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Shake It Off and Smile

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver

GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.

It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.

And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

Cutting the Lawn in Winter

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus

Mid-April and 17+ inches of snow in Minnesota this past weekend. No doubt, it has been one long winter that continues on. Circumstances, other people, the weather take up too much of our time. We lament and try to change things that we can’t change. In the midst of this effort, we are missing out on our life.

It’s pretty simple, yet we’ve made it hard. We either hibernate or we find the invincible summer inside and burst out into the world, regardless of what’s in our peripheral vision. Our ability to focus our attention and time on what’s important and of meaning has never been more important.

If 17 inches of snow can defeat us, we need to work on our resilience and more importantly our sense of humor needs some exercising. Flex your joy muscles today and bring summer to the winters that surround you, even in July. However, I am not convinced that snow is not possible in July based on this past winter. Bring it on!

Sometimes, you need to get the lawnmower out in the snow.

The Flight of a Soul

“So if you think someone is brave, tell them. For they might feel frightened and small, and you will change their life. If you think someone is beautiful and aglow, tell them. For they might feel dark and lonely, and you will quiet their demons. When you reach to help someone who is stuck, you might free the flight of their soul. And they will return when you least expect, to bring you something from the sky. Never underestimate the strength of your kindness to suture the torn.” – Mark Nepo, “Things That Join the Sea and the Sky”

Life comes in waves. Some more pounding than others. Some in soft peaks, a calm ebb and flow. Our moments of distress are but moments, sometimes hours and days. Hope can be awakened through a kind word, a helping hand, in quiet listening. Hope always prevails in patience and overcomes all.

No matter how you feel or what you assume, choose kindness over fear. Even though it may seem that the struggle lingers on, the waves will settle.

Be a source of joy, empathy and encouragement. The flight of souls.

Contribute

Give more than is due
Laugh hard enough that you need to catch your breath
Sing out of loud, and out of tune if necessary
Dance with fervor
Dream AND then awake to transform it into reality through action
Stop trying to figure out people and love them despite their flaws, which often are our own
Play the game all out with the intention to win, if winning is not the result, celebrate the effort
Be the yeahsayer rather than the naysayer, their team has enough players
Care with full knowledge disappointment may occur, it is the caring that matters the most
Remember daily what is good and let the rest fade away
Reach beyond your reach to come into your own becoming
Exercise your entire being – body, mind, spirit and especially your heart
Live a life that will be remembered long after you pass
Be the person who enters a room and smiles ensue
Give more than you take and in the giving you receive more
Contribute – be your all – depth, breadth, height and beautiful horizon
Pour out your best and be filled again and again with possibility

Dedicated to my parents who would have been married 59 years today. 17 days away from Dad’s passing 2 years ago. A man who modeled love and contribution.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Flowers Within

“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” – Aristotle Onassis

It is April 9th and it snowed again. I worked half the weekend on projects and trying to get my email down which didn’t work. I’m still at 500 emails with “to dos” attached to them. Civility is at an all-time low and adult-bullying is at an all-time high. Friends struggling with death, surgery, elderly parents. And it’s Monday and my calendar is filled with meetings that will produce more “busyness.”

Insert your list here.

We all are justified to be exhausted, frustrated and fed up. But that bus trip gets you to wasted days that never return. So despite our justifications, we must cling to hope and find joy in our winter seasons.

So much of what we suffer is outside of us – circumstances, unreasonable expectations, other people, the weather. We can and must control what’s inside so we can go out into the world and be hope and joy-filled people. To contribute to light rather than darken the darkness.

We have to intentionally, mindfully and actively choose hope over despair. So write your list, acknowledge the challenges and then move on. Also, write a list of your blessing and gifts. It will be much longer and deeper than you think. Gratitude is the bus to get on.

Find your inner “Tigger” and grow flowers within when the soil outside is still frozen and barren. And go out and beam, start a domino-effect of joy. That’s powerful. Joy over despair.

Cast light, bloom, multiply joy. Now that’s worthy of our time and attention.

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II

Magnificent

William James

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” – William James

“Time itself comes in drops.” – William James

Magnificent, spectacular, striking, breathtaking, delightful. We need more of these words and feelings in our daily life. Magnificent is waiting to be seen right in front of us each day. In a sunrise, a smile, a laugh, a poem, a dog’s enthusiasm to virtually everything, a song – all found in drops of time. Awe and beauty amidst the chaos and struggle. They co-exist. What we pay attention to defines our day, our life.

Find the magnificent in your day today no matter what you are going through. It may be like “Finding Waldo” to start, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes and the more we need it. Keep an eye out – there’s a spectacular day ahead.

April Showers

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy

“I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed… Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau

A 5 degree swing and April showers turn into 7 more inches of winter. So often our expectations are out of line with reality. And we get stalled where we thought we should be. But where we are now in this very moment is where we are meant to be.

When we let go of our expectations, assumptions and fears, we open up to joy and delight even in the middle of a third Winter and delayed Spring. And what we thought we should have is less than what we receive in due time.

Under that fresh clean swath of brilliant white snow are seeds on their way to sprouts and buds. Remain in today with assurance and confidence that Spring will spring when it’s good and ready, as do we. Patience and time.

Indescribable Gratitude

“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If grateful but for only one day a year, Good Friday is the day. Before spring, winter. Before light, dark. Before resurrection, the cross. Indescribable, unexplainable and utterly unfathomable.

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” – Saint Augustine

It is finished. Amen

Redefine

“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne

When “busy” is the only answer that you can muster when asked, “how are you?” It’s time to question the value and meaning of what you are busy with and at what expense.

Redefine the quality of your day not by the number of items checked off your “to do” list. Rather define it by depth, width and height of each day that you are awake and aware. Of moments steeped in gratitude grounded in experiences rather than mere activities.

Day 3 of no complaints, only gratitude – slow down, look around in close proximity and be in awe of the many gifts and blessings in your life right in this very minute.

Let Go and Throw the Ball

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

I went bowling this past weekend for a little guy’s 7th birthday party. My wrists and neck have been problematic the past five months with numbness and tingling. Several chiropractor appointments later, it’s gotten tolerable. Often our aches and pains translate into our outlook and thoughts. It is precisely then that we need our spirit to take over and rise.

Rather than sitting on the sidelines, I decided to just have fun and throw the ball. First game, lots of single pins and gutters. Game two, four strikes. The turkey plus one. “X” marks the spot. Hooting and hollering ensued.

On day two of “no complaints, only gratitude,” I am reminded that we often chain the ball of cynicism around our own neck and wonder why we’re dragged down and drowning. We relinquish our power.

Let all of the reasons and justification to complain go and dump the excuses of why you are downtrodden. Get back in the game, throw the ball and embrace deep gratitude.

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