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

Hope Has a Cold Nose – May 2020 Update

Hope Has a Cold Nose Final Final (2)

Dear subscribers for Hope Has a Cold Nose,

Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. – Brené Brown. 

On May 20th I had the privilege of taking part in a parade.   It was not your traditional parade.  Or perhaps, given current affairs, it is now considered the new normal.   Approximately twelve or fifteen of us begun lining up for the procession – twelve or fifteen vehicles that is.   Some vehicles had one individual, or one individual and a dog like me.   Other vehicles varied from two individuals to four.  I especially liked the vehicles filled with people, for it was these same vehicles in which tiny hands held balloons, and though I couldn’t fully see the faces, I could feel the mounting excitement for when these same tiny hands could hold the balloons out the windows in celebration.

Yes, in celebration, for I was in a procession to drive past my niece on her 8th birthday.  Our dog Kutana, also nearing her “eight” – eight months old that is – filled our vehicle with curiosity while I filled our vehicle with joy.    This parade was a request from my niece in how she wanted to celebrate her special day.      Only her mom, dad, or brother know if there were tears of sadness leading up to her birthday that she couldn’t be with her friends at a park or at a home preparing for a near all night giggling slumber party.   For those of us in the procession, we would soon have the delight of seeing her dressed in her beautiful fairy princess dress, dancing on the hill with whole-hearted glee, certain she was the luckiest girl in the entire world.  A parade just for her!

We were asked to meet at the fire hall, a central location a few blocks from where my niece would be.  Or at least that is what I initially thought.   And then I saw one of the fire trucks pull out of the garage, followed by a second one.   Both headed to the front of the pack of our procession.  In that moment I felt the truth of one thing a virus cannot stop love. 

Not only love of aunts and uncles and classmates whose parents were gladly driving their children past a friend.  This was love of a community.  And this was love of individuals who have vowed to serve and protect as first responders.   On this day they were serving a little girl who I anticipate will remember this birthday as one of the most special birthdays of her life.  A moment forever stamped in her heart and in the shaping of her life yet to be.

Through the years as she grows, so to will her wisdom and her grace about this simple moment in her life that was extraordinary and significant.   At a distant point in her future many years from now, after she has immersed herself in young innocence, and then the hustle and bustle of self-absorbed youth, and then the invincibility of her early twenties.  After a time in her life in which she will remember when school was not in person, but online and she has heard countless stories from her elders about how “it used to be” before a pandemic in a world for her that she will see as normal and part of her natural every day way of living.  After a time in which perhaps she, too, is a mom, with a daughter of her own, she will be able to look back and see the truth of yet another thing: even when, or in despite of, painful or fearful times, life always finds a way.   

Very recently I had the sacred honor of writing another veteran life story for Hope Has a Cold Nose.   Among all the extraordinary sentences this veteran communicated of his story, a very powerful one stood out to me.  PTSD excludes you from a world where everyone sees butterflies and rainbows.  I see thunderstorms.   This veteran also shared what others in Hope Has a Cold Nose feel.  It is hard to be vulnerable to a world that holds negative stereotypes about PTSD.  It is hard to be vulnerable when judgment joins the interactions with others.

Just as my heart yearns for the suicide rate to decrease, my heart yearns for fear in society to decrease, too.  For I believe it is fear that ushers in judgment as a self-protection against uncertainty or uncomfortableness with the thunderstorms that are as equally a part of life as rainbows.   When we can befriend the claps of thunder and the lightening strikes and listen to them not in fear but in respect and awe for the extraordinary elements of nature that they are, I believe we will come to know a third truth.     The rainbows happen because the thunderstorms do, too.   And a fourth:   We can find peace with thunderstorms by listening to those who know the thunderstorms well.   

 

I won’t let my pain turn my heart into something ugly.  I will show you that surviving can be beautiful.   – Christy Ann Martine  {https://christyannmartine.indiemade.com/product/mental-health-quotes-survivor-quote-printable}

Sincerely,

-Christine

As communicated last month, the manuscript for Hope Has a Cold Nose is complete and steps have been initiated for publication.   In early June, I will be finalizing the editing path, with anticipation for the editing to happen July – August.   Once the editing is complete, the design phase will begin (formatting for the book size, book jacket cover, etc.)     I am setting an intention for the book to be available in hardcover, paperback, and electronically late Fall.   Specific timing will become clearer as the book progresses to publication.

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 – April, 2020 Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers,

First and foremost, may each of you and those you hold dear continue to be wrapped in health and well-being during our current time.

There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle.   The other as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

When I wrote last month’s update with the opening statement before a multitude of countries began temporarily closing, I didn’t anticipate that a month later the stay-at-home orders would remain in effect and the world as we have all known it now finds itself in a collectively large arm-wrestling match between uncertainty and hope.

Last month I shared my perspective that in this significant time of uncertainty for so many, I feel peace – and hope – in a certainty that we are healing as Earth and as humanity.   I feel that now more than ever, it is time for the co-authors of this book to share their stories, for they will not only fulfill a mission of helping their Brothers and Sisters who may be struggling. Their stories of hope and resilience will inspire the world as the world begins the collective journey of healing its pain.

Over this past month, this feeling only deepened that the storytellers in Hope Has a Cold Nose will inspire the world as the world transforms through the isolation it is now experiencing. As I heard the pain of isolation these veterans have known, I could not help thinking that compassion for and understanding of invisible wounds will grow; these veterans can – and will – be a testament in how to overcome.

I am an alumni of Gonzaga University, and over this past month they have been facilitating exceptional webinars to foster connection and community, to inspire faith and hope, and to rally change agents to help create new beginnings for the greater good of humanity. One webinar was by the Dean of Education, Dr. Yolanda Gallardo.   She shared much wisdom in her words about community centered hope, or said another way, the focus is we’ve got this, not just I’ve got this.

Dr. Gallardo spoke words as if she could read my heart. What gives us hope is a sense of purpose.   Our stories are connected in this moment. Our stories have always been connected. Actions are important but sometimes just listening to someone else is a huge gift. As Dr. Gallardo shared a very personal journey that she is on with her family, and more specifically her father, she spoke of the gifts we receive in the hardest of times. A deeply sorrowful and deeply beautiful time.  This time we are in brings the level of hope to an entirely different place.

There have been enduring practices of hope for years. Dr. Gallardo used examples of hospice care, health care workers, teachers, and paramedics. There have been enduring practices of hope for years, but we don’t talk about that a lot. How can we…keep the conversations going with those who have engaged in enduing practices of hope?

I would add, how can we keep the conversations going with those who have engaged in enduring years of service for us? How can we as a collective community engage in conversations of hope? As Dr. Gallardo so eloquently communicated at the end of her talk: we are living in a moment of unity. Let’s grab onto it and do something with it.

Recently I heard someone speak this: every experience I have had has prepared me for this moment.    No truer words for me as I write this month’s update. It is in deepest gratitude to twenty-two extraordinary storytellers bravely willing to share their trust, their hearts, and their biographies with me – and with you, the future readers – that I share the manuscript for Hope Has a Cold Nose is now complete. The manuscript has now begun the first formal step towards publication.   Yes, Hope Has a Cold Nose is on its way to being available as the book it has been meant to be!

Meant to be. I am someone who believes that every moment offers us a sign if we are open to receiving it.   Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her book Eat, Pray, Love: But I was always coming here. I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that God long ago drew a circle in the sand, exactly around the spot where you are standing right now. I was never not coming here. This was never not going to happen.   I was given a sign to create Hope Has a Cold Nose, and through many steps along the journey in the past two years, the signs have continued to communicate “keep going”.

I will close with this sign that affirms for me that the world needs these twenty-two extraordinary stories you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose.

One day a few weeks before we learned my soulmate in fur, Roo, had cancer, she and I went for a run. It was mid-morning, and we encountered an owl in a tree who spent a few minutes talking with us.   Whhhhooo Wwhhhoooo Wwhhooooo it communicated as I held sacred awe at the miracle of this encounter during the daylight. After a few minutes, this beautiful wise majestic soul outstretched its wings and flew over Roo and I so close, I could have reached up and touched its wings, or so it felt.

Fast forward to the week after Roo left Earth, and I found the courage in my pain and sorrow to go to this same spot on the trail, a trail that held abundant memories of my running partner, soulmate and teacher of my own personal hope and faith. Before I did, I had asked Roo to send me a sign affirming my belief that death is not an ending, nor goodbye.   I stood at this spot where Roo and I had integrated with this beautiful, wise, majestic soul, tears flowing down my cheeks, to then look up and witness the owl fly into the tree by where I stood.

Ever since these two significant moments, the owl has held a very special and deeply personal meaning for me and is a very powerful sign for me to affirm “keep going”.   I could share many significant moments in my life in which the owl has appeared since those two days. Let me share just two more.

Fast forward to the day I announced the publication of my first book and a run I decided to take in celebration of that significant achievement. It was mid-afternoon. I can now “hear” you exclaiming what you know you are about to read.   Yes, at the same spot on the trail, I paused at what had become a sacred spot for me. After a couple of minutes of stillness sending thanks into the Universe for the gift of Roo, and an owl flew through the trees towards me.   I knew Roo was happy that I had given purpose to her cancer and to her and my collective story.

Fast forward to yesterday, April 24, at 3:30 p.m., just prior to hitting “send” for the manuscript to begin its journey to a published state. I stepped outside with our puppy and then I heard a voice. A beautiful, wise, majestic soul whispering “yes!” in its Whhhhooo Wwhhhoooo Wwhhooooo.

Hope Has a Cold Nose is a book meant to be.

Truly it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us. – Meister Eckhart

Sincerely,

-Christine

 

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 – March 2020 Update

Dear subscribers to Hope Has a Cold Nose,

May this message find that health and overall well-being is wrapping you and yours tightly.

 And just when the caterpillar though the world was over, it became a butterfly – Author Unknown

Before a multitude of countries began temporarily closing their doorways, and restaurants adjusted their primary purpose from dine in to take out.   Before Italy set a precedent of lockdowns and education rapidly became on-line and home-schooled.   Before history began stamping every mind with the new words “social distancing” and people started to find that the gift of information at our fingertips was becoming information overload that requires considerable discernment, and often at times disengagement.   I read these words 1 person in the U.S. dies from Corona Virus complications. 22 Veterans die each day from suicide. Can we throw 2.5 Billion at that too?

These words resonated, deeply. Now I was the one dancing between emotions. On one hand I wanted to scream these very words from a deep sense of loyalty to the men and women co-authors of Hope Has a Cold Nose who are sharing their stories for twenty-two a day who die. On the other hand, I held a compassion for those whose immune systems may be too fragile to combat a new virus rapidly spreading faster than fires that have threatened the livelihood of places such as California and Australia.

Most of all, the lens I was choosing to see through was one of frustration and a sense of helplessness at being able to stop the magnet of fear. As one who is guided by the belief that what we focus on acts as a magnet to attract things to us, in a world already struggling to feel hopeful, I didn’t want to see the magnet of hopelessness grow stronger. My frustration only more intense as I perceived that people were taking action from a place of fear for their own well-being and I couldn’t step past the feeling of wanting to shout why aren’t we as humanity stopping the world for those struggling with pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair before they reach a point that life is no longer worth living?   If your passion isn’t reducing suicide like it is for me, perhaps your heart desires to end such things as domestic violence, addiction, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, homelessness, or animal cruelty. For those who are, or become marginalized, why have we not stopped the world before?

And then I let go of the oars. Figurately. I set down the oars, stopped trying to row the canoe, and decided to let the current of the river do what it does best. Flow things downstream through a natural course around fallen logs, over rocks and boulders, and around a bend.   No matter what is put on a river’s path, it always flows. There may be intermittent droughts or spots that freeze in the thick of Winter, yet, in due time, the river continues its flow.

As I set the oars across my lap, I reminded myself what I also deeply believe. There is purpose in every moment, and though we can’t always influence what those moments are, we can always choose our response to them. As I looked up to notice the scenery around me, I started to see people making choices we haven’t made as a collective society in quite some time.   To be kind, to be compassionate, to being fully present with one another listening and sharing in dialogue, stepping off the treadmills of a fast-paced schedule to immerse into the stillness of Nature and with each other. To embrace a creativity that includes helping to make others laugh and to serve others in need on small and large scales, and a positivity that is banding people together. Where the collective whole has been missing connection, multitudes are beginning to find re-connection.

There are always gifts that come out of struggle, and people have started making choices to open those gifts. Social media has started to contain messages of we can do this” and less of “you versus me”.   The ripples of goodness have been increasing in the sharing across social media where what had been predominately shared fostered separation and division as people scrambled to be heard individually, to know they were not invisible and that they mattered amid a sea of “like”, “love”, and “share” buttons.   The gift of critical times in its power to bring people together.

In a time of uncertainty, I feel peace in a certainty that we are healing as Earth and as humanity.   No longer is pain or trauma “over there”. Now each person is experiencing their own personal transformation through the journey of pain, as what has been continues to fall away.   I have had the honor of listening to veteran stories from Israel, a country in which, as it has been wisely shared with me, is a country in which everyone knows PTSD, given their continual state of war. A lockdown is not new to them. Sure, that a stay-at-home order is driven by a virus is new; yet, thankful are many it is not for missiles flying overhead that require shelter be sought.   Israel is also a country with a very low, or next to zero suicide rate. It’s a country that despite its pain, never loses hope.

Perhaps, now that we as a world are all in this together, we will, in fact, be stopping the world so that we can create a world in which people don’t want to leave life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K_YQZheKr4

Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful – Author Unknown

Sincerely,

-Christine

With deep gratitude, and joy, I am pleased to share with you that twenty-two stories are either complete or in process for the manuscript of Hope Has a Cold Nose. Once the remaining stories are written, I will be pursing the next steps to bring Hope Has a Cold Nose into publication. There was already an urgency for these extraordinary stories to be shared.   Now, more than ever, it is time for the co-authors of this book to share their stories, for they will not only fulfill a mission of helping their brothers and sisters of service. Their stories of hope and resilience will inspire the world as it begins the collective journey of healing its pain.

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

 

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Rise

…Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still I’ll rise…out of the huts of history’s shame I rise, up from a past that’s rooted in pain, I rise. I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, welling and swelling I bear in the tide. Leaving behind nights of terror and fear, I rise. Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear, I rise. Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise. – Maya Angelou

 More beautiful than a puzzle that takes shape based on reference to an image on a box is how we can reflect on the moments in our lives that are fitting together to fulfill what calls to our souls this way.

I didn’t know when as a child who strived to keep her voice quiet that I was learning how to listen for the voices that don’t feel worthy of being heard.   I didn’t know that my best friend in my silence was also cloaked in fur of unconditional acceptance and hope.

I knew a deep footprint had been pressed into my belief system when near thirty years ago a friend said to me: Christine, everything that happens – good, as well as tragic – is planned. If you make a positive change in your life because of this accident you have heard about – 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.

I knew it was from the depths of my heart that I wrote the following when completing my MA: “My perception is the world needs hope. The world needs faith that purpose exists in all things. I want to live in that “place where deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet”, where my joy at helping people not give up meets with the world’s need for hope (Palmer, 2007, The Courage to Teach).

When I began writing the manuscript for my second book, Hope Has a Cold Nose, I knew it was bringing together these moments, interweaving them with other moments from my life, that I might inspire dignity, hope, and healing.  What I didn’t know on the journey of creating Hope Has a Cold Nose, the world would reach a point where, in fact, it has become starved for hope. Nor that I would be led to amazing organizations who embody making it matter that it did, dignity, hope, and healing.

One such organization is The Big Fix Uganda.  I am honored to be one of their champions. I have been given a privilege to not only support their mission through my writing. In some small way – though I hope it will cast large ripples into our broken world – I am being given the sacred honor of being a voice for those who have struggled to have their voices heard.

I have a personal belief that we enter this lifetime not only to fulfill what our soul wishes to learn. We also enter this lifetime to break cycles of pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair that have come before us, that what comes after us may be for the better to keep humanity moving forward and flourishing.   We are not sheltered from pain, tragedy, or profound grief. It is part of life’s circle. Yet, we give meaning to that which we cannot always understand “why”, by how we choose the opposite of pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair in how we live.

To know the true depths of perseverance, we must experience reasons to choose the will to not give up.   To know the true depths of faith, we must know what it is to stand fearfully in uncertainty.   To embrace unconditional love, we must have an appreciation for what it has felt like to feel unworthy. To be able to look and then listen with compassion to stories that seep into our core of what if that were me?, we must bravely be able to look our own pain and griefs in the eye and let them go.   Forgiveness of the tragedies of life beget an openness to the goodness that life is.

I have not had the privilege of listening to the gentleman’s story in the picture above left.   If I did, perhaps it would go something like this:

Tears I have cried in silence no one else could see, for those whose shoulder I would lean on are no longer on Earth with me.   I am the only one that remains of my siblings, though I sometimes think they the luckier that they no longer breathe. They no longer must live with loneliness and the memories.   I had thought of joining them a time or two.   But then I found Ma Haru.   His name means “superhero”, a warrior spirit strong and brave. We have something common he and I, each other we have saved.      

Dad, when I close my eyes as I lay by your side, do you know what I dream? I dream of the moment you came walking up to me.   I knew when your eyes looked into mine, I had found someone to love. I could see in your eyes that you were alone.   I think I could recognize that look, for it matched what I felt in my heart. But, hey, dad, neither of us have to feel that anymore, now do we?!   I’ve got you, and you have me.   Dad, one more thing – my fur welcomes the tears that slide down your cheeks.

A.D. Williams writes 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.   Perhaps that is one of the reasons I am passionate about the holistic healing capabilities of dogs. They are not only our hope with cold noses.   They teach us how to unconditionally feel a soul, that we might collectively heal the world.

 

 

 

 

Hope Has a Cold Nose – February 2020 update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers.

Hello to each of you.

“The law of attraction states that whatever you focus on, think about, read about, and talk about intensely, you’re going to attract more of into your life.” Jack Canfield

 I don’t know his name, though we have talked several times. I know that his wife is earning her degree as a musical therapist and that he is working two jobs. I know that each time we exchange in dialogue, he asks about the progress of Hope Has a Cold Nose.   He shares how he looks forward to reading the stories.   Most recently when he asked about the progress, I shared that I had eighteen stories. I have a goal of twenty to twenty-two, as that is symbolic given the statistic, I further said. The look on his face communicated that in each of the times we had talked, the significance of twenty to twenty-two had not been part of our conversation. My face flashed that I was surprised it was a statistic he didn’t know. When he asked, and I answered, once again his face communicated an effort in trying to absorb that twenty-two individuals reach a point daily in which choosing to live feels much harder than choosing physical death.

As I reflected more on how this gentleman was not aware of the suicidal rate for veterans, I began thinking about three personal guiding principles. One is in respect to how I believe our thoughts act as a magnet to draw in more of what we focus on. A second one is in respect to nothing is coincidence and there is purpose in everything that takes place, including pain, trauma, and tragedy.   And the third is that we learn best through opposites.   I anticipate in previous messages I’ve talked about how we cannot fully know such things as joy, or hope, if we don’t also have intimate experience with sorrow, and the weight of feeling there is no hope.

Very recently someone dear in my life passed on information to me about a non-profit who provides financial assistance to families whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis. This organization assists with such things as paying bills for biopsies, amputations, medications, growth removals, and they will pay 100% of medical costs for dogs in shelters.   Without the sacred privilege of knowing the full details of what founded this organization, their words we assemble “Roo Cancer Care Packages” which contain items Roo loved during his diagnosis speak volumes about giving purpose to what I can only imagine was one of the greatest losses.   Their purpose speaks of hope, and it speaks not of an ability to eliminate cancer, though this would be a wish we could all hope for.   Their purpose speaks of meeting life in how it brings that which we cannot always influence or control, looking pain and grief in the eye, and compassionately being there not necessarily with a capability to fix, but with a lifeline that says you do not walk through this pain and fear alone.    This organization: https://livelikeroo.org/ cares dearly about every dog and their humans on their journeys to fight against canine cancer. Their focus is not on how much cancer exists in canines, but on what small part they can play in assisting in the fight.

There is a balance between waging a fight against the “enemy” that has caused the pain and looking for purpose and possibilities that communicate the tragedy did not happen in vain.   In the wise words of a sage who crossed my path many years ago when I could not shake the tragedy of a news story I had heard.   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.

If you visit my web page https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com, you read the words: my perception is the world needs hope.  Each time I hear or read about another life synonymous with suicide, my heart searches for what else can be done to help those who are reaching a point in which the pain to live is too great.   And then I think about the eighteen co-authors thus far of Hope Has a Cold Nose, whose personal testimonies of pain, trauma, sorrow, despair and…hope are the “Roo Cancer Care Packages” for others.   Each co-author has found that their best friend in fur has not eliminated the pain, grief, or fear; each co-author has found an unconditionally loving and non-judgmental support system to look their pain and grief in the eye and whisper you do not walk through this pain and fear alone.  

I can’t help wondering, if we were to focus our energies on what small part we can positively play in assisting those on their “fight” against pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair, and we started to highlight more how many individuals find hope and something to live for, would we begin to draw in more hope and reasons to live?    I have shared this perspective with people before that if we wake up believing it will be a great day, we have set the intention to look for everything great about the day, even if it rains.   Our eyes, ears, and mind are focused on finding all that is good in the day. Exactly the opposite that if we wake up certain it will be a bad day; we look for every reason to affirm that it is.   If we look for more stories of hope, will we find more people who are hopeful? If we utilize the stories of suicide to fuel what we could do in opposition to the enemies of hopelessness, what might we create that ensures these losses were not in vain, and ultimately reduces twenty-two to zero?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

 Sincerely,

-Christine

Eighteen stories are complete and or in process for the manuscript of Hope Has a Cold Nose. The goal is to have twenty-two stories. Feel free to share this email and encourage others to subscribe to updates regarding the progress of Hope Has a Cold Nose to its published state by visiting either link below.   If you know of someone that would like to share their story for Hope Has a Cold Nose, please have them contact me at ckhred30@gmail.com.

In addition, with deep gratitude and awe, I am pleased to share that I have a formal agreement with the Wing of Rehabilitation, a branch of the Israeli government, in which they are supporting the writings of twenty Israeli veteran stories of hope that they can share with veterans they service in Israel.   My intent is that on this journey, I can further learn from Israeli veterans their experiences and words of wisdom I can share with veterans in the United States, for the current suicide rate in Israel is next to zero. The search for, and the discovery of, hope does not have boundaries; it is Universal. It is an essence of humanity’s ability to flourish.   Or not.

What small part can I play in assisting in the fight against pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair?   Hope Has a Cold Nose and perhaps Hope Has a Cold Nose volumes I, II, and III will guide the way.

https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/

https://christinehassing.com/

 

Hope Has a Cold Nose – January, 2020 Update

Dear Hope Has a Cold Nose subscribers.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

 A few evenings ago, I had the privilege of speaking at a library in partnership with a special friend. Our message was on the healing power of therapy and service dogs. I should rephrase to say that it was in tri-partnership, for my friend also brought the star of our center stage, Sunny, her four-year old therapy dog. As Sunny worked, visiting those in attendance, my friend shared the multitude of ways Sunny has helped those who journey with trauma. I shared a story from Hope Has a Cold Nose, highlighting how one particular service dog has provided healing, dignity, and hope to a veteran on his journey with PTSD.

I had not been to this library before, my interactions limited to an initial conversation on the phone when an invitation was extended to come and speak. Immediately upon entering the doors, I was struck by one key word that best described what I was walking into. Community. This library is not only a holder of books; it is facilitated by a heart of passion for learning, encouragement and celebration for local artists and creative souls, and a haven of safe space for people to enter with their stories of their lives that can be kept quiet between the person and the pages of another story of fiction, history, or autobiography.   Into the doors one walks and immediately finds belonging.

During the speaking engagement, I facilitated an interactive exercise in which I asked one person in the audience to share a personal story, while I asked the others to listen. Once the story was shared, I asked for volunteers to share what they heard.  Of course, true to our human nature in how we listen, those that shared each had a different perspective. One person shared the details, including a piece of information not communicated to all of us. The power of community, shared history, and belonging. Pieces of this story not shared were still known by those who had walked beside this individual supporting her through her grief, and her healing.

Recently I had the sacred honor of listening to veteran’s story in which she shared how two dear friends noticed when she did not show up for classes a couple of days in a row, and immediately came to this veteran’s home to check on her. These two friends found her in the clutches of depression gripping her will to get out of bed. Though only a small group of two, they quickly assembled more to be a “community” of support for this veteran.   They stayed by her side literally, and figuratively. And they have not let go.   For this veteran, two individuals changed her world.

When my special friend and I co-deliver our message of the power of therapy and service dogs as healers, we highlight the unconditional listening of a dog, and how a dog can hear exactly what someone is feeling without words spoken. In that way that we become student when we also teach, I am reminded of an image of a man and his dog I saw recently on the lawn at the driveway entrance and exit of a large multi-purpose store.   My heart whispered words I didn’t need to hear to know there is a story and it is one of pain. My heart felt gratitude this dear individual had hope by his side in the form of fur and a cold nose. And my heart was saddened for that this dear individual was not being seen, nor his voice being heard when I was certain his story was extraordinary.

I was reminded of another dear individual and his dog I met on the streets of New York City several years ago. I had set the intention I would find this dear individual and his dog, or at least a team similar, for a couple years prior to this encounter, I had been one in the “community” of those passing by who did not pause. I was reminded of these words I had written in sharing the story with someone: Instead, I acted as those were next to me, the same as those to the left and right of these two souls passing by without second glances to these two souls staring wishfully back at people passing by. They were listening for respect and empathy; we were listening to the warmth, safety, and abundance of our lives. My intention was next time I would notice, and I would stop.

Fast forward to now. How many dear individuals wish to belong to a community of compassion, respect, dignity, and unconditional listening? Maybe those beside us aren’t homeless, but how many beside us where we walk, or drive, feel they aren’t being heard? Or seen? I can’t help feeling part of that answer is being communicated to us through the statistic of twenty-two per day.

The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.

 Sincerely,

-Christine

Eighteen stories are complete and or in process for the manuscript of Hope Has a Cold Nose. The goal is to have twenty-two stories. Feel free to share this email and encourage others to subscribe to updates regarding the progress of Hope Has a Cold Nose to its published state by visiting either link below.   If you know of someone that would like to share their story for Hope Has a Cold Nose, please have them contact me at ckhred30@gmail.com.

https://www.hopehasacoldnose.com/

https://christinehassing.com/

For HHCN January Update