“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.” – Eckhart Tolle
“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” – Joseph Campbell
Abby is nonstop in the water at the lake, a dog fish chasing ball. After returning from dinner, rather than calling it a night, we went back down for one more leap into the lake. A little skinny dipping by the moonlight.
When presented with the option to go to bed or to go down for one more dip in the lake, always choose skinny dipping by the moon. Joy is soon to follow. Adventure is available to all!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia
“Wherever you are, be there totally.” Eckhart Tolle
No matter the season, these two always know how to have fun. Summer brings rolling in the grass and some serious ball chasing. When I get caught up in my “to do” list and my swirling thoughts, they bring me back to focus on gratitude, presence and joy.
Life is not a continuous puzzle to solve, a checklist to be checked off, a hot pursuit of what’s next. Life is hidden right in front of us in simple moments, in a walk with a friend, in laying next to your best pal and flipping a tennis ball into the air to show off your ball handling skills.
Breathe, laugh and take it all in.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
“When we can live our stories and not be ruled by them, we love ourselves into being. There is a Spanish saying, Se tu vida, which means “Be your life.” This is all that is asked of us. And yet, in doing so, we can get lost in all that living engenders.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
Every time I want to pull back, to hesitate, to delay, to question, to judge, I hope to dive. To jump in without knowing the ending, to jump in and get wet, to jump in and do a belly flop. May we always jump into life with joy, with abandon and the capacity to be surprised and delighted.
Let your guard down, along with reasoning and certainty. Our days our numbered. Make them count.
“Given our entanglements, one of the most difficult acts of presence is not to vanish when overwhelmed by conflict or hardship. The simplest teachers in nature, such as the sun, the birds, and the flowers, are quietly heroic in this regard, not because they achieve anything, but because they remain completely true to their own nature, regardless of what happens to them.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
“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.
“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.” – Helen Keller
My niece Emily and son Liam dropped by today and spent the day with my Mom and me. Liam was styling a day robe, excited to show me his water balloon filler where you can fill a dozen balloons at once. Brilliant, efficient fun. Since it was a bit cool to throw them at each other, we launched two sets over the fence under a cloudy sky and watched them burst open on the ground. More playing, a trip to Target for some toys, dinner, movies and falling asleep in my lap ended a wonderful day.
My normal day is usually hyper-focused on work, how much and efficiently that I can get things done, racing to cut the grass before it rains, training for a marathon and regular old housework. What a wonderful non-normal day as Liam instructed me through actions and few words on how to be not only a joy chaser but a joy catcher. I told him that he made my day and he came back with “You made my dreams come true.” My heart skipped a beat. What a sweet boy.
Don’t worry about tomorrow or what’s next. It’s futile and steals our joy in the process. Putting off joy for someday or when “it’s appropriate” locks us in foreboding. This day is all that we are promised so stop focusing on checking off transactional items on your “to do” list. Take moments in and be transformed by joy.
It’s going to rain most of the day tomorrow. We don’t know what the next month will bring. We’re not perfect. It’s tough some days. And none of this, none of it prevents us from capturing joy in ordinary moments. Don’t wish, waste and wither your days away in pursuit of someday. Your someday is today. The rest of the stuff out of our control (the majority of the stuff we pine about) will take care of itself in due time.
Now off to bed to rest up from joy catching and to prepare to cast a net for more joy catching tomorrow.
“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“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
“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
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer
“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” – Khalil Gibran
To long runs to prepare for a marathon that will probably be canceled in October. To time with family to celebrate motherhood. To friends who show up in texts and call checking in. Good days are available right now, not in the pandemic-free future, if there is one. Look around and take inventory of all that is present and good right now in this very moment. These are abundant, blessed days. Never, ever give up. Naïve – hell yeah and necessary.
“Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” – Epicurus
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown
What are you chasing? When we pursue the right things, the ones that are woven with flow, meaning and purpose, the chase becomes the destination. Choose the chase with intention in hot pursuit of pure joy.
“Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.” – William Butler Yeats
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
As I crammed in a 10-minute rushed jaunt with the girls this morning before a day-long schedule of zoom meetings, the girls were thrilled to be out, poking at each other and then focused attention on the road ahead.
As my mind moved too far ahead, reviewing the endless “to do” list and overcommitments, I saw the girls lunge to the road ahead, with rapt attention, delight and enthusiasm. And yet again, they reminded me how to live the big life in small steps. In the moment, one step at a time, always looking ahead with optimism and joy in search of new adventures.