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Posts from the ‘Encouragement’ Category

A Year from Now

“In basic research, the use of the electron microscope has revealed to us the complex universe of the cell, the basic unit of life.” – Gunter Blobel

“The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.” – Henry Ward Beecher

While I encourage savoring the moment and being present in today, we also need to put the microscope down and pull out our telescope to look to the stars, trigger our imagination and get a new perspective when life’s challenges get too close.

Moments are rich with joy that can be discovered with a microscopic view. When the details of the day are steeped in chaos, it can distort our view requiring the use of our telescopic view. Pulling back and getting a new view. Moments are snapshots that accumulate into the entire album of our life.

Using both our microscope and telescope at the right times keep us balanced through our day to prevent “rollercoaster” living. Zooming into to see moments of connection, joy and delight in simple interactions. And then, when necessary, pulling back to remind ourselves that “this too shall pass.”

So, do both. Savor the moment, the beauty and detail in the petal of a flower. And when things get distorted and lead us down “frustration lane,” look up and remind yourself that you won’t be here in a year or even tomorrow for that matter.

Carry your microscope and telescope with you today and use each one appropriately so you can enjoy the gift of this day.

Winter, Again

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

We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.

We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.

Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.

It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.

And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.

Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.

Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.

 

Clarity in the Morning

There’s a clarity in the morning like no other time of day. Fresh from resting if we allowed ourselves to lay the day down the night before to recover, refresh and renew. It’s a new start, a clean slate, an opportunity to do better. No distractions or interruptions. Quiet time to get a perspective that will be challenged, tested and pushed around the rest of the day with the demands of long to do lists, last minute requests due to lack of planning usually caused by putting out the last fire from the last round of lack of planning and forethought.

It’s good artificial intelligence is coming since real intelligence is in short supply. And humans will be able to teach the machines how to do it. Factory line, grind it out, more with less, get better by the hour, productivity, keep going even if it’s in the wrong direction. And certainly don’t let relationships and emotion get in the way. Busy, busy. Sounds great doesn’t it?

But that is not how we are built. The frustration, exhaustion and emptiness keeps showing up in the pathetic 32% employee engagement number that Gallup regularly measures. I would suspect that it will drop even further as we tout how artificial intelligence and machine learning will put you out of a job and really change the world for the better, again. Same empty promise, get rich quick scheme we bought into with the proliferation of technology giving us more time back. How’d that one work out?

Don’t get me wrong, a big part of my career is built on technology and what it can do to actually make our life better and connect the world to do cool things for humanity if we choose. But we fall for the shortcuts, the quick fixes, the 21 day solutions, the 10 minute a day train for a marathon formulas, the magic pill. How’s that working?

No matter how far we frantically search to discovery that “thing” that will change our lives forever, it comes down to what’s inside of each one of us and in messy, complicated, illogical relationships with others. How we play with others on the playground.

So from this morning clarity and rambling, I come to a few final thoughts since this will break into a longer version article when I have the time to go deeper someday (that’s also what we tell ourselves too often – “someday I will…”)

So someday is today:

  1. Slow down and breath at regular intervals today, take 5 two minute breaks from the action and the “ASAP” lists people keep creating for you. Let clarity be a part of your entire day rather than just the morning when people aren’t around to mess up your plans;
  2. Be a human being. Offer grace and generosity of spirit to others who disappoint you and come up short all of the time, despite your perfection. Show and share your humanness, flaws and all. Kindness to others begins with kindness within. You’re not perfect and no one else is either. Celebrate your imperfections;
  3. Choose empathy over apathy, even though apathy is what makes complete sense;
  4. Laugh, until it hurts, which I actually did last night. I pulled a muscle in my abdomen from laughing with friends. When I self-diagnosed myself last night with Dr. Google, you can actually strain muscles in your abdomen, proving the need to strengthen your laugh muscles every day. I’m sure there’s a 21 day fix for this. I’ll google that later, when I have time;
  5. Take full inventory. So often we count the hassles, set backs and losses making them larger than they warrant. Choose abundance over scarcity and make sure that you at least equally count the many blessings and gifts in your life. It’s irritating when someone says “be grateful” because they’re right.

That’s right – 5 Easy Steps to Happiness Today, with a money-back guarantee of your success. And order within the next 60 minutes and we’ll send 2 sets for the price of shipping.

Lighten up and cast some light today. Now, go get em! Your head lock is waiting.

Amazing Grace

“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

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

It’s illusive. Hard to define, to harness the concept. Grace. A gift from God given to us freely with no strings attached. An assurance that we are being held whether we are aware of it or not. Worry and fear try to stop us, often successfully. Yet, grace remains. Quietly, steady and patiently waiting for us to notice. And merely to accept and fall into it.

God is always next to us, in front of us, behind us, around us and especially within us. God’s presence is not dependent of our awareness. But when we are aware and enter it fully without question, our days are transformed, becoming new again and again. Grace has no explanation, logic or reasoning. It just is.

Grace wakes us up, jolting us from our busy trance and worldly slumber to see a sunset for the first time. To find the hope in a hand held. To seize the utter joy hidden in simple moments. Grace is a free pass for being human. It is love without condition, the only real love that there is.

Grace allows us space and time to move through dark days, confused and afraid and to savor deeply the arrival to the other side. It is patient, kind, a warm embrace that never let’s us go. We need not pray for grace for it is given independent of our control or worthiness. Pray for the awareness of the seeing grace that is already present right now, ready to heal and make us whole.

And in the grateful awakening, we can dare to extend grace to others. Gently opening the door to peace, love, kindness, forgiveness, patience, empathy and awe.

Wake up to grace in your life. And the only thing you have to do is accept it without question and enjoy the ride. Amazing grace. How sweet the sound.

Teflon

So much of the narrative of our life is defined by others, our past and what we all have allowed in. Change the narrative, change the story. Be mindful and careful of what you allow in and keep out.

Like Teflon, don’t let fear, other people’s shallow criticism and comments control your now and your future. Our regret rarely lies in what we’ve done but rather what we haven’t done. Dreams we didn’t pursue, activities we didn’t try, things we didn’t say.

Worry and fear hold us back from trying at all ages and stages of our life. And with one step, we can change it all. Do it afraid. Silence those voices by trying things, learning and growing until your last day on this earth.

Like a sponge, soak in possibility, confidence and hope. Let that feeling of “I Can” stick. Fear is a liar.

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar”

Zach Williams, – Fear is a Liar

Get your Teflon on.

Intermission

“Wonder is one of the most powerful forces with which we are born. It is also one of our finest skills.” – Erling Kagge

I remember going to the circus every year growing up. Unlike today where we have an overabundance of daily entertainment options, the circus was a special annual occurrence. Something to look forward to, to anticipate and to foster a sense of wonder.

“Wonder is the very engine of life.” – Erling Kagge

In our pursuit of more at the expense of depth and meaning, our days have turned into a three-ring circus minus the sense of wonder. Attention pulled in several directions. Speed and motion without much thought and insight.

Urgency fosters chaos. We are way too serious about a lot of minutia and worry becomes the driver of our days with no room in the car for joy, delight and awe.

Slow down and finally realize that who you are is more important than what you do. We do a lot of “transaction” living, bouncing from one concrete “do-able” activity to the next to barely keep up mediocrity. A three-ring circus, with little depth and attention to one thing.

Before you race through your day today, plan some intermissions in the show to allow gratitude and wonder to the party. Take a walk, close your eyes, count your blessings, let go of worry. Gratitude magically shifts our perspective from adding more to counting what we already have. It grounds us in “enough” so we can stop the frantic pursuit of more.

Wonder and awe are waiting. Go get em!

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.” – Anne Lamott

Nonsense Makes Sense

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

“Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.” – Thomas Aquinas

I sure did get a lot done this week on my ridiculously long and unreasonable list. And yet, there’s little satisfaction in that because as soon space opens up, it is immediately filled with the next thing, the next deadline, the next urgent request.

Humans are built and made for more than production.

There’s a restorative power in play, in rest, in space. When we get off the treadmill of our “to do” list and wander about with no agenda, no task, no deadline, we restore our capacity to be present in our own life and grateful for what we already have in this very moment.

Each day, we must carve time for play. Book a meeting with yourself to reconnect with what’s most important. Play, be frivolous, lay upside down with a ball.

There’s joy to be harvested in each day. Don’t get tangled up in the weeds of “one more thing to do.” Plant playful seeds and enjoy the harvest. There is a lot of sense in nonsense. Get that on your list and get it done.

“Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.” – Debbie Ford

That Flame

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” – Theodore Roethke

That prompt, that soft whisper, that lingering feeling – the flame within. It remains, calling us to our authentic self. In difficult days, when we are left wondering what we are doing and why, it reminds us of our strength and resilience, what we are truly made of. And it pushes us to make changes, whether in our perspective or in our circumstances. It directs, leads and guides us like a compass. Trust it. Take steps each day to pursue your own becoming.

Our freedom comes in our daily choices of what we allow in and what we send out. We so often figure things out when we stop trying to figure them out. Gratitude always reframes our days. That flame within – let it shine. We need more light.

Look Back, Move Forward, Anchored in Today

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Sasha’s second birthday was on Thursday. Both Sasha and Abby were as happy as they were the day before. That’s the thing that dogs and kids have in common. The ability to be fully present in today and to achieve one thing – joy.

And in their process and pursuit of joy, we witness for ourselves the possibility that resides in each one of us and in each day. The capacity and the call to simply be present and aware without going too far back or reaching too far ahead.

The past has gotten to us to today so it serves to provide lessons, ground us in memories keeping those who have gone ahead of us on their journey in this world in our heart and builds our resilience. The future provides hope, fuels anticipation for new beginnings and comes slowly then quickly.

The present is the real gift hidden in ordinary moments, conversations and quiet reflection filled with gratitude, if we choose.

Be open to and seek joy and depth in today. The past is not the map to your future. Been there, done that. New, wonderful and abundant living lies ahead only to be discovered by you one day at a time. Today, that’s it.

Walk Into It

“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk into it.” – Isaiah 30:21

So often we force things. We try to make the puzzle pieces fit where they just don’t fit. Square peg, round hole activities. There is value in allowing things to arrive rather than to always be in hot pursuit. When we allow God to do his work in us, we unfold. A good place to be and remain, a holy sacred ease.

Trust in the mystery. Don’t assume you know the final chapter before you write the first ones. The path appears as we walk into it and at the right time which is often not on our watch. And as the chapters weave the story together, we can find joy in each day, no matter the circumstances.

If you’re at a crossroads or you can’t quite find the road right now, it’s alright. Trust, listen and be open to that soft yet firm voice that whispers, “this is the way, walk into it.”

“A painting is not thought out and settled in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it’s finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.” – Picasso

You are an unfinished beautiful work of art that is being revealed, finished and yet never done, unfolding as you should. Ease up and enjoy the walk.

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