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Count and Recount

“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Daily journaling is an opportunity to witness our life, its broader meaning and how far we have come. The outside world – circumstances, other people – distracts, scatters and triggers reaction rather than thoughtful response.

As I journaled this morning recounting yesterday, I felt a deep sense of gratitude. When we count and recount what already is present in our lives, we become aware that we are more blessed than cursed.

Take full inventory daily to foster gratitude and hone your sense of joy. Your light within is brighter than you realize so keep counting and recounting. Create the space to choose your response with forethought.

“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

Reflect the Sun

Each day, we can choose what we project and reflect. If you are not in a place now to project what’s within, reflect the sun until your inner light is ignited again. Light within and without. Cast it.

“Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” – Indra Devi

Room for Rest

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum

The past two days, I’ve had the privilege of picking up my great nephew Liam from full-day school. It’s been the highlight of my week since he’s my life coach and best friend. Each day, 10 minutes into the drive back to my house, he’s fallen asleep exhausted, out like a light. I’ve looked at him and it sums up the way many of us are feeling these days.

After hour upon hour of zoom meetings and running as fast as possible to figure out how to save the world of business and take care of our family, it’s natural to be worn out. So as we move through this reality, I’ve come to two conclusions:

  1. Go easy on yourself and allow yourself space and grace to feel what you feel without judgment;
  2.  When you’re ready, ask “now what?” – we need time to process and grieve and then we need to figure out what’s next and what we are going to do about it.

This is one rare occasion in our collective life that we are really “all in this together” so let’s give each other a break, be kind, empathetic and supportive.

Rest, give yourself a break. There is light, joy and hope now and ahead.

 

Threads of Hope

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” – Tertullian

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” – Aeschylus

There are threads of hope woven through every day. Look for the threads and do not cease before finding them. Rainbows after rain. Color all around. Beauty in the forefront. Joy to embrace. When we open to hope, we can offer it in return. Hope is a way of life, not a last resort. Choose hope. Choose light and cast it.

“Hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone.” – Martha Beck

Let Go to Hold On

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The science on meditation and mindfulness shows the real impact on daily living. We get skeptical about adding one more thing to our daily to do list, but meditation is worth the 10-30 minutes a day. In addition to training for a now virtual marathon, journaling every morning since March and daily meditation guided by the Insight Timer app has been worth the effort and investment.

We need to do less so we can experience more. Let go of old stories, hold on to things worthy of our valuable time. Create space for new possibilities, joy and abundance.

Let go of the unnecessary so you can hold on to the necessary. Carve quiet so light can enter and reveal the magic of living.

“Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

We’re Still Here

“All of us need to begin to think in terms of our own inner strengths, our resilience and resourcefulness, our capacity to adapt and to rely upon ourselves and our families.” – Steven Pressfield

“I think we build resilience to prepare for whatever adversity we’ll face. And we all face some adversity – we’re all living some form of Option B.” – Sheryl Sandberg

This week, Jeanne gave me a ceramic pumpkin filled with fresh tomatoes from her garden. The tomatoes alone would be awesome enough, but the pumpkin had very special meaning. Years ago, the pumpkin was filled with fresh beautiful flowers. They were sent to our office in St. Paul addressed to Jessica Gill. Jeanne got them and called Jessica immediately to let her know that she received flowers.

Jessica was a fellow coworker/friend who worked for us remotely in Montana. She was the original remote worker before COVID-remote work became “cool.” It was from a client thanking her for her outstanding work – no surprise. Our office should have been filled with flowers, gifts and chocolates for her commitment, creativity and leadership through the years for both our clients and staff.

So the pumpkin filled with tomatoes this week went deeper. It was a sweet reminder of Jessica who worked for me for years. We talked every day. She was one of the most brilliant, kind and generous young woman/person that I’ve worked with over a 30+ year career. She succumbed to a second ass-kicking from cancer on January 6, 2019, in her 30s with two young boys and a husband who adored her, like the rest of us.

Not one single day goes by that I don’t want to pick up the phone to talk, strategize and solve complex problems with a laugh weaved in the conversation. She understood me and the depth of the tech work that we worked on together for the years.

So as I finished this week, with my pumpkin displayed in my living room, one thought kept rising in my heart – “we’re still here.” That’s really the gist of it, especially now. We are still here in this “unprecedented time” and are called to keep living, contributing, caring and being generous with ourselves and others. We are still here to honor those who have gone before us, rising to all occasions with resilience, hope, joy, enthusiasm and victory. Until we cross over, we are still here to fight the good fight, so let’s do this!

When you start feeling sorry for yourself – and I do myself regularly – remember, we are still here and here for a purpose. Be present, be hopeful, be joyful and serve the world until you are no longer a part of it. Carry on with hope, spunk and fight. Cast light – we all are in desperate need of it right now!

“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” – Albert Bandura

Sweet Nectar

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” – Marcus Aurelius

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus

We’re on the cusp of fall now as summer wanes. Warm during the day, cool nights and mornings. Not quite before, not quite after, in between on the edge. Through seasons and transitions, we make our decision how we will go through. Some will choose to fall backward into the past, comforted with familiarity and false certainty. Others will trip forward still hanging on to pieces of the past, begrudgingly moving into the future. And then there are those brave few who hurl themselves forward into the unknown with certainty that action and momentum will do their job of revealing what’s next and our role in it.

Be that brave soul and launch into the unknown, allowing transformation and fruition.

“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.” – Wayne Dyer

Let’s Play Now

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung

“The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” – Carl Jung

Every time I let others get to me, not in a good way. Every time, I get off the positivity path and wander into a cloud of negativity. Every time, I choose dark over light. I soon wake up and rediscover blessings and gifts that are already present and available when I look with new eyes. My wake up call comes in a text from a friend, a dog with a toy, the brilliance of a flower or a child in their natural state before we make them “grow up.”

We must never surrender our power and responsibility to be joyful, playful, grateful and in awe. Especially right now when the world is upside down.

Don’t let others get you down. Do your part to lift up, look up and never, ever give up. I am deeply grateful for my tribe who inspire, listen and love unconditionally, moving me rapidly through moments of scarcity and comparison into abundance and purpose. Get out and play and invite others to join you.

“The mind cannot long play the heart’s role.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

10

“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” – Confucius

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

News Flash – the entire world is in the midst of a pandemic right now, civil unrest and an election filled joy and delight. Uncertainty continues. Work from home. School from home. Fear. Anxiety. Unknown.

I can hear the tone and angst in emails, in conversations, on zoom calls. I’ve done my share of contributing in a similar fashion at times. I try to stop myself in my tracks to not become what I attest. In the past three days, I’ve gotten sharp angry emails, assuming the worst intentions rather than simple human error.

So here’s your Mr. Rogers lesson for adults since many are acting like children who have skipped lunch and can’t play with your toys. Count to 10 before you send an email or assume you’re the only person going through a difficult time right now. Mr. Rogers would also advise children to look for the helpers. Why not try to be a helper?

Be kind. Be patient. Empathy works, try it. Learn to breath, assume the best and count to 10. Reflect and think before you speak or send an email.

Tip of the week: Download the Insight Timer meditation app. I’ve been listening in the morning and evening the past two weeks and am finding a deep peace with a few hiccups during 10 hours of daily work filled with delightful emails. Meditate in the morning and evening to reflect on you, not others. We all, all of us, can do and act better.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Breathe.

Cast some light. Please. Let’s help each other carry the load and find joy right now when we need it the most.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth

Light Burns Fog

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse

On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.

Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.

It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.

On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.

Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.

We have enough fog. Cast light.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin

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