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Posts from the ‘Lessons’ Category

Go On

“The lesson, so simple yet so difficult, is that life can be savored even though it contains hardship, disappointment, loss, and even brutality. The choice to see its beauty is available to us at every moment.”― David von Drehle, The Book of Charlie

“Let it go and Hold on! In the way of so many great philosophies, those apparent opposites prove to be two sides of the same coin. To hold securely to the well-formed purposes of your own will, you must let go of the vain idea that you can control people or events or the tides of fate. You can’t change what was, nor entirely control what will be. But you can choose who you are and what you stand for and what you will try to accomplish.”― David von Drehle, The Book of Charlie

Let go.
Hold on.
Pause to take in the view.
Then take the next step.
Being and doing.
Room for both.
Glance back only for a moment.
Then proceed.
Moving forward with what is necessary.
The dance of change, growth, transformation.
The classroom of life.
The art of living well.

“Charlie made an art of living. He understood, as great artists do, that every life is a mixture of comedy and tragedy, joy and sorrow, daring and fear. We choose the tenor of our lives from those clashing notes. Even when Charlie’s strength was fading, when the golf course had become an obstacle course, when the infirmity of encroaching time could no longer be denied, he chose to turn his wedge into a walking stick and to carry it with panache.”― David von Drehle, The Book of Charlie

What Do You Know for Sure?

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”― Anne Lamott

In a Anne Lamott’s TEDTalk, she shares 12 things she knows for sure. Below are five to ponder as you consider your own list of things you know for sure. Beyond opinion. Deeper than assumption. Underlying foundations that don’t shift with the winds.

Each of us has pivotal insights and truths that resonate in our own life. If we have the right list, not rules and regulations, they serve to open us up, expand our view, deepen our compassion and prompt us to love fully without counting.

  1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift, and it is impossible here,” she says. Life is “filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”.
  2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. That includes you.”.
  3. Nothing outside of you will help you in any real, lasting way. Radical self-care is the only thing that will get you through. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true, and it works the other way around too. “If it is someone else’s problem, you probably don’t have the solution,” she says.
  4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared. Everyone, even the people who seem to have it most together. So don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides,” she says.
  5. Grace is a powerful thing. “Grace is Spiritual WD-40 or water wings. Laughter really is carbonated holiness.”

What do you really know for sure?

Get Ready

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will Disappear.”― Tao Te Ching

What will you learn today?
What will you teach today?
The teacher is in nature, in words, in reflection, in actions, in conversations, in listening, in music, in reading, in art, in all of creation.
We have the capacity, calling, blessing and obligation to learn, evolve, transition, change, grow, transform, become and unfold.
Class is in session, become an ardent student and the teachers suddenly appear. Get ready.

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” – Goethe

5-Year Mark

There is something about a 5-year mark. It is far and close simultaneously. It shows that you can survive and how far you’ve come, that moments are not a lifetime and defining moments can change us for better or worse – choose better, how time drags and flies and the resilience of the human spirit. For cancer survivors, 5 years is the benchmark where recurrence chances drop significantly, no guarantees but better odds. For someone who has passed, the missing shifts, deepens, continues and the carrying on must as well.

Today marks 5 years since Dad passed away. A date etched in memory and heart. There are moments that flip your world and nothing is ever the same again or ever will be.

We rush through days frantically checking things off long lists, busting ass for a career, doing what we “should” and are expected to do, people-pleasing, wrapped up in our opinions, positions, politics and criticizing the other guy. And then a grinding halt. The minutia falls away and what’s really important – relationships – takes center stage. If fortunate and intentional, we keep what’s important front and center, making lessons stick beyond the loss and change how we live permanently.

Through the years, Dad taught me many lessons that keep showing up to this day in my thoughts and actions. What questions to ask when buying a car, clearing a drain, hanging a picture, although I still don’t look for the stud nor do I bag the grass clippings and bring them to the compost. Critical thinking, girls can do anything so get to work, find solutions rather than focusing on problems, be kind, laugh, work hard and so much more. While he’s gone, he remains in so many ways in each day.

Time allows insights and lessons to be revealed and applied if we choose to do so:

  • Make the most of each day, we don’t have forever, stop putting off to someday;
  • Do it imperfectly, but by all means, do it;
  • Time carries on whether we do or not;
  • Let go and forgive, it’s a gift to yourself;
  • Focus on what’s really important;
  • Don’t become your work, diversify, broaden and expand;
  • Create and contribute;
  • Optimism, optimism, optimism;
  • Hope, hope, hope;
  • Be a teacher and a student;
  • Stay active, break a sweat;
  • Ignore negative voices – internal and external;
  • Spend time savoring each day;
  • Try new things and go on adventures no matter your age;
  • Vitality and youth are a mindset not a number;
  • Listen before you speak;
  • Research the facts and be ready to back them up, don’t believe everything you hear;
  • Anchor in principles but be willing to learn and grow beyond your opinions and assumptions;
  • Be kind and generous;
  • Enthusiasm and encouragement are fuel;
  • Assume the best and be proven wrong once in a while rather than assuming the worst and be miserable all of the time;
  • Have fun and laugh!
  • Love, faith, trust always and without condition.

Loss is a good teacher, but we can change without it. Be present, grateful and raptly aware of what you do with your finite time. Learn and apply the lessons that serve your expanding, joy and becoming. Keep going and growing. Waste no more time. Cast light!

Red, Yellow, Green

“Intuition is the very force or activity of the soul in its experience through whatever has been the experience of the soul itself.” – Henry Reed

“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

Red light – hard stop
Yellow light – in between, stop or go, make a decision, choose the brake or the gas
Green light – hard go

Much of our time and energy is spent in the comfort of the yellow light zone, vacillating between stop and go, searching for signs of red or green, clarity, specificity, direction, an obvious sign, a detailed map, a guarantee. There are certainly clear reds and greens, but the in decisions that truly matter, that move us to purpose and meaning, in change and new directions off the beaten path, direction is found in quiet, in trust, in our own intuition.

Without questioning, we put our trust in the world, in institutions, in parties, in others, in systems, in our own limiting beliefs and narratives. But when God asks us to trust in Him, in His plan, in your own purpose for being, we balk. Hard stop. It cannot be that simple and that hard at the same time. There must be more.

When we do our part of listening to the soft whisper, we can move into each day taking a step at a time in gratitude and trust, guided by the compass of intuition rather that a detailed step-by-step map down the world-approved obvious road. God always does His part to show us green lights, red lights, when to pump the brakes, to hit the pedal, to idle in patience and when to pull off to the rest for a bit.

Signs and signals are woven into each day showing the path, one step at a time, when to stop, to go, to simply remain. Look, listen, trust. Eyes on the road ahead, glancing only but for a moment in the rearview mirror to see how far you have already come.

“Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What’s Your Mark?

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

“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

Yesterday, I purchased a new car. My car was almost 9 years old so it was time and the interest rate was excellent. After online research and insights from family and friends, I narrowed my search to two models. When I went into the dealers, my first questions were about the towing capacity and the drivetrain. I don’t think he was assuming those would be my first questions, but I could hear my Dad asking these. This is the first car that I bought without him with me. He passed away in 2016 but remains a part of my day-to-day.

The lessons that are instilled were more from his actions and deeds rather than his words. He had quiet strength, humble confidence, soft-spoken with nothing to prove to anyone. Live a good life, work hard, be kind, generous and hone your critical thinking skills so you make good decisions.

After I finished at the car dealer, I went to show my Mom and sister and then drove to the cemetery to thank Dad for his help. I was excited about getting my first red car. It may not have been his first choice but he would have loved it because I did.

Each of us has the power to instill lessons, be a positive impact in our world and be remembered for our love and contribution rather than our opinion or judgment. What are you casting out into the world? What’s your mark?

Lecture or respectful exchange?
Judgment or acceptance?
Taking or giving?
Laughter or complaint?
Ego or empathy?

We will all leave our mark behind and how we are remembered will be in how we made people feel through our actions and deeds. Love, kindness, laughter, listening with full attention and how to pick a good car transcend time and place. Make your mark and desire to be missed deeply.

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