“Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.” – Michael Ende
We measure our years with birthdays, but we experience the soul of life in moments. As we grow older and time moves faster, we discover that our cup is over flowing when we measure the right things. And the hot pursuit of position and accumulation of stuff comes up empty. Less really is more. Depth over distance. Connection over chaos. Quality over quantity.
Beauty, spring, winter, loss, light, dark, laughter, tears, delight all merge into a tapestry of color and pattern that is all our own yet we share the same journey that takes us each down different paths. The gains and losses. The joy and trials. A thousand hellos and two thousand good-byes. All of it binds together to shape us and prepare us for what’s next.
So as I celebrate my 53 years on earth today and Abby’s 1 year, I am mindfully aware and grateful for all of my blessings that came with many sunrises and sunsets, of days filled with joy and even the ones with the seemingly endless challenges. The authentic life has it all.
Ride the jet ski at 81, throw the ball (again and again) and never lose your sense of humor. And above all, be kind. And that includes to yourself. Cast light, measure the right things and choose abundance and joy.
“Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are.” – Mahavishnu John McLaughlin
When an opportunity arises that is spontaneous and a bit frivolous, do it. And then do it again. These are the experiences that create golden memories and remind us of what’s most important in life.
One of those opportunities arose this past weekend when I was in Chicago for a meeting and then stayed an extra day to meet up with my best friends Sharon and Tim from California who were going to South Bend for the Notre Dame vs. USC football game.
“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.” – Henry Miller
The older I get the more I treasure time with those who mean the most to me. And I never want to let “common sense” to ever stop me from staying engaged and chasing joy.
Each day, be open to spontaneity and act on it. Create those golden moments.
“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” – Samuel Johnson
Last Friday, I did a 9 mile run in preparation for the Twin Cities 10 miler which is in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon on October 1. I’ve completed three marathons and all were at the Twin Cities Marathon – a beautiful course. I felt good that I made 9 with my sporadic and mixed training as of late. The 9 mile run builds confidence that you can do the 10 miles so that’s the main purpose of the longer run. But what really matters is the time and effort in all distances, consistency and time on your feet.
I took it easy on Saturday and did a 6 mile run on Sunday. I got my stride, my flow and was reminded of all of the reasons that I run. It was like I was floating on air and one with the run. Those joy-filled moments when all of the pieces of work and effort come together in a beautiful symphony of cadence.
So often we focus so much on the work and effort, we miss the ease of flow and cadence of the input. When we experience it, we must celebrate it by simply taking it in and letting it move us. Daily living is a mix of ups and downs, momentum and struggle. It is the downs and struggle that are the foundation of the ups and momentum, of the cadence.
Keep moving, knowing that it won’t always be easy, but we find ease and flow when we move our mindsets out of the way and let our heart and spirit lead the way into whatever path is in front of us. Practice, repetition and getting back up every single time. With each strike of your heel, you build your cadence. And suddenly effort becomes effortless.
“The more I practice the luckier I get.” – Arnold Palmer
Lately, I’ve been listening to the songs of one of my favorite artists, Mary Chapin Carpenter. The lyrics and notes are like a warm blanket, comforting and familiar. One of my favorite lines from The Jubilee – “When we look back and say those were halcyon days we’re talking ’bout jubilee.” Halcyon is defined as a period of peace and happiness; an idyllic time.
We so often look back longing for what was because we miss the beautiful fabric of each day while we are busily on our way to the next thing. May we all realize and deeply appreciate our hacyon days and moments while we are right in the middle of them. So we can be doubly blessed now and when we look back in fondness for what was and a renewed hope for what is to come. Simple moments make up our halcyon days. Simple moments.
“If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it.” – Greg Boyle
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn
Words matter. Actions even more. We so often have an opinion on everything and advice for others that we wouldn’t take ourselves. The noise of nothingness is loud, drowning out what’s real and true.
There are more good people than bad, and everyone has a story that we don’t know. Ask and then listen. There is more depth and substance to people, so go beyond the surface and dig a little deeper. It’s easier to define others and put them in a box than to find our common humanity and complexity. We’re all trying to figure this life out, become who we are called to be and fulfill our purpose. Hopefully. And if we focused on that, what a world this would be.
Give the benefit of the doubt, be kind, lighten up, laugh more, drop your perceptions which are often misperceptions and be naively hopeful and filled with joy. Take the time to encourage someone each day rather than say nothing or worse, being critical. It is often hard to do in world that asks for more and more of us and gives less and less. But I am convinced it’s the only viable choice that we have to live well and in the moment each day.
Cast your light today, early and often. Words and actions.
“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.” – Rupert Brooke
You know you’re having fun when you have a grass stain on your head and a smile ear to ear. When is the last time you had a good grass stain and a hearty smile? Too long for me I must say.
Lighten up and take it all with a bit less seriousness. Too much worry, too much work and no play makes our days drudgery. Our regrets will center on not being in the moment when it was happening and realizing the joy that was ours for the taking. “Someday” is an excuse to put off your life.
Schedule time each day to search out a good grass stain and a smile that sprouts from within.
“Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.” – Swami Sivananda
We so often think struggles linger forever and bliss is but a rare passing moment. Even in our struggles, we can find bliss. They co-exist. Yet, we can choose which one we will amplify, what tune we will dance to.
Things are settling down for me for the first time in a long while and new things are entering. But not completely, there are still moments of struggle. But I am not going to forebode bliss to anticipate and plan for struggle. Accept the bliss and keep it close to guide you through the struggle. It lives and breathes beside and within us.
When I lose the path to my bliss, I need not look far to be reminded of the joy found in daily life. A dog’s smile, a baby’s laugh, a heartfelt conversation with a trusted friend. These are the places of true, deep bliss amidst the simple moments in life. March in.
“Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” – William Blake
“Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
The innate beauty of wild flowers is their carefree nature and brilliant color. They bloom strong in tall grass and weeds, taking root and standing tall. Nothing snares them from fruition. Nothing and no one.
What’s holding you back? Your made up “rules and regulations” of what should be or should have been? What others think? Fear or worthiness?
Release the past and the future. Go uninhibited and with vigor into each moment and day, knowing that this is your one and only precious life. And stop asking permission to bloom.
Talk a walk on the wild side. Show your colors wild thing.
“Well, that’s what life is – this collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments. We just need to pay attention to them all. Wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is.” – Alexander Payne
It’s been five years since I’ve done a big yard project. Last week, I rented the roto tiller and tilled up the weeds along the side and back of the garage. Yesterday, I finished the resetting the block edging, Today, the rock and dirt were delivered. Seven hours later, the rock is in its place. Dirt spreading and grass seed is on the agenda tomorrow.
Five years ago, the project was tilling and sod after the back yard tree was removed with a crane. Today, the missing piece in this yard project was Dad. And it’s days like these that I miss him most. He would have gone with me to the rock store after he measured the area and did the calculation to get the exact amount of rock that I needed. He would have handed me the shovel and held down the landscape fabric. After we were done, we would go grab a beer and toast to getting the job done.
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” – Earl Nightingale
While I always appreciated the help, what I really valued the most was the easy conversation and time spent with my best friend and Dad. As I shoveled the rock into the wheel barrel today, I imagined Dad sitting in the adirondack chair just hanging out with me making the hard work enjoyable.
The daily moments and ordinary days are what we remember the most so don’t miss them while you are in the middle of them. Be present and deeply grateful for those oh so ordinary days.
“Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you.” – John Muir
Reflection and remembering are the stepping stones on the path of gratitude and awe. A simple walk in the woods can transform our minds and surface our spirit. Rather than busily moving through time we become immersed in it, unaware of the clock and deep in the moment.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
In quiet repose, we move from reaction and positioning to creation and mere being. Amidst the waving trees, in the rhythm of the stream, in the heart of the meadow, we are called to enter and join the sweet harmony of nature. Eternal youth flows uninhibited and free for the taking.