“Awe is the finest portion of mankind …In awe, one feels profoundly the immense.” – Goethe
“Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.” – Darrell Hammond
Watching the kids jump off the bus today brought me back to those days in May filled with anticipation of school getting out for the summer. The excitement of hanging out with friends, swimming, biking and carefree days. Just pure ease that summer demands.
So often, we appreciate days and moments the most in the rear view mirror rather than when we are in the midst of them. As you move into these sweet days of summer, be present and aware while you are in them, tune out the noise. Pay attention to moments rather than fictional “some days.”
Take long walks, enjoy an ice cream cone, read a book or take a nap in one of those adirondack chairs or hammocks that are always empty. This day, this moment is the substance, depth and breadth of life.
Get on the bus. The journey is the destination.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
The door handle to the garage has been slipping for a few months. Wear and tear, getting more difficult to open. About three weeks ago, it made it on the list to pick up and I reluctantly picked it up a last week. It sat in the box staring at me as I passed by. Each time, I told myself that I would get to it when I had time.
I’ve never put on a door handle and it looked complicated. So I procrastinated and created a wall that got bigger the longer I put it off, a giant stopping me in my tracks.
Well, the giant fell tonight. I put it in and it works. Victory! So often we create giants that prevent us from even trying. Or we believe others when they tell us that we can’t do it.
But when we move, those giants fall with the simple step of starting, of risking failure. And sometimes we do fail, but we never start in the same place when we try and start again. And so many times, if we dare to pursue the feat, the giant falls and we win.
Giants fall, doors open.
“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
“Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.” – Orison Swett Marden
Chaos, busyness and circumstances eclipse gratitude, awe and joy. We put off living fully to the illusive someday. When you can dance and sing amidst difficulties, you have triumphed and achieved “a peace that passes all understanding.”
Don’t lose days, months, years waiting for perfect timing to start living. Today is the day to begin anew, to be present in each moment and see what’s right in front of you for the very first time. Hold your gaze a bit longer and witness the greatness in a mere petal of a flower, the solace in an embrace and the ease that grace offers.
In Act III of Thorton Wilder’s play Our Town, Emily views moments in her life after she is dead. “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute? Emily asks this question of the Stage Manager after she has revisited her twelfth birthday. The Stage Manager answers that humans indeed do not realize life, except for perhaps the “saints and poets, maybe.”
Realize your life fully each day while you live it – the sacred poetry.
“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” – Maya Angelou
As we move through life’s many difficulties and worries, it’s often hard to see beyond the struggle, the light behind the clouds. And then suddenly, a brilliant bright rainbow breaks through the clouds and offers the gift of hope and the promise of grace to make our way through to the other side the only way we can. A day at a time.
Life goes both fast and slow as does death. We spend much of our time waiting and longing for what’s next, what may be easier. Even amidst the clouds and rain, we can give ourselves permission to find joy and light, if but for a moment. The bow after the rain comes when its purposes is complete, whether we understand it or not. When you are in the clouds, hold on and when you are not, be the rainbow.
“Never lose the childlike wonder. Show gratitude… Don’t complain; just work harder… Never give up.” – Randy Pausch
When we were young, we were light on our feet, untethered. Each day a new adventure filled with delight and awe. Naïve, they say. So we grew up and got “real.” We traded possibility and fun for rules and limitations. We allowed other voices in and proceeded to become “wise” by over-complicating it all. “Yes!” was swiftly replaced with “no.”
My great nephew Liam was born the same year that my Dad and my two dogs Molly and Lily passed away. He was and still is a bright light, an oasis in the desert. And he just keeps getting better by the day.
“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Mark 10:15
He runs with joy. Uninhibited, pure sweet joy. And he invites me in to his world to be silly, to dance and sing like no one is watching. And if they are, who cares, they can join in too. I enter his beautiful, innocent world filled with wonder and all of the stuff that clutters and distorts life floats away with the bubbles he chases into the sky as he yells “bubbles!”
Each of us has the capacity and the calling to run with joy, to chase bubbles and to see the world through the eyes of our inner child who keeps asking us to come out and play.
Enjoy your life unbound and with splendor. And by doing so, you give others an invitation to join you and if but only for a moment to find solace in difficulty and the rainbow after the rain. Run with joy.
“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver
GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.
It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.
And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
“So if you think someone is brave, tell them. For they might feel frightened and small, and you will change their life. If you think someone is beautiful and aglow, tell them. For they might feel dark and lonely, and you will quiet their demons. When you reach to help someone who is stuck, you might free the flight of their soul. And they will return when you least expect, to bring you something from the sky. Never underestimate the strength of your kindness to suture the torn.” – Mark Nepo, “Things That Join the Sea and the Sky”
Life comes in waves. Some more pounding than others. Some in soft peaks, a calm ebb and flow. Our moments of distress are but moments, sometimes hours and days. Hope can be awakened through a kind word, a helping hand, in quiet listening. Hope always prevails in patience and overcomes all.
No matter how you feel or what you assume, choose kindness over fear. Even though it may seem that the struggle lingers on, the waves will settle.
Be a source of joy, empathy and encouragement. The flight of souls.
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” – Aristotle Onassis
It is April 9th and it snowed again. I worked half the weekend on projects and trying to get my email down which didn’t work. I’m still at 500 emails with “to dos” attached to them. Civility is at an all-time low and adult-bullying is at an all-time high. Friends struggling with death, surgery, elderly parents. And it’s Monday and my calendar is filled with meetings that will produce more “busyness.”
Insert your list here.
We all are justified to be exhausted, frustrated and fed up. But that bus trip gets you to wasted days that never return. So despite our justifications, we must cling to hope and find joy in our winter seasons.
So much of what we suffer is outside of us – circumstances, unreasonable expectations, other people, the weather. We can and must control what’s inside so we can go out into the world and be hope and joy-filled people. To contribute to light rather than darken the darkness.
We have to intentionally, mindfully and actively choose hope over despair. So write your list, acknowledge the challenges and then move on. Also, write a list of your blessing and gifts. It will be much longer and deeper than you think. Gratitude is the bus to get on.
Find your inner “Tigger” and grow flowers within when the soil outside is still frozen and barren. And go out and beam, start a domino-effect of joy. That’s powerful. Joy over despair.
Cast light, bloom, multiply joy. Now that’s worthy of our time and attention.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” – William James
“Time itself comes in drops.” – William James
Magnificent, spectacular, striking, breathtaking, delightful. We need more of these words and feelings in our daily life. Magnificent is waiting to be seen right in front of us each day. In a sunrise, a smile, a laugh, a poem, a dog’s enthusiasm to virtually everything, a song – all found in drops of time. Awe and beauty amidst the chaos and struggle. They co-exist. What we pay attention to defines our day, our life.
Find the magnificent in your day today no matter what you are going through. It may be like “Finding Waldo” to start, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes and the more we need it. Keep an eye out – there’s a spectacular day ahead.
“Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” – Paul Cezanne
When “busy” is the only answer that you can muster when asked, “how are you?” It’s time to question the value and meaning of what you are busy with and at what expense.
Redefine the quality of your day not by the number of items checked off your “to do” list. Rather define it by depth, width and height of each day that you are awake and aware. Of moments steeped in gratitude grounded in experiences rather than mere activities.
Day 3 of no complaints, only gratitude – slow down, look around in close proximity and be in awe of the many gifts and blessings in your life right in this very minute.