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Posts from the ‘Everyday’ Category

Spilled Milk or Coffee in this Case

Driving into work yesterday, I prepared my mind by listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on being prisoner of hope and the energy of optimism. I stopped by my regular coffee spot to fill up my coffee mug with some delicious hazelnut vanilla dark roast. Armed with a positive mindset, intent on seizing the day, I bounced in like Tigger to be a bright light.

Twelve minutes later, the day took a detour into a technology “pothole” that needed to be dealt with right away, moving me off my tasks that I intended to conquer as I was seizing the day, being a prisoner of hope. I gathered a few staff into my office for a phone call to resolve it. As we discussed our options, I sat back in my chair and took a big gulp of my cup of deliciousness to fuel my problem-solving super-powers.

The cover was not screwed on all of the way and coffee proceeded to pour down my chin onto my sweater and pants, well beyond the help of a Shout stain remover pad to fix. It was fun to have an audience too. I whispered, “son of a b___” and continued on with the discussion. With one meeting after another, I didn’t have time to go home to change so I spent the morning with a bucket of coffee on me.

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.” – Saint Augustine

I went home at lunch to change and on the way back the necklace that I had on broke and fell in my lap. My assessment of the day was that the Holy Spirit was on my ass, challenging me to rise above circumstances and be anchored in light and optimism. The old saying is “don’t cry over spilled milk” or in this case, spilled coffee. While not perfect, I did try to make light of it and not have it ruin my day.

We get to choose each day whether spilled coffee or series of technology mishaps or imperfect people will defeat us. Despite our circumstances, we can actually be a prisoner of hope, filled with optimism that is borne within us, untouched by external distractions, disruptions and detours.

And the final lesson, make sure the cap is screwed on both your coffee mug and your head. See the humor in each day and lighten up. It’s only spilled milk.

Today, I am going into work with a helmet on.

Crystal Clear

Glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful.

When is the last time that you’ve used one of these words to describe something, anything. An activity, a conversation, a sunset. Gliding across the snow last night with fresh snow falling was glorious. That’s the word I used this morning as I wondered why my back was sore and then remembered the source.

We should be on the hunt daily for reasons to use theses descriptors. They are much better than busy, tired and overwhelmed which is more of our reality in our fast pursuit to nowhere. Faster, “better,” productive.

The problem when we use these words sparingly, for the vacation, for fictional “someday” when things are perfect, when we lose 20 pounds, when this person gets out of the way, when circumstances change, is that we are missing daily joy that is abundant and available to all of us despite the excuses and hurdles that we put in our own way. Pursue awestruck in what already is, not what will be when all of the conditions fall into place.

Life is messy. Relationships, death, illness, politics, things that didn’t work out according to our plan. And right in the middle of the mess is capacity for joy and contentment within, waiting to be called out to play, dance and sing, loudly.

We choose daily what we put in the forefront, on center stage. We do, no one else. That’s powerful and daunting when we can’t blame someone or something else. We have the power to shift our attention from our self-inflicted problems to our reservoir of light within.

Foster, feed and bring that inner joy within to fruition so you expand your vocabulary and starting using glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful on a regular basis

At the beginning of the year, I made a new “intention” bracelet that I wear almost every day with the word “clarity” on it. That is what I am seeking. What we seek actively, we find.

Not right. Not left. Not right. Not wrong. Not more. Not less. Clarity for what already is in this very moment.

Turn Up the Volume!

If you spike the ball when Friday hits that you made it through another week and lament the brevity of the weekend, it’s time to change your mindset from survival mode to thrive mode, from scarcity to abundance. I certainly have fallen into the trap of Friday delight and Monday dread.

Time for some seven-day living filled with joy, laughter and some serious play. Negativity is a spiral that produces more of the same useless, time-wasting, life-sucking results. Optimism multiplies, fuels, energizes, creates light, uncovers possibility available right in this very moment. A much better choice for thriving no matter the circumstances. No more dabbling in optimism – commit.

Looking for a way to shift your perspective? Go opposite. Too close, pull back. Too far out, pull in. See the whole picture. Can’t come up new ideas, stop trying and let them find you by taking a walk.

The quickest way to shift your perspective – music. I’ve started a “dance party” playlist and just added Lizzo’s Good as Hell – “I do my hair toss, Check my nails, Baby how you feelin’?, Feeling good as hell!” I can’t help but smile, sing loudly and bust a move.

Music, art, nature are all gifts that remind us to lighten up and enjoy this very moment. Change the playlist in your mind and let your heart, spirit and soul out to dance every single day. Turn up the volume! Hair toss, check nails, feeling good as hell!

8 Percent

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Last week, I received a certificate of recognition from the Guideposts Foundation for being a member since 1986 – 34 years. I joined after reading the founder Norman Vincent Peale’s seminal book The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve returned to this book regularly and it is foundational to who I am, want to be and fall short of often. It really defines what Cast Light aspires to be – encouragement and optimism in the midst of all that life throws at us. Joy can transcend our circumstances when we think, act and see differently, choosing gratitude and abundance over cynicism and scarcity.

“The way to happiness; keep your heart free from hate, your mind free from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, scatter sunshine, forget self, and think of others.” – Norman Vincent Peale

One of the main things that steals our daily joy is worry. “Someone actually did a study demonstrating the pointlessness of much of our worries. The researcher found that 40% of the things people worried about never happened; 30 percent concerned old decisions that couldn’t be altered; 12 percent were about other people’s perceptions that may or may not even be true, and 10 percent were related to health, which worsens when you worry. Them remaining 8 percent of worries might possibly be called legitimate,” stated Norman Vincent Peale.

92% of worry is about things that never happen, the past, false perceptions and health. Guard your joy daily and diligently direct your thoughts. Release worry, restore your energy and invest your power in worthy pursuits.

Free your mind and go be a light in the world! No worries!

Pull Over, Daily

This past week was my first week off this year. No meetings, open time to think rather than react, sleeping in without an alarm (made it to 7:00 am, but still a victory.) Simply delightful and longgggg over due.

We need to create space daily to witness and participate in our life, to see what’s right in front of us, to set our priorities and be conscious.

Pulling over shouldn’t be an annual event but a daily practice. Slow the pace, pull over to enjoy the view, fully awake, deeply aware and profoundly grateful. Racing from one thing to the next is no way to live, unless you’re in hot pursuit chasing a tennis ball to catch it on the first bounce, of course.

As we enter this new year and decade, commit to creating space daily, expanding your capacity for gratitude and basking in joy. Catch the ball on the first bounce. Happy New Year and Decade! Pursue joy!

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” – Denis Waitley

Seedling, Tree

“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – James Allen

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

What we sow, cultivate, prune and feed is what we reap. Plant hope, optimism, good thoughts, reap a good day, a good life.

Sow seeds today. An encouraging word. A smile. An eye to eye encounter. Notice others. We long to be seen. Give that gift and it returns to you. Leave light behind. Walk lightly. Let go of the unnecessary. Make room for joy.

Sow, reap. Plant, harvest. Seedling, tree.

“Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest.” – Ellen G. White

Preparation

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

“Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.” Hermann Hesse

We need to prepare for the inevitable – snow, inconveniences, detours, delays, loss – all that life weaves between the victories, joy, growth, happiness and love that lasts beyond this world. There will rarely be long stretches of problem-free living. While we can’t control some circumstances, we can prepare how we will react to them.

I bought a new snowblower yesterday to be ready for winter, which in Minnesota can happen anytime now. My Sears snowblower lasted 20 years.

I remember the day that my Dad and I bought it like it was yesterday. I just had been diagnosed with melanoma in February, 1999 and had surgery in March with three lymph nodes removed under my arm. I couldn’t lift my arm for about a month. A  week after surgery, we got a few feet of snow. I usually shoveled and didn’t have a snowblower.

When I saw my Dad and neighbor digging me out, we went out the next day and got a snowblower. As I said good-bye to my tough old Sears model, I thought, as I do daily, how much I miss my Dad. And I am deeply grateful for many good years with him. He was my best friend.

A lot has happened in the last 20 years and the past three has been intense at times. As Gretchen Rubin says, “the days are long and the years are short.” If we are wise, loss gives us a deep appreciation for what we have right now and to not take one day for granted.

Prepare for joy and be open to discover it daily.

Kairos

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

“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

Kairos is an Ancient Greek term translated to the right time, a spiritual opportunity, the hour of grace.

May you notice all of your “Kairos” moments in all of the hours between sunrise and sunset. Do not let one day go by without taking a blessings inventory to foster deep gratitude. Invite and allow awe and joy to enter your day.

Harvest

“We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.” – Orison Swett Marden

I’ve just started to wear my “gifts of the spirit” bracelet the past few weeks to remind me to be open to receive those gifts given freely without effort or merit. This week, I was then prompted to buy a “fruits of the spirit” bracelet to remind me of how gifts and fruits are inseparable.

When we are given gifts, we are called to give them away, to plant and cultivate them in order to produce fruit.

We must go beyond our one dimensional understanding and seek a higher understanding, a deeper meaning to live this life well.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

When we are given gifts, they expand and multiply when we give them away, producing fruits. They move us from “me” living to “we” living.

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, generosity, joy, gentleness, peace, faithfulness, patience, modesty, kindness, self-control, goodness, chastity.

Seven gifts creating twelve fruits. Pretty good odds to bet on.

Be open to gifts. Plant seeds. Harvest fruit. Gifts to fruit every time.

Grace and Humor

“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” – Anne Lamott

“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” – Anne Lamott

“Everyone is flailing through this life without an owner’s manual, with whatever modicum of grace and good humor we can manage.” – Anne Lamott

There’s a depth and complexity to life that walks in tandem with simplicity and beauty. A mix of mystery, joy, light, loss and abundance.

Remain in each moment, fully immersed. It is part of the fabric, the story and the journey that we are all on and share. No manuals, no 10 quick steps to instant success. Starts and stops. Left and right. Up and down.

Pay attention. Beauty and light. Grace and humor.

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