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Show Tunes

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo

My great nephew Liam who’s six months old actually smiles when I sing, so naturally, I sing. I downloaded a few show tunes this week to add some “depth” to my performances of made-up songs  – Singing in the Rain, Good Morning and Oklahoma. A little Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds go a long way.

Music, art, prose pull us beyond our routine daily-ness to a higher calling of simple delight and soulful connection. Feeling out of sorts? Pick up an umbrella and start dancing and singing in the rain.

There’s More

For some reason I didn’t bring my phone when I took Abby for a walk this morning. We went down to the playground a few blocks from our house on the way back. As we walked quietly, three deer came out from the woods 20 feet away. Abby sat and watched as the leader leapt with ease and grace and the other two followed with joy and delight.

I believe in signs and signals.  My thoughts immediately went to seeing Dad, Molly and Lily coming down from heaven for a brief moment to let me know there’s more. There’s more to this life and there’s more, so much more after we leave. Sure puts things in perspective.

I’ve been struggling with a few things lately. Probably making them bigger than they should be or avoiding them for a long time and they are showing themselves telling me to deal with them now. For so many years, Dad was my sounding board to talk through things, kindred spirits who could say anything to each other. I’ve been missing that every day.

Seeing the three deer this morning reminded me that he remains with me and whatever decisions that I make will be based on years of our conversations and how he shaped so much of who I am today.

In lieu of not capturing a photo on my phone of the three amigos in the woods this morning, I am posting one of my favorite photos of Dad. One that shows a youthful joy, free from the weight of this life and the weight we put on ourselves in this life.

dad1

There’s more. Delight in it. Every single day.

Carry

As I walked past my bookshelf, this old plaque on the shelf stood out – Footprints. It’s probably 25 years old and one of my favorites. I gave a more modern version to my nephew and his bride last month for one of their wedding gifts because it is a poignant reminder that when we are struggling, feeling alone, and there’s only one set of footprints, we are being carried.

God sends people (and dogs, maybe cats) to carry us. And when we are on steady ground again, we are called to carry others as well. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, this life remains a beautiful mystery filled with blessings every single day. Never alone. Cast light today.

footprints

Anew

“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

In the midst of it all,  in the heat of the moment, we see only the height of the mountain, the width of the rift, the depth of the valley. Time and its companion patience eventually bring a fresh perspective, new priorities. We find our perseverance, grit, faith and strength to overcome, to withstand, to rise once again.

Life is often a series of starting again, getting up once more. But it is never starting over or from the very beginning. The journey, places, circumstances and people along the path, bring us to a new beginning, whether we realize it or not. We are moving forward to where we should be, never frozen in place.

“It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali

If today was less than expected, if you are in the middle of the desert parched and searching for the oasis, it will come in due time. In due time, all starts anew. Spring comes and melts it all into the river of life.

Childlikeness

“Man is a thinking reed, but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. ‘Childlikeness’ has to be restored … Perhaps this is why it is said that great poetry is born in silence. Great music and art are said to arise from the quiet depths of the unconscious, and true expressions of love are said to come from a source which lies beneath words and thoughts.” – W. Timothy Gallwey

We need to restore the art of play so we can get to the flow of life as it is meant to be. It’s a loud world, busy with busy-ness and not much substance. Take back your day and hit the brakes on the urgent and unimportant. Like water, like a child, easy and light.

We need some more great poetry, music and art.

Release

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen

I have to convince Abby to let go of the ball so I can throw it again. She holds it so tight as if it’s the only ball that ever existed. She is slowly figuring out that if she lets it go, play can resume.

We hold tight to many “balls” like the past, unforgiveness, regret, resentment, all at the expense of the many gifts found in the present moment, today, right now. We assume scarcity rather than accept abundance.

Your “command” for this day and going forward in your training for living a good life – “release.” Let go of the unnecessary and hold tight to the “balls” of joy, delight, laughter and most important, gratitude.

Illogical and Unreasonable

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller

Each of us walks our own path, yet we are not alone. Sometimes the road is smooth.  Sometimes it is fraught with potholes. Most of the time, it is a bit of both. The choice that is always ours to make is our response. Often the obvious and justifiable response is frustration and complaining. The illogical and unreasonable response is joy and gratitude.

Here’s to being more illogical and unreasonable. We can all use a lot more joy and gratitude. Abby has figured it out to be sure. Joy beats frustration, paws down.

“Relax! Life is beautiful!” – David L. Wolper

“Relax! Life is beautiful!” – David L. Wolper

Ordinary Every Day IS the Gift

“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

As I scrolled through years of photos on my phone, I landed on a photo from April 25, 2016. An ordinary day, a Monday, a most ordinary day.  A moment captured of Molly enjoying one of her favorite toys in the backyard.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'” – William Arthur Ward

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” – William Arthur Ward

At the time, as with most of ordinary days, I had no idea how important this ordinary day was or so many that came before or those to follow. So often, we pass through days like these, unaware of all of the gifts found in simple moments as we pursue and wait for the next interesting thing.

Three days later, Dad passed away and that not-so-ordinary day of April 28th was the start of a series of not-so-ordinary days of loss. Unexpectedly again, Molly passed away on June 27 and Lily on October 4.

Ordinary days become extraordinary when we look back in deep appreciation, after they occur. But we are summoned to gratitude and awe right now in this moment, in the ordinary every day moments. That’s the gift that we need not pursue or search for. It is right in front of us, right now.

Pause and look around each day with rapt attention to what is in the present. Take a picture with your phone, but more importantly in your heart. These days will not come again and we don’t know when those not-so-ordinary days will enter to change our lives forever.

Capture and experience with delight the silly, subtle and sweet moments of every day. That is the gift.

Necessity

“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

Good habits are necessary to keep us even and balanced. Running and writing are two habits that are important to me and I’ve not been doing them regularly the last few months. Instead, I’ve been busy only doing others’ priorities, others’ agendas. Go faster, do more, it’s not enough, keep pushing, one more thing…

When we succumb to the demands of others and those become the entire make up of our day, we see it show up in how we see and react to our world. And we become people who we don’t recognize or want to be. Impatient, ungrateful and cynical. Yuck.

We will always have the demands of others and work on us. But when we also put a priority on doing our priorities, we can do what’s required with more ease. Getting back to what we enjoy actually makes us more effective and productive. More importantly to the person we want to be around.

We so often know what we need to do, yet we delay the doing. So spend some time today doing things that you enjoy first and then move on to other demands after. Cast some fun into today – it’s a necessity. Now, I am off for a run.

 

A Blank Page

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron

Each day is a new blank page in the story of our life that we are writing with our actions, thoughts and words. We either write our story or we let others write it for us.

Some days, too many days, our page is filled the scribbles of chaos, busy work, mechanically going through the motions. Some days, not enough days, are pure poetry, light and joy. Life makes sense when we connect in conversation with that quiet voice that calls us home to who we really are, not who others want us to be.

So if your story is not turning out the way you want it to or know that it can be, start changing the plot, a few new words at a time, each day. Tomorrow is a blank page.

Poetry unfolds a word at a time, with first drafts, edits and rewrites, leading us down a path to the unknown but known to us at the same time. Take your pen back and start filling that blank page with meaning, depth, dimension and lasting value. Create the life, the story you are meant to write.

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