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Posts from the ‘Gratitude’ Category

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

Serenity Now!

“Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don’t forget when you leave why you came.” Adlai Stevenson I

Serenity Now is one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes when Frank Costanza gets a relaxation exercise tape to practice saying “serenity now” to calm down. It starts out with a soft chant and quickly becomes a loud frustrated yell. My favorite gift this year so far is the serenity now button from my hair stylist Christine.

We do need serenity now and it’s in our reach.

Slow down;
Rest and recharge daily;
Stop spiraling thoughts and negativity;
Let go of the past, all of it but the lessons;
Release resentment, it’s only hurting you;
Stop comparing and complaining;
Help others;
Anticipate and plan for good days;
Believe beyond current understanding;
Lighten up and pursue your lost sense of humor;
Foster gratitude;

I haven’t been practicing what I preach above the past few weeks but intend to recommit to real serenity now.

This time of the year is difficult for many people with loss of loved ones, fractured relationships and frustration with life not going as planned. In parallel and along side loss, we can and must choose hope, joy and delight to hold our hand on this winding journey. You have permission to both laugh and cry. You are not alone and are very human.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

The wisdom to know the difference indeed.

Let joy in and cast light. Serenity now!

First Real Snow

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”― Lewis Carroll

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.” – John Burroughs

This morning we got our first real snow. The snow that’s heavy, plowable and will probably be the base snow that will remain until April. The proclamation that Fall has officially done its job and it’s winter’s turn. Transition time over.

It’s beautiful, fresh, clean and a big inconvenience on the busiest travel day of the year as we kick off six weeks of holiday busyness.

This kind of snow slows us down. And there in lies the gift.

Slow down and celebrate the gifts that you already have right now. Not the ones you’ll race to get on Black Friday. Don’t miss what already is present in search of presents that can never replace a long meaningful conversation, a call or text to check in on someone who’s lost someone this year and this is the first holiday without a loved one, a hug that softly whispers “you’re not alone, and it’s going to be alright.”

Be grateful for all that is, was and will come. God weaves life with both struggle and awe. So often, we only see the struggle and miss the awe. Abundance is an attitude and awareness, not a bank account and pile of gifts. Gratitude is the best gift you can give and receive.

Even in Minnesota, when we know that winter never skips a turn, we are taken back when it hits. So rather than enjoying the beauty and slowing that winter brings, we shift our attention to what we can’t control – the weather – and the complaining ensues.

Abby and Sasha had the appropriate response to the snow this morning. They leaped, created new paths and chased each other, rolling in delight. They saw the gift immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you be grateful each day for your blessings that are hiding right in front of you. Slow down and go make some snow angels.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

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