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Why self-love matters in the end…and how to strengthen it

1 Corinthians 13:4-5There was a time when I lingered between life and death. Fully aware of both sides. Fully aware of my in-betweenness. One side holds all the complex and painful emotions of humanity. On the other exists only love, pure and simple. It’s virtually indescribable and unforgettable.

Yes, I am talking about a near death experience (NDE). Don’t freak out; it’s a common question I get. Frequently after I deliver a keynote speech, someone will ask if I “saw the light” or had an “out of body experience.” No. Well sort of. It’s difficult and frankly uncomfortable to describe. And not to be rude, but the phenomenological details aren’t important anyway. One thing is undeniably certain to me, we don’t need to suffer near as much as we do.

Yet here I am in all my messy, complex, gloriously faulty humanness — just like everyone else. I suffer all of the same destructive ego-driven emotions and defenses that cause harm to self and others. Except I should know better. Shouldn’t I? I feel like I should. Wait…. Do you hear that? Do you hear all of the “shoulds”? There it is, my humanity showing. Read more

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You don’t mind that we’ve relocated your legs, do you?

mannequin legs hanging from a beamI’m on a Southwest Airlines flight that has just landed in Sacramento, arriving ten minutes late from Denver. I have a two-and-a-half-hour layover before my last leg home to Seattle. In usual fashion, I’m the last person departing the aircraft because I have to wait for my wheelchair to be brought up from the cargo hold.

I’m waiting…and waiting…and…hmmm….

It seems longer than usual so I ask a flight attendant about my chair. I know it wasn’t left in Denver because from my window seat on the plane I saw them load it into the cargo hold. That’s a little nerve-wracking to watch, by the way.

According to recent data reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines break an average of 25 wheelchairs or motorized scooters per day. Over 700 times per month airline employees damage or misplace someone’s personal and essential form of mobility. Do you think they would be more careful if it belonged to their mother, child, spouse, or friend?

Finally, a gate agent steps aboard the plane and says, “They’ve already taken your wheelchair to your gate. We’ll just take you in one of our chairs.” Ummm, excuse me? What gate?? Remember that part about a two-and-a-half hour layover? My wheelchair with the motor is a $15,000 ride and acts as a stand-in for my legs. I’m not at all comfortable with someone arbitrarily deciding where it goes without me. Besides, I don’t want to go the gate. I want to go the bathroom, take my dog to the relief area, and get some food. In other words, just like anyone else, I have opinions about where I go. Read more