Being Present and Grateful

I get it, it’s hard being present and mindful all the time.  As a society even when we are living a more relaxed life it’s like our minds are running full time; what’s next, our To Do list, worry or planning. For me, I am living a much more relaxed life than I did before, and I am pretty mindful during the day. Certainly way more than I ever was. However, I am still over run at night with thoughts of what I need to do, if I need to be somewhere, how can I make my business and brand better, worry about my family or, gosh, a million little things. When I am with my family I am more relaxed but I am always thinking, doing, or planning.

July always brings me a period of time to really think about what is important, and how fast everything can change. July was always so exciting because it’s my Birthday month, and the fact it is summer and just all that comes with summer excites me. But, 18 years ago that changed when someone very close to us lost their daughter. I can still remember being at my sisters house swimming with my kids, she was still at office and was going to be home to meet and swim on a Friday after work. We had celebrated my 30th Birthday at the office that day and we were going to be leaving the next morning ( my actual Birthday) to San Diego to celebrate with my mom and dad and all of us. At this time we didn’t live with our phones hooked to our hips like we do now! So my phone was inside and my daughter needed to go to bathroom, so we all went in and at that time my phone started ringing. It was a girl who worked for us and then my children’s dad was calling also on my other phone. All I heard was Berenice is dead…. I couldn’t believe it she was only 2 what the heck happened I had just seen her brother and dad at work that day for my Birthday.. What is happening?? My phone kept ringing and I was just in shock, I sat there looking at my daughter with pigtails and pretty close to the same age as this little girl and I just lost it. I got the details of what had happened and I was just heartbroken for this family. Her big brother, who I worked with and his girlfriend took her up to Home Depot to get more paint for their mom who was painting. It was mid July so it was hot but she wanted to go, so they put her on the girlfriends lap and had the window down to help cool down the car faster. They were just going up the street to get the paint, no big deal. As they were turning left at a light a car gunned it and ran a red light and hit their car. The baby was ejected out of the window and died instantly. Just like that, she was gone and everyone’s life changed in a second. Maybe being busy, or not really thinking everything through, just wanting to get to Home Depot fast so they can get the paint and get back , the other guy in a hurry trying to get to his destination a few minutes quicker. All at one moment all those different things collided and she was gone.

This in no way is meant to blame anyone or shame anyone. My simple point is we need to slow down, be present in our thinking, not be in such a hurry and trying to get to the next thing, or not paying attention at all. This kind of accident could happen in many different ways, now many times are you at the pool with your kids “watching them” while they swim but you’re on your phone checking Instagram or Facebook. Taking the best picture to show how great your day is looking, but not paying attention to your child in pool or around water. How many people are so distracted while driving on their phones that they cause accidents. So distracted by life and To do list, or a change in their routine that they forget they have kids in their car. I say this to you and bring up this subject because we need to do better as a society and pay attention, be present and enjoy every moment because tomorrow isn’t promised. grateful for every moment and opportunity and memory we are gifted, not worrying about this or that . This same family 5 years later lost the same son who was driving in that fateful accident, actually 5 years and a week apart.. How crazy is that, these parents have to deal with losing 2 kids but in the same month a week apart. This was to gun violence, it was 7-7-07 a Friday we had taken off instead of the 4th of July because it was in the middle of the week. He was home and went up to get more beer, he wanted to party and his wife was upset because she wanted him to stay home. So they argued a bit and he left to go get beer and find a party. Just up the road not even a mile away from his house at a gas station, he got gas and went in with his brother and cousin to get beer. As they came out , some kids ( and I say kids because they were 17,18 and 20 I believe) that they knew started a fight and so it began. He had a couple beers in him and he was never one to let anyone talk stuff to him, he would stand his ground no matter what. They start walking to his car as the guys go to their car, one of them calls out his name and he turned around and he was shot in the chest and died on scene. In front of his younger brother and cousin.. Just like that he was gone and again everyone’s life changed. He had a wife and 2 little boys, parents who already lost a child and a brother who lost his hero and big brother. An entire family who loved and adored him. A company and clients who loved him, friends who loved him. For me he was like a little brother I never had, he would come to me with problems or advice and sometimes he would make me laugh like no other. The last time I actually saw him I had just had my breast reduction surgery and he had come to house to help another employee with a flat tire and he saw me.. And with a smart ass way asked me “ What the hell did you do, they are all gone”…. I rolled my eyes and went inside, never thinking that was the last time I would see him alive. You just never know, do you? So always tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Don’t leave things undone or said because you don’t want that to be the last thing you say to someone. So this month brings a lot of emotions to me and July changed very much 18 years ago. But I do still appreciate my Birthday and I am grateful for every one I have because as I explained here, I know at least two people who don’t have that luxury of celebrating their Birthdays. 

So be present, mindful, and grateful in all that you do and experience because there is meanings and lessons for us all in everything around us!

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