“Ultimately it’s the simple things that make a difference.” – Chris Smalling
“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anchor to hope, not circumstances. Assume the best in others and be proven wrong on occasion. Find the blessings in the burdens.
Joy is available in all seasons and cycles. It’s a constant. Our most important job is to find it daily in plain sight, lurking, longing to be found. Let joy sneak up on you.
Joy can be found in the silly, in mischief, in frolicking, in prayer, in laughter, in nature, in an embrace, in flowers, in a smile, in music, in art, in literature, in play, in gratitude, in dogs, even in some people (make sure you’re one of them), in simple encounters.
Double count blessings, multiply joy. Abundance and light with a shift in attention, focus and intention.
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Einstein
Get out of your head into your imagination. The journey is what you make it so settle only for sweet, simple joy.
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey
“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse
We plot, we plan, we prepare, we think, we overthink.
Our journey twists, turns and takes us places that were not in our plans.
The Yiddish proverb Der mentsh trakht und Gott lakht (“Man plans and God laughs”) is the origin of Woody Allen’s quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
God has His own plans for us and they are so much bigger than our own.
So, if you are in the midst of a plot twist right now, be patient, trust and wait with joy, held in a peace that passes understanding and grace that is overflowing.
In Amy Bost Henegar’s daily prayers, she often says don’t diagnose or tell God what to do, just hold up your thoughts to God.
Be where you are right now, feel the grass under your feet.
Allow God’s plans to unfold in your life.
They will whether you cooperate or not.
See the brilliance in a blade of grass, where you are standing right now.
Gratitude holds, carries and pulls us through.
See the wonder in this day.
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G. K. Chesterton
“Imagination must constantly run on a new track or it becomes lifeless. A living imagination is essential to prayer.”― Calvin Miller, The Table of Inwardness
“The Blessing – The end of desire awakens the blessing. We see life as perfect with all its joys and challenges. We become capable of penetrating its secrets. We find that what was hidden becomes revealed. What was unfathomable becomes simple and direct. This is the blessing that can only be known through unconditional gratitude.” – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
May you see the blessing in this day
Awaken to the essence of being
Aware of the quiet transformation of becoming
Find the oasis in the desert of your thoughts
Let your imagination run wild
And be resurrected in every moment
“The Eternal Essence of Being – We are a becoming. There is no shore to which we must journey. There is no place to which we must arrive. We are an ever-evolving phenomenon, changing, spiraling, transforming. Consciousness is not a place to which we are going. It is the very substance, the essence of all we are. Our body, mind, emotion and soul are fluctuations of awareness within an endless vibration. We are sparks of intelligence at play. To be resurrected in every moment of every day is to grasp the perpetual nature of becoming and the eternal essence of being.” – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
“Mysterious Journey – When a path opens before us that leads we know not where, don’t be afraid to follow it. Our lives are meant to be mysterious journeys, unfolding one step at a time. Often we follow a path worn smooth by many and in doing so we lose our authenticity, our individuality, our own unique expression. Do not be afraid to lose your way. Out of chaos, clarity will eventually arise. Out of not knowing, something new and unknown will ultimately come. Do not order things too swiftly. Wait and the miracle will appear.” – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
Invite others to the party in your head. Joy, wonder, unknowing, hope, anticipation, adventure, delight, curiosity, inquiry, possibility, mystery, color, depth, quiet, boldness, enthusiasm, contemplation, generosity, gratitude, grace, trust, faith and light.
When you expand the guest list, there’s less room for fear, unforgiveness, judgment, condemnation, the need to be right, fake security in certainty, narrowmindedness, offense, conspiracy theories, the past which already had its turn, blind spots that have become blindness.
Your new guests are fun, reckless, generous, push you to expand rather than contract and widen the path to reconnect your head to your heart, to intuition, to your center, to renewed energy and enthusiasm.
Keep the path clear, wide and smooth from your head to your heart. Travel it often. Welcome yourself home.
“The moment you separated from your heart, the moment you closed, quieted, pushed away, turned from, disowned, lost sight of goodness, the exact moment you began to splinter from love, a part of you began doing everything in its power to bring you back.
Just as a mother who has lost her child will never tire of standing at the ocean’s edge calling out her beloved’s name, sending prayers for survival, blessings in bottles out to the sea, your heart, began to do the same once you set adrift. You are never lost, dear one, for the moment you divided, your heart began doing everything in its power to bring you home. – A Letter from the Universe” – Sarah Blondin, Heart Minded, How to Hold Yourself and Others in Love
“A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey
“Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.” – May Sarton
A garden unattended fills with weeds. You are the gardener of your own life. Tend to it daily. Water, light, attention, focus, effort. Dig in the dirt, deep to the roots, pull weeds, bury bulbs, feed, prune, tend.
“The hard work of living can make us forget why we’re here until we’re reawakened. As our eyes constrict and dilate all day long, the tangle of living collapses our awareness of all that is precious, which after a time we remember. This constriction and dilation of awareness is an inner form of day following night.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters by Mark Nepo
Abide in this place and space, in the depth of now. See all of it, not just a sliver or snapshot, but all of it. Celebrate progress, growth, joy. We are blessed and need to be reminded of it daily. Steep in gratitude so that life multiples, expands and abundance shows itself in what already is present.
Actively participate in each day in your thoughts, actions, words, in seeds planted. Do not allow the noise of scarcity, comparison, “someday thinking,” expectations, opinions and assumptions to take root in your garden. Tend to your own garden, baptized by presence. Peace, light, beauty is all around. Wake up.
“Our purpose is not to choose between what’s up close and what’s far away, but to let the light of the world shine through our humanness. In spite of our habits and fears, our next ounce of aliveness takes form from immersing ourselves completely in the moment at hand, the way a cup dipped in a lake is filled with fresh water. This baptism of presence—of being bent by experience to dip the cup of our life into the water of life—fills and awakens us.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters by Mark Nepo
“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
Lay your thinking down
Give your opinions and assumptions a day off
Enter today with fresh eyes
Free from resistance and rules
Renew, refresh, rewire
Heart over head
Being over doing
Open, listening and aligned in now
No yesterday, no tomorrow, today alone
Go off trail and explore
Anchored in gratitude and awareness in the fullness of each moment
Extraordinary in the ordinary
May you have an ear-flipping, grass stain on the forehead kind of day
“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
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
My scooter has been in the corner of my garage collecting dust for years. For the past five years, I’ve tried to start it without success, so it sits taking up space and collecting dust.
Lately, rather than move onto something new, I’ve been tackling and seeing what’s already right in front of me. Keep it, use it or get rid of it. I decided that the scooter will ride again. I guess that’s what gratitude is – seeing and appreciating what’s already present with no need for more.
A few weeks ago, I had Scooterville pick it up to fix it. Since we had a break in days of rain, I picked it up yesterday. The mechanic told me it needed a lot of work but it’s running well and to get some miles on it – drive it! I was a little nervous driving it through busy side streets from Minneapolis to St. Paul through the University of Minnesota campus where I graduated from decades ago. Driving a scooter requires attention, anticipation and awareness since most car drivers operate on automatic pilot and miss what’s in front of them – like scooters and motorcycles.
I am excited to have it back early in the season and will be putting miles on it rather than letting it collect dust in the corner. So often what we enjoy doing is already present and we forget to have fun because we’re too busy working or list checking. The golf clubs are next up this year too! But I won’t be combining activities. Although carrying golf clubs on the back while driving a scooter might get some attention. Look around at what’s already present with fresh eyes. Fun and adventure just may be a dust cloth away.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.” – Mao Zedong
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” – Epicurus
Anchored in their own roots, flourishing with light and water, flowers breaks ground in due time and on time. Through old leaves, surrounded by weeds, aiming for the sky, completing their own journey.
Move me from striving to thriving;
From seeking to finding;
From want to gratitude;
From noise to quiet;
From distraction to attention;
From critic to cheerleader;
From pessimism to optimism
From hurry to saunter;
From spotlight to mirror;
From calculation to celebration;
From more to what already is;
From clinging to letting go;
From worry to ease;
From the past to the present;
From floundering to hope;
From counting to love, unconditionally;
From shadow to light;
From bud to bloom;
From no where to go but here and now in this moment, senses reawakened, a shift;
Move me, nothing else.
“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.” – Kristin Armstrong
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
Doable – 20 minutes a day. Morning and evening, bookend your day with a gratitude practice to create meaning and depth of the space in between. It takes repetition, practice, intention, attention and mindfulness to bear fruit of joy, peace, delight and awe. Do the work.
Take inventory of blessings and gifts, be grateful in this very moment. If we can’t see what already is, it will be impossible to ever be satisfied. Pursue light and expansion, leaving fear and scarcity in the dust.
Each of us is the gardener of our own life. Stop waiting for others or circumstances to change to produce steady-state contentment for yourself. Plant your own seeds of gratitude, whole-heartedness, optimism, kindness, generosity, enthusiasm, imagination and light.
Growth, gratitude and expansion come from an active cycle of planting, cultivating, waiting and harvesting the bounty found in mere seeds. What we actively plant, we actively reap. If we plant nothing and expect a harvest, we come up disappointed, empty again and again. Plant the seeds, seek the light.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
The strong oak begins with one acorn. Plant, cultivate, harvest.
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” James Allen
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Elizabeth Appell
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Make today a blank slate.
Draw new lines.
Get out of the box of old thinking.
Lay down all burdens to walk lightly through just this one day to taste how you can live.
Move out into nature and absorb the energy and newness of spring.
Let winter go, come out of hibernation and start anew.
Hunt for flowers breaking the softened ground amidst leaves that lingered from last fall.
Invite your imagination to come out and play.
Breathe in the fresh air deeply and expand your lungs.
Feel the blood rushing through your veins and your heart pumping.
You are alive!
Get to it.
“To live in the light of a new day and an unimaginable and unpredictable future, you must become fully present to a deeper truth – not a truth from your head, but a truth from your heart; not a truth from your ego, but a truth from the highest source.” – Debbie Ford