JANUARY 10, 2021 – HOPE HAS A COLD NOSE

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

Once upon no time there was a Little Soul who said…” I know who I am!” …And the Little Soul shouted, “I’m the Light!”

But soon, knowing who it was not enough.  The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was.

… “being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it.  It is special to be kind.  It is special to be gentle.  It is special to be creative.  It is special to be patient…Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?” The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment.  “I can think of lots of ways to be special!” the Little Soul then exclaimed.  “It is special to be helpful.  It is special to be sharing.  It is special to be friendly.  It is special to be considerate of others!” …That’s what is means to be the Light.”

“I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!” the Little Soul announced with great excitement.  “I want to be the part of special called ‘forgiving’

…just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.  “Not to worry, Little Soul,” the Friendly Soul said, “I will help you.”  …the Little Soul brightened.  “But what can you do?”  “Why, I can give you someone to forgive!”  “You can?”  “Certainly!” chirped the Friendly Soul.  “I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive.”

“But why?  Why would you do that?” the Little Soul asked…What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense?  What could cause you—who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move throughout the Kingdom with the speed of your thought—to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?”  “Simple,” the Friendly Soul said.  “I would do it because I love you.”

“And so,” the Friendly Soul explained a little further, “I will come into your next lifetime and be the ‘bad one’ this time.  I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.”

Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice… I have but one favor to ask of you in return.” 

“In the moment that I strike you and smite you,” the Friendly Soul replied, “in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possible imagine—in that very moment… The Friendly Soul became quieter still.  “Remember Who I Really Am.”  – Neale Donald Walsch, from The Little Soul and the Sun

On New Year’s Eve I wrote about that inner whisper that urged me to write a post the last day of 2020.  Once again, that inner whisper nudged not to wait for the end of January.  Perhaps it is because I am wondering what each of the co-authors would wisely share with me if I was writing the continuation of their stories since they and I last co-created what you now read in Hope Has a Cold Nose.  I wonder what they would say about the continued evolution the United States is going through.    

Or perhaps that inner whisper is nudging me to write because in that dance of grace between opposites each of us are experiencing daily, if not hourly or moment by moment, my heart feels called to hold tightly to the preserver of hope that it may counter the hopelessness I perceive many others feel is floating in the waters around them right now. 

Or maybe it is a simple as I feel joy in writing when that whisper nudges, for I have come to know that if I listen there will be at least one sentence in what I have written that touches and inspires one person’s heart at the “right time”.   And that brings me the greatest joy if I can inspire someone else who may be in need of

Hope.

A couple of days ago Kutana and I were sharing one of our near daily experiences in which she sits beside me, reaches out at least one of her paws in her cat impersonation gesture, and proceeds to pull – very strongly at that – my arm or my hand to her.   Sometimes I get her endearment of love gesture, too, as she manages to pull one of my fingers into her mouth to nibble it very softly.  Now this is where you might question that it is a love gesture.  I can assure you there is no skin puncture or even a remnant tooth dent.  Since a puppy it has been like a pacifier to her to be able to occasionally grab for a finger.   Anyway.  She was pulling my arm, and we were dancing that familiar Just a moment K which seems to be heard by her pull my arm more K. 

This time instead of seeing Kutana asking for what she needed, I recognized she was a messenger providing what I needed.   I had additional to-do’s awaiting me that I needed to complete by a certain time.   In the moment Kutana was pulling my arm, I was sidetracked and had the risk of shifting energy from easy-going on-time to scrambling not to be late.  Just as the co-authors in Hope Has a Cold Nose share about the “knowing” of their hope with fur and cold noses, Kutana was guiding me.  It was not her needs she was looking out for.  It was mine. 

Unconditional.

Wisdom.

Hearing without words.

Over these past few days, the words that keep running through my mind the loudest are people just want to be heard. 

That and everyone one of us are responsible.

We can listen from a place of you and I and them and us.  We can communicate our perspective with as much conviction in what we believe as the person(s) we vehemently disagree with their perspective, not recognizing that we are not on opposing sides.   Both they and us are coming from the exact same place.  Both wish to be heard and valued for what we believe. 

One is the Little Soul, and one is the Friendly Soul who are fulfilling an agreement.

Made from unconditional love.

As souls.

A few years ago, someone very instrumental in Hope Has a Cold Nose coming to be taught me a very powerful tool about the power of choice.  In this teaching, he also utilized a quote by Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who wrote:  Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  

Life may bring us much we cannot control.  We have complete control to choose our response.

To this place within the gap where we need to stand in order to move things forward.  How do we stand there?  What do we do to stand there?  We have to reach deep inside ourselves.  We have to practice the powers that open the heart, that open the mind…that invite the soul into being.  Parker Palmer – Standing in the Tragic Gap (March 2009)

To see that underneath our beliefs, our histories, our values, and our passions

We are the same.

May you and those you hold dearly continue to be held tightly in wellbeing.   May hope walk beside every step you take.   Namaste’

If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable.  But if you pour the salt into the river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink.  The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform.  When are hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer.  We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change.  But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore.  We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others.  We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.  So the big question is, how do we help our hearts to grow?  – Thich Nhat Hanh

Sincerely,

-Christine

My gratitude to We Are the Mighty for their support of the power of hope!

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope! 

https://www.southernliving.com/news/hope-has-a-cold-nose-service-dogs-military-veterans-ptsd

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=christine+hassing&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/a-vision-of-hope/.     

https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/,

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December 31, 2020 – Hope Has a Cold Nose Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

We often wait for a miracle or an extraordinary event, not realizing that we are being given more than the ordinary in the simplicity of each day. A person facing loss starts to see beauty where their eyes and their heart were clouded by a to-do list or by a sense tomorrow is always guaranteed. When their perspective shifts, what begins to matter most is what someone else still takes for granted. To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary…If we choose to see. – Christine Hassing, To the Moon and Back to Me:  What I Learned from Four Running Feet

Though a Hope Has a Cold Nose update was already shared for December, I kept hearing that inner whisper, write an update as we stand in the last day of this year.    Not one to ignore that inner whisper for I have come to learn it carries wisdom, I write with this intention.  As you stand at the doorway of 2020 and prepare to take a step down the hall to the door marked 2021, may you find inspiration, peace, or hope – or a combination of all three – in the words you are about to read. 

On Christmas Eve my mom sent a text to my sister and I recommending that we listen to a new song released recently by Dolly Parton, I Still Believe.   The lyrics include these words:

I believe there’s a day and it’s coming soon

We will unmask this face of doom

Walk hand in hand in perfect harmony

And I believe there are good deeds to be sowed

Nurtured with love to make them grow

I believe that faith can heal our bodies’ minds and souls

Yes, that’s what I believe – Dolly Parton, “I Still Believe” lyrics, 2020

Among my reactions to this song, I was struck with the viewpoint that Dolly Parton was sharing her perspective, but she was not pushing her beliefs.   She was planting a seed for those who might benefit from the words she felt called to sing.  

Perhaps I was reacting to this song this way because of a seed that had been planted within me just days prior.  Actually, maybe it wasn’t so much a seed that had been planted within me as it was a gentle mirror held up as a reminder to walk the talk of my words meet people where they are at, not where we are at.  

I had been in conversation with someone very dear in my life and we were talking about a conversation universal to many this year.  What the holidays would be and not be compared to history and past traditions.   At a certain point, this individual spoke a wisdom, I guess it comes down to each person needs to make and find peace with what is, each in their own way.   We can offer suggestions, but we cannot make someone else feel differently than they do.    

Another dance of grace between opposites.  One the one side of the pendulum swing, as I believe, is how each of us are students and teachers for one another.  When we fully show up as ourselves, we fulfill the reason our paths intersect with others we meet on our life journeys.  Fully showing up does not mean that the interaction is conflict free.  It means that we are honoring the reason our paths are meant to cross, and we are giving each other the freedom of choice in responding, and the gift of choice in what we each decide to learn.  On the other side of the pendulum swing is knowing when to listen to listen and when to listen to speak.  When should we listen without speaking because the other individual only needs us to listen?  And when should we listen to speak because we may have the “exact” words someone else needs in that moment. 

Yes, indeed, the dance of grace between opposites.  

My heart empathizes with many who cannot leave the doorway of 2020 soon enough.  I know there has been significant loss felt by many.  Because I am also one who believes in giving purpose to loss, I have made the choice this year to look for the gifts…to look for each 86,400 moments in a day that have offered what I like to call a golden nugget.  

I think of Christmas morning and the walk I took first with Kutana and then secondly with Ginger.  Usually, I take both together for our runs and walks, but on days that my husband does not have to work, Ginger likes to curl up with him and Kutana likes to greet Nature early. 

Kutana and I greeted a fresh blanket of snow before daylight, using the snow as our beacon of light to see our trail.   Kutana, myself, the sound of wind, and the even more peaceful sound of Nature’s quietude.   After our walk we stopped at the window of my parents, each offering the other virtual hugs, kisses, and Merry Christmas exclamations.   Kutana sat beside me, her joyous energy, and her desire to be a “good girl” her dance of grace between opposites.   Her compromise was to sit with her tail making its own version of a snow angel as her eyes and her body eagerly communicated hello, I am so happy to see you, and I love you.  

A couple of hours later after breakfast, Ginger and I took our walk.   Daylight was now the beacon on our path, accompanied still by the wind and Nature’s peace.  Again, we paused at the window of my parents.   This time I placed treats on the windowsill, and “Grammy” (my mom) prepared to hand one to Ginger as Ginger sang her song that she does which communicated her version of hello, I am so happy to see you, and I love you.  

We often wait for a miracle or an extraordinary event, not realizing that we are being given more than the ordinary in the simplicity of each day…To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary…If we choose to see.    Fully present with the moments that life brings, choosing to see a day entrenched in traditions with new eyes, and through the eyes of unconditional love that sees this day as special as every day.   Gratitude for health and well-being of family and touched by the beauty of love that transcends distance and space.  

Among the many gifts I’ve been given in 2020, I have found a deeper appreciation for what is in front of me.  A warmer winter day and the opportunity to sit outside on my mom’s porch drinking hot chocolate has become more meaningful than the tradition we implemented a few years ago to share breakfast or lunch together one day every other week.  Please do not misunderstand that I think less of those times.  On the contrary, this year has added value to those experiences and memories.  Yet, I found myself more present with sitting on the porch, drinking in the shared time as a sacred gift to hold gently, not thinking about the next to-do’s, not thinking about what I would make in two weeks when it was my turn to cook breakfast or lunch.   The time was now, and now was all I needed to fill my soul with joy, gratitude, and love.  

Note to self.  Dear Ginger and Kutana, I think I’m starting to learn a tiny fraction of what you teach me every day.

I was handed additional gifts this week in very kind and gracious words shared with me about the tears that have been shed reading stories in Hope Has a Cold Nose.   In these kind words has also been the gift of hearing about the readers’ increased aware nesses.   Both readers are civilians, and now they have an increased understanding, and an increased empathy.  I am grateful for how these extraordinary stories have yet again positively touched hearts and lives.

Next year promises 31,536,000 moments to the calendar.    How these moments get filled up is a choice each of us will make for ourselves.   My intention includes that I will continue to be more fully present with what is, seeing the moments I am given as extraordinary where perhaps I once took for granted what was being offered to me.   May I not go back to sleep. 

My wish is that each of you will find through these twenty-three extraordinary authors in Hope Has a Cold Nose the hope, resilience, and inspiration you need to flourish in joy, peace, and love on the other side of the door marked 2021.   Blessings to each of you and those you hold most dear.

Don’t Go Back to Sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth

Across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

-Rumi

Sincerely,

-Christine

My gratitude to We Are the Mighty for their support of the power of hope!

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope! 

https://www.southernliving.com/news/hope-has-a-cold-nose-service-dogs-military-veterans-ptsd

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=christine+hassing&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.     

December 2020 – hope Has a Cold Nose Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose readers,

One of the most satisfying experiences I know is just fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset.  When I look at a sunset…I don’t find myself saying “soften the orange a little on the right hand corner, and put a little more purple in the cloud cover”…I don’t try to control a sunset.  I watch it with awe as it unfolds.  It is this open, receptive attitude which is necessary to truly perceive something as it is.  – Carl Rogers

Ginger and Kutana.  Fur and cold noses that complete home, and our hearts.  Ginger entered our lives when my heart needed unconditional acceptance of its sorrows.  She gladly stepped into that role, and found healing for her own grieving, too.  Ginger matches the rhythm of my soul that finds itself inspired when in stillness and quietude.  When I am in nature or in silence, I am often my most creative.   Ginger’s calm and soft disposition holds the space for this tranquility.  Kutana entered our lives destined to awaken the child within each of us.  Her curiosity and her joy are infectious in the best kind of ways.  Well, at least most of the time when puppyhood isn’t too much in the driver’s seat.  {smile}  

When Ginger, Kutana, and I are on one of our morning runs, a collar light is not needed for Ginger.  Her white and tan fur shine as a beacon of light on behalf of the glow of the moon and the twinkle of the stars.  If I do not see Kutana’s eyes reflected against my headlamp, I do not see Kutana.  She moves as the last remnants of night move before daybreak.   At one with the darkness, she messages that nightfall is not a barrier to seeing next steps.

We learn best through opposites and how well we dance in the middle is our grace.  I am blessed with two great opposite teachers in fur who continual educate me in how to be with the ebbs and flows of the river of life. 

If I didn’t already have reason to be in awe of these teachers in fur, I marvel at their capability to continually see with new eyes.   On our morning runs and evening walks we follow trail loops.   Each time we are on a path we have been before, both Ginger and Kutana explore the trail as if it is the first time they are experiencing it.  A day apart, hours apart, minutes apart.  The lapse in time not important.  Each moment is a new moment that holds the promise of new smells and new things to see. 

Recently I had a moment in which I had gotten in my own way, so to speak, with what I was feeling from an interaction with someone I hold very dear.  Instead of seeing from the other person’s perspective, I looked through the lens of my childhood emotions.  Instead of letting go and letting be, I held tightly to history.   In the moment, history felt safer.  I wanted to rally against the certainty of change to keep close the certainty of what had been.   Like the running trail, I was traveling a circle of life, only I was struggling to see with new eyes as Ginger and Kutana would.  

In that moment I was struggling to unconditionally accept.    Ginger and Kutana lean in fully.  To what they are experiencing.  To unconditional acceptance.  To love.    They meet my husband and I everyday where we are it in what we are feeling and in what we are thinking, and they do not ask anything of us except to be allowed to love us exactly as we are.   Ok, sure, they also ask for food, water, and time outside.  And cuddling.  They also like cuddling.  {smile} Their main request of us is…love.  To be recipients of and to give in the purest, most unconditional, form there is.

This interaction with someone I hold dear gave me pause to think about the twenty-three extraordinary co-authors in Hope Has a Cold Nose.   I thought about how hard it is for us as humans to not “get in our own way” when we are interacting with others, to not bring our histories and our fears into what we feel or how we are listening to what the other person is saying.  I reflected on the wisdom in these stories about how meaningful it is to the co-authors that the service dogs offer such significant non-judgment.    Listening ears, open heart, acceptance.   

These co-authors are buoyed up during the hard moments by their service dogs for many reasons including they know their service dogs depend on and are counting on them.  Yet, these co-authors do not fear their service dogs will verbally speak words that are filled with expectations, shoulds, and should nots – i.e., words that each of us as humans speak that contain conditions that meet our own needs and not just the needs of the person we interact with. 

Individuals are struggling to be heard.  What if all of us paused speaking for a moment?   Instead of the world growing silent, perhaps we would hear more.

Individuals are struggling to be seen.  What if all of us turned 360 degrees where we stood and looked with new eyes?   Instead of staying in place, perhaps we would take leaps forward.

Last month I communicated how I believe that the extraordinary stories in Hope Has a Cold Nose will inspire more than hope for twenty-two lives a day.  I believe these stories will inspire hope for anyone who is struggling with pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, or grief.   Recently I have been thinking a lot about children ages seven or eight to their early twenties.  The specific age bracket not as important as my thought about how there is a generation of youth who are receiving their significant traumatic moment with all that has transpired this year 2020.  

These youth have moved enough past childlike wonder and innocence and have gained enough experience to feel a profound sense of loss from what was to what is no more.  Unless of course they are taught the power to choose their reactions and to look for what they can create as part of new beginnings.   If youth are taught that they are taking part in creating beginnings and that endings are purposeful in creating space for the new, 2020 will not leave a deep footprint that becomes their lifetime pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, or grief. 

Now, more than ever, bravely talking about the subjects we prefer not to talk about is critical.  As written in Hope Has a Cold Nose, to look someone’s pain or grief in the eye is one of the hardest things to do. We find ourselves uncomfortable listening to the content of the story.  Yet, if we continue to struggle to look pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, or grief in the eye, instead of the world finding healing and new beginnings, anguish will be the new norm.    

I don’t know about you, but I think there has been enough anguish. 

It is now time to flourish in hope.

Blessings to you this holiday season.  May peace, joy, and well-being be yours in the year to come.   May hope walk beside you every step of the way.

My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am. – Anonymous

Sincerely,

-Christine

My gratitude to Southern Living for their support of the power of hope! 

https://www.southernliving.com/news/hope-has-a-cold-nose-service-dogs-military-veterans-ptsd

For an engaging webinar facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and me, please click on the link below:  

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

Amazon.com : christine hassing

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.   

 

November 2020 Hope Has a Cold Nose Update

Dear readers,

Embrace uncertainty.  Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. – Bob Goff

A title such as Joy and Sara.  Or Glenn and Campbell.   Or Doug and Jett.  Or.  Or the other 20 extraordinary chapters that make up Hope Has a Cold Nose.  

Officially launched as of November 11, 2020.   I remain immensely humbled and grateful for each co-author who gave me their sacred trust to retell their stories, for all who helped Hope Has a Cold Nose become a reality, and for the journey every step of the way leading up to the launch and since.  

The journey.   When I first felt called to begin writing Hope Has a Cold Nose, it included inspiring hope for twenty-two lives a day.  As Hope Has a Cold Nose was nearing completion, I sensed it would be for inspiring hope.  Period.   The extraordinary storytellers would not only be serving their military brothers and sisters who are held in the tight grip of hopelessness.  They would be serving all whom they took a vow to serve and protect.  They would potentially inspire…humanity. 

Twice in this past week I have heard this sentiment.   I don’t want to hope.  I don’t want to be disappointed when it doesn’t work out.   This past week I listened to people share their profound sorrow and grief over this year’s continuous change.    A few days ago, I had a stranger thank me for the spark in my eyes as he shared how much he missed seeing people’s smiles.   Recently I listened as someone shared their sadness at a story of how babies are entering this world only seeing masked faces.   Humanity is grieving.   

Twenty-three extraordinary co-authors understand grief and sorrow.  They understand traumatic moments.  They understand fear, isolation, anxiety, depression, and loss of hope.  They understand emotional pain.  They do not profess to understand in a way that it means they walk in anyone else’s shoes as if to compare or to minimize someone else’s feelings.  They understand in a way that they empathize, they care, and they hold the space for others to know they are not alone. 

For a long time, I have loved the metaphor of a cocoon, caterpillar, and butterfly.    Transformation.    The idea of a breaking open to something beautiful.  The idea of going from a crawl, to darkness, to flight.   In my naivety I thought that every caterpillar became a butterfly.  Recently I learned differently.  

Choice.  Life happens.  We choose.  Life brings so much we cannot control.   What we do not lose is our control of choice.   Easier to say than feel sometimes, isn’t it?  

Or perhaps in these moments it feels like easier to say then feel often.  

Or all the time.

Our dance of grace between opposites.   The opposites of choosing to see what is and what can be.   Or choosing to see what is not and what no longer is.   The opposites of always looking for the positive.   Or pushing down the pain, sorrow, and grief that wishes to be seen and acknowledged as part of what makes us human.

What makes us humanity.

I think about the stranger who misses seeing smiles.   And I think eyes are the mirror to the soul.  We are now being given a chance to pause and pay more attention to what is being communicated from the heart.  Are eyes sparkling?  Do they reflect happiness?  Peace?  Or do the eyes look tired?  Scared?  Hopeless? 

We are being asked to lean closer into conversations so that we can better hear people speak.    The mask currently feels as if it is a barrier that disconnects.  Yet, what if it is actually a gift we have been handed to help us better connect?  

To listen as unconditionally as the other 23 co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose do well.   With compassion, without judgment.   With hope.    And their beautiful cold noses. 

Every story is us.  – Rumi

Sincerely,

-Christine

For those unable to join the launch event that took place November 11, 2020, please find the recorded link below:

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fdoc-0g-74-docs.googleusercontent.com%2Fdocs%2Fsecuresc%2Fer40534jg2s97lsu9i83t02s7fog4p4o%2Fh7ohpnk4i7kcceelv0j2bv7j6373q39e%2F1605442275000%2F01407399994694242005%2F16989285173635649559%2F1bYashsHUW15KmwoOzgwJkxVhS3BvV0Ci%3Fe%3Ddownload%26authuser%3D0%26fbclid%3DIwAR0OVNKTQ0NbO71lKHPSWAxWNuZ-s0sU59uqut2a9mtA1mgTIX8W3DYMN9w&h=AT36oZuhEahU8UPbLvnFwTHNtW0rIpv3kpRMUhdeZlgcVlZgoLolqEFOSOpuwltTEzceLtrhNNzjJ-jbT5Y-JusUYW3UOkFgofxqqcdUkeyEQbid-Dvt6oyAcrgxVqFBWQ&__tn__=H-R&c[0]=AT0GE_pfTjMCq6beMKJFK_ebaD0_nBsWreLWymwl4SHTSAIJAmXQsQXsrgAJFU2L1dGc_QodKwFtoGZn5bw77LOvdfCpX6dGs0JBPRSV266YU06xw-bY13GawB23w49GrEZBxAP26IFuu1IuwtZTHfMwiE_xVL236Hxil94z-UO_qjmkLeHVHRpt-yyUezCO9YX_eOh_b8uAS5-QGGs7_NphGQ

I was also privileged to take part in a webinar on November 11 held by my alma mater, Gonzaga University.    With many thanks to Kelsey Solberg, please click on the link below to listen to a wonderful dialogue facilitated by Dr. Alan Westfield, with sharing by Dr. Adrian Popa, Michael Ortiz, Taylor Rowell, and myself.   

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

For an impactful video put together by Northwest Battle Buddies, please watch “Now I Am”:

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Cold-Nose-Christine-Hassing

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.     

October 2020: Hope Has a Cold Nose Update

Dear followers of Hope Has a Cold Nose,

Did you stand or did you fall

Build a bridge or build a wall

Hide your love or give it all

What did you do, what did you do

Did you make them laugh or make them cry

Did you quit or did you try

Live your dreams or let them die

What did you choose, what did you choose

When it all comes down

It ain’t if, it’s how they remember you

Lyrics to “How They Remember You”, Rascal Flatts

As I write this update for October 2020, fourteen days from tonight will be the on-line launch event of Hope Has a Cold Nose.   November 11, 2020.  One thousand, two-hundred, and twenty-three days after I wrote the first veteran/ service dog story for a class project.   Or so I believed that is all it was at the time.  That is, until approximately six months later when my mind answered the call of my soul and a seed began to grow.

On November 11 at 7:30 p.m. EST (4:30 p.m. PST, 5:30 p.m. MT, 6:30 p.m. CST) all are invited to join a fun-filled, informative, and inspirational evening in celebration of Hope Has a Cold Nose.  The event will include guest speakers.  We are honored to have military veterans joining.  You just might get to meet a service dog or two as well!   We are also privileged to have at least one guest from North West Battle Buddies who will be attending to help answer any questions you might have about the training that goes into preparing beautiful four-legged souls to fulfill their missions.   During the event, we will also share how you can purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose, as well as information about a special launch offer in how you can contribute to hope in the form of a cold nose.  Bring your curiosity as there will be time for Q&A.  Bring your excitement and celebration, and most of all your support, for 23 extraordinary stories on this very special Veteran’s Day!   Note:  The link to join the virtual event is provided below.

Recently I was asked what I would like people to take away when they read Hope Has a Cold Nose.   My answer included this:  PTSD is not unique to military veterans, nor is depression, isolation, and anxiety that military veterans share about in their stories. Nor is suicide unique. This year has increased the level of uncertainty, anxiousness, and hopelessness to an unparalleled level for so manyThese stories are certainly relevant for military veterans and their families as well as for anyone who grapples with pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair

To the readers: May you learn about the effectiveness of service dogs as a healing modality for those who struggle with PTSD.   May your increased understanding foster the ability to listen to others experiencing pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair with the same kind of unconditional acceptance as those with fur do.   And if you are undergoing significant pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair, may you find compassion and understanding for your own story.  May you find hope.

I anticipate for the 23 co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose, their answers would include:  Service dogs save lives.  When you see someone in public with a dog, don’t judge.    We didn’t share our stories for fame.  We shared our stories for twenty-two individuals who reach the end of hope every day.   If you are one of them reading this – we understand your pain, but don’t give up!

Soon you will be able to read these 23 extraordinary stories I talk about.  Soon it will not only be me who has been forever changed for the better because I have been privileged to have my path cross with each of these co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose.  In just a short time your hearts will be moved, inspired, and stamped with beautiful footprints – and paw prints – from remarkable stories of pain and resilience, trauma and dignity, sorrow and healing, despair and hope. 

As a reminder, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. EST (4:30 p.m. PST, 5:30 p.m. MST, 6:30 p.m. CST).   Share this invite!  Spread the word!  The more the merrier!  The blessing of virtual is there is no space constraint! 

Below you will also find information on how you can purchase a copy of Hope Has a Cold Nose.  It is available in hard cover, paperback, and e-book formats.   Please share this information as well.  The more these stories are shared, the more we all are making a positive difference to reduce 22 to 0.

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…” I made a difference for that one.” – Loren Eisley, The Starfish Story

Sincerely,

-Christine

November 11, 2020 virtual launch event.  Join via zoom:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/72069784618?pwd=cmdON1pxckI1cHZpUDdSd3RsWUhmdz09

Meeting ID: 720 6978 4618

Passcode: HHCN6’

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon: <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Cold-Nose-Christine-Hassing/dp/1982255307/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=christine+hassing&qid=1603935155&sr=8-1″ rel=”sponsored nofollow”>https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Cold-Nose-Christine-

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.   

Hope has a cold nose – October 2020 launch update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers,

You are receiving an additional update for October because of exciting news highlighted below!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzo

A few months before I met the first veteran and service dog that you will meet in Hope Has a Cold Nose, I was walking a journey with a dear friend during the last weeks of her life on Earth.  We were meeting weekly via web-ex technology because my dear friend lived on the other side of the ocean.  My friend was sharing with me her words of wisdom.   I was converting her wisdom into letters that would be given to her two young sons for them to refer to in the years to come.   For the years when they might wonder what their mom would think or say if she was physically sitting beside them and not an angel above.   We were writing letters they would find after she was gone. 

During the last conversation with my dear friend, I made a vow to her that I would make her story matter.   I didn’t know how at the time.  I only knew that I wanted her to leave Earth in peace knowing that she would fulfill her vow.  She was certain that her fight with Cancer was because she was meant to touch many lives.  I wanted her to know many lives would continue to be touched; I wanted her to know that she had profoundly made a difference in mine.   

Whispering in my heart was the wise words someone spoken to me many years before when I was deeply disheartened by a tragedy I had heard about.  Chris, everything that happens – good, as well as tragic – is planned.  If you make a positive change in your life because of this accident – perhaps you drive slower when the roads are icy or you express love more frequently – you will give purpose to why this accident happened.  You will make it matter that it did.”   

In his words, I internalized that nothing is coincidence; there is purpose in everything that takes place.   Life does not shelter us from challenge or loss, but we can make it matter when it occurs.  Life’s downturns are the gifts to help us grow.    Even in her most depleted states from chemotherapy, my dear friend lived hopefully. 

We would write the letters as my friend held the intention that she would be physically present to read them to her sons “someday”, years after she had been in remission.    She would share with me how she was the one to inspire the others in the oncology ward, as each person sat with a port drinking in hope that what was filling their bodies would replace what was trying to overtake their souls.  You can do this!  You are going to beat this!  It is going to be okay! 

When I asked the first veteran you will meet in Hope Has a Cold Nose if I could write his story, it was a few weeks after my dear friend had died.  I thought I was asking for a class assignment.  My soul knew I was asking to fulfill a larger purpose.   The assignment was to fulfill a requirement to do something creative we had not done before.  Writing life stories was not new to me.  Writing a story for someone not knowingly dying was.  

Three years later a book about the depths of pain, trauma, sorrow, despair and equally about the power of courage, will, and hope has been co-authored with 23 remarkable individuals and is now complete.  Hope Has a Cold Nose will launch November 11, 2020.   For Veteran’s Day, a United States holiday that honors military veterans who have served in the Armed Forces. 

Lean in, lean on, and stand tall.   Pain is part of what we experience but how we lean into it is the key.    I can’t promise you a life where you will never feel hurt in your heart or physically.    But about pain there are other things I can guarantee.    I can guarantee you will have times you want to quit when the pain seems greater than you can endure.   I guarantee you each have within you the spirit to never quit, that is most for sure.   I can also guarantee you that if you lean into what hurts versus shying away, you will find the strength within you to push through to a new day. 

I do believe my dear friend would be proud of each of the twenty-three co-authors who leaned in, leaned on, and stand tall.   A book to inspire hope.  

An honored vow.

Hope.  If you carry one thing throughout your entire life, let it be hope.  Let it be hope that better things are always ahead.  Let it be hope that you can get through even the toughest of times.  Let it be hope that you are stronger than any challenge that comes your way.  Let it be hope that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now, and that you are on the path to where you are meant to be…because during these times, hope will be the very thing that carries your through. – Nikki Banus

Sincerely,

-Christine

Stay tuned for another update towards the end of October for how you can obtain a copy of Hope Has a Cold Nose.  It will be available in hardcopy, paperback, and electronic form.     

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.   

Hope Has a cold nose – September 2020 Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers,

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters – Margaret Wheatley

A few days ago, I was engaged in dialogue with someone in which the sound of her voice was communicating a great deal in place of words she was not expressing.   In the way that this individual said “hello”, I could sense that what she did not need was my well-meaning intentions to offer encouragement.  What this individual needed was for me to be present with her, to listen – if she wished to share, and to acknowledge that she was right.   It just all kind of sucks right now.    This individual simply needed me to say, your right, it sucks. 

Sometimes we need someone to simply be there.  Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular… – Author unknown.   It is counterintuitive to us as human beings, though isn’t it?  We tend to want to do something to help when we feel helpless.   That dance of opposites yet again.  Our dance of grace between when to help and when to help less.    

Many years ago, a spiritual sage said these words to me.  We have Divine appointments with each person we meet.  When we fully show up as ourselves, we honor that appointment.   This wise sage went on to share that it doesn’t mean the appointments are conflict free. It means that by fully showing up, we are giving the other person the opportunity to learn what they are meant to learn as a result of that appointment.  

We are providing someone else the opportunity to grow.   We are giving the other person free will and choice.    

Yet, what happens when we believe the choice another makes could or should be different?

What happens when the choice another is currently making is filled with pain and sorrow?   

How do we fully show up with a heart full of love to another whose personal pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair has them feeling empty of worthiness to receive love?    

If we try to “fix”, aren’t we potentially showing up with some form of judgment, for “to fix” implies that the person is not worthy of acceptance as they are.   If we wish to “make it better”, are we bringing our values and biases to the appointment, sending an unintended message that what we do or how we believe is superior in some way to what someone else is currently feeling?  

Yet, if a person is struggling and we can offer a life preserver – metaphorically speaking, shouldn’t we?  After all, that is fully showing up, right?   How does the expression go?  Something like, people don’t know to ask what they don’t know.   So, if we know something that could benefit another who doesn’t know to ask, shouldn’t we offer it? 

The dance of grace between opposites.     

When to encourage.   And when to be present in silence and say your right, it does.  

While on the very reverent journey being given the sacred gift of trust to retell twenty-three extraordinary stories you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose, I have found a hope stir within me that these stories will not only inspire military veterans who struggle with PTSD and increase awareness about the powerful healing modality of service dogs.   I am holding an intention that these stories will also inspire non-military individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiousness, and isolation and who find themselves questioning the value of living.   

I yearn to help each and every person who feels hopeless not give up.    

When I learn that within the community in which I live, two families now walk beside Grief as they mourn the loss of a sixteen year old and a fourteen year old who reached the end of their will to live, my heart wants to hurry the final steps of this book.   Deep within is this sense of urgency that if this book can “just” get in front of every single person who feels anxious, or alone, or depressed, or who is starting to feel that the only choice that makes sense to end their pain is to end life on Earth.    Hurry!  Hurry!  My mind, certain of how it is fully showing up, shouts to my heart.

Yet perhaps there is a bigger plan that I am meant to see.   Perhaps it is not always the ones who made the choice to leave Earth that needed the inspiration.   Perhaps it is the individuals left behind who need others to help them not give up now that life has become forever changed and will never be the same.   Perhaps the Divine appointment was not missed.  Perhaps the greater purpose is in the choices loved ones will now take to make their pain and their sorrow matter.  

We often read or hear about people who founded an event or a business because of pain, trauma, or loss.  It could be as a result of their own personal experience or it could be in tribute to or legacy for someone dear to them.   As much as I anticipate these individuals would wish for a different story, or at least chapters that could be re-written with a different ending, they have bravely found how to turn pain, trauma, and loss into benefit for the greater good of many.  

Like the twenty-three extraordinary individuals in Hope Has a Cold Nose who are courageously sharing their stories of healing and hope.   Fueled not by fame, but by a desire that if they fully show up with their stories, they may inspire others not to give up.   A conversation voice to voice with a person struggling may not occur, yet Divine appointments will still be kept.   

Absent from the appointments will be any risk of judgment or conditional acceptance or that natural human tendency to want to “fix”.   What will be present is compassion and understanding and respect for someone to feel what they feel.  What will be present is a safe space in which someone can be “heard”.  Sure, they won’t be heard in the sense you and I think of hearing someone verbally speak    They will be heard in the sense of finding validation that what they have experienced and felt are not “wrong”.   They might even “hear” in the stories shared, yeah, your right, it does.

How best to dance with grace in the opposites between help and help less?   I am still learning that dance myself, but I think I am starting to understand the elements every dance should have.  Compassion and a willingness to understand what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  A willingness to listen to hear, not listen to speak.   And Faith.  

By faith I am referring to trusting that we all have Divine appointments with every person we meet, and the people that most need how we fully show up are the ones that will be brought to the paths we walk.    Faith in that if, into every appointment we bring a heart for others and not against , we are fulfilling why the appointment had been scheduled.  And, oh, are we dancing so gracefully between let me help you and let me help less as I hold up a mirror for you to discover what you have temporarily forgotten.   

Yeah, your right. 

This thing called life can be tough, but.   

I know you are tougher.

No one reaches out to you for compassion or empathy so you can teach them how to be better.  They reach out to us because they believe in our capacity to know our darkness well enough to sit in the darkness with them. – Brené Brown 

Sincerely,

-Christine

Last month I communicated that the design phase of Hope Has a Cold Nose was targeted to begin mid-September. That happened as planned! It is with great privilege that I share with you a draft of the book cover design.  Design proofs of the book cover and book formatting for electronic, paper, and hardcover availability are pending final approval. Once approved, Hope Has a Cold Nose moves into the next phase. Production! In parallel, I am working with the Marketing department of the publishing company to finalize a marketing plan in preparation for the book launch.  In addition to these steps, I am also exploring options for the first step in Hope Has a Cold Nose being available internationally, beginning with its translation into Hebrew.  This international step will be after the initial book launch.  Which, speaking of.   I have set the intention from my heart that Hope Has a Cold Nose can be launched on or before November 11, 2020.     Stay tuned. {smile}

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.   

Hope Has a cold nose – August 2020 Update

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 Surfacehttps://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 Preventionhttps://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.

Share stories. 

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

Sincerely,

-Christine

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 ckhred30@gmail.com

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/.   

Hope Has a Cold Nose – July, 2020 Update

Hope Has a Cold Nose Final Final (2)

 

Dear subscribers for Hope Has a Cold Nose,

 “The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved.  It simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged simply as it is.” – Parker Palmer

 Several months ago, in Maria Shriver’s “Sunday Paper” message, she shared about a speaker who addressed an audience vested in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.  The speaker, in her own early stages of Alzheimer’s, shared about the value of dignity over pity and that one of the best questions someone can ask is what is it like to be you right now? 

Dear subscribers, what is it like to be you right now?

I anticipate some of you would say I’m doing good.   Perhaps some of you would say that because you truly are, and others would say it because that is a standard response that can be easier – or safer – than communicating where we might not be so…good.   Perhaps some of you are frustrated or tired of the current state.  Maybe others are finding a new friend in creativity or simplicity.   Some may be more anxious with the only certainty being uncertainty.  And perhaps others who have befriended a deep seeded resilience or faith are standing in their wisdom that this too shall pass.  We are collectively experiencing the pandemic and its aftermaths.  And each of us are individually deciding how best we can and wish to respond.

Over this past weekend I heard a 60% increase in the suicide rate since Covid from a friend who is in a role in which he bears witness to the truth of this each time he goes to work.    My breathe is caught each and every time I hear suicide.  My heart breaks that for some the ability and the will to live is no longer strong enough against the inner mental and emotional anguish that rages relentlessly.   I believed that the twenty-three co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose would be able to provide hope to their Brothers and Sisters through the sharing of their stories.   I now believe these co-authors will be providing hope to so many more.   Military veterans journeying with pain, trauma, sorrow, despair, and grief will not be the only ones to benefit from these extraordinary stories you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose.  Non-military civilians who are struggling with isolation, depression, and anxiety will be served by brave men and women who can empathize, and who will inspire keep going, one step at a time.

 I had asked you in the beginning what is it like to be you right now?  If you are like me, maybe you feel a sense that you need to tread softly – and silently.   Each time I enter a public setting, I am repeating an intention to myself meet people where they are at so that I suspend judgment, respect differing perspectives, and not be one that will provoke already tumultuous emotions that some may be feeling.   Because I believe underneath the raised voices, angry, downturned or fright-filled eyes, and abrupt body retreats are individuals’ longings to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged, the only thing I know to do at the moment is attempt to witness.    As each of the co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose taught me, do not judge for there is always more than we think we see.

Recently, while in one of those aforementioned public settings, a conversation began between a dear soul bagging my groceries and myself.   The discussion began when the bagger commented on a new cleaner I was purchasing that she had not seen before.  It migrated to ice cream flavors.   It expanded when she shared about her 10 year journey with diabetes, her 19-month old son that is her purpose in choosing to be conscious of what she eats so that she can stay the victor over her disease, and just how much she has defined what healthy means to her by decreasing her body weight significantly (more than 200 pounds!).   As I prepared to leave, I complimented her on what I felt were very beautiful tattoos, one in particular on her arm.   She graciously thanked me and then turned her arm to share with me how she had plans to get another tattoo just above this strikingly beautiful one already on her arm.  She pointed to visible scarring that she was trying to cover up with meaningful art.  She then showed me how the tattoo she currently has was covering other scars.

In that most reverent moment exchanged with a stranger, I was witness to her story though no words communicated the details of the story she had lived.    She gave me a most sacred gift one can give another.  She gave me trust with an essence of who she is.   As my eyes met hers,  I said the only thing that came to mind with a tone that I hope conveyed compassion for her journey, whatever that journey might be bless your heart and it has been nice talking with you today.   This strong, determined, beautiful, soul responded in like it has been nice talking with you, and you stay well.    

 …to be witnessed – to be seen, heard, and acknowledged simply as it is.”

 

I believe most people are good

And most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood

I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights

I believe you love who you love

Ain’t nothing you should ever be ashamed of

I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks

I believe most people are good 

 – Luke Bryan, lyrics from “Most People are Good”, 2017

 

 Sincerely,

-Christine

Editing is in full swing of Hope Has a Cold Nose.   In the editing process there are multiple steps that include the content review and a final proofreading.  The content review is what is in process and I have just completed getting a place holder on the second editor’s calendar for the final proofreading.   The design phase (when the book gets formatted for electronic, paperback, and hardcover availability, receives a book jacket/ cover design, and so forth) is still targeted to begin in September, and 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 ckhred30@gmail.com

Hope Has a Cold Nose – June, 2020 Update

Hope Has a Cold Nose Final Final (2)

 

Dear subscribers for Hope Has a Cold Nose,

When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal.  I see a living being.  I see a friend.  I feel a soul.  A.D. Williams

We are all connected by simple wish, to be visible, to be heard, to know that we matter. – Vlada Mars

I anticipate that I have shared this perspective before.  I believe we learn best through opposites, and it is our dance of grace in how we manage between the opposition.    To know the depth of feeling joy, for example, we must first know a depth to unhappiness.   We can best appreciate that pure joyful elation when we have known what it is to feel profoundly sad.    Our dance between the two is one of choice.   We can choose sadness.  We can choose joy.  We can be tested in our ability to choose joy when moments outside of our control take place.  We can experience moments that seem to grip our hearts and our mind so tightly, we do not see any other choice but sadness.   And, to honor sadness is as important as to desire joy.  We need both, and in how we respond in each moment provides the grace in which we can flow with life.

These sentiments can be said about stillness and busy, fear and faith, uncertainty and confidence, anger and calmness, quiet and loud, or hope and hopeless.  Perhaps other words come to mind for you in which you witness or personally feel the tug and pull between two.

Recently I was talking with someone on his way to a celebration for his daughter who had just completed first grade.   As we talked of that joy, he also shared with me the sorrow his daughter had experienced when her school was closed due to the pandemic.  He talked of the gift of technology that allowed his daughter to still learn from home, and the tears his daughter cried for an entire day because she could only see her friend on a computer screen.  His daughter ached in from no longer seeing her friend in person.  He talked of the concerns that he and his wife share of the long-term impact that moment in time will have on his daughter, a young soul developing into an extroverted spirit who experienced a life changing painful moment in which she was learning profound loss and the necessity of introversion.   This individual and his wife will do well in teaching their daughter resilience and how to flourish through change.  They will ensure their daughter harnesses joy.  In that dance of opposites, this young soul will be blessed with parents to help give her the tools to dance gracefully through the moments that life brings in which the only thing we can control is how we respond.

Though I am confident this little girl will be ok, my heart goes out to her.  It goes out to this little girl in the same way my heart goes out to each person when I hear how they have or are experiencing pain, sorrow, trauma, or despair.   And, right now, I think that is each and every person on Earth.

The world is hurting.  Pain sorrow, and grief that has been pushed down – in some instances for generations – are now rising to the surface trying to find the avenues in which they can be released and let go or to find meaning and purpose – to matter.  Pain, sorrow, and grief are trying to find their voices to be heard, to make a change for the better, to choose and influence the opposite outcomes so that pain is not perpetuated.   Pain, sorrow, despair, and grief are swirling fiercely with uncertainty.   Pain, sorrow, despair, and grief are asking us to find compassion, understanding, respect, and healing so that we can bring balance back into life.  Pain, sorrow, despair, and grief are crying out for us to anchor them to faith, trust, and hope.

A.D. Williams writes words of wisdom that I am choosing right now.  When I look into the eyes…of a person I do not see a person… I see a living being.  I see a friend.  I feel a soul. 

 Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? – Henry David Thoreau  

Sincerely,

-Christine

I am excited to share with all of you that an editor has been hired for the manuscript for Hope Has a Cold Nose.   Editing will begin in July, with a target completion for the manuscript to be ready for the design phase by the beginning of September.  The design phase is when the book gets formatted for electronic, paperback, and hardcover availability, receives a book jacket/ cover design, and so forth.    I am continuing to hold the intention for the book to be available in hardcover, paperback, and electronically late Fall.

I can be reached by visiting https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/, https://christinehassing.com/ or you can email me at ckhred30@gmail.com