“You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.” – Daisnku Ikeda
I’m still waiting for a “slow” summer. In the past week, I’ve heard several times from others that they can’t believe it’s the 4th of July already, half of the year over. Summer calls out the best in us, inviting us deep and long into each day. We take it a little easier, walk a little lighter.
On Monday evening, Jeanne and I went for a run at Como Lake. The weather shifted quickly so we cut the run short and snuck into the pavilion for a water that turned into a beer. As we listened to live big band music and watched some dancing, the skies opened wide and the rain pounded the pavement. As soon as the down pour started, three little kids rushed out of the shelter into the rain and through puddles with pure joy and delight, without hesitation.
Kids and dogs don’t overthink or complicate their life. They just live it and every damn moment of it. As you celebrate independence day, may we all find the freedom that our four legged friends and little ones have mastered.
Summer, kids and dogs are calling. Heed the call.
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France
“Appreciation is the grace of sensibility, of really experiencing every moment for its uniqueness and its awe. It is what enables a person to stand on a street corner, arms out wide, head up, smiling the smile of the holy and giving thanks for the depth of every moment of it. It is the posture of the heart that says life is good, I am blessed, the universe is friendly, the world is beautiful.” – Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
May you see beauty in each petal, each smile, each glance, each touch, each moment. To be open to all that IS to be discovered and savored in the everyday-ness of life. When we recognize and realize that this moment, this hour, this day our life is unfolding, there is a yearning, a calling to be ever-present and awake.
May your mind, heart, spirit and soul be full today and each day by the grace of sensibility.
“You have to sow before you can reap. You have to give before you can get.” – Robert Collier
As the world continues to go faster and rewards quantity over quality, width over depth, we try to convince ourselves that we can figure out the shortcut, the easy path, the magic formula that no one else has figured out.
If we are honest with ourselves and heed that still small voice, the cues and clues, we know better. There are universal truths that we can’t outsmart, outthink or outrun. Step by step, seed by seed, act by act, we build our life day to day.
For us to grow, to transform, to reap the “harvest” of life, we always must sow first and often. We can’t bypass step one – sow and go immediately to step two – reap. And sometimes what we sow doesn’t take root and the harvest never comes.
When we sow kindness, hard work, play, compassion, joy, encouragement, laughter and sprinkle it with light and love, we not only reap in due time, we reap through the mere act of sowing.
So each day, ask “what will I sow today?” The reaping will take care of itself and the harvest will be plenty.
“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” – Joseph Addison
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” – Saadi
Patience is taught through trial, practice, resistance, resilience, rain, sun and time. The struggle, the unknowing, reminds us that growth can’t be rushed, there are no short cuts to our becoming. There’s solace in the certainty of blooming.
And in the waiting, wandering, building and breaking, we often bloom in the spring on time but sometimes we bloom in July in our own way. But bloom we do.
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell
When walking the girls this morning with my thoughts bouncing to the week ahead and the month behind, a breeze came off the lake and for a moment I was held and engulfed, awakened to God right in the midst of the moment. Always present, never alone and gently carried whether I realize it or not.
Listen, watch and hear all that is around calling out to let us know that we are alright. A few hours later, the girls began to play with a stick. It instantly made for play and fun. A stick, a simple stick.
Enjoy each day and be open to the breezes and sticks that enter our day to call us out of our thoughts and worries into the moment. A breeze and a stick – sacred space found.
“Oh, my God, this amazing cool breeze is coming through my window and the sun is shining. I’m happy.” – Liv Tyler
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” – Anne Frank
When I ground myself in what’s important and authentic, all of the useless, draining stuff falls away. No matter what is going on, we all have the capacity and calling to smile, to laugh, to love, to transform regular moments into special memories. Lighten your load, lighten up, cast light.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“Life is not a lily pond; life is a bay inside the ocean. Peace is what comes to us after we negotiate the roiling, pounding waves of life lived one surge at a time. The waves of life break into the center of our languor to remind us that the quality of our lives is not simply given to us, it needs to be earned.
Life doesn’t come cut to size; it requires shaping. Life is the way we deal with it as well as the way we look at it. It is time to adjust, to cope, to grow again beyond our old stale selves. We cannot simply float through life forever.” – Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight
If we fight the waves, they take us under. Ride the waves, preparing for the next, getting stronger as we move through. Ride and make some waves today.
“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” – Khalil Gibran
Without hesitation, Lily ventures right into the middle of the grass to explore. Never worried about getting out or stuck, confident in each step she moves swiftly focused on the next step and sniff.
When I saw her amidst the foliage yesterday, it summed up the last few months. Head down, a day at a time, not seeing much past the tall grass. Quietly working my way through, knowing the path ahead is clear even if I can’t see it quite yet.
Our journey is not always understood. And as hard as we try or as fast as we may go, we can’t out think, out run or out smart it. When we release the need to know exactly what’s next, we discover that one step at a time is enough. Lift your head and peak beyond the tall grass.
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin
“Our friends interpret the world and ourselves to us, if we take them tenderly and truly.” – Amos Bronson Alcott
Sharon and I have been planning our 50th birthday celebration New York trip for over a year. It had to be delayed a year when life and other commitments took precedence. I took a lot of pictures of our New York adventure last week and this is one of my favorites. I am not a fan of pictures of myself but I vowed to take a “selfie” of us each day to capture the trip and be reminded long after it passed.
“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.” – Khalil Gibran
We were at Carnegie Hall for a concert. When I checked it out to make sure my finger didn’t make its way into the picture, I saw the gal in back of us with a big smile – so we got a selfie plus. I turned around and asked her what she was doing in our selfie and we all had a big laugh about it. We saw a lot of girlfriends together on the trip.
I’ve known Sharon for over 30 years. We met at freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota. We went around the room for introductions and she said she was from a small town called Canton, South Dakota which probably wasn’t on the map and cracked up at her own joke. I thought – what a nerd. And from that day on that nerd and this nerd have been best friends.
During college, when she didn’t go home for Easter, she joined my family’s celebration and quickly became part of the family. My Dad helped her buy her first car. From calculus to Rocky’s pizza lunches to break ups to grocery shopping at midnight after a movie to her and Tim getting married and moving to New Jersey in August, 1989. I remember the moment after we packed the moving truck saying good bye and aching the loss. And then surprising her Thanksgiving that year and flying out to see her. That was the first time I went to New York when we ventured in on the train.
Even three decades later when we get together, it’s like time has not passed between the last time we saw each other. The conversation picks up as if only a moment’s silence in between.
Time passes quickly and time away with a friend or helping family through health issues are vivid reminders to focus, pay attention and invest ourselves in what’s really important.
Call an old friend, check in with a family member, make a new friend. We can’t predict what tomorrow will bring but we can be assured that change will be a main ingredient. Stay in the moment, create new moments and cherish each one as you are moving through them. Be a friend that will still connect 30 years later and laugh and love even deeper.
“Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” – Agnes de Mille
May you dance more than march;
Be more than do;
Laugh more than worry;
Find awe more than despair;
Fully present in each day;
Accepting nothing short of freedom to be you without fear.