“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Tend to the narratives you tell yourself, what you’ve come to believe.
Is it familiar, flat and stale?
Does it serve your growth, healing, transformation?
Unlearn, relearn, learn.
Choose a different story line.
Change the arc.
Expansion over contraction.
Knowing in the unknowing.
Depth and dimension.
Salt and light.
Becoming through unbecoming.
Listen, write, rewrite.
The first draft is never the final draft.
Edit and hone.
Keep writing your story each day.
“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – Colette
“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau
Go into the field
Wide open spaces
Where the ground and sky unite
The air is fresh and crisp
Open the windows of your mind
Walk through the doors
Allow the walls to fall
Release your spirit to play
Let old and worn fall away
Be refreshed in the present and new
Accept the blessings
Keep becoming who you are within and within reach.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell
“Creativity makes a leap, then looks to see where it is.” – Mason Cooley
“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs
Open the windows and let fresh air into your thoughts
Breathe in the moment deeply, separate from tasks, identities and responsibilities
Be fully present today
Untangle, unwind, release
Be open to different answers than your own
The answers that already exist within you now, beyond the noise
No more wading in the shallow waters of scarcity and limitations
Take the leap into the deep end of abundance and gratitude
Run off the dock, take flight, chase the ball
Explore and wander
Keep growing, learning, creating, imagining, unlearning, dreaming, questioning, stretching, receiving, trusting, believing, embracing, loving
Evolve, unfold, become, expand, transform
See the miracle in the moment, see the miracle within you right now
“God is always bigger than you imagined or expected or even hoped.” – Richard Rohr
“When the light turns green, you go. When the light turns red, you stop. But what do you do when the light turns blue with orange and lavender spots?”― Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”― Shel Silverstein
A fresh bloom of flowers, purple crayons, confetti to adorn the path. Slow and measured, aware and awake, off the beaten path, outside the lines, engage your imagination. Get outside, get out of your thoughts and observe, venture to new places where the sidewalk ends. Anything can be, indeed.
“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.”
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
With workdays filled with back to back meetings, an unstructured day is a gift. I’ve been weaving a day off here and there to open space. Yesterday, after a slow start, I took the girls to the dog park, unhurried, no rushing, no watch watching, no place to be, nothing to do. Sauntering, wandering and throwing one ball after the next. With a string of sunny warm days, the snow is almost gone, soft fresh mud taking its place. As we wandered down the path along the field, Sasha and Abby jumped over dead trees, ducked under branches and explored with great abandon.
As we were walking back for some more ball throwing, the girls decided to dive into the swamp where ice was last week. They could not have been more pleased with their decision. While I wasn’t too delighted, I decided to respond with laughter rather than angst. It was fun to witness their joy. As Sasha worked her way out of the water, she emerged looking like a skunk. The walk turned out to be a good bad decision because I chose to to go with the good rather than the bad. A choice each of us has every day.
The next stop was the self-serve dog wash. While the dirt washed out, the fun remained fully intact. We jam our days with meetings, activities and busywork with little room for good “bad” decisions of frolic, play and exploration.
Make room each day for silly, goofy and even a little mud. Make a cannon ball into the deep end of the pool of delight and splash some joy on others. It is not only good for the soul, it is required.
“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” -Charles Schaefer
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac
“For one moment, try to not to get to a place. To not busy your mind + self with things to achieve, or decorate your walls. For one moment, try, to arrive with nothing in your pockets, no shoes on your feet, with only your body, + breath to rely.” – Sarah Blondin
We think we have infinite time with finite choices. Flip it. We have finite time with infinite choices. No more yesterdays, only today to grasp, embrace, honor and to set the stage for tomorrow. This moment alone, the fullness, all the colors and awareness of its depth.
Will you see it or will you let it pass you by on the way to somewhere else?
Will you be a spectator or participant?
Will you accept or reject?
Depart for a moment from the minefield of your racing thoughts. Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs. Release and let the pressure dissipate. Awaken all senses to this moment. Let your thoughts go, pausing to bring you back to equilibrium, to center.
Make your life sacred by immersing yourself in moments, suspended in mid-air of possibility, anchored in light. Do not leave this place until you embrace gratitude and feel the magnitude and immensity of being held by God. A holy, reverent reckoning and unexplainable ease.
When you arrive, you have just found grace. Hold onto it long enough to remember that it is always present. Let it soak into your being. It is not reserved for others. It is a gift for all. Given freely. No counting, no comparing, no scorekeeping. A river that flows softly on the surface and powerfully in the current beneath, it remains. A force to be reckoned with when it is recognized.
Suspend and detach from your thoughts, assumptions, judgments, worry, regret and fear to make space for love, forgiveness, joy, trust, gratitude, wonder and awe woven in the sacred ordinary. Take your hands off the wheel of the bike and steer from your core – heart, soul, spirit. Releasing from the mechanics and transactions to the magic and miracle of ordinary days.
“Scale mountains. Revel at the moon. Kneel at the foot of ancient trunks. Seek wisdom. Find kinship + holy teachers. Offer love to both, sour + soft living things. Roll precious stones in your palm. Carry clost to you, the quill of an owl. Burn the threads of flagrant grasses. Do what brings you closest to feeling the weight of goodness pressing up against you. But the most noble thing you can ever do is come to be a student of your own Self + heart.” – Sarah Blondin
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
With the ping pong of warm, cold, warm, cold, snow and cold has won the game. Winter has arrived as it always does and it’s staying whether we “fight it” or not. We choose to fight unwinnable battles rather than accepting the seasons, change and uncertainty.
We waste time and energy in opposition to the inevitable. If we choose, we can go right through the middle with a sense of adventure in pursuit of joy.
Last winter, I cross country skied everyday through the holidays, so I got new skis in January and continued through the winter. Yesterday, Jeanne (my adventure partner) and I bought snow shoes – new tools to keep moving through winter, forging new paths “at our age,” proving that age is a number and youth is a mindset.
There are more lockdowns across the country with a surge in COVID as we enter the “long” winter months. The holidays will be flipped upside down. We certainly have all of the reasons to be disappointed and dismayed. And still, we can choose a different path.
Getting out in nature, doing new things, creative endeavors, fostering gratitude, optimism and hope are not locked down. They are in our control as they always have been despite our circumstances. Do not succumb to despair of the “inevitable.”
Transform routine into rituals, ordinary days into sacred moments. Forge new paths.
“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.”
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung
“The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” – Carl Jung
Every time I let others get to me, not in a good way. Every time, I get off the positivity path and wander into a cloud of negativity. Every time, I choose dark over light. I soon wake up and rediscover blessings and gifts that are already present and available when I look with new eyes. My wake up call comes in a text from a friend, a dog with a toy, the brilliance of a flower or a child in their natural state before we make them “grow up.”
We must never surrender our power and responsibility to be joyful, playful, grateful and in awe. Especially right now when the world is upside down.
Don’t let others get you down. Do your part to lift up, look up and never, ever give up. I am deeply grateful for my tribe who inspire, listen and love unconditionally, moving me rapidly through moments of scarcity and comparison into abundance and purpose. Get out and play and invite others to join you.
“The mind cannot long play the heart’s role.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld