Category: "Positivity"

Piano in the Park

by Helene Louise  

 

Inherent in the idea that "development is a mystery" is the idea that there is always the possibility that something unexpected could happen. No matter how long and how carefully we study something, no matter what our previous experiences might be, no matter what we think is a certain outcome, sometimes things happen that we simply weren't expecting.

 Growing up, I had the privilege of many years of piano lessons. And much later, I creatively applied what I learned in those lessons to my daughter's rehabilitation after a childhood stroke (as I explained in my book). Pianos are big, heavy instruments that are kept indoors and they're not the sort of thing that you move around just because you feel like it. Imagine my surprise then, at finding a brightly painted piano parked in front my local library—outside!

 Every day this summer, this piano has been available to anyone who walks by and spontaneously feels like sitting down and playing it. None of my previous life experiences, musical or otherwise, would ever have led me to believe that one day, I would come across such a thing. But, there it is—and people are in fact stopping to play this piano or simply marvel at the sheer unexpectedness of it all. Once again I am reminded that, no matter what your reference point is, you just never know...


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A Little Bit of Positive

by Helene Louise  

Sometimes, it’s very hard to see the positive side of a situation. But, the more I practice it, the more I am able to do it—even if it takes a long time and even if there is only just a little bit of positive. 

For example, I ended up studying economics further to the advice of a high school guidance counsellor. In the meeting to determine what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I said that the only thing I knew for sure, was that I didn’t want to study anything related to math. The counsellor answered that economics would then be perfect for me. It was months later, in my first few days on campus, that I realized that all my courses were going to be math-related. Now, it seems ridiculous that I was so poorly informed in what was such a key life-decision. But, what is perhaps even more surprising, is the stubbornness that I demonstrated in getting through the program, eventually even going on to do a master’s degree.

The first time I realized that all the courses in the economics program would be math-related, I felt trapped. I was far away from home, I felt isolated and, most of all, obliged to carry through with what I had signed up to do. I definitely struggled over the four-year program and in fact, on my first calculus test, I got a humiliating 27%. But, instead of quitting, my stubbornness kicked in and I made sure to get the help I needed to understand the concepts and succeed in what I had started. And, the experience of working hard at something that wasn’t easy for me, made it easier for me later on to take on and deliver challenging projects in the workplace.

The same could be said for my daughter’s rehabilitation after a childhood stroke. When I received her diagnosis, I felt trapped in something that I wasn’t at all expecting and didn’t think I could handle. But, in the same way as I had approached my studies years earlier, I sought out the help I needed, worked long hours and strategized to get the most out of every day (as I explained in my book which will be available later this month).  

I will never say that my daughter having suffered a stroke is a good thing, in any way. But, within all of the heartache and struggles, there are still some positives. Despite everything, my daughter is a courageous, capable and bright young girl. She has already learned to work hard for what she wants to achieve. She is inherently accepting of people who are different. She has already learned what it feels like to be discriminated against, how important it is to stand up for yourself and most importantly, how critical it is to believe in yourself. These are all very positive things. So, even in what was by far the most heartbreaking of situations for me, I can still see a little bit of positive.


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