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Posts from the ‘Kindness’ Category

Rejoice

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” – Eleonora Duse

“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne

“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne

I imagine that we will get to the end of our days and realize that we did not rejoice enough. Simple delight, arms up in the air, cognizant of the many opportunities for joy before us each day.

We will regret acts and words unsaid as well as the unkind ones that were spoken. What we considered so utterly important will fade to nothingness and the measure of our life will be how kind we were and how much we loved, unconditionally.

Rejoice today and carry on each day so when you look back it will be with a deep sense of gratitude and completion, knowing in your soul that the treasure of your life was well spent. Rejoice.

Unsubscribe

“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

On average, I sift through 350 emails per day in my work email and another 100 plus in my home email. That doesn’t include about 100 emails that get stopped by the spam blocker. Probably three quarters of the emails are junk or email I am not interested in so I delete them rather than going the extra step and unsubscribing so I don’t have keep dealing with them.

We spend much of our day responding and reacting rather than creating and producing. But the good news is (and there is always good news) that we have a choice. We can unsubscribe to the noise in our technology, the noise in the world and the noise in our heads that distract us from living well. And not only can we unsubscribe, we can subscribe and opt in to that which is most important – becoming the person we are called to be through kindness, gratitude, service and light.

Start opting in and subscribing to joy each and every day and let the noise fade to the background and dissipate into thin air where it belongs.

It’s Happening

“The regret of my life is that I have not said ‘I love you’ often enough” – Yoko Ono

Life is happening, whether we recognize it or not. And so often we do not. We let busy define our life, but as fast as we go, as many checks we check off our “to do” list, we remain unsatisfied, unsettled. And then that soft persistent voice whispers over and over again, “there’s more!”.

So we run faster, add more to our over-scheduled lives. Again, more incomplete. That uncomfortable, bothersome, empty feeling is our wake-up call. So stop hitting the snooze button.

No grand gestures, no complicated plan, no broken resolutions. Start now – tune in to each day and realize that the “more” is found in less, in gratitude, in slowing down, in kindness, in delight, in laughter (and even in tears), in loving more deeply, in forgiving, in living each day as if it’s our only one remaining.

Damn, it’s hard to do. But that persistent pesky voice isn’t going away. And if we don’t heed the call, our call, we will be one of the many souls that have gone before who look back in regret wanting a “do-over.”

There are no “do-overs.” It’s happening right now – life is happening. Participate.

Simple Acts

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyke

Last week, I was running back from the gym and it started to rain. I was a block away from home and a neighbor stopped to see if I was alright and offered a ride. In the middle of routine, a simple act of kindness breaks through and pierces the wall of attention.

We “attend” to so many things and over-commit that our attention is scattered in dozens of directions. Distracted by tasks, we miss so many opportunities to notice, extend or accept simple acts of kindness. To be present in the gift of now.

It is so very easy to be jaded by the world-view – the bias and cynicism of the news, the incivility of politics, the sheer speed that technology demands of our time. Our perspective on everything can get skewed by our assumptions, judgments and swift conclusions and then onto the next for more of the same. We live our days in a series of quick transactions rather than fostering meaningful relationships that require time, attention and effort.

A simple kind act received or given can shift your perspective, lift your spirit, change the direction of your day. This, by far, has not been my “favorite” year and I look forward to the year winding down. Yet woven throughout this year, these many difficult days, have been so many moments of kindness from others, joy found in simple exchanges and the gratitude of what has been lost and in all that remains.

So as we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving this week and as the holiday season moves into full swing, pause for a moment or two each day and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for right now. And then take the next step to express and share your thankfulness with others. This year, I do truly understand, vividly and deeply, how difficult the holidays will be with those who’ve gone on ahead. But they will be honored and remembered through simple acts of love that have been received and more importantly by simple acts yet to come.

Notice today and cast light.

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

The Struggle

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In the struggle, we find our grit, our resolve, our resilience, our heart, our spirit, our very soul. Clarity shows itself in our darkest days and draws us to lighter ones. A life that is truly lived is not easy and it is astoundingly beautiful at the same time.

So if we decide we are vested and committed to life, we push through, we get up, we cry hard, we physically ache, without fear or restraint. Laughter, gratitude and hope return and we will join them when the time is right.

“We all hope for breakthrough rebirth moments.” – Dane Cook

“We all hope for breakthrough rebirth moments.” – Dane Cook

The whole of life is found in both joy and sorrow. Do not rush or dismiss either, each is integral to growth and fruition. So do not avoid the struggle or assume that it is permanent.

Each one of us is struggling with something, whether apparent or hidden. Be kind and gentle. Love carries us in this life and draws us to the next.

We Really Don’t Know

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott

I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning. Organizing closets, clearing clutter, creating space. This past weekend, I put my lawnmower on the curb to give it away. It works but it’s old so I got a new one that’s easier to push. Less than a day, gone. Then some chairs on the curb the next day, again gone. My plans were to take it all to the dump, to discard them. I’m glad I didn’t follow my plans.

Today was a long day due to a chest cold and a sleepless night. After a day filled with meetings, I came home to cut the grass with my new lawnmower before the rain came. Next up, collapse on the couch to rest. Then, a knock on the door. My first thought, “great” a solicitor selling something I don’t need. Glad I didn’t go with my second thought not to answer the door.

A smiling woman was standing there holding a bag of coffee and a note attached in case I wasn’t home. She handed the coffee over and said she was the neighbor and thanked me for the lawn mower. Something I was happy to get rid of turned out to be something someone was happy to get.

People cross our paths every day. We never really know what we miss when we let them pass by without slowing down long enough to look them in the eye, greet them with a warm smile or take the time to say a simple thanks.

It’s a big world filled with little interactions that can turn a long day into one of grace. And when we interrupt the nonsense of busyness, multi-tasking and self-absorption, we discover, yet again, how blessed we are and our blessings multiple by sharing them.

So the good news is that we don’t really know. And thank goodness that our assumptions and quick judgments are wrong. And when we are fortunate enough to be reminded and awakened, we realize that we really don’t need to know. Kindness, generosity and grace never, ever fail.

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.

Fundamental

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” – Deuteronomy 30:19

Pretty simple, yet often so hard to live out each day consistently with unwavering commitment. No matter where we wander or where we land, our choice is between life and death, blessing and curse, abundance and scarcity, loving unconditionally or with condition. When we let go of our theories, judgments and justifications, the choice is crystal clear. Life, blessing and light sustain and propel us forward.

Choose life, love wholeheartedly, live well. It’s fundamental.

Define

In a number of halting moments recently, I am reminded yet again of the importance of defining who and what we let in. The theme of the week, month, year is “do more, faster.” But no matter how fast and far we run, it will never be enough. The spectators and critics will want more, more and more.

When we run our own race, dance our own dance, defining what we give ourselves to, we discover what we already know deep down – we are more than enough. When we show up, fully participate, give and be our best, the critic is silenced.

Discouragement is easy to be found, felt and shared to be sure. But we are called to a deeper, more meaningful life each day, beyond the obvious and below the surface. When we define who we are rather than letting others do so, we live out our potential, unfolding to our calling.

Define your day, define your life. And along the way, be kind.

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