“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
We pass through happiness, but we are succumbed by joy. Happiness comes in waves, in achievements, celebrations and milestones. Joy is a state of being, unmoved by circumstances and anchored in each day. Both are good. If I had to choose, I choose joy. It’s deeper, a steady loyal friend.
May you pursue and find joy that lives in a flower, a glance, a laugh, a memory and inside you. And in your pursuit and discovery of joy find a lasting happiness and well of gratitude.
“We can help create happiness, but we are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy. When we experience joy we often feel we have glimpsed into a deeper and truer layer of reality.” – David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
There are days when “rough road” is an understatement.
“Am I blessed? That would be an understatement.” – Amruta Khanvilkar
The rough patches serve their purpose of building patience, resilience, fortitude and trust that God’s got this so we can let go our expectations, ideas, assumptions and rules of what should be. And it can’t be overstated that there are more days that are filled with beauty and peace on the road less traveled.
“Cross the meadow and the stream and listen as the peaceful water brings peace upon your soul.” – Maximillian Degenerez
Go off road. Embrace and succumb to the extraordinary in the ordinary which really is the understatement. Gratitude, grace and joy are gifts that await opening again and again. Breathe in the fragrance of the day and enter fully into now.
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” – William Wordsworth
We create, accept and follow rigid rules and expectations, borne of others and our own thoughts. Guided by past narratives framing today and charting tomorrow.
Flip it. Do the opposite today. View it from a different view. Observe quietly. Step away from absolutes, black and white, assumptions, either/or thinking and your rules for a day.
Lay it down to free your arms to gather and hold all of the gifts that are present right now. No regrets. No judgment. No “no’s.”
Say “yes!” without hesitation.
Allow color and hue. Depth and dimension. Water flowing over rocks down the river. Forgetting time. Moving between spectating to participating with no expectations. Filled with expectancy, anticipation and gratitude.
Push the reset button on your senses to see the same new, to hear for the first time, to breathe in fresh air. Expectancy and light.
There is power and potential in each day, in one act of kindness, in a soft smile and easy step. Our legacy is built daily through intentional actions, thoughts and words. In what we say and don’t say. What you do today will be a thread in the fabric of your life.
Live with intention and purpose. The substance and matter of our life is steeped and found in the middle of each day. Write a beautiful page of your legacy today and make someone smile. It’s just that simple. Cast light. It’s a worthy daily legacy.
“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” – James E. Faust
In our need to know things before we should, to see things before we proceed, we miss the present moment. When we accept the job that has been given to us in this moment without seeing and knowing, we can fully enter now and engage fully in the present.
You are where you need to be right now unless you are not safe or are being harmed – if so, leave and get help. But in our regular ordinary days, we are where we need to be and are needed. Stop falling for the fictional “somewhere” else or longing for a perfect peace from the world. There is a perfect peace that gets us through our difficult and delightful days and it’s not rooted in the world.
At the end of our rope is a new rope, ready to be seized, and can only be fully attained and grasped with two hands, so we must let go of the other one. And the minor inconveniences that we have amplified into major problems that control our perspective, take their proper place as minor. We are blessed and abundant beyond our imagination. We just need to be reminded of it from time to time and let it in to change our view.
Accept the job that God has given you and stop complaining about it (lecture to self). You are exactly where you need to be, now get to work. And in all circumstances, a peace and joy that passes all understanding can get you through the unseen and unknown. And what follows is seeing today with new eyes and absence of worry. Good trade off.
“Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!” – Suzanne Brockmann
I didn’t notice it until I pulled a drooping flower from the bouquet that I got on Mother’s Day from my niece Emily. There was a green plastic straw at the bottom of the daisy. When I slid it up, the flower popped up back in upright position. I looked it up and found that florists use stem straws with certain flowers that have soft stems to hold up the heads. What a brilliant idea.
As I think back on the past few weeks, I am grateful for those stem straws who have propped my head up as struggles have been winning the day. People who remain steady and who say the right thing at the right time and don’t even know it. Abby and Sasha never waiver and are my constant stem straws when circumstances and daily living become too heavy.
When we remain steady and keep going, transformative moments come in due time as we make our way through “dark nights of the soul” periods in our life. Growth comes with struggle and ends with joy. Be open up to new things, be ready to drop old things and trust the process of transitions and transformation. There is a real peace that passes all understanding for each one of us. We need to be open to accept that gift.
Whether we know it or not, we have several opportunities each day to be a stem straw. To prop up and draw another’s eyes up to see a broader perspective beyond the chaos and drama of intense moments. Be a stem straw that provides that extra support that can change someone’s day, change their perspective and offer hope that sustains us to the finish line of fruition.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”― Julian of Norwich
There’s a weariness to rollercoaster living. I had a wonderful 3 days off last week (the first 3 this year) with open space to think, reflect and plan. Enter this week of back to work and the same old rollercoaster of meetings, problems and fundamental stupidity.
Also some wonderful moments which included a goat, guacamole, a running event, May Day and a beautiful painting from a co-worker (all which will be shared in future posts). A mixed bag to be sure.
Yesterday, when I was tired from it all, I missed fully engaging in a wonderful phone conversation with one of my favorite people I’ve met through work. She is kind, a kindred-spirit, honest and warm. She started the conversation with the quote above from one of her favorite saints – Saint Julian of Norwich.
I was listening, but I was worn out from the rollercoaster and missed out fully engaging and being present.
Waking up this morning, determined to make this a good day, I looked up some quotes from Julian of Norwich. When we get our mind off of ourselves and take a break from stupidity, we can choose to engage with others so we don’t miss moments that last long past the rollercoaster living that we’ve grown accustomed to and are way too accepting of. Make up your mind to enjoy today.
“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” ― Julian of Norwich
Live gladly today.
“Most people fill their schedules with work, and leisure only happens when there’s time left over. But it’s impossible to live a rich and full life without doing things that give you joy. Forget about productivity once in a while and give yourself permission to goof off.” – Amy Morin
Standing in the coffee shop waiting for a cup of coffee after a fun run and conversation with Jeanne and thinking about the list for the rest of my day, the coffee carrier right in front of me popped out at me and got my attention with this quote on permission. I went to get my phone to take a picture for this post.
“Become slower in your journey through life. Practice yoga and meditation if you suffer from ‘hurry sickness.’ Become more introspective by visiting quiet places such as churches, museums, mountains and lakes. Give yourself permission to read at least one novel a month for pleasure.” – Wayne Dyer
What a simple and brilliant reminder that we are the only ones who can grant ourselves permission to make our day, to explore our environment, to choose our path. We wait for permission from others to live our own life, to choose the activities of the day.
So if you are waiting for permission, stop and grant it to yourself. Sign off and send yourself on the way to explore the possibility in today. It only takes one decision in your own mind to give yourself permission and responsibility to enjoy your day. The coffee carrier and I are happy to remind you and me that it’s time to explore and stop asking permission. It’s yours to give and to grant. It belongs to no one else. Granted.
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann
We must create open space each day to enter our thoughts, hear our voice and witness the unfolding of our purpose for being. I can multitask with the best of them with meeting after meeting and saying “yes” way more than I should or have the capacity to do.
When we say “yes” to more, we say “no” to what we should really be doing. Urgent trumps important again and again, quickly followed by disappointment and a longing for something real. Jamming more into the day is crippling out ability to do what we want, to rest and to engage our imagination.
We have too much clutter both externally and internally. And our frustration is rooted in the fact that more stuff does not, cannot and will not equate to contentment and happiness.
The Japanese concept of “MA” (pronounced “maah”) is about creating space. When we stop our pursuit of more, we can create space and open ourselves up to enough, depth and meaning.
Slow down, listen, say “no” more so you can say “yes” to what’s important and create some open space today. Here’s to more MA!
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
I couldn’t let this day go by without acknowledging and remembering Dad’s passing 3 years ago today. But rather than talk about what was, I’m going to ponder and reflect on what is. In addition to losing my Dad in 2016, I lost both of my dogs – Molly in June and Lily in October. It was relentless. And yet, amidst the deep loss and sorrow of 2016, there was a bright light. Liam was born in August, bringing love and hope.
Liam is joyful and filled with life lessons that I learn every time I’m with him. And while it’s important to remember and honor those who have gone before us, we also must carry on and celebrate and honor what and who is present in this very moment.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle
On Friday, Liam and I wandered up to the park and climbed on ladders, flew down slides and hopped on the swing for some air time. And when we are around humans like him, they invite, encourage and allow us to come out and play in the same all out like no one’s looking kind of a way. Uninhibited and unapologetic.
So today I celebrate a life well-lived and see Dad in each day from sayings I now say, to my work ethic and values, to a deep faith in God that carries me through whatever life brings. And I also celebrate a life filled with light, joy and laughter who’s got a lot of living to do but it’s ok if he takes his time growing up.
Carry on and savor today. It is the only gift worth opening.