Berni Xiong (shUNG)
“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
I used to think that “taking the high road” or “turning the cheek” meant suppressing my feelings of hurt and anger to avoid unnecessary banter or a hostile confrontation. After embracing that mindset for over 30 years, I developed social anxiety and manic depressive bouts. I attracted a lot of bullies and toxic relationships. Major health issues, triggered by these stressors, nearly took my life in 2008. Though I’ve never felt healthier in my life today, perhaps a part of me died on that cold November day many moons ago. To waken the warrior inside of me who would then give me permission to use my voice. Thinking back on all of the decisions I have made—both good and bad—that led me on this path that joins us here today, I think of Helen Keller’s quote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Believing that you can make a difference in this world is only half the battle. The other half is taking deliberate action. Acting “out of fear” is poison. Act “in spite” of fear and you will live with greater purpose and passion.