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Laugh, Every Day

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” – Clive James

Find humor and knit laughter into each day to lighten up. A simple shape of snow on a tree, a walk in nature, soaking in the sun as winter turns to spring. Pay attention to little things, to what’s right in front of you in this moment. Notice, dance, dare to delight.

If you can find humor daily, even in winter, joy finds you, transforming ordinary days into extraordinary ones filled with light.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Pathways

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” – Anatole France

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

The space between two end points.
The pathway.
The middle.
The journey.
This is where life is lived.
We must start to finish.
The pathway is filled with ordinary days.
Sacred if we allow.
Holy if we invite.
Joyful is we accept.
We carry the weight of life in our neck and shoulders.
The neck is the pathway between the heart and mind.
The shoulders are where we carry weight that is not ours to carry.
Lay it down.
Tune into your heart and let it lead to clear the path to the mind.
A flower blooms without fail when the pathway from the dirt through the stem is open.
To absorb water and nutrients.
To breath in the sun.
When the path is winding with detours, delays and distractions, return to your heart to open the pathway.
Let sun and water do their work.
Roots and blooms.
Open pathways.

“A blessing is, finally, something wild. It leads us where we did not imagine to go, and never in a straight line. That is the nature of a blessing—and the nature of God, who meets us in each moment, within time and beyond it, encompassing us season by season in a circle of grace.” — Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons by Jan Richardson

Two Ways

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein

There is an innate joy in children, a natural smile bursting from within, rooted firmly in the soul and spirit. It never goes away but time and experience bury it as we succumb to the ways of the world. When we return to this place of optimism, joy and light, suddenly everything becomes a miracle, blessings abound.

“Thin places assure us that what we can see is not all there is, that within the struggle, joy, pain, and delight that attend our life, there is an invisible circle of grace that enfolds and encompasses us in every moment. Blessings help us to perceive this circle of grace, to find our place of belonging within it, and to receive the strength the circle holds for us.”— Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, Jan Richardson

Blessings and miracles are woven into our ordinary days, amidst a pandemic, politics, struggling relationships, hidden in plain sight. Our most important and only job is to notice them. In quiet meditation and reflection, gratitude, grace and awareness ensue, a full accounting of our life, an awakening.

“The best blessings awaken our imaginations. In places of difficulty, struggle, or pain, blessings beckon us to look closely rather than turn away. In such places, they challenge us not to accept how things are but to dream of how they could be transformed. They invite us to discern how God might be calling us to participate in bringing this transformation to pass.”— Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, Jan Richardson

 

A Listening

“A LISTENING – Going through Lent is a listening. When we listen to the word, we hear where we are so blatantly unliving. If we listen to the word, and hallow it into our lives, we hear how we can so abundantly live again.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

When the answers are hollow, listen to hear the hallowed;
Speak less, listen more;
Listen to understand rather than to respond;
Be open to a new space of possibility;

I discovered Ann Weems work through listening to Amy Bost Henegar, who I discovered on Insight Timer. When we search with an open mind and heart, one thing leads to the next, connections begin to form and sense-making follows.

May we all be open to listening, changing and growth on our joyful journey to Bethlehem and the difficult journey to Jerusalem. Oasis and desert. Living and dying. Winter to spring. Renewed and strengthened.

“THE WAY TO JERUSALEM IS CLUTTERED – The way to Jerusalem is cluttered with bits and pieces of our lives that fly up and cry out, wounding us as we try to keep upon this path that leads to Life. Why didn’t somebody tell us that it would be so hard? In the midst of the clutter, the children laugh and run after stars. Those of us who are wise will follow, for the children will be the first to kneel in Jerusalem.” — Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems

 

 

 

To Live Again

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson

Spring is in the air, if only but for a moment. After two weeks of way below zero temperatures, we are getting two days of 40 degrees, a glimpse of the next season, a sneak preview in February. The slow melt of snow to water, ice to puddles, skating rinks returning to lakes. While the cold air of winter lingers, the sun and longer days take center stage to remind us of the certainty of seasons.

Glimpses, beams and threads are woven into the fabric of each day to pull us through winters, delays and desert time. Gifts of hope, inviting and guiding us beneath the surface of the obvious, beyond the oblivious and rush of mere activity into the deep waters of gratitude, grace and awe.

Examine, observe and absorb the sheer beauty in the petals of a flower, revealing complexity and simplicity in creation, in a single moment.

Winter is sure to return to finish its job, offering its final gifts of quiet preparation and dormancy to prepare for the emergence and awakening of spring bud and bloom. Open the gifts of each season, make each day holy with open arms and a grateful heart.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams

Mind Your Mindset

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.” – Jen Sincero

Begin each day in reflection and gratitude to foster a start line of abundance that is the throughline for the entire day, start to finish;
Plant it, say it, try it, stick to it to see how your reality shifts;
No need to compete in the “I’m having a tough day competition anymore;”
The path is old and worn, the traffic is jammed and the road leads to more of the same;
Your thoughts lead to words, to actions, to perspective;
Release all that is not in your control and create a space for abundance, light and optimism;
Carefully choose where your mind goes and guard your joy to anchor when the winds rise up;
Pause three seconds to respond rather than react – 1…2…3…

Optimists International has a variety of resources to place optimism front and center so you can break the daily negativity habit. An action calendar, desktop images and their Facebook page offer daily reminders and prompts.

The Optimist Creed, Optimists International

Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Give optimism a fighting chance by centering your thoughts and being intentional with your words and actions.

Mind your mindset and show others through your consistent actions that there is a better, different path, one of joy, abundance and light.

“The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.” – Marianne Williamson

Come, Sit for a While

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker

For so long
Day after day
Running fast and furious
Checking the box
New list, new boxes
Task after task
Problem solved, another takes its place
Transactional living

For who?
For what?
Why?
To What end?
Ask the questions
Inventory what stays and what must go and then release it

Money
Power
Ego
Legacy
Expectations and assumptions
Quantity over quality
Examine how time is being spent or given

On sabbath, God’s day, He calls us to rest as He did after 6 days creating the world
The Author of Life, asks us to pause
To ask the questions, to listen, to pull off the racetrack to rest, nothing to check off, no problem to solve, to just be so we can carry Sunday into the week

God chases us as we chase everything and everyone but Him
Patiently, lovingly, mercifully, gracefully, generously
He chases, calls and waits for us to see Him in the threads of ordinary moments, always present, whispering, “Come, sit for a while”

You have earned your rest
There is nowhere to go
Nowhere to be than right now
On a bench, taking in the depth and beauty of this very moment
Sunday was created to linger, to laugh, to lounge, to live so the rest of the week makes sense and is lived on purpose, gratefully and with intent, not accidentally

Right here, right now.
Come, sit for a while.

“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.” – Eugene H. Peterson

Was, Is and Coming

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

Winter solstice was December 21st.
First day of spring is March 20th.

Light is coming out sooner and lingering longer.
In January, each day offers 90-120 seconds more daylight.
In February, 150 seconds each day as the sun moves higher with March approaching.
We are closer to spring as winter begins its finishing.
The small changes of each day are becoming noticeable.
Seconds turn to minutes, to hours, to days, to a lifetime.

In between “was” and “coming” is “is”
In the process of was and coming is living, progress unfolding in moments.
Do not lose “is” by remaining in “was” or moving too quickly into “coming.”

Each season offers its gifts.
Open them.
Bask in the warmth of the light.
Grow in the patience of the dark.

“Is” is “it.”
Remain there, embracing the depth, grace and gratitude found in being fully present.
In light within and light surrounding each day.

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” – Harriet Ann Jacobs

Steep

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige

It’s going to break into the teens today and 20s this weekend. After two weeks of below zero temps, 20s will be balmy. Dog parking, snowshoeing and running will commence today with a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the outdoors.

The past year of a pandemic, weeks of below zero and weather extremes across the country have steeped us like teabags in hot water. It’s been long enough, the tea leaves have dissipated in the water, there’s no flavor left, pull us out already. The tea is dark and strong.

Our timing and God’s timing are rarely in sync, and God is always on time. While steeped and stuck in the hot water, in the desert and winters of life, rather than longing to be pulled out already, perhaps the answer lies in us listening quietly, observing with rapt attention and opening up our being to receive the cues, clues and signs that we are surrounded with in this present moment.

We have had a combination bootcamp/master class this year in self-awareness and gratitude, the first ingredients to empathy and transformation – the ability to go outside ourselves and see our connectedness to others, awakening to our shared path and grateful for what already is present. Rather than pass hard and fast on the left in a rush to what’s next and new, we can move alongside each other and continue our journey together on our journey to return home to authentic self and becoming.

The only way to the other side is right through the middle. Not around or about but through. We fritter away a lot of time looking for shortcuts and loopholes rather than do the root work of seed germination that’s required to break ground, unfold into bud and burst into beautiful bloom.

Do not forgo this time. Go deep until the tea bag has expended all the flavor into the water. Steep and when it’s time, savor.

Red, Yellow, Green

“Intuition is the very force or activity of the soul in its experience through whatever has been the experience of the soul itself.” – Henry Reed

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Red light – hard stop
Yellow light – in between, stop or go, make a decision, choose the brake or the gas
Green light – hard go

Much of our time and energy is spent in the comfort of the yellow light zone, vacillating between stop and go, searching for signs of red or green, clarity, specificity, direction, an obvious sign, a detailed map, a guarantee. There are certainly clear reds and greens, but the in decisions that truly matter, that move us to purpose and meaning, in change and new directions off the beaten path, direction is found in quiet, in trust, in our own intuition.

Without questioning, we put our trust in the world, in institutions, in parties, in others, in systems, in our own limiting beliefs and narratives. But when God asks us to trust in Him, in His plan, in your own purpose for being, we balk. Hard stop. It cannot be that simple and that hard at the same time. There must be more.

When we do our part of listening to the soft whisper, we can move into each day taking a step at a time in gratitude and trust, guided by the compass of intuition rather that a detailed step-by-step map down the world-approved obvious road. God always does His part to show us green lights, red lights, when to pump the brakes, to hit the pedal, to idle in patience and when to pull off to the rest for a bit.

Signs and signals are woven into each day showing the path, one step at a time, when to stop, to go, to simply remain. Look, listen, trust. Eyes on the road ahead, glancing only but for a moment in the rearview mirror to see how far you have already come.

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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