Never give up on yourself …

There are times that everyone goes through some piece of life.

Whether it is getting another surgical procedure, seeing another doctor, having a test at school or — God forbid — dealing with a bully, we all have those times that are just too much to bear.

Yet I want to offer all of us a chance to breathe, hope and look at the other side of the picture.

It’s pretty dark right now … yet sunshine is about to break through.

Give yourself the gift of smiling today.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.




“Smile” … it’s worth a song …

Probably many people have heard the wonderful song “Smile,” sung above by Judy Garland and done by many others (including Michael Buble’). It was written by Charlie Chaplin, who made quite a name for himself in silent movies.

“Smile, though your heart is aching …” is one of the lines. Many cleft and craniofacial families around the world may find, at times, it is tough to smile themselves. Even for those of us who have anomalies, finding space to crack a smile can be, well, difficult.

Now I know this is supposed to be all cheery and real-life stuff within the community here.

Sometimes, though, it is worth just taking a few minutes to have a song resonate so deeply.

Call me a little old fashioned when it comes to some of my musical tastes.

Give the song a listen … and let me know what resonates deep within you as you hear or even sing along.

You might even find yourself smiling at the end.

The Question …

I imagine many parents rustle out of bed in the mornings and check on their children, whether it is to get them ready for school or take care of a medical situation.

The strain of yesterday’s pains may have drifted out of them, but some still remain. They take a look at their child with love and compassion and ask “What can I do for you?” Not in a forceful or mean way (at least I hope not!), yet more in a way to get information.

This question can also be asked by someone who is older, say an adult, and has no significant other in his or her life.

“What can I do for you?” turns into a powerful, affirming question to ask. It is not silly nor is it vanity. This simply calls upon you asking yourself what can be done to help you today … in this moment.

A lot of times, my mystical mind races 1,000 steps ahead of where I am in the present. I start fretting and worrying about where the next dollars are coming from. Am I worthy of a loving, intimate relationship with a woman? When will the scars of life heal fully? Am I worth a million dollars?

The question for myself, and the question for yourself, will take a different form and shape. One thing I can say is this: Not asking solid questions in your life and getting clarity around what you want will definitely cause more pain than success.

In the cleft and craniofacial community, our pain lies not only on the physical realm but in the soul realm, too. The insecurities and anxieties that litter our insides are just mind-boggling. Yet they do not have to be that way. We can share our insecurities with one another. We can actually talk about what is going on inside ourselves and open up to the real possibility of healing and wholeness.

Everyone around the world in the cleft and craniofacial community is worthy of healing, love, light, forgiveness and peace. Even those people we differ with on certain social and political issues … we can, I believe, wish one another the gift of love. For some of us, it might be from many, many miles away as well. Safety first!

Every minute counts … and you are loved.

“CleftCast” #podcast on “The Light of Inspiration” …

Hey friends,

Thanks for dropping by the site today.

This week’s “CleftCast” #podcast is on “The Light of Inspiration.” I believe within each person there is a light of inspiration from which helps themselves and can help others, too.

I hope you enjoy this week’s show.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.


You Are An Inspiration …

candlelight for inspiration

Inspiration … just the word itself might cause two internal reactions.

One: “Ah man, inspiration is so overrated. People talk about it all the stinking time. Yap, yap, yap … inspiration. Yeah, they don’t know how it is to walk through life with this face and body of mine and have people stare at me, make comments, or worse … having people in my own family shun me. Inspiration my butt. Take that inspiration and shove it.”

Two: “Inspiration is just what makes me feel better inside. It brings out the best in me and lets me stand up, be strong and move through life each day the best that I can do. Sure, I know I have limitations with my face and body … yet the limitations are (in some cases) what I put on myself. Not always. It helps to be an inspiration to others and feel inspired as much as possible.”

That’s two pretty stark contrasts when it comes to inspiration. Maybe exaggerated a bit, and I’m cool with that observation.

My point, though, is simply this. Just being YOU … as you are today, as you are reading this right now … are an inspiration. Even if you don’t even believe in inspiration, like it’s some hocus-pocus bullshit … that’s OK, too. Children, teenagers and young adults are always looking to peers for encouragement and inspiration. Sometimes, their craniofacial teams have therapists or social workers that can help support them through guidance, support and even a safe touch of love.

For some of us adults in the cleft lip/cleft palate/craniofacial community around the world, inspiration might have been found within a church, synagogue, mosque, nature or a trusted friend. Just a person who believed in us and loved us as we were without trying to change ourselves.

Inspiration can come through the sweet sounds of music. It can come through a wonderful book. Great works of literature have given men and women the strength to move through obstacles that have grown in their lives. Inspiration can be found in spiritual texts from the Holy Scriptures, the Torah, the Koran, and the Talmud. It can be found in poetry from writers like Khalil Gibran and Rumi to modern-day authors like Paolo Coelho and others.

Let me say this, too. For many people in this community, holy books have been used in harmful ways … to produce shame, guilt, fear and as a means to physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually abuse people. I am definitely NOT encouraging that type of behavior … just to be clear. These are just examples of where some people find inspiration.

What can be the greatest source of inspiration for one member of the cleft/craniofacial community to another? YOU! Yes, you … the one that’s going through the surgeries or the one that’s been through the surgeries, the doctor’s appointments, life’s triumphs and disappointments. YOU are the next man or woman up to take the stage of life and pave the way for others that come along in your footsteps.

YOU are an inspiration.

I am an inspiration.

We are all inspirations for one another … and, from my perspective, all of us have a little bit of light within us all to share with others. How bright or how dim that light is can pretty much be up to us and how we’re taking care of ourselves.

For the little kids and young children, just being themselves and allowing them to have the space to grow up as naturally as possible … that gives them safety and protection to be light.

For the young adults and teenagers trying to find their path in life, just figuring out what they want to do with their lives in this moment can be inspirational to others watching them from a distance.

For the adults in the 20-30-40 year old range, just staying healthy, getting the help you might need to figure out if this is the path of life to follow or is another one calling y0u … when people watch and observe you move through life with as much dignity and honor as possible, they are inspired.

For the older adults (OK friends, that mean’s 50 and up), did you ever consider that your journey can help others in the cleft/craniofacial community grow and become the women and men to support those that are still figuring out their path? YES!

So why are candles burning at the top of this blog post, you might ask. I choose to see light as a metaphor for inspiration. Candlelight, for centuries, has been symbolic of inspiration in times of solitude. Nature is pretty damned good, too, for inspiration. Look up into the skies … see mountains … breathe in fresh air … smell the sweet, cleansing aroma of rain … these touch our senses and even go deeper.

Be the best YOU that you can be today and every day. Trust me, people … YOU are an inspiration.

Every minute counts … and you are loved.