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Summer Delight

“You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.” – Daisnku Ikeda

I’m still waiting for a “slow” summer. In the past week, I’ve heard several times from others that they can’t believe it’s the 4th of July already, half of the year over. Summer calls out the best in us, inviting us deep and long into each day. We take it a little easier, walk a little lighter.

On Monday evening, Jeanne and I went for a run at Como Lake. The weather shifted quickly so we cut the run short and snuck into the pavilion for a water that turned into a beer. As we listened to live big band music and watched some dancing, the skies opened wide and the rain pounded the pavement. As soon as the down pour started, three little kids rushed out of the shelter into the rain and through puddles with pure joy and delight, without hesitation.

Kids and dogs don’t overthink or complicate their life. They just live it and every damn moment of it. As you celebrate independence day, may we all find the freedom that our four legged friends and little ones have mastered.

Summer, kids and dogs are calling. Heed the call.

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

the grace of sensibility

“Appreciation is the grace of sensibility, of really experiencing every moment for its uniqueness and its awe. It is what enables a person to stand on a street corner, arms out wide, head up, smiling the smile of the holy and giving thanks for the depth of every moment of it. It is the posture of the heart that says life is good, I am blessed, the universe is friendly, the world is beautiful.” – Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

May you see beauty in each petal, each smile, each glance, each touch, each moment. To be open to all that IS to be discovered and savored in the everyday-ness of life. When we recognize and realize that this moment, this hour, this day our life is unfolding, there is a yearning, a calling to be ever-present and awake.

May your mind, heart, spirit and soul be full today and each day by the grace of sensibility.

Sow . . . Reap

“You have to sow before you can reap. You have to give before you can get.” – Robert Collier

As the world continues to go faster and rewards quantity over quality, width over depth, we try to convince ourselves that we can figure out the shortcut, the easy path, the magic formula that no one else has figured out.

If we are honest with ourselves and heed that still small voice, the cues and clues, we know better. There are universal truths that we can’t outsmart, outthink or outrun. Step by step, seed by seed, act by act, we build our life day to day.

For us to grow, to transform, to reap the “harvest” of life, we always must sow first and often. We can’t bypass step one – sow and go immediately to step two – reap. And sometimes what we sow doesn’t take root and the harvest never comes.

When we sow kindness, hard work, play, compassion, joy, encouragement, laughter and sprinkle it with light and love, we not only reap in due time, we reap through the mere act of sowing.

So each day, ask “what will I sow today?” The reaping will take care of itself and the harvest will be plenty.

Blooming in July

“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

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” – Saadi

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” – Saadi

Patience is taught through trial, practice, resistance, resilience, rain, sun and time. The struggle, the unknowing, reminds us that growth can’t be rushed, there are no short cuts to our becoming. There’s solace in the certainty of blooming.

And in the waiting, wandering, building and breaking, we often bloom in the spring on time but sometimes we bloom in July in our own way. But bloom we do.

A Breeze and a Stick

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.” – Joseph Campbell

When walking the girls this morning with my thoughts bouncing to the week ahead and the month behind, a breeze came off the lake and for a moment I was held and engulfed, awakened to God right in the midst of the moment. Always present, never alone and gently carried whether I realize it or not.

Listen, watch and hear all that is around calling out to let us know that we are alright. A few hours later, the girls began to play with a stick. It instantly made for play and fun. A stick, a simple stick.

Enjoy each day and be open to the breezes and sticks that enter our day to call us out of our thoughts and worries into the moment. A breeze and a stick – sacred space found.

“Oh, my God, this amazing cool breeze is coming through my window and the sun is shining. I'm happy.” – Liv Tyler

“Oh, my God, this amazing cool breeze is coming through my window and the sun is shining. I’m happy.” – Liv Tyler

All the Beauty

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” – Anne Frank

When I ground myself in what’s important and authentic, all of the useless, draining stuff falls away. No matter what is going on, we all have the capacity and calling to smile, to laugh, to love, to transform regular moments into special memories. Lighten your load, lighten up, cast light.

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

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

The Waves

“Life is not a lily pond; life is a bay inside the ocean. Peace is what comes to us after we negotiate the roiling, pounding waves of life lived one surge at a time. The waves of life break into the center of our languor to remind us that the quality of our lives is not simply given to us, it needs to be earned.

Life doesn’t come cut to size; it requires shaping. Life is the way we deal with it as well as the way we look at it. It is time to adjust, to cope, to grow again beyond our old stale selves. We cannot simply float through life forever.” – Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight

If we fight the waves, they take us under. Ride the waves, preparing for the next, getting stronger as we move through. Ride and make some waves today.

Dance

“Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost

“Freedom lies in being bold.” – Robert Frost

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” – Agnes de Mille

May you dance more than march;
Be more than do;
Laugh more than worry;
Find awe more than despair;
Fully present in each day;
Accepting nothing short of freedom to be you without fear.

Dance.

Good Therapy

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

Whether on vacation or amidst everyday life, find your therapy – that which brings solace and guides you back to your center, focused on the present with a fullness of gratitude.

Five days in New York with my best friend from college was good therapy this week. While New York is fast-paced, loud, packed and chaotic, solace was found in conversation, culture and connection right in the middle of it all.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare

From a Broadway Show to Carnegie Hall to the 911 Memorial and Museum, we soaked in the sights, sounds and time together creating new memories. One of my favorite places in New York was the Highline Park – an old railroad line above the city that was converted into a beautiful 1.5 mile walking park 30 feet above street level. Flowers and benches dispersed between old tracks that used to carry commerce back in the day. Instead of discarding or destroying it, they transformed it into a place of transformation and beauty. Good therapy.

Yesterday after her vet appointment, I brought Lily over to visit Mom at transitional care where she’s healing from a hip replacement. When I got there, Mom was in physical therapy so I walked Lily over to say “hi.” The patients’ eyes lit up and Lily got herself right in the middle of the action. Like she does for me every day, Lily brought a little delight and broke up the day for a few sweet souls. The therapist told me today that they talked about Lily’s visit the rest of the day. Good therapy.

True joy and delight is not far off hidden in someday or when conditions are suddenly perfect or only on vacation. It is present for us each day when we are present and open. When you find it, share it with others so they can join in as well. Good therapy.

Fan Club

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A week ago, Mom was getting her hip replaced. It was scheduled but she had to go in a few days early due to severe pain – it was actually broken. She’s now recovering in transitional care and getting stronger every day. It hasn’t been the same without her. She’s what makes home, home.

There’s been a lot of in and out the past few weeks with family health issues. Molly and Lily know something is going on. They miss Mom like crazy and the feeling is mutual. Every time they see each other, their eyes light up and smiles extend from ear to ear. Home returns.

“Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

Yesterday, we went to visit and they were thrilled to see her. We sat outside in the sun just spending time being together. The world was right again. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It amplifies the depth of fondness that’s already rooted and strong.

True friendship draws us out and invites our spirits to rise. It’s good to be home.

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