“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.” – John Greenleaf Whittier
“Thou hast given me so much to me. Give one thing more, – a grateful heart.” – George Herbert
Too much of our precious and finite time is spent chirping – gossiping, being offended, yipping about the weather (too cold, too hot), offering judgment before compassion and the bigger winner – complaining.
Thanksgiving should be the culmination of a year spent in gratitude. As you enter this week and the holiday season that ensues, take time each day to quietly reflect on the many gifts that you have been given as well as those that you have to offer. We are bigger than we allow ourselves to be. Let wonder back in by opening your eyes to daily blessings. Life is found hidden in moments.
This year, we took the shortcut to January in Minnesota. Single degree temps and windchill. We know winter is coming every year and yet somehow are surprised when it arrives. Rather than run from it, run right into the middle of it. Discover the gifts that even winter has to offer like a stunning sunrise on a newly frozen lake before a 3-mile run.
Just one more thing that I ask for – a grateful heart filled with awe, curiosity and wonder. Embrace Thanksgiving this week and the days to follow with an open heart and mind and a loving spirit. Gratitude brings the world to light and light to the world.
“Out there things can happen, and frequently do,
To people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew.
Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
The thing about letting go is that we need to leave it gone. Truly letting go requires completion. It’s an ending. No picking it back up again and no looking back. We cling to the past, regret, unforgiveness, fairness, judgment, guilt and the story that we wrote for ourselves that hasn’t come true. It’s familiar, so we get comfortable with, letting fear of the unknown hold us back. Replaying the past, missing out on today.
When we release all of it, really let go and move on, we create the space needed for newness and for the next chapter of our story to enter and unfold. Our happy ending is waiting for us to let it begin if we get out of our own way.
Let go for real this time and welcome the mystery and the gift of unknowing. Oh, the places you will go!
“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, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e. e. cummings
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” – Socrates
Coming off my first week of vacation this year, I am relaxed and settled. Away from obligations of nonstop meetings, other peoples’ (ridiculous) expectations coupled with my own set of “rules” made up of “shoulds” and “musts” with little consideration for why. Faster at the expense of better.
Wandering always leads back to wonder. And for the wonder to stick, we must “schedule” pockets of unscheduled time each day and not wait for the next vacation. We are bound by time but must unbind ourselves from doing more and more to quietly being, observing and witnessing. Gratitude ensues.
Consciously choose to live with and on purpose. Wander, listen, be present and allow wonder to re-enter and remain. Pursue light and cast it.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl
When we step back, remove ourselves from the chaos of busy to get a more complete and full view, we discover the freedom that we already have right now, should we choose to exercise it. Our thoughts and assumptions can either free us or imprison us. If we live only with a snapshot view that this moment will be forever, we surrender our joy and freedom to be content and grateful where we are no matter the circumstances.
Life is made up of moments that weave together to create a bigger story, a beautiful fabric. Sometimes it makes sense, other times it doesn’t. But it unfolds as it should. Trust in the story as it unfolds and embrace your freedom to choose the next chapter.
If changes need to be made, make them. If they don’t, change your view. And by all means, soar.
“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” – Carl Sandburg
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
Whether we believe it or not in this moment, we are built to transform, to unfold, to become new. Rarely in our time, but surely in due time.
Cynicism is easy, it’s defensible. And it also makes for a lousy life. Optimism may be disappointing time to time, but cynicism owns disappointment all of the time, stealing our joy.
Create a space for light to break through and in. Light always remains. Steady and true. Hold your joy close. From glory to glory. Transformed.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo
You are never finished. When you think you are, you have decided to stop becoming, to finding the statute in the stone. Growth, discovery and joy all require an openness to trying, a vulnerability to make mistakes and to have assumptions challenged, views changed.
While not finished, you are enough and worthy in this moment, so keep carving the stone. Each day, every chip is moving you to where you need to be.
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
We are meant to evolve, to unfold.
When we are uncertain, feeling stuck and a bit lost in our own “neighborhood,” we are at a crossroad. Clinging and comfortable with what has been because it’s familiar and fearing the unknown. Change happens when we are uncomfortable.
The caterpillar transforms in the struggle to get out, only becoming the butterfly when breaking free from the past. We get unstuck by choosing forward motion, trusting our instinct and intuition, questioning the truth in our stories we’re telling ourselves – both past and future narratives.
Confident that going backwards or staying safe in the fork is not the path to what’s next and where we are meant to be. The past has paved the way to now and is not meant to repeat but to provide a foundation for growth. It has prepared us for change, for our talents and gifts to take root in what’s next. Sometimes it’s where we are now with a shift in our perspective, sometimes it’s somewhere new.
The answers are before and within you.
“Everyone was a rose but even more complex than a mere flower. Everyone was made up of infinitely layered petals. And everyone had something indescribably precious at the heart of their being.”― Mary Balogh, A Secret Affair
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
We put things in a box to make them fit into our limited definition of the world, our history, our assumptions. When we are brave enough to let go of judgment, remove our filters and strip away what we’ve been taught, suddenly, the richness of layers, of hue, of beauty that exists in all beings and nature transform our perspective, challenging our rules and regulations of how things are.
Flowers are God’s way of reminding us of the complexity and depth of His work on earth. In the mystery of a simple flower, we start anew through awe. If a flower can be this brilliant, imagine what we can discover when we dive into the layers beyond the mere surface we skim upon each day. Open your eyes to the details of creation. Petals are unfolding before us in this very moment.
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha
Joy is a job. It takes effort, rigor, repetition and practice to get good at it. We look for the shortcut and expect it to be innate. But often, it’s not. So rather that succumbing to the negativity, gossip and cynicism, get to work.
Focus on being grateful, even when the struggle is so very real. Lift your head and open your eyes a bit wider to see the beauty that is within reach right now. Ignore those voices in your head that serve no purpose but to prevent you from becoming you, the real one.
When I forget and get distracted by the minutia, I simply take the girls for a run into the woods and let them run off leash in the open field to pounce, chase and explore. It works every, single time.
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett
Make joy a priority and let it take root. Welcome it home like a long lost friend. And by all means, share it with others. Joy is a job and the most important one that you will ever have. Hunt, pounce, chase, explore and sniff it out daily.
When joy is your job, life becomes less work.
“The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
There’s a rhythm to life. An ebb and flow. When we only focus on the ebb and ignore the flow, we fight the rhythm that remains steady and strong. We wrestle with God by clinging to our own plans, our own limited view, our past, our future and to our stubborn ways.
Ease up and enter into the ebb and flow. Find the rhythm, dive deep into gratitude and be confident in the unfolding of purpose and meaning that will be revealed.