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“Love is the beauty of the soul.” – Saint Augustine

“But your ways of being in the world are not set in stone. It’s more like they are set in sand. Your childhood is not your fate. Your natural disposition is not your fate. The neighborhood you grew up in is not your fate. The research shows this clearly. Nothing that has happened in your life precludes you from connecting with others, from thriving, or from being happy. People often think that once you get to adulthood, that’s it—your life and your way of living are set. But what we find by looking at the entirety of research into adult development is that this just isn’t true. Meaningful change is possible.”― Robert Waldinger, The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness

May you be open to seeing the world and yourself in it differently.
Try new things.
Think fresh thoughts.
Make connections.
Foster relationships.
Life is hard and lovely at the same time.
Struggle and ease.
Light and shadow.
Gratitude and grace.
Keep the faith.
Trust the unfolding.
Begin again each day with optimism and hope.
A masterpiece and a work in progress.
Possibility always in bloom.

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” – Sophia

Already Here

“In the unexpected, we find the deep stillness. In the unrehearsed, we come ablaze.” — Mark Nepo, Falling Down and Getting Up: Discovering Your Inner Resilience and Strength

“Lifted and dropped enough by life, I finally put down the yearning that kept prodding me with the misperception, “If I could just get over there, then I would be fully alive.” I am already fully alive. You are already fully alive. We all are. By following our passion, we just become more of who we are. We just brighten like the sun, which doesn’t go anywhere. We are not chasing truth. We are becoming truth.” — Mark Nepo, Falling Down and Getting Up: Discovering Your Inner Resilience and Strength

In the pause of stillness.
Light and with ease.
May you know the expanse of what already is present.
Overflowing with anticipation of what will bloom from the roots of where you are planted now.
Becoming, allowing and unfolding are the journey we are on.
Grounded in today.
Already here.

“As great a tool as the intellect is, the mind chases, while the heart grounds. And so, a liability of the mind is that it seduces us to believe that life is always over there. But through great love and great suffering, the heart discovers, again and again, that life is always where we are—always here. This sometimes painful and sometimes tender realization grounds us in our lives and in life itself.” — Mark Nepo, Falling Down and Getting Up: Discovering Your Inner Resilience and Strength

Shift Your Thoughts

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.”― Eckhart Tolle

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

Some answers are yes or no.
Some multiple choice.
Both, and, plus.
Yes and no.
Most an essay.
Some unanswered, a mystery to be lived.
Nuance and complexity.
Listen. Inquire. Be receptive.
Be open to new paths.
Unexpected detours and delays.
Find ease, joy and delight right where you are now.
Allow the journey to unfold one step at a time.
Beauty emerging. New eyes to see it. Fresh legs to walk it.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”― Eckhart Tolle

Grow, Grow

“According to the Talmud, every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, “Grow, grow.”― Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

“We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone until those smiling possibilities are dead… By neglecting the necessary concrete labor, by sparing ourselves the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities.”― William James

Daily efforts.
Strokes on a blank canvas.
Chopping wood.
Stacking wood.
Doing the dishes.
Repetition to mastery.
Progress in steps married with time.
Finding beauty along the way.
Precisely where it resides, in ordinary days.
Overflowing, in abundance and not complicated.
Before us awaiting for our senses to ignite and notice.
Change. Learn. Transform.
Plant. Nurture. Bloom.
An angel whispering, grow, grow!

“Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.”― Tish Harrison Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life

Today marks 1000 posts in a row on Cast Light. A decision I made to post every day, to publish imperfectly, to commit to practice, to the gift of ritual. Thank you to those who take the time to read this, who hopefully find encouragement, commonality, community and some beams of light. May we all continue to grow and cast light.

The Fruit of Joy

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

“May every experience in life be a door that opens your heart, expands your understanding, and leads you to freedom. If you are weary, may you be aroused by passion and purpose. If you are blameful and bitter, may you be sweetened by hope and humor.” ― Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

Make stillness a part of your daily journey.
Witness and savor.
Slow and pause.
Allow still points through the day.
To awaken.
To be in awe.
Inquiry, attunement, flow.
The rhythm and dance that resides beneath busy, noise and chaos.
The utility and necessity of beauty, color, light.
Not luxuries but necessities.
Not in far off places.
Just beneath, above, around and within you.
Right now.
Go there and join yourself for a bit with wonder and delight.
The fruit of joy.

“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.” – Saint Augustine

Held and Hemmed

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” – Saint Augustine

Most days are ordinary.
One after another.
To dos, commitments, activities.
Daily living.
Often going unnoticed and unseen.
And then there are those thresholds, doors, bridges crossed.
One ways.
“Befores” to definitive “afters”.
No going back.
Foreign land we didn’t choose.
A diagnosis, death, relationship fractures, job loss.
The big things that make the small things that trip us up insignificant.
It is here where we relearn to walk again.
To breathe.
To carry on different and never the same.
Wear a helmet time.
No detours or shortcuts, just right up the middle.
So a blessing for all who are in the midst of before and after time.
You are held, hemmed in love and not alone.

for the life you didn’t choose by Kate Bowler, Jessica Richie, The Lives We Actually Have: 100 Blessings for Imperfect Days

“Blessed are you when the shock subsides, when vaguely, you see a line appear that divides before and after. You didn’t draw it, and can barely even make it out. But as surely as minutes add up to hours and days, here you are, forced into a story you never would have written.

Blessed are you in the tender place of awe and dread, wondering how to be whole when dreams have disappeared and part of you with them, where mastery, control, determination, bootstrapping, and grit are consigned to the realm of Before (where most of the world lives), in the fever dream that promises infinite choices, unlimited progress, best life now.

Blessed are we in the After zone, loudly shouting: Is there anybody here? We hear the echo, the shuffle of feet, the murmur of others asking the same question, together in the knowledge that we are far beyond what we know.

God, show us a glimmer of possibility in this new constraint, that small truths will be given back to us.

We are held.
We are safe.
We are loved.
We are loved.
We are loved.”

Thick with Possibility

“Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.”― Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

“The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are. Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it.” – Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

Amidst ordinary days, beauty and joy reside.
Detached from circumstances.
Separate from perfect conditions.
In storms and in calm.
Noticing, paying attention, pausing lead to this space and place.
A depth, peace and expanse available to all in abundance.
We are held and hemmed in divine possibility woven through each day.
Get out of your own way.
Open your eyes a anew.
Altars, sacred, holy ground beneath and before you.

“What is saving my life now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world.”― Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith

The First, Middle and Final Word

“The final word is love.”― Dorothy Day

“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”― Dorothy Day

May you choose love this day.
In thoughts, words, actions.
In a smile.
In a conversation.
In your “to-do” list activities.
In play.
Love is both the path and the destination.
The bridge that brings us together.
One step and then the next to create a revolution of your heart.
This is the only way the world will change.
One heart at a time.
Starting with your own.

“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”― Dorothy Day

Taking in the Good

“Beauty is that in the presence of which we feel more alive.”― Krista Tippett

“Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living.”― Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living

In this day.
Wake up your senses.
See beauty.
Drink in good.
Taste delight.
Color. Fresh air. Sweet fragrance.
Laughter. Light. Joy.
All withing reach.
Let them into your bones.
Strengthen your heart.
Lift your spirit.
Take in the good.

“Hope is an orientation, an insistence on wresting wisdom and joy from the endlessly fickle fabric of space and time.”― Krista Tippett

Like a River

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”― Rainer Maria Rilke

“We steer the boat, we don’t alter the river.”― J. Earp

Off the shoreline.
Into the river.
Enter the flow, carried by the current, dance with beauty.
Steer your boat, not the river.
Be authentic, no need for explanation or permission.
Allow others the same grace.
Flow like the river.
Off the sidelines, into the game.
A big beautiful world awaits your participation, contribution, and delight.

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?” That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

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