Perspective

I spent the past week teaching a group of autistic kids nature and photography in my beloved upstate New York in Lake George at Camp Moki run through an organization called Camp TLC. This camp is all about love and giving not only the kids, but also the parents time together in a safe environment. This was my first year teaching there, and it was life changing to say the least. I’m excited that I’m teaching at least one more, and possibly two this year. Shameless plug, Camp TLC that runs this and three different camps throughout the country.  Go check them out:  Camp TLC.

doodle

This last day of the month is one of my favorite days because there are so many qualifications, promotions, and awards being celebrated through people kicking it in their Arbonne businesses. I absolutely love congratulating people on their different achievements, more so than my own. It was amazing as always, but it felt different.

When the time came to relax and finally go to bed, I just sat in front of my computer processing the events of the past week. It hit me what was different. I was different. They changed me as much as I helped them. For my social media posts, I started using #whohelpswho because I knew that it was going to change me. In terms of capabilities of the campers at Camp Moki, they ranged from high functioning to a few of them had a great deal of difficultly speaking and communicating. They were such an amazing group of kids, and they all started to come out of their safe shells by the end of the week. It was one of the most rewarding and awe inspiring things to watch and be a part of. That is why we do it.   It puts life in perspective.

courage-fear-do-it-anyway

We always say in Arbonne don’t judge anyone’s life by the highlight reel that is social media these days. Life is a challenge, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Lacey, another Arbonne consultant, was also remarkably at the camp with her two kids with special needs. One of them is quite disabled with Downs Syndrome, and she barely made it out of the cabin on Monday. Tuesday she was walking up and down the driveway path with her dad in tow. The dad and daughter both went home because it was too much for her, while her older son and Lacey stayed at the Camp. She wrote a beautiful post that described what their family goes through sometimes. You can go to as many classes, programs, and clinical rotations to get an idea of what it might be like to have a family member with special needs, but until you live it, you can’t possibly know the struggle. For those that don’t know, my sister has some special needs. As much as I love her, it’s a tough struggle that my parents are more involved in than I am.  This post isn’t to garner sympathy, just awareness. The more I mature, the more I realize that she is pretty amazing in her own right.

barriers-to-love

My life isn’t perfect and I have struggles with self-worth, discipline, and vulnerability, among others.   The universe conspires in odd and wonderful ways sometimes. I had been pondering for the last month or two about how I just deserved to get away for a few days and regroup with nature. Camp was at the perfect time, and because of the location allowed me to unplug. I never stopped being grateful, but after this past week I will strive to never to take my health for granted. Or my wonderful amazing extended family and friends. I do not think I have ever appreciated what I have in my life more than I do now.

Your life isn’t perfect either. Nor should it be. Struggles with family, partners, finances, jobs, etc are part of the package called life. It sucks at times, but don’t live there. There is always someone who has it worse than you. Bottom line: be grateful for everything you have. The good and the bad.  There’s a reason for all of it.

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Mentors, Belief, and Reflection

Mentorship

I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my life. The first one I ever had was Carter Blankenship, and he taught me most of what I know about shoes and a little about workwear. He passed away two weeks ago. He was one of the first people to ever believe in me, and he called me his protégé. He looked out for me, taught me certain tricks of the trade with people, and he was proud of me. Always.

word cloud - mentorship

I have been thinking about him periodically in the past few months, and how much I wanted to get in contact with him. I just didn’t know how. When I find out he passed away, it hit me like a two-foot wave in the ocean. I felt a sense of loss and shock that I hadn’t felt since my Nana passed away. I am not comparing the two; please do not misunderstand me.

Belief

His family had a celebration of life ceremony today that I went to. Truth be told, I really didn’t want to go. I knew I needed to go, I owed him that much. I didn’t really know how much the man had meant to me until today when I was headed there. The emotions were like the waves during an outgoing storm at the ocean. Violent, but subdued. Periodic but all-consuming. It was a tough ending to a tough week.

Ocean Fury taken in October 2015 by Alexis Krukovsky. (c)

I hadn’t met his family, except once in passing years ago, but he talked about them consistently. He was always proud of them, as well.   I looked for people who may be able to help direct me to the family members to introduce myself. The first person I met was Bridget, and is an old family friend. A very lovely, no-nonsense woman who was helping to clean up, and she introduced me to Melissa (his daughter) and later Adrienne his wife. Adrienne knew exactly who I was as soon as I said my name. I was slightly taken aback by this because I hadn’t seen Carter in at least seven years, and probably closer to ten. He talked about me to his family, which he didn’t do often apparently.  He also called me his protégé to his family.  It was one of several moments of gratitude and humbled pride.  I spent several years getting to work with and learn from him, but still.

 Reflection

Some of us went back to the house to help bring in everything, and to relax. There were stories upon stories, laughter, and bonding. From what I knew about Carter, it was exactly what he would have wanted. Laid-back, relaxed, and people having a good time while remembering the man we all loved. He was always a bit of a trickster, and helping to carry everything back to the house was his way of getting me there.

I went not knowing what to expect, and left with a lighter sense of spirit. I also left with new friends, and a deep down belief that he was proud of me. Even still after all these years. I am not sure what the point of this entry was other than a sense of gratitude of the people I have and have had in my life.

It’s Time

There’s a moment in time when you come to realize that you are over all your bullshit, and you get over yourself.  Everyone has been where you’ve been, they’ve dealt with the same shit or worse, and some have triumphed to greatness.  Up until this point, I have used exterior circumstances, family stuff, and a series of piled up bullshit to fuel me.

I have come to the realization that it is not enough.  I am fueled, I am driven to change by outside circumstances, which works to a point.  Eventually, the circumstances, the situation resolves, or you just deal with the mess that is being left.  The adrenaline goes away, and you are left with you.  Your desire, your need, your why, and your passion.

This is the point where I am at right now.  I rode the wave of shock, grief, expectation, more shock, and now I’m figuring out where to go from here.

It all goes back to being worth it, and believing it.  The past couple of months have been life changing for so many different reasons, and it was fuel to my passion, desire, and stubborn pursuit of excellence.  Now I need something more.  And once again it is me.

IT IS TIME.  The world deserves to know what I am capable of because I will change thousands of lives in a multiple of different avenues.  It’s go time.

In Love with My Life

I have liked my life for the most part since I graduated high school.  I went to class, graduated, and I truly enjoyed and probably loved my life in college.  After graduation?

I certainly didn’t love my life; I barely had one.  It was working two jobs, 60-70 hours a week, and one job I truly did love, the other was just there to pay the rest of the bills.  One year I got my w-2’s back, and was like, “that’s it? And literally thought, ‘there has to be a better way’.”  I have found that way.  It is a company founded on respect, empowerment, and helping others.  There is no amount of salary worth making you feel like a piece of shit by the end of the day.  NONE.

One of the benefits of realizing one’s worth is that I am truly in love with my life.  There is a difference between liking your life and being in love with it.  Think dating to get a better understanding.  I love everything in it.  I love my friends, my relationships, my business, and  most importantly myself.

I have worked hard to understand, conquer, and retire my old-self, as I call it.  I have reincarnated myself to be more positive, self-confident, present, less passive-aggressive, and immensely grateful person.  Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 2.01.43 PM

I am proud of my journey it took to get me to this point, and I am even more proud of apparently the inspiration in it for people.  There is no greater gift.

Remembering and Honoring

There will be a slew of 9/11 posts, and these are my thoughts on the anniversary of that tragic day.
It is the eve on the anniversary of September 11th, and I find myself reflective.  The level of chaos, tragedy, and sheer sense of loss was unparalleled in my lifetime.  It is one that none of us will forget where we were when we found out that the two towers fell, and the utter devastation that was caused by fanatics.

It was one of the worst days in America’s recent history, and the biggest act of terrorism on our soil since Pearl Harbor.  Thousands of people didn’t get to come home, hundreds more were injured, and countless first responders still suffer side effects.  We honor their memory tomorrow.

9/11 thoughts by Stacey Alcorn.

9/11 thoughts by Stacey Alcorn.

If there was one good thing that came out of 9/11, it was unity.  The act of terrorism united us as a country not seen since world war II, and it was kind of amazing to watch.  Blood donations skyrocketed; Red Cross was inundated with people, money, and supplies;  people volunteering for EMTs and fire fighters rose dramatically, and the world kind of stopped being just about our lives for awhile.

People started reevaluating their lives, and realized money isn’t always everything.  Life is short, precious, and we take for granted that there will be more time with loved ones.  Sometimes there isn’t.  Treasure each day, and live it with love.  That is what 9/11 should stand for, and what we should honor tomorrow and every day.

Grief, Trust, and Belief

I am not a big trust person.  It takes a long time to earn it from me.  I have been working on steadily for the past two years.  Every once and while, though, I get this urge and almost necessity to speak with someone who I don’t know very well.  I did that tonight, and it was about something deeply personal for both of us.  I honestly didn’t know what would come of our conversation, which started about a family event this past week.  It was an open, genuine, deeply “real” conversation that was both terrifying and quite striking.  And it morphed from a conversation about grieving and that process to one of an oddly fulfilling personal awakening.  The cool part was it all stemmed from my friend Kayla’s firm belief that my Nana was immensely proud of me.

When you spend almost your entire adult life being closed off from the world, and to open yourself up little by little is a bit daunting.  It makes one vulnerable and exposed.

I have had people tell me, “you are such an inspiration.” And I would say, “thank you so much, and I am glad I was able to do that for you.”   In reality, I never understood why I was such an inspiration.  FYI, this is not me being modest, I honestly didn’t know.

Kayla, my friend and colleague, clued me in tonight on why I am so inspirational (her words).

I met her last year in Vegas, and she was brand new.  Apparently, I said no matter what it was, “Arbonne is amazing.”  To me Arbonne is not about the paycheck, which can be incredible.  It’s about the relationships, personal growth, and self-discovery along the way.  And that is why I am an inspirational being in Arbonne (this is what others have told me).  I have persevered much longer than other people may have, because despite some setbacks, I kept going.  Because I SAW the potential, I saw where I was going, and I saw what I could become.  I hadn’t seen that before really, EVER.  I didn’t believe in myself, and I relied on others belief in me until I gathered my own.  My personal definition of perseverance is doing something long after the excitement and what you said you were going to do has worn off.  I am a person of my word, and yes, this is a lot longer than I thought it would take.  It IS happening.  My Nana saw it in me the last time we spoke, and it has provided a fuel for me to get it done.  She was proud of me.  She saw greatness in me, and she believed it to be possible.

I didn’t know what this blog entry was going to be about.  I almost just free-wrote it, and this is what came out of my head.  It’s important part of this journey that I am on to trust myself.

Community and Vulnerability

I am loving life these days, and in every aspect.  I am brimming with gratitude, happiness, and determination, along with a sense of self that I have never had before.  Why?  Many reasons, but one of the biggest is the community I surround myself with.

Photograph taken by unknown paddler.  Features Looie Voorhees, Diane Z, Grace Jones, Ruth Krieger, and Alexis Krukovsky

Photograph taken by unknown paddler. Features Looie Voorhees, Diane Z, Grace Jones, Ruth Krieger, and Alexis Krukovsky

I have many different communities I am privileged to be apart of.  Some of the characteristics they all have in common are a huge sense of support, unity towards a common purpose, mentoring, and constructive feedback.  Everyone is a collection of experiences they have throughout their lifetime.  It is one’s job to sift through it, and find one’s place where you can feel at home and “safe” at.  Where you can be vulnerable without having to worry about what people are going to think.  I started small by venturing out where I feel safest, paddling.  Since the summer it has snowballed into other areas, and now I feel at peace with myself.  Free even.

I think one has to be vulnerable to be great, because you have to get out of your comfort zone to achieve greatness.  This involves opening yourself to others, something which has terrified me for most of my life.  We’ve been taught that vulnerable is a dirty word, and it means to be weak.  In my experience, it’s the combination of vulnerability and mental toughness that brings people to greatness.  I have experienced within the past month what I would consider a shift.  I am making myself more vulnerable, and trying to be more open with people in my communities.  And I think it’s one step of many in my path to a greater sense of self and purpose.

Mentors and Life

I have been privileged to be having many amazing and brilliant mentors throughout my lifetime.  I have been fortunate enough to have them during every period of my life: high school, college, environmental consulting, paddling, and most recently Arbonne.

One of my Arbonne, mentors, Maria Spillane, and I travelling to a training.

One of my Arbonne mentors, Maria Woodford Spillane, and I travelling to a training.

Everyone needs mentors and stable figures in their lives to help guide them through difficult times and decisions, and sometimes the mundane.  I have been blessed with an abundance of both since high school.  One cannot succeed and expect to get better without guidance and constructive criticism.  Some call it tough love; I call it wisdom.  All of it is necessary for one to exist and make one better.  I am forever in debt to all of the people who have guided me; thank you.

Gratitude and Arbonne

Life changes in a few small decisions.

Impact Training - Arbonne

This is the amazing Spillane region team that went to the conference in Albany. Photograph taken by Paula Perrault

The biggest decisions that altered my life forever were ones I did not think about.  They are learning how to kayak, and later canoe.  Then I decided to start my own Arbonne business.  I have always loved the water; so paddling was a logical progress, and I finally had the time to do it.  My Arbonne business was almost on a whim.  I do not really know why I joined Arbonne, but is the best decision I have ever made.  I followed my gut that was telling me to pursue both ventures, and the universe has since filled my life with gratitude and joy that I did not think was possible.

Life is a series of choices.  Sometimes the decision that might not make sense, but if it is intuitively guided, it is the right one to make.  I didn’t even know I was looking for such changes in my life, and yet, I am the happiest I have ever been.