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Posts from the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Never Again and Always Remember

Never again will I take for granted…

God, who carries us and is in control despite our best efforts to take over;
The value of community and need for connection, even for an introvert like me;
Hugs from family and friends;
The brilliant blue sky and the warmth of the sun;
Conversations over dinner out;
The resilience, fortitude and grit of the human spirit;
Long stretches of open space and time and to do something with it;
Our capacity for creativity and need to pursue it daily;
The power of hope, faith, trust, optimism and laughter;
The journey within to listen to my own voice;
The brevity, fragility and value of life.

I will always remember to…

Hug family and friends a minute longer;
Weave slow, quiet time into each day so busy and noise don’t take over again;
Never look back and be open to new beginnings and endings;
Be deeply grateful for all of the blessings and gifts that are already present;
Lead with kindness and empathy rather than judgment and assumptions;
Check in on others to make sure that they are really alright;
Pursue purpose and calling;
Be a better listener;
Sleep without an alarm more often;
Quit complaining and enjoy what already is;
Keep the clutter clear and stop buying stuff;
Listen to music, read and write poetry, appreciate art;
Let go of the past, be immersed fully in each day and to not get too far into the future;
Keep trying new things and always be willing to be a beginner ready to learn and grow;
Write in a journal every single morning;
Pray in the good times too;
Keep going for long runs and extra walks with the girls;
Laugh more and lighten up;
Make the most of the days that remain;
And to always play hopscotch when given the opportunity.

Certainty!

There is certainty. Don’t let all of the commercials and media distort your perspective. There is certainty, principles and truth that anchor and center us through all of the storms in our life, including this right now.

Here’s my list of certainty that’s becoming more clear and vivid through the “uncertainty” of this time.

Family, friends, faith, connection, love, generosity, empathy, grace, mercy, holding hands, gazing into eyes, ease, creativity, solitude, silence, joy.

It’s going to be alright and we will break through to the other side, to security, to awareness, to transformation, to new life. There is more certainty than uncertainty, despite what the commercials say. We are anchored in truth, light, God, faith, friendships, family and connection.

No pandemic will defeat the human spirit. Rise up, connect, laugh, love and lighten up during this heavy season. There is no room or necessity for doom and gloom. We are overcomers, strong, resilient and faithful warriors. Cling to truth and let the storms pass. We’ve got this people! Rise up, let go and enter this holy, sacred space. We are being held and loved through this. Rest in it and believe. One real raw Lent. Easter is coming. Resurrection time! Certainty over uncertainty and fear. Every. Single. Time. Three round knock out. Keep swinging.

These are extraordinary times AND we are extraordinary souls. Dig in and reach out.

A Living Prayer

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” –  Anne Lamott

A cloudy warm end to the day. A daily run to breathe in the gift of fresh open air. Routine. Habit. Ordinary. And then suddenly, out of the dry leaves of Winter, brilliant deep crisp purple and orange pop out to awaken and sharpen the senses. The ordinary transforms to extraordinary, to delight, to the unexpected. The first and not last sign of Spring, of life, of expansion, of hope, of color invites us in with open arms. A living prayer. An embrace.

Seasons, cycles, certainty, uncertainty and clarity merge. In the midst of transition, of waiting, of the precursor to Spring, wandering in the desert with the oasis around the corner, we find life vibrant and more than well. Planting season, filled with complexity, mystery, light and color.

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” – Anne Lamott

This is holy, sacred, hopeful time. Take a knee. Offer a prayer. Let go of the familiar. Be prepared to be surprised, to fully enter awe. It’s all around. Wake up!

Another Voice

“It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.”

Praying — Mary Oliver, Thirst

As we wander through this desert journey, pay attention. We long for the familiar oasis of certainty and the way it used to be. We are not going back and we will get through with hope, patience and resilience. Desert to oasis. Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

A few simple words of prayer allowing a “silence in which another voice may speak.” Listen.

Write Your History

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

We are in the middle of writing our history right in this very moment. What’s your story, the plot, your narrative, your third act? What will you be remembered for?

Joy
Optimism
Faith
Generosity
Creativity
Imperfection
Empathy
Curiosity
Gratitude
Resilience
Hope
Imagination
Laughter
Silly
Innovative
Purposeful
Fun
Playful
Kind

Seems like a good list to aspire to no matter the circumstances. If choosing only one, choose kindness. Be Kind. Cast Light!

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

The Passage of Time

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

Stay at home orders, 24/7 news, a lot of time with those in our household, keeping energetic kids busy inside as well as becoming their school teacher, working remote, uncertainty of what will happen with COVID-19 and a new vocabulary of what’s essential and nonessential have shifted our daily reality. As we adjust to our “new normal,” we have an invitation to create something of this open space and time.

While we may feel stuck, the sands of time continue to flow through the hourglass. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in the week. Just a few weeks ago, we lamented our busy schedules and now we lament too much time on our hands. Time remains the same so what needs to change is our perception of time and what we will each decide to do with it.

When caught in the heaviness of moments through the day, imagine four weeks from today. What will you be able to say that you created with this time? How will you be different? Did you learn anything new? Did you foster gratitude? Did you build deeper and stronger relationships? Did you finally listen to that still small voice inside calling you back to yourself?

Here are some encouraging quotes on time that may help you think differently about the potential of this very unusual time.

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” – Khalil Gibran

“We must use time creatively.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.” – Menachem Mendel Schneerson

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C. S. Lewis

“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Time will pass and seasons will come and go.” – Roy Bean

“Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“There are two kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” – Duke Ellington

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” – Max Frisch

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush

“Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.” – Ambrose Bierce

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” – Earl Nightingale

“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” – Adam Hochschild

“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

“Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.” – Suzan-Lori Parks

 

Author

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” – Epictetus

Resolve to not be defined by this time but define it for yourself. Be the author of your own story. Write each act with intention and diligence. We are more than our circumstances and limitations that we put on ourselves, so very much more.

The pen is in your hand, the time is now and yours alone. Write this chapter and the next, so when the third act has arrived, you have defined and owned the life you have lived. Run the race, fight the good fight, remain in the game.

“No great thing is created suddenly.” – Epictetus

Space – The Final Frontier

“Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s continuing mission. To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.” – Star Trek monologue

Time starved, too busy, overcommitments are no longer an excuse, so let’s get to the work of open space – the final frontier to our joy, reflection and purpose. Like many, I’m cleaning and organizing a room at a time. Clearing clutter. Writing and running every day. The garage will be punched in the face this weekend. I’ll also be trying to narrow down 752 paint color choices for the first -floor paint project in April.

I dare challenge you to savor this time. To explore strange new life, worlds and civilizations of your thoughts, dreams and aspirations. Boldly go where humans avoid at all costs and blame busy and commitments. Don’t miss these moments right now. Return to yourself. The deep. The murky. The complicated. The discovery. The delight. Home.

Break the habit and comfort of mental “to do” flurry and focus on one thought, on “one room at a time.” We have a lot of unstructured time coupled with uncertainty right now. If we get stuck in the uncertainty, we will miss the gift of unstructured and open time.

For so long we’ve been caught in the “fog” of busy and not enough time.  Now we are presented plenty of time and could easily fall into the fog of “uncertainty” and “binge watching” our life away.

Imagine. Explore. Be bold – go into uncharted territory – this is the path to the #otherside and beyond!

Run the Red

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” – Bob Marley

As I finished my run with the girls this evening with the drizzle easing up, the “uneven lanes” sign came into view. Isn’t that an understatement of this rare and uncertain time. We are surely amidst a collective unevenness, one massive pothole.

When we got to the red light, there were no cars to be seen near or far as the “stay at home” order is being followed with diligence. I waited at the red light for a moment to follow “the rules” and then decided to “run the red.”

We have signs and signals giving us cues and clues all around us. If we open up and listen we can learn something of value and relevance. So rather than focusing on the uneven lanes, I am going to keep running right through the red lights of fear, boredom, hopelessness, negativity, scarcity, hording, seriousness and uncertainty.

Give the green light to creativity, starting 3 things each day, quiet time, hobbies, joy, exploring, laughing, embracing (from afar for now), gratitude, reflection, planning and preparing for #theotherside.

Run the red!

“It’s true that I’ve driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I’ve stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.” – Glenn Gould

Still Standing

“You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!” – Sai Baba

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

I bought these flowers a few weeks ago and they are still standing strong. Carnations are a hearty bunch. After yesterday’s post on colors and the cusp of Spring, I woke this morning to snow falling. So much for the Spring theory. Isn’t that the way it always is? Just when we think the buds will pop, the grass awaken, the snow returns once again asking us to see with new eyes.

The snow was the perfect backdrop to the carnations standing firm, looking up and blushing with soft pink and yellow. We are both beautiful and bold, soft and tough, sullen and joyful.

Embrace the bloom and the snow. We are more than survivors. We are here to thrive. Still standing in bloom attention.

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