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The Path

“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone … Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.” – Carlos Castaneda

Our choices and paths are as wide and deep as the ocean. We often get stuck on the same path and think it’s the only one so we remain. We accept comfortable and familiar over completion and fulfillment.

Our compass, our heart knows better, so listen carefully. And then move, begin the work. There will be delays and detours on the way, but if we’re on the right path it is part of the whole journey. Enjoy each day, be kind and put your heart into each minute. Does your path have a heart?

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

Travels

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

Twelve days and six flights later, I’m home. A business trip on the west coast, vacation on the east coast and a last minute business trip in the middle made up the first half of January. All travels went very well.

The annual “sole sisters” half marathon trip with Jeanne and Linda dropped us into Key West, Florida. Considering winter, busy schedules and a few ailments, we were all thrilled to finish healthy and happy. The ocean, sun and blue skies with friends who know and accept us as we are make up the ingredients for a good time.

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s something about getting away to change your perspective, relax and discover new places and people. There’s also something about coming home, refreshed and grateful for the people/dogs and places that just feel right.

In all of our travels, across the country or across town, we can be present to each moment with our hearts open to discover the beauty that surrounds us and within us. Cast light and let light in.

Comforters

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.” ― John Henry Jowett

When we focus on what we can give rather that what we can get, it is then we receive more than we can ever imagine. The race distracts us from the journey and seeing those who are a long side of us, trying to make their way just as we are. Sometimes weary, sometimes worn. And we have the opportunity, the gift to walk along side, to be kind, to be present, to forget ourselves.

As we go through our own struggles that others may not know, there is comfort in that we are not alone. And when our backdrop shifts from burdens to blossoms, we can understand the meaning of that comfort and to offer it freely and generously to our fellow travelers.

Titles

“At the end of the day, the position is just a position, a title is just a title, and those things come and go. It’s really your essence and your values that are important.” – Queen Rania of Jordan

I received an email yesterday that my credit card was double billed for my WordPress “no ads” feature and that they will credit my account. The title of the person who sent it is “Happiness Engineer.” Now that’s something to aspire to!

Chief Happiness Engineers

Chief Happiness Engineers

We often focus on titles and comparisons rather than on who we are and how we treat others, regardless of “position.” We all can be leaders and happiness engineers by getting outside of our own head/feelings and engaging authentically with others. Kindness and caring can change the world.

Lighten up and take on the new title of “happiness engineer” and see what kind of happiness you can engineer today. Cast light on that person next to you and pull them out of their worries and burdens, if only for a moment.

Set the Day

“It is not surprising, then, that though we feel intermittently gifted, our gifts are ever-present. For if enlightenment stems from clarity of being, then talent is no more than a clarity of doing, an embodied moment where spirit and hand are one. The chief obstacle to talent, then, is a lapse of being. It is not that people have no talent, but that we lack the clarity to uncover what it is and how it works. Talent, it seems, is energy waiting to be released through an honest involvement in life.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Each morning when I ground myself in quiet and reading something good, the day is set no matter what will come. One of my current favorites is Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening. And the days when I rush through too “busy” to do this, my day is set as well, in chaos.

The day’s circumstances, people and challenges are always present but when I anchor my mind, I can see beyond the three ring circus and know that life and who I am is so much more than mere circumstances. An old Polish proverb is a good reminder to not be defined by the crazy makers or to join them – “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

We can choose calm and light by leaving our ego (I deserve, I demand, I need) at the door and focusing on what we can contribute to make things better and to simply enjoy the day we are given. We can control of our thoughts, actions, reactions and attitude. And more than just trying to remove the negative, we need to replace that void in our thoughts with inspiration, ideas, dreams, plans and aspirations. We are all called to go deeper to find and be so much more. Set your day, set your life.

Wind

“Everyone alive embodies both being and doing. The wind we create by running is the energy of becoming, and the wind that comes to us by stilling ourselves is the energy of being.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn

It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of only “doing” at the expense of “being.” We need both to be whole, it’s not one or the other. With the past few weeks of slowing down over the holidays, “being” has taken center stage. As I plan for the weeks ahead that come with a large dose of “doing,” it’s tempting to be worn out before ever starting.

Life – the culmination of each and every single day – has so many more dimensions and depth than we allow ourselves to explore or allow to enter the realm of possibilities. We often live in black and white, light and dark, missing the shades, hues and vibrant color of the moment and being present in all of it.

A good and complete life is made up of both doing and being, weaved together through each day. When we engage, whether in doing or being, we fully participate and immerse ourselves right in the middle of our life as it’s unfolding.

Set your sails for the many winds that each day brings and be open to where they take you. There’s a reason for you to be right where you are. Be ready and willing to give or receive – it’s an important part of your becoming and being. Do and be.

New New Year’s Resolutions

Each year on this day, we focus on our shortcomings and with short-lived enthusiasm we set our new year’s resolutions, often the same ones we had last year. Lose weight. Join a gym. Exercise more. Find a new job. Travel. Spend less. Get organized.

With a renewed and sustained hope, here’s a new top 10 resolution list to consider:

  1. Let go of the past and be present to the blessings of each day, there are many
  2. Forgive yourself and others
  3. Lighten up and laugh
  4. Spend 10 minutes each morning setting the course for the day in quiet prayer and meditation, listening deeply
  5. Go above and beyond, no strings attached or expectation of “return on investment”
  6. Move your body, mind and spirit each day to improve your whole self
  7. Slow down and take life in instead of pass it by, single-task
  8. Love unconditionally, it’s the only way to truly love
  9. Deepen faith and discover your spirit that longs to be set free, it’s in there quietly asking to go out and play
  10. Enjoy each day with the innocence and delight of a child

Cast your light, let the light in and fill this year with wonder, gratitude and joy, one day at a time.

Brilliance

“With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” – William Wordsworth

“Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” – Edwin Louis Cole

“Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” – Edwin Louis Cole

While our vision dulls and blurs, Christmas never loses its brilliance. It’s best seen after, when the quiet settles in and the rushing halts. Remaining steady and ever present, inviting us to return to our best selves long after the decorations are put away. Overflowing with awe, in the depths of great love, Christmas shows itself again and again through giving, gratitude and grace.

 

Green Christmas

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

With high 30 temperatures and drizzle over the past week, this year we are going to have a very green Christmas in Minnesota and many parts of the country. People were golfing yesterday. I may need to cut the grass if this keeps up. We have had many white and cold Christmases and after the November deep freeze, I am alright with a green Christmas. And I am sure winter has not had its last word.

It’s also a wonderful reminder of what this season is truly about – birth, vitality, life renewed, vibrant color, warmth, redemption, faith, hope and love. This season can be carried in our hearts and actions into the new year and every single day.

Merry Green Christmas.

New Old Self

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner

For the past seven weeks, Lily has been wearing a cone on her head to stop her from scratching at her face. Thanks to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital treatment, the infection is healing with a combination of medications and she’s been “cone-free” for five days. She’ll be going back in January to start tests for food allergies.

Even with the cone on her head, she’s kept a good attitude but not quite herself. In the past week, Lily’s starting to get back to her new “old self.” Frolicking, wrestling and of course getting into a bit of trouble.

On Friday when we were opening gifts at our first round of Christmas family events, she was busy on the table eating dessert ahead of us. Luckily we caught her in time before she cleared the table. She’s back on her game, full bounce in her step.

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

We all go through stretches of difficulties and challenges (cones on our head) where we lose perspective and a bit of ourselves. And when we come through, we return to our old selves but somehow newer, stronger, with a deeper gratitude.

And Lily highly recommends eating dessert first. It’s a sweet life.

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