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Posts from the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Crystal Clear

Glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful.

When is the last time that you’ve used one of these words to describe something, anything. An activity, a conversation, a sunset. Gliding across the snow last night with fresh snow falling was glorious. That’s the word I used this morning as I wondered why my back was sore and then remembered the source.

We should be on the hunt daily for reasons to use theses descriptors. They are much better than busy, tired and overwhelmed which is more of our reality in our fast pursuit to nowhere. Faster, “better,” productive.

The problem when we use these words sparingly, for the vacation, for fictional “someday” when things are perfect, when we lose 20 pounds, when this person gets out of the way, when circumstances change, is that we are missing daily joy that is abundant and available to all of us despite the excuses and hurdles that we put in our own way. Pursue awestruck in what already is, not what will be when all of the conditions fall into place.

Life is messy. Relationships, death, illness, politics, things that didn’t work out according to our plan. And right in the middle of the mess is capacity for joy and contentment within, waiting to be called out to play, dance and sing, loudly.

We choose daily what we put in the forefront, on center stage. We do, no one else. That’s powerful and daunting when we can’t blame someone or something else. We have the power to shift our attention from our self-inflicted problems to our reservoir of light within.

Foster, feed and bring that inner joy within to fruition so you expand your vocabulary and starting using glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful on a regular basis

At the beginning of the year, I made a new “intention” bracelet that I wear almost every day with the word “clarity” on it. That is what I am seeking. What we seek actively, we find.

Not right. Not left. Not right. Not wrong. Not more. Not less. Clarity for what already is in this very moment.

No and Yes Checklist

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca

In order for us to say YES and count each day as a separate life, we need to also say NO to:

Negative thoughts
Toxic people
Assumptions
Drama
Scarcity
Regret
People-pleasing
Perfection
Cynicism
Unforgiveness
Busyness
Victim mentality
Multitasking
Past
Fear

Say YES to:

Abundance
Gratitude
Joy
Laughter
Quiet
Music
Fun
Play
Trying
Practice
Starting
Imperfection
Purpose
Wonder
Discovery
Curiosity
Delight
Art
Nature

Start checking off your YES list by checking off your No list.

Forward, Full Speed Ahead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

We spend so much time running FROM things – change, the past, regrets. What if we invested half of that time running TO things, head on, full speed, filled with optimism? Planning for the best-case scenario rather than settling for worst-case thinking that steals our joy.

My latest article on Start3Things is on releasing the vise grip of limiting beliefs. Change your thoughts, change the depth and quality of your days.

One of my favorite daily activities is to run the dogs up to a wooded path where they can run off leash. Sasha wanders and explores while Abby stares until I throw the ball. She chases every ball like it’s the first time she’s ever chased a ball. Rigorous, focused, disciplined play.

Stop running from the dark and run swiftly to the light. Hurl yourself forward into awe and wonder.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Turn Up the Volume!

If you spike the ball when Friday hits that you made it through another week and lament the brevity of the weekend, it’s time to change your mindset from survival mode to thrive mode, from scarcity to abundance. I certainly have fallen into the trap of Friday delight and Monday dread.

Time for some seven-day living filled with joy, laughter and some serious play. Negativity is a spiral that produces more of the same useless, time-wasting, life-sucking results. Optimism multiplies, fuels, energizes, creates light, uncovers possibility available right in this very moment. A much better choice for thriving no matter the circumstances. No more dabbling in optimism – commit.

Looking for a way to shift your perspective? Go opposite. Too close, pull back. Too far out, pull in. See the whole picture. Can’t come up new ideas, stop trying and let them find you by taking a walk.

The quickest way to shift your perspective – music. I’ve started a “dance party” playlist and just added Lizzo’s Good as Hell – “I do my hair toss, Check my nails, Baby how you feelin’?, Feeling good as hell!” I can’t help but smile, sing loudly and bust a move.

Music, art, nature are all gifts that remind us to lighten up and enjoy this very moment. Change the playlist in your mind and let your heart, spirit and soul out to dance every single day. Turn up the volume! Hair toss, check nails, feeling good as hell!

8 Percent

“Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Last week, I received a certificate of recognition from the Guideposts Foundation for being a member since 1986 – 34 years. I joined after reading the founder Norman Vincent Peale’s seminal book The Power of Positive Thinking. I’ve returned to this book regularly and it is foundational to who I am, want to be and fall short of often. It really defines what Cast Light aspires to be – encouragement and optimism in the midst of all that life throws at us. Joy can transcend our circumstances when we think, act and see differently, choosing gratitude and abundance over cynicism and scarcity.

“The way to happiness; keep your heart free from hate, your mind free from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, scatter sunshine, forget self, and think of others.” – Norman Vincent Peale

One of the main things that steals our daily joy is worry. “Someone actually did a study demonstrating the pointlessness of much of our worries. The researcher found that 40% of the things people worried about never happened; 30 percent concerned old decisions that couldn’t be altered; 12 percent were about other people’s perceptions that may or may not even be true, and 10 percent were related to health, which worsens when you worry. Them remaining 8 percent of worries might possibly be called legitimate,” stated Norman Vincent Peale.

92% of worry is about things that never happen, the past, false perceptions and health. Guard your joy daily and diligently direct your thoughts. Release worry, restore your energy and invest your power in worthy pursuits.

Free your mind and go be a light in the world! No worries!

Pay Attention

“When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises. You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.” – Eckhart Tolle

The only thing that is real is this very moment. The past is done, it has had its turn, served its purpose and need not be repeated. The future is unknown, despite best-laid plans. Distractions steal our days, our years, our life.

Pay attention to the abundance of gifts hidden in plain sight. See the people you pass by unnoticed, redirect your thoughts that wander to someday, pursue rapt awareness and gratitude of what is right now, imperfections, complexities and all.

I hung out with my nephew Liam tonight on his request to come see me. Be still my heart. We went to Target to get a few things (a few toys made it into the cart). When I was taking him out of the car, he noticed that I had a new jacket and told me he liked it.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

Three years old and he has more awareness and empathy than most adults that I encounter on a daily basis. Empathy is the greatest gift we can instill in our children and re-instill in ourselves daily.

Pay attention to others, to yourself and to the messy beauty abound while you are right in the middle of it. Ordinary moments are the thread that make up an extraordinary life. Eyes, heart, mind and spirit wide open to take it all in.

PAY ATTENTION followed by a thank you and AMEN.

Happy YOU Day!

We go into a new year looking to change, “fix” and improve who we are. To be better, to hit the high mark, in hot pursuit of our best selves.

We are halfway through January – the most motivating month of the year – a fresh start and new beginning. Before you let the month, the next day, slip away in pursuit of something “better” than you, stop, celebrate and honor you as you are right in this very moment.

No changes, no improvement, no perfection. Not future you, not high performance you. You as you are right now, unapologetic, imperfect and beautiful you filled with strength, resilience and character.  What you’ve overcome, rode straight though, survived and thrived to arrive at the person you are right now.

We wane on our resolutions because we don’t recognize, appreciate and notice the person we already are right now. Time to light the fireworks, bring out the balloons and strike up the band to celebrate current you just as you are.

Happy You Day!

Swirls

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

I found this card and wanted to keep it as a reminder that the line from A to B in this life is not straight, no matter how much we prepare, worry and plan. We forget to find joy in each day in pursuit of someday, the next thing and perfection. Rather than keeping it, I gave it to a friend at work for her birthday. I thought it was an excellent birthday reminder to celebrate the other 364 days during the year, not worrying about the detours, potholes and traffic on the path. Enjoy the daily journey, no matter what course you’re on right now.

Life is short and we realize that when we have less of it left. Figure that out early and start enjoying the journey today. We get distracted about the details of the map and struggles along the way that we miss the beautiful scenery on the path.

The swirls on the journey are often the sweetest moments. And we miss them thinking that we should be somewhere else. Slow down, see today and enjoy the swirls that always get us to our right destination. Follow the signs and signals in your heart rather than loud distracting horns of the world.

The journey always makes sense going backwards. Flip that truth and know that the path you’re on will make sense someday. Enjoy your forwards while you are present in them.

Practice 360 degree gratitude for where you’ve been, where you are and the promise of where you’re going. Enjoy the your journey, swirls and all.

Course Correction

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”― Ernest Hemingway

I went to quite a few funerals in 2019. 2020 is kicking off with two this week. Our time is limited and precious. Wasting it complaining, in unforgiveness, in being “right” only harvests regret and remorse. As the pastor said today, death pushes us to think about our own life and can prompt us to make a “course correction.” That certainly is the gift if we choose to open it.

Each of us has the choice to make a course correction. We can’t go back, but we can change the direction of where we go forward. Apologize, forgive and forget before it’s too late. Do something you’ve always wanted to – take the trip, write the book, take an art class.

Life is finite so make the most of your moments. Let all the stuff go that really doesn’t matter and enjoy this day. Don’t wait for a funeral to make your course correction.

Pull Over, Daily

This past week was my first week off this year. No meetings, open time to think rather than react, sleeping in without an alarm (made it to 7:00 am, but still a victory.) Simply delightful and longgggg over due.

We need to create space daily to witness and participate in our life, to see what’s right in front of us, to set our priorities and be conscious.

Pulling over shouldn’t be an annual event but a daily practice. Slow the pace, pull over to enjoy the view, fully awake, deeply aware and profoundly grateful. Racing from one thing to the next is no way to live, unless you’re in hot pursuit chasing a tennis ball to catch it on the first bounce, of course.

As we enter this new year and decade, commit to creating space daily, expanding your capacity for gratitude and basking in joy. Catch the ball on the first bounce. Happy New Year and Decade! Pursue joy!

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” – Denis Waitley

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