My List Of Gratitude

This week is the time most of us engage in reflecting on what has been going well in our lives, the things for which we are thankful. I for one have A Lot to be grateful for; I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my many blessings and the source of such good fortunes.

Recently on my radio show, we discussed the importance of having an attitude of gratitude. One of my suggestions was to create a personal list of gratitude, which can be revisited every so often, especially if/when encouragement is desperately needed. Also, gratitude is a must and it shouldn’t be only a yearly practice, for each day is a gift with many layers of blessings. Therefore, to follow through with my own recommendation, below are just 3 main points out of my list of gratitude.

1) Breath of life:

About two decades ago, when I was only a teenager, I found myself at death’s door as a result of a tragic fire. Having come so close to dying at such a young age, it makes it very hard for me to take my life for granted. I’m specifically appreciative for the ability to breathe on my own; during my first three months of recovery I had to rely on medical machines to do the breathing for me. So, I am 1000% thankful for the breath of life!

2) Equal Opportunity Dreaming:

I am thankful I have no restrictions as to how big I can dream. Dreaming is accessible to anyone, whether rich, poor, able-bodied, or disabl​​ed. Consequently, neither my health, socio-economic status, or my ethnic background weren’t able to prevent me from conceiving the dreams I had, even while I was bedridden in the hospital. Nobody could tell me I was too sick, too young, or too anything to dream. My dreams gave me wings… wings that enabled me to travel to the future in my mind to see myself where I aspired to be. Fast-forward a few years later, I am now given the grace to be living those dreams that were conceived during some of the darkest of times. Thank heaven for equal opportunity dreaming!

3) My relationship with Jesus:

What ties up the aforementioned points and all good things in my life is my relationship with Jesus, for which I am beyond grateful. Everything may change (i.e. health, friendships, and family). However, my close relationship with Jesus is the sustaining source that has kept me going, enabling me to soar even in times of weakness. I heavily lean on Jesus as He continues to see me through each step of my journey; knowing Him as a friend, healer, and redeemer has been a marvelous experience of discovering and rediscovering His unfailing love, mercy, grace, and faithfulness toward me. Saying that I am thankful for Jesus seems to be the understatement of the century. Therefore, I’ll just say I owe Him EVERYTHING!
Gratitude is a must. It should not only be a yearly practice, because each day is a gift with many layers of blessings. I just outlined three of the numerous things for which I am thankful. What are you grateful for today?

 

Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Look Away

 

My mind has been racing in light of the recent events we’ve seen throughout the world. The gut-wrenching news of genocide, police brutality, and unnecessary killings of both civilians and police officers are the results of hatred, prejudice, and discrimination; all of these could have been prevented.  Sadly, there seems to be a sense of laissez-faire for some of these occurrences that should be an outrage to everyone. Something is deeply wrong when sympathy and empathy are present ONLY if it relates to us personally or a group to which we identify. All lives should be viewed as priceless, thus deserving of preservation. Until we all arrive to that conclusion by having a moral compass that defies race, religion, socio-economic status, gender and sexual orientations, hatred-filled actions and reactions about socio-political issues will keep rising. Once we begin to start seeing EVERYONE from a love perspective, we will start treating each other in the same manner we all would like to be treated. A simple technique that can allow us to achieve that is to put oneself in the other person’s shoes before doing anything that could be offensive in any way. For instance, prior to uttering a comment that could be interpreted as mean-spirited or offensive, ask yourself how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of it. And do your very best to answer that question truthfully. 

Below are some poignant questions I have pondered for the sake of gaining insights.

– Why is it that if we’re not the ones suffering we can’t even bring ourselves to sympathize or empathize with the one who’s undergoing trials?
– Why is it that our minds go the negative route when it comes to what another is facing (which we’re not accustomed to, because we are privileged to be free of such predicament)?
– Could it be that we are lacking in certain characteristics which are conducive to the sense of humanity needed in order to be compassionate, empathetic and sympathetic? The same way our bodies may incur a level of deficiency in certain vitamins or enzymes, which prevents adequate physical functions, one may also be deficient in certain characteristics that may prevent the development of certain humanitarian capacities (I.e. being able to see past oneself to truly see a fellow man’s struggles without making it something that it isn’t (simply to either make ourselves feel good or void of remorse)?
– Could such deficiency be the origin of the socio-political chaos and the resulting bloodshed we are witnessing worldwide? A deficiency in empathy and sympathy is bound to trigger sociopathic mindsets, which in turn leads to sociopathic behaviors.
We owe it to ourselves to ponder these questions as a means to rectify any character deficiencies that are potentially harmful to those around us, as well as the broader communities within which we interact.
Doing that is one way to contribute to change in our world; the more sensible we become toward others, the greater chance we have at eliminating hatred, violence, and injustice in our world. Also, being willing to speak up about unlawful actions/treatments against our fellow men is another means to bring about social reform. As per Albert Einstein’s words, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” In other words, we should not look away when we are witnessing another person or group’s suffering and any injustice inflicted upon them. Speaking of injustice, no injustice goes unnoticed to the ruler of heaven and earth, because He cares about ALL of mankind (not just some). Aside from injustice and speaking up about it, doing something at whatever capacity may jumpstart some form of societal change, even if it takes place only in one’s community. For instance, change can be reached within oneself through learning about other cultures, which could prevent misconceptions, prejudice, racism, and discrimination. The point is to do something to contribute to the betterment of interrelationships in our society. 
These minimal efforts are sure to show us a different perspective… others’ perspective of our words/actions. Compassion will be imminent whenever we utilize these methods; they will trigger healthier communion with one another.
It’s time for us to try something new. What we’ve been doing has only led to mutual hurt, chaos, and unnecessary bloodshed. It’s time to stop looking away in the presence of injustice deemed irrelevant to us. As the great Maya Angelou stated, “When we know better, we do better”. Let us learn more productive ways to communicate and collaborate with each other, so we may leave a better legacy to the generations to come. All this can be achieved when we look to the One who is greater than all of us:
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” 2 Chronicle 7:14

 

 

Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD

 

The Gift of a Mother

          Aside from the nine months of arduous pregnancy, a mother’s roles expand from her children’s births to her last breath. From the moment she learns she is expecting a baby, the mother makes an undying vow to love, care for, and protect her child, no matter their age.

      As for love, a mother’s love goes so deep and is shown in so many ways, at times it may be interpreted as constant nagging. In fact, it’s only her love that is being manifested through worries, which may generate repetitive questions and lectures. A mother’s fountain of love drives her to ensure her children’s well-being and safety at all times. As for care, a mother’s innate desire to provide the best of care to her offspring transcends time, age, and location. Taking away her ability to care for them is like amputating the legs of a professional track runner. As for protection, a mother will endure all sorts of pain, mistreatment, and humiliation silently in order to preserve peace and happiness in her children’s lives.

      The list of sacrifices and acts of love and devotion is innumerable, as it increases with each passing day. Hence the reason why the gift of a mother is so priceless. However, it is imperative to strive to repay her with tokens of appreciation every chance we get to do so. The beauty of it all is that the gifts a mother craves the most from her children have no monetary values. Some of the things a mother longs for, but hardly ever asks for include:

  1. Time: Spending quality time with the person who gave you life, while allocating her your undivided attention… Even if she is telling a story you’ve heard a million times.
  2. Call: A simple call from her child brightens her day in ways material gifts could never accomplish.
  3. Priority: Unexpected and unwarranted gestures show her that she is a cherished priority; that in turn makes her feel special.

      These simple things alone brings her immesurable joy. The only time we have is now. Do what you must today: enjoy, appreciate, and pour love on that gift, the gift of a mother.

 

Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD

Do It Afraid

 

       Sometimes unexpected opportunities come our way; and coupled with the shock of such occurrence is intimidation. There is nothing wrong with being intimidated by something, but allowing that to turn into crippling fear (which often leads to inaction) is. If you allow fear to stop you, you might end up missing out on what could have been an amazing and life-changing prospect.

       I decided to address that topic due to a recent experience I had. My being a psychologist and author were dreams that I nurtured and worked hard toward accomplishing. While I still kept aspiring for more upon achieving these two goals, certain things simply didn’t make the cut, in terms of my objectives. One thing I never consider is having my own radio show, because just thinking about it would have created high- level anxiety for me, given that any type of public speaking is quite intimidating to me. Consequently, when I was granted the great opportunity to host a radio show, though I was excited and grateful, I panicked at the thought of actually hosting a LIVE radio show that could be heard around the world. In light of the potential benefits of the show, I took on the challenge even though I was becoming more and more anxious as the start date drew near. Fast-forward a few weeks after I began the show, I came to notice its usefulness, thus prompting me to think about how I could have forfeited that opportunity, had I allowed my fear to take precedence.

        If we were to count the things we convinced ourselves we couldn’t do, because of this reason or that restriction, the number would probably be alarming. It’s amazing how one can justify their decision to not pursue certain potentially rewarding offers and dreams/goals, on the account of what would appear to be reasonable causes. I refer to these cases as logical excuses (and I’m not excluding myself) because we’ve all done it at one point or another. Oftentimes it is the result of fear… Fear of not measuring up, fear of failure, and even fear of success. That last one may be hard to imagine. However, there is such a thing as being afraid to succeed due to what success would require of the person.

        Sometimes what is sometimes required of you may not be what you aspired to do in the first place. But, just because you didn’t aspire to go into a particular field/career (or what have you) does not mean it’s off-limits to you. You might not have wanted to go that route, but that does not imply you can’t do it, nor does it mean it was not part of the plans for your life. If an opportunity presents itself to you and it seems to be legitimate, as well as potentially beneficial, you owe it to yourself to at least consider it without letting doubt or fear decide for you.

       Don’t allow fear to make you run from what could be part of your destiny. Rather than being paralyzed by fear and not venture into a new journey, it is more advantageous to try it even when you are plagued with doubt and fear. Show fear who’s the boss and do it afraid. Before long, you’ll see that what seemed to be so scary isn’t that scary anymore.

 

 

Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD

True Love

      Oftentimes the definition of love seems to be so vague. It is regularly confused with other things (i.e. lust or infatuation) that are far from being love. I am fortunate to have experienced love in the true sense of the term. That wonderful love is shown to me over and over, sometimes in big gestures and other times in the smallest gestures that also means a great deal to me. The last couple months have been challenging health-wise. As a result of a burn injury, I contend with chronic pain on a daily basis, though some days are worse than others. When you deal with some form of pain day in and day out, it becomes an intrinsic part of your life. I consequently have to make decision about going out based on the level of pain on those particular days. When the pain is too intense, I sometimes have to stay home in order not to exacerbate my condition; that involves postponing scheduled outings with family and friends. It’s a shame to say that people who should know better sometime show a lack of compassion, resulting in my regretting ever mentioning my health issues at all. That and the constant pain resulted in deep sadness, which I kept to myself. I could see the effects of that overwhelming chagrin in my inability to be excited about events that I normally would be exhilarated about; I also noticed it in my lackadaisical attitude toward typically enjoyable activities. The culminating effects of it all have been isolation and a sense of loneliness from not being able to socialize that much.

      Fortunately, as I grapple with the increased pain, I see love in action through my husband. When the pain gets so intense, getting out of bed to go to the kitchen or the bathroom is a dreadful thought. But my darling husband has been beyond attentive to my needs, constantly asking me if he could do anything, get me something to eat or drink, or go and buy something at the pharmacy to ease the pain. I could see his genuine care and some sense of powerlessness. He is truly a gift from God. I’m thankful for having the privilege of experiencing true love in action, which makes me love my husband even more. Our love isn’t one of those glamorized story, but it’s a pure love that money can’t buy.

      To those who are still waiting and longing to meet that special someone, take heart. The one who is meant for you has already been reserved for you. When that time comes, you won’t have to work hard at presenting a perfect persona, which would be an absurd attempt given that none of us is perfect. Everything will fall into place when you meet that person who is predestined to be your valentine. As you await your true love, celebrate yourself and all you have to offer!

 

Louise Beaubrun-Macaluso, PhD