Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thank you to everyone who responded to my request for help celebrating my 50th birthday with the 50-50-50 Kindness Project.

In short, I'm sending 50 cards to 50 strangers in 50 days.

(There are still just a few slots open if you know someone who needs some extra love and a l'il boost right now. Just email me.)

It's already been an extraordinary journey to connect with so many of you and to hear about your loved ones who are going through so much — health issues, loss of loved ones, divorce, disappointments. I'm reminded of that saying, "10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows." It's all part of this human journey, but that doesn't make it easy. We need all the love and compassion we can get.

I know for myself, that when I'm going through a hard time, the smallest of kindnesses can really help. Those are the pinpricks of light I want to offer others.

Would you want to help offer some pinpricks of light and hope to some folks, as well? My spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber, started a co-operative in Kantolomba, a small slum outside Ndola, Zambia. The Africa Vulnerable Children Project provides healthy nutrition, safe housing, health care, employment, clean water, and education to the community. The nutrition program feeds more than 800 children every day!

If you've been inspired at all by my 50-50-50 Kindness Project and you would like to also offer some kindness to strangers, it would make me so happy if you'd be willing to donate to this amazing project. Money goes a long way in Africa. For example, $15 pays for food for a child for an entire month.

Anything you could offer would be incredibly appreciated and I can vouch for the integrity of this program. Living Compassion is a 501c(3) organization.

Details on how to donate are below. Just be sure to email me if you donate, so I can thank you myself. Because your donations would be a pinprick of light you're sending to me, as well as to those beautiful folks in Kantolomba. (No need to tell me how much you donated; any amount from $1+ is greatly appreciated!)

Newly 50 + grateful for you,
Sherry


P.S. I just love the quote from Hada Bejar on the photo at the top: "The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose." In other words, it is impossible to give a pinprick of light without basking in that light yourself. It is a beautiful circle of giving.
 


How to donate to Living Compassion's Africa Vulnerable Children Project:

 

1. Send a check to me in the amount you would like to donate made out to "Living Compassion."
 

Mail to:
Sherry Belul
150 Cayuga Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

**be sure to include your name and mailing address so they can acknowledge your donation and make sure you receive a tax statement at the end of the year. Living Compassion is a 501c(3) organization.

 

2. Donate via a secure server by clicking on this link:
You will see a notes box following your name and donation amount. In the notes box, please write, "Donation for Sherry Belul's 50th Birthday."

https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/LivingCompassion/AfricaSponsorship.html

 


3. Simply send me your donation via PayPal.
You can send funds via PayPal, using the "send funds" button and sending to connect@simplycelebrate.net. Please note that if you send funds this way, 100% of your donation will still go to the African children, but you will not receive a tax statement, since I'll write one big check from all of us.





Sunday, September 28, 2014

 

I'm turning 50 this week. And over the last couple years, I discovered the secret to having a truly extraordinary birthday: creating pinpricks of light for people.

{What's a pinprick of light? It's a moment of color, connection, or caring. A bit of light to brighten their day.}

Yep. When I turned 48, the idea dropped in to send 48 acts of kindness to 48 people in 48 hours. I was dizzy with energy and love. Maybe a little *too* dizzy. It was a lot to do in such a small space of time. So last year, I decided to change hours to days ... and I sent 49 cards to 49 people in 49 days.

Anyone want to wager a bet on this year's project?

You got it.

For the 50-50-50 project I will send 50 cards to 50 people in 50 days.

And I need your help.

Do you know someone who is scared, sad, disappointed, or broken-hearted? Or maybe there's someone in your life who deserves a resounding atta-girl or atta-boy?

I can send them a card on behalf of you, anonymously (from the universe), or signed from me. All you have to do is send me an email and tell me the person's name and mailing address + a tiny bit about why they deserve some extra love right now.

{Here's the secret: for every pinprick of light I create for someone else, I get one, too. And guess what, since you're an accomplice, you *also* get to feel that pinprick of light!}


The back-story:


Many of you know that I went through a deep depression about 25 years ago. I felt like an iron wall was surrounding me. I was graced to be led to meditation, which helped me see that tiny moments could bring relief from the pain I was in.

I began to seek out those moments every day. It might be standing outside and feeling the breeze on my cheek. It might be hearing the love in a friend's voice. It might be the sound of bells tinkling in the distance.

Those moments were pinpricks of light in that solid iron wall around me.

After a while, I realized that I didn't have to wait for those moments to land on me. I could create them. Every conscious act of celebration or appreciation added more pinpricks to that wall.

And before I knew it, there was more light than wall. Beautiful, bathing light that I could bask in. And that I could invite others into.

This has been my practice for 25 years. And there's no better way to celebrate this milestone birthday than by joining forces with you to share some light 'n love with folks who need it.

Here's to every singular pinprick of light. May we always be seeking and creating them —for ourselves and others.

Nearly 50,
Sherry



P.S. Looking forward to receiving your emails so I can send 50 pinpricks of light to 50 people in 50 days.





Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm turning 50 in a couple weeks and it's got me thinking a lot about my life. You know, stuff like, "Am I doing what I feel like I'm here to do?"

I try to practice remembering how fleeting life is. How unpredictable. Anything can happen to any of us at any time. Remembering that helps me stay more present to my life and to the people I love.

So while that is true for anyone of any age, there's something about the 50 mark that really brings it home in a new way for me. It's likely there are fewer years ahead of me than behind me!

This feels like a time to recommit to myself and my work in the world. In light of that, I'd love to share with you a manifesto I wrote, thanks to the work of Alexandra Franzen:


My manifesto:

It breaks my heart wide open when I hear people at funerals wishing they'd expressed their appreciation while the person they loved was still alive.

Or folks at the end of their lives feeling like they missed the color and magic in the midst of to-do's and obligations.
 
What the world really needs is permission to celebrate everyday moments and revel in giving exceptional gifts.
 
And I'm here to make that happen for as many people as I possibly can.
 
Because one day I want to live in a world where we carry paper parasols in our pockets to slip into our colleagues' morning muffins. A world where we're not afraid to say out loud, "I love you because___" to our sister, best friend, or kindly stranger we meet on the bus. I want to live in a world where it really is the thought that counts instead of money talks.
 
I do this work because I want to live in a world in which singular moments can be extraordinary gifts we give ourselves and those we love.
 
And if you want to live in that world, too, I have one question for you: who or what will you celebrate today?   

Sherry Richert Belul


Thank you so much for following along on my journey. It means so much to me!
xo
Sherry



**** Keep an eye out in the next couple weeks for some ways you can help me celebrate my birthday! I've got a few ideas up my sleeves.

**** Oh, and if you want to write your own manifesto, Alex has a free script here. (Plus other freebies!)


 

 


 




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yesterday a post went out with a link to my Tiny Book, "How to Survive in the Dark." I'd pre-scheduled that post a while back because I knew I'd be visiting family and not online much at all while we were together.

The Tiny Book was created for Maya Stein and Amy Tingle's Type Rider 2 and having just cheered them on at the finish line in Beloit, I knew I'd want to celebrate their journey as well as share my Tiny Book. I was rushing around when I scheduled the post. I wanted to share my book, but didn't have a lot of time to think about what was behind my creating that particular book.

But of course, little did I know that the week I'd scheduled this post, there would be the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. I didn't remember my scheduled blog post until today, when I returned to the office.

I realized that if I had written that post this week, it would be a very different post.

So this is my re-do.

I created that Tiny Book for myself, because as many of you know, darkness and fear love to come knocking on my door. My practice of celebration grew out of a need to seek and create little pinpricks of light to keep me from being swallowed up in that darkness. (I used to call it "the pit.")

Throughout my life, I've often felt ashamed of that thin wall between my joy and depression. I've also been terrorized by it.

But I've been fortunate in that I crossed paths with so many kind and loving teachers, each of whom gave me tools and practices to help me move away from the darkness and inner judgment — and toward pinpricks of light.

There have been so many discussions these past few days about depression and suicide. Robin's death tapped into a well of grief and fear. Many of us feel the loss of this beloved actor who brought us so much laughter, thoughtfulness, and joy. But I think we're also feeling a shared fear of the depth of despair. If we don't know that place ourselves, it is likely that we know and love someone who does.

Mostly these past couple days, I've just been thinking that it is so courageous to be a human being and to survive everything that comes along with that all the loves and losses and dreams and desires and grief and uncertainty and joy and pain. No matter who we are, what our health situation is, how "successful" or "not successful," we grapple with the same things.  We also seem to find joy and simple pleasures, no matter what our circumstance. It's those "10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows."

We're all wired differently, though. We feel the highs and lows differently. And we can never really know what it is like inside anyone else's skin. To live within someone else's inner landscape. To live within anyone else's uncertainty or despair.

I just feel such a rush of compassion for Robin Williams, his family//friends ... and all of us.

One of my favorite poets, Ellen Bass, says it like this: "What would people look like if we could see them as they are, soaked in honey, stung and swollen, reckless, pinned against time?"

We can't hold Robin William's hand or talk to him in the dark hours of the night. We can't sit with him silently, while he weeps. We can't read him poetry or take him to our favorite dahlia garden. But we all have people in our lives whom we love. And we can offer these things to them. We can see them as they are. And love them as they are.

As a tribute to Robin Williams, perhaps we can all take the time to reach out to one or two people in our own lives whom we know may be suffering in some way?

And if you know someone who is especially in the dark right now and you want them to receive some extra love, let me know. I'd be happy to send a handwritten note to loved ones of the first ten folks who email me.

xo

Sherry

 

P.S. If you didn't read my Tiny Book, you can do so here. It will take you just 22 seconds.
 





Monday, August 11, 2014

One of the things I've been thinking about lately is what it means to celebrate all the parts of who I am.

The whole crazy landscape of being human— including some of the, er, "less-preferred" feelings and emotions.

In honor of this, I created a Tiny Book called "How to Survive in the Dark."

It's just six eensy-beensy pages long and you can read it in 22 seconds flat!

Hope you'll take a peek and let me know what you think.

And don't forget: seek celebration, even in the dark corners.

xo Sherry