20 January 2012

In Case You'd Like To Know...

In November Mara was invited to write a guest post for Blogstar's series - "My Life As a Blog".  Mara's been meeting so many new people at Alt Summit that ask her what her blog is all about and why she got started, we thought this would be a perfect way to share what drives us.


I’m on a mission, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I always wanted to tap into my life’s “mission”.  I always envied people who knew what they wanted to do and gave their heart and soul to it every single day.

I guess during most of my last 12 years in New York, my main goal was SURVIVAL.  Surviving long New York workdays.  Surviving this expensive city & providing for myself.  And later trying to survive the dark pain of infertility, followed by a crumbling marriage.  But just “surviving” was no way to live.  At times I was hanging by a thread.

But about 5 years ago, the luckiest thing ever happened to me!  Someone pulled me out of the deep end and began teaching me a better way to live.   I began applying everything I was learning, and my life could not have taken a more complete turn.  IT WAS A MIRACLE.  I was so amazed that I had the power within me to change like that & to actually become a happier person.  I figured out then that there is NOTHING better in this life than knowing what you are made of.  Literally nothing.

I knew early on that this information was not just for me in my living room.  I knew I had to share it!  Ahh…I FINALLY HAD A MISSION!  Now I just needed an outlet.

I started by sharing all I knew with those around me, but that wasn’t enough.  I felt I could do more.

Along the way I met Danny,who had experienced many of my same trials, had learned the same truths, and was just as committed as I was to uplifting those around him!  The two of us got married, and together we are completely joined in our desire to help others.

It seemed like every time we were with friends, family, and even strangers, the conversations would always lead to things that matter the most: how can I love in a healthy way?  how can I face marriage, being single, dating, trials, divorce, infertility, etc?

The more people we helped, the more we wished that some of this stuff was recorded or written down.  The more emails we sent to friends, the more we wished that others could read those same words of hope.  But we didn’t know how to do it.  I would nudge Danny jokingly that we should write a book.  Ha!  But that seemed too far off.  I couldn’t wait for that!!   I was bursting inside for MONTHS, wanting to do something NOW to start helping people on a larger scale.

I started taking notes of some of the conversations I was having with others to see if writing could be a successful way for me to get my message out.  At the time, I was working at a hedge fund in Manhattan.  And everyday on the subway, or while sitting in my infertility clinic, or on my walk breaks across the street in Central Park, I would write my brains out, jotting down ideas that came to me, recording the messages that made the most impact in my life & the lives of others.  And with the collection of these notes came the idea: I should start a blog!  Did I have what it took?  I didn’t care!  I had to try.  What better way to reach family, friends, and strangers all over the WORLD!  I finally had my platform!

Writing this blog has been one of the most joyful things I’ve ever done.  I love it.  I can’t get enough of it.  I wish I didn’t have to sleep so that I could respond to more emails and write more posts!

I received many kind emails and comments during those first few weeks of being a blogger.  One reader going through a very difficult moment wrote the following:

“A few days ago, my husband said, ‘What changed in you?  You’re whole countenance has changed in the last week. What is it?’  So I showed him your blog and said, ‘That’s what’s changed. I’ve found someone who is teaching me how to handle my trials better.’”

Could there be any better words to hear?  I knew I was doing exactly what I should be doing.

I’m not writing this blog for me.  I’m writing it for you, whoever you are.  Because maybe you are “me” 5 years ago, and you need someone to show you a better way to live, just like someone showed me.

(Image via)

14 comments:

  1. Mara,

    I hope you are having the time of your life! Did you wear the bow tie?

    I can't wait to hear all about your trip. I love that you are at alt and maybe I should go next year!!!

    And just a bit of advice...

    DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BAG ON THE PLANE!!!

    I heard this story about a guy that left his bag on the plane and the flight attendant totally stole it and they had to track her down which is CRAZY TALK and then she got arrested and then they got it back thanks to some nice officers...
    but that might not happen a 2nd time, if ya know what a mean.

    Ya know, it's just advice. ;)

    Party on girl!!!

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  2. So beautiful Mara! Thank you so much for this blog. I think it is so fantastic that you are doing what you love and touching so many lives. I came across this blog a couple weeks ago. My little brother sent me an email with a link to your blog regarding the story about you and Danny's stolen things from the airplane. I thought it was a great story and well written! So it had me curious what else was on this blog and boy, was I in for a treat! I think I spent the next FEW HOURS reading most of your blog posts and finishing it all last week. It touched me greatly! And I thank you and Danny so much for sharing your lives and the lessons you have both learned. A couple months ago my wedding was called off just two weeks before the date. It was absolutely devastating to me. I have always believed in the power of having a positive/hopeful outlook on life and going through this kind of thing has definitely challenged that. Reading your blog has reminded me of the great power in choice--choosing to be happy, to be grateful, to be positive, to serve others, even in the midst of our trials. It is amazing how your life changes when you truly realize this and actually practice it. Thank you for helping me realize this more and for being such a great example!

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  3. You're a lucky man, Danny! You've got quite a remarkable woman on your hands. You two are up to SO much good. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, I am very aware of just how lucky I am! Nothing could make me happier than sharing in this work with her :)

      We decided shortly after meeting that somehow our lives would need to be defined by the kind of outreach we're able to do here. We are humbled by the way that this blog has been received by so many, and even more committed improving what we do.

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  4. Wow. Just wow. I found your blog today via Mer Mag. Hallelujah. Thanks for sharing.

    chezviviv.blogspot.com

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  5. Mara, THANK YOU! I had been struggling in my marriage and also with infertility for a few years now. I kept looking for ways to "fix" the issues, and even a year of couples therapy was not leading to any substantial changes. Until I read your blog, it had never occurred to me that I was seeking the wrong things. Instead of trying to force the situation to change, you've taught me that I can change myself instead. That idea, and the practical and honest how-to's you talk about have given me hope and have sparked a real change for the better in me! I hope that other women who are suffering in their lives can also read your words and realize that there is another way!

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  6. Mara and Danny, thank you for your inspiring words and the time you have dedicated to sharing your wisdom with others. I too, am struggling with some recent trials and have had trouble picking myself up off of the floor. I wondered if you could give me an idea about how both of you coped with these specific challenges. I have guilt beyond belief for marrying in the temple and the results being a failed marriage. Did either of you feel this guilt and if so, what is your point of view on the subject? I know that God does not condone divorce and I feel like a terrible person. I am also struggling accepting the divorce because I still love and care for this man deeply. How did you come to terms that it was really over? We have been in a relationship for 6 years and only married for a short time. It is difficult for me to let go. I don't want this to destroy me but I have so much fear and anxiety about the future. I would so appreciate if you could answer these questions. Thank you again.

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    1. Dear Anon - First off, thank you for reading and for expressing such a sincere desire to handle this in the best way possible. That feeling right there is the beginning of everything else that is good.

      For an answer, please review a little bit of what I wrote in the comment section to another anon on this post http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2012/01/are-you-working-away-at-hard-marriage.html The question was somewhat similar.

      Regarding the guilt...you're probably being harder on yourself than anyone else is, I can assure you of that. That doesn't mean marriage shouldn't be fought for, or divorce isn't a big deal...but it does mean that once it's a decision made carefully considering the circumstances you (and no one else) were under...well then you have to dismiss the guilt, the fear, and the anxiety. You must move forward confidently in your new life. Please read this post as well to understand why you must learn to move past those negative feelings - http://www.ablogaboutlove.com/2011/11/from-danny-peace-is-closer-than-we.html. No, it's not always easy to dismiss the negativity, but ultimately you must or else there will be no peace...ever. I realized I could either feel uncomfortable about it for months and years, and carry it around like baggage for my next relationship...or I could begin now to feel the way I expected to feel 5 years later. Whether you move past the negativity now or 5 years from now or never...well that's up to you.

      Experiencing failure is not the same thing as being a failure. When someone asked why Thomas Edison if he felt like a failure with his attempts at creating the electric light bulb, he responded "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp."

      Regarding your statement "I don't want this to destroy me"...I understand that feeling. But with some additional reflection, you may begin to notice that you've placed the emphasis on the event instead of your reaction. It isn't the divorce that will destroy you, it is the inability to release the fear and anxiety, to forgive freely your spouse and yourself, and to move forward confidently, with hope for a brighter future and the faith and trust to pursue it boldly no matter how long it takes, knowing that in the end (and maybe the end is too far away...more like knowing that if you begin to learn and apply these things even tomorrow) you will be a stronger, better person. This is your chance to learn the kind of love that will forever make you a more compassionate woman. Why do you think I connected so strongly with Mara and she with me? It certainly wasn't over shared baggage. It was because both of us committed to a way of living that brought MORE love and joy into our lives.

      Notice everything I've said here is about an attitudinal shift. See the opportunity for growth, instead of the wall of fear and doubt and insecurity. You cannot control this circumstance, you can only control how you will react to it.

      I completely believe in you! So does Mara :) I hope you see what I've written here not as criticism in any way, but as honest answers to your very sincere questions.

      With Love,
      Danny

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  7. Your blog is like an addiction. I love reading and sharing the stories with my husband. I like so many have pains. Reading your blog inspires me to have my class half full not empty1 Just today when reading my devotion which talked about Heaven's Coming I was remind of God love for us, and that God knows the future COMPLETELY...kind of scary, but amazing at the same time. It is hard to see God being good to you in times of pain, but scripture says that you will view your present pain with very different eyes. When walking through the hard time we must remember to trust God's heart. Remember how good He is. Look back on who He is and what He has done for us and in us. And even when we don't understand why God is allowing you to hurt, choose by faith to believe that He is good and that you can trust Him (Journey, 1/23) What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory (God) will reveal to us later (Romans 8:18 NLT).

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  8. Mara & Danny, your blog is so inspiring! I'm curious as to what/who was the big turning point in Mara's life 5 years ago?

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  9. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
    YOU WILL BE BLESSED FOR YOUR SINCERITY
    AND LOVE.

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  10. I really do love your blog and look forward to reading it everyday. I have learned so much from coming here and thinking about the things that matter most and my relationship with God and my spouse. Thank you both for spending your time and energy in helping so many other people. Reading your words and advice has helped me to look beyond my own trials and try to make the best of myself and my life with what I have been given. I don't want to be a victim of my trials anymore, but to grow from them and learn how to move on. Thanks for all that you do and share. Reading the 3rd from the bottom paragraph in your post stopped me in my tracks for a minute ;). I'm glad that in my own little way I was able to help you see the good that you are doing for others. Keep up the good work!

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  11. I have just been introduced to your blog, and I am loving it. I went through a divorce a couple of years ago, and while it was the hardest time of my life, I learned so much, and am so grateful. I feel that same passion to help others with the things I have learned, because they are awesome! I am not totally sure how to do that yet, but I do it when I can.

    You two sound like an incredible couple. I actually just moved to NYC, so maybe we will run into eachother at some point. I would love to meet you both.

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