Walking the Talk

Blog the blog“I challenge you to make your life a masterpiece. I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.” ~ Tony Robbins (Self-help author and motivational speaker)

More than 20 years ago, a colleague told me I was “the most negative person” she knew.

Two phrases come to mind when I think of that moment:  (1) “The truth hurts,” and (2) “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” That biting, semi-truthful remark just about killed me then. It didn’t though, and today I try to use it to make me stronger.

For the last umpteen years on New Year’s Eve, I’ve said to myself, “The year that starts tomorrow is going to be the year of more and less.” Under the heading of  “More,” I place to love, learn and laugh.  And under the heading of “Less,” I file to worry, complain and be snarky.  Unfortunately, for the last umpteen years on New Year’s Eve, I’ve reviewed my performance over the course of the year that’s about to end and I’ve been disappointed. More and less

Last year, I had a rude awakening. My perspective on life changed dramatically when my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer early in the year. My grandfather — my dad’s dad — died at age 77 shortly before my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. My Dad was 77 and my parents’ 50th anniversary would take place in December … if my Dad made it. The terrifying similarity of the situation had me living day to day asking, “Will Dad survive?” I think I went through four of the five stages of grief in about 20 minutes. 😆 I’m not sure I ever got to the final stage — acceptance.

Throughout the year I went back and forth to NY, where my folks live, to help out my Dad and “spell” my Mom. Initially, I was reluctant to do it. I didn’t like being separated from Gary or the idea of leaving him alone to fend for himself; I didn’t like having to “look after” my Dad as if he were a child and I didn’t like being taken out of my comfort zone and disrupting my routine. Gary, whose father died very suddenly when Gary was 12, turned out to be the voice of reason. He said, “You don’t know how much time you’re going to get with your parents, Daph, so go.” And go, I did. What happened over the course of those months and the days I spent in NY was that I realized how very, very wonderful it is to be of service to those who matter to you and how very, very happy you can make those who you serve.

With that in mind, about three weeks ago, on December 31st, I swore nine ways to Sunday that 2013 was going to be the year in which I made my life a masterpiece as Tony Robbins defines it.

I’ve never wanted to be a nasty, snippy person, but it seems that it comes more easily to me. (Are ya with me here?)  It’s Day 23 of the New Year now and I concede I haven’t been entirely successful in making my life a masterpiece. Then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But, no excuses… .

Smile! It Makes People Wonder ...

I also know, though, that on several occasions on which I’ve felt the urge to be sarcastic, I have taken the high road and kept my thoughts to myself. And, I’ve been more mindful of my lapses and consequently, my fits of snarkiness are less frequent and don’t last as long as they once did.  I’ll be damned if I’m not going to prove my former colleague wrong about me.

But it takes a lot of energy.

Last week, in a phone call with my Mom, I commented that I was feeling overwhelmed from continually fighting my gut instinct to be negative. Reflecting on my words, I have to laugh. “Mom,” I said, “This ‘being nice’ thing is exhausting!” 😀

Leave a comment


  1. Great post Daph. I have to say that all Masterpieces are a work in progress at some point and just look at it that way–ridding yourself of negativity isn’t going to happen over night and a Masterpiece takes time to perfect. Hang in there–and get plenty of rest.

    Also–it is wonderful that you were able to go help your parents when then needed you. Being in service to others is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

    Cheers, Jenn

  2. Daph, being snarky isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. As long as you can balance it out with niceness, or even tip the scale more toward being nice, being snarky on occasion is perfectly fine. Especially if it relieves the pressure a bit!

  3. Lovely post. I could relate to the story of your dad so much. My dad died 3 years ago. I was with him through the last hours of his life – to comfort him and remove the worries from his mind. He also lived with me so I had him for all my life. Best thing I ever did. For months after I wondered about the meaning of life and lived in a kind of daze. In the end for myself I concluded that life is simply a short term journey and that it takes us to the places that our attitude determines. Thanks for sharing a part of your life. Blessings to you. I wish you peace and happiness.


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