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No Easy Matter

“Life is not an easy matter… You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.” – Leon Trotsky

Real contentment takes root in difficulty. When we can find contentment in the days that the struggle is too real, we know that the struggle has a purpose. To be honest enough to acknowledge frustration and then to use it to prompt change is what raises us above the temporary difficulties into the extraordinary.

I would rather be frustrated and fight for something different than to succumb to apathy and accept what is without question. So when you are tired and worn out from the fundamental stupidity of the world, keep going and never ever give in to apathy. Do the work with care, lighten up, let the worry go and the results be what they will be.

Life is no easy matter but we can choose how we move through it.

The 20 Miler

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin

This weekend is the last “long” run – the 20 miler for those training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October. I saw some runners both days doing their long run. It was a hot and humid weekend.

I’m training for the 10 miler so only 7 miles yesterday. I may have a marathon or two left in me but not this year. Even training for the 10 mile run brings satisfaction from training and following a plan.

I remember the three marathons that I did and the 20 miler was the milestone. The culmination of months of work all leading up to the last big run before the really big run.  I was excited for those running it this weekend because I know the effort that goes in without a guarantee that you will finish 26. 2 miles even if you train for it. Anything can happen on marathon day. But the joy of the work of the effort comes to fruition two times. One on the 20 mile day and the next on marathon day. There’s little that meets that level of excitement and accomplishment of doing the work and winning the day with a finish.

We get so caught up in busy work each day, in meeting others’ unreasonable demands that we lose ourselves in the process. We lose our dreams and aspirations. But when we set out to do that goal, that mountain that we must climb on our own, there is something about it that makes it special.

What’s your dream, what’s on your bucket list? Do it. Let all of the daily busy go and go for what’s in your heart. Pursue it with vigor and delight. It makes us come alive again. To feel apart of life rather than merely getting by. Get going on your 20 miler.

The Purple Truck

I bought this truck in 1997. The dealer told me it was sapphire blue. I bought it sight unseen. And then when I went to pick it up, there she was – purple with teal detailing. A teenager’s truck. I tried to like it and kept it for two years. And then I knew I couldn’t drive it anymore. It bugged me too much.

My Dad was looking for a truck, so he bought it. The purple never phased him. If it did, he never let on. Rather than looking for a truck that he really wanted, he was letting me off the hook of a quick purchase that I regretted.

Now, I love this truck because it reminds me of my Dad’s character. A generous soul who didn’t take grief from anyone and rarely gave out either. Quiet, unassuming and kind. If anyone commented on him driving a purple truck, he never let it phase him. And 21 years later, you can tell that he took care of it.

It’s been over two years since Dad passed away and Mom really doesn’t need two vehicles. We sold it this past weekend to a family member looking for truck. The right side of the garage is now empty, but my heart is filled with memories like the truck story.

Our loved ones are here one minute and then suddenly they’re gone. And yet they remain with us in our hearts, in places, in memories, in others and in our own ways. Even in a purple truck.

Call your parents, give your kids an extra hug, don’t hold grudges, laugh as often as you can. Life is happening right now in the little things. No guarantees beyond today. Cast Light.

The Ride

“Every doorway, every intersection has a story.” – Katherine Dunn

Some days feel like we’re merely going around in circles. Stuck on a ride going nowhere, up and down, slow and fast. It is especially in these very moments, we are growing the most, transforming into what we are called to be to enter what will follow.

Patience, persistence, perspective and perseverance mixed in with a strong sense of humor are required to thrive and learn the lessons before us.

“You loved ferris wheels more than roller coasters because life shouldn’t be lived at full speed, but in anticipation and appreciation.” – Amy Harmon

No moments or days are wasted no matter whether on a roller coaster twisting and turning at great speed or a ferris wheel going slow and easy. Enjoy the ride.

Today is a page in the book of you that is being written. Never surrender the pen. Write your story.

Blue Skies, Eventually and Always

“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” – Augustus Hare

The morning sky broken open with rain, not leaving much hope for outdoor activity. And then it ceased but the clouds lingered into the afternoon. While not perfect, the pontoon will only be in the water a few weeks more, so we launched to capture one of the last rides of the season.

The lake was windy, offering the perfect invitation for sail boats to harness the wind. And many accepted the invitation. So we weaved around and watched them dance across the water with speed and grace.

The beauty of freedom with the art of holding the sail just right with the shifting winds. One of the sail boats missed a cue and fell over. Boats stopped to check and waited until they went upright. With just the right pull, the wet sails arose, ready to join the others in the pursuit of the wind again.

Soon the clouds dissipated, and blue sky broke through. What started as a rainy day transformed into a beautiful afternoon.

Our start is not where we finish. And when we join in even in less than perfect circumstances and patiently wait for things to unfold, we discover the joy in the wind and the surprise ending filled with blue.

Blue skies always are behind the clouds, eventually and always.

 

Butterfly Glide

“If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner world and the outer world.” – Sri Chinmoy

Out of nowhere, a butterfly appears, gliding by with ease and grace;

A brilliant angel awakening us to the holiness of a moment;

To the magic of mere being;

Bursting with color and curiosity;

Not lingering in the past, nor going too far into the future;

Celebrating the victory of breaking free from the cocoon;

Filled with gratitude and joy;

Showing us how to lighten up, to lay down the load that is not ours to carry;

Resting softly on a fragile pillow of petals.

Amen.

“Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.” – Francis Bacon

The Journey

Poetry, music, a sunset all have the power to put everything in perspective slowly and then suddenly. Tune out the voices that produce no fruit. Focus on thoughts and activities that drive you on the journey to your purpose. For when we live out our purpose daily, we make the world a better place.

“One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice —

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voice behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do —

determined to save

the only life that you could save.” – Mary Oliver, The Journey

 

Even on a Rainy Day

“The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.” – Helen Garner

The girls always find time to enjoy their time. Even on a rainy day. Wrestling with a toy, gazing out the window, laying around belly up. No matter the weather, no matter the conditions, there’s always an opportunity to remain in the moment and grasp delight.

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes

“Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” – Langston Hughes

We live in extremes. Too fast that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. And on a rainy day, too slow that we try to fill the quiet so as not to hear our own voice telling us that we are going too fast. Slow and fast. Quiet and noise. But life is not simply an either or. It is a weaving of all of it. Whether sun or rain, we have the choice to see the beauty in all and to enter completely into the moment. Even, perhaps especially, on a rainy day.

Measure

“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah. Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!” – Psalm 39:4–6

Perhaps it is in summer the most that we know the brevity of our days. I’ve yet to say that summer was too long. As summer is fleeting, so are our days.

Count, measure and celebrate what is lasting and important. The depth of each day. The sheer abundance. Awareness, gratitude and joy – all worthy pursuits. Discover the miracle of a sunrise and sunset. Take the light in and cast it out.

In the Details

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver

When we get caught up in things not in our control, we forego the simple beauty calling out to us in the details of a mere flower. The complexity in the simple. The delight in a moment. The joy in connection.

Overwhelmed? STOP. LOOK AROUND.

Really look. And the only words that you can possibly utter will be “thank you!”

We have so very much to be grateful for even in challenging times. A purpose for every season to be sure. Wherever you are at, remember that you are enough. You are worthy. You have what it takes.

Lighten up. Savor now. And drink in the color and beauty in simple details. In the miracle of a flower.

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