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Posts from the ‘Everyday’ Category

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“Every moment is a new beginning.” – Elie Wiesel

1 – what a great number. A chance to start anew. A fresh start. As we move into the second half of the year and July 1st moves us into the middle of summer, plan for the month ahead one day at a time with deep gratitude for summer days.

The Great Good Science Center publishes a monthly calendar filled a prompt and link each day. Set your intentions for each day and follow through with small steps to well-being, light and joy.

 

 

The Art of Balance

 

“Life is a balance between rest and movement.” – Rajneesh

“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” – Patti Smith

Right-left. Liberal-conservative. Up-down. The answer internally and externally is found in balance. Not compromise. But in empathy, understanding, compassion and kindness. When the noise is deafening, when the meaning is hollow, go deeper by listening, by caring and by never, ever giving up despite the circumstances. It is a good life, if we dare to enter. Balance.

“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” – Euripides

The Embrace of a Breeze

“We never look deeply into the quality of a tree; we never really touch it, feel its solidity, its rough bark, and hear the sound that is part of the tree. Not the sound of wind through the leaves, not the breeze of a morning that flutters the leaves, but its own sound, the sound of the trunk and the silent sound of the roots.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day. The trees swayed and didn’t break. Moved and stretched. Embraced and flowed. The leaves danced and held on. May we bend and not break. Breath and flow. And sway with joy.

Let Sunday set the tone for the week. Carry it forward to seize the magic and delight. Each day, even Mondays, especially Mondays, are a gift. Open it and celebrate. The embrace of the breeze. Be held.

“What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind.” – Vernon Howard

Other Side of the Fence

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Get busy watering your own grass so as not to notice whether it’s greener elsewhere.”― Karon Waddell

On our daily jaunt into the woods, I let the girls off leash to run full throttle. Abby chases balls in an open field trying to catch them on the first bounce and Sasha chases her. It brings a new joy to them each day like it’s the first time. Dogs and kids are experts on being fully present and aware of the moment at hand, or paw in this case.

When I threw one of the balls, it went over the barbed wired fence by the water tower. I threw the second ball but Abby was intent on the ball on the other side. She suddenly downgraded and became human, focusing on the other side while a ball was by right next to her and easily accessible. How often do we reach for something out of reach when the same and often better is right in front of us?

Wake up and see what’s in reach and embrace it with gratitude. If we don’t recognize the blessings that are already in front of us, it’s impossible to receive new blessings. The grass and the ball are not always greener on the other side.

Happy ending to the story – I decided not to scale the barbed wired fence, but my arm did fit underneath and Abby walked out of the woods with two balls in mouth. Big win.

Inside Out

“Look to the lilies how they grow!” – David Macbeth Moir

Like many public spaces, Como Conservatory is locked down. We often run/walk by to see if the windows are cracked so we can peer inside to see the beautiful flowers and breathe in the fragrance. Outside looking in.

Flowers, nature, friends, families, dogs, prayers, long walks and runs, music, poetry, fresh air are sources of light that have always filled us up. Our awareness of these blessings is more vivid now. Accept the good and the challenging days as they come anchored in hope. Find joy in ordinary moments, not looking too far back or too far ahead.

Look inside yourself with mercy and grace, see the beautiful flowers, take a deep breathe. Each one of us is doing the very best we can in this moment. It’s the first pandemic in our lifetime so there’s no script on how it should work. We have the strength, resilience and capacity to get to the other side so keep going, no matter what!

One of my favorite poems is Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese:

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Settle In

“All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.” – Plato

As I took a 5-minute break from a day jammed with “zoom” meetings, I looked at Abby sprawled on the couch and she sent me a glance to remind me to settle in, stretch out and relax. She’s a wonderful relaxation coach.

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” – Thich Nhat Han

With the completion of my home project – painting and new floors – and a few big projects at work, I’m ready to jump into the next activity to keep “busy.” We are made for more than busy and activity. We are built for purpose and depth with a side of delight.

Celebrate the finish, be open to see new beginnings and enjoy the journey of mere being.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Perspective

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

“Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” – Thomas Aquinas

When we settle in and settle down, allowing relaxation to restore and rejuvenate, we gain new perspective. A shift, a turn of the head and the world becomes new from the inside out. Don’t waste days wallowing, wading and willowing. Rest up, look up and relax. It’s all good and going to be good with the fullness of time. In the meantime, let go and relax.

This public service announcement is brought to you by my life coaches Abby and Sasha – the model fun makers and relaxation queens. Lighten up, it makes the journey so much sweeter.

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts

Craft

“When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.” – Jean de la Bruyere

In two days, I’ve watched one quiet craftsman tear out linoleum, laminate and carpet and piece together new vinyl plank flooring throughout my first floor. One person in rapt attention, in flow and in craft. An art and science. An ease and flow. It’s informative and directive of how we rebuild, design and craft our future. We may not know the pieces in this moment. Unknowing and mystery are gifts in disguise, revelation, if we enter with new eyes.

Embrace the mystery, allure, fullness and emptiness of this very moment of unknowing and uncertainty to discover how the pieces, the planks, the puzzle fit together. Sense comes from chaos. Order from uncertainty. Wait, hope and hold tight. Craftsmanship – the art and science of building from disparate pieces that create the whole which is always revealed in due time.

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Before and After

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

“The important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it. The unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious (or simply disappear). Then, with stillness rather than needless urgency or exhaustion, you will be able to sit down and give what deserves consideration your full attention.” – Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

In “before” we prepare, we do the work, we walk the path step by step that gets to “after.” Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in before, circling, lost and then suddenly, after arrives and the work pays off.

I’ve been planning for a first-floor remodel for a few months. Clearing clutter, organizing. Choosing the paint, then painting. Looking at several floor options, then deciding. Moving an entire first floor into my garage. All with help of course. And today is day one of three to get new floors installed – luxury vinyl plank flooring – much better with dogs. Good-bye 15 year-old laminate, linoleum and carpet and hello new floors in 22 easy steps. I haven’t taken a vacation in a long while so this is my “big” trip, creating a new cool space at home, little did I know how much time we’d all be staying at home.

And during this time, especially during this time, it’s good to plan and prepare for the future, even though we are stuck in the murkiness of now, in our before. We are all going to get to our after when before finishes its job, even though we don’t understand why, how or when. Keep planning, do the work, hold tight to trust and faith, savoring the long overdue stillness. After is coming and our before will carry us forward fully prepared for it.

YES!

“Let a hundred flowers bloom.” – Mao Zedong

“I imagine that yes is the only living thing.” – e. e. cummings

No doing. No planning. No overthinking. No working. No leaning in.

Yes relaxation. Yes wandering. Yes wondering. Yes playing. Yes leaning back.

To being. To sunrise. To sunset. To all the minutes between. To the simple elegant beauty of flowers.

“Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you.” – Eckhart Tolle

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