If you watch the news (which I don’t – too depressing!), you’ve probably heard that the country going through a crisis, that people are losing their houses, that a lot of people are suffering. Maybe you are one of them, or maybe you’re just scared of becoming one of them. But whatever your situation, I want to remind you not to lose your spirit. Not to become bitter. Remaining open to other people and sharing what you have – even if it isn’t much – is hugely rewarding. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always someone worse off than you. And even if you feel you have nothing to give, you do. You have your time, your spirit, your energy. There is always a way to help make the world a better place. And if you believe in karma, which I do, doing good things will bring good things back to you.

Yes, there are people out there who will exploit your generosity. Yes, there are people who will take you for granted, who will use and abuse you, who will not be there for you when you need them. But that’s THEIR problem, not yours. You take care of you, and always try to be the best person you can be, and the rest will take care of itself.

I know this from personal experience. Ten years ago, I was beyond poor. I was actually homeless – and a single mother too -- after a couple of bad relationships, a constant struggle to find and keep childcare…the type of problems so many people face. But even when we were at rock bottom, my kids and I never gave up. We never lost our spirit. We remained the same people we always were, we pulled together, we didn’t cut ourselves off from others, and we came out of it stronger than when we went in.

It all depends on your attitude, I guess. For me, poverty was a challenge, not a sentence. I learned to scrimp and save and make the most of every penny. I learned to take stock of myself, of my strengths and weaknesses, and make a plan. And when I began to succeed, having been poor – having NOT had it all – made my success that much sweeter. I truly appreciate it and can feel pride in my accomplishments, because I know how far I have come. And I know I did it on my own.

No matter where you are in life, know that it can and WILL get better if you let it. And know that as a citizen of this planet, you are still obligated to reach within yourself to try to find a way to give back, to help make it better for someone else. You can't help someone who isn't ready to be helped…but you can always find a way to build, grow, improve, or enhance the world around you. Through art, through music, through volunteering or just through simple kindness, you can make a difference. We all can, even in the toughest times.

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