“Silence is God’s first language.” – John of the Cross
“Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way.” – David Whyte
Find joy in this day alone.
In the ordinary, beauty is woven.
Partake in it.
Participate, awake, aware.
Conscious of the complexity, frailty, depth.
Self, others, the world.
Explore unknown realms.
“Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work, a future. To be courageous, is not necessarily to go anywhere or do anything except to make conscious those things we already feel deeply and then to live through the unending vulnerabilities of those consequences.” – David Whyte
“People are not problems to be solved. They are mysteries to be explored.” – Eugene H. Peterson
Go into the world (the next room, the coffee shop, traffic, work) and be kind first.
No preconceptions, no judgments, no assumptions.
Give criticism a time out.
Fresh eyes, rapt attention, a listening heart.
Beyond self into communion, connection, love.
Consider alternatives, opposites, upside downs.
Twists, turns, mystery, unknowing.
Unfolding, flowing, darkness, greys, brilliant colors, light.
Choose learning and expanding over certainty and being “right.”
Scatter joy and hope, leave peace to take root and bloom.
Be kind. Repeat.
“Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” — Scott Adams
“The future is always coming up with surprises for us, and the best way to insulate yourself from these surprises is to diversify.” – Robert J. Shiller
Financial advisors tell us to diversify our portfolio.
To not invest our money in only one thing.
Where we invest our time and attention is even more important than where we invest our money.
Our identity gets bound up in what we do, in approval, in permission, in should and musts.
We become our work, our relationships, our family, our past, others expectations.
Doing rather than being.
Production and transaction.
Unfold, create, explore and expand.
Play, rest, inquire, allow, invite, imagine, enjoy, relax, delight.
Allow mystery and incompleteness.
Try new things.
Diversify activities, interests, thinking.
Be yourself, your true self.
Dream, imagine, act.
No permission slip required.
Cast your light!
“We owe nobody an explanation or an accounting, as long as our acts do not hurt or infringe on them. How many lives have been ruined by this need to “explain,” which usually implies that the explanation be “understood,” i.e. approved. Let your deeds be judged, and from your deeds, your real intentions, but know that a free person owes an explanation only to himself—to his reason and his conscience—and to the few who may have a justified claim for explanation.”― Erich Fromm, The Art of Being
“Nobody needs a smile so much as the one who has none to give. So get used to smiling heart-warming smiles, and you will spread sunshine in a sometimes dreary world.” – Lawrence G. Lovasik
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia
Be the yellow in grey.
Extend a greeting first.
Ask how another is doing.
Simple acts given freely, without reserve.
Laughter, levity, light.
Sunshine to make flowers bloom.
Be the yellow in grey.
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” – Joseph Addison
“Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Glance only but for a moment in the rearview mirror;
Keep your eyes on the road ahead;
Holding the wheel;
Taking in the scenery;
Open to possibility, the promise of things that have never been.
New trails, some detours, some culdesacs.
Mountains, valleys, curves and flat.
Make your way out, around, through.
Eyes on the road.
Keep going, present in the journey, in this day.
“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” —T.S. Eliot
“Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
In our own struggles, we not only gain insight with time and distance, empathy can be fruit we bear as well. When we allow vulnerability and share struggles together, we create connectedness and “us”ness rather than aloneness.
In conversations recently, I’ve referenced a few anchor points that have held me in and through difficulty. In Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ seminal book On Grief and Grieving, she frames the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. She never presented the stages as linear but more circular, completed in due time with acceptance. These stages are not only relevant in final death but the many deaths and transitions we experience in life. Two years of a pandemic have presented a lot of deaths to the collective whole of humanity. In 2020, co-author of On Grief and Grieving David Kessler wrote a new book adding the sixth stage of grief – meaning. When we know meaning is the destination, we can tolerate and keep moving through the rough parts of the journey.
The next reference that has fostered a deeper understanding and foundation of assurance is Bridges Transition Model identifying the three stages of transition – ending what currently is, the neutral zone and the new beginning.
“The essence of life takes place in the neutral zone phase of transition. It is in that interim spaciousness that all possibilities, creativity and innovative ideas can come to life and flourish.” – Susan Bridges
The winters of life serve their purpose which we rarely see or understand in real time. Be assured – spring never skips its turn. Sharing that assurance with others. Cast light, hope and connection.
When you it all feels small, look up at the sky.
When it all feels too big, look at the petals of a flower.
Big and small, surface and deep, and mostly everything in between.
Be a part, immersed, buoyed, detached, attached and aware of it all.
No need to label or change each moment, move through it and simple be present.
The whole damn sky.
“I feel things big. And for the longest time, I felt so much shame because of it. I need reminders that my emotions are not bad or good. They’re just information.
You feel angry because this is unjust. You feel sad because this is awful. You feel tired because this is exhausting.
Your emotions are not wrong or bad or lying to you or the full truth. They’re giving you a bit of data that you shouldn’t ignore. We love and lose and fall and get back up and fail and try again.
This is what it means to be human, to feel the pain, the grief, the stress, the risk, the fear, the heartbreak. So you, beautiful creature, you here is your permission slip to feel it all, to feel the joy and delight and excitement and the sorrow and fear and despair.
All the yellows and pinks and violets and grays, because you are the whole damn sky.”
“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Nothing great is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig. I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus
Allow time to do its work.
Slowly but surely and then suddenly.
Patience, ease and acceptance.
Struggle, release, take hold.
A process, a cycle, a completion.
In the waiting, rest in gratitude, do good, keep going.
Enjoy the in between, the space between seed and fruit.
Blossom to fruition.