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Beneath and Beyond

“The Amen of nature is always a flower.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.” – Heraclitus

Beneath the fresh clean snow, each flower prepares in silence;
Beyond the frigid temperatures, the ground rests patiently for spring;

Beneath and beyond this moment, you are being prepared and cultivated for your unfolding, becoming and blooming;

Beneath and beyond your knowing is a certainty that all is well and as it should be;
Patience breaks ground revealing hidden harmony.

Beneath and beyond.

 

Alleluia

“Life itself is an exercise in learning to sing alleluia here in order to recognize the face of God hidden in the recesses of time. To deal with the meaning of alleluia in life means to deal with moments that do not feel like alleluia moments at all. But how is it possible to say alleluia to the parts of life that weigh us down, that drain our spirits dry, that seem to deserve anything but praise? The question is a worthy one. Life, after all, is a struggle, a journey in uncharted space, an exercise in both gain and loss, joy and sorrow. No life consists of nothing but success and satisfaction, security and self-gratification. Failure and disappointment, loss and pain are natural parts of the human equation. Then what? What use is an alleluia then, except perhaps to encourage some kind of emotionally unhealthy self-deception? But alleluia is not a substitute for reality. It is simply the awareness of another whole kind of reality—beyond the immediate, beyond the delusional, beyond the instant perception of things.”— Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is by Joan Chittister, Rowan Williams

Today is someday.

No more putting off joy, AWAKEness and gratitude for our imperfect, frustrating, fleeting, abundant and beautiful life.

If we wait for the perfect time, when all is well to sing alleluia, not a note will be sung. Our resolve, practice and commitment to “alleluia” daily living defines the essence and substance of our life. It requires action, rigor and hope amidst our natural inclination to pull the covers over our head and weed out all people who are a pain in the a** out of our life. We are not called to perfection. We are called to love, often the “unlovable.” Love is nothing if not unconditional.

While a sunset, a dog gazing into your eyes and the simple delight of a child prompt shouts of “alleluia” and “amen,” we must be alleluia people amidst people and circumstances that are a drag and drain. Empathy, compassion and understanding beyond the surface of our knowing are the greatest gifts that we give to ourselves and others.

Keep singing alleluia beyond the instant perception of things. You will then be in control of the only thing you truly have control of – your own response, outlook and ability to contribute positively to this world by singing loudly, regardless of what the world is serving up right now.

Do I have an “alleluia”!!??

Wonder Knows No Seasons, No Age

“Wonder knows that while you cannot look at the light, you cannot look at anything else without it. It is not exhausted by childhood, but finds its key there. It is a journey like a walk through the woods over the usual obstacles and around the common distractions while the voice of direction leads, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’” – Ravi Zacharias

Wonder is all around, open your eyes;
A symphony in the quiet, listen carefully;
The sun remains while clouds come and go, wait patiently;
Spring prepares in the dormancy of winter, take rest;
Obstacles, distractions and delays, carry on;
Wonder knows no seasons, no age;
Available to all;
Enter into wonder;
Genius and Divinity.

Get on with it.

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” – Henry David Thoreau

First Real Snow

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”― Lewis Carroll

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs

This morning we got our first real snow. The snow that’s heavy, plowable and will probably be the base snow that will remain until April. The proclamation that Fall has officially done its job and it’s winter’s turn. Transition time over.

It’s beautiful, fresh, clean and a big inconvenience on the busiest travel day of the year as we kick off six weeks of holiday busyness.

This kind of snow slows us down. And there in lies the gift.

Slow down and celebrate the gifts that you already have right now. Not the ones you’ll race to get on Black Friday. Don’t miss what already is present in search of presents that can never replace a long meaningful conversation, a call or text to check in on someone who’s lost someone this year and this is the first holiday without a loved one, a hug that softly whispers “you’re not alone, and it’s going to be alright.”

Be grateful for all that is, was and will come. God weaves life with both struggle and awe. So often, we only see the struggle and miss the awe. Abundance is an attitude and awareness, not a bank account and pile of gifts. Gratitude is the best gift you can give and receive.

Even in Minnesota, when we know that winter never skips a turn, we are taken back when it hits. So rather than enjoying the beauty and slowing that winter brings, we shift our attention to what we can’t control – the weather – and the complaining ensues.

Abby and Sasha had the appropriate response to the snow this morning. They leaped, created new paths and chased each other, rolling in delight. They saw the gift immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you be grateful each day for your blessings that are hiding right in front of you. Slow down and go make some snow angels.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

Tough and Soft

“Be soft, don’t let the world make you hard. Be gentle, don’t let the people make you difficult. Be kind, don’t let the realities of life steal your sweetness and make you heartless.”― Nurudeen Ushawu

Outlook is grounded in what’s inside. Be careful with your words and thoughts for they create the path on which you walk. Nurture and foster goodness and light, letting the noise and distractions fade away. Never give into circumstances, outside negativity and easy cynicism.

Own what is yours and let others own what is theirs to own. Show relentless empathy. Forgiveness is freedom. Break no one’s spirit, especially your own.

Optimism is a daily choice worthy of practice, discipline and rigor. Build your mental toughness so you remain soft, capable of delight in the smallest of things. Gratitude is the fuel.

Focus your thoughts, expand your life. See colors, there are many to see. Be foolishly positive and trust the unfolding of each day, anchored firmly in possibility and awe. Any other path is a dead end.

Soft. Gentle. Kind.

Renew

“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

When I committed to daily writing about optimism for 30 days in October, it shifted and focused my attention. I felt more present in my days and aware of my many blessings. The habit of expressing gratitude daily renews our mind.

Writing synthesizes my thoughts, fosters understanding and creates new connections. This month, I’ve lagged on my writing for both Cast Light and Start3Things. Too busy. Running from one commitment to the next. Impossible checklists. The result is dull, bland living. Yuck. Enough.

The world is not going away. Creating and carrying out commitments to ourselves make us more capable to contribute meaningfully to other areas of our life. Choosing light, searching for wonder and joy hunting are daily priorities and pursuits worthy of our time.

Stop the busyness. Break the patterns. Begin each day with an intention to renew your mind. Create space for delight and joy that are fueled by positivity, hope and optimism.

Renew.

Where Heaven Meets Earth

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” – C. S. Lewis

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” – James Gates Percival

The water touches the sky:
Heaven meets earth;
Waves roll in natural rhythm;
Ebb and flow;
The horizon expands beyond our thoughts;
Poetry, dance and sparkle;
Lifted and grounded as Heaven meets earth.

Patience as a Strategy

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

As I waited in a four-block line just to check my luggage, people started complaining. It’s understandable to be frustrated when we are inconvenienced. I was a bit concerned about making my flight as others were as well.  However, complaining and worrying won’t ever change the outcome and it makes the journey a drag.

A woman ahead of me asked the airport staff “what’s the strategy on the line?” The staff person looked at her and calmly answered, “patience.” Patience as a strategy? Brilliant!

We overdo, over-complicate and want to control everything. And in the process, we make our lives miserable and spread it to others too. When we focus our energy on what we can control and let the rest unfold as it will, we have suddenly have more “magical” days.

Listen carefully to your thoughts and words. Choose patience, optimism and light. Have a magical day, indeed!

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

Stillness

“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The dog is the god of frolic.” –  Henry Ward Beecher

Worry serves no purpose but to steal our days.
Light. Flavor. Color. Frolic.
That’s what we are built for.
Be still. Listen. Then move.

Petals

“There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart lords.” John Muir

“Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.” – Orison Swett Marden

Deep vibrant hues, fragile elegance, open arms embracing the sun. The flower is whole from the sum of the petals.

As brilliant petals complete the flower, moments are the petals of our life. Wake up, observe and participate in each moment fully, entering the beauty to be found in a single day.

Celebrate the full bloom of life that is rooted in details of the petal.

Where you are. Petals of power. Flinging uninhibited.

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