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Posts from the ‘joy’ Category

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

 

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

The Cutest Virtual Worker

“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.” – Deepak Chopra

“Our present moment is a mystery that we are part of. Here and now is where all the wonder of life lies hidden. And make no mistake about it, to strive to live completely in the present is to strive for what already is the case.” – Wayne Dyer

My great-nephew Liam – a regular character on this blog – has been calling me the last few mornings on his Grandpa’s work headset. He’s at home from school learning, playing and joining the virtual meeting world that we are all in right now. He is a steady, consistent force of optimism, delight and enthusiasm and my best life coach.

Many coworkers and colleagues are at home with kids and four-legged family members working through this “new normal.” While it may not be as fun for the parents, I am really enjoying seeing the energetic kids and happy dogs.

Each day, we own the choices we make that create our perspective. Choose abundance over scarcity. Generosity over hoarding. Empathy over judgment. Energy over order. Joy over fear. This is a call to enjoy these close, irritating and home bound days.

We will long for this time again when we get to the other side. See the good in this moment, savor this time and prepare for the #otherside.

The Sun Within

“When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

Plenty of ink has been spilled on the paper of the internet filled with predictions, fear and consternation on COVID-19. It is serious. I will keep up with the news on a limited basis, social distance and wash my hands to a thousand “happy birthday” songs.

However, I am consciously and rigorously choosing to not succumb to hopelessness and doomsday predictions. Each day has become more urgent, vibrant and precious. I will cling to faith, joy and gratitude of all the blessings that remain.

After a week of diligent preparation, dozens of meetings and technology testing, a 15 minute ride around the lake at sunset brings it all into clear view. A vivid reminder that we are still here and the brilliant magical sun remains. We are strong, resilient and will overcome.

So if you are looking for “harsh reality” predictions, worst-case scenarios, blame games or complex theories of how this will all play out, this will not be the place to visit. This will be a garden of encouragement, frivolity, awe, positivity and deep confidence in our resolve and capacity to be bigger, stronger and kinder than our current circumstances. Light resides in each of us ready to be cast out.

In the silence of these days, let the sun within light the way through to the other side which always arrives. We are all in this together and are in the middle of a world-wide lesson in empathy. Be gentle, offer a genuine smile and feel the warmth of the sun within you. Look up, see the light and find the way.

Happy Bird

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

My nephew Liam loves going to Target. I enjoy taking him and watching him pick out a toy. Our last trip, he picked an Angry Birds playset. In addition to the ritual hanging on the side of the cart through the store, he politely asks the cashier for a sticker when we are checking out. This trip, he hit jackpot and got four stickers. His forehead was an obvious place to put one of them.

As he was examining his new toy, I asked him if he was an “angry bird.” He promptly responded “no, I’m a happy bird.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Liam is innately happy, joyful and an empathetic soul and spirit. He generously shares that light with all who cross his path. For a 3.5 year old, he is a sage, figuring out the secret of life.

Practicing and mastering optimism, joy and delight are the only reasonable approaches to daily living. Anything else just leaves us angry birds. No hesitation – be a happy bird!

Commercial Break

“When you are grateful – when you can see what you have – you unlock blessings to flow in your life.” – Suze Orman

“Sometimes you need to press pause to let everything sink in.” – Sebastian Vettel

With Netflix and other streaming services, we can “binge” watch series one after another without being bothered with commercial interruptions of network and cable television. Sitting for hours on autopilot without stopping to take a break or breather.

With old network television, before DVRs, commercial breaks would allow you to get up and go to the kitchen or let the dog out, etc.

We need more “commercial breaks” in our day to get out of the trance of binge living, checked out of the reality of joy and delight. Whatever you are binging – entertainment, work, lousy relationships – take a break and pull your head up to see the world in its entirety, overflowing with possibility. There’s more right in front and available to you than you dare to believe.

This is your “commercial break” to stop and choose differently. To get off autopilot and start directing the plane of your life, to aim in the direction of your dreams and purpose.

Abby, Sasha, a run in the woods, friends and family, writing are my “commercial breaks.” Reminders to stop and steep myself in gratitude. Our tomorrow is determined by today’s decisions of how we spend our time. When say “no” to more work, no to mind-numbing entertainment and no to negative thinking, we discover joy in ordinary moments. Weave more “commercial breaks” into your day. Be fully present and deeply aware of gifts you should open and enjoy. Binge on gratitude and joy, so worthy of our time and attention.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

Crystal Clear

Glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful.

When is the last time that you’ve used one of these words to describe something, anything. An activity, a conversation, a sunset. Gliding across the snow last night with fresh snow falling was glorious. That’s the word I used this morning as I wondered why my back was sore and then remembered the source.

We should be on the hunt daily for reasons to use theses descriptors. They are much better than busy, tired and overwhelmed which is more of our reality in our fast pursuit to nowhere. Faster, “better,” productive.

The problem when we use these words sparingly, for the vacation, for fictional “someday” when things are perfect, when we lose 20 pounds, when this person gets out of the way, when circumstances change, is that we are missing daily joy that is abundant and available to all of us despite the excuses and hurdles that we put in our own way. Pursue awestruck in what already is, not what will be when all of the conditions fall into place.

Life is messy. Relationships, death, illness, politics, things that didn’t work out according to our plan. And right in the middle of the mess is capacity for joy and contentment within, waiting to be called out to play, dance and sing, loudly.

We choose daily what we put in the forefront, on center stage. We do, no one else. That’s powerful and daunting when we can’t blame someone or something else. We have the power to shift our attention from our self-inflicted problems to our reservoir of light within.

Foster, feed and bring that inner joy within to fruition so you expand your vocabulary and starting using glorious, awestruck, taken-aback, stupendous, magical, delightful on a regular basis

At the beginning of the year, I made a new “intention” bracelet that I wear almost every day with the word “clarity” on it. That is what I am seeking. What we seek actively, we find.

Not right. Not left. Not right. Not wrong. Not more. Not less. Clarity for what already is in this very moment.

Pick a New Mountain

“There are far better things ahead than the ones we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

We circle the same mountain, again and again. Same stuff, different year. Stuck in the same place, expecting new scenery. Move on. Pick a new mountain and start climbing to your new summit.

Thoughts, words, actions are the map to your destination. If you are in circle mode, at the base of the same old mountain, change your map. You have a great adventure ahead awaiting your arrival.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

No and Yes Checklist

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” – Seneca

In order for us to say YES and count each day as a separate life, we need to also say NO to:

Negative thoughts
Toxic people
Assumptions
Drama
Scarcity
Regret
People-pleasing
Perfection
Cynicism
Unforgiveness
Busyness
Victim mentality
Multitasking
Past
Fear

Say YES to:

Abundance
Gratitude
Joy
Laughter
Quiet
Music
Fun
Play
Trying
Practice
Starting
Imperfection
Purpose
Wonder
Discovery
Curiosity
Delight
Art
Nature

Start checking off your YES list by checking off your No list.

Turn Up the Volume!

If you spike the ball when Friday hits that you made it through another week and lament the brevity of the weekend, it’s time to change your mindset from survival mode to thrive mode, from scarcity to abundance. I certainly have fallen into the trap of Friday delight and Monday dread.

Time for some seven-day living filled with joy, laughter and some serious play. Negativity is a spiral that produces more of the same useless, time-wasting, life-sucking results. Optimism multiplies, fuels, energizes, creates light, uncovers possibility available right in this very moment. A much better choice for thriving no matter the circumstances. No more dabbling in optimism – commit.

Looking for a way to shift your perspective? Go opposite. Too close, pull back. Too far out, pull in. See the whole picture. Can’t come up new ideas, stop trying and let them find you by taking a walk.

The quickest way to shift your perspective – music. I’ve started a “dance party” playlist and just added Lizzo’s Good as Hell – “I do my hair toss, Check my nails, Baby how you feelin’?, Feeling good as hell!” I can’t help but smile, sing loudly and bust a move.

Music, art, nature are all gifts that remind us to lighten up and enjoy this very moment. Change the playlist in your mind and let your heart, spirit and soul out to dance every single day. Turn up the volume! Hair toss, check nails, feeling good as hell!

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