“I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.” – Steven Pinker
“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis
Two years ago on this Sunday, I backed out of my parents’ driveway after spending the day with them as I often did every weekend. Molly and Lily in the front seat with me and my Dad standing looking out with his hand in the air waving and watching until I reached the end of the driveway.
It turned out that this would be the last day I would see him alive. He died on Thursday while I was stuck on a plane coming back from a work trip. I didn’t make it back in time to say good-bye. We spoke everyday and nothing was left unsaid, so no regrets. Only deep loss and missing him every day since and until I see him again. This coming Saturday on the two-year anniversary of his passing, I will be back on a plane for another work trip. Flying has never been the same since that day two years ago.
In a moment, life changes. And then we are reminded again of that which we so often forget. Each day is a gift and joy is found in simply spending time together.
Be present, grateful and profoundly aware of all that surrounds you each and every single day. We have no guarantees of what is to come. Love fiercely. Hug longer. Forgive often. Laugh hard. Soak it all in.
Today was a beautiful sunny day as the 60+ degree temperature slowly melted the late snow away and spring softly enters a bit late. There are many doors and seasons we pass through. Each one has its own gifts. Open them all.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tzu
When the dust settles and the noise subsides, what’s present right now, front and center matters most. Let go of the stuff that pulls you to the peripheral at the expense of what’s right in front of you. The race – where to and why? If you can’t answer then drop out of the race and pursue with vigor what has real meaning and depth.
If but for a moment, pause and discover what you already know to be true and choose your days, your life, your attention, your energy, your joy. It’s front and center.
“Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” – Sharon Draper
When we get stuck in the “whys” and “whens,” we miss out on the depth of now. Without a doubt, no one gets through life without bumps, bruises and scars. But woven through it all right in front of us is a current of grace and awe.
What really matters is not that we have challenges but rather how we go through them. With angst or joy. And we have the choice. So whatever this day brings or wherever you are at on your journey right now, choose light as you move through. Do it with joy and heart all in.
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander
No matter what the season or the day of the week, there’s more underneath the surface of our daily grinding. We need to trade in the grind for joyful daily living. In the moment, present to all that is being offered and confident that beneath the four feet of snow, Spring is in there coming in due time. In the meantime, we can make snow angels and dive into the pile of fresh snow. That snow shall do its job and awaken the ground with living water. Do your job. Enjoy this day and bring that joy to others.
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” – Sitting Bull
“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Been going through the motions lately. Busy, busy. Bouncing from one thing to the next with little depth in between. There will always be a reason to put living off for another day. Yet today is the only one promised so stop and carve moments of joy, laughter, quiet and gratitude. A song, a poem, a picture, a few words. At least one.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyarthi
It was a two-plow snow yesterday. As the snow softly and slowly fell into the night, the wind did its work to create beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of snow made for childhood fun. The fort-making type to be sure. It stops and detaches you from the complexities of the day to enter into the playground and gallery of nature.
Like it was last week, I remember the delight when a snow day was declared. We geared up in polyester snow suits, hats, mittens and moon boots to make our way out to create our own sculptures of snowmen and angels in the fresh frozen fluff. Skating for hours, sliding down dead man’s hill until dark.
A serious snow that keeps you in the house until they plow the streets and that you snow blow the driveway a few times to keep ahead of it. And, of course, right when you are done, the snowplow drives by and creates a two foot barrier of heavy thick snow that triggers the snow blower again.
Adrift for but a while to be transported back to the simplicity and delight of childhood. To that feeling that remains in us and need only be awakened with a beautiful deep snow. A place to return to often even without the snow.
Nature. Art. Play. Joy. Adrift.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman
Each morning, set the tone for the day. This requires quiet to be able to contemplate, to see the beautiful forest rather than be lost in the trees. Decide what song you will sing and if you will dare to even dance. There are a lot of distractions, so you must make a conscious decision if you will sing and dance or if you will merely get through.
“Have tos” and “should’ve beens” are joy thieves. And we don’t realize that we’ve been robbed until we’ve wasted many days that turn into years. Struggle is certain, our response is not.
So remain in this day and give it your best voice and step. That is what we are called to do, especially when we don’t “feel” like it. Our joy is not in some far off land or mythical future when everything falls in place. It’s right now, this moment, today.
And when you sing your song and dance your dance, you give others permission to do the same.
My best friends and roommates Sasha and Abby know how to dance to be sure. Ear-flapping freestyle.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
“Keep every promise you make and only make promises you can keep.” – Anthony Hitt
As the holidays wind down with the new year around the corner, the next thing on “the list” is the obligatory list of new year’s resolutions. If we are not really resolved and ready to commit, they fall by the wayside by the end of January. And we get disappointed in ourselves and fall back into the same old rut perplexed that we are getting the same results.
Rather than a laundry list of well-intended but uncommitted to items of what to fix, lose or remove, choose what you will add to your life. Actively and consciously choose how you will spend your time and what you will give yourself to.
Be present in the moment, spend quality time with family and friends, carve quiet into each day, commit to running or walking at least one mile every day, vow to not hibernate over winter, play more. Being active, eating better, resting more, having fun and being curious will bring daily contentment and lasting results. We never really start over, we start where we are at. And we’re farther than we think we are.
No need to wait for January 1 to live more fully. Start today.
“So many things show their beauty when we go quiet. So many truths are present when we look up from under our trouble. To fall below the world while still living in the world makes us remember that the truth waits under our opinions is our home.” – Mark Nepo, Things that Join the Sea and the Sky
No excuses or exceptions. Carve quiet into your day – get off the grid of technology, distractions and demands. Morning is the perfect time to start slow, anchor in truth and then enter the day with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. We too easily allow ourselves to be pulled aimlessly in several directions. A pin ball machine on steroids, missing the beauty ever present in moments. We are lost and searching for something that is right in front of us, in us.
Get “off the grid” and fly below the noise and distractions. And then the beauty you’ve been missing and searching for will suddenly appear.
“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.