“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time…rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”― Winifred Gallagher
With rapt attention, the bee moves into the center to fulfill her purpose. Pick your flower and dig in.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” – Emily Dickinson
Care for and guard your garden. Clarity comes in slowness, unfolding in gentle solitude of an open heart. Wonder, possibility and awe follow.
Never stop asking or answering Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The focused, wild and precious life. One attention-rich day at a time.
“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.
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;
Anticipate and plan for good days;
Believe beyond current understanding;
Lighten up and pursue your lost sense of humor;
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!
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell
There’s something about a new month, a new week, a new day that wipes the slate clean, if we allow, giving us the chance to start again. Life can only be lived going forward to be fully realized. The past is done, learn the lessons, be open to growth, let go and move on.
As we kick off the first day of October, I am committing to sending 30 days of positive vibes and daily encouragement to take a walk on the bright side of the road. Optimism is a choice, and often, not an easy one. With practice, intention and commitment, it becomes habit.
So my featured resource for today is the Greater Good Magazine and a few cool links:
Happiness October Calendar download
How to Prime Your Mind for Optimism
Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better
As we enter the first day of this month, join me for the next 30 days choosing gratitude, positive thoughts and actions. Search out awe, say and share only good things, spread joy to lighten the path for yourself and others.
30 days of light starts now – Cast light!
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin
After a pretty good run this morning, Jeanne and I stopped for coffee before getting to the details of the day. Another running friend Soni – 80 years young – stopped by to say “hi.” She was telling us that she’s got some knee problems so she’s only running 2 miles every other day until she can get back to her daily schedule. She runs early in the morning and could outrun people half her age.
Jeanne and I were sharing our own ailments and injuries preventing us from doing what we want to do. All of us were in agreement that while we may be slowing down, we’re not stopping.
Soni then summed it up “it’s a bitch” and then we all started laughing – it set the tone for the day. And her t-shirt was perfect too – “Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t perfect. Life is good.” Jeanne told her that she was her hero and Soni’s response was “I don’t feel very heroic.” Moving through life with joy despite circumstances and challenges is heroic indeed.
The gospel this week was the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was working hard, preparing and in full worry mode. She was upset when Mary chose to not help her but rather to rest at Jesus’ feet and be with him fully. When Martha lamented to Jesus about Mary not helping, he responded -“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Let Martha rest and put on your Mary today. Enjoy what is present in this very moment and remember, life really is good.
“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.
A somber weekend
Silence and contemplation
Rest and restlessness
The third day arrives
Waiting finishes its course
Easter promise, fulfilled
Time for celebration
For the sun to invite the next season to begin
The gift of Spring
Open and savor
Drink it in
Summer stands by ready for its turn
Not too soon
Not too late
Always in due time
Rend thy chains
“It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.” – Katharine Lee Bates
The international treasure, historic 850 old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was consumed by fire yesterday. As the fire settled and smoke rose, the cross remained. One image summarizing the end of the story of Holy Week, the hope of Easter.
As we go through our own Last Suppers and suffering of our daily crosses, remember that the end of every story is always Easter. The cross always remains through the fires of hell. Hope remains. Always. Cling to hope no matter what you are going through now. The third day comes, resurrection and new life from ashes.
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool