things feeling shit-full? it’s ok…

Posted on February 13th, 2013

I read The Art of Possibility a few years ago. It’s an odd book..I’m not sure that I get it entirely. But I like the way it’s sprinkled with little lessons, like this one below. It’s very much a “just because” read with no apology given for it’s odd format.

Image by Tierney Gearon

Image by Tierney Gearon

Anyway. The lesson:

Four young men sit by the bedside of their dying father. The old man, with his last breath, tells them there is a huge treasure buried in the family fields. The sons crowd around him crying, “Where, where?” but it is too late.

The day after the funeral and for many days to come, the young men go out with their picks and shovels and turn the soil, digging deeply into the ground from one end of the each field to the other. They find nothing and, bitterly disappointed, abandon the search.

The next season the farm has its best harvest ever.

This theme is going through my life at the moment. I spoke about it at my book launch. I shared that the most shit-full experiences in life always turn out to be a gift. Likewise, the stuff you dig down into – often out of shit-full necessity – so often becomes something fruitful in and of itself.

Like my autoimmune disease. It was certainly shit-full. Still is. I spent almost a year unable to work or walk (about four years ago). Which forced me to go over my life and dig down deep…and to blog about it…because I was forced to (I struggled to work in any other environment). My blog then became my livelihood and it has reaped a bountiful harvest in so many ways for me.

Of course, I didn’t foresee this at the time. But deep down I had faith… in something… and I kept tilling.

I hope that if you’re going through some shit-fullness that this might come of some comfort. Keep tilling…xx

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  • Ms Jane

    Morning! Thanks for this. My life is a Festival of Shit at the moment. Guess I’ll just keep on shoveling x

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Bring on the carnival !

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  • Soph

    I really needed to hear this, thanks Sarah x

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  • http://israelsmith.net Israel Smith

    Thanks Sarah, I can totally relate to this.

    My wife and I are only just starting to discover the inspiring upside of my shit-full bout of depression two years ago. It forced us to scale back our business dramatically, focus more on the bare essentials of what is important, and take much better care of my health.

    It has now given us a hugely inspiring adventure – a 12-18mth trip around Australia with out 2 kids in a bus, meeting and documenting the stories of people who have radically improved chronic health problems through diet and lifestyle as medicine.

    It’s also given me a daily photographic project to keep me positive and in a spirit of generosity (Inspirational Quotographs – http://ips.to/iq) and has given our main photography business a fundamental shift in focus and direction.

    All because a couple of years ago I was a freakin basket case who was losing his mind from stress, overwhelm and ultimately depression.

    Out of everything bad comes something good. :)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    How’s the depression these days?

    [Reply]

    Israel Smith Reply:

    I think it will always be a part of who I am, but I at least know how to manage it so it doesn’t have as much of an impact on my life. I get really crappy with combinations of poor sleep, poor food and/or too much workload.

    Occasionally it still has an impact… http://ips.to/1h “A Letter To My Daughter”

    BUT, fortunately that’s a rare thing these days.

    Thanks for asking. :)

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    Rachel Reply:

    Hats off to you. Brilliant website. I have just joined up!
    Of late, sadly, in Australia redundancies are common place. Many people do not know how to cope or what to do next. Everyone is obsessed with the ‘cost of living’ when in reality the reality is that we just want and expect too much. I admire what you have done.

    [Reply]

    Israel Smith Reply:

    Thanks so much Rachel! And welcome to the Daily IQ community :)

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    Ruth Reply:

    What a beautiful way if putting it Rachel. So many of us actually sign up for stress because we want too much too soon. I always love a quote from Buddhism which basically says if we never compare ourselves to anyone, we will never keep wanting new things. It is so true. Too many of us want the best house, the new car, the new clothes, great holidays etc etc. But at what cost – that we run ourselves into the ground, put stress on our kids and partners etc. we need to slow down and literally smell the roses.

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  • Nina Henry

    Hi Sarah – great blog thanks!

    My 50yo husband lost his battle with bowel cancer 3 days ago. The last 18 months were incredibly difficult as anyone could imagine, but we always continued to look for the positives through the really “shit-full” times.

    We never felt “Oh why did this happen to us?” I believe if you say that then you are wishing it onto someone else and that is such a “shit-full” thing to do.

    The battle made us reaffirm what we have always thought, and that is to be grateful for everything that you have in life, and whatever life throws at you, learn from it. xx

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Nina, that sent shivers through me. I send you lots of prayers for your loss and salute you for your gain. You sound very strong. I wish you even more strength during this challenging, BIG time xx

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    Kate Reply:

    Nina, your post resonates with me. My mother lost her battle with bowel cancer 5 years ago and I too think the same thing. She always told me, “you’re never given more than you can handle” and it is through these times, I think, that we grow.

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    kelly Reply:

    omg people, i feel for you, i really do…i lost my mother in law to cancer last April and my father was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer three months ago. Such a hard time but I have learnt so much from these very brave, beautiful people. Thinking of everyone who is going through this or has lost a loved one to this horrible disease.

    Sarah….i love your blog, please know it really does help

    xx

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    Kate Reply:

    Nima, my husband was diagnosed at age 31 with bowel cancer and spent 2 years fighting this insidious disease. I nearly lost him but thankfully he is still here and saw my eldest of 3 kids go to his first day of school last week. Bowel cancer takes far too many lives, far too quickly and isn’t given the funding, research nor attention it deserves. I don’t mean to say the wrong thing, I just want to acknowledge you and your husband and say I’m so sorry, sorry he’s no longer by your side but hopefully he’s not too far away and is watching over you now knowing that one day you’ll meet again. I’m sorry.

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    Nina Henry Reply:

    You haven’t said the wrong thing at all Kate xx

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  • http://www.livehealthysimply.com jessica nazarali

    A lovely reminder Sarah, thank you.

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  • http://svasti.wordpress.com Svasti

    Without a doubt. I like to say that these stories are useful after you’ve gone through a certain amount of the shitfulness. When you’re right there in the middle of it, it doesn’t even matter. Or something like that, because it can be too hard to hear above the din of the shit and crap we’re in.

    But yes… PTSD led to me becoming a yoga teacher and developing awesome-healthy boundaries. Hashimoto’s led me on a quest to heal my body. The two of them together made me realise that I’m meant to be doing service work in the form of healing and teaching yoga.

    On the 25th Feb I head off to India for a couple of months.

    When I get back, my plan is to study kinesiology – the other healing modality that’s helped me so, so much (with both PTSD and Hashi’s). The future will be teaching yoga, offering kinesiology services, writing and blogging. Finally… after too many years I’m doing the work I love and that I was born to do.

    But to be honest, I don’t know if I would’ve found my way if I hadn’t gotten so lost and so broken. So yeah, I’m super-grateful for it all. :)

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  • Little_k

    Thanks for this piece of reality Sarah. Currently battling my own autoimmune disease and feeling like everyone else has left the planet. And here I am….. insomnia has instead come to the tea party. I’ll just continue to throw the confetti and make some noise. I believe in moving forward.
    By the way, I bought the printed book on the weekend. Beaaaaautiful. It felt like picking up a sea shell from the beach and being instantly connected. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Ahhhh, a seashell. I like that. you’re lovely x

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  • Ian

    Sarah, after I read your post, I read this: “Grief is what cultivates the soil for the seeds of joy.”

    Hmmm…

    [Reply]

  • http://discombobula.blogspot.com Sue

    I had CFS for 13 years. I am still struggling with adrenal fatigue and with a condition I have since discovered I have called pyroluria. Treating the pyroluria has meant my body has begun to be able to detox what it hasn’t been able to in the past due to lack of enough particular nutrients like zinc and B6. Which is great – except for the fact that while my body is righting itself, I feel SO bad that I often lose hope that anything is happening at all and that life will be anything but very shitful. So at the very time when what is going on within me is indicative of great strides forward in the future, I can’t hold it as real because I feel so awful. So often lately I wonder what is the point of going on. I daydream about death. Not because I want to be dead but because I want to live, and this is not living. All of that may sound melodramatic but it is simply the truth of my experience.

    So thank you for these words today, Sarah. They mean a whole lot.

    [Reply]

  • Trish

    Thank you Sarah, I really needed this. I am so there with the shitfulness right now!
    After a 10 year battle with varying degrees of anxiety, agoraphobia and depression I have just been diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder and put on medication (hopefully only a temporary measure). I was really resistant to go down this route but all my attempts to manage my condition myself have proven unsuccessful and resulted in me living a very restricted and constantly fearful existence… And I know there is a life for me out there that is better than that.
    So whilst I am currently going through side effect hell and being told to just ride it out (easier said than done, especially when I can’t afford to stop working) it has reaffirmed what I would like to do with my life when it is back on track.
    It will take a lot of hard work, commitment and courage but if I can get through this I can do anything!
    Xx

    [Reply]

  • Mia Bluegirl

    I like this. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for crisis as they do for opportunity? I have it tattooed on the back of my neck, I love it so much.

    Which makes me sound all wise and Zen but really I got it from the Simpsons.

    [Reply]

    Christa Reply:

    Crisitunity!

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    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Exactly!

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  • http://ilikeiwishiheart.com Heidi

    Silver linings. Always. Lovely and timely post for me. Thank you! :)

    [Reply]

  • Little Ang

    My life is shit-full… and it’s been for four years. My hormones are failing and making my body think I am 20 years older- not cool when you’re 30. Bit by bit its affecting different parts of my body; ovaries, thyroid, now symptoms of type II diabetes as a result. In the past have never had a big sweet tooth, and my results were low on the sugar front – but thanks to IQS I became even more stringent and focused. Its been almost a year since I got your e-Books and my doctor says its exactly what I should be following.

    Although I need a daily small cocktail of meds –I am battling. Hard and strong. IQS saved me, helped me – without realising the positive effects I was giving my body in the bigger picture. Despite my body being in a shit-full state, I feel energised, fit, happy, non-moody or sleep-deprived and show none of the other symptoms associated with menopause.

    Sarah, you’re a Queen ruling life in the happy and positive approach to diet & lifestyle. I cannot thank you enough. Life is shit-full but I have faith, hope and belief.

    Thank you and Bless x x x

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  • Erin

    What another insightful post!
    My life is full of so many wonderful things but of late the transition that I am going through is taking its toll.
    I think for me to read this and realise that shit ful times are all ok and you will come out the other side a stronger person is very calming for me right now.
    I am trying to stop doing and just start being.
    Interestingly, I have noticed that the more you take care of yourself and invest in your own self care, the more you actually need!
    Is this something that you notice?
    x

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  • Kate

    Oh here’s cheers to the shit carnivals. 2013 has been crazy so far but I am choosing to keep tilling. I also, deep down, have faith in something and know that it will all be okay. I will be okay. Thanks so much for this Sarah!!

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  • http://www.mikewilde.com mw

    Noice !!

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  • http://www.ohgorgeousbaby.com.au Oh Gorgeous Baby

    Just wanted to say thanks, I needed to read something like this today. X

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  • http://www.ekougi.com EKougi

    Manure is great for your crops.

    [Reply]

  • http://cleancalmconditioned.com Mandy

    Sarah, what a great little story. I am reading this after spending nearly two years recovering from a head injury that left me similarly stripped of day-to-day activities (I also found giving up sugar to be incredibly healing). I am starting to see my little garden sprout. Thank you for this post.

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  • http://www.cassandrallen.blogspot.com Cassandra Allen

    Wonderful woman! thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    [Reply]

  • Sue

    Fantastic post, thanks. My child was diagnosed with autism a year ago – it’s my sadness/response that has been shitful. Anxiety about their future school experience/friends/bullying etc is crippling. Energy that could be better used to appreciate the everyday, here & now. Energy to accept their amazing qualities instead of feeling sorry for them.
    But I am on the right path, getting help & am sure somehow the parent journey will be my gift.

    [Reply]

    Mandy Reply:

    Dear Sue,

    My brother has Autism and my mother has been through more than her fair share of false hope and pain with regard to his diagnosis, though she handles it like a warrior. However, the reason I am commenting is because we just started a new protocol with him called MMS. See mmsautism.org. You can watch some of the videos and see that in the last two years, they have helped almost 100 kids fully recover from Autism. It is not expensive, which, frankly, makes it unattractive to big media. Kerry, the one who is speaking out about the protocol now tells us that my brother may not make as quick a switch as some of the younger kids because he is 22 now, but the younger kids on the protocol have seen changes for the better, sometimes in less than a month. It’s definitely worth checking out and if you would like to hear more about our experience so far, you can reach out to me in the “contact me” section of my blog: cleancalmconditioned.com.

    The best of luck to you with your child.

    Always,

    Mandy

    [Reply]

    Sue Reply:

    Thank you so much Mandy!! I will be looking into this! Really appreciate your comment!!

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  • Ange

    Such a well timed post, thank you Universe, thank you Sarah.
    My last 7 years has been a virutal washing machine shit-storm of emotions and events. Career change, my mothers illness and death from nasty cancer at 55, more career changed, more house changes and car changes, starting uni, starting new jobs, depression, injury, failing uni (when I should easily pass), family dramas, more house changes, job changes – I was completely unsettled….
    And just to complete the analogy mid way through last year my thyroid and i went through the spin cycle. But I kept digging away, knowing that I would get there.
    Then, finally, with my mum on my mind (she would have been 60 today – so young!) after a restless night last night, and then an ICQ chat with my best mate at about 11pm (as you do)
    I finished the cycle,
    and decided to quit Uni and just get on in my days, with my new job (that I love) and my last and final house (that I love) and with my network of family and friends (that I love). So all that tilling through the mire, has actually gotten me where I need to be.

    I awoke this morning freshly laundered and ready to live my new mantra.

    Just Be.

    How long it takes us to learn that as you are, it’s ok, to Just Be. That you will find more fulfillment in life, if you just let go of the need to always be ‘achieving’, and be.

    Again, thank you.

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  • http://holistichealingandcfs.wordpress.com amy

    Yep. Great post. I always try to focus on the positives suffering a chronic illness has brought into my life. I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today and living my passions, without it.

    [Reply]

  • Ro

    Hi Sarah,

    Really enjoy this website and your candid writing!

    Found this lesson out through sports injuries… dislocated several joints and had to sit on the sidelines for several months, and when I was finally able to get more active again, had to learn how to play in completely different ways… ended up being a blessing! Found and developed new strengths, and became a much more rounded athlete overall.

    Very inspiring post, my heartfelt best wishes to anyone else going through difficult times that you come out stronger on the other side, and thanks for sharing this reminder to keep growing and persevering. :)

    [Reply]

  • Jess

    Thanks Sarah for this post.

    While I don’t have a chronic illness or recently lost someone close to me, I’m battling an intense fear of public speaking which is proving to be seriously uncomfortable to overcome. I hope to look back one day and see it was worth it!

    [Reply]

    Nina Henry Reply:

    Anxiety can be so debilitating Jess. I think it is just as relevant as illness or the loss of a loved one. All the best x

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    Kelly Reply:

    Look to energy therapies Jess. You can get through this. x

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  • http://dogrosehealing.com.au Kelly

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It’s hard to remember that in those dark moments.

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  • Lee

    yep… crap-fully pushing through life at the moment. I know there is truth in what you write – but gee, it really doesn’t feel like it at the moment. Tara Brach reminds me to say “This too shall pass” (perhaps like a motion…hee hee)

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  • Vonni

    Thanks for writing this, I needed it, I just got fired this week and am trying to be positive even seeing it as a career change.

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  • Jody

    Hi Sarah,
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer last October and have nearly finished treatment.(mastectomy and chemo) Not where I thought my life was going at 44. Facing your own mortality is true shit- fullness. I have never smoked and don’t drink and eat well…….except for sweets! (Saying that I ordered your book a week ago and look forward to it arriving.) It has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. The unconditional love and support from our friends has been overwhelming. I have an amazing husband and 2 beautiful little girls who deserve to grow up with their mum. My own mum passed away at 46 and I know how that changes your life. Life for me has changed and it has definitely been for the better. I am doing all those things I could only talk about for years – regular exercise, meditation, yoga and reconnecting with friends from the past and present. I cannot wait for the rest of my life. I wish you love health and happiness x

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  • Karen

    Hi Sarah,

    I stumbled upon your website and read your shit-full post and something resonated with me. I’ve had a shit-full for the past number of years and this morning I sat before my ‘study to do for the day’ and cried whilst I thought about how much shit I’ve been going through recently. As I was searching for the Chemistry lectures I was ‘supposed to read’, I found an old art folder with a misplaced document with notes of an old town I used to live in.

    For half an hour I sat and continued to cry whilst typing what came to mind about how I used to enjoy where I lived, enjoy my relationships and basically enjoy life, and of times sitting with the sun on my face and bathing in the scent of summer and flowers.

    I realise now as I type this that after reading your shit-full post I have started to till one of my fields and might have a way of expressing my shit, through the written word.

    So now next question is how to keep going? Maybe I’ll start a blog (haven’t a clue how) or write short stories or poems about what’s been happening? Reading your post and your having a mooch on the.world.is.your.oyster website too, I feel reconnected to positive parts of who I have become and ideas I had a long time ago that might have been covered in my shit.

    Thanks for helping me see I’ve been digging and that with digging I could do something to help me shovel some of it away . xx

    Karen

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  • http://www.reikalein.com Reikalein

    This is definitely something I can relate to. I had a relapse of glandular fever a year and a half ago – I still claim that’s what it is even though all five doctors I visited disagreed and threatened to yank my tonsils out if I refused their antibiotics – and I’ve had crippling symptoms once a month since. Accurately speaking, I HAD. Now I’ve finally entered the recovery phase.

    Funnily enough, it’s through nutrition that I’ve managed to heal myself. Like you. I am in touch with a specialist who told me my immune system was not weak but, rather, over-reactive. Giving up sugar was on her list of things to do, but I had started with that already thanks to you. I am also taking African herbal pills, much to the horror of my biochemist friends, and the combination of the pills and diet change are giving me my life back!

    I’ve always been very interested in the power of food (what you eat and what you DON’T eat), but your journey as well as my own have inspired me to look into this as a potential career path. I am still contemplating the IIN course you did. The alternative would be a full degree in nutrition….

    What I’m trying to say is that I agree with you and am inspired by you. If I ever become as established as you are in not only my writing but also in influencing others to pursue health over hedonism to reach long-term well-being, my suffering will not have been in vain!

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  • Gracious

    Wonderful reminder Sarah to come into balance, knowing that effort reaps its rewards.

    With awareness – faith – acceptance and learning to love/like our selves, warts and all, life is OK.

    Reading ALL the amazing comments from a truck-load of courageous strong people, I am reminded of one fav quote [could be from Course of Miracles?]

    Its not WHAT we experience
    Its HOW we respond
    and what we GAIN from it

    or When we seek, and focus on ‘the gift/lesson/awareness’ in any experience
    we can indeed, respond to what the experience can ‘teach/show’ us -
    instead of reacting to the Tragedy/Crisis and so forth. Big difference in outcome eh!

    Having previously had cancer and the chronic body-change this has bought me, I am actually grateful for the experience and what it has and is still teaching me. I now live a healthy life style, am learning to be kind and gentle with myself, so everyone benefits from this and so forth……

    from Shit-Full ….. to deLIGHTful when we consider the ‘shift’ we can experience

    Blessings/Blissings for this so positive blog

    [Reply]

  • Gracious

    p.s. THANKS heaps for Chicken Soup info and Vegies Recipe. Just got added to my days …. :-D

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  • Karen

    Thanks Israel,

    I managed to get myself a little blog and put a few posts on there, a little nervous about going public with them, trying to be a little braver. I’ve also sent you a little help request via your own blog.

    Liking the picture quotes too.

    Karen

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  • http://www.fittobeseen.blogspot.com Dee

    Up to my eyeballs…
    Thanks!
    xo

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  • Julietta

    This is so timely for me! Thank you Sarah :)

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  • Steph

    Only last week I was so content with life, everything was in its place. Then… BAM!! A fricking shit storm of shit-full-ness. I needed this post, cheers!

    [Reply]

  • Kate

    I’m probably including my comment a little late … but the timing of this post was very appropriate for me. After becoming pregnant at the end of last year at the age of 44 through IVF, I recently lost my baby at 16 weeks (two days before this post appeared).

    I therefore just wanted to echo the sentiments of so many others who participate in this blog by saying that Sarah, you are truly an inspiration in the way you help to guide so many of us to good health and, perhaps more importantly, a greater understanding of ourselves and ways to deal with some of the more difficult aspects of life. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Little Ang Reply:

    Dear Kate,
    I’m so deeply sorry and I cannot begin to imagine your pain and heartache. Stay strong and thank you for sharing this on Sarah’s blog.
    This site lets us voice our fears, pains, trials and tribulations- thank you Sarah for inspiring us all to keep going in life…. especially in times when things feel utterly shit full.

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    Thanks Little Ang – it’s really nice to be able to connect with people so directly in this way! And I’m continually amazed by how many of the comments resonate with me. It is definitely inspirational.

    [Reply]

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  • https://gitorious.org/~andreaglopez2013 Estela

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really
    enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

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