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Posts from the ‘Happiness’ Category

Come, Sit for a While

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker

For so long
Day after day
Running fast and furious
Checking the box
New list, new boxes
Task after task
Problem solved, another takes its place
Transactional living

For who?
For what?
Why?
To What end?
Ask the questions
Inventory what stays and what must go and then release it

Money
Power
Ego
Legacy
Expectations and assumptions
Quantity over quality
Examine how time is being spent or given

On sabbath, God’s day, He calls us to rest as He did after 6 days creating the world
The Author of Life, asks us to pause
To ask the questions, to listen, to pull off the racetrack to rest, nothing to check off, no problem to solve, to just be so we can carry Sunday into the week

God chases us as we chase everything and everyone but Him
Patiently, lovingly, mercifully, gracefully, generously
He chases, calls and waits for us to see Him in the threads of ordinary moments, always present, whispering, “Come, sit for a while”

You have earned your rest
There is nowhere to go
Nowhere to be than right now
On a bench, taking in the depth and beauty of this very moment
Sunday was created to linger, to laugh, to lounge, to live so the rest of the week makes sense and is lived on purpose, gratefully and with intent, not accidentally

Right here, right now.
Come, sit for a while.

“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.” – Eugene H. Peterson

Your Lion’s Suit

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” –  Thucydides

I stopped by to visit and drop off a few coloring books for Liam who was just getting up from a Sunday nap. He walked out in his lion suit, a costume sewed decades ago by my Aunt Terry for my niece Emily for Halloween.

A random day in February and it was lion suit day. I’ve written often in Cast-Light about my dogs, Liam, friends and family. All sources of inspiration and frustration (humans can do that), light and love. Who and what we surround ourselves with defines the quality of our life. As important, perhaps more so, is who and what we surround our self with inside of thoughts, mind and actions – the me in the we.

When we are our most authentic self, showing up in our own lion suit and not the one others think we should be wearing, we come home to joy, purpose, clarity and contentment.

Many will tell you what “suit” they expect you to wear.
Don’t listen.
Many will tell you that you don’t wear a lion suit that’s too small for you on a Sunday afternoon.
Don’t listen.
Many will tell you, do it my way, it’s better.
Don’t listen.

Wear your lion suit with joy, awe and wonder, entering your own space, completing your own assignment. When I drift and wander, listening to everything but my own voice, I find the courage of a lion again when I see Liam in his lion suit, unapologetic, filled with joy and coloring outside the lines.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:11-18 NIV

The Light of Spirit

“Solitude sharpens awareness of small pleasures otherwise lost.” – Kevin Patterson

“Once we’re awake, the struggle is often whether we live in the world of things while glimpsing the light of Spirit or in the light of Spirit while moving through the world of things. It is a practice just to be aware of which is driving us.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

In Minnesota, we take winter seriously. After we accept its inevitable return with a few complaints on the temperature adjustment and icy roads, we proceed to make the most of it by going out into it. I started snowshoeing this year and back at cross country skiing as well. Out in nature, in movement, breathing crisp fresh air. At the local golf course, they groom the trails as well as make snow for a small hill for snowboarding, skiing and sledding. They keep making snow all season to keep the hill in good shape.

When we accept that the only way to the other side of winter or other challenges is straight through it, we can embrace a lightness of Spirit, an ease in being. Each season offers unique gifts. There’s a quietude and solace in winter, preparation time, reflection.

Choose to move through the world awake, aware and grateful. The Spirit is all around and within each one of us ready to be held and to hold.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Open Doors

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

Yesterday, I rushed to get ready to drop the car off for a 7:30 am appointment. I skipped writing morning pages (uninterrupted stream of consciousness writing prescribed by author Julia Cameron), multi-tasked through morning meditation (Insight Timer – the best app that makes mindfulness doable) and rushed through strength training (burpees still suck).

I’ve been doing all of these morning rituals long enough to know that when I don’t do them, the “open doors” during the day will let out the heat, wasting my energy on circumstances and my interpretation of other people, rather than letting in fresh air and light in to facilitate flow and ease. Best-case scenario thinking of optimism turns rapidly into worst-case scenario thinking of pessimism.

We know our triggers and still we let them trigger us every time when we don’t anchor our thoughts and “GPS” our actions for the day through habits and rituals.

This year, it feels like all of the doors have been closed. But if we look deeper and longer, we realize that there are new doors that we can open to find blessings and gifts right in the middle of a pandemic.

Yesterday, the news announced a third vaccine. There is real light at the end of this long tunnel, as there always is during all tunnel sections of life. If we can find joy and light amidst a pandemic and be grateful, we have discovered the most important vaccine ever! Our joy and happiness are rooted within ourselves, in our control the entire time.

We choose daily whether we will be victims of circumstances, people, our own narrow thinking, limiting beliefs or even a pandemic. We have the responsibility, honor and gift of choosing which open doors to walk through, which ones to close and to keep searching to find new doors.

No matter what, believe that hope, joy and light have the strength to not only hold you but to also catapult you forward into transformation, becoming and fruition. So many beautiful doors. The cocoon always births the butterfly. Always.

No Strings Attached

“There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” – Walter Cronkite

We tell ourselves to “let go” or “let go and let God,” but then we don’t fully trust the process or God. We create a safety net, a back-up plan. Like a yo-yo, we let it go but keep a string tied to it so it keeps coming back at us. Letting go means cutting the string and releasing it fully.

Until we actually let go of past hurts, unforgiveness, offense, disappointment, judgment, fear and assumptions, they will continue to come back to ensure that the future is a replica of the past and today is lost gathering stones that weigh us down, stuck in the abyss of false narratives and comfort of justification.

When we let go, no strings attached, we create a space for gratitude, delight, awe, transformation, joy, peace and freedom.

Rewrite your story by changing the narrative. The first step is to actually let go and take one step into new territory, into the wide-open space of possibility found beyond and within each of us when we dare to release what was to move into what can be.

Assume the best in others and yourself and cut the strings that bind. Move on, adventure ahead.

“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.” – Voltaire

Snow or Snowman

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

It snowed this week, and the lamenting began. Snow in October? It’s too early. Winter is going to be too long. One more thing in a year of constant change, fear and uncertainty. What’s next? (I have my money on the locusts.) No doubt if there ever was a year in recent history to complain, worry and be cynical about, 2020 is the winner.

We believe that things happen “to” us rather than “for” us. A simple yet profound shift from “to” to “for.” Just because we don’t understand “why” doesn’t mean there’s not a reason, one that will be revealed in time with the requirement of perspective, distance and reflection.

We forgo today’s opportunity for joy and meaning in pursuit of the illusive and perfect “someday” which does not exist or the “past” where we remember only but a slice that serves our narrative of the “good old days.”

In addition to the snow this week, it was a week filled with non-stop technology problems at work. Like the weather, also out of our control. My nephew Liam came over Thursday for a few hours. He immediately asked me to go out to build a snowman and make snow angels.

Kids, in their infinite wisdom until we screw them up with “adulting,” see the snowman and the angels in an October snow. They run into it rather than away from it. They see the “for” rather than the “to.” The early snow happened for them so they could build a snowman and lay staring up at the sky moving their legs and arms in delight to bring angels to earth.

The choice each of us needs to make daily is whether we see the snow or the snowman. It determines whether we will live present in each moment grateful for the gifts and blessings that we are swimming in, even in a pandemic. “to” or “for”? I’m going for the “for” rather than “to” as much as I can. And when I forget, I have a snowman and snow angel from my 4 year old life coach Liam to remind me of the best choice of “for.”

Choose

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Happiness is a choice, a daily one. Regardless of circumstances, others and our own wandering aimless thoughts, we can go deeper within and rise above. Be mindful with your intentions and actions. Hope and conviction beyond the obvious into the unseen.

It’s that simple and that complex. Children and dogs have mastered it. The student really is the teacher. Learn the lesson. Do the work. Choose happy.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller

Do the Work

“I stopped waiting for the world to give me what I wanted; I started giving it to myself.” – Byron Katie

“Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

I always listen to one of three podcasts on my training runs. Cathy Heller’s Don’t Keep Your Day Job, Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic and Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life. Books, music, podcasts pull us out of our own thoughts to explore, question and ponder.

The interview this week on Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Byron Katie, The Work was filled with wonderful insights including four questions to ask yourself to change the narrative you tell yourself and the power to change it to serve you better:

  1. “Is it true?”
  2. “Can I absolutely know this is true?”
  3. “How do I react when I believe this thought?”
  4. “Who would I be without this thought?” Then turn it around and say “What is the opposite?”

A few other takeaways:

  1. You are your own way out. It begins and ends with you.
  2. Don’t feel guilty for believing what you believe.
  3. Freedom and happiness are your birthright.

We choose our own thoughts so we have the power to change our world. Explore abundance, create your days, see the brilliance in the petal of a flower.

Do the work and carve the life you deserve.

The Right Ladder

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Make life your playground, not your battlefield.” – Ormond McGill

I’ve been writing most posts at the end of the day, keeping the daily “streak” going. Today will be an 89-day streak. Daily journaling has been an important part of keeping a positive mindset and being present in the classroom of life.

While nighttime is a good time for reflection, it’s also a time when we’re tired and called to rest. As a result, the posts have been shorter, a bit more surface skimming, more mechanical. So rather than merely going through the motions, I’m going to change it up to morning posts for a while to go a little deeper.

In the morning, when the world is new again, if we choose to lay down yesterday, we are offered the gift of a fresh start. We can get our ladder on the right wall by setting our intentions to be present, grateful and engaged. So rather than being tossed around by circumstances, spinning thoughts and those “irritating” people who keep showing up each day to bug us, we can go beneath the surface into the depth of life which is found in connection.

When we lead with kindness, empathy and active listening, suddenly circumstances shift and that irritating person turns out to be someone who’s struggling just like you. Our world changes when we change our perspective and get on the right ladder.

There are many lessons to be learned daily, joy to be had and playgrounds to be played on. Enjoy today on purpose and cast light.

The Tipping Point

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“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

The lilacs are at the tipping point of bloom. When it’s time, the buds will break open releasing sweet bold refreshing fragrance to welcome spring home. We don’t know when the lilacs will bloom, but they always do. Their time is short and they make the most of it.

Plant. Cultivate. Bloom.

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