Monday, June 1, 2009

You've Always Had the Power

Today is Just Show Up's first anniversary. I wanted to celebrate with a cake, streamers, and a ticker-tape parade, because it's really the first anniversary of putting my fears to bed. In June of 2008, I was an online newbie, my white knuckles a testament to the level of anxiety I felt about starting a blog. Especially since it would not be a personal blog, but rather, a blog for a nonprofit organization. Gulp. Enter sweaty palms, flying monkeys, and The Wicked Witch of the West.

Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the past year has had its share of "false evidence appearing real". Fear has reared its ugly head, time and again, and many times I felt more like the Cowardly Lion. But, one year later, I sit a little taller in my chair as I plug away at my keyboard.

The journey was a slow but steady process. There was no defining moment, when a Good Witch of the North helped me to discover that the power to change was always within me. It didn't happen overnight, but the good news is that I'm learning (by and large) not to shrink back from challenges. And, more importantly, only I have the power to activate change within myself.

MacKenna Pefley, an 8th-grader, didn't have to wait over 50 years to learn this lesson. Last year, she "suffered from serious anxiety, which made her physically and emotionally unable to attend classes." But with the help of family, friends, teachers and staff, MacKenna Pefley overcame her fears and now attends classes regularly.
MacKenna used her first-hand knowledge of anxiety to "help other students with similar special challenges." She is a peer assistant in an autism focus program and works hand-in-hand with the teachers to assist students in the program who need help focusing on goals and life skills.

When trained adults are unable to reach the students, MacKenna steps in and "holds the student's hand, whispers in his or her ear and talks the student into calmness. The students don't hesitate to follow her lead."
MacKenna discovered that she "likes to help others and it makes me feel good to know I can make a difference."

It struck me then. Is the key to unlocking our potential as simple as acknowledging that the power to make a difference is within each of us?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your take on this. And while you're at it, do you know someone who faced their worst fears and, in the process, was able to transform other people's lives?



Don said...

Hearty congratulations on today’s first anniversary of Just Show Up, Maureen!

Just Show Up is always extraordinarily well researched and well written, interestingly informative and, not least of its many virtues, it provides an open invitation to others to add their valued comments.

Your love for this blog, and for the cause of Ideal-Way, shines out through your well written words as a beacon of hope for persons with intellectual disabilities and for their families and supporters.

“Well done”, is a masterpiece of understatement for what you have accomplished in such a short time.

Thank you for making all of us at Ideal-Way proud.

I hope many others will accept your invitation for them to add their valued comments to this wonderful blog.

Donald Yeo, CEO Ideal-Way

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your 1st Anniversary. Great blog by the way. I think there are more people out there with fears than we can imagine. Good for you to take the plunge. Your post just might make me do the same. Thanx!!!!!

Sarah said...

Hi Maureen,

I mistakenly clicked anonymous on the previous comment. I am Sarah from Kingston and read your stuff all the time.

Maureen Lee said...

Don, thank you for your kind words. Just Show Up was a labour of love, from the get go, and as with any organization, everything starts at the top. I thank you, and Addie Daabous, Ideal-Way's Executive Director, for your continued support, over the past year. It is a real joy working with the Ideal-Way team!

Sarah, I'm glad that you were motivated to "take the plunge"! MacKenna Pefley's example of overcoming fears in order to make a difference in the lives of others inspired me to quit hanging around the edges of the pool and dive right in. Let me know how you have overcome your own fears, please!

Jan Hajjar, Etobicoke said...

Congratulations, Maureen, for one year of great and informative articles on your wonderful blog! Who would have thought it would be such a success, in such a short time, considering this was your first foray into this medium! A tip of the hat and our undying gratitude on a job well done from all of us at Ideal-Way. You have done an exceptional job, Maureen!! Take a bow!

Maureen Lee said...

Thank you, Jan, for your encouraging words. Without readers, a blogger would merely be "whistling in the wind", so I am grateful to you, loyal readers, for not only reading the posts, but also taking the time to leave comments!

Maryann said...

Hi, my son has autism. I have a blog about our treatments to get him to recovery. It is working. Come by and check us out when you get a chance.

Jennifer said...

Congratulations on your blog's one year anniversary! New follower here. Stopping by from MBC/Follow Me Club. I wanted to say 'hi' and let you know I'm following you blog!

Golfersmom said...

Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. Following from MBC. Look forward to reading more of your blog.

Veronica Lee said...

Thanks for the follow. I'm now following your lovely blog.

Mama of 3 Munchkins! said...

Hi, I'm following you from the MBC following me club, if you have a chance please follow me as well. Thanks!

Maureen Lee said...

Thanks Maryann, Jennifer, Golfersmom, Veronica and Mama of 3 Munchkins for the follow and taking the time to leave a comment!

!!The Obnoxious SAHM!! said...

Congrats to your first Anniversary!
Yes, I know someone who faces their worst fears and changes other's lives. My mother is completely blind. Just last week she took the exam to become a licensed therapist for the state of Florida. Not only did she pass, but she received one of the highest grades ever.

She is President over a chapter of an honors society for mental health counselors here in Tampa Bay and she works as a Therapist at a blind center helping others that are watching their world grow dark. (literally).

My mom is a very special lady, who decided to not let her lack of vision keep her down. She has faced her fears (daily) and in the process is touching lives daily to help those in great need as well. She is a true living example of amazing victory and sets a standard for others to not let their challenges keep them from living.

(ahem) well thats it ... in a nutshell. LOL

Maureen Lee said...

Thank you for sharing your mother's story with us. She is obviously an inspiration to every life she touches. You said it best: "She is a true living example of amazing victory and sets a standard for others to not let their challenges keep them from living."

When we can see only ability in disability, our lives, as well as the lives of others, are transformed.

Klaus said...

Love the fabulous new and improved look to this extraordinarily well-worth-following, blog!

Maureen Lee said...

Thank you, Klaus! We're very pleased with the results - Rachel Lacy of Blog Candy Designs did a wonderful job. We're grateful for her input, expertise, and creative gifts!

blueviolet said...

Hi! I'm following you through MBC followers club now!

Shelly said...

Hi there, following from MBC.

shelley said...

hi there,
CONGRATS on your first big anniversary!! what a great organization, i'm so glad you stopped by my blog, i have added your button to my second blog which is just a perfect match for you guys!! so happy to connect with others in the special needs community! bless you and PLEASE stop by and say "hi" anytime!! i'm following you guys here now too.. :)

Maureen Lee said...

Shelley, Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Both of your blogs are wonderful, and I love the whimsical look and feel of The Playground Princess (great title, by the way!). Thanks, also, for adding our button to it. I agree, it's always a pleasure connecting with others in the special needs community, so please drop by anytime!

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

Stopping by via MBC to follow!

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