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Posts from the ‘joy’ Category

Nature’s Angels

“Butterflies are nature’s angels. They remind us what a gift it is to be alive.” – Robyn Nola

I never tire of seeing butterflies, of flowers bursting, of deer passing quietly through the woods. They wake me up to the simple joy and beauty that is always in reach right now. Accept the gift.

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mustard Seed

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

The Cathedral of Saint Paul was built between 1907-1915. Eight years with none of the equipment and tools that we have today. The workmanship is magnificent. Those who started in 1907 had the vision, the faith of a mustard seed followed by a heavy dose of fortitude and patience to finish this national treasury. Most days, we don’t have the patience to put eight minutes into something much less eight years.

The Cathedral is two blocks from the end of the Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile run. During my three marathons especially, I would visualize seeing that beautiful sacred place many times along the long path. And when I saw the tip of the dome, I knew that I really was almost done.

A tiny seed planted takes hold, carries us along and mountains are moved. So often we try too hard to figure it out or do more. Rather than more activity, plotting and pining, we just need to be still long enough to hear that still small voice directing the next step.

Not knowing is o.k., believing in greater things than ourselves is required to live contently with deep joy rooted in optimism.

Go move mountains today, not by doing, but by faith. A mustard seed, that’s it.

Take Monday Back!

“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” – Ella Woodward

Mondays have a bad rap. The beginning of the work week when our schedules spin out of control into meetings, the email pours in and we start making our plans for the next weekend while multitasking.

Take Monday back and dip it in glitter.

Drive a new way to work, take a walk at lunch and give Monday another chance to experience joy. We change our scenery when we take a new route, shift our mindset and make a new habit. Every habit starts with a psychological pattern call a “habit loop” consisting of three parts: cue/trigger, routine and reward. I just wrote an article on habit on Start3Things and optimism is an important habit that can fuel more habits. What’s the risk? Joy, delight, laughter? Sounds good to me.

This post is day 7 of 30 day of optimism and positivity. 30 days is a good time frame to start a habit and make it stick. So take this Monday back and seize the day! Now off to work, not on my regular route for sure.

“Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit.” – Natalie Massenet

30 Days of Light – Go!

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell

There’s something about a new month, a new week, a new day that wipes the slate clean, if we allow, giving us the chance to start again. Life can only be lived going forward to be fully realized. The past is done, learn the lessons, be open to growth, let go and move on.

As we kick off the first day of October, I am committing to sending 30 days of positive vibes and daily encouragement to take a walk on the bright side of the road. Optimism is a choice, and often, not an easy one. With practice, intention and commitment, it becomes habit.

So my featured resource for today is the Greater Good Magazine and a few cool links:

Happiness October Calendar download
How to Prime Your Mind for Optimism
Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better

As we enter the first day of this month, join me for the next 30 days choosing gratitude, positive thoughts and actions. Search out awe, say and share only good things, spread joy to lighten the path for yourself and others.

30 days of light starts now – Cast light!

And Then Comes Pink

“Pink looks good on everyone.” – Jeffree Star

“Pink looks good on everyone.” – Jeffree Star

“Dream, struggle, create, prevail. Be daring. Be brave. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be strong. Be brilliant. Be beautiful.” – Caterina Fake

When we awaken to partake in the joy of a late, unexpected bloom, entering abundance and enough, God surprises us yet again with pink hue sprinkles. Humble show off.

The original Creator calls us to notice, pay attention, be in awe, wake up and rest in His creation. And then He calls us to the action of creating with the colors He has generously given.

When we stop hitting the snooze button and finally wake up, being surprised again and again by beauty abound, it is our duty to show pink to others.

Look for the pink all around today and never let delight and awe waiver. Joy ticks off the devil and praises God and His creation. Never let your joy be stolen and satisfy the darkness. Throw in some hope, grace, faith and love and you have a full house. Tough to beat that hand.

Look for and cast light.

Stop in Your Tracks

“I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.” – Laurence Olivier

On a long run last night, this flower stopped me in my tracks.

“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 beauty was followed by dozens of flitting and playful monarch butterflies swimming through flower patches on the path, floating about in joy and delight. Flowers, butterflies, a sunset pull us out of our spinning thoughts and worries, reminding us of the amazing miracle of life.

God is a creative creator, sustainer and redeemer. He shows us this in nature, in people and in soft whispers in our heart. We are swimming in signs and wonders in seemingly daily “little” things.

Like a flower and butterfly, we go from seed to bloom, from cocoon to butterfly. And in the middle of transformation, we get distracted, confused and discouraged. Keep going. And while you’re on the journey, stop in your tracks and see the depth and brilliance in a purple flower.

Wake up and notice the simple miraculous beauty abound today, tomorrow and the next.

Not easy, not perfect but GOOD!

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

After a pretty good run this morning, Jeanne and I stopped for coffee before getting to the details of the day. Another running friend Soni – 80 years young – stopped by to say “hi.” She was telling us that she’s got some knee problems so she’s only running 2 miles every other day until she can get back to her daily schedule. She runs early in the morning and could outrun people half her age.

Jeanne and I were sharing our own ailments and injuries preventing us from doing what we want to do. All of us were in agreement that while we may be slowing down, we’re not stopping.

Soni then summed it up “it’s a bitch” and then we all started laughing – it set the tone for the day. And her t-shirt was perfect too – “Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t perfect. Life is good.” Jeanne told her that she was her hero and Soni’s response was “I don’t feel very heroic.” Moving through life with joy despite circumstances and challenges is heroic indeed.

The gospel this week was the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was working hard, preparing and in full worry mode. She was upset when Mary chose to not help her but rather to rest at Jesus’ feet and be with him fully. When Martha lamented to Jesus about Mary not helping, he responded -“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Let Martha rest and put on your Mary today. Enjoy what is present in this very moment and remember, life really is good.

New Mountains

“You have stayed at this mountain long enough.” – Deuteronomy 1:6

The Israelites journeyed in the wilderness for 40 years. The distance to the promised land should have taken 11 days.

We spend way too long in the wilderness looking for the shortcut, lost in our rules and assumptions, making the journey longer than it has to be. We then get comfortable in the wilderness rather than finishing the journey and preparing for new mountains.

You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Stop circling the same mountain and move on. Comfort and familiarity are not goals to aspire to in this one short precious life. New, exciting and fulfilling mountains ahead so keep moving forward. Let go of what was and move into your becoming.

“Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day —Mary Oliver

Joy Pursuit

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

We pass through happiness, but we are succumbed by joy. Happiness comes in waves, in achievements, celebrations and milestones. Joy is a state of being, unmoved by circumstances and anchored in each day. Both are good. If I had to choose, I choose joy. It’s deeper, a steady loyal friend.

May you pursue and find joy that lives in a flower, a glance, a laugh, a memory and inside you. And in your pursuit and discovery of joy find a lasting happiness and well of gratitude.

“We can help create happiness, but we are seized by joy. We are pleased by happiness, but we are transformed by joy. When we experience joy we often feel we have glimpsed into a deeper and truer layer of reality.” – David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life

Flex

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale

In the past 6 months, I’ve lost 32 pounds. I set my mind in December, got on a program and did the work. The main goal was and is to lose and then get stronger. I started with a trainer this week for strength training. I just completed my third weight session this morning and feel terrific. I’m sure there will be many more lessons as I go down the strength training path.

Strength training is a daily commitment with work and rest to recover to build muscle and gain strength.  And one muscle that we often ignore is our joy muscle. Expanding our capacity to remain present in the moment aware of the beauty abound takes work and effort. We create our daily reality and our future through our intentions, thoughts, words and actions.

Pay attention and bring joy to the forefront. Proactively and intentionally build your joy muscle so you can flex it daily.  As we strengthen our joy muscle, our circumstances, other people and our own perspective suddenly change and become new.

A few interval sessions to build your joy muscles include smiling, laughing, listening, looking up preparing for flight.

Liam, Abby and Sasha are my joy trainers. Never failing, they always bring a smile, a laugh and push my reset button to focus on joy when I get distracted.

Get your superwoman and superman on today. Flex that joy muscle.

 

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