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Long and short, mostly short

“The days are long, but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

In the past month, two colleagues and friends have passed away. One was 67 and on the brink of retirement after a tremendous career. An author, scholar, professor – authentic, big-heart, generous, brutally honest and funny as hell kind of guy. The other, a 36 year-old brilliant, positive, sweet young woman who I worked with for over 10 years. There’s a quip at work about “work wives’ – that person you can talk to, you have things in common with and she understands you. One of the greatest desires that each of us has is to be understood without having to explain things. She was my “work-wife.” Even though she worked remotely in Montana, we spoke every day, we could complete each other’s sentences and had the same geeky joy for data, learning and caring about the work and the outcome.

We need to grieve loss, to honor a people who have had an impact on us. Both of these individuals had tremendous impact in the world, well-beyond their immediate sphere. I saw each of them “give a damn,” get burned and yet they got back up and kept swinging, caring. They didn’t allow circumstances, small-minded negative people or challenges get in their way. They kept moving through life with vigor, humor and passion.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with our self-created busyness and chaos of daily life. To ride the surface and not go deep. You certainly don’t get burned that way. No one can catch you long enough to get burned. But when we do that we shortchange ourselves and the world. If others don’t give a damn, that’s precisely the time to care even more.

With my own busyness (non-stop meetings and ridiculous demands of work), I’ve been on the brink of joining the rest of the pack in not giving a damn. There’s even a book that’s a best-seller on “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” I started reading it, but I didn’t get far. I want to give a “f*ck” and get burned. The opposite of love and joy is not hate but apathy.

As I reflect on my two professional colleagues who became friends over the years, I am reminded that often the days are long, but the years are short, too short to be sure.

Dig in, care, give your best without counting and fully grasp each day and the blessings that surround you. There are many gifts present right now in your life if you stop complaining and gossiping long enough to see them. Live the life that you were put here to do. Whether it’s staying where you are at or moving on.

Choose depth, awe and light. The rest of it is really a waste of very, very precious time. And when I forget, I can remember two role models who lived fully even though they were not granted the full time that they should have been. No guarantees for any of us really.

If we allow, loss fosters gratitude. Be grateful now and kind to others so when you’re gone like we all will be one day you will be greatly missed because you made a difference in other peoples lives.

The Pond, The River, The Harbor

Mornings at Blackwater by Mary Oliver, Red Bird

“For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.”

Fill your mind and heart with beauty and light to stay positive, to live positive and to never succumb to the magnet of negativity. Guard your heart, keep it soft. Fill your thoughts with love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding – those things that make absolutely no sense and are not warranted. And yet there is no peace without them.

Fight the good fight and live YOUR life. No regrets, unrelenting joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

Daily Rules

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” – William Shakespeare

I got away to a friend’s cabin (house actually) for a few days. Relaxing, spending time together, playing several Scrabble games (still my favorite game). The world slows down between Christmas and the new year inviting us to slow down as well. And in the quiet unstructured time, we can actually hear that still small voice calling us to go deeper, observe what is present and be refreshed and renewed.

While it’s easier to rediscover our thoughts and dreams in down time, we can carry that quiet within as we enter in to a new year with a clean slate. And we are offered a clean slate, a fresh start every day. The lessons we learn in quiet are meant to be carried back into ordinary daily living, making it less chaotic and more meaningful.

“Cabin Rules” should be our daily rules so we have that get-away vacation feeling every day. It is offered to us all if we dare slow down daily to see our blessings, be grateful and offer each day our best.

Happy New Year and may the resolutions on your heart be reality in March. Keep that new, resolved feeling beyond the next few weeks. Cabin rules rule.

In the Life of Winter

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav

There is plenty of life to be found in winter. In rest, reflection and in getting out into the middle of it to discovery its own special beauty. Winter is not meant for hibernation alone. Its gifts are preparation, silence and transformation. Winter does the work so spring can get the praise.

Never succumb to the “dead” of winter. Be open to life that winter offers in frozen ground, preparing the bud for bloom in due time. Daily gratitude, in each season.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov

What God Says…

“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:12

In the past few weeks, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures so all of the November snow has melted. This week, the weather people have been showing off all of their computer weather models and predicting with confidence and certainty that we will have a “brown” Christmas which apparently happens 70 percent of the time. Lots of pining and consternation amidst the hurry and hustle of what is meant to be a season of reflection, anticipation and joy.

When letting the dogs out this morning, I was surprised by a beautiful fresh coat of snow, laying quietly on the ground. And, yet again, God enters softly and says something much different than our chatter. Reminding us for the 499th time (only an estimate, probably higher, should check a computer model to be sure) of who’s really driving. And if we would let go of the wheel that we are gripping oh so tightly, we might enjoy the ride.

“All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.” – Rudolf Steiner

“All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.” – Rudolf Steiner

On this eve of Christmas eve and in every ordinary day, God is present waiting patiently to be found by us. And when we are spinning like a top going nowhere, He whispers with a fresh coat of snow making the world and all in it new again.

He has already claimed us unconditionally. And when we stop putting conditions, rules and judgment on our life, we come alive. So with moments to spare, what God says has the final say. As it should. Merry White Christmas.

Joy Trail

“You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail.” – Buffy Sainte-Marie

Don’t let your guard down. Be intentional. We can easily stray off the joy trail by meaningless distractions, busyness, over-committing, trying to jam one more thing into a minute so we miss the minute that we’re in.

As you enter into these final days of Advent and the dawning of a new year, put on the brakes, pull over and take in the beautiful scenery. Be aware and awake and most importantly, in awe. Choose quality or quantity, essence over efficiency, wow over worry, relationship over transaction, slow over fast, quiet over clanging, depth over width.

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire


“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

Hunt for joy with vigor, hope and assurance that it is there to be found, not too far in the distance. If there’s a road I intend to travel in 2019, it certainly is the joy trail. Join me so we can take this journey together. Today is the only day promised to us. Don’t miss it.

Chasing Balls

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

Our days are defined by what we hold on to and what we let go. The balls we chase and the ones we don’t. The stories that we tell ourselves and the stories others put on us that hold us back, that preach scarcity and fear.

What has been cannot be redone or undone, and it all has its purpose in the full story. The future is so much more than the repetition of the past if we dare. We get to choose what’s next for us at any age. Not what is supposed to be or what others think it is or should be.

Be open, in tune to that quiet voice and change your story by widening your view. Hold on to what’s most important and let go of everything that does not complete your story. There are signs and signals all around guiding, directing and hollering at us to get our attention.

Chase the right balls and enjoy the daily pursuit of simple joy. Dream and then do the work.

“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd

One Piece at a Time

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” – Deepak Chopra

When it all doesn’t fit together, keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together one at a time. The big picture, the next step, the purpose will show itself when enough of the little pieces come together. Don’t overthink, freeze or give up. One piece at a time, with time and it all comes together. Faith is active. Keep the faith, and use it.

Open Your Eyes

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” – Aldous Huxley

Magic happens when we open our eyes to see what’s in front of us now. It’s not in the past or the future. Life is happening right in this very moment. Notice, grasp and soak it in. This day will not return so make the most of it while in it.

Children remind us of what we must return to so we can live fully. Wonder, laughter, silliness, delight, awe, no judgment, unconditional love.

Find joy today. Simply, open your eyes anew.

“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child's eye - it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyart

“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyart

Mosaic

Go deeper.
Stay longer.
Surface for air.
Let go sooner.
Change the stories that don’t serve you well.
Release yourself from perfection, rules and regret.
Write a new page, a different ending.

Worry less.
Give yourself and others a break, be a sucker and believe the best.
Be kind and awake in the moment.
Break the pattern.

Create a mosaic from the pieces and see the whole imperfect, beautiful mess.
It’s yours alone.

Be present to it all.
Every bit of it.
Author of your life? – You.

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