Take a deep Breath Smile & Listen to the world around you but most importantly learn to listen to yourself. 

I’m an American, a woman, a daughter, a sister, an Aunt (I list that so you know I'm human) I have a Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology (I list that so you know I'm smart).  I am a world traveler (I list that so you can be impressed), I am a philanthropist having worked for causes in Thailand, Africa, Indonesia (I list that so you know I care)  and a Certified Adult and Kid's Yoga Instructor ( I list that so you know I'm trendy), I started a small business www.baguskids.com ( I list that so you may support it) that has been inspired to tell my story.

After attending an inspirational story sharing event in L.A. I was reminded of the significant power in story telling.  My Father often used this approach,  much to my annoyance, when I was young. Yes dad, I 100 percent know the point of this story , I won't drink and drive, but go ahead and tell it again. As an adult I now I'm thankful for this approach. In stories there is life, complexities, humor, the real human experience. 

Soon after this event I wrote a short story on my Facebook page, after accidentally ending up at a debate that supported a man I  loathe. I again realized how healing story telling can be and how the approach Breathe, Smile, Listen is something I have tried to use so often. And perhaps I'm not alone in this.  Warning: Using this approach often leaves others thinking you aren't very smart, have nothing to say, or are agreeing with them. 

I wondered if I should keep writing from my experiences, take a break from trying to just listen and speak. A conversation I had not long ago popped back into my mind.  I was talking to a good friend, who is black, to try and understand more of the racism in this country. During that conversation I mentioned a Facebook post that had bothered me from a smart, beautiful, kind black women, that I admire. She had posted an article bashing white women.  My friend defended it, telling me, "You don't understand what it is like to be a black woman in America".  This is very true, but I wish she would have shared her story.  I'm sure she figured no one would listen as history has told her they won't but I would have.  And that's one person that may understand more than they did yesterday. 

In light of  events this November I've decided to take my own advice, and share pieces of my story as a white, educated, attractive (by western standards), 30 something, middle class American. (I realize how unoriginal that sounds). I don't know what it's like to be black, to be Muslim, to be a man, but I do know what it's like to be me.  So if even one person can laugh, relate, learn something, or feel inspired, then that's one more than yesterday. As Earnest Hemingway said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."  So here it goes...Take a deep breath, smile,  and if you feel so inclined listen. 

Breathe.Smile.Listen