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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

870184400I’m writing from my cozy home in the rural lands outside of Portland heading towards Christmas. It’s the first non-school day of vacation for my 9 y.o. great nephew who sits beside me exploring you tube and his new-found love of Michael Jackson music. With evening “dance offs”, and morning rides to school listening to the king of pop… it tends to lead to an upbeat outlook on winter. Some of you may not be so fortunate, perhaps suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), experiencing the tragic and scary wild fires of California, perhaps just sat in the Atlanta airport for 10 hours with no electricity, are in the bitter cold in some part of the country, or are not doing well in your health and/or employment and/or home/personal life. And others on this beautiful and bountiful planet, sadly, have even far greater challenges with shelter, safety and food.

This time of year for many, is a time of reflection, gratitude, hope and generosity. When I drive around Portland, it’s all too easy to briefly witness those amongst us who are not doing well… those living in a flimsy tent next to the freeway, those standing in line to get a hot meal and a bed at a street people’s mission, or the midlife homeless woman pushing her shopping cart loaded with her current belongs in an array of aging plastic bags. Others suffering are far away in distant lands and war torn, abuse of power or food shortage countries; others are close to home, perhaps in our own family suffering mental illness and/or drug addiction. The amount of people in need goes on…….. and on….. and it can at times feel fatiguing to continue to reach out to offer some sort of generosity…. but we must: a dollar to the man on the freeway off ramp; a donation to the local food bank (in Oregon, the Oregon Food Bank) ; a micro loan to women and men trying to carve out a small business in their village/township (KIVA) ; a donation so that a family can purchase an animal to add to their livestock and livelihood (the Heifer Project); a donation to women in need of shelter and safety from their abusive partner (your local woman’s shelter). Our generosity adds up, and these organizations and services that provide this kind of support to our fellow human beings provide essentials to those in need.

I’m privileged, I’m healthy, I’m fortunate. And… I’m deeply grateful for my good health, the work and career that I am able to succeed at, my friends and family, the comfortable and sweet life and home I have been allowed to create. My donations are in the mail, some singles are in my wallet for the next on ramp, and the goodwill bags are ready to roll out the door. But most of all, I will continue to do what I can to expand my capacity for empathy and compassion.

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