Everyone has a reason to live

Jacques Lusseyran went blind at age 8. When he was twice as old, in 1941, he founded one of the key organizations of the French Resistance. His memoir, And There Was Light, has been on my wish list for years! (Kathy Brown mentioned it in a Brain Gym course, Vision Circles, and I finally ordered New World Library’s beautiful new edition. Bless you all for bringing me this book.)

I fell in love with this book from the first paragraph: “When you said to me: ‘Tell me the story of your life,’ I was not eager to begin. But when you added, ‘What I care most about is learning your reasons for loving life,’ then I became eager, for that was a real subject.”

I knew I would tell you about this book, and encourage you to write about loving life, especially if you have ever found that difficult. I came to my computer and found two of you offering the same message.

Josie Thompson battles bipolar symptoms to get out of bed, and she has traveled the US and Italy to ask people what gets them out of bed, what brings them joy. Now she is going to the Philippines with the goal of bringing joy through humanitarian service. She says she discovered long ago that she does not have to be healed to help, and she wants everyone to know, “Everyone has a reason to live.”

Josie Thompson, the 444 Project
Josie Thompson, the 444 Project

Exuberant performer Shaun Parry founded Promethean Spark to teach life skills through dance in developing nations, including the leprosy colonies of India. Did you know we could eradicate leprosy in one generation by overcoming the cultural stigma, seeing it as a treatable disease instead of a curse? I was especially touched to see beautiful young dancers from these colonies represent, in one of their dances, their loved ones’ experience with leprosy.

LIFEDANCE performance
LIFEDANCE performance

There’s your assignment. Love your life, write it, film it, dance it. Share your light.


Gwyn Nichols, WritersResort.com 2015

“Let Silence Do the Heavy Lifting”

“Let silence do the heavy lifting.” — Susan Scott

Lauren Owen quoted this in “10 Ways to Avoid Death by Meetings,” suggesting we “give people some time to respond. As we tell clients: ‘Let silence do the heavy lifting.’ You are not hosting a radio show. You don’t need to fill every minute with your pearls of wisdom. It’s ok to have dead air. Sometimes people need time to form their thoughts before they commit to speak.”

A couple decades ago, I learned of a study on teacher questioning. It concluded that when teachers asked questions, it took most students about twenty seconds to hear and process the question, answer it internally, decide whether to express it, and raise a hand. And the study also showed that teachers allowed–two seconds! So the advice to allow three to five seconds sounds magnanimous, but isn’t. Even knowing that, I can still get impatient or doubt the effectiveness of my questions and start rephrasing them before the clock ticks twice.

So what if we allow others some processing time?

And what if we allow our own minds a few more seconds? Days? Years? Allowing rest periods for incubation is vital to the creative process. Don’t assume that silence is a block. Relax. Listen. Breathe. Wait. “Let silence do the heavy lifting.”

Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011

Related Post:

The Power of Receiving

Friday Flick: Arianna Huffington on the Secret to Success

Arianna Huffington at TED
Arianna Huffington at TED

If Arianna has time for this success secret, what’s the matter with the rest of us?