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Taking the Word 'Hero' to Heart

Reflections on being named a 2011 Local Hero by the Mid-Peninsula Media Center.

It would be a lie to say that I wasn’t pleased or excited, or that it didn’t matter much when the Mid-Peninsula Media Center honored me with a 2011 Local Hero Award on April 17. 

It is a humbling experience to be publicly recognized for living my life with intention. It means a great deal to me to be included with five amazing people who stepped up in their communities to make a difference—people who have opened up their hearts for the betterment of others: .

What do these local heroes have in common? They all said “yes” to change.

Louise Pencavel, the production services manager for the Mid-Peninsula Media Center, created a 20-minute film interview of each honoree. Short clips of each hero’s story were played, and it made for a compelling program.

After viewing my story, I had to clear my throat and take a deep breath at the podium before being able to say a few words of thanks. This film is validation that my attempt to live with awareness and purpose can make a difference. 

Most of all, I was excited about being given a tremendous gift.

You see, I have been a storyteller since the age of 5.

Now that my story is archived on film in such a thorough and professional manner, I’d like to share it with people who are dealing with challenges. Through many years of trial and error, I’ve managed to find the joy in my life even during what others might call “the worst of times.”

Every single person has something to deal with. There is an entire neighborhood in need of rebirth after the San Bruno fire, a calamity that can bring on grief, depression and anger.

The list of issues and challenges that life can present us goes on and on.

So, what’s my secret?

There is no secret! In fact, anyone who wants to say “yes” to making a change can do it.

First, we need to make the choice to change. As the 2011 Local Heroes have discovered, change begins with the decision to make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

Second, we must center ourselves and clear our minds. Don’t fret about the past or worry about the future. Be present in the moment—the here and the now. If you can’t figure out how to do that, hang around a baby for a few hours.

Third, we need to breathe. Think about it. Breathing is an autonomic bodily reaction, and yet, we don’t have a clue as to how to breathe properly, and with intention. Breathing with awareness helps me control pain. And once in a while, if I pay attention and catch it soon enough, I can actually chase my physical symptoms away.

Life is not a perfect proposition. No one escapes unscathed. But we can prepare ourselves for this “ride” we call life. And, if we step up into our community and share what we have learned along the way, we can all become local heroes.

Bardi Rosman Koodrin May 01, 2011 at 07:13 PM
It is most certainly a choice to "come out" with my story, Benny. It would be so much easier to keep it to myself, but going public is my way of opening up more dialogue with people -- who either have some kind of pain they're living with themselves, or who know a person in that situation. The other reason is to hopefully touch people who don't have that issue in their lives at all, and thus, they don't think about it, or they can't relate, or they think someone is weak because of it. This is all about education because knowledge is power!
Sue Barizon May 01, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Bardi Koodrin's story is a testament to they way we all need to live our lives. Healing both our physical and emotional pain and learning from the process is what we are all here to do. Bardi's outlook is a tonic for what ails all of us, we just need to follow her lead. I miss her column. Bardi is a treasure to the community. Sue Barizon, San Mateo
Bardi Rosman Koodrin May 01, 2011 at 10:18 PM
What a lovely thought, Sue. Thank you for that! And you're right, healing isn't just for physical ills, it's for emotional and mental pain as well. None of us escape this life without some challenge to overcome, and why not talk about it? We're all in this together and if we can help one another, that's what life is all about!
Dave Wolf May 02, 2011 at 05:37 AM
In times like these, when so many people are hurting--not just physically, but emotionally and economically and spiritually, we need Bardi's wisdom and good counsel. There's enough bad news in the papers every day. More than enough. There should be room for encouragement, for literally, putting courage back into the reader.
Bardi Rosman Koodrin May 03, 2011 at 03:51 AM
You're right, Dave, people really are hurting in all aspects. We want to stay current with the world news but it can be so dour and quite frankly, we don't get any type of advice as to how to deal with what we are hearing and seeing and bringing into ourselves every single day. I like what you said about putting courage back into the reader. My take on that is to look for ways to empower the reader to look beyond the bad news and negative inputs he/she receives on a regular basis to instead find the good -- or at least the hopeful aspects -- in any story or situation.

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