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Posts from the ‘Faith’ Category

Always Earned

This afternoon, I received the Marine Corp Marathon shirt and medal for finishing. This year was different, which is an understatement to describe 2020. I registered in March, trained all spring and summer and it was canceled in August.

I trained for months, so I decided to keep going through fall and run it in the Twin Cities in October. I ran it a week early to beat a possible October snow. Sure enough, it snowed the week after I ran it. I was grateful to run in 30 degree sunny weather rather than snow. I’ve taken the past week and a half off to rest up from over six months of training five days a week. I’m getting restless and thinking about the next goal line, the next long run.

I’m not one for medals, but this one is a special one to be sure. It marks an earned effort over months to run 26.2 miles and finish, even if I was not able to run it in Washington DC with the Marines.

This year has been marked by a tremendous amount of uncertainty and angst. And also along side of it, plenty of blessings and self-awareness, even joy if we chose to succumb.

No matter what happens after the election or where this pandemic will lead next, we are bigger, stronger and deeper than our circumstances. Keep rising while also allowing yourself to indulge in generous self-care.

No one knows what will happen next, but we do know the strength and resilience of the human spirit when set free.

Meaningful progress and outcomes – always earned. Hope and grace – always given.

Let Go to Hold On

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The science on meditation and mindfulness shows the real impact on daily living. We get skeptical about adding one more thing to our daily to do list, but meditation is worth the 10-30 minutes a day. In addition to training for a now virtual marathon, journaling every morning since March and daily meditation guided by the Insight Timer app has been worth the effort and investment.

We need to do less so we can experience more. Let go of old stories, hold on to things worthy of our valuable time. Create space for new possibilities, joy and abundance.

Let go of the unnecessary so you can hold on to the necessary. Carve quiet so light can enter and reveal the magic of living.

“Peace in ourselves, peace in the world.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

We’re Still Here

“All of us need to begin to think in terms of our own inner strengths, our resilience and resourcefulness, our capacity to adapt and to rely upon ourselves and our families.” – Steven Pressfield

“I think we build resilience to prepare for whatever adversity we’ll face. And we all face some adversity – we’re all living some form of Option B.” – Sheryl Sandberg

This week, Jeanne gave me a ceramic pumpkin filled with fresh tomatoes from her garden. The tomatoes alone would be awesome enough, but the pumpkin had very special meaning. Years ago, the pumpkin was filled with fresh beautiful flowers. They were sent to our office in St. Paul addressed to Jessica Gill. Jeanne got them and called Jessica immediately to let her know that she received flowers.

Jessica was a fellow coworker/friend who worked for us remotely in Montana. She was the original remote worker before COVID-remote work became “cool.” It was from a client thanking her for her outstanding work – no surprise. Our office should have been filled with flowers, gifts and chocolates for her commitment, creativity and leadership through the years for both our clients and staff.

So the pumpkin filled with tomatoes this week went deeper. It was a sweet reminder of Jessica who worked for me for years. We talked every day. She was one of the most brilliant, kind and generous young woman/person that I’ve worked with over a 30+ year career. She succumbed to a second ass-kicking from cancer on January 6, 2019, in her 30s with two young boys and a husband who adored her, like the rest of us.

Not one single day goes by that I don’t want to pick up the phone to talk, strategize and solve complex problems with a laugh weaved in the conversation. She understood me and the depth of the tech work that we worked on together for the years.

So as I finished this week, with my pumpkin displayed in my living room, one thought kept rising in my heart – “we’re still here.” That’s really the gist of it, especially now. We are still here in this “unprecedented time” and are called to keep living, contributing, caring and being generous with ourselves and others. We are still here to honor those who have gone before us, rising to all occasions with resilience, hope, joy, enthusiasm and victory. Until we cross over, we are still here to fight the good fight, so let’s do this!

When you start feeling sorry for yourself – and I do myself regularly – remember, we are still here and here for a purpose. Be present, be hopeful, be joyful and serve the world until you are no longer a part of it. Carry on with hope, spunk and fight. Cast light – we all are in desperate need of it right now!

“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” – Albert Bandura

Light Burns Fog

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse

On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.

Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.

It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.

On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.

Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.

We have enough fog. Cast light.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin

Reflection

“I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.” – C. S. Lewis

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” – Dag Hammarskjold

The blues are bluer, the bright is brighter.  Reflect and look for the good. Look for radiance, grace and beauty. It’s in you and all around.

“We all find joy and radiance and a reason to move on even in the most dire of circumstances. Even in chaos and madness, there’s still a beauty that comes from just the vibrancy of another human spirit.” – Ishmael Beah

Rewire

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”– Pema Chodron

From the time I read The Power of Positive Thinking over 30 years ago, I’ve had a deep interest in psychology, optimism and purpose. It’s why I launched Cast Light over 9 years ago and launched Start3Things last year.

Advancements in neuroscience over the past two decades have provided new insights on how we can rewire our brain to positively impact our daily life. We are “wired” to see negative more than positive. It’s called negativity bias. I just started an online course on Meditations to Change Your Brain to gain new strategies and insights to expand my perspective and go deeper.

With mindfulness and meditation, we can exercise our brain and keep discovering, learning and growing. Meditation can steady your mind, focus attention, reduce stress and prompt creativity. I can’t think of a more important time than right now to pursue this practice daily to plan and prepare for each day and to get to the other side of the pandemic and well beyond.

While there are many meditation apps available, Insight Timer is actually free and has over 55,000 guided meditations. It’s an easy way to rewire our brain to find joy, light and calm in each day. If each of us pursued this for ourselves, imagine the state of the world. Start with your world first and see what the world can become in this very moment.

“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Choose

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Happiness is a choice, a daily one. Regardless of circumstances, others and our own wandering aimless thoughts, we can go deeper within and rise above. Be mindful with your intentions and actions. Hope and conviction beyond the obvious into the unseen.

It’s that simple and that complex. Children and dogs have mastered it. The student really is the teacher. Learn the lesson. Do the work. Choose happy.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller

Space and Grace

“Grow in the root of all grace, which is faith. Believe God’s promises more firmly than ever. Allow your faith to increase in its fullness, firmness, and simplicity.” – Charles Spurgeon

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther

Carve moments throughout the day to create space to listen, ponder and be at ease. Open up to the newness of the day, becoming aware of grace that is present, a free gift if we choose to open it. Go boldly with trust into the simplicity of living that we are called to enter.

Assumptions, old wounds and judgment cloud the path forward. The past, the way we choose to see it, need not define the future. We can write a new story. Empathy is kindness outward that comes back in as well. We realize that we are all on this journey together trying to find the right path forward.

By creating space, we create distance between stimulus and response, between the past and the future. We allow the clouds to part for the rainbow to weave through the cracks casting brilliant colorful light, reminding us of the possibility and abundance abound.

Create space so you can see grace, the rainbow that is behind the clouds.

“When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

Streaming Light

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

Whether we choose to see it or not, light is streaming all around us. In nature, in people, in our very being. What we focus on, what we look for, what we think about, what we have hope in becomes our daily reality.

Be honest. Were you content before the pandemic? Are you now? Will you be after? The illusive and perfect someday withers away our today. When you guard and savor joy, circumstances, other people, even a pandemic can’t take it away.

Be intentional not accidental in what you see, think and say. It is a daily decision and discipline to choose light and optimism.

Look for and allow the streams of light to break through the cracks in your life. Break open.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Light Show

“I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.” – Eden Ahbez

As the sky darkened and the rain moved in, a stunning light show danced through the clouds. Awe fills the heavy air. The immensity and beauty of creation remind us that life is bigger than a day, deeper than our circumstances and wider than the worry that we allow into our mind.

Let gratitude, hope, optimism, faith, trust, joy and grace in to light up your heart and soul. Bigger. Deeper. Wider.

Enjoy the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” – Joseph Addison

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