“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
The windows were open at Como Conservatory, so we dipped our heads in to steal a glance. Tempted to climb through but remaining on the outside gazing in for but a moment to allow curiosity to be unleashed.
Go off the beaten path, open windows, gaze at the same with new eyes.
We are called to both witness and participate in life each day.
Do not get tangled in the mundane and petty, in rules and regulations.
Make each day feel like a Friday filled with anticipation of play and rest.
Invite delight and joy in to take a place at your table.
Allow awe and reverence to dance on your stage.
Be on the lookout for joy, on the watch for adventure in reach.
Off leash, outside the fence, finding new paths to explore.
“I can just let my curiosity wander unleashed.” – James C. Collins
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ― A.A. Milne
“What I like doing best is Nothing.”
“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.
It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
“Oh!” said Pooh.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Wander without aim;
Create space for nothing, no place to be;
Free your calendar of obligations and tasks;
Wade in slowly and feel the current of the river;
Offshore to explore;
Out on a limb suspended in time;
Gravity, grounded, floating;
Fully present in nothing so everything can enter all at once.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” – Edward Abbey
“Details are nothing: facts are nothing: the important things are the dependences, the transmissions of influence, the connecting links, the exchanges, which constitute the life of nature. Now, behind all these dependences, is the primal dependence; at the spot to which all connections converge is the supreme Bond; at the highest point of all transmissions, the Spring; beneath the exchanges the Gift; beneath the systole and diastole of the world, the Heart, the boundless Heart of Being. Must not the mind refer back to it unceasingly, and never for a minute lose touch with what is thus the All of all things, and consequently of all knowledge?”― Antonin Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods
Roots, what we anchor in, define how we grow, if we grow. Strong roots hold us through the storms, conduits of water and nutrients for the flower to bud and burst open. Good roots hold us, but don’t hold us back. Rules, limiting beliefs, shoulds, judgment, comparison, opinions, counting, assumptions, offense are the weeds that bind the stems and weaken the roots.
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.” – Victor Hugo
Anchor in possibility, effort, focus, practice, optimism, hope and light to create the road ahead. Glance back but for a moment to see how far you’ve come, grateful for what has been and confident in what will come through trust and faith. Fix your eyes in the present and the next best step forward. The road often is crooked and makes no sense until the steps are taken, one at a time.
Runway. Acceleration. Ascend. Take flight. Roots, roads and wings.
“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary
“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” – Dag Hammarskjold
If we look at the top, the destination alone, we delay starting the journey overwhelmed by the number of steps. Get to the next plateau, one step after the other. With rapt attention, Liam climbs the rope mountain, a rung at a time. Celebrating each step and the arrival, a double blessing.
Build daily rituals to fill the well of self-care so you can care for others. On my Insight Timer app today, the notification popped up that I’ve completed 160 consecutive days of meditation (10-15 minutes a day-doable!).
This daily ritual along with morning pages, posting every day on Cast Light and getting outside for walks/runs and dog park adventures have been cornerstones of my own practice to find and bask in light, hope and joy in the ordinary. One step at a time, ceilings turn into floors.
Keep going by taking steps, create simple daily rituals and non-negotiables that feed your soul. Stop circling the same mountain of the past, expectations and limiting beliefs. Look for new mountains to climb and enjoy the journey to the destination.
“Being positive is like going up a mountain. Being negative is like sliding down a hill. A lot of times, people want to take the easy way out, because it’s basically what they’ve understood throughout their lives.” – Chuck D
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” – Agnes de Mille
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
To mix it up, I took the girls to a new dog park at the end of the day. Acres to explore, fresh ground to dance on. When we crossed through the gate, leashes came off and they bolted into the field with joy and delight. They kept circling out and back to ensure that I would be a part of their adventure.
We need not travel far to find fresh ground to plant seeds of exploration and reap the fruit of play. Dance on fresh ground, feel the earth under your feet, breathe in the immensity. Expand.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” – Annie Leibovitz
“You can’t change who you are, but you can change what you have in your head, you can refresh what you’re thinking about, you can put some fresh air in your brain.” – Ernesto Bertarelli
“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.” Heraclitus
We drive to our “regular” places on the same road, no map, on autopilot. Passing the same landmarks again and again. The periphery unnoticed as we spin on repeat, unaware. Patterns, habits and familiar paths remove the need to overthink and choose from too many options. We are information rich and insight poor. Autopilot in the transactional areas of our life allow us to keep moving, making simple decisions and completing necessary tasks.
However, if our days only consist of task checking off activities, our lives become stale and shallow. Turn off autopilot daily and weave adventure, trail blazing and wandering to foster wonder, joy and adventure. Keep autopilot on to get the mundane tasks off your list as soon as possible to create time and space to break off the beaten path into the mystery of fresh ground.
The world around you right now is abundant with unbroken paths ready to be explored, traveled and danced upon. Feed your sense of awe, delight and adventure by breaking new paths each day. Turn off autopilot, take the wheel and steer into places unknown. The road awaits your paving.
“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.” – Muriel Strode
“There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.” – William Cullen Bryant
It’s important to establish routines, rituals and daily practices to focus our attention, effort and time to create habits to reach goals, check off resolutions. Discipline, repetition and commitment are the ingredients of progress, growth and fruition.
In addition to the mechanics of “trail management” which include plans, goals, actions, discipline, accountability and efficiency, we also need to integrate “off trail” adventures to find joy, play, fun and magic. “Trail blazing” is messy, iterative, inconsistent, inefficient exploration that fosters imagination, creating new patterns, connections and deeper ways to see the world. Life balance comes with the integration of mechanics and magic in our daily life.
For the past nine months, almost every Sunday morning I’ve done a long run as a part of marathon training. After completing the marathon in October, I’ve continued the “Sunday practice” to stay in shape, albeit not as many miles or structure as marathon training. Jeanne would meet me with water and join me for the last 4-5 miles.
“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth
This morning, we decided to break the Sunday routine, because we had the opportunity to walk with Bob at Como. One of Jeanne’s superpowers is to meet and connect with people who soon become fast friends. She “picked up” Bob, an 82 year old sweet soul who walks 1.6 miles around Como every day and has for years. Bob’s going to Arizona for a few months so he asked us if we were coming to Como today to say good-bye. Rather than a quick “hi” in passing, we opted to walk with him to enjoy conversation and connection. We stopped four times to take a break. It was the slowest and most important workout of the month.
We were wise enough to open the gift of connection, conversation and time over plans and routines. We went snow shoeing after to get an additional work out. Today we chose both trail management but more importantly trail blazing. That decision is not only is good for the body, but for the mind, spirit and soul, our whole being.
As you look at the schedule for the week filled with meetings and “trail management” activities, make sure that you start booking some “trail blazing” time to wander, to laugh, to add meaning to all of the activity. Find the joy in the JOurneY.
Now, off to do some more trail blazing tennis ball chasing activity with with Abby and Sasha in the woods. Cast light, chase joy.
“It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.” – Robert Kurson
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” – George Eliot
When I got new floors in Spring, I donated a lot of items and only put back what I really wanted into my house, leaving space, organizing and eliminating piles. My goal is to have my basement and garage fully decluttered and organized by spring.
Each day, I organize a shelf, create a file rather than a pile and chip away one step at a time. I’ve collected a lot through the years plus items from my parent’s and Aunt’s house after my Dad and Aunt passed. At the time, I couldn’t part with the items, but now realize that they are not required for me to remember them since they remain in my heart, voice and stories.
As I am decluttering physical spaces, I am noticing that it creates a sense of order in my mind. I can find things easier and am not filling space with new stuff recreating clutter. Not fully a minimalist but on the path to deeper meaning which equates to more with less.
Clearing spaces naturally leads to the clearing of the mind. If we are willing to clear the shelves in our thoughts and narratives, we expose old thinking, limiting beliefs, “should” lists, “others expectations of me” lists, people pleasing habits that no longer and never served our becoming and coming home to ourselves. It isn’t as easy as cleaning a shelf, but the journey is worth the destination. As you unravel trappings of ego, vulnerability and fear, you create space for expectation, joy, creativity, renewal, light and freedom.
And the journey both ends and begins when you arrive in a “new world” and “burn the ships.” In 1519 when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in the New World, he ordered the burning of the ships signaling that there was no turning back. For King and Country has a song called Burn the Ships:
“Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back”
Until we are willing to “burn the ships,” we will keep returning to the past, assuming the future is a continuation and replay of what was. Clear the deck in all spaces, keep the lessons and burn the ships.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
“The truth is that, given enough time, life bestows its gifts, a drop at a time, if we find the courage to stay open to the mysterious flow that is larger than any one event.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage
It’s but one day, but this year, there’s a heavy sigh of relief with the calendar turning to 2021. This new year is an invitation to release the weight of 2020, while holding tight to the plentiful lessons. 2020 has been a master class in empathy, hope, resilience, priorities, generosity, kindness, authenticity, and the power of the human spirit to persevere and overcome.
While “pandemic class” is still in session, the distribution of vaccines offers hope of better days coming soon. And we don’t have to wait for better days when we become prisoners of hope and chasers of joy.
Beyond circumstances or events, even a pandemic, we have a blank page each day to write our own story, to find joy in moments, to break trail, exploring the unknown with optimism, gratitude and wonder.
What story will you write this year? The pen is and always has been in your hands. Pursue, hope and create your own path. Happy New Year!
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee