Welcome to Share Your Stories, a new collaborative book project in which you’re invited to partake! Share Your Stories presents an exciting opportunity for you to let your experiences be heard and contribute to an upcoming Redleaf Press book. Watch a special message from the book’s author, Holly Elissa Bruno.
Holly Elissa Bruno, MA, JD—an author, international keynote speaker, attorney, and radio host—is working on an interactive book on second chances. She’s looking for your input, your thoughts, and your stories.
After reading what Holly Elissa has written below, we encourage you to respond to the questions presented. Then, please keep checking back for more from Holly Elissa. This is an ongoing project, so we’ll alert you to new posts via Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up to receive notifications of new posts by entering your email address under the “Follow Along” heading in the right-hand column of this screen. We invite you to share as often and openly as you want. Your comments will provide Holly Elissa with unique insight as she writes the book, and she looks forward to continuing the conversation after the book is published.
Read on for Holly Elissa’s first post.
Second chances wait like ripe peaches on a nearby tree, offering their sweetness to us for free
In Little Ways
When you sneeze, does a person nearby—someone you might not even know—bestow a “bless you!” on your nose-wiping self?
When someone blesses my sneezing self, I smile a thank you in his direction. I am grateful to any person who can lift an unnoticed or embarrassing moment into a smiling interaction. I get the sense that the person who has blessed me has blessed herself as well.
But, when we trip up, physically or metaphorically, do we say, “Bless me”?
One of my sweetest and closest friends, who unconditionally adores his grandchildren, curses himself nonverbally in their presence when he spills or breaks something. The lesson his grandchildren pick up non-verbally about self-acceptance in those tiny moments is the opposite of what he intends.
In little ways we barely notice, we bestow blessings (or their opposite) in any moment. Our spirit, touched by that gesture, glows or recoils in response. Instead of a blessing, I so often hear “How stupid!” or “Oh man, how clumsy can I get?”
Second chances wait like ripe peaches on a nearby tree, offering their sweetness to us for free. I snap off a peach every time I roll back my shoulders, breathe deeply and say, “Good for me.” The taste is sweet.
This has not always been the case.
When I had bent-over shoulders, a harsh voice scolded, “Sit up straight! Stop slouching.” I chided myself for failing the “good posture” standard. I was raised in a house where imperfections, in house cleaning, school grades, or posture, were unacceptable. My mother raised me the way her mother had raised her: blessings had to be earned.
In so many little ways, aren’t we far gentler with others than we are with ourselves? So, when I give myself a second chance to bless rather than demean my spirit, I savor the sweetness. I roll my shoulders back and breathe.
- Can you tell me how you have given yourself a second chance in little ways?
- Or, could you give yourself a second chance in this moment, rather than turn away from the peach?
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem highlighting the blossoming peach, which I memorized as a teenager, serves me well today.
Thank you so much for reading. If you’re feeling inspired, please do share your stories here. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and, perhaps, including your contribution in my book!
BY LEAVING A COMMENT, I hereby give my permission to Redleaf Press to use my story and quote me (all names will be changed) in Holly Elissa Bruno’s upcoming book on second chances, including in all revised editions of the book, in all formats (including print and electronic) now known or developed in the future, in all languages and territories, and in any other subsidiary editions of the book, and in promotional materials published by Redleaf Press, as it sees fit.