“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle
The joy of watching the Olympics is to witness the fruition of years of work, stories of struggle, come-backs and then after all of that a medal or just the mere opportunity to compete among the best and be counted as one.
We reach our dreams and aspirations by opening our eyes and pursuing them with diligence, grit and a “never give up” attitude, no matter what. There will be a lot of noise and clutter along the way. Tune it out and stay focused on the pursuit and most important, enjoy the journey along the way. Don’t let your “to do” list, a snarky comment from another or your own fear and doubts get in the way of becoming who you are called to be. And do it daily with great joy!
“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. – Acts 20:24
“There’s something just magical about flight. Period.” – Graham Hawkes
“Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.” – Victor Hugo
We all have it in us. The longing and the ability to take flight, to be airborne. To run so fast that you break gravity. Feel the freedom of flight if but for a second to get a glimpse of heaven. It is in us you know. In each one of us.
Chase it. Let it chase you and get caught up in it. There is such delight waiting just outside our thoughts and fears. Calling us to come out and play. Pursue and be pursued. Pure magic.
“Life seeks life and loves life. The opening of a catkin of a willow, in the flight of the butterfly, in the chirping of a tree-toad or the sweep of an eagle – my life loves to see how others live, exults in their joy, and so far is partner in their great concern.” – Edward Everett Hale
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron
What is one less thing you can do? Not more, less.
What we say “no” to gets us to the richness of the “yes” things we long for and are called to do. I jam as much activity into a minute better than most and it merely fosters more activity. Yet that which I value most is not quantity of tasks but quality of moments of depth that comes from “single” tasking.
A long run, throwing the ball for the girls, writing, reading more than 3 pages in a book, prayer and reflection that leads to gratitude and grace, a walk in the woods, undivided attention and device free moments with family and friends. That’s my list. What’s yours?
And when we get to more “yes” things that matter, the other stuff that makes up our ridiculously long “to do” list gets done. And if they don’t then maybe those things shouldn’t be done in the first place. Add more quality to your days and your tasks by doing less so the things that you spend your precious and limited time on bring more joy and discovery to your days. Remove items from the list so you can fully participate in life rather than be a “productive” machine.
Add by subtracting. It’s the new math.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman
Each morning, set the tone for the day. This requires quiet to be able to contemplate, to see the beautiful forest rather than be lost in the trees. Decide what song you will sing and if you will dare to even dance. There are a lot of distractions, so you must make a conscious decision if you will sing and dance or if you will merely get through.
“Have tos” and “should’ve beens” are joy thieves. And we don’t realize that we’ve been robbed until we’ve wasted many days that turn into years. Struggle is certain, our response is not.
So remain in this day and give it your best voice and step. That is what we are called to do, especially when we don’t “feel” like it. Our joy is not in some far off land or mythical future when everything falls in place. It’s right now, this moment, today.
And when you sing your song and dance your dance, you give others permission to do the same.
My best friends and roommates Sasha and Abby know how to dance to be sure. Ear-flapping freestyle.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
As I was driving back to work after a chiropractor appointment to ease some chronic wrist, hand and neck pain, I pulled up behind a hearse at a stop light. I didn’t really notice it until I came along side it on the road.
It woke me up out of auto-pilot as I was thinking about the 500 emails I was returning to and the nonstop meetings and interruptions that make up a regular work day.
Bottom line – if you’re not in a box riding in the back of a hearse, start living! It may sound morbid but what’s even more morbid and morose is our complacent acceptance of the daily minutia and grind that steals the beauty and joy that we are meant to partake in and offer while we are here for a very short time.
So next time you’re stuck in a negative mood or worse, in a state of numb, wake up and enjoy each day starting now. Take the last-minute trip, call your Mom and Dad if you are fortunate to have them still here, laugh more, try something new, dare to be bold and bright.
Because if you’re not in one of these, you are obligated to live fully, to walk softly and to embrace your days with delight and awe. No regrets. Start living.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
If you make only one resolution this year, make it daily gratitude. Commit each day to soak in your blessings. We move so fast that our blessings that we are showered with barely touch our skin, much less soak in.
Soaking and depth demand quiet and connection. Be grateful and all of your other resolutions that are meant to be will fall into place.
Our cup is not only half full, it’s overflowing. Soak it in.
“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
“Keep every promise you make and only make promises you can keep.” – Anthony Hitt
As the holidays wind down with the new year around the corner, the next thing on “the list” is the obligatory list of new year’s resolutions. If we are not really resolved and ready to commit, they fall by the wayside by the end of January. And we get disappointed in ourselves and fall back into the same old rut perplexed that we are getting the same results.
Rather than a laundry list of well-intended but uncommitted to items of what to fix, lose or remove, choose what you will add to your life. Actively and consciously choose how you will spend your time and what you will give yourself to.
Be present in the moment, spend quality time with family and friends, carve quiet into each day, commit to running or walking at least one mile every day, vow to not hibernate over winter, play more. Being active, eating better, resting more, having fun and being curious will bring daily contentment and lasting results. We never really start over, we start where we are at. And we’re farther than we think we are.
No need to wait for January 1 to live more fully. Start today.
No better way to start a Monday after a long holiday weekend than with sage bumper sticker advice – “Wag more, bark less.” Pretty much sums it up. The road to a happier life is noticing and celebrating simple moments, every day. The gifts of being present daily are available to all of us. So unwrap the gifts and start wagging that tail.
Barking leads to more barking and diminishing joy. Let go of judgment, complaining, cynicism, assumptions and the stories that we tell ourselves about scarcity. Abundance comes from wagging, not barking.
Wag a lot more and bark a lot less. Then every day, even Mondays, become Fridays.
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
We want to know the end before we start. We hesitate, freeze, hold back, analyze and run the opposite direction of the unknowing. We take comfort in the familiar, especially when it’s time to move on. But it is in the unknowing, in the mystery, we find our true capacity, strength, depth, resolve, resilience and at its core, our very soul and its longing.
Keep moving and release the hollow fear that is holding you back from fullness of living, from the very breath of life. Return again and again to a beginner’s mind, ready to learn, to make mistakes, to risk being the fool. For the fool is unhindered from what others think and self-imposed limitations. The fool transforms into a genius by moving swiftly into the unknowing until it becomes known.
Move fiercely into the unknown and discover with a renewed enthusiasm where the road less taken will lead you.
“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
― Dr. Seuss
Listen for and open your eyes to the signs, cues and clues whispering to reassure that you are where you are meant to be now. Nothing, not one step, is wasted. So keep moving. living and learning. Don’t stall or get stuck in the past and never accept less than what God has in store for you. The faster we go, the farther we get behind. Tune out the noise of busyness, slow down and enter the rhythm of daily life with deep gratitude.
I just discovered a new song from Nicole Nordeman and have been playing it over and over – Every Mile Mattered. There are many moments we question where we are at and why. It’s reassuring to know that every mile mattered and it’s gotten to us where we are now and will be the path that prepares us for what’s next.
“But it’s history
It don’t define you
You’re free to leave
It all behind you
Every tear brought you here
Every sorrow gathered
And every mile mattered
Every mile mattered”
Every mile that has been and all that is to come matters. Be present and anchor your days in joy, faith and trust. Turn up the music and bust a move.