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The Unknowing

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

We want to know the end before we start. We hesitate, freeze, hold back, analyze and run the opposite direction of the unknowing. We take comfort in the familiar, especially when it’s time to move on. But it is in the unknowing, in the mystery, we find our true capacity, strength, depth, resolve, resilience and at its core, our very soul and its longing.

Keep moving and release the hollow fear that is holding you back from fullness of living, from the very breath of life. Return again and again to a beginner’s mind, ready to learn, to make mistakes, to risk being the fool. For the fool is unhindered from what others think and self-imposed limitations. The fool transforms into a genius by moving swiftly into the unknowing until it becomes known.

Move fiercely into the unknown and discover with a renewed enthusiasm where the road less taken will lead you.

“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

― Dr. Seuss

Skimming Rocks

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” – Kristin Armstrong

Growing up around lakes, we would pick up rocks and see how far we could skip them across the water. Finding flat shaped rocks and throwing side arm, the rock barely touching the surface. Distance over depth.

The demands of our “do more with less and do it as fast as you can” world is like having a bottomless mountain of rocks skimming for distance. And it’s a pretty hollow activity that produces little relevance and quality in our days.

We worry about machines taking over our jobs. I hope they do so we can stop producing like machines and creating like humans, as we are meant to do. We have so much more deeper down than we pursue. Those individuals who are creating to their full cognitive ability and capacity are those who go deeper, linger longer and have said “no thanks” to more with less.

I am in hot pursuit of less pursuit, of going deeper, lingering to allow my mind to absorb rather than process. Beauty is found in simplicity and depth. Every one of us has the same 24 hours to work with. We need to make different decisions, take different actions to get to a different place. Each day we need uninterrupted quiet time to pursue depth. Multi-tasking and frantically jumping from one thing to the next is skimming rocks. Slow down and tap into the depth of your being so you can discover who you are meant to be and what you are here to contribute to this world.

Less mindless production, more sweet fruit. Find your light and cast it.

“In this world of ours, every believer must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying ferment for the mass; and it will be that all the more as, in the depths of his being, he lives in communion with God.” – Pope John XXIII

Seeds and Roots

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.” – Muriel Rukeyser

A beautiful Sunday drive brought Mom and me through the “old” neighborhood. First past her home on Sixth Street, then to Dad’s house on Earl Street where his parents landed after they immigrated from Poland. We finished the “tour” by the still white house on Ivy where they came together to raise our family. All three are within a few miles or so of each other. Families back then didn’t land too far from home. It was both familiar and distant.

“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges

“We come to beginnings only at the end.” – William Throsby Bridges

Many good memories with neighbors who remain friends still. Beginnings anchored in hard work, struggle, laughter and faith. By today’s standards, the houses are small and yet somehow we made it through with one bathroom, sharing a room with my sister and a small kitchen with no dishwasher. Those were the days with alleys where the neighborhood kids gathered to play boot hockey, ride bike and make forts from piles of snow.

“The journey is my home.” – Muriel Rukeyser

“The journey is my home.” – Muriel Rukeyser

Every now and then, we need to go back to our beginnings to see how far we have come as well as be reminded where we need to return to. Seeds and roots.

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson

“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson

Every Mile

Listen for and open your eyes to the signs, cues and clues whispering to reassure that you are where you are meant to be now. Nothing, not one step, is wasted. So keep moving. living and learning. Don’t stall or get stuck in the past and never accept less than what God has in store for you. The faster we go, the farther we get behind. Tune out the noise of busyness, slow down and enter the rhythm of daily life with deep gratitude.

I just discovered a new song from Nicole Nordeman and have been playing it over and over – Every Mile Mattered. There are many moments we question where we are at and why. It’s reassuring to know that every mile mattered and it’s gotten to us where we are now and will be the path that prepares us for what’s next.

“But it’s history
It don’t define you
You’re free to leave
It all behind you
Every tear brought you here
Every sorrow gathered
It’s history
And every mile mattered
Every mile mattered”

Every mile that has been and all that is to come matters. Be present and anchor your days in joy, faith and trust. Turn up the music and bust a move.

The Root

“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” ― David Steindl-Rast

There is always something to be grateful for. Always. And the fruit of gratitude is joy. Slow down, take a breath and fully receive the blessings planted throughout each day. What is right in front of us is so often what we miss. Open your eyes and heart.

Jeanne gave me a grateful sign for my birthday. I put it in the living room right next to the television so I can’t miss it. Don’t miss the signs and follow accordingly.

“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.” ― David Steindl-Rast

“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.” ― David Steindl-Rast

Cosmos and Order

“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” – Carl Jung

May you find cosmos and order today. It’s grounding to know that there’s a reason for all that is happening in our lives even if we don’t know it in this moment. Overcome your circumstances with your spirit. Grasp gratitude. Press on, fearless and fierce. Don’t wait for joy to find you. Pursue it in simple moments and embrace it each day.

Cosmos and order are holding you. Let go.

Measuring Cup

“Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.” – Michael Ende

We measure our years with birthdays, but we experience the soul of life in moments. As we grow older and time moves faster, we discover that our cup is over flowing when we measure the right things. And the hot pursuit of position and accumulation of stuff comes up empty. Less really is more. Depth over distance. Connection over chaos. Quality over quantity.

Beauty, spring, winter, loss, light, dark, laughter, tears, delight all merge into a tapestry of color and pattern that is all our own yet we share the same journey that takes us each down different paths. The gains and losses. The joy and trials. A thousand hellos and two thousand good-byes. All of it binds together to shape us and prepare us for what’s next.

So as I celebrate my 53 years on earth today and Abby’s 1 year, I am mindfully aware and grateful for all of my blessings that came with many sunrises and sunsets, of days filled with joy and even the ones with the seemingly endless challenges. The authentic life has it all.

Ride the jet ski at 81, throw the ball (again and again) and never lose your sense of humor. And above all, be kind. And that includes to yourself. Cast light, measure the right things and choose abundance and joy.

 

Golden

“Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are.” – Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

When an opportunity arises that is spontaneous and a bit frivolous, do it. And then do it again. These are the experiences that create golden memories and remind us of what’s most important in life.

One of those opportunities arose this past weekend when I was in Chicago for a meeting and then stayed an extra day to meet up with my best friends Sharon and Tim from California who were going to South Bend for the Notre Dame vs. USC football game.

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” – Henry Miller

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” – Henry Miller

The older I get the more I treasure time with those who mean the most to me. And I never want to let “common sense” to ever stop me from staying engaged and chasing joy.

Each day, be open to spontaneity and act on it. Create those golden moments.

Hope

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell

Hope is the unbroken promise of what is to be in the passage of time, at the right time. Never, never, never give up hope for the best tomorrow. The fullness of time, trust and faith merge together to create our becoming. And in the waiting, in the building of patience, pursue joy beyond understanding and never give into despair. You are right where you are meant to be right now.

Our regrets will be centered on not enjoying moments in each day as they present themselves, even in difficult times. Full bloom comes with rain, sun and time. Full bloom, the fruition of hope. Choose hope and give permission to others to do the same.

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” – Bernard Williams

Empathy

“Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it’s accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another’s eyes or heart.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Stop. Get outside of your own head. Look in the eyes of another and listen intently and with quiet empathy. No judgment, no solutions, no platitudes. Listen and see the world through their eyes and heart and find your own in the process. Connect, be present, be kind. Cast light, love and empathy. Every. Single. Day.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

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