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Rhthym

“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.

The Pen

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler

We so often use the pen to merely check off our “to do” list. Initially satisfying and then suddenly shallow. Go deeper, do less, be more and create real meaning.

When we go below the surface of transactional busy living and enter what’s beneath, we expose the stories we tell ourselves. Those stories that tell us to spend time on obligations, over committing, over doing.

Each of us has a purpose, gifts to unwrap and release into the world. Spending our time and attention on these pursuits makes the world better, one dream fulfilled at a time. Yep, I get it – you have to make a “living”. Been doing that for 30+ years.

Joy and fulfillment come when we align who we are, our gifts, what we do and who we do it with. In relationship, in play, in pursuit of something bigger than ourselves and in being present in each day while it’s occurring.

I just started a new book – Redirect, Changing the Stories We Live By, by Timothy D. Wilson on the stories we tell ourselves and what we can do to change the stories that hold us back. I am looking forward to diving deep into it this weekend and not checking off the “to do” list. When we expose and let go of those old stories, we can rewrite our own story starting today.

Pick up the pen and write down what your assumptions are, what you want to do, and what “rules” that you’ve created that need to be broken. Stop asking for permission to live your life. Time to start a new chapter of thinking, doing and most importantly, living with joy, awe and even some fun. Life is short, find your light and cast it wide.

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Horace “The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Horace

In Our Depths

“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Gratitude and grace remind of the gifts that are present and remain ever present especially in difficult times.

It’s a heavy season right now. Serious cancer diagnoses for friends, beautiful courageous young women. No words can adequately express the deep concern and care of many who just want to do something, anything to make it better.

We so often don’t have answers to what life deals us. It requires us to let go of our plans, to trust in the darkness, to exist in the unknowing. It’s not easy. But while we are here in this place, breathing, we must continue to get up and come out swinging. Hope and trust in the waiting.

And a simple reminder to all. We never fully know what someone is going through, so always error on the side of kindness, compassion, empathy and love, without condition. Be present and fully aware so you can be a gift that someone may desperately need. Go deeper, stay longer and never give up.

Within

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde

“Every thought, word and deed is a pebble in a pool. The ripples circle outward. They eventually reach the shore and then return to us. We are the creators of the life we are living. If we do not like our present circumstance, we have only to look within to see the choices we have made that have brought us here. Only through inner change can we hope to transform our external experience. The work always lies within. – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery

As the seasons change, so must we. Summer awakens as spring lets go into blooming flowers. Fall’s chill is tempered with a tapestry of vibrant leaves floating to the ground. Each season has its purpose, its job. Transition calls for acceptance so we can move fully into what’s next, into transformation.

Fighting change only slows the journey and steals our daily joy. Let go of the consternation that is rooted in fear of change. Grasp it, fully confident that it is leading you exactly where it should, where you need to be.

It’s within you. Go there and become new.

Seek the Good

“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” –  Anne Frank

While running tonight at our usual Wednesday spot at Como Lake, a boy stood fishing. I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish out of this city lake. Suddenly his pole bent and line pulled tight. You could see his excitement as he softly called for his Dad.

He had a big fish on the line and wasn’t sure what to do. Before his Dad came over, a stranger walked by and started to guide him. He told him that his fishing line would break if he tried to pull it up based on the size of the fish. He gently advised him to loosen the line and walk the fish on the line to the dock so he could land it.

“God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu

“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu

It was a joy to witness. The goodness of a stranger helping a young boy land a big fish, one he could talk about for a long time coming. He was guessing that it was probably an 8 pound Northern.

It was sweet. It was innocent. It was lovely.

If we believe what we see on the news and political ads (pick your side – both angry and mean-spirited) as the only thing that’s real, we miss what’s truly real and good. There is more good than evil. There are more wonderful people than jerks.

Seek the good and you will find it. Seek sweetness, innocence, and loveliness.  This is what we are meant to find despite the noise, chaos and distractions. Don’t fall for cynicism, anger and scarcity.

Abundance, generosity and joy. Choose these good things. Go fishing and land some light.

Cease to Complain

“Any form of complaining is the small self becoming lost in self-importance. So much energy needed for awakening is wasted on complaining. We many not be able to change our external reality, but we can transform the negative thoughts and feelings that are our reaction to that reality. We have a chance to awaken from the nightmare we create through our resistance to what is. Stopping all complaining is one of the first steps. When we cease to complain, we conserve life force for what really matters. A new world begins. Each event becomes a mysterious opportunity rather than an inconvenient vexation. A tremendous amount of life force, once bound up in feeling sorry for oneself, is released. Where there was frustration and self-pity, there is now space for appreciation to bloom. The misguided belief that life should be other than it is dissolves and in its place, acceptance flowers, joy awakens, patience blooms, and peace permeates.” – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery

It may be justified. It seems reasonable. It seems like it should help, but it makes it worse. Complaining is wasted energy that blocks gratitude. Rather than being a release, it traps us in our thoughts of scarcity, comparison and self-pity.

Last week summed up to be a bust. And I made it worse by letting external things get internal and define my entire week. And then three things happened to shift my limited view, to open up my senses again.

My sister sent me beautiful flowers. A friend texted me after our run yesterday letting me know she noticed I was quieter and that she was thinking about me. I told her I was trying to get my inner “Tigger” back and send “Eeyore” on his way. She told me she likes “Eeyore” too and it’s ok to not be “Tigger” sometimes. And then I walked by a book that I got from a friend years ago and opened it up to the page with the passage above.

These three encounters brought gratitude back into view and where it should remain, front and center. I can’t guarantee that I won’t trip and fall into the complaining trap again. But it’s worth trying to keep space open for the gifts of acceptance, joy, patience and peace.

I am grateful for those kind souls who took the time to notice and offer encouragement and support rather than answers, platitudes or solutions. We sometimes need to be merely seen. Remember, your light can bring someone else’s back. Cast light.

 

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.

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