Welcome friends and community leaders

As part of celebrating my 30 years in chiropractic medicine, I wanted to create something that would reflect my journey that I could share with the community. 

My team and I worked behind the scenes for several months to put together this set of 30 Life Lessons and the video.  There is a story told in this video that we believe will help explain what makes us jump out of bed every morning and get out there in the world to help people see the best of who they already are and who they have yet to become. Our passion for humanity and wellness runs deep.

I’m grateful for all the new and lifetime relationships I have made, and I believe you will discover why growing and staying connected with each other is so important in my life after watching this.

In addition to the ability to download a one page version of my 30 Lessons to keep near for the “now” or “later” in your life, I also wanted to provide some deeper threads about where and how those lessons came to be over the last 30 years. Below you will find all the lessons for the one-page downloadable version. By clicking each lesson, the window will expand and share a brief story about why this lesson mattered to me along the way – and will hopefully matter to you in your own unique way one day.

Thank you to all the people and organizations who have believed in and supported our mission over the years.  And for all of you who are just getting to know us and joining arms to carry this message of well-being forward to your teams and communities, welcome aboard.  It is a gift our paths crossed, and we get to walk this road together.

Big hugs!

Be Connected

adjective
Brought together or into contact so that a real link is established.

“As long as we’re living beings on this planet, we should relish the simple pleasures of feeling present in our bodies and connected to each other on earth.” – Dr. Christiane Northrup

What I’ve Learned:

One of my earliest memories is a woman named Maggie, who became a babysitter for my twin brother and I from around age three until we were eight years old. Maggie reminded me what it meant to be connected – and stay connected. Every year until she passed, I received a birthday card from her. I don’t think I will ever forget the way it felt to sift through the mail and find her card in my hands each year on my birthday. It was more than a sweet gesture; it was the way she wanted to stay connected with me that moved my heart. I believe sometimes we don’t think a phone call, a voicemail, an email, a letter, or a card will make that much of a difference in a relationship, but we can’t always see what it does on the inside of that person’s heart. The simple and free gesture of being connected to someone is really saying, “You matter to me.”

Be Intentional

adjective
Done on purpose; deliberately.

“When your intention is clear, so is your path.” – Alan Cohen

What I’ve Learned:

In a world where we often celebrate how busy we are, have we lost sight of what we surround ourselves with? I remember receiving a card in the 9th grade from friend and mentor, Linda Finxton. Inside the card, she had scribbled the words, “Keep your head above the crowd.” These words have remained on my heart for years, more than she probably ever realized. Over time, I believe her words are what got me to become more intentional in my life. That meant paying attention to where I was going, not how much I could fill up my calendar. It meant looking at my path, and asking myself, “Where does this road lead? Am I living the life I really want – not what the crowd tells me to be? Who and what is surrounding me on the journey? Are they helping me to walk or making me doubt the destination?” Invite the people, the things, and create the environment that propels you forward on the journey. Be intentional about the conversations you’re having, who you’re having them with, and how it aligns with who you are. When we really think about it, all we have are moments. Being intentional with each one can profoundly impact your story.

Be Positive

adjective
Having a good effect; favorable; marked by optimism.

“The sun is a daily reminder that we too can rise again from the darkness, that we too can shine our own light.” – S. Anja

What I’ve Learned:

When I was younger, I remember Friday nights where I was sitting at home wondering why I wasn’t out doing things. Why was I not with friends? Being invited places? Was I unworthy, unwanted, or unloved by other people? The tricky thing about words like this, they don’t always appear as “black and white” like other words. Meaning, they are often shadowed or masked behind other thoughts or feelings. For example, instead of being able to realize the conversations I was having with myself about unworthiness, feeling unwanted, or unloved, I was asking myself, “Am I lonely? Am I depressed?” It took me many years – and a lot of practice – to finally identify words I was allowing to fill the everyday conversations with myself. Learning to be positive involved how to overcome the conversation I was having with myself, and pinpointing what words are attracting more negative self-talk. Pay attention to what is coming after “I am…” statements. Words truly matter and have the power to shift what’s happening in your life.

Be Love

noun
Unselfish loyal, and benevolent; wanting good for another human being.

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” – Sophocles

What I’ve Learned:

My friend Paul Jernigan’s eyes sparkle every time I see him. In all the years I have known him, he has taught me to see our humanness better. To always wake up as the truest essence of who we are, even in the face of all the things we feel inside as human beings. One of my favorite things about him is how he shows up for me without an agenda, and instead invites me to experience being present with him. One time I sat down to talk to him about this, and he shared this story of when he was a little boy. One day, he was walking with his teacher down the sidewalk, and she looked down at him and he looked up at her. “You have a different kind of energy,” she told him. “You are just so kind.” He said he never had someone be that present with him before, and that moment of love forever changed his life. He said that what I experienced when I was with him was this same effect he had as a little boy with his teacher that day. “It’s nothing I’m doing or creating; you are simply experiencing what’s inside of me.” That’s being love. When we show up in the purest place of ourselves, other people around us experience this sense of presence and essence of what love feels like. It’s a deposit in their heart. They will start to look for more of that in their lives, and slowly they will begin to find it inside of them and become love.

Be Kind

adjective
Being selfless, genuine, compassionate, and showing unconditional love.

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerry

What I’ve Learned:

I don’t know anybody who has lived out the meaning of kindness more than my friend Mindy Corporon. In 2014, her father and son were murdered in the parking lot at a Jewish center. Shortly after their deaths, she started receiving thousands of cards in the mail from her son’s classmates who wrote stories about her son, Reat. “I had no idea how kind he was to kids at school,” she said. She realized even the smallest encounters he had with some students; those simple gestures were enough to change their lives. Mindy knew she could make a bigger effort to immolate kindness in our world like he did. I watched Mindy rise up over her grief and launch SevenDays – an organization that makes a ripple in the world by spreading kindness – all in honor of her father and Reat, who both defined kindness so well. Mindy taught me that being kind and being right don’t co-exist with each other, but when you are given the choice, always choose to be kind. Many of you may wonder, “How can I change the world? What power do I have?” Kindness is the invisible pebble tossed out there that is enough to impact thousands of lives. No eye can see just how far your one random act of kindness will go in this world.

Be Active

adjective
Being in a state of existence, progress, or motion: engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castenada

What I’ve Learned’:

Around the time I turned 40, one of my life coaches challenged me by asking what I was doing to be active. It’s not always easy to see the changes in us day-by-day, but when we look back over the scope of life, we realize there are a lot of things that have changed about us. And some, not for the better. In that moment, I was reminded the last time I actually felt happy working out or being active – and it took me back all the way to my high school and junior college days, when I played basketball for a few years. When we step into the work world, we have this tendency to let go of the things that bring us joy, and one of the first joys to go is what we love to do that moves the body. For many people, staying active or exercising becomes a punishment for what you ate, rather than a celebration of what your body can do. But I knew I had to change my perspective about what being active meant to find that joy again. After that conversation with her, I started bicycling. I signed up for a triathlon, and year-after-year, I kept signing up for that triathlon – not because I was making a payment to a debt that I owed my body – but because I love doing them. I love walking. I love playing pickle ball. Being active isn’t seen as a debt when you love the activity itself. Put on some different lenses about what it means to be active in your life. What moves your body that doesn’t feel like a “do” but invites you to “be” while doing it?

Be Hope

noun
To cherish a desire with anticipation.

“Hope is the promise that anything is possible.” – Randi G. Fine

What I’ve Learned:

Dr. Nancy Addy told me that hope is that little thing in the air with wings on it. She read this somewhere, and it’s remained the closest tangible way she can define something so intangible, yet powerfully real. “It’s not a word you can put edges around because that would limit what it really is,” she said. “But I do know that hope is a foundation in our lives. It’s a crucial cornerstone.” She has taught me that hope is like an essential vitamin. You can’t have life without hope. While we often “hope” more about how our future will turn out, the truth is hope doesn’t operate anywhere else but the present moment. And when you are hopeful, suddenly you don’t feel like things are necessarily easy or hard anymore. You are more able to welcome the unknown but fill yourself with positive thinking that all things really do work together for your good if you follow those little wings in the air.

Be a Go-Giver

noun
Someone is who focused on providing value to others.

“Go-getters are good. Go-givers are better.” – Ariana Huffington

What I’ve Learned:

Years ago, I read a book by Bob Burg called The Go-Giver and it changed the way I showed up at events, social gatherings, networking opportunities, and even in my friendships and relationships. There was a time I would be in a room full of people, yet I felt alone. That loneliness stemmed from not knowing my self-worth, not knowing if I was worthy of people’s time or to speak into their lives what I know, and not aware of the role I could play. What changed my mind was in Bob Burg’s book, where he shares that when we give a lot of value to others, we get a lot in return. I started practicing this new mindset wherever I was going and showing up. Before meeting up with someone or attending an event, I began asking myself, “What can I do for them that will help move their life forward?” Sometimes it was connecting them to someone I knew and other times it was simply a hug. Being a go-giver has taught me that value doesn’t equal money or big gestures. Sometimes what people need most is already inside of you, and the story is just waiting for your paths to cross to change the course of their story.

Be Encouraging

adjective
Giving hope or promise.

“Be the energy you want to attract.” – Buddha

What I’ve Learned:

My friend Jasmin Williams has taught me a lot about what it means to be an encourager in peoples’ lives. I believe one of the reasons we often get stuck is because we lack people in our lives who can encourage us to take the next step. Research has proven time and again that having these types of people in our lives increases our sense of belonging and purpose, reduces stress, boosts happiness, improves self-confidence, and even our sense of self-worth. It’s so important to be aware of the people you make time for because as Jasmine once said, “If you want to see who you’re becoming, look at the people you are surrounding yourself with.” Looking for more encouragers in your life isn’t merely luck. When you set the intention to find them, they will show up and cross your path at just the right time. And if you already have friends who are encouraging, chances are they have more friends you can connect with as well. Most of all, remember to be encouraging to others. You never know whose life you will enter, and your words become the reason they have decided to move forward on a decision.

Be Thoughtful

adjective
Showing careful consideration or attention.

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” – Brené Brown

What I’ve Learned:

While being thoughtful to others will always be important, I want to spend this lesson on what it means to be thoughtful to yourself. Recently, I was talking to my friend Grace Yasmine, who reminded me how as a culture, we don’t always grow up knowing how to be thoughtful towards ourselves. We’re taught to be thoughtful towards other people and our children, but we don’t give ourselves permission to be thoughtful towards ourselves. Grace is a nurse practitioner, and she says from that standpoint, she has needed to learn how to show thoughtfulness to herself. “Give yourself permission to take a nap or a break if you need it, and most of all, learn to activate your ‘no’ if your soul and spirit just don’t have the space to give what is being asked of you,” she said. Personally, I understand why this feels abnormal to so many of us. We love to serve, but she says that when we end up serving everybody else but ourselves, then that’s when we become patients. “When I wake up in the morning, I put my hands over my heart and ask myself, ‘What do I really need today?’ and truly listen to how my body, mind, and spirit answers. Most of the time we know exactly what we need, but it’s always up to us how we will respond.” 

Be Authentic

adjective
Being actually and exactly what is claimed; genuine.

“You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.” – Vironika Tugaleva

What I’ve Learned:

I have often wondered if we start to question authenticity in our lives when we begin to feel the weight of carrying something too long. That may be putting on a tough face in the winds of adversity or you suddenly realize how long you’ve been pleasing people to be accepted and loved. At some point, the weight gets heavier, and we want to shed it to find out for ourselves who we are and what we can really do in this world. I have learned that being authentic requires vulnerability and transparency. Being authentic can be creating boundaries, giving yourself room to breathe, and acknowledging when things are painful to walk through alone. We have all gone through some messy patches along the way, but it’s impossible to love yourself and be yourself if you can’t get to a place where you realize that all the experiences and things that have ever happened to you are the same things that have shaped who you are today. 

Be Huggable

adjective
Evoking a desire to hug close; inviting a close embrace.

“I need one of those long hugs where you kind of forget whatever else is happening around you for a minute.” – Marilyn Monroe

What I’ve Learned:

Did you know we need four hugs per day for survival? Eight hugs for maintenance? And 12 hugs for growth? As a chiropractor, many people know I am hug dealer. I love hugging my clients, friends, and family – and I’m very intentional about how I hug each person. Many people tell me I hug on the wrong side, but I intentionally hug them that way so our hearts touch. I remember when I first started giving out more hugs, and I think like most people, there is a hesitation, “Should I? Should I not?” But what I’ve learned over the years is 99% of the time, hugging them is usually the right thing to do – and accepting them from others is the same. There was a study several years ago at a New York retirement home that introduced a program called “Embraceable You” to their staff and residents. The program wanted to encourage each other to hug more, and the results showed that those people who were hugged three or more times a day had more energy, felt less depressed, better able to concentrate, and slept much better than the less-hugged members. Becoming huggable does a lot for you, but it does even more for the world around you.

Be Flexible

adjective
Capable of bending easily without breaking.

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” – Bruce Lee

What I’ve Learned:

After walking through the pandemic, I believe most of us have taken on a new meaning to what the word flexible means. One of the biggest ways I have learned to “bend with the wind” is asking myself a very simple question when I start wondering why things aren’t working out or why something went a different direction than I expected it. That question being, “Is it really true?” A lot of times when we struggle being flexible with our schedules, routines, jobs, friendships, and even family members, we tense up wondering why it’s happening. There is a book by Byron Katie called Loving What Is that has taught me a lot about this imposter syndrome we all face at different times in our lives. What it really comes down to is knowing how to move in the storms of your life and not allow the imaginary narratives in your head take over your relationship with them. When we can get past untrue stories, we tell ourselves about other people’s circumstances, I believe that’s when we open ourselves to the ability to be flexible. We learn how to keep our roots in the ground and bend with that wind.

Be Curious

adjective
Eager to learn; inquisitive.

“Be curious about everything. Never stop learning. Never stop growing.” – Caley Alyssa

What I’ve Learned:

Alana Muller is the author of Coffee Lunch Coffee, and one of the most curious people I’ve ever met. She got her inspiration to write this book when she decided to dive into the Kansas City community and learn about people’s journeys so far – not just by listening to their stories – but being fully present in those moments with them. She wanted to find out what led them to their path and what their career was all about. “Even when we’re involved in the community, we still don’t always see what other people are going through. We don’t see the world through their eyes, and so when I actually learned what it was like for them, there was a huge emotional component to it and explained what brought them to this place in their life.” She shares that when we show curiosity, it’s the easiest way to get people talking and advance connections. Alana’s dad instilled curiosity in her at an early age. “He took me and my two younger brothers to a bookstore one day, and bought us these three small, thick books,” she shared. “When we got home, he put our names in each one and told us, ‘Whenever you don’t know what a word means, I want you to look it up.'” I believe being curious is a cornerstone need in our life. Let’s get to know each other. There’s a wealth of information and experience each of us have, and it can enrich each other’s lives in so many ways.

Be Congruent

adjective
In agreement or harmony.

“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” – Marcus Aurelius

What I’ve Learned:

Years ago, Mary Morisee and I were talking about what happens when our body gets out of balance. I will never forget the next thing she said because it shifted my perspective. She said, “I don’t believe in balance, but I do believe being in harmony.” It wasn’t long after that, Dr. Zinberg taught me about what being congruent in our lives means. Sometimes when we are feeling out of balance – or not in harmony as Mary would say – it’s not always because you aren’t filling your body with enough good things or doing enough self-care. Dr. Zinberg said for many people, that lack of congruency in our lives begins when we’re saying one thing to others, but we’re not doing that thing ourselves. We must ask ourselves, “Does the outside match the inside of us?”

Be a Lifelong Learner

noun
An ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated person in pursuit of knowledge; a person with growth mindset and innate curiosity about the world.

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates

What I’ve Learned:

When I added this “be” to my list, the first person who crossed my mind and embodied this was my friend, Dr. Troy Nash, who has intentionally been going to school since he started kindergarten. People assume his passion for being a lifelong learner was from a childhood that had a solid family lifestyle in place. However, he’s shared with me that’s the farthest thing from the truth. “My story is a hard luck story like many people who grew up in a single-parent home and on welfare,” he said. “For whatever reason, something clicked in my head to do something different – to go against the statistics stacked against me – and pick up a book. And when I picked up a book, that’s when life began to open up for me.” During that time as a child, he said reading was nothing more than coping mechanism, but looking back, he can see that it helped reveal an entirely different world to him. “Continuing to go to school isn’t any different than how others choose to spend their time,” he says. Dr. Nash doesn’t think you need to be in a school setting to be a lifelong learner either. Most learning takes place outside of a school setting because we are all living a life. When we wake up, we’re already in a classroom to learn something that day.

Be Well

verb
Be healthy, feel good, feel whole.

“I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.” – Joyce Meyer

What I’ve Learned:

For those who know me, it’s not surprising this ‘be’ is especially close to my heart. In fact, if I went to the root of why I teach the Quadrants of Well-Being, it’s because I want everyone to experience wholeness and wellness. To wake up a little better every morning – spiritually, mentally, and physically. To experience life more fully and deeply. To finally discover their purpose in life because once they feel well, everything else becomes clearer. Along my journey, I’ve learned that being well isn’t centered around your height and weight. Being well is that harmony in our body that my friend Mary talked about in my “Be Congruent” lesson. Being well is less about how much you can change in your life, and instead about loving yourself enough to make it a priority through self-care. May all of you discover what “be well” means to you. It’s unique to each of us, but most of us don’t realize the impact it has in our world and the people around us.

Be Still

adjective
Deep silence and calm; stillness; quietness.

“Just remain in the center, watching; And then forget that you are there.” – Lao Tzu

What I’ve Learned:

I believe there is something engrained in our souls that knows we need stillness, quietness, and peace to reside in our bodies, yet most people equate it to sitting somewhere and physically not moving. My friend Courtney Thomas said she didn’t quite understand – much less experience – what it meant until she found herself on the shoreline in Hawaii. “Being still is unique to each person and how they experience it,” she once told me. “But when you truly experience what it’s like, it creates this clarity that perhaps you feel like you’ve been lacking.” Being still helps us ask some of those soul-stirring questions that don’t really arise during the week when we’re jumping from one thing to the next. Stillness will always help you truly feel connected to the environment around you, and it will always lead you back to the roots that stem from your heart. There’s a part of you that may still feel the world spinning around you, but inside your body, you suddenly get a glimpse of who you are, which is who the world needs you to be.

Be Faithful

adjective
Given with strong assurance; binding a faithful promise.

“God has stepped in at the last minute more than once in history (remember Moses at the Red Sea?) And He can do the same for you. Keep turning the pages by faith and let the story play out to the end.” – Dr. David Jeremiah

What I’ve Learned:

Most of these lessons have been learned through people in my life. It’s one of the reasons I encourage others to find community because some of life’s greatest lessons show up in the essence of people we meet and build lifetime relationships. Sonia Choquette is one of those people in my life. She has enriched my soul and spirit – not by just words – but through her energy alone. There is something about her that makes me look for the spirit in her, and in those moments, I learn more about what it means to be faithful. Once she told me that when we experience someone’s essence, it wakes up our heart. Our ego gets quiet because we begin to intercept the heart’s frequency and presence. “What we often forget about the spirit is it has no limitations in our lives,” she said. “It’s the divine part of you, and when we are faithful, that’s when we become the most authentic version of ourselves. Our intuitive intelligence – the divine intelligence in us – is activated and we access our heart in the most natural way.” Through Sonia, I have learned that living in faith is one of those ultimate gifts I can give those around me. “That’s when the Kingdom is in order,” she says. “Your heart is the leader. It’s not necessarily speaking English. It’s speaking the vibration of love and will always lead you to the right place.”

Be a Friend

noun
A favored companion; one attached by affection or esteem.

“In order to be a friend, you have to be a friend.” – Maya Angelou

What I’ve Learned:

Learning to be a friend was one of the first skills we acquired as kids, so why does it become more difficult to find and build friendships as we grow older? Some say kids have more vulnerability with each other, and while that may be part of it, there’s also another component: We are a little more rooted in ourselves and we know what kinds of people we do and don’t like to spend time with. I was recently talking to Jennifer Robinson, a good friend of mine who has been there to celebrate so many of my big moments in life. “The good ones show up on the rainy days,” she says. “They aren’t afraid to be honest, and most of all, we make sure the crowns on our head are straightened, not pulled off.” She shared something that really stuck with me about having a strong group of friends in your life and what that can often look like. “Everybody knows their role in my friend group,” she said. “One of us is the party planner, another is always volunteering, and so on,” she says. “What happens when everyone knows their role is whatever each of us is passionate about, it becomes contagious to the rest of us. We all have this way of learning from each other.” She reminded me during this conversation that we should always be looking for people who help us become the best version of ourselves.

Be Trustworthy

adjective
Worthy of confidence; dependable.

“If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy.” – Stephen Covey

What I’ve Learned:

Edie Varley told me that one way we can change each other’s lives is to say what we mean – not just because it’s an honor code, but because it’s the cornerstone of all relationships. When we follow-through on what we say we’re going to do – like calling someone if we say we’re going to call them – it begins to build a stronger foundation in relationships. Even more, she’s taught me that joy and being trustworthy are intertwined with each other. “When you are trustworthy – or as I like to call it ‘trust willing’ – you show up more authentic, you’re clean, you’re full of life,” she says. “Isn’t that what we admire about people when we see them so full of joy?” In addition to Edie’s words, I have also learned that being trustworthy to ourselves is just as much a self-care practice as any other like drinking water. As Edie added, “When we break our word to ourselves, the trust we have inside of us will break. It may not show up in the social arena, but it takes a toll on who we are after a while.”

Be Present

adjective
Being fully conscious of the moment and free from the noise of internal dialogue.

“Every moment you live in the past is a moment you waste in the present.” – Tony Robbins

What I’ve Learned:

My brothers and I grew up in a family who had multiple stepfathers. My twin brother Mike told me that the meaning behind “presence” has really changed for him over the years. He’s always understood what that word meant, but to fully step into what it looks like was a different story. For him, being present is more than just giving his whole self to a moment or a person. Mike said for him it means being involved in others’ lives. He recalls a story about a high school coach who showed up when he needed someone to get involved in his life and help him change the direction his life was going. “I think about that experience a lot, when he showed up for me,” he said. “That night could have changed my entire life if he didn’t show up. I think about how it could have also changed whether I went to college or not.” Mike said that one experience stayed with him for years, and so he began to find ways to “be present” for others. “I started asking myself questions like, ‘How can I become that coach? That person involved in children’s ministry or foster care? How can I be that father to my kids?'” Both Mike and I know the power of presence and showing up in peoples’ lives. “Families invested in us, and that saved us. So many of them pulled us out of trials, and it’s time to be that person for others.”

Be Generous

adjective
Showing a readiness to give more of something than what is necessary or expected; showing kindness towards others.

“Don’t wait for other people to be loving, giving, compassionate, grateful, forgiving, generous, or friendly… lead the way!” – Steve Maraboli

What I’ve Learned’:

When I met Danielle in 2010, her generosity struck me as something rare and something I could learn from. To her, generosity meant being selfless, sharing as much as she could of whatever she is gifted in. Whatever makes you happy, be generous in giving that part of you to others. Danielle grew up in Haiti, where there’s not much to go around. She said the love language there is centered around showing generosity in any way they can without having to buy something. “At a very young age, I learned how to cook,” she said. “This became the easiest way for me to show love and generosity that was unique.” She also said it’s common for people to come together and put several of their “gifts” (or unique ways of showing love) together for a greater good. “One hand can do the task, but two hands make it lighter,” she said. “The more people that get involved in showing generosity toward a person makes the experience even more enjoyable.” Danielle reminded me that healing comes in many ways for people, but sometimes all it takes is the smallest act of generosity for someone – giving them a smile, lending an ear or hand with something, reading to them, or just being with them even if it’s in silence.

Be Compassionate

adjective
A tangible expression of love for those who need it.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well, can we present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chödrön

What I’ve Learned:

Compassion is one of those words that has many curves and edges to it. Many know compassion as being a good listener and understanding or imagining what another person’s going through. While those elements are true, Crystal has taught me another layer of this word. “It’s important people understand that we can never be compassionate for other people if you don’t know how to be compassionate toward yourself,” she said. “That means honoring yourself when you fall down and knowing when and how to pick yourself back up from the fall. Saying kind words to yourself, finding empathy, and even forgiving yourself. That’s when we will authentically understand what they are going through and how they may be feeling.” There are some challenging aspects to this word too, and I have always loved how Crystal teaches the challenging component of it. She says to “be the board” the game is played on. “You have to remember that people are on their own emotional rollercoasters, and if you are making every move with them all over the board, you’re going to be exhausted because it’s not your story to live out,” she says. “In fact, they may finish the game and you’re stuck somewhere behind them, trying to figure out how you got to this point.” It’s a good lesson for all of us to “be the board” so we can be a safe place for people, where they can talk to you, you can show compassion, yet still not get turned around in your own life.

Be a Light

noun
To offer wisdom and guidance, or just to sit with someone, and be the presence they need; offering strength to those that are in a moment’s weakness.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

What I’ve Learned:

Lori Mallory is someone in my life who exhibits what it means to be a light in this world. She looks to do it in many ways – whether it’s writing a blog post to inspire people or stopping a stranger because she received a nudge to say something to them that was laid on her heart. “Most people who have worked alongside me know that sometimes I tell everyone to stop what they’re doing and send three messages or make three phone calls to spread joy in other people’s lives,” she says. She is one of those people who believes that most humans are good at heart, and for the ones who are still figuring out how to spread their light in this world, it’s a journey for all of us to uncover that. “I’ve learned that you need to be surrounded with people who are genuinely trying to do good for our community and in society,” she once told me. They are the ones who help keep your flame of joy kindled and not blown out. They are the ones who encourage you to keep your head up instead of looking down at our phones. After all, we will always see more light when we look up.

Be Persistent

adjective
Continuing to endure over a period of time in spite of difficulty or opposition.

“If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.” – Steve Maraboli

What I’ve Learned:

I remember the moment I met Ang Ribaste at my office in 1995. Today, she is someone I consistently see to get adjusted, but even more than that, she is a fabulous human being. When Dr. Ang first walked into my office, she didn’t expect to leave knowing her life was about to be forever changed. I was right there when she decided she wanted to go to chiropractic school, despite not knowing anything about it or what that journey would be like. She recalls that it was a time she was even learning a lot about herself, such as discovering her brain didn’t quite work the way she was taught it would. “There were a lot of ups and downs while I was in chiropractic school,” she told me. “And I remember how trying that time was for me and everyone around me, yet you consistently kept telling me, ‘You’ll be fine when you get out,’ and you were right.” During our conversation about being persistent, she shared that we all need people in our lives who have “believing eyes” for us when we can’t see. She had a community who surrounded her and helped her build persistence during some of the hard and fast balls that are thrown at many of us in life. “I think everybody needs that friend or group of people in their life that you can ask them, ‘I’m going to be okay, right?’ and they give you a resounding, ‘Absolutely.'” Those are the moments when we stop surviving and we start believing because our friends restore our vision.

Be Fun

adjective
Enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted activity.

“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” – Winnie the Pooh

What I’ve Learned:

There was something I came across some time ago about why we struggle to have fun – genuine fun that makes time disappear. And one reason was centered around how most of us are always seeking perfection, which often makes us become a workaholic. When that happens, most people retract into a very boring, safe, and unfulfilled life because we believe it’s the “right” or “responsible” thing to do. My friend, Shelly Gerber, has helped me understand the necessity of “fun” in our lives – and to let others experience fun through who we are. “I grew up with two parents that had great sense of humors,” she said. “Simply sitting around the dinner table was fun. Sometimes we had things going on in our lives, but we were always able to bring fun to the table during of it.” Shelly has taught me that being fun isn’t limited. She reminds me that being fun is more than a get-together with friends or deciding to do that one thing that’s been on your bucket list for years. “Some of the most fun moments in my life have been conversations I’ve had with my kids in the car,” she said. “I was an educator for years, and I know kids need to experience fun every day. The world is a big, big place and there’s a lot of room for different experiences for them and us. We must remember that having fun isn’t always about ourselves. Sometimes fun looks like doing something new for someone else, even though it’s not new for you.” All in all, when we have fun together, this is the avenue that leads to richer relationships with each other.

Be the Ripple

noun
A small wave or series of waves on the surface of water, especially as caused by an object dropping into it or a slight breeze.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

What I’ve Learned:

As I was creating this list of “be’s”, something occurred to me about the way I had learned so many of them. Much of the reason I do what I do every day is because of what others did for me when I was a child. But what I’m learning this year, something much bigger was happening even inside of those moments. There are all of these little phrases and memorable one-liners I have collected over the years that have resonated in my life, and I believe I have remembered many of them because I was meant to share them with you one day – to carry the ripple forward into our world. That’s why I find it so important we realize how much each one of us matters in this world. You never know how one small phrase you share with someone will carry on in time to impact thousands more so many years later.

Be Grateful

adjective
Feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” – Mary Davis

What I’ve Learned:

There are many things I have done in my life that have centered around gratitude, and all for intentional reasons. Research shows that simply thinking about one thing you are grateful for can produce a 10% increase of happiness and 35% reduction in depressive symptoms. Gratitude practices are making their way back into the world, restoring a long-lost art of residing in our heart space more than our head. “Gratitude has the ability to call your power back,” Alex McAnderson shared with me during a conversation about this word. “It has the power to call back the things you want in your life and bring forth abundance,” she added. Alex found that when she started practicing it more, she could feel her heartbeat getting stronger and stronger, and eventually created this melody in her life that helped her faith and trust grow. “The more we focus on the heart,” she said, “that’s when we become sensitive souls and we begin to feel everything around us, including the people in front of us.” Like me, Alex believes in the power of putting your hands over your heart, closing your eyes, grounding your feet on the earth, and thinking about what you’re grateful for today. This truly can shift whatever is happening around you in that moment.

Be YOU

noun
The nature or character of a person.

“One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” – Brené Brown

What I’ve Learned:

Most of us have been told to “be yourself” more than once in our lives, and I have wondered for a long time if people really know what that means. There are often a lot of layers we must peel back to find out who we really are at heart, and that can be a great undertaking if we have lived most of our lives being conformed to what the world has taught us to be. There is a reason this is my last “be” on the list. It’s the one I want to be imprinted on your heart because being who you were made to be has a bigger impact on this world than you can possibly comprehend. It may take a great amount of courage to go on this journey of discovering who that person is, but what I can tell you is that the world needs you to be who were created to be. It needs your voice. It needs the way you see the world. It needs you to start those ripples in the world so that years or decades from now, the good that has transpired was all because of who you authentically were in a moment in time. When we are given the chance to breathe, walk, and live in the version we were always destined to be, I believe most people will be surprised how open their heart becomes to the rest of the world around them. 

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