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Posts from the ‘Inspiration’ Category

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.

The Notes Form the Song

Just as I fall into bed, tired from the day that was and preparing for the day ahead, I pause for a moment to pick up a book, to plant something new in my head, hoping for a harvest. Sometimes the seed sprouts, other times it remains dormant for another day. Suddenly, when least expected, the notes of the words mixed with those of experience meet to form a new song. And the hope is that in the sharing of the song, someone else may get the same lift.

“Within this journey, I plod some days like an ant so focused on the grain above my head that the next step holds all of life, and I feel in the lineage of slaves pushing the next stone up an unfinished pyramid. Then, without reason, life billows with an unearned ease I can’t describe. When it leaves, like a breeze of Spirit, I feel renewed and certain that God is in both the moment of lift and the moment of ease, in the moment of pain and after. So I’ve given up wishing for ease and running from pain. Everything on Earth moves by this inching between ease and pain. It’s how we grow. And praising both, surrendering to both, accepting both is the work of love.” – Mark Nepo, The Endless Practice

May we all keep practicing, inching and never giving up on the work of love, confident that each note will join to create the song that we are meant and made to sing. Find it deep within yourself each day to cast light and receive light, especially when you don’t feel like it and least expect it. Once light is cast, even if but a glimmer, the reflection returns brighter and stronger to show the path, to bring clarity. That’s the power of light.

Amen

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?” – E. M. Forster

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?” – E. M. Forster

“Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe.” – Wayne Dyer

Amen – a word that goes deeper and wider than a thousand words. Amen moments are all around us each and every day. When we wake up to all that is within and in reach, we enter fully into the most precious gift of the present, remaining quietly in awe of simple wonders abound. The sun rising and falling. Birds lifting effortlessly to the sky. The stillness and reflection of a lake at dawn and dusk. A peaceful sigh of contentment.

When we let God in, the creator of Amen, all the way into our day with no reservations, how can we be nothing less than filled with pure, authentic joy? Being positive and hope-filled is no longer a choice but the only option available.

May you see all of the many “Amens” in your life today.

Amen.

The Mettle Behind the Medal

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

This is one of my favorite weekends – the Twin Cities Marathon weekend, a tradition. I ran my first marathon at 39 years old in 2004. My last two marathons were the Twin Cities Marathon in 2013 and 2014. Last year may have been my last marathon, but I’m not committing to not committing at this point. This year, I ran the Twin Cities 10 mile with Jeanne, Linda and Terry. Three strips of tape wrapped tight around my lame ankle makes running doable but at times questionable.

Every runner has a story, a battle, a challenge, but they show up just the same to finish the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter of their journey. I’ve never been fast, but stubborn and persistent fit pretty well. And fortunately, I surround myself with some of the same.

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

Today, there was a lot of mettle behind the medals. Jeanne, a breast cancer survivor, Mom, Grandma, Cousin, confidant, friend, co-worker, a bit of an ass-kicker and so much more than she knows. Walking joy and delight, she always brings life and the party to the party.

I met Linda through Jeanne in 2004 and the three of us have traveled the last 4-5 years to half marathons throughout the country – officially forming the “sole sisters.” Linda is a Mom, personal trainer, creative jewelry maker and good friend. She has a bone floating around her knee, nothing that a bit of tape can’t hold together.

I also met Terry through Jeanne and “the running group” in 2004. We gather to run and chat on Wednesdays, Saturdays and various running events throughout the year. Terry is 77 and is more fit than most 30 somethings I know. In addition to cancer years ago, he had an ankle replacement and yet he’s still running. He has an awesome sense of humor and always has a good story worth repeating.

These are the friends that I surround myself with so some of their courage and resilience rubs off on me. I have many medals from a variety of running events throughout the years. None are more valuable than what I’ve learned and witnessed by running the runs with friends who really show the mettle behind the medal.

Set the Day

“It is not surprising, then, that though we feel intermittently gifted, our gifts are ever-present. For if enlightenment stems from clarity of being, then talent is no more than a clarity of doing, an embodied moment where spirit and hand are one. The chief obstacle to talent, then, is a lapse of being. It is not that people have no talent, but that we lack the clarity to uncover what it is and how it works. Talent, it seems, is energy waiting to be released through an honest involvement in life.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Each morning when I ground myself in quiet and reading something good, the day is set no matter what will come. One of my current favorites is Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening. And the days when I rush through too “busy” to do this, my day is set as well, in chaos.

The day’s circumstances, people and challenges are always present but when I anchor my mind, I can see beyond the three ring circus and know that life and who I am is so much more than mere circumstances. An old Polish proverb is a good reminder to not be defined by the crazy makers or to join them – “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

We can choose calm and light by leaving our ego (I deserve, I demand, I need) at the door and focusing on what we can contribute to make things better and to simply enjoy the day we are given. We can control of our thoughts, actions, reactions and attitude. And more than just trying to remove the negative, we need to replace that void in our thoughts with inspiration, ideas, dreams, plans and aspirations. We are all called to go deeper to find and be so much more. Set your day, set your life.

The Power of an Idea Set Free

“Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

A few weeks ago on the national nightly news there was a “doing good” segment at the end, perhaps to balance the 25 minutes of “all that’s wrong with the world.” It was about a couple of college kids at St. Thomas University in Minnesota, so I perked up since my nephew graduated from there.

They had an idea and a few years later it’s now a 501(c)3 nonprofit called the Love Your Melon Foundation. Mission: To put a hat on the heads of all children battling cancer in America. How: You buy a hat (made in the USA to create jobs here) and they dress up as superheroes to deliver hats to kids going through cancer treatment. Buy a hat and one is given away. Simple and awesome.

“Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

My hat came in the mail yesterday and I wanted to share so this idea can continue to cast light for kids battling cancer and to honor the perseverance of a couple of college kids who pushed this idea into reality. We all have the power to do good. And when the ideas and goodness in our hearts are set free, each of us can change the world one person at a time. That’s the real news.

Spread the love – www.loveyourmelon.com

Pebble

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” – Blaise Pascal

“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” – Blaise Pascal

“God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements. Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.” – Bernie Siegel

What will you create today?

Laughter, light, meaning, value, joy, depth? Will your drop in the ocean sink to the bottom or ripple outward in all directions to move another, to inspire. One small deed. A smile. Undivided attention. A word of encouragement.

We create our own world and cast light or shadow outward. A symphony or a clanging drum. A sigh of relief or signal of distress. If we choose worry, it takes front and center stage. If we choose to murmur, it keeps coming out and expands to fill the room with noise, creating pockets of void.

Kindness, gratitude, compassion and love move mountains, create a new landscape, raise us up. Release the best in you and create a new world right where you stand. One small beautiful act at a time. New beginnings, not endings. Create.

Becoming You

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” – John Jakes

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

A wish, a meditation, a prayer that we all, each and every one of us, responds to the still small voice whispering in our heart to become what we have been created to be. Like none other before or none after. You.

To do what we are here to do. To make a difference by our presence. To say “yes” to the journey from potential to fruition, with exuberance, without delay. You are called. Heed the call. Shine your light. Finish your story, every sentence, paragraph, chapter.

Authentic Leadership

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

I asked Jeanne to teach me how to do speed work so I could mix up my running routine, making it a little less routine. It’s easy to get into a rut even in good habits. Tonight, she taught me and made it fun. There are many more lessons I’ve learned from her through the years. She’s magnetic and draws people to her with who she is to the core.

Jeanne will often say she’s a follower not a leader. It could not be farther from the truth. Authentic leadership is unselfish, shining the spotlight on others. Authentic leadership shares knowledge with actions more than words, with genuine enthusiasm more than pontificating. Authentic leadership is ego-free and generous in spirit, actually making us believe that we know more than we do, building our confidence to keep trying.

So when I look for models of leadership, I am certainly not looking at those in politics, entertainment or most businesses. Real leadership is modeled by those in our daily lives who quietly, unassumingly and authentically live it out each day, reaching outward rather than calling attention to self.  Natural and real, building others rather than themselves.

Outstanding lesson in not only speed work, but authentic leadership in so many areas of life – thanks Jeanne, your grateful student.

What We Leave Behind

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

I sighed when I read Maya Angelou passed away today. What an inspiration, artist, creator, model, survivor, thriver, poet, leader, writer, lover of life.

What will we leave behind?   Not just at the end of our life, but at the end of each day as we pass through people’s lives.

Seeds or weeds
Inspiration or angst
Light or shadow
Joy or pain
Laughter or tears
Kindness or callous
Soft or hard
Delight or doom
Passion or indifference
Faith or doubt

What power we have each day to leave a something lasting behind, to be missed when we leave, to cast light in an often dark world.

You will certainly rest in peace Maya Angelou since you offered so much peace and love as you passed through. We pass through for such a very short time. Carelessly and relentlessly scatter perennial seeds of love that remain long past our time on earth.

“I know for sure that loves saves me and that it is here to save us all.” – Maya Angelou

 

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