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

 

For brochure

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

Hope Has a Cold Nose – December Update

To the supporters of Hope Has a Cold Nose,

There can be miracles when you believe
Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe

            Lyrics from “When you Believe”; Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston

 Perhaps I had heard the lyrics twenty years ago when this song was first introduced in 1999. It felt like I was hearing them for the first time a couple of weeks ago while listening to Pentatonix sing the words on a Christmas CD. Then again, I am more aware than I was twenty years ago of just how fragile hope is for so many.

Recently I had the honor of speaking to an audience whose mission as members is Service Above Self. I was graciously invited to speak as author and life story writer. Early into the presentation I shared a quote by Cheryl Richardson, a New York Times best-selling author of several books: People start to heal the moment they feel heard.

I am not sure how many in the audience are veterans or have a personal connection with someone who is. I knew they held compassionate hearts for others who struggle, both because of their professions and the nature of their mission as a club of like-minded individuals. I’m not sure how many had previously heard the veteran suicide rate in the United States, how between twenty and twenty-two lives per day end because hope became far too frail for them to believe in a miracle. I sensed some had heard that number before, though I sensed even greater the uncomfortableness when I started to share my perspective that collectively, as a society, we struggle to listen to someone’s story of pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair. And those who have a story struggle to share their voices.

All were gracious to listen to me share an excerpt of a story from Hope Has a Cold Nose. They sat reverently, motionless outwardly, listening to me share the power of reframing someone’s story in such a way that it provides the story-teller dignity, worth, and healing. They listened as I shared an excerpt from a medic’s story about death and dying.

I anticipate, in that last sentence something in you recoiled, even if ever so slightly. Maybe even subconsciously.   Perhaps, like the audience I was speaking to, you felt uncomfortable and had instant visuals of what kind of story that must be, your perceptions in the driver’s seat of how you “heard” death and dying. Inwardly, the faces of the audience I spoke with communicated this is heavy, too heavy for the day before Christmas Eve! Yet, they graciously held respect for the words that included:

I was handed another hat in which to wear, burning like that fire I mentioned above – the fire of an individual heartbeat.   Some heartbeats were so very faint, a voice no longer able to speak. Yet, I could listen closely to the whisper of their soul communicating “help me have peace and dignity”. I still hold tightly to this hat I wore then, clenching it so tightly I’m convinced life will not come back into my white knuckles frozen in place. I am certain each and every one of their faces will be with me the rest of my days.

I anticipate if I asked you about a time you stood at a crossroads to decide left or right, you would be able to share with me a time you were wrestling with what to decide. Have you ever had a time where you felt yourself squeezed between opposition like wrong or right? For me, what I think about each day is being sandwiched between death and life.

I reflect on what I spoke to this audience that day. I asked myself if perhaps I should speak to audiences who are already familiar with the power of holistic healing with the aid of service dogs? What I share may not be as overwhelming to those who are already focused on supporting veterans and active duty personnel. And then I thought about how people start to heal the moment they feel heard and that isn’t something to save until after Christmas or for a “better” time. It’s for right now, for when someone crosses our path who is struggling to believe there is hope.

Hope is frail, and cannot be killed, if we choose to pause, listen, and simply say thank you for sharing your story with me. I can’t begin to know what it is to walk in your shoes, yet I am listening. I do not judge your story. Your story is extraordinary. May you believe hope is yours for the taking. May miracles flow to you unending.

As we prepare to step into a new year, and a new decade, may we carry the following words forward into action: Compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. – Nelson Mandela  May we as humans offer hope to those in need of believing as well as those do who have a cold nose. 

Blessings to you and yours in the year ahead,

-Christine

 

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/

Hope Has a Cold Nose – November Update

Hope Has a Cold Nose Final Final (2)

 

Dear Supporters of Hope Has a Cold Nose,

So very thankful, incredibly grateful, unbelievably blessed – Unknown

Though November in the United States is synonymous with being thankful, I struggled in that dance of opposites to start out with this quote. On one hand, it felt most appropriate to express gratitude for the stories I continue to have the privilege of listening to and writing. And, to express gratitude for the inspirational leaders I am crossing paths with who are tirelessly – and sometimes tiredly – striving to support veterans and canines who need hope. On the other hand, knowing that so many struggles in their pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair to feel thankful or blessed, I also felt a twinge of disrespect to feel gratitude when many feel hopeless.

In the way that one such inspirational leader communicated with immense gratitude and pride – and fierce determination to increase the number – we are saving lives; we have saved 110 lives!, I was reminded of Brene’ Brown’s Netflix documentary Call to Courage. Brene’ talks about what individuals express in their interviews who have known profound loss due to genocide or mass shootings. These individuals who have known profound loss, such as their children, ask that others do no avoid sharing stories with them about their own children who still live. To withhold stories for fear of deepening the sorrow of these individuals is to minimize giving purpose to such horrific tragedy. By sharing stories, it communicates that people are appreciating every precious moment with, and every precious aspect about, their children. They are not taking for granted the gifts of life they can still raise.

So with that, this month I express how thankful, grateful, and blessed I am that my path continues to intersect with such inspirational leaders – both the story-tellers you will find in Hope Has a Cold Nose and in the individuals who are focusing on building the new. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new – Socrates

Like a magnet, what we focus on, we attract. We need to be aware, for it is the awareness that calls us to action and asks us to courageously step onto the path that is our purpose, our purpose to create for something – or some ones – greater than us. The storytellers who courageously served because they felt called to something greater than each of them are now aware of the urgent need to continue to serve their comrades whose will to fight has been depleted by the crushing weight of pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair. They are bravely sharing their stories of hope. The founders of organizations who are putting their whole being into providing alternative healing modalities such as service dogs are aware of the urgent need to save lives, to reduce twenty-two to zero.

And yet, what these inspiring leaders are also doing is turning their full attention towards creating the new. They are keeping their hearts open to the awareness of the critical need, and they are putting their full energy into attracting the resources and support needed to provide the service dogs and the training to veterans. I can only imagine the times they feel impatient or when they wear the gravity of the news that the needle is not changing from twenty-two. I can only imagine for I know the times I feel that I should be taking faster steps to do my part or my sadness when I learn that yet again the will to be free of pain came at the cost of continuing to live. I am thankful for the storytellers and leaders who inspire me through their unwavering ever vigilant focus on saving live and giving hope. Those who remove mountains begin by carrying away small stones – Chinese Proverb

One step at a time.

For something greater than us

Over the past couple of days two people very dear to my life communicated their hearts to me when they each expressed the wish to give to an organization serving veterans in place of Thanksgiving table center pieces and Christmas gifts. As we knock on the season of giving, these two individuals remind me that the most lasting gifts are not materially placed in a box to be wrapped in pretty paper and adorned with equally beautiful bows. The most lasting gifts are gifts from the heart.

To give for something greater than us.

That what will be unwrapped is…

hope.

For twenty-two lives a day

And for more who are fighting with all their will not to become one of twenty-two.

Sincerely,

Christine

In previous monthly updates I have featured organizations I have been blessed to meet on the journey of completing Hope Has a Cold Nose. If, like me, your heart is whispering to forego beautifully wrapped packages, please consider giving your ripple of hope to one of these below:

https://www.quantumleapfarm.org/wmae/

https://www.mission22.com/

http://www.doggoneexpress.com/

https://thejaegerfoundation.org/

https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/

In addition, 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/

 

Does It Know for Who It Weeps?

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Unlike others it was resting at half-mast, a symbol of respect to honor a life that has passed.   I don’t heed the news to know who it might be, though I anticipate it is a silent story.  For other flags aren’t lowered as if weeping; this one’s lowering seems to be unique to this community.   A recent social media post communicated November was a month to honor military personnel and their families.   Perhaps this one was paying that tribute; then again, it wasn’t yet November when this flag rested at its halfway point in the chilly breeze.

It’s timing to appear on my path “perfect” in that way every moment of life is not random if we choose to see.   It is whispering “notice” to compliment the dear individuals I’ve been fortunate to talk with this past week.   I know like a magnet we draw to us that which our eyes and ears are listening to best know, our eyes and ears the conduits of what lies in our soul.  I suppose on one hand I should not be surprised that stories of hope – and the realities of its absence – continue to come to me.  My heart yearns to reduce the number of individuals who have lost their will to keep going.

In that way we learn best, I find two more oppositions I stand between.   I continue to have the sacred honor of listening to extraordinary stories.  Narrations of individuals who have let their seed of will grow no matter the droughts, floods, and fires that tried to stop the seed’s rising.   So many people who have utilized their pain and trauma to find purpose out of suffering.

Equally I learn of many who are guideposts for healing.  Organizations and communities of like-minded individuals striving to aid others on their broken-spirited journeys.   A collective wisdom of individual gifts for each unique need.  For each person walks their own journey for what resonates as healing modalities.

On the other end is the search and seek.   How do we aid those who aren’t heard or seen?  Do we hold faith that the ripples cast towards them will eventually reach?  Or is there a collective action that we all share in its responsibility?   To hear that silence that hinder many in their ability to speak.    I think of the childhood game of hide and seek, the fun of being the hider fooling everybody.   I believe we carry that game into our adulthood, only more seriously.   If one feels scared or anxious or not worthy, they retreat further and further into a shell of invisibility.  Instead of the child giggles one stifles in a secret hiding place, their adulthood wills no one to notice or discover where they’ve tried to stifle themselves away. Laughter and joy have been replaced by wearing a mask or disguise across one’s face.

Among the dear individuals as messengers this week, one person shared how they reached a point they knew what they could no longer be.   They could no longer be “a pillar of perfection” as they thought others perceived.   In letting go of what they thought was a brave front brought a liberating release.   The ones they had once feared would judge or not accept were the ones they inspired most with their now visible authenticity.

I can also still hear another dear individual say these words in the sharing of a story.  As he talked of two communications he had received about a person looking for another individual who had went missing “the first one was he feared because a rifle was gone, too…the second one was that services were pending, details forthcoming soon”.

Opposition; one life whose will grew through the hard dirt and clay.   Another whose will wilted, dried up, and could not be saved.   How do we reach those whose will is shrinking smaller in proportion to their voice also fading away?

This I think about as the flag hangs at half-mast in the sea of vehicles driving by.

I can’t help thinking it starts with all of us noticing this flag was not flying high.