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Behold

“My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil’s mind, and behold, all things are changed!” – Anne Sullivan

I have been noticing clouds lately. Their complexity, beauty, depth and dimension spanning the canvas of the sky. Some soft strokes, others three dimensional puffs of cotton.

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” – Victor Hugo

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.” – Victor Hugo

We look past what’s right in front of us – clouds, friends, family, our very own self. In view but not in focus. Going faster and faster, racing backwards. Moving but not unfolding into the present. Dipping our toes in the ocean and then retreating, we live on the edge of life. On the surface, searching for depth in the distance.

When we notice, really notice all that is in our grasp, we move into the moment and all that each one offers. Colors become more colorful. Conversations connect hearts. Listening transforms into hearing. Seeing become vision.

Slowing into noticing, the blur of bypassing turns to the clarity of beholding. The noise to quiet. The silence to a whisper with the weight of all that’s authentic and true. Behold the brushstrokes of the clouds and all that lies beneath them waiting to bloom before your eyes and in your heart.

The Frog

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” ― Mark Twain

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

There’s an old saying “eat the frog first” – do what you don’t want to do first so you stop procrastinating and move on. When we delay starting, we give too much power to the “frog.” Our perceptions, assumptions and worries are not reality, but we make them our reality when they prevent us from living the good life we are meant to live.

Jump to it and eat the frog! There’s a lot of living to savor and not a lot of time to do it.

Time and Distance

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” – Thomas Carlyle

As I was getting ready for my 20 mile run yesterday morning, I kept telling myself – time and distance, time and distance. It’s not about speed, but about running long enough to get the mileage in. I was apprehensive about my ankle and missing two long training runs over the past two weeks.

After the first 5 miles, I settled in, let go, listened to music and just ran. Nothing existing before or after, steeped in the flow of the movement, in the moment. When I hit 16 miles, I could feel the wear on my body but knew I would complete it. The last 4 miles were run by my heart.

After a long hot shower, gratefulness and contentment set in, something I was short on the past two weeks. My ankle demanded rest, my head argued that I would lose three months of training capacity if I took a break for however long it for my ankle to heal. Luckily with the encouragement of friends and family, the work of my chiropractor and massage therapist/friend  and rest, I finished.

Sometimes we need to rest. Sometimes we need to push through. Most times we need to do both. It’s the ebb and flow of life. And most of all, when we tire when we are so close to finishing, we need to let our mind rest and run with our heart that tells us we can do it, we have it in us, keep going.

Anything we pursue in life requires our whole person to be on the same team – our body, mind, heart and spirit. Our heart and spirit are fueled by faith. And often times our body and mind stray, leaving the heart and spirit to finish the job. And when we put the time in, we will go the distance.

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” – Max Frisch

 

 

Turn, Turn, Turn

“Our soul – with its insistence on finding the still point from which it keeps rising – carries us through the seasons of our lives. The still point under all that keeps moving waits under every season we can imagine.” – Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted …” Ecclesiastes 3

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted …” Ecclesiastes 3

Every season carries its own gifts. As summer wanes, the cool crisp morning air of autumn slowly enters, stage left. The summer days linger in the warm afternoon as the sunset exits earlier, stage right. Summer transforms slowly, then suddenly. Green turns to waves of orange, red and gold swaying in the wind to the crackling carpet beneath our feet.

If we remember and let go of the sweet summer days, we can open the blessings and harvest of autumn with no regret, filled with the same anticipation of spring to summer.

As more seasons pass, gratitude, hope and joy deepen in the small things, in the grace of moment-rich days. Be awake to the gifts of each season, accepting and appreciating all that comes from each one. A time to every purpose under heaven – turn, turn, turn.

To Be Found

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

Every once in a while, Lily or Molly quietly disappear from the living room. When I go look, I always find them lying on the bed waiting to be found. When I sit next to them and snuggle in, they always perk up – mission accomplished. That’s all they want. They just want to be found. A simple yet profound reminder that all of us just want to be found, to be missed, to be sought, to be seen, to be heard.

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer

“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer

When we get out of our own head long enough and use our heart to find others with a smile, a compliment, a moment of attention, our world expands and grows richer.

And when we search and find others, we actually find ourselves, our best self. Shine a light, feel the warmth.

Wonder

“In fact, when feeling that your context has lost its meaning, when feeling trapped within the ambitious parameters you have spun, it helps to lose your map and return to the direct experience of feeling where your foot lands and what your eye sees. Following the immediate can break our patterns and restore wonder as our guide.” – Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

When we let go of plans that no longer fit and assumptions that limit our horizon, we make room for wonder, for what’s next, for possibility. Wonder is waiting to be found in plain sight. Risk wonder and release what should be or has been, be fully present in this very moment. No map, just wonder.

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless

Patience Again

“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

This week, I have been arm-wrestling with patience. I strained my ankle last week and I’ m off on my training schedule. Not too far, but off plan just the same. Pretty minor in the overall scheme of things, but after three months of training, I’m frustrated with a side of self-pity and crabby.

It’s easy to be positive when the world is going our way. The real test is in pain and disappointment. And if we take our eyes off of ourselves long enough, we can receive the gifts that trials offer including a deeper level of empathy for others.

We’ll see how long it will take my pep talks to transform my attitude, but I’m going to keep trying until it clicks. And it’s really about how we go through our trials that show our real character.

Patience is called for once again. If it could only move a bit quicker and on my schedule. Still working on it, obviously.

Prune

“Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.” – Henry Cloud

I was about to throw out the dried up flower basket yesterday. It had its season. Instead, I removed the dead flowers and leaves to see if it would come back. Sure enough, new buds suddenly appeared overnight. Its season wasn’t quite over yet.

We delay making changes thinking that they must be big and drastic. Often times, it merely takes a bit of pruning to clear enough space for new beginnings to unfold. And there are times when a season really has passed and pruning won’t be enough.

Either way, we need only cut away the dried foliage of assumption, judgment, expectation, indecision and fear and watch love, joy, hope, delight and purpose bloom.

Prune.

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

Listen

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend. When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.” – Rumi

Another early morning training run started at 5:45 am. One mile with the girls; nine miles by myself; the last three plus miles with friends at Como Lake. Another long run over, check it off the list, one step closer to the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

The last mile, a woman joined us that my friends had met last week. She was behind them and as my running friends do so well, they welcomed and invited her to be a part of the group – inclusivity and hospitality in action.

As Terry and I went to get coffee, Angie came in to share our new friend’s “story” that she shared with Lynn and Angie. We all have one. But when we are blessed to ask and hear others “stories,” our minor discomforts and irritations are rapidly put into perspective, put in their place.

Our new friend shared that her son was shot and killed. She started running to help herself heal. I thought about this all day long. Tonight, Angie sent an email with a link to the full story online.

The detailed story – two years ago, her son,  a 19 year old young man who was studying to become a computer engineer innocently met a man to buy a cell phone.  In the “transaction,”  he was shot and killed by the slug. This young man had held two jobs to help support his family as he excitedly started college to make something of his life. His family was from Burma and came to the United States to leave a refugee camp, only to find their dream become a nightmare. Devastating.

Each day, we know in depth and detail what we are going through- our irritations, frustrations, challenges. But we are called to move outside of ourselves and apply that same depth to others, to the world. We must be open to others, to listen, to be present, to be a gift. We know not what others are going through. Find out.

Cast your eyes, ears and light to others and search for the depth and width that life takes each one of us through at varying levels. We are not alone. Let others know that loud and clear by quietly listening.

It’s not all about us. It’s really about how we help each other muster the strength to make our way through the most difficult as well as celebratory moments of our lives. We need to ignite our limitless capacity for compassion, empathy and companionship. Be there and listen. You are needed in this world so much more than you know.

Listen, be present, welcome the world in with your heart.

Fun, well done

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

One day seems too short to celebrate a birthday. So birthday week continues with a few visual guides to sum up three valuable insights on living well from wise sage and birthday girl Molly, accompanied by her lovely assistants/best friends, Elly and Lily.

  1. Quietly being with friends is more than enough;
    ellymollylilymolly
  2. There’s nothing better than a soft kiss on the forehead;
    mollyelly2lilymolly2
  3. And most importantly remember to grab your friends by the collar, shake them up and have some fun.
    play

Be aware, awake and in tune to your beauty-filled, delight-filled and swiftly moving life each and every day. Have fun, cast light.

 

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