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Posts from the ‘Imagination’ Category

Forge New Paths

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“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.

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.”

Let’s Play Now

“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

Make New Memories

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

Today marks the first day of the Minnesota State Fair – 10 days of fun. I live a mile away and have not missed going at least once if not a few times each year. Many good memories with family and friends. With the pandemic, many things have changed, turned upside down and have been canceled.

While I’ll miss the fair and other fun activities this year, I am trying to create new memories and be open to different experiences. And while the change and loss in 2020 is extraordinary, we are not called to remain in they abyss. We are people of hope, resilience, creativity, innovation, imagination, joy, laughter, promise, light, depth and purpose.

Create new memories with trust and assurance that we don’t remain in one place and time forever. So as we live through this rare time in history, many things have not been canceled and new things have been given – quiet, family, joy, gratitude, time to create, plan, think, exercise, read and connect with others in new ways.

We need a collective mind shift to optimism, hope and abundance. If we create that state in this moment, we can confidently move through the pandemic and all of the other struggles on this journey. Keep the faith. The only way to live life is forward. Create new memories and cast light.

“Fun is good.” – Dr. Seuss

“Don’t ever become a pessimist… a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.” – Robert A. Heinlein

The Art of Balance

 

“Life is a balance between rest and movement.” – Rajneesh

“In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” – Patti Smith

Right-left. Liberal-conservative. Up-down. The answer internally and externally is found in balance. Not compromise. But in empathy, understanding, compassion and kindness. When the noise is deafening, when the meaning is hollow, go deeper by listening, by caring and by never, ever giving up despite the circumstances. It is a good life, if we dare to enter. Balance.

“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” – Euripides

Use Your Imagination

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

There are many quotes from my day with Liam today. My favorite one is “You have to use your imagination.” Well isn’t that an underused muscle. My worry, complaint, uncertainty, judgment, work too much, multitasking and consternation muscles are very strong. They get a lot of use, overuse actually.

This weekend, I am going to “imagination bootcamp” with my camp counselor Liam and his capable assistants Abby and Sasha. Two trips to the playground, a pizza party and three ball throwing practices later, it is a good start to bootcamp. What’s next? Toy Story 2 snuggling next to my best pal of course. Tomorrow – Como, swimming, tennis ball hitting and some Disney movies later, there should be many lessons to be learned.

This is a no work, no worry weekend. Let the games begin. Imagination, look out, we’re coming for you!

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.” – Joseph Joubert

Eagle Eyes

“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

“Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.” – Thomas Merton

Eagles can see four to five times farther than the average human. So rather than 20/20 vision, they have 20/5 vision.

So often we get caught in the day to day “mouse eye” view focused on our to do lists, transactional demands rather than vision and intention required to live a deep, meaningful and fulfilling life.

The meaning of life is not found in checklists, multitasking or a scorecard. Rather it is a beautiful complicated, confusing, confounding, original story that each of us are meant to write, create and to enter into the mystery of the unknown.

Take an eagle’s eye view of your life and see the big picture. It most certainly won’t end where you have planned. It will be much, much grander, beyond your imagination when you are alive, awake and filled with vision.

A Good Tired

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” – John Muir

It’s a good tired when fun, play and joy are the reasons. A few days away on a long weekend to restore, relax and hangout in nature. Liam greeted me with a bright smile and provided his usual master class on being authentically joyful in the present moment.

From wandering in the lake with his PJs on to throw ball for Abby to relaxing in the hammock to randomly saying “I love you” throughout the weekend, it was just what was needed. I brought a backpack of reading and “to do” items and did none of it. Thank goodness or I would have missed out on eye to eye contact, holding hands, waterskiing on glass and ATV-ing through the pine tree church of the woods.

When we get lost in busy, trapped in fear and spiraling in worry, the best answer is to return to nature, spend time with kids and dogs to relearn how to live well. Stop, play and enjoy each moment as it comes with anticipation and always with a “best-case scenario” perspective.

Light Within

“Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light. Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Keep the flame inside burning. It’s the light that sustains and creates new beginnings. .

“O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.” – William Shakespeare

Inside Out

“Look to the lilies how they grow!” – David Macbeth Moir

Like many public spaces, Como Conservatory is locked down. We often run/walk by to see if the windows are cracked so we can peer inside to see the beautiful flowers and breathe in the fragrance. Outside looking in.

Flowers, nature, friends, families, dogs, prayers, long walks and runs, music, poetry, fresh air are sources of light that have always filled us up. Our awareness of these blessings is more vivid now. Accept the good and the challenging days as they come anchored in hope. Find joy in ordinary moments, not looking too far back or too far ahead.

Look inside yourself with mercy and grace, see the beautiful flowers, take a deep breathe. Each one of us is doing the very best we can in this moment. It’s the first pandemic in our lifetime so there’s no script on how it should work. We have the strength, resilience and capacity to get to the other side so keep going, no matter what!

One of my favorite poems is Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese:

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

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