Archive for John Petropoulos Memorial Fund Posts

Map of Heartbreak – Loss as a Catalyst for Change

 

“What breaks your heart? The warrior knows that her heartbreak is her map. It will lead her toward her purpose, her tribe.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton, “Hurts So Good” article, O Magazine, Feb 2017

Pain as Fuel

In her article, “Hurts so Good,” author Glennon Doyle Melton wrote about a group of women in Iowa who had all lost an infant – and started an organization called “Healthy Birth Day,” with the goal of lowering the stillbirth rate in their state.

“Instead of withdrawing after their losses,” explained Melton, “or finding ways to disconnect from the magnitude of their suffering, they ran straight toward it. Their pain became their fuel. Their courage saved others from the misery they’d experienced.”

This is similar to how we chose to proceed in the aftermath of my husband, John’s, death as the result of a preventable fall at unsafe workplace. By “we,” I am referring to the police officers who started the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and all the people who have (and/or still do) work for, volunteer with, or lend support to the Fund in some way.

In the early years, pain and anger certainly fueled our passion and guided our purpose. Nothing we did could bring John back but we all agreed that the workplace safety campaigns were better than doing nothing at all. We will never know the number of lives we have saved, or the injuries we’ve prevented…and we’re okay with that.

Would I recommend this path to others in a similar situation?

Hmmm…

Working closely with the JPMF to help raise public awareness about why and how to ensure workplaces – and the roads – are safer for everyone, including emergency responders has been my path, yes. I knew in my heart and soul, very early on, that workplace safety was an issue that I would need to tackle.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

But being a workplace safety advocate did not come without sacrifice in other areas of my life. The time, money, effort, love, and attention I put into the JPMF meant there were other areas of my life that didn’t get that. And that’s okay. I chose the path I did…every moment of every day. I have no regrets.

However, now that I have 17 years of experience behind me, I can safely say that trying to transform a tragedy into positive change so that others don’t have to experience similar suffering comes at a cost. We cannot do it all.

“Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth.”

– Anthony de Mello, Awareness

Thankfully, we get to choose how to respond to whatever loss we have experienced…and forge our own way forward. So regardless of whether we allow loss to be a catalyst for growth and change for ourselves and/or for others, just remember:

“Allow heartbreak to guide you at every turn.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton

When the love in your heart is your road map, you cannot go wrong.

Related blogs by Maryanne

Chick in the Road

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

Maryanne’s Chicago Presentation on You Tube

 

“In order for us to achieve excellence in our lives we must ask ourselves this simple, but powerful question throughout every day – What’s Important Now?”

– Brian R. Willis, Life’s Most Powerful Question

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may recall I was in Chicago in April. I was one of 9 speakers at WINx – which is a TEDx Talks style event for growth and advancement of the law enforcement profession.

WINx is produced by Brian R Willis of Winning Mind Training Inc and Roy Bethge of the Virtus Group.

My presentation was entitled, Behind the Scenes of a Line of Duty Death – a Police Widow’s Perspective

I spoke about John’s fall and the subsequent workplace safety education initiatives of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. Then I did a post-game analysis of sorts, looking at our reaction to John’s easily preventable death from the perspective of the “What’s Important Now?” question.

“The simple act of stopping to ask this question causes us to briefly pause while our mind imagines the impact of the choices we have and almost immediately brings to mind the most desirable choice. When I say most desirable I do not mean the choice that will give us the most immediate gratification. I mean the choice that will have the most positive impact for us in our lives, based on the foreseeable future. This one powerful question allows us to prioritize decisions, choices, actions, and events in our personal and professional lives.”

– Brian R. Willis, Life’s Most Powerful Question

I also touched upon the challenge of knowing which answer to listen to, when we do stop and ask ourselves, “What’s Important NOW?” Often our monkey mind chatter – and the influence of others – is far louder than the quiet voice we need to be listening to.

“Some call that voice intuition; others say it’s God, or wisdom…the point is, what we call it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that we hear it.”

– Glennon Doyle Melton, O Magazine, July 2017

To view the 20-minute presentation, here is the link.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

The Question That Took Me to Chicago

Dealing with Dread & the Benefits of Being Back in the Saddle

The Chick in the Road

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

The Question That Took Me to Chicago

 

MA having her first slice of Chicago deep dish pizza, WINx Chicago, Apr 2017

“What if there was no secret but there was a question? Not just any question…Life’s Most Powerful Question: What’s Important Now?”

– Brian R. Willis, Winning Mind Training Inc.

What’s Important Now?

The question, “What’s Important Now?,” can serve as a guide to help us prioritize the choices and decisions we are faced with every day. It is a question that can help us overcome life’s challenges, obstacles and road blocks.

Brian Willis first heard about the question (represented by the acronym W.I.N.) while reading the book Winning Every Day by the famous college football coach Lou Holtz. Coach Holtz used to remind his players at Notre Dame to ask themselves this important question throughout the day.

“There is a powerful lesson to be learned from ‘Coach’ for all of us,” explains Willis. “Every day during our personal and professional lives we are faced with a number of critical choices and decisions. Our responses to those choices, the decisions we make, have a lasting impact on our health, our relationships, our careers and our finances.”

In order for us to achieve excellence in our lives, Brian suggests we ask ourselves this simple, but powerful question throughout every day – What’s Important Now?

Why?

Because the simple act of stopping to ask this question causes us to briefly pause while our mind imagines the impact of the choices we have and almost immediately brings to mind the most desirable choice.

“When I say most desirable I do not mean the choice that will give us the most immediate gratification,” Willis explains. “I mean the choice that will have the most positive impact for us in our lives, based on the foreseeable future. This one powerful question allows us to prioritize decisions, choices, actions, and events in our personal and professional lives.”

The reason “What’s Important Now?” is such a powerful question is that it is about both the present and the future.

Brian Willis is a mentor of mine – and a good friend. Interestingly, our paths crossed before we did. Brian was a Calgary police officer who trained my husband, John, when he was in recruit class. After John’s death, Brian and his lovely wife, Lynda, became strong supporters of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund…and of me, personally.

Brian first introduced me to the “What’s Important Now?” question more than a decade ago. And the older I get, the more often I find myself utilizing it as a powerful tool throughout my day.

Brian recommends we ask ourselves this question 35 to 40 times throughout our day – and I suspect I am probably getting pretty close to doing just that.

Why? Because it works like a charm to help keep me on track with what is REALLY important in any given moment or situation.

For more information about What’s Important Now, please visit the W.I.N. website. And I highly recommend signing up to receive Brian’s weekly blog via e-mail.

Which brings me to Chicago…

When Brian and his colleague, Roy Bethge of the Virtus Group, asked me to be one of nine speakers at WINx Chicago 2017 in late April – a TEDx Talks style event for growth and advancement of the law enforcement profession – I immediately said yes.

Our presentations could only be 18 minutes in length…which was a real challenge! But I did it. We ALL did 🙂

And the experience of being part of WINx 2017 was amazing. It was an opportunity of a lifetime…and I am so glad I had the courage to embrace it.

All of the talks were filmed and will be shown on You Tube. Here is the link to the 2016 WINx talks.

And since I was in the Windy City anyway…

For those of you know me personally, this won’t surprise you in the least – but since I was in Chicago for work anyway, I figured I might as well extend my visit a few days to see the sights. Lynda Willis joined me and we had a blast, roaring around the streets of Chicago!

Here are a few pics from the fun portion of the program:

Unbelievably decadent Chicago-mix Garrett popcorn…cheddar cheese & caramel!

 

Looking up at the Willis Tower, Chicago

 

“The Bean” in Millennium Park

 

One of “The Faces” in Millennium Park

 

MA & Lynda on the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, Chicago

 

One view from the Willis Tower, Chicago…skyscrapers galore!

 

MA & Lynda standing not so steady on the glass shelf, 103 floors up, Willis Tower, Chicago

Back on solid ground, here we are outside the theatre where we saw the Hamilton musical. OMG…it was incredible!!

Meanwhile back at the ranch…or the country kennel, as the case may be, Sadie was NOT impressed with her overly cozy canine companion!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.