“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen
When my mind strays too far ahead or lags behind staring the rear view mirror, I am brought back to the moment by a smile, a reminder to find joy in now.
Many of the best life lessons I’ve learned are from my dogs. How to smile, dance, gaze, enjoy, forget, forgive, be present, rest, play, be welcoming, encouraging and loving without conditions. Perhaps the reason that our dogs live such short lives is that they live each moment fully, without hesitation, assumption or judgment. Nothing is wasted or taken for granted.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
A warm smile, a simple act, a kind word can change someone’s day, maybe even transform it. We have a tremendous opportunity, obligation, to make the world better by giving our best. Our world expands and deepens when we shift our focus off “me” outward to care and concern for others.
Expect more and accept what is now. Be surprised and delighted today. And get your smile on.
Underneath the cold and bitterness outside and within, there’s hope in the quiet of winter and sweetness in the anticipation of spring. A bud ready to burst through the frozen ground, the warmth of the sun grows stronger, as do we. The blur takes shape and clarity ensues. Underneath will rise, if we allow, trust and believe.
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” – Martin Luther
“And somehow the transformation you knew would never come, that impossible plumping of fresh life and revelation, does come. It manifests itself in unseen slowness. So it would happen to me and so it will happen to all who set out to knead their pain and wounds, their hopes and hungers, into bread. Waiting for the yeasting of the human soul.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
We rush and get busy to do something, anything to make the waiting seem less and go faster. But in the waiting, the quiet, if we listen and trust, we find ourselves yet again. And time is not wasted in the waiting. We are right in the middle of becoming who we are meant to be, molded by patience and grace.
We arrive and depart, become and transform again and again. Growing and wilting, blooming again with a depth of beauty that only comes with time. Wait in the waiting.
“It may look as if the situation is creating the suffering, but ultimately this is not so – your resistance is.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Each day, a new door to go through, a step into the unknown, an unfamiliar path. Look no longer, hesitant on the edge of the threshold. Cross over and move through. What’s waiting can wait no longer.
For time does not wait, nor must we. Embrace each day and those that are put in our path for it is meant to be. Whether we know the reason or not, enjoy each moment for we will not pass this way again. The journey is meant to change us, ground us, find us, transform us to who we are. Discover the miracle of being alive, and live well.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell
“Most days weren’t clear when you were in them.” ― Naomi Shihab Nye
“Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.” – Naomi Shibab Nye
As the days go faster and we go slower, we may long for days gone by, our youth. But the days slow when we remain squarely within each one, fully aware and awake. Wiser from what was and hope-filled for what is to come. The wide path becomes narrow and we can see and appreciate what is most important.
As the need to prove oneself subsides, moments linger and connections grow deeper. Creating and being replace competing and doing. And if we are fortunate to find clarity in the days when we are in them, we discover what has been there the entire time…love expands, multiples, grows, sustains and is what we are here to do. Our moments become holy.
“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – Saint Basil
Like a tennis game, I watched an email exchange last night between colleagues of one of our clients. Back and forth, the ball at high velocity with one snide remark after another, seemingly without end. Jab here, jab there. Egos and arrogance alive and well, disguised as intelligent debate. Email allows us to say things that we would not say if we had to look someone in the eye and see their humanity.
My nieces Emily and Jenna are working at the same restaurant while going to college. They are getting excellent experience in hard work and are on the front lines of customer service lessons. Last week, Emily got yelled at by a woman who didn’t like that the menu had changed. The other lesson they are getting is how not to act.
Unfortunately, we all have similar encounters to share. We see it every day at work, in public, in the political arena, on the road. It’s hard to not take it all personally and we all do deserve respect. But if we pause and don’t automatically dish it back, we realize that their behavior is a reflection of what’s inside them and really has nothing to do with us. And I learned a long time ago that you can’t change people, maybe influence at best. However, we can model and pursue civility and gentleness that is needed to overcome the toxic discourse.
When someone makes a flip cutting remark, say something good to trump it. If you can’t muster that up, simply walk away or say your piece peacefully and move on. We may not understand it, but I really don’t want to understand it or more importantly turn into it. How we react and act is the only thing we can truly control.
Each day, we have the power to choose civility, kindness, courtesy and generosity of spirit, especially when it’s not warranted and needed most. Cast light.
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – W. H. Murray
Much of our activity is busy work, running faster to get our “to dos” complete without questioning what we are doing in the first place. We need to slow down to have our “lazy” days or enough moments each day where we can be quiet and still enough to think, to connect with what’s inside. Vacations scattered throughout the year and “someday soon” are not enough. Daily, a bite at a time.
And when clarity strikes, and it will, commit and move boldly into your purpose and who you are meant to be each and every day. We’ll still have busy work to do, but it will be in the background and we’ll be pursuing what’s right and investing our time in what’s most important. When we do our part with work and commitment, the rest will fall in place.
“The more the soul knows, the more she loves, and loving much, she tastes much.” – W. H. Murray
Amidst the busyness today, I tripped into a conversation with a friend with the simple question – how are you, really? And then sat quietly to listen to her share some personal struggles she’s dealing with right now.
And as we all do, we try to recount our blessings and gifts to guilt our way out of the feelings of loss and confusion. But it’s just not enough to move us from grieving over unexplainable setbacks. And instead of glossing over or discounting our feelings, we need to simply be ok to remain where we are, knowing that it’s not permanent and that it’s going to be ok, even when it’s not ok at this very moment.
These difficult days, weeks, months of contemplation and mourning of what’s not come or what’s not to be need to play out, to be felt, to be moved through. And when we begin the journey to the other side, we are changing and growing deeper into who we are and meant to be. Moved to our core, our very soul.
The most meaningful gift we can give each other is to stop, be present, listen fully and share that while we suffer at times individually, we are never alone. And when we allow tears to flow, the healing can begin. Everything can’t be explained in this moment. But faith and hope carry us and we can carry each other as well. And that’s enough and we’re enough. It’s ok.
“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” – Helen Keller
See the flower in the tree. Forget what has been, look with new eyes, a softer heart and a gentle touch. There is beauty and wonder everywhere and in everyone, hidden deep down, longing to be invited out, to be found, to be seen.
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Choose to be optimistic, enthusiastic and excited about the promise of each day and your place in it. Life is overflowing with goodness and light, just behind the thin shadows and hollow cynicism. Finding the worst case scenario is a short trip. We find what we are looking for so look longer and deeper.
Cast light today and discover that life is more than your limited thoughts or limited to you. See the world as it should be and then make it that way, one smile, prayer, hug, word at a time. See the flower in the tree.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.” – Eckhart Tolle
Imagine ahead to the sun setting on this day. As you lay your head down to sleep, what will you have done with this day? How we enter each moment, aware or on auto-pilot, makes up our life. Be present this day, in your life and all that is right now.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle