of starfish strewn up and down the shoreline. When she came to each starfish, she picked it up and threw it back into the ocean.

She had been doing this for some time when an old man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this?” The girl answered, “If I don’t throw them back into the water, they’ll die.” “Look at this beach!” the man said. “There are miles and miles of beach. You can’t possibly save all these starfish!”

The girl smiled politely at the man, then bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “I made a difference for that one.”

 

No post of mine is ever complete without a song: “Starfish” by Sara Groves

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Words

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I am a quote whore-der. I love them…I can find one to give someone no matter the situation or topic…and sometimes, quotes articulate a thought, feeling or message better than I can with my own words. Words are powerful things…that sticks and stones ditty is a load of crap because words can hurt you. I was too lazy to go through my quote collection and put the following quotes in my post from the other day (God, love, honesty and cussing.) and I was going to go back and edit that post and add these as they are related to that post…but I decided to put them in their own post instead.

“Beam me up…make me lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter.” ~ P!nk, Beam Me Up

“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” ~ Unknown

“You’ll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

“Some nights I wish that this all would end ’cause I could use some friends for a change.” ~ fun., Some Nights

“It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen, but it’s even harder to give up when you know it’s everything you want.”

“The edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

“Don’t fuck with people’s feelings just because you can’t figure out what’s going on in your own messed up head.”

“The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest…all because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.” ~ Unknown

“The people who laugh the most have experienced the most pain.”

“I’m so tired but I can’t sleep…standin’ on the edge of something much too deep. It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word.” ~ Sarah McLachlan, I Will Remember You

“It’s easier to say you’re mad than to admit you’re hurt.”

“No you don’t know what it’s like, when nothing feels alright…you don’t know what it’s like to be like me.” ~ Simple Plan, Welcome To My Life

“I’ve found that the saddest people in life are also the funniest…and only those who understand complexity can communicate simplicity.”

“Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.” ~ Mark Twain

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”

“Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there, though.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides

“Sometimes tears are a sign of unspoken happiness and a smile is a sign of silent pain.”

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance and my kindness for weakness.”

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensiivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“No matter how strong a person is, they have a weak point and sometimes all they need is a hug.”

“There’s always a little truth behind every ‘just kidding’…a little knowledge behind every ‘I don’t know’…a little emotion behind every ‘I don’t care’…and a little pain behind every ‘it’s okay’.”

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them.”

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring…all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

“Do not ask me the price I paid. I must live with my quiet rage…tame the ghosts in my head that run wild and wish me dead.” ~ Mumford & Songs, Lover’s Eyes

“There’s a difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.”

“If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you, no humility, no compassion.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

“Don’t ignore someone you care about because lack of concern hurts more than angry words.” ~ Unknown

“What is depression like?” he whispered. “It’s like drowning. Except you can see everyone around you breathing.”

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of others but who win battles we know nothing about.”

“The person who cares a lot for others is the one who needs more care than others. The person who makes others laugh and smile often is the one who holds a lot of pain in their heart. The person who tries to be a good friend to everyone is the one who needs a best friend of their own. The person who always smiles and says, ‘I’m fine.’ is the one who is broken-hearted…but still strong enough to believe that in the end, everything will be okay.”

“It was hard to be honest, to open up and reveal something that sounded crazy. Because once you told someone the truth, that person had a piece of you – and they could belittle it, destroy it. They could turn your confession into a wound that never healed.” ~ Sarah Cross

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”

“She did not need much. Wanted very little. A kind word. Sincerity. Fresh air. Clean water. A garden. Kisses. Books to read. Sheltering arms. A cozy bed. And to love and be loved in return.” ~ Starra Neely Blade

“Behind my smile is everything you will never understand.”

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay.”

“I used to think the worst thing in life was being alone; it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” ~ Robin Williams

“People who are not depressed see the world as they want to see it. People who are depresseed see the world the way it actually is.”

“Mosters are real. Ghosts are real too. They live inside us…and sometimes they win.” ~ Stephen King

“It’s the loneliest feeling in the world – to find yourself standing up when everyone else is sitting down. To have everybody look at you and say, ‘What’s the matter with her?’ I know what it feels like. Walking down an empty street, listening to the sound of your footsteps. Shutters closed, blinds drawn, doors locked against you. And you aren’t sure whether you’re walking towards something or if you’re just walking away.”

“The biggest disease this day and age is that of people feeling unloved.” ~ Princess Diana

“Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love. But in reality, love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again.”

“I just want to hold you, take you by the hand and tell you that you are enough.” ~ Kings of Leon, The End

“It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgements about them, their present and their past, but you’d be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often than not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul.” ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Loneliness does not come from having no people around one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” ~ Carl Jung

25 Days Of Nice

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If I haven’t said or communicated this before, words are very powerful. That “sticks and stones” ditty is a load of crap.

I haven’t had a great past few days and until recently, that would be “normal” for me but over the last couple weeks, I have been in a great mood and have had some really amazing days. (I don’t dare say “happy” because it’s been so long that I’m not even sure what happy feels like anymore.) Someone popped my awesome balloon on Thursday. Granted, I had the choice of letting that person pop my balloon or not and I don’t blame that person for my current mood. But it reminded me of a philosophy/conviction I have: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. (Thank you Bambi, Thumper and Walt Disney for teaching me this lesson.) You may say something to someone (nice, mean or unintentionally hurtful) and not ever give what you said a second thought…but the person you said that to may remember your words for days, weeks, months or even years. I hear kind words so few and far between that if I can, I screen cap a comment or save a voicemail just so I can read/hear someone’s words again.

As I settle in to commence this year’s countdown of the 25 Days Of Christmas with ABC’s Family Channel…I found myself wanting to celebrate my own countdown with 25 Days Of Nice. I invite you to try it with me. Let not one mean, angry or hurtful word come out of your mouth for the next 25 days. Think it all you want, but do not let it come out of your mouth (or your fingers if you happen to be typing/texting). Think before you speak. If someone flips you off on the interstate, don’t cuss them out (however deserving of your expletives that person may be). If you’re questioning a comment, think about how you would feel or interpret your comment if someone were to say it to you. As much as I want to tell some people that it’s not “Happy Holidays,” it’s “Merry fucking Christmas”…I’m not going to do that this year. If someone takes a parking spot I was headed for in a busy mall, I will not leave a passive-agressive note under their winshield wiper. You don’t have to go around complimenting everyone…just monitor your words. Carry on with your normal daily activities and conversations, just think before you speak. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, this time of year is supposed to be about love and joy and kindness…so exude it…be an example. What you say can make or break someone’s day.

He’s making a list and checking it twice…he’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…he knows if you’ve been bad or good…so be good for goodness sake!