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Inspiration: Rachel Macy Stafford Has a Hands Free Approach to Life

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Inspiration—In one of my favorite children books, Your Special Gift by Max Lucado (2006), Punchinello and his fellow wooden Wemmicks each receive special anonymous gifts when they wake up one day. As they go about their business, they meet a very tired family whose wagon has broken down in their town square. They all good-naturedly rush to help the poor folk, forgetting their gifts in a heap on the curb. Somehow, everything goes wrong and the family they are trying to help ends up worse off than before.

In an effort to solve the problem, they consult with their beloved wood-carver and caretaker, Eli, tells them, "Do the most what you do the best." Turns out, he was the one who gave them the gifts, things like a spoon for Hans the baker, paints for Lucia the creative one, etc. When they used the gifts Eli gave them, in expression of their talents and in service of others, everything turned out better. I recently came across a post that is the exact real-life counterpart to this story.

On Rachel Macy Stafford's HandsFreeMama blog, in a post entitled "Do What You Can Do," she writes about a recent tragedy in Indiana when strong winds collapsed a stage rigging for an outdoor concert onto a full crowd of people. This accident killed five people, injured 45, and impacted many more. She says, "As many terrified spectators understandably ran away from the danger and chaos, approximately 100 people ran toward it. With bare hands, men and women lifted steel beams and heavy scaffolding from the injured and frightened survivors. Other heroic bystanders sat and comforted those who were bleeding...until medical assistance arrived."

She continued to say, "If only one or two people had decided to go forth and help, the beams could have never been lifted. But because a group of individuals each did what they could do, their collective actions created one dramatic, life-saving impact."

Shortly after reading about that disaster, she had the opportunity to either run away from or run toward the need of other strangers. She made the decision to run towards it, "doing the best with what she did the most," which happened to be baking. To read how it turned out, read the post.

This post is one of many deeply emotional ones on HandsFreeMama, a site chronicling her "letting go" journey, "letting grasp what really matters." From a "breakthrough, breakdown" moment in her life came the insight and impetus to turn herself from a "compulsive Type A, massive to-do-list writing planner" into someone who takes a "hands free" approach to life. In other words, she decided to do one thing every day to let go of one daily distraction and place her focus on someone or something meaningful. The result was "profound," and her retelling of it, penetrating and sage.

Occasionally, we meet those people or come across those blogs of people that floor us with their amazing outlook on life, their amazing wit, or their amazing ability to transform ordinary pipe cleaners into works of art. Rachel Macy Stafford is one of those fully capable of flooring anyone by her amazing outlook on life, her perspective being at once truly passionate and relatable. She makes a difference by doing what she does best: solidifying emotions, writing about them, and inspiring others to define what matters most to them and "run towards" it.

What daily distraction will you let go of today that will allow you to place your focus on someone or something meaningful?

Photo courtesy of Hands Free Mama.

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