It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t pleased or excited, or that it didn’t matter much when the Mid-Peninsula Media Center honored me with a 2011 Local Hero Award on April 17.
It is a humbling experience to be publicly recognized for living my life with intention. It means a great deal to me to be included with five amazing people who stepped up in their communities to make a difference—people who have opened up their hearts for the betterment of others: .
What do these local heroes have in common? They all said “yes” to change.
Louise Pencavel, the production services manager for the Mid-Peninsula Media Center, created a 20-minute film interview of each honoree. Short clips of each hero’s story were played, and it made for a compelling program.
After viewing my story, I had to clear my throat and take a deep breath at the podium before being able to say a few words of thanks. This film is validation that my attempt to live with awareness and purpose can make a difference.
Most of all, I was excited about being given a tremendous gift.
You see, I have been a storyteller since the age of 5.
Now that my story is archived on film in such a thorough and professional manner, I’d like to share it with people who are dealing with challenges. Through many years of trial and error, I’ve managed to find the joy in my life even during what others might call “the worst of times.”
Every single person has something to deal with. There is an entire neighborhood in need of rebirth after the San Bruno fire, a calamity that can bring on grief, depression and anger.
The list of issues and challenges that life can present us goes on and on.
So, what’s my secret?
There is no secret! In fact, anyone who wants to say “yes” to making a change can do it.
First, we need to make the choice to change. As the 2011 Local Heroes have discovered, change begins with the decision to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Second, we must center ourselves and clear our minds. Don’t fret about the past or worry about the future. Be present in the moment—the here and the now. If you can’t figure out how to do that, hang around a baby for a few hours.
Third, we need to breathe. Think about it. Breathing is an autonomic bodily reaction, and yet, we don’t have a clue as to how to breathe properly, and with intention. Breathing with awareness helps me control pain. And once in a while, if I pay attention and catch it soon enough, I can actually chase my physical symptoms away.
Life is not a perfect proposition. No one escapes unscathed. But we can prepare ourselves for this “ride” we call life. And, if we step up into our community and share what we have learned along the way, we can all become local heroes.