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A Boat

aboat Each time I try to take control, steering and holding on too tight, I get lost. To be a boat, sailing and not steering. To find and to be found.

If I Wanted A Boat
by Mary Oliver, Blue Horses

“I would want a boat, if I wanted a
boat, that bounded hard on the waves,
that didn’t know starboard from port
and wouldn’t learn, that welcomed
dolphins and headed straight for the
whales, that, when rocks were close,
would slide in for a touch or two,
that wouldn’t keep land in sight and
went fast, that leaped into the spray.
What kind of life is it always to plan
and do, to promise and finish, to wish
for the near and the safe?  Yes, by the
heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want
a boat that I couldn’t steer.”

The Power of an Idea Set Free

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

A few weeks ago on the national nightly news there was a “doing good” segment at the end, perhaps to balance the 25 minutes of “all that’s wrong with the world.” It was about a couple of college kids at St. Thomas University in Minnesota, so I perked up since my nephew graduated from there.

They had an idea and a few years later it’s now a 501(c)3 nonprofit called the Love Your Melon Foundation. Mission: To put a hat on the heads of all children battling cancer in America. How: You buy a hat (made in the USA to create jobs here) and they dress up as superheroes to deliver hats to kids going through cancer treatment. Buy a hat and one is given away. Simple and awesome.

“Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

My hat came in the mail yesterday and I wanted to share so this idea can continue to cast light for kids battling cancer and to honor the perseverance of a couple of college kids who pushed this idea into reality. We all have the power to do good. And when the ideas and goodness in our hearts are set free, each of us can change the world one person at a time. That’s the real news.

Spread the love – www.loveyourmelon.com

The Cone

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu

For the past month, we’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with inflamed skin on Lily’s nose. She’s been on antibiotics, steroids and is wearing “the dreaded cone” to keep from scratching it. On Monday, she had biopsies done. The good news is that she doesn’t have an autoimmune disease but rather a severe allergic reaction to something. Next up is a round of heavy duty steroids and more time in the cone.

The first day or two in the cone, she was disoriented and bothered, but she’s now adjusted and acclimated. She hasn’t let the cone define her or affect her ability to wag her tail, give kisses or run full speed at Molly and I with toy in mouth ready to wrestle and play. She’s as lighthearted and crazy as ever and a bit more snuggly.

Molly has been watching her like a hawk and you can see the concern in her eyes for her best friend. She makes sure to get a toy on the way out so they can play when they get outside, even if she’s going to get hit in the head with the cone. And the sweetest act I’ve witnessed is when Molly slowly walks up to Lily and puts her head in the cone to give her a gentle kiss, letting Lily know that cone or not she’s present and by her side.

“Friendship is one mind in two bodies.” – Mencius

“Friendship is one mind in two bodies.” – Mencius

We often can’t solve and fix things in our time. With patience, they must heal on their own. But we always have the power to show empathy and compassion, joining our friend in their “cone” reminding them that they are not alone.

Here and Now

“So often we imagine that There is more full of gold than Here. It is the same with love and dreams and the work of our lives. We see the light everywhere but where we are, and chase after what we think we lack, only to find, humbly, it was with us all along.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Not in a far off distance or someday soon, but Here and Now, we are surrounded by and filled with light. And when we remember each day to move our eyes and heart outward, and dare to cast our light, we invite others to shine their own special light. I am grateful for all the teachers in my life who cast their light amidst the full on darkness of shadows abound.

Half empty or half full? How about full to the top. Here and Now.

Instructions

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver

As we move back and forth between the details of the day and the questions of life and our place in it, we would do well to be present and pay attention, inviting delight, frivolity and joy to be our companion. Pretty simple instructions. The world does not need to be carried, put it down, lighten up and be astonished. One day, one moment at a time.

Embrace

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav

The rituals are the same each year. The final grass cutting, raking the remaining leaves, bring in the hose and check the snow blower. A 100 percent chance of snow tomorrow and the first snow of the season, winter officially begins. As if surprised by its return, we brace ourselves for winter.

Often we choose to brace for the worst rather than embrace the possibilities and promise in all that is before us. Wishing time away to move quickly past our “winters,” eagarly longing for our “springs.” Yet when we move through our winters fully awake, we find ourselves, our light in the cold and stark. Our resilience, our hope, our grit, our creativity. Winter brings a quiet time that slows us enough to listen, to hear.

So my wish for us all this winter eve is that we embrace our “Mondays” and “winters” with the vigor and anticipation of our “Fridays” and “springs.”

 

Like a Kid

“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

On the way out of dinner with the running group last night, we stopped at the game where you use a crane to win a stuffed animal. When we pass those machines, our first thoughts are “you never win” or “that’s for kids.” Well, we won five out of six times and we were giggling like kids.

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Next time you pass one of those machines, drop in a dollar. Or drop a few quarters in the bubble gum machine. It’s pretty easy and more than alright to feel like a kid again. Unravel your complicated life if only for a moment. Dare to have fun, play and laugh every day. Pretty simple.

Slices

“If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.” – Maurice Chevalier

When we live life in slices, in moments, we value and honor each day. If we get stuck in the past replaying what’s happened again and again or in the future wishing or worrying of what’s to be, we miss the power that we have in this very moment to make different decisions, to find and be peace, to dream and do bigger, to push ourselves beyond the fray and excuses to attain our best selves.

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” – Thomas Jefferson

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.” – Thomas Jefferson

Some moments are sweeter than others, but they all culminate to define who we are, where we are going, what’s most important and who we choose to be with on the journey. Someday is today with all of its imperfections and beauty. Slice into each moment, moving step by step into who you are meant to be.

An Unplanned Day

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller

My plans for the day fell through so I actually stayed home and dug into the “when I have time” projects. Facing the pile to file, organizing and discarding clutter. Projects that we delay but once started and completed offer a certain satisfaction. And in the act of decluttering our surroundings, we declutter our minds. We’re good starters and multitaskers at the expense of finishing and focusing. There’s value in finishing and not starting the next thing until we finish, in going deeper instead of wider.

We move so quickly between one thing and the next, not fully appreciating and experiencing the fullness of what is right before us. When we allow for pondering and planting, we harvest joy and gratitude. Plan for some unplanned time and let the tasks and gifts of the day unfold.

Because

“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding.” – Norman Maclean

Love has no conditions, is not measured or withheld. Love looks past the obvious, beyond the first impression and beneath assumptions. Love stays when the room clears. To the core, to the bone, love settles in, even when asked to leave. Fearless, love lingers, unmovable, unflinching. Complicated yet simple. Impossible yet possible.

Love lights, thaws, glows, grows and reflects the best in each of us. God loves us first, second and last, no matter what. We are called to do the same. We love God by loving others.

Cast light. Cast love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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