Monday, January 11, 2010

The beauty of 2009

Practically everyone I've talked with in the past eleven days of 2010 has mentioned that 2009 was one of the most difficult years of their lives.  Instead of focusing on the negatives of last year, what I want to focus on is an occurrence in 2009 that gave us one of those polarizing, uplifting moments as a nation.  Last night on TLC cable channel, there was a one hour show on Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of Flight 1549, known collectively around the world now as The Miracle on the Hudson

For anyone who believes that life is a random process, that accidents and coincidences are just descriptive words with very little gravity to their definitions, I would suggest that this one moment in time disproves that "coincidences" are just a little quirk in the fabric of our existence.  This one hour show on television last night highlighted so many details that, had even one of them not occurred, we would have a very different, perhaps tragic story to remember about Flight 1549. 

Captain Sullenberger was a decorated Air Force fighter pilot who went on to log 29 years (and counting - he went back to work and is piloting planes again) as an airline pilot.  The most captivating detail is this:  Sullenberger is also a licensed glider pilot.  The years he spent logging hours and experience as a glider pilot became instrumental in controlling the forced ditched landing in the Hudson River of Flight 1549 when all power to the engines was lost. ( Pilot Profile)  In addition, Sullenberger is one of an elite few pilots who helped develop the training program "Crew Resource Management" (CRM), which is a mandatory program for commercial airline pilots to take, and teaches vital flight safety methods. 

Had even one of these details been different, if perhaps another pilot were at the controls that day, we don't know what the outcome might have been.  The happy fact is that all the planets lined up in ideal order for all those Souls on board Flight 1549 that day.  Would most people call this pure dumb luck?  A complete accident or coincidence?  I prefer to believe that there was a strong thread of Destiny woven into the life stories of all the people on that plane that day.  The result was, indeed, miraculous and it gave us an occurrence to marvel at, to be thankful for and, I believe, to restore faith in the hearts of many that yes, miracles do happen.  Happy Endings are possible, and all of 2009 wasn't a complete disaster to write off in our memories. 

Captain Chesley Sullenberger, for better or worse, became the focus of the world as a result of how he handled himself and that plane that day in January 2009.  He was thrust into a global spotlight that I daresay was an unexpected burden for a man who was just doing his job.  I heard him say in a television interview that after much introspection, he was finally able to recognize and come to peace with the fact that people had a need to identify with heroes and to apply that label to a tangible source.  His humility is rather stunning, and just deepens that Hero persona for many.  It is also appropriate to note that the whole crew of Flight 1549, along with all the First Responders who rushed to rescue on the Hudson River that day - they are all true Heroes.  Many of the passengers on Flight 1549 also performed feats of heroism. 

I've spoken of my own path during 2009 in various blog posts, and feel that despite the difficult challenges of that year, much of it was necessary to prepare me for things to come in my near future.  I can now look back on 2009 and mentally mark the special moments that glowed brightly.  The television show last night about The Miracle on the Hudson nudged me and reminded me that yes, amongst the roadblocks, challenges and disappointments, there were moments of breathtaking beauty.  I am certain that those of you reading this post can do the same.  Look back on 2009, push past the difficult times and focus - you'll find equally beautiful moments if you try.  In fact, they may jump out at you!

I went back through my Facebook posts that I wrote on New Year's Eve 2009, and on New Year's Day 2010 and felt they combined to produce a fitting close to this post.

"Here's wishing you and those you love blessings, good health, prosperity and a clear eye to recognize and appreciate all of the above as they shower down upon you!"   New Year's Eve 2009
"In the quiet space of morning today, I reflected on all the people who touched my life in 2009. I've been blessed with old friendships renewed, new friendships flourishing, wonderful family and so many unexpected happy moments. Love given is love returned, tenfold." New Year's Day 2010

For me, this is the unexpected beauty that I have found, in retrospect, of the year of 2009.  In the midst of adversity, I had my own miracles.  You did as well, and had anything changed slightly in how we lived that year, the outcome would also have changed.  I think we're all doing pretty well, and I'm glad I watched that program on TLC to remind me of the beauty of 2009.


  1. Dawn,

    I always try to look at the best in everything & although 2009 was difficult for me because of being laid-off there were so many happy occasions (including my eldest daughter getting married) that I try & only remember the best of everything. I truly believe that everything in life & every person we meet has a reason, our challenge is to figure out that reason so we can continue to learn & grow. Sometimes we have to go through the darkness to appreciate the light. Thanks for being apart of my life.



  2. The story of that flight is truly amazing. I think it's good to try & focus on the positive things of 2009. Yes it was a difficult year for practically every one of us, but I believe it will make us all stronger for 2010.

  3. Anahid & Bill, thank you both for your kind posts. I found myself falling into the negative trap of writing 2009 off and making caustic remarks way too often, because I, too, had a challenging year. From a logical perspective, that wasn't healthy, nor was it going to help me move forward into focusing on and drawing positive things toward me. I'm happy I watched that program last night and adjusted my attitude. Glad also that this blog seems to be hitting a positive note with everyone.

    ~ Dawn

  4. Dawn-

    Your post has touched me so deeply as I sit here writing with tears in my eyes. The past few years have been difficult to say the least; however I have also had many, many blessings and good memories to be thankful for.

    Negativity is like a huge black hole that people get sucked into and it is extremely difficult to get out of. We all have bad things happen but we can't move forward on our journey until we let go of the negative and focus on the positive. Thank you for reminding us (me) to focus on the positive and enjoy what we have.

  5. Marie, I'm so happy my post touched you so strongly. As I watched the Miracle on the Hudson show last night, it lifted my heart the same way it did back when the whole thing actually happened. I thought, "Okay, that was the nudge I needed and I feel so much lighter as a result...this feeling must be shared!" And off I went to write a blog. I love it when I'm able to make a difference with someone else who may be having a similar moment, and I love it MORE when people take time to let me know about it!

    Keep doing what you do, because you're making a difference as well!

    ~ Dawn

  6. Dawn, I’m sorry to buck the trend, but 2009 was an extraordinary year for me!

    I applied for and received residency status in Australia after living here almost 9 years (I’m American), which allowed to get access to the first time owners grant, so I bought my first home (well small apartment really, but housing prices in AU are exorbitant compared to the US) in August.

    I’m now 99% finished with my first book after two years of writing, and received an offer to co-author another book from an author who’s already published through HayHouse (you might have heard of Louise Hay?) as well as receiving opportunities to meet other well known authors in this genre.

    I found someone interested in supporting the book financially, so have now received some seed money to get my publishing company started.

    I’ve been learning as much as I can about blogging and the myriad ways to make money online, and suggest anyone who is struggling financially to investigate these opportunities.

    The readers of my blog have doubled in the past few months and I look forward to 2010 as providing a fundamental shift in my life path.

    I will add that many of my friends and family in the US are facing challenges, and with so much misery occurring around you, it must be difficult to stay positive.

    If anyone needs a bit of positive pumping up, then if you have an IRA or 401K, check out your next statement and compare it to the same statement last year. That should provide a bit of relief…

    Write On!

  7. Thanks for the comment, Curtis. My whole reason for this particular blog post was to celebrate the positive moments in life, so I'm very happy for you that 2009 was such a bountiful year.

    I'm one of those eternal optimists, so I tend to generally view life with rose colored glasses - I'll never really take them off my nose, no matter how many pessimists insist on telling me they don't exist. In my world, there are rosy shades abounding, even in the midst of challenging years such as 2009. Occasionally, we all need reminders such as that wonderful TV show on The Miracle on the Hudson. That's the true reason I wrote this post, to share that with everyone.

    Congrats to you on all your happy moments, with wishes for more abundance in 2010!

    ~ Dawn

  8. Dawn, Wonderful job on the post. You do it everytime. Also glad you liked the YouTube thing I sent you, loveya, Papa

  9. Papa, thank you! I was so interested to watch the video you posted. It showed in graphic detail how everything played out that day for that flight, and also underscored what an incredible job the pilot and co-pilot did to create a successful outcome for everyone. I think things like this need to be celebrated and remembered. We need to be reminded that miracles do happen. Thank you for that reminder, Papa. I love you!