Jun 24 2013

Tracey Jackson



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“Each day try to find a way to rescue someone. A smile might be a lifeline, for others a soft touch or a hug. So many of us are lost out at sea, be the beacon.”


Reader Michael Gullickson sent this in the other day in the form of a comment, in response to Carol Maxym’s inspirational blog. We in turn made it Friday’s affirmation.

It jumped off the screen in the most succinct, eloquent honest way.

It hung around with me all weekend.  I found myself returning to Mike’s words and like with a piece of a puzzle I tried to shoe horn it into all types of situations.

For those of you who didn’t read Carol’s piece it was about the rescue of a hurt surfer from the spectacular yet unpredictable surf of Hawaii’s Waikiki beach.  What Mike took from the piece and gave back to all of us was that we can all be a lifeline in so many ways. Rescuing does not only mean running into a burning building or a pounding surf.  It does not require a course in CPR or a tricked up truck with lights that can break the speed limit without worrying about a ticket.

Every one of us at times needs rescuing.  Sometimes we need rescuing from ourselves.   I find this to be a big one.  I have always been interested in those who stand in their own way; The people who seem to be dead set on doing themselves in in one way or another.

In the world of recovery there are interventions, a rescue if ever there was one. A group of concerned friends and family attempt to rescue the alcoholic or drug addict from essentially killing themselves or at the very least destroying their lives.

No doubt the word most often tacked on to rescue or the rescuer is brave

It takes bravery to confront people who need rescuing from themselves.  One risks hurting the other person, damaging the connection or friendship.  One risks being misinterpreted or told to get lost, as defense is often the first position people who need certain types of rescuing take.  It takes a certain bravery to attempt to rescue those who we see in destructive relationships or constantly repeating maladaptive life choices.   It takes bravery to gently “be the beacon” and shine the light on places where others might be in darkness.

But while you can drag someone out of life threatening sea, carry them our of a burning building, or pull them out of the way of an oncoming car, one can only make attempts from the sidelines to nudge people back on the right track.

At the end of the day we must wake up and save ourselves from ourselves if that is who is in the way of our progress.  While we might not be able to fight our way out of a giant set of waves or an undercurrent, we can fight our way out of destructive life patterns.

We have an affirmation in our Six Affirmations of Personal Freedom, it was let out of the bag at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference last week; it’s  –

“Something needs to change and it’s probably me.”

In the end there are many situations where we are the only ones who can save ourselves.  But we can pay attention to those brave enough around us to shine the light and show us where we might be plodding away in darkness

And of course the big message Mike is stating is everybody needs a different kind of rescuing at different times.  A hug might be the lifeline for a person who is feeling lonely or let down by others.  A smile can do wonders:  A real smile where your eyes connect and the beam shines straight from your heart into theirs.

People walk around now with their eyes and focus deep into their devices and mini-multiplex type environments.  Stand in an elevator, nobody, I mean nobody looks at each other. They all stare at their smartphones. Walk down the street – ditto.

We are living in an age of super engagement and super duper disengagement.

People think they are connected when in many ways they have never been more disconnected, so a warm smile, a friendly hello, or as Mike says  “a soft hug” might be exactly what some soul needs to reel it back into the human race.

While smartphones may be smart, and they may have flashlights that are great for finding lost keys in dark places they are not good at understanding where people need connection, encouragement, empathy or love.

Only humans can do that.   As Mike says many of us are lost at sea – in so many ways, be the beacon.  It doesn’t always require bravery but it does demand an alert mind and an open heart.





Tracey Jackson

Tracey Jackson is a screenwriter and blogger at traceyjacksononline.com. Her book Gratitude and Trust is now available.