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Posts from the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Where Heaven Meets Earth

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” – C. S. Lewis

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” – James Gates Percival

The water touches the sky:
Heaven meets earth;
Waves roll in natural rhythm;
Ebb and flow;
The horizon expands beyond our thoughts;
Poetry, dance and sparkle;
Lifted and grounded as Heaven meets earth.

Rollercoaster

“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.

Get Burned

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

If given the choice between playing it safe and not caring or going full throttle and getting burned, choose getting burned. There have been a few steep mountains lately that echo “give up, take the easy road.”  But I would rather pursue the ascent rather than be resigned to the safe valley of discontent.

Give a damn, do your best and let the chips fall where they may. Never resign yourself to mediocre or good enough. All in and then let it go. Full effort and a positive attitude will carry you to your destiny. Anything less isn’t worthy of your pursuit. Our disappointments are from coming up short of our potential, not from trying too hard. Don’t be a sucker, but don’t suck either.

Loyalty, commitment, passion, sweat – they still matter. Get in the game.

Sculpt

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.” – Michelangelo

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.” – Michelangelo

The clean edges, the grace of form, the transformation to a work of art comes with time, patience and effort. And the statute is never really done. What life are you sculpting for yourself? What is shaping you and what are you shaping in return? Shaping or chasing?

We want to know the ending before we begin. But that’s not how life works. And when we forego the mystery of the journey, we miss the heartbeat of life, the beauty of it really. Open up and let life in. Trust that you are where you need to be and immerse yourself in each moment. The task of the sculptor is to discover it.

Trust the Color

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

“I prefer living in color.” – David Hockney

“I prefer living in color.” – David Hockney

No matter the storm, no matter the wind that tries to break your sails, trust the color. When you don’t feel it the most is when you should trust the most. Know that as you search for color in each day, you are not alone. We all long to harness and hold it tight. And when trust comes to fruition, become the color to brighten the world, even dare to do so in the waiting. That’s real trust.

With open hands, eyes and heart, color will suddenly pop out, loud and clear, a symphony fills the air with hope and joy.

Trust the color. It is there. Always. Look.

A Blank Page

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron

Each day is a new blank page in the story of our life that we are writing with our actions, thoughts and words. We either write our story or we let others write it for us.

Some days, too many days, our page is filled the scribbles of chaos, busy work, mechanically going through the motions. Some days, not enough days, are pure poetry, light and joy. Life makes sense when we connect in conversation with that quiet voice that calls us home to who we really are, not who others want us to be.

So if your story is not turning out the way you want it to or know that it can be, start changing the plot, a few new words at a time, each day. Tomorrow is a blank page.

Poetry unfolds a word at a time, with first drafts, edits and rewrites, leading us down a path to the unknown but known to us at the same time. Take your pen back and start filling that blank page with meaning, depth, dimension and lasting value. Create the life, the story you are meant to write.

Cocoon Transformed

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

The caterpillar transforms to a butterfly by digesting itself. When we die to self – our ego, expectations and assumptions – we find our true self, the one that keeps quietly knocking to enter into our every day. Not only do we transform, the world follows in suit.

As you struggle in the cocoons of life, questioning if things will every change, your butterfly moment is coming at just the right time. Stay in the moment and then suddenly that next moment, your brilliance appears in full color and you will float among the fragrant blooms.

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

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

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“You and I have been created for greater things. We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim. And that greater aim is to love and be loved. Give yourself fully to God, who will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness. Never think that a small action done to your neighbor is not worth much. It is not how much we do that is pleasing to God, but how much love we put into the doing.” – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is being canonized a saint today. We often think of saints as being super-human, perfect, without flaw. I was surprised to learn that for most of her life, with the exception of one month in 1958, she lived in spiritual darkness, feeling abandoned by God. Saint John of the Cross called this “the dark night of the soul.” We all go through dark nights of the soul, but to spend a life there and still love the way Mother Teresa did is stunning.

Saint Mother Teresa lived out unconditional love her entire life despite what she felt inside. She chose every day to enter deeply into a wounded world to love and heal others. Despite her spiritual turmoil that lasted for most of her life, she saw beauty and light in the world, serving God faithfully with an unfailing trust.

Each of us is called to pursue with vigor and resolve our own blooming, our best selves, our calling. Saint Mother Teresa is a wonderful model and inspiration to show us how to cast light regardless of what we are going through. Welcome to the communion of saints Mother Teresa.

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

Harbor

“Indeed, this life is a test. It is a test of many things – of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires.” – Sheri L. Dew

The harbor offers a respite from the waves, uncertainty and storms. Calm, safe and secure. But we are not meant to remain in the harbor beyond a brief moment. We are called into the ocean of possibility, unpredictability, growth, of becoming what gently and firmly pulls and pushes us. If we anchor in familiarity and easy too long, we delay where the current is meant to take us. If we resist, we are not avoiding scarcity but abundance. We surrender more for the ease of less.

“The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth

“The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth

We are more buoyant and resilient than we think or feel. Well beyond the limitations we put upon ourselves, we have what we need to move out of the harbor into deep waters. It is in the mystery and unknown, we discovery our core, our soul.

To achieve our potential, we must pursue depth, height and width. Anything less is not worthy of our pursuit, of our calling. Without hesitation, consternation or doubt, pull up anchor and move confidently out of the harbor and enter with confidence the life that is yours to claim in the vast ocean beyond the horizon.

Goldy’s Lessons

“But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

I signed up for Goldy’s 10 mile run three weeks ago to get myself moving on training again. It’s one of my favorite spring runs, weaving through the University of Minnesota campus and along the Mississippi river. While we’ve had an early spring, winter temperatures returned today with 20 degrees at start time.

For my first long event of the season, I felt pretty good. At mile 9, I stopped for one last cup of water at the water stop before pouring it on strong for the last mile. As I turned to start out again, the water that had spilled on the ground during the morning had frozen and I wiped out, hard. If being judged in a competition for falling, this would be a 10 out of 10 for execution, style, sliding distance and landing. A solid wipe out.

After I dragged myself up, I started out walking slowly and limping a bit. After a few blocks I started into a jog, limp, skip pattern for a few more blocks until I started getting into the groove again.

As I walked away from the finish line, a young guy came up to me to tell me that he saw me fall and that I was an inspiration for getting up and finishing. I smiled wide and thanked him for the encouragement.

A few lessons from this morning…

Take the time to say a kind word of encouragement to someone every chance you get. He didn’t have to say anything but he did. It made my day and reminded me of the power of words and actions.

I’m not the fastest runner and won’t be winning any races anytime soon, or ever. I am happy to still participate, finish and push myself to stay in the game. On my 51st year in this world, I would still rather participate than spectate.  Do things that challenge and even scare you a bit. You can do more than you think so start, and finish.

Life is so much more than successes and victories. It’s about how we get up and that we get up when we fall. Never give up and keep getting up, every single time.

Last lesson, water freezes and pavement is hard.

Participate, persist, persevere and show kindness. Thanks Goldy, good class today.

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