And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

~Anais Nin


Brightening the Shadows: A Life Transformed by It’s a Wonderful Life

In the tumultuous depths of my twenties, an eating disorder gripped me, shrouding my existence in darkness. Binge eating disorder and food addiction held me captive while depression and social anxiety further tightened their grip.

The turning point came during a Christmas when my dear friend Yvonne recognized my despair, recommending psychotherapy. Initially resistant, I couldn’t deny the truth—I was indeed battling demons within.

Amidst the shadows, a Christmas miracle knocked on my door. Yvonne, adorned in a charming ensemble, carried a box filled with the promise of hope—a scotch pine tree, tree trimmings, and a tree stand.

With unwavering determination, she declared, “You will not sit in the dark and sulk, Lisa Mary Ortigara. We are trimming this tree and watching It’s a Wonderful Life.”

And so we did.

The timeless film, directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart, unfolded before us. It depicted the life of George Bailey, a man contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve.

An angel named Clarence intervened, revealing the profound impact one life can have. George’s journey resonated deeply, echoing the importance of every individual, even in the face of personal struggles and unfulfilled dreams.

As we immersed ourselves in the alternate reality of Bedford Falls, George’s influence on the town became apparent. The film beautifully illustrated the interconnectedness of lives, emphasizing the significance of small, everyday acts of kindness.

It carried a message of hope, resilience, and the transformative power of human connection—a message that has endured, making It’s a Wonderful Life a beloved classic.

Life’s Twists and Turns

In the wake of Yvonne’s untimely death, I found myself reflecting on her vibrant spirit and the countless lives she unknowingly touched. Her passing propelled me into a journey of self-discovery, steering me towards a career in psychology.

Through the twists and turns of life, I earned a PhD in addiction psychology with the emphasis on mental illness and eating disorders; a path I may not have chosen without her influence.

Yvonne’s departure, much like George Bailey’s struggles, prompted introspection about the impact we leave on the world.

To date, I wrote six self-help motivational books, with a seventh on releasing guilt due out in the late spring. And a strong itch to read and write historical fiction also persisted. Inspired by my great, great grandfather Charles Starks and Abbie Chase Basset, I delved into their lives, finding unexpected wisdom in their dreams and journeys.

Again, lives that prompted an introspection  about the impact we leave on the world.

Just as Charles and George had contrasting dreams, life’s unpredictability led them to find their purpose as it did me.

Analyzing setbacks, embracing dreams, and seeking golden nuggets became my mantra.

We may not control life’s twists, but we have the power to shape our responses.

The scene where George admits he’s not a praying man resonates deeply. In the darkness before filming, actor Jimmy Stewart struggled, mirroring the transformative power of storytelling.

It’s a Wonderful Life changed us all—it shifted perspectives, just as you have the power to change yours.

Suicide’s tragic reality underscores the fragility of life, a truth often witnessed in my profession. Yet, each of us has the power to pave a new way forward, leaving a positive impact on the lives we touch.

My great, great grandfather’s story echoes this sentiment—he became the “Big Man About Town,” running a newspaper with minimal education. He dreamed to move from the city to a small town and George Bailey dreamed to move from a small town to a big city.   One dream happened and one dream did not. But both men found their purpose and intention.

So, as you navigate life’s twists and turns, don’t cling to guilt or losses. Instead, imagine the impact you’ve had and the lives you’ve touched.

There’s goodness in all of us, including you. Move forward, embrace your dreams, and do something big. You have the power to illuminate the shadows, just as It’s a Wonderful Life illuminated mine.

Now, I invite you to ponder your own blessings.Is there a movie or a defining moment that changed the course of your life? Are you ignoring your call to live your best life? If there’s a nudge for you to do something different what keeps you from pushing forward?

The journey towards self-improvement is a path worth exploring, one step at a time.

Please share your thoughts—you are in good company. Simply scroll to the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you, what you have to say is important.

Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum and spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you. I look forward to sharing my newest book with you on how to release your obsession with your Phone. God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…

To learn more about recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, aging,  money, and your phone, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.

Stay tuned… you never know where my mind will wander…

Hugs to you, I care!
Dr. Lisa

The newest release: Release Your Obsession with Your Phone

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