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Stop, Sense, Savor

“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil… I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life.” – Moses

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank

After the slowest and longest 10 months ever, we can feel the familiar rush to the holidays, even if they are going to be different this year. The need to be busy all the time, to fill open space, has desensitized us to the blessings in the present moment – no past, no future, this very moment.

While not always feeling it daily, the “gift” that I have received from the pandemic is the opportunity to stop, be quiet, listen to what’s whispering deep within and to dare to respond with changed behavior and new habits. New input = new output. In addition, I’ve found a deeper sense of gratitude and empathy. This year, the world was “in this together.” Witnessing the heroism of everyday people beats the smallness and toxicity of institutions and politicians. The human spirit and resilience is alive and well.

When we look at challenges and difficulties as burdens alone, we miss the complexity of living an integrated full life. We trick ourselves into thinking that after the pandemic, the difficult relationship, the insert your struggle here:_____, it will be better in the future. Our burdens are often blessings that we don’t realize at the time. How we respond and what we do with both our blessings and burdens is what makes a difference in our daily experience.

If we only see the burdens, daily life is a continuous struggle and we miss out on simple joy and contentment available when we stop, sense and savor the sweetness rather than pine about the bitterness. Sweet and salty.

Each of us chooses whether we will live from a place of gratitude and joy or consternation and dread. Foreboding joy to avoid disappointment only fosters more disappointment and lost time that will never return. There are no “do-overs” in life, only learn and do differently. When we dare to find joy, laughter and delight amidst challenges, we foster contentment and steady state living. Life is a mixed bag of joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, awe and irreverence. Simplicity and complexity. Dichotomy, yin-yang.

Most of the time, no one is better off than you so stop counting and begin investing. Choose to live in a space of hope, optimism and light. There’s plenty of room here for more participants and the team needs more players.

As 2020 comes to a close (AMEN!), take inventory of your blessings that have been woven through this year. The burdens are obvious and have taken up too much of our attention and time. With a balanced view, we discover that the blessings beat the burdens, again, there are exceptions to this as well.

Take the next few weeks to stop, sense and savor. Next year won’t be perfect either but we can enter it with anticipation and hope. It will present the same opportunity to choose our perspective and to see both the blessings and burdens while enjoying moments with gratitude and awe.

Cast Light!

“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.” – Bram Stoker

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