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Posts from the ‘Gratitude’ Category

The Rainbow

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron

“I’m continually inspired by nature, and the rainbow is one of nature’s greatest optical phenomenons. The sighting of a rainbow never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. They signify optimism and positivity: with them comes the sunshine after the rain.” – Matthew Williamson

Suddenly, a rainbow peeked out of the clouds but for a few minutes. Brilliant hues of color, of hope, a whisper, “it’s going to be alright, breathe, trust, believe.”

As Dorothy discovered on her journey to Oz, joy, purpose and destiny are within us, not in some far off land. Return to yourself, to home in this very moment.

Find the rainbows and never, never, ever give up, ever. Trust in the waiting and wandering.

Over the Rainbow
by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dream of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true

Someday, I wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, oh why can’t I?”

 

A Good Tired

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

It’s a good tired when fun, play and joy are the reasons. A few days away on a long weekend to restore, relax and hangout in nature. Liam greeted me with a bright smile and provided his usual master class on being authentically joyful in the present moment.

From wandering in the lake with his PJs on to throw ball for Abby to relaxing in the hammock to randomly saying “I love you” throughout the weekend, it was just what was needed. I brought a backpack of reading and “to do” items and did none of it. Thank goodness or I would have missed out on eye to eye contact, holding hands, waterskiing on glass and ATV-ing through the pine tree church of the woods.

When we get lost in busy, trapped in fear and spiraling in worry, the best answer is to return to nature, spend time with kids and dogs to relearn how to live well. Stop, play and enjoy each moment as it comes with anticipation and always with a “best-case scenario” perspective.

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.

Joy Catcher

“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

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

To Good Days Right Now


“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

Chasing

“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

 

Good Days – Create Them

“Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.” – Mary Oliver

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

A walk with friends by the river with the girls. House chores to prepare for new floors on Monday. The plumber. Comcast for a new cable box. A long ride with Mom and the girls. Sasha chasing geese in the field. A drop by my sister’s house as she gazed into the eyes of her grandson with pure joy. A stop to pick up dinner. A few more chores. Sit down and watch a movie.

No meetings. No zooming. No tech. Flat as hell hair and it isn’t going to get prettier with the state locks down stay at home until May 18th and a perm reschedule, yet again, for Memorial Day weekend. A simple day, a good day.

Don’t miss good days. Create them and accept nothing less. Not defined by accomplishment or to dos but by presence and ease. Deep gratitude for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Good days – create them.

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

Yep, I put the quote in twice because we forget. We will not be here forever.

Allow Surprise to Enter

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen

“Patience doesn’t mean making a pact with the devil of denial, ignoring our emotions and aspirations. It means being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that’s unfolding, rather than ripping open a budding flower or demanding a caterpillar hurry up and get that chrysalis stage over with.” – Sharon Salzberg

Let’s be honest and real. There are not a lot of good surprises right now. Optimism and delight are not natural choices and we can easily forebode joy so as not to be more disappointed than we are right now in this rare and unclear time (again, not using uncertain and unprecedented, see previous posts).

We are being conditioned to prepare for the worst, to hunker down and to operate in survival mode. Not a great way to live a rich whole life. There’s fear, consternation, overwhelm and it’s palpable. I have chosen to not steep in hours of news and to look at our circumstances in an optimistic light, even though I don’t feel it all the time. I also realize that each one of us is in a different place and empathy calls us to both celebrate and mourn in the same breath. To feel joy and to understand that not everyone does so to be present for them to hold their hand through it.

I’ve been a bit weary from the nonstop meetings as many equate activity with innovation, busyness with strategy. Amidst a lot of egos and positioning, I had two wonderful surprises today that provided hope for a more authentic, relevant and real future, not the BS that’s spinning around.

A friend called me to tell me she was checking in on me and that she was planning on doing this daily with her friends. We had a wonderful connection and talked about how we could creatively get through to the other side and thrive. A refreshing, restorative and energizing conversation.

A few minutes later, I heard a knock at the front door and there were flowers on my front steps. A beautiful bouquet with a card thanking me for leading during social quarantine and that I was doing an amazing job. What a kind and thoughtful gift. It was anonymous but I guessed who it was and called to thank her for her generosity and kindness. She is an amazing, talented and brilliant person so a note and flowers from her mean a lot to me. I am grateful for all that she does and should be sending her flowers daily.

So rather than succumbing to the noise, arrogance and predictions of the crowd, choose to create space for surprise. Be deeply grateful for those bright lights in your life who take the time to be authentic, vulnerable and kind. And pass it on.

Bud to Bloom

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” – Hans Christian Andersen

“The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.” – Honore de Balzac

We are all in different places. Some at bud, some ready to break open and some in full bloom. Each one of us is where we need to be in this moment. No need to compare, compete or contrast. Just be where you are right now and know that bud always leads to bloom. Always.

“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

“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” – Leo Buscaglia

 

“The flower has opened, has been in the sun and is unafraid. I’m taking more chances; I’m bold and proud.” – Paula Cole

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