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Posts from the ‘Hope’ Category

Write Your History

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

We are in the middle of writing our history right in this very moment. What’s your story, the plot, your narrative, your third act? What will you be remembered for?

Joy
Optimism
Faith
Generosity
Creativity
Imperfection
Empathy
Curiosity
Gratitude
Resilience
Hope
Imagination
Laughter
Silly
Innovative
Purposeful
Fun
Playful
Kind

Seems like a good list to aspire to no matter the circumstances. If choosing only one, choose kindness. Be Kind. Cast Light!

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

Hope-20 Outbreak

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.” – Alexandre Dumas

Non-stop news, hundreds of emails and resource centers on COVID-19, dozens of commercials on “uncertain times” and “we’re all in this together.” Others are trying to help, to create order from chaos, to figure it out.

We are all in this together, but each person is unique so don’t assume all are handling this time in the same way. Check in on colleagues, friends and family every day. Give yourself a break, stop trying to figure out much past today and know that it’s OK to not be OK. There are tough moments and struggles so be kind and gentle with yourself and others.

Move beyond fear and uncertainty. Surrender and succumb to HOPE. We will get to the #otherside!

Hope carries us, pushes us to keep going, holds up a mirror to our resilience, transcends the rational and sparks joy independent of circumstances.

Hope-2020 and beyond. Let’s do this!

The Passage of Time

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss

Stay at home orders, 24/7 news, a lot of time with those in our household, keeping energetic kids busy inside as well as becoming their school teacher, working remote, uncertainty of what will happen with COVID-19 and a new vocabulary of what’s essential and nonessential have shifted our daily reality. As we adjust to our “new normal,” we have an invitation to create something of this open space and time.

While we may feel stuck, the sands of time continue to flow through the hourglass. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in the week. Just a few weeks ago, we lamented our busy schedules and now we lament too much time on our hands. Time remains the same so what needs to change is our perception of time and what we will each decide to do with it.

When caught in the heaviness of moments through the day, imagine four weeks from today. What will you be able to say that you created with this time? How will you be different? Did you learn anything new? Did you foster gratitude? Did you build deeper and stronger relationships? Did you finally listen to that still small voice inside calling you back to yourself?

Here are some encouraging quotes on time that may help you think differently about the potential of this very unusual time.

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” – Khalil Gibran

“We must use time creatively.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.” – Menachem Mendel Schneerson

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C. S. Lewis

“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Time will pass and seasons will come and go.” – Roy Bean

“Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“There are two kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” – Duke Ellington

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” – Max Frisch

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush

“Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.” – Ambrose Bierce

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” – Earl Nightingale

“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” – Adam Hochschild

“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

“Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.” – Suzan-Lori Parks

 

Anchor UP

“Lent is a time to renew wherever we are in that process that I call the divine therapy. It’s a time to look what our instinctual needs are, look at what the dynamics of our unconscious are.” – Thomas Keating

“O lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.” – Henri Nouwen

Well this is certainly a Lenten season different from any other in our lifetime. The world is upside down, on lock down and tipsy turvy to say the least. What we’ve anchored ourselves in the past has been uprooted.

Trying to understand, to predict, to plan is out of our control in this moment but will come in due time. So rather than wallowing in consternation, chaos and confusion, do the opposite. If you want to coil up and stay in, get out. If you want to keep everything in motion, stop and rest. It’s difficult to explain the unexplainable of these rare days. Go deep, enter the quiet and anchor up. Settle into the unexplainable, mystery and waiting time.

Rather than running/wandering at our usual meeting spot today at Como, four of my running group friends met up (6 feet apart) in St. Paul for a new adventure through the beautiful brick-laid streets of the Summit Avenue area – historic and beautiful, past Garrison Keillor’s home and the James J. Hill House. Up and down stairs, hills and then wrapping up at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul.

Gazing up at this phenomenal holy architecture, this sacred offering, puts it all in perspective. The cross rests firmly on the top pointing our eyes up, reminding us to anchor up, to keep the faith. Tomorrow is the 5th week of Lent – desert time filled with more waiting, patience and anticipation. Easter is two weeks from tomorrow and most likely won’t be celebrated in church followed by a family gathering – the first time ever. This year, we must be Easter people in our heart, soul and spirit.

The desert is always followed by the oasis so keep going, stay hopeful and hold tight amidst the solitude, wandering and the unknown. It’s going to be more than alright. Anchor up.

Run the Red

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” – Bob Marley

As I finished my run with the girls this evening with the drizzle easing up, the “uneven lanes” sign came into view. Isn’t that an understatement of this rare and uncertain time. We are surely amidst a collective unevenness, one massive pothole.

When we got to the red light, there were no cars to be seen near or far as the “stay at home” order is being followed with diligence. I waited at the red light for a moment to follow “the rules” and then decided to “run the red.”

We have signs and signals giving us cues and clues all around us. If we open up and listen we can learn something of value and relevance. So rather than focusing on the uneven lanes, I am going to keep running right through the red lights of fear, boredom, hopelessness, negativity, scarcity, hording, seriousness and uncertainty.

Give the green light to creativity, starting 3 things each day, quiet time, hobbies, joy, exploring, laughing, embracing (from afar for now), gratitude, reflection, planning and preparing for #theotherside.

Run the red!

“It’s true that I’ve driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I’ve stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.” – Glenn Gould

Still Standing

“You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!” – Sai Baba

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

I bought these flowers a few weeks ago and they are still standing strong. Carnations are a hearty bunch. After yesterday’s post on colors and the cusp of Spring, I woke this morning to snow falling. So much for the Spring theory. Isn’t that the way it always is? Just when we think the buds will pop, the grass awaken, the snow returns once again asking us to see with new eyes.

The snow was the perfect backdrop to the carnations standing firm, looking up and blushing with soft pink and yellow. We are both beautiful and bold, soft and tough, sullen and joyful.

Embrace the bloom and the snow. We are more than survivors. We are here to thrive. Still standing in bloom attention.

Draw

“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Kids section. Dollar Store. Drawing book. Try something new, frivolous and creative. Dive into the unknown with joy and a sense of exploration and adventure. Cling to new and what’s next because it IS coming. In addition to planning for painting in a few weeks, I ventured outside, stocked up on cleaning stuff, cleaned and wrote “Is This Y(our) Renaissance? on Start3Things today. I also checked to make sure work technology is still up and running for my awesome coworkers who are in this to overcome and prevail to the other side.

I intend to post daily for Cast Light to offer up light, optimism and joy amidst “reality.” Pick up a coloring book, dare to draw and journal daily to tap into your very soul. Get out and give nature a warm long embrace. Forgive. Love. Laugh. – yep, laugh. Be vividly aware and deeply grateful for what already is right now amidst chaos. Do NOT miss this moment fully and deeply. Rapt attention.

Pick up the pencil and start drawing.

Swim in Silence, You Won’t Drown

“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.” – Albert Einstein

Amidst the not knowing remains a knowing, a certainty within. Get comfortable with quiet that has been calling you to enter for so long. Busy is no longer an excuse. Time is no longer an excuse. Stop trying to fill the space and let it remain open and wander on in. Listen. Listen harder.

In uncertainty, we awaken to what already was and is – we don’t know everything but we do know what we should if we listen. When outside circumstances out of our control take over, we get lost and forget what we know inside. Don’t. Stay focused on what you can and let the rest go. Embrace solitude, distance, intuition, your gut so you can re-enter the world anew, changed for good, for better.

Sink into unknowing with open hands, no struggle. The quiet you’ve longed for, the unbusyness, the distance is here right now. Do not let this slip away steeped in worry, trying to predict what no one really can. While a pandemic is certainly not the way that we would have chosen to get to slow and silence, it has arrived, nevertheless. The quiet calls, it longs, for you to ponder, to wander and to rediscover wonder, gratitude and awe. Be fully present and do not miss this opportunity to engage in open space, in searching, in finding and in discovery of what already is within.

In the going through rather than around, we arrive precisely where we should. So gently release into the deep quiet that has been thrust upon us all with no fear. Seize nature. Go for a run. Write. Read. Think. Don’t think. Start those activities and hobbies that are on your list. This is your chance. Go deep, in preparation to surface again, changed, anew, and ready for what’s next with confidence, grace and resolve.

“Listen to silence. It has so much to say.” – Rumi

The Focused Life

“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.

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!

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