“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.” – William Hazlitt
I walked into the living room this morning and Lily was sitting in the recliner with a “what’s up” look. She lightened the moment and I just started laughing. The only way to start the day. Every day Lily and Molly bring a new attitude with a focus on fun, present and living right in the moment of joy.
“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver
There are signs and wonders all around us if we tune in and listen. A jolt back into what’s real and true, well beyond all of the dissent and distractions.
Last Saturday when I was walking in a daze through the grocery store in my running clothes and my hair pulled back, a deaf woman stopped me. I thought she would ask for help to find something. She looked me in the eyes and mouthed while her hand circled her face, “you are beautiful” and walked away.
To say the least, I was taken back. I certainly didn’t feel beautiful. This blessed encounter has stayed with me deeply since that moment, a reminder to release our inner beauty and draw it out in others.
Sometimes we are the receiver of signs and wonders and sometimes we are called to be the signs and wonders to others. Our higher power (I prefer God), our true self walks right into our day and makes it so very much more than ordinary.
A word, look, smile – change a day, change a life.
“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – Bill Moyers
Enter today eager to create, transform, inspire. In turn, be ready to be created, transformed and inspired. All that is present this very moment longs and waits to be found with simple curiosity and childlike wonder.
Push beyond the mechanical motions, comfortable habits and seemingly mundane. Demand more of yourself. We are called to dive deep into the marvelous center of now. Learn, teach, learn again, every day. Create and be created. Cast light and the marvelous is revealed.
“The smallest gesture can mean so much to those who may need a little lift in their lives.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
On our daily walk or run when we are about four houses away from home, Lily turns to Molly with that look in her eye and grabs onto Molly’s collar and leads almost carries her home. Molly gets a bit irritated but goes along with it.
That’s what friends and family do. They come along our side and pick us up by the collar to carry us home. And that’s what we also need to do at times for ourselves. Get out of the funk, pick ourselves up and move on with new eyes and a grateful heart.
Sometimes it’s the accumulation of the daily grind and others are life changing events like divorce or cancer. Life is a mix of transitions, endings, beginnings and through it all growth and transformation if we are open and allow it.
When we get stuck too long in why me, we need to be grabbed by the collar and moved to what’s next carried gently and confidently by faith, family and friends. And, when we are moved out of our own rut, we can be a blessing to others and do some lifting as well. We are not on this journey alone and it’s not about me but rather we. Grab someone by the collar today.
“Sometimes I go about with pity for myself and all the while Great Winds are carrying me across the sky.” – Ojibway saying
On the days that don’t make sense, the ones that chip away at our core, rather our ego, we are being broken and remolded for something new. A slow releasing of what’s not important anymore, the arm wrestle of growth, a series of letting goes.
And in those moments of the mundane, we can let feelings and moods rise to the top and move through them to finish what’s been started. And in the midst of the dry days, the hollow is transforming into the hallowed. Faith holds our hand to the other side and gratitude shines the light of what is ours here and now.
Flowers bloom. The sun rises. Easter always comes.
“Delight, plumps and widens our joy. She lives in all of us. She’s a precious gift to the soul that connects us back to God as our original playmate. She tickles our frozen places and frees us to laughter, exuberance, simplicity, and spontaneous moments that extract the essence of the True Self from deep inside.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
That yearning deep inside is the self that we have resigned ourselves to accept through others expectations, our own disappointments, unanswered whys and unexpected paths trying to align with our True Self, the one we are called to become, sooner rather than later. And instead of prying it out or worse yet ignoring it, we can gently release our True Self through simple delight in each day.
Our days are meant to be so much deeper, lighter, and expansive than we allow ourselves to expect or imagine. We get distracted and frozen with indecision and excuses to remain for at least it’s predictable and seemingly safe. Yet the yearning continues, not to be quieted until alignment is achieved.
Take the first step into the water and discover the ocean. Move and flow with your own current, not others. Love first and be loved. Go last and be first. Wait and grow. And amidst all of the chaos, with certain clarity and a trusting heart, invite your True Self out to play.
“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” – Anne Frank
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam
We celebrated Lily’s 5th birthday today. Or from her perspective, she’s celebrating 1825 days since she makes each and every one count. Make today, tomorrow and the next day count with enthusiasm, gratitude and generosity of spirit. Happy day.
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
After high 30s yesterday and with a steady increase into the 50s the next few days, the snow will melt transforming the hard ground into soft green grass. The spring thaw uncovers not only the girls’ toys but my socks that they’ve snuck out the past four months. When they grabbed one this morning, I let them go knowing clean up begins today and it gave me a good laugh.
“Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” – Ellis Peters
The thaw brings a newness and fresh start that we all need on many levels. It’s been a particularly busy three months and there’s been a lot of autopilot just grinding it out, doing more and more. Frozen and buried in habits of too much doing.
As winter transforms to spring, so can we. The thaw of our judgments, assumptions and ego makes way for hope, joy, kindness and delight in each day. The buds asleep beneath the earth break through and the beauty and promise of what’s next reveals itself in its own time. Cast light and let the thaw begin.
“To live is to be slowly born.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
There’s a depth of wonder and awe in being slowly born and knowing it. Live grounded in joy, faith and hope knowing that your story continues to be written and you have the pen.
“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