Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers,
“Watch carefully the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves” – Atticus
Recently I was re-watching an insightful and powerful TEDx talk given by Shannon Walker, Founder and CEO of Northwest Battle Buddies. PTSD and Service Dogs: Beneath the Surface. https://youtu.be/jz0wT56_YRU. In that nothing is coincidence way that we are led to more than we can initially see, this additional TEDx talk crossed my path. Shattering the Silence: Youth Suicide Prevention. https://youtu.be/sRo5Db_7yVI.
Sadie Penn, the speaker of this second TEDx talk, provided two comments that especially resonated when I heard them. One. The scariest thing I did was own my story and tell it. Raw vulnerability is terrifying.
Ms. Penn talked of shame. She talked of the need for education. This young lecturer expressed how it is critical that the fear to share does not become an excuse for silence. She was well-versed in the subject because her raw vulnerability was that she once considered suicide. She was deeply grateful to a teacher who had listened. This young presenter expressed how this teacher had a life-changing impact on her when the teacher said I would rather face those thoughts with you then lose you and not have you here.
I was reminded of another dance of grace we do between opposites when I shared about watching this video to a dear friend. True to a dear friend, she held the space for me to talk openly about it, just as she has graciously held the space each time I have talked about other topics that are not easy to engage in dialogue about. Suicide, death and dying, and PTSD are certainly not “first-choice” topics. Just like abuse, neglect, discrimination, and homelessness are not headline stories we long to read or hear. To be exposed to negative and tragic news continually becomes overwhelming, doesn’t it? For the sake of self-preservation – and hopefulness – there are times we need to turn off our exposure to pessimistic, discouraging, and traumatic information. And yet, at the opposite is the need to keep our hearts – and our ears – open enough that we do not lose our empathy and compassion.
Nor our ability to listen to the raw vulnerability when someone is questioning if they can take one more step.
We cannot “fix” someone, nor do we have a right to think we have that kind of power. We cannot travel someone else’s path for them, and that can be the hardest thing to do. To extend a hand to journey beside someone while we hold up a mirror in our other hand reminding him or her that they have within themselves the capability to move forward. Such a paradigm shift to recognize that unconditional love is not carrying someone; loving unconditionally is enabling someone to find within themselves their own will, resilience, and purpose.
After I found the TEDx talk Shattering the Silence, I found myself drawn to research other TEDx talks about suicide awareness. In each one I watched; they held a common theme. Listen. Listen without judgment.
Reframe the stigma associated with depression and mental anguish.
As Sally Spencer-Thomas, the speaker in Stopping Suicide with Story, communicated, that when a story is shared in community, people start to lean in and say: “me too”. https://youtu.be/BE428HoKoLk
If we choose to listen.
Even if listening means allowing someone to share their raw vulnerability.
Stories are super powerful to change behaviors and attitudes. Stories shift from bias to empowerment and dignity. One story at a time.
Or, twenty-three at a time.
Thanks to the co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose who, with great humility and with immense courage, have shared their raw vulnerabilities with the intention that they can inspire others who are not sure they can take one more step.
And inspire their stories will.
Empathy. Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? – Henry David Thoreau
The editing for content review is complete and final proofreading of Hope Has a Cold Nose has now started. In parallel to this final proofreading step, I also have enlisted an artist who is in process of creating the image for the book cover. Both the image for the book cover and the final edited manuscript should be sent for the design phase by mid-September. This remains in line with the planned timing for the design phase. This is the phase in which the book gets formatted for electronic, paperback, and hardcover availability, receives a book jacket/ cover design, and so forth). The goal remains for Hope Has a Cold Nose to be available for readers late Fall (November).
Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I welcome exchanging in dialogue with you. I can be reached by visiting https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/, https://christinehassing.com/ or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/a-vision-of-hope/.