Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Hi. My name is Annis, and I’m a hope-and-positivity-aholic. But I won’t lie. These last ten days have thrown me down. Down is foreign to me, as foreign as a speck in my eye, as foreign as Greek road signs. Down is heavier than a lead suit.

I gave myself a day to wallow. I sobbed in disbelief and sorrow. And I took the defeat personally. While out for a walk, I scanned the faces of approaching hikers, wondering whether they had voted against “me.”

My daughters phoned. They happened to be together in D.C. that week. “We just wanted to see our mama,” one said.  Then, the three of us sat on Face Time, shaking our heads, moaning our disappointment, trying to fathom what had just happened.

On Day Two I started doing the things that usually get me through a crisis. I talked to Judy about my feelings and fears, spoke with like-minded friends, and wrote in my journal. I walked, meditated, saw an inspiring movie, surrendered to the power of poetry. My coping mechanisms started to work. The gloom began to lift – but, as my mom, Ms. Ruthie, would say, as “slow as molasses in January.”

Donnel posted a poem by David Whyte on Facebook, “Despair”. A couple of safe Facebook groups, in which people wrote of their fears and feelings, shared their stories, and propped each other up with encouragement and validation, sustained me.

New friends from the summer writing workshop, Glint of Light, began to share poetry. Zia, one of our Canadian friends reached out first with a poem by John O’Donohue, which she offered as a blessing. Its beautiful ending, “May your soul calm, console, and renew you.” And soon more of the group wrote, sharing the poems of Neruda and Piercy, and telling of their own feelings. Each post became a soothing balm for my heart.

Time with my local writing groups, my buddies, buoyed me up with their words and friendship -- and a bit of wine and cheese and homemade cookies.

And finally, I am able to write without ranting. Ten days. Ten days passed before I could sit down and be that hope-and-positivity-aholic again. I sure missed that woman!

As horrible as these past days have been, I see actions that send me back to HAPA-land. People are talking. Conversations about the government, the political system, and the fact we have become complacent and lazy, leaving the heavy lifting to others. Groups are mobilizing to create change, long-needed change, at the local and state levels. Our attention has been grabbed. School boards, city councils, state and US congressional representatives will hear our words.

Folks are saying, “I will be bolder. I will stand up for other people. I will be a safe person for anyone who is harassed or afraid or needs a safe harbor.”

A small and commonplace thing, the safety pin, has taken on new meaning, has become a symbol of solidarity, love, sanctuary. A middle school teacher reported one of her students asked about the safety pin she wore. “It shows I‘m a safe person and here to help anyone who needs it.”

Her explanation opened the door for him to tell her he was hungry, his parents hadn’t filled out the necessary reduced lunch application, and he had no money. Now, this teacher began to understand him. She had an idea why her student was behind in his work, didn’t complete assignments. She bought his lunch. Within days, he appeared with the forms.

Clearly, the safety pin is not merely – as someone in the blogosphere wrote – “a way for White people to make themselves feel better.” It’s a signal of solidarity, compassion, and love for others.  It’s a small thing that can have an impact.

Standing strong and together, we can make it through these frightening times, through inevitable upheaval and chaos. Let our enthusiasm reign, our voices be heard, and our good intentions transform into actions that support and uphold each other. Commitment. Conversation. Hope. Positivity.  
                                           ~ xoA ~


  1. I am truly sorry you (and others) have experienced so much despair and anguish over recent events. Do you have any idea why these feelings were so intense and so widespread, why there has been such an unprecedented, extreme reaction to these events?

    I'm glad you're beginning to peek over the edge of the abyss you've fallen into and have begun to feel the sunshine again.

    The great thing about life is that it changes - and that will never change.

    Although I don't wear a safety pin, I consider part of my Path to be that of a healer, helper, & protector of people wherever there is need. I go out of my way to fulfill this part of my Vision... it's a driving force in my life.

    I've found that people with this as a clear Path in life often attract those in need... something about their aura I suspect.

    Remember this... where there is life, there is hope... always.

    May you find the endurance of mind, strength of spirit, and source of eternal happiness I know runs in your blood.

    1. Sandra, thank you for your thoughtful and caring response. For me, the devastation is wrapped in the knowledge that the country elected a person for the highest office in the land in spite of his apparent morals, racism, treatment of women, narcissism, and inexperience. The surprise that he appealed to so many people, some of whom I know personally. All of it is completely opposite of the world I thought I lived in.So it's a matter of my belief, my view, being turned upside down. A friend put it like this recently, "I feel like a stranger."

      But, as I wrote, I am feeling more hopeful as, for many, there's rekindled and new interest for many of us who had stagnated. Folks are standing up for each other and speaking out. And the young people are ready to get involved. Out of every thing some good does come. xoA

  2. 10 days - that seems like a lifetime for a person that is so very optimistic and always has the glass 1/2 full. I felt the same despair and still do, although a little less each day. By reading you your post, you have given me the words of 'stand and be counted'. Be counted in a positive way, not negatively. We certainly need to be vigilant and participate. Thank you for your words of thought and support through the days ahead.

    1. Dear Michelle ~ I'm glad if sharing my journey helped you know you're not alone. Yes, we do need to be vigilant and participate. Thank you, honey, for your comments. xoA

  3. Annis, I also feel the despair and my heart is heavy still. I was mostly floored that so many of my fellow Americans, some are friends, would follow a person of such low and base ideas (can't call them ideals) I fear for the First Amendment and many other freedoms which are so important to me and to those dear to me, and other Americans! I am an optimistic happy person, but I'm not there yet! Thanks for saying what I was feeling. Lurlyn

    1. Lurlyn, thanks for writing, my dear. Yes, you are not alone in your feelings of heavy-heartedness and concern over many of our freedoms. I'm glad if my sharing let you know this. Take care. xoA

  4. Each of us handles the grieving process in different ways. It is encouraging to know how others feel and how they handle their grief. Thank you for sharing the initial steps of your journey to acceptance. XOD

    1. You are welcome, dear Dennis. It does help to see others' journey, sometimes paralleling our own and sometimes showing us a different way. Thanks so much for your comments. xoA

  5. I've had trouble re-connecting with people whom I considered friends who openly supported "He who shall not be named" (Lord Voldemort - Harry Potter fans?). Still am. I would like to have conversations with them to better understand their thinking and feelings in a civil way, yet am not yet ready to do so. My own "How could you when you know my 31-year life partner and me?" feelings are still a bit raw.

    I'm not so worried about the top guy. It's the people he's choosing for top positions, his young family, and the upcoming Supreme Court justice(s) in the next 4 years who scare me more.

    Poetry and writing don't resonate for me as a healing process. Fortunately, many of my associations are life and other-designated coaches and conversations with them are helping me.

    1. Sylvia thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I have friends who openly supported "the electee" and some who stayed silent and supported him. These are people whom I've known for years and years. So, it's been difficult to wrap my brain around what feels to me a difference in values, values that I had thought we shared.

      Like you, I would love to sit down and have a conversation to gain some understanding of their thinking on this. Or maybe it was an emotional response. One person wrote she had observed the country spiraling downward for the last eight years. Wow.

      And yes, big concerns over the ones being designated for top positions. While everyone chosen and hinted at so far has been unbelievable, we teachers are aghast over the Secretary of Education appointment.

      I am glad you have your coach folks in your life. Talking with rational people does help so much.

      Meanwhile, whatever each of us can do to be actively involved in voice and deed will make the country stronger.

      Hugs and thanks, Sylvia. xoA

  6. Hi Annis,

    Yes, it's been a tough couple of weeks. I left the country a couple of days after the election, still in shock over who our next president shall be and the potential he has to shape our country with his appointments. Everyone I talked to in England, where I traveled for a book launch, asked about our elections and I felt this huge embarrassment to be an American. Even Bush's election didn't cause me to feel this bad about our country's collective intelligence and ability to think beyond our own borders. But the people with whom I spoke also talked about their own country's difficulties with Brexit and what this all means for democracy in general. Even as I feel frightened for our future, my husband and I have talked about what we are going to do to effect change: volunteer more, be less quiet when there is controversy. And most of all, keep having conversations with everyone.

    1. Hello, Kathleen ~ I can just imagine some of those conversations you had with the folks you met in England! And I totally agree: we keep talking with people and showing up to do our part. Thanks for taking the time to comment. xoA

  7. I've felt so totally at sea about different elections here and there. I wanted to understand the process and the parties. Strange to say, the answer to my problem was Rush Limbaugh. He explains the process, educates us about what is happening. I don't agree with all he says, but he was the answer to my prayer for knowledge and understanding of the electoral process in our country. My peace of mind over what happens in DC is a real blessing. Otherwise, I'd be running scared and crying my eyes out.

  8. Thanks for your comments and for the information about the explanation you got from Rush Limbaugh. I would not have thought of him as a source. Great that you were able to gain peace of mind by understanding the process. xoA