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Joy Guards

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

Pessimism is easy, passive and spreads quickly. Optimism requires daily intention, attention and aggressive pursuit. Guard your joy. You own it and are responsible for it. No one else, it’s yours.

The girls always guard me, their toys and their joy. Each day, they remind me that joy really does come in sips, not gulps.

They were watching me get ready for work and their eyes were telling me to put on a bit more make up and do one more brush through the hair before leaving.

Joy guards reporting and on duty.

“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” – Sharon Draper

Gratitude Journal

“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power or goodness.” – Martin Seligman

Gratitude is a key ingredient to real optimism and whole-hearted living. Starting a daily gratitude journal can transform ordinary days into extraordinary days.

A Verywellmind.com article offers some simple and doable tips on starting and maintaining a gratitude journal:

  1. Decide on a Journal – online or paper;
  2. Decide on a framework – long form or lists;
  3. Commit to a schedule – do it everyday;
  4. Keep writing – things unwind and unfold when we write them down.

The 5 Minute Journal app has a morning and evening check in a very simple format. In the morning, you record 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you will do to make today great? And then daily affirmations – I am… In the evening, you record 3 amazing things that happened today, How could I have made today even better? You can look back and see how you make progress when you do it daily.

Being intentional, aware of your blessings daily and saying “thank you” fosters an abundance mindset. Knowledge, power, goodness.

“‘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

The Sky

“Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.” – Chanda Kochhar

Suddenly the sky swoops down and pulls us upright to our proper position. Released from the abyss of our circling scarcity thoughts into the abundant majesty of the whole universe inviting us in.

Conspiring, surprising and overcoming our eyes with brilliance, hue and light.

Breathtaking. Radiant. Bedazzling.

Extraordinary beauty in ordinary moments. Available to all, accepted by few. Be one of the few and look up.

“Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see” – John Newton

 

Jump Start

I wasn’t feeling it this morning, so I was going to put off posting until tonight. Putting it off is the recipe for not doing it. Stop procrastinating and start right where you are now. Change your attitude and perspective.

When you don’t feel it inside, go outside for some inspiration, motivation and optimism. Day 14 – 30 day positive thinking habit. Make it a GREAT day!

Here’s 5 Positive Quotes to Jump Start Your Day!:

  1. “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  2. “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen
  3. “Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.” – Richard M. DeVos
  4. “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” – Patricia Neal
  5. “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller

Like Water

“Water is the softest of all things, yet it is the most powerful. The ocean patiently allows all things to flow into it. It is always flexible. The Tao is not about grasping, but allowing, like water.” – Wayne Dyer

There’s a natural flow to Sunday, inviting rest, reflection and unstructured time. The trick is taking that flow and ease into the week. When we let go of the illusion of control, we let the current carry us where it will without resistance.

Enter the week like water, allow the flow.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu

Acclimate

“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

As I was cutting the grass yesterday, it started to snow. While running this morning, it was snowing and there was wind chill which usually doesn’t enter the picture until the end of November.

In Minnesota, we are used to cold winters, but that first blast of cold is always the hardest. Your body needs to acclimate to the new normal. A month from now, we’ll be longing for a 24 degrees with wind chill.

The sooner we acclimate to the transitions in our life, the sooner we can enjoy the gifts of the next season. If the past is holding you back or you feel stuck in transition mode, let go of what’s no longer necessary and embrace what is and where you are right now. Today is all that is promised – enjoy it, even an early snow!

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” – Zhuangzi

To Be Seen

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

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” – Ann Landers

Sasha and Abby follow me around and keep a close eye on me. When we go for a run, they glance back to make sure that I’m still there. This adoring unconditional love is why we love our dogs – they are both friend and family, teaching us to be better humans.

Each day is a relentless pursuit of more joy than the day before. They look deeply into our eyes, wanting to be seen as much as they see us. They make it easy to love them.

If only we would love and treat people in the same way that we love our dogs. Unconditionally, loyally, with concern and care, drawing out the best in them and accepting their faults and foibles. It’s not easy to love humans a lot of the time but somehow dogs have figured out how to do it. Seeing the best, forgetting the worst.

If you want to experience the deep colors and hues in the world, open your eyes and see others with no judgment, assumptions or angst. When we look deeply into the eyes of others, we see ourselves, sharing the same imperfect, finite and beautiful journey.

If you need a model of eternal optimism and unconditional love, look no further than our four-legged, bright-eyed furry friends.

See and be seen. Cast light!

Kairos

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott

Kairos is an Ancient Greek term translated to the right time, a spiritual opportunity, the hour of grace.

May you notice all of your “Kairos” moments in all of the hours between sunrise and sunset. Do not let one day go by without taking a blessings inventory to foster deep gratitude. Invite and allow awe and joy to enter your day.

Nature’s Angels

“Butterflies are nature’s angels. They remind us what a gift it is to be alive.” – Robyn Nola

I never tire of seeing butterflies, of flowers bursting, of deer passing quietly through the woods. They wake me up to the simple joy and beauty that is always in reach right now. Accept the gift.

“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

Mustard Seed

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

The Cathedral of Saint Paul was built between 1907-1915. Eight years with none of the equipment and tools that we have today. The workmanship is magnificent. Those who started in 1907 had the vision, the faith of a mustard seed followed by a heavy dose of fortitude and patience to finish this national treasury. Most days, we don’t have the patience to put eight minutes into something much less eight years.

The Cathedral is two blocks from the end of the Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile run. During my three marathons especially, I would visualize seeing that beautiful sacred place many times along the long path. And when I saw the tip of the dome, I knew that I really was almost done.

A tiny seed planted takes hold, carries us along and mountains are moved. So often we try too hard to figure it out or do more. Rather than more activity, plotting and pining, we just need to be still long enough to hear that still small voice directing the next step.

Not knowing is o.k., believing in greater things than ourselves is required to live contently with deep joy rooted in optimism.

Go move mountains today, not by doing, but by faith. A mustard seed, that’s it.

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