“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Gratitude and grace remind of the gifts that are present and remain ever present especially in difficult times.
It’s a heavy season right now. Serious cancer diagnoses for friends, beautiful courageous young women. No words can adequately express the deep concern and care of many who just want to do something, anything to make it better.
We so often don’t have answers to what life deals us. It requires us to let go of our plans, to trust in the darkness, to exist in the unknowing. It’s not easy. But while we are here in this place, breathing, we must continue to get up and come out swinging. Hope and trust in the waiting.
And a simple reminder to all. We never fully know what someone is going through, so always error on the side of kindness, compassion, empathy and love, without condition. Be present and fully aware so you can be a gift that someone may desperately need. Go deeper, stay longer and never give up.
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” – Anne Frank
While running tonight at our usual Wednesday spot at Como Lake, a boy stood fishing. I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish out of this city lake. Suddenly his pole bent and line pulled tight. You could see his excitement as he softly called for his Dad.
He had a big fish on the line and wasn’t sure what to do. Before his Dad came over, a stranger walked by and started to guide him. He told him that his fishing line would break if he tried to pull it up based on the size of the fish. He gently advised him to loosen the line and walk the fish on the line to the dock so he could land it.
“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu
It was a joy to witness. The goodness of a stranger helping a young boy land a big fish, one he could talk about for a long time coming. He was guessing that it was probably an 8 pound Northern.
It was sweet. It was innocent. It was lovely.
If we believe what we see on the news and political ads (pick your side – both angry and mean-spirited) as the only thing that’s real, we miss what’s truly real and good. There is more good than evil. There are more wonderful people than jerks.
Seek the good and you will find it. Seek sweetness, innocence, and loveliness. This is what we are meant to find despite the noise, chaos and distractions. Don’t fall for cynicism, anger and scarcity.
Abundance, generosity and joy. Choose these good things. Go fishing and land some light.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo Buscaglia
People, circumstances, worry, assumptions, judgments and our very own mindset steals our joy. Be on guard and acutely aware that joy is a choice and often not the easy one. Misery not only loves company, it longs for a crowd. And the complaining spirals into quicksand that sucks us in.
There’s plenty of justification for carrying a heavy load. But at the end of our life, our regrets will lie in not seizing our blessings, knowing those closest to us better and becoming our best self. So fill your mind with good thoughts and your heart with unreasonable love. Be kind and gentle, laugh more, let go, foster gratitude, grasp enthusiasm and silliness, forgive and by all means, guard your joy. It is truly the only thing worth holding tightly to.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
“I lean and loaf at my ease… observing a spear of summer grass.”― Walt Whitman
May you find loafing and ease each day to –
To just be. Let go of doing. Quiet both the outside and inside voices and listen to stillness for clarity. Observe where and what you are paying attention to. It is when we are in the vast wilderness that we return to discover who we are and always have been. Observe a spear of grass.
“So if you think someone is brave, tell them. For they might feel frightened and small, and you will change their life. If you think someone is beautiful and aglow, tell them. For they might feel dark and lonely, and you will quiet their demons. When you reach to help someone who is stuck, you might free the flight of their soul. And they will return when you least expect, to bring you something from the sky. Never underestimate the strength of your kindness to suture the torn.” – Mark Nepo, “Things That Join the Sea and the Sky”
Life comes in waves. Some more pounding than others. Some in soft peaks, a calm ebb and flow. Our moments of distress are but moments, sometimes hours and days. Hope can be awakened through a kind word, a helping hand, in quiet listening. Hope always prevails in patience and overcomes all.
No matter how you feel or what you assume, choose kindness over fear. Even though it may seem that the struggle lingers on, the waves will settle.
Be a source of joy, empathy and encouragement. The flight of souls.
“Empathy is the most mysterious transaction that the human soul can have, and it’s accessible to all of us, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity to identify, to plunge ourselves in a story where we see the world from the bottom up or through another’s eyes or heart.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Stop. Get outside of your own head. Look in the eyes of another and listen intently and with quiet empathy. No judgment, no solutions, no platitudes. Listen and see the world through their eyes and heart and find your own in the process. Connect, be present, be kind. Cast light, love and empathy. Every. Single. Day.
“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
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller
“Every human is an artist. And this is the main art that we have: the creation of our story.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
Your story is yours to write. It’s a blank slate waiting to be completed by you, not others. The past few weeks, I’ve felt invisible for a variety of reasons that don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things, of what’s really important. And I have a blessed life, so imagine those who aren’t as fortunate, who’s circumstances are truly dire and out of their control.
We need to make others visible, to see them, the authentic human behind the two-dimensional stereotype. To pull our head up from our technology, from our ridiculously busy lives and lock eyes, to connect to our humanity.
Each day is a blank slate to write our own beginning, middle and end, to rise higher than we think we can and to choose invincible over invisible. We can be kind, encouraging and generous, especially when others are not. Write your story.
“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James
On a quick run in the neighborhood yesterday, I passed a boy on a bike and he said “I see you.” I knew he wasn’t talking to me. He was playing a little game of hide and seek with a friend. But I perked up with the words “I see you.” Isn’t that all we ask for? To be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged.
In a noisy world, we can get lost and we can lose others on the rapid journey to nowhere. Pay attention and notice more of what’s around you right now. This is it. This is life. Enjoy it.
And when you don’t feel seen or heard, get outside of yourself. Look and listen more to others so they can be seen and heard. You will then discover yourself in them. Never alone. Always seen. I see you.
“The words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.” – Sarah Fielding
“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” – Saint Francis de Sales
In the aftermath of natural disasters, in the loss of a loved one, we witness empathy, kindness and generosity of spirit. But we need not wait for the worst-case scenario to show kindness. Each day we can model and show kindness to both loved ones and strangers.
You may never know the impact of an encouraging word or smile so don’t miss your chance to leave someone whole and fresh. Speak and show kindness each day. As it raises another, it brings you along for the ride.
P.S. Check out an awesome blog and movement on kindness from a very good friend – Minnemama Adventures. What we model for our children, they repeat, so be kind to all!
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn
Words matter. Actions even more. We so often have an opinion on everything and advice for others that we wouldn’t take ourselves. The noise of nothingness is loud, drowning out what’s real and true.
There are more good people than bad, and everyone has a story that we don’t know. Ask and then listen. There is more depth and substance to people, so go beyond the surface and dig a little deeper. It’s easier to define others and put them in a box than to find our common humanity and complexity. We’re all trying to figure this life out, become who we are called to be and fulfill our purpose. Hopefully. And if we focused on that, what a world this would be.
Give the benefit of the doubt, be kind, lighten up, laugh more, drop your perceptions which are often misperceptions and be naively hopeful and filled with joy. Take the time to encourage someone each day rather than say nothing or worse, being critical. It is often hard to do in world that asks for more and more of us and gives less and less. But I am convinced it’s the only viable choice that we have to live well and in the moment each day.
Cast your light today, early and often. Words and actions.