The Peace in Peace & Profit

This blog post is different than what I usually share.  But today marks nine years since my whole life felt like it was turned upside down when my step-mom passed away from a tiring battle with breast cancer.

In the beginning, the heartbreaking loss was almost the only thing I could think about, but as time passed, the sense of loss morphed into a reason to be better than I was and make the most of my time here. Instead of using my grief as an excuse to stagnate and be bitter at the world, for some reason I felt motivated to take what I had learned from the tremendous challenge and be of service with my experience. I chose to do that through business. The awareness I gained about the fragility of life, and the questions I asked myself about who I was, what I stood for, and why I was here, as a result of my step-mothers death, have helped put the Peace in Peace and Profit.

This grief helped me shape the lens I look through in business, because it shaped the lens I look through in life. Everything I write, my business philosophy, and my thoughts and opinions are influenced by this life changing loss. I decided today that I wanted to share a bigger piece of me with you, so you understand a little more about who I am, where I’ve come from and why I believe in encouraging whole-hearted entrepreneurial success with all my heart.

Also, today I would like to honour a woman who (without ever knowing it) has helped me develop a desire to do my part to change the world of business into a place where we, as entrepreneurs, seek a deeper definition of Success — one that includes integrity, contribution and our own unique values.

Mary passed from breast cancer the same way she lived — with love, beauty, and grace.

Mary came into my life when I was 8 years old. She loved my Dad, my step-sisters and her family with all her heart. Over the years I was lucky enough to spend with her as my friend and mentor, Mary taught me so many wonderful things. She taught me how to be an independent woman and balance my own cheque book, how to baste a turkey and make the world’s best mashed potatoes – the secret ingredient is a love of taking care of those special people.

Mary taught me how to sew and hem my own pants, how to clean a bathroom and make a margarita. Mary taught me and my closest friends that the definition of family is what you make of it around our dining room table every Sunday evening (dessert always included;) She taught me to be generous and that the most important thing money can buy is time together and experiences, resulting in the precious memories that mean the most when shared with those we love. She taught me to be ok with the fact that I laugh loudly (and dorky) at times because it means that my heart is laughing too, and that my smile lines are the most beautiful thing on my face so wear them proudly.

Mary taught me by example that life doesn’t always unfold the way we expect it to — sometimes its surprises are even better. She also taught me that life isn’t always fair but forgiveness is one thing that is in our control so hand it out generously- and resist the temptation to see yourself as unfairly treated.

Mary passed from this human form as the first bit of a gorgeous Spring displayed a colourful forgiveness. And I remember hearing the birds sing and seeing the beautiful flowers and trees blossoming amidst the tremendous pain I felt in my heart. I felt so thankful that she left us when the world was offering us so many lovely gifts to warm our weary hearts and minds–the trees didn’t spend a moment in resentment about the cold winter in the past– the seasons will change – that is inevitable, ends are beginnings lending way to beautiful new growth and healing, requiring both sunshine and rain necessary to allow for new life, all of it flawless and perfect in the evolution of nature, unfolding as if to a gentle peaceful piano melody.

Mary told us to look for her in butterflies and rainbows – and I feel her with each butterfly that flutters by and each rainbow that smiles over rainy days- But I feel Mary’s presence in lots of other things too as I go about my everyday; great music, fragrant flowers, cups of warm tea, people humming, my step-sisters’ eyes and smiles, when I cook a meal for those I love, when I hang Mary’s “I believe in Santa Claus” sign in my dining room in December, in people laughing authentically, and most strongly when Spring opens up in living colour reminding me that even after a cold, harsh, long winter – new growth and delicate blossoms are still possible.

I ask myself every year on this day what a life truly well lived looks like. And so far, I’ve come up with this answer –
A life truly well lived is the one spent most often in the sunshine of love, not the shadows of fear- the one spent as if every season is Spring in full bloom.

If you would like to read more on how this experience helped me in business, I’ve written an article on Forbes.com, How Grief Helped Me Build My Dream Business.
2 Responses to The Peace in Peace & Profit
  1. BuySellWordpress
    May 9, 2012 | 3:09 am

    That’s very nice that you had (and still have in your memory) such a person in your life, as Mary.
    BuySellWordpress recently posted..Photography WordPress ThemesMy Profile

  2. Annie
    May 18, 2012 | 1:57 am

    I actually salute all cancer survivors and for me, this is very inspirational post.. I just hope a lot of people can get inspiration from this..
    Annie recently posted..Travel TomatoMy Profile

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