Tag Archives: life

The Pamela Positive: Michael J. Fox Says, “When the Unexpected Intrudes…”

“When the unexpected and inconceivable intrude on life, and it will…deal with life’s actual events–don’t obsess about perceived eventualities.  Relax–enjoy the ride.” – Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox is an actor and activist.  He has appeared in iconic roles including Marty McFly in Back to the Future and Alex P. Keaton in the TV show Family Ties.  He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991, revealing his condition publicly in 1998.  Since then he has been a powerful activist promoting research for a cure.  He has been married to actress Tracy Pollan since 1988, and they have four children.  Fox is also the author of three books, including the memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

One of the Top Things I Love About Our Interns: “I believe that perspective and point of view matter.”


Every intern at UniversalGiving as part of the hiring process and submits a writing sample.

That sounds simple, and yet it is so profound. Some interns post papers from school; I learn about a new international issue. Some submit creative writing.  Others provide a link to a blog. Each writing sample I read thoroughly, and I learn from them and about them.  

Below is one of my favorites from an intern this summer. This was a kind, good-hearted person who is already making a difference at her college. It’s heartfelt, true, real, and encouraging. She believes everyone’s story is important. So let’s read her profound words below, and cherish what she has to offer. I think she’s courageous.

I am an average women, Caucasian, blue eyes, blond hair, and of average height and weight. This is not the story, simply where the story is contained. From the beginning, my pen has been scratching at these never ending pages. Pages that have been stained with love, divorce, abuse, laughter, depression, anger, and kindness. 

My chapters have written of a fearless single mother who would do anything for her children, an estranged brother who over the years became a best friend, and a father who never knew how to be around. Some characters will stay through the end where others have made only guest appearances. The perfection of life is that our stories are not the same. 

Our skin, hair, or eyes may be similar. Some of my own words may have been written in your pages but it will never be the same entire novel, never the same chapters. I believe that this is what makes life, I believe that perspective and point of view matter. In life we must be comfortable in our own story so that we may accept others’ stories as real and true to them. 

My beliefs are my beliefs. They may be similar to yours but they may not be. We were made for our own story not someone else’s. We were made to tell of our own heart, put into our lives and the lives of others for reasons we may never realize until we skim those words again. 

My book has been bruised and beaten, sometimes put on pedestal, moved from place to place… Some have applauded it while others walked away from it. My story would be nothing without the others who have taken the pen for a while, some of the words have been hateful and degrading while others spoke encouragement and love. 

In both moments I learned who I wanted to be and how I wanted to be with others. I learned who and what I wanted to fight for, I learned it was your story that was what I wanted most of all. I wanted your story to stand up and teach people about their own lives so even when it has faded with time it will never be gone for you inspired people to write their own. You made mistakes and you claimed them, you fell down but you always stood back up. Maybe yours has been a song, a poem, a short novel but realize that you have never stopped writing. 

Every moment inked into life, it is your story I believe in, it is your story that matters. 

Beautiful Thoughts, Part 2

Beautiful Thought #2: Do not ever view yourself in terms of age.  
Don’t acknowledge it.
Further, do not buy into ‘that age of life’ whether teenage, young adult, senior.  You are you, with your own beautiful thoughts and experiences, not a generalization.  Likewise do not accept time periods such as midlife crisis or that you will have ‘aches and pains.’
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It’s a wrong classification of you.  Deny any suggestion of it.
It has nothing to do with you.    And it won’t do anything for you.   So don’t buy into it in your mind, or any conversation.  You do not need to act out as a teen, be tired as a mom, need more sleep as you get older, become frail in your 80s. If you have to be part of a conversation that discusses it, you can be silent.
Stay ageless; stay age unrelated.
Value yourself on your qualities, your joy, what you have to give.  Your mind, your intellect, your care of others or your job, or a hobby.  Value yourself on your commitment to excellence, or your kindness.
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You are not a number.  
You never were 
You are special.  

The Bundle of Sticks: “Union is Strength”

A certain man had several sons who were always quarreling with one another, and, try as he might, he could not get them to live together in harmony. So he determined to convince them of their folly by the following means. 
Bidding them fetch a bundle of sticks, he invited each in turn to break it across his knee. All tried and all failed: and then he undid the bundle, and handed them the sticks one by one, when they had no difficulty at all in breaking them. “There, my boys,” said he,”united you will be more than a match for your enemies: but if you quarrel and separate, your weakness will put you at the mercy of those who attack you.” Union is strength.
Oh, team, how special….Union is strength. First, who wants to go it alone? Can we really do something special, just on our own?


More and more that I live, I think not. Or at least, it is not as beautiful! To team up, to work together and synergize is inspiring. It is a strength. It is companionship and team cameraderie whether you are launching a blog, building a company, unloading the dishes with a family member, or playing lacrosse; you can’t do that on your own 🙂


Even further… Union can be a strength to one’s soul during tough times. When a team member doesn’t say a kind word… a  friend leaves… a war starts or a neighbor builds an emotional wall…


We need a team of people, of loving people, to support us, help us, bolster us up.


Don’t be a stick. Join a bundle.


Be strong, together and live with love.



Pamela Hawley is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving, an award-winning nonprofit helping people to donate and volunteer with top-performing, vetted organizations all over the world. Unique to UniversalGiving, 100% of all donations go directly to the cause.

Pamela is a winner of the Jefferson Award (the Nobel Prize in Community Service), and has been invited three times to the White House. Pamela was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and is an Expert Blogger for Fast Company and CSRWire. She is a philanthropy expert for the new TV show, Billions Rising.

Pamela is also an accomplished actress, improviser, dancer and singer with over 100 performances in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. She is trained by The Groundlings, a graduate of Upright Citizens Brigade, at advanced level Second City Los Angeles, and a BATS improv player. Pamela donates a portion of every show’s proceeds to UniversalGiving.

What You Can Learn About the Word “Can’t”

Silhouette of hiking man jumping over the mountains at sunset


For all the leaders out there, here is something we need to defend our hearts and minds from. It’s that simple word, “can’t.”
Edgar Guest’s poem “Can’t” is quite vigorous, but I think it is good to remind us how diligent we must be in defending our thought against any such suggestion. Please put up a strong defense; our  minds and hearts are so precious… you are precious.
When you feel approached by any sense of unaccomplishment, the “I-am-not-doing-enoughs,” feelings of inadequacy, remember that “Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying, and answer this demon by saying: “I can.”
Remember, dear reader, any suggestion of lack “bows to courage and patience and skill.”
Pursue on. You can do whatever you need to do today, step by step.
“Can’t” – a poem by Edgar Guest

Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man’s purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: “I can.”


Edgar “Eddie” Guest, also known as “People’s Poet”, was an England-born American poet whose career began in 1989. He came to the United States with his family when he was ten, and was naturalized shortly thereafter. Since his first published work in the Detroit Free Press, his over 11,000 poems were published in 300 or so newspapers as well as more than 20 books. From 1931 to 1942, he also served as a broadcaster for a weekly program on NBC radio, which in 1951 became a television series on NBC TV called “A Guest In Your Home”.

Because of his popularity in first half of 20th century, Guest was rewarded Poet Laureate of Michigan, the only poet in the history with this title in Michigan. This award, originally appointed by government or conferring institution, rewards poets who are often expected to write poems for special events and occasions. As a famed poet, he is constantly referenced to in popular culture, including being depicted in a badge worn by characters in the book “The Grim Grotto,” part of Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and being mentioned in the novel “I am Legend.”

Classic Pamela Positive: A Common Mistake is For Someone to Believe That They Can Love, but at the Same Time Have a Grudge. They Fool Themselves.

“A common mistake is for someone to believe that they can love God but at the same time have a grudge, resentment or ill will towards some fellow men. They fool themselves.

Christian Science Sentinel

Love is pure.


Love loves, and must do so as a flowing current…


If you have resentment, it obstructs the river.


If you have ill will, you can even stop the river.


So go heal yourself now.

Not someone else. Yourself.

You can’t change anyone else, and you can’t change the past. Neither of those are roles given to you by God, nature or any other power.

So stop taking responsibility for judging someone else. No one asked you to be the judge.

Instead, heal your own mind. Release the past, release this individual, and you will be free. And your heart will heal, be filled and flow.

And the river flows lovingly on….


She Didn’t Need to Ask Him For Anything

I have a group called my “Spiritual Friends.”  These are people with great hearts!  So we love to share inspiration.

Last night I read a prolific mini-biography on Catherine of Genoa, from the 15th century.


Her life was so different from the lives we live today.  She lived a very tough life, but, in the last part of her life — See how happy! How fulfilled!  How complete she is!   She is living and serving in Love. Her life is so complete, because she is fully loving.

So let’s learn from her and from her life… Here’s her brief story.

Catherine came from the prominent Italian Fieschi family. She originally wanted to join the convent.  Upon the death of her father at age 16, Catherine married a wealthy trader. He was also from prestige, having been connected to two Popes in his family.

It was not a happy union. He treated her most unkindly with a violent temper and relentless spending.  At times, she was distracted from her original spiritual devotion to God.


At one point in a church, she became so humbled and had a vision of conversion.  She became in constant union with God.  It was back to her original vision of wanting to be in a convent, in a way; she was tireless, obedient, loving. She became a mystic and saint, ministering to the poor with utmost servitude.

It was said about her: “Her love for God was matched only by her love for others.”

As you see below, she was so close to God — she didn’t need to ask him for anything. 

“May this be our prayer: “I do not want to turn my eyes from you O God.   There I want them to stay and not move no matter what happens to me, within or without.”

For those who trust in God need not worry about themselves. As I think about you, my spiritual children, I see that God’s pure love is attentive to all your needs. It is because of his tender love I need not ask anything of God for you.”  -Catherine of Genoa

Catherine of Genoa

Life’s and Teachings
“Her love for God was matched only by her love for others”
Bio: Catherine of Genoa was born in Genoa in 1447. Following an unhappy and abusive marriage, she was converted to Catholicism during a confession. Catherine of Genoa became a saint recognized for her work among the sick and the poor.