Be awake in this moment only
Clear your mind of the past
Release concern of what is to come
Squander not your precious time in worry and regret
Embrace gratitude by opening your eyes, poking your senses
End this day filled with wonder and awe found in the gift of now
Remain in today
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron
What is one less thing you can do? Not more, less.
What we say “no” to gets us to the richness of the “yes” things we long for and are called to do. I jam as much activity into a minute better than most and it merely fosters more activity. Yet that which I value most is not quantity of tasks but quality of moments of depth that comes from “single” tasking.
A long run, throwing the ball for the girls, writing, reading more than 3 pages in a book, prayer and reflection that leads to gratitude and grace, a walk in the woods, undivided attention and device free moments with family and friends. That’s my list. What’s yours?
And when we get to more “yes” things that matter, the other stuff that makes up our ridiculously long “to do” list gets done. And if they don’t then maybe those things shouldn’t be done in the first place. Add more quality to your days and your tasks by doing less so the things that you spend your precious and limited time on bring more joy and discovery to your days. Remove items from the list so you can fully participate in life rather than be a “productive” machine.
Add by subtracting. It’s the new math.
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales
Busyness is the ailment of our time. Hurrying from one thing to the next to keep the balls in the air, never questioning the value of the balls we frantically juggle. Breath and let go. Two very difficult tasks when we are all lathered up. But we have choices and we must act on them, never accepting what is as the inevitable.
So if it’s been one of those days or one of those months or even years, don’t resign yourself to it. Fight like hell to find peace and furrow into planting calm. Circumstances, expectations and people often won’t change, but we always can.
There’s a weariness to daily living. And when we dig a bit deeper, we quickly expose the beauty of each moment, of the present. Don’t fall for your first reaction or frustration. Wait it out, push on through and never accept mediocrity over full living.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” – Helen Keller
As I was driving back to work after a chiropractor appointment to ease some chronic wrist, hand and neck pain, I pulled up behind a hearse at a stop light. I didn’t really notice it until I came along side it on the road.
It woke me up out of auto-pilot as I was thinking about the 500 emails I was returning to and the nonstop meetings and interruptions that make up a regular work day.
Bottom line – if you’re not in a box riding in the back of a hearse, start living! It may sound morbid but what’s even more morbid and morose is our complacent acceptance of the daily minutia and grind that steals the beauty and joy that we are meant to partake in and offer while we are here for a very short time.
So next time you’re stuck in a negative mood or worse, in a state of numb, wake up and enjoy each day starting now. Take the last-minute trip, call your Mom and Dad if you are fortunate to have them still here, laugh more, try something new, dare to be bold and bright.
Because if you’re not in one of these, you are obligated to live fully, to walk softly and to embrace your days with delight and awe. No regrets. Start living.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
If you make only one resolution this year, make it daily gratitude. Commit each day to soak in your blessings. We move so fast that our blessings that we are showered with barely touch our skin, much less soak in.
Soaking and depth demand quiet and connection. Be grateful and all of your other resolutions that are meant to be will fall into place.
Our cup is not only half full, it’s overflowing. Soak it in.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown
“So many things show their beauty when we go quiet. So many truths are present when we look up from under our trouble. To fall below the world while still living in the world makes us remember that the truth waits under our opinions is our home.” – Mark Nepo, Things that Join the Sea and the Sky
No excuses or exceptions. Carve quiet into your day – get off the grid of technology, distractions and demands. Morning is the perfect time to start slow, anchor in truth and then enter the day with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. We too easily allow ourselves to be pulled aimlessly in several directions. A pin ball machine on steroids, missing the beauty ever present in moments. We are lost and searching for something that is right in front of us, in us.
Get “off the grid” and fly below the noise and distractions. And then the beauty you’ve been missing and searching for will suddenly appear.
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver
Advent, the season of waiting, of anticipation, of long moments leading up to promises fulfilled. Slow down this busy season and engage in the waiting, grow your depth of patience and attention. In the waiting, we hear our own voice. In the waiting, silence fills the void with answers to be heeded.
Nature knows how to wait, to rest, to furl, to follow, to lead, to flow with the seasons. Find pockets of quiet and solitude each day so the fullness of each moment can unfold as the noise subsides. And the most precious sacred gift of awe is opened.
“Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.” – John Muir
No better way to start a Monday after a long holiday weekend than with sage bumper sticker advice – “Wag more, bark less.” Pretty much sums it up. The road to a happier life is noticing and celebrating simple moments, every day. The gifts of being present daily are available to all of us. So unwrap the gifts and start wagging that tail.
Barking leads to more barking and diminishing joy. Let go of judgment, complaining, cynicism, assumptions and the stories that we tell ourselves about scarcity. Abundance comes from wagging, not barking.
Wag a lot more and bark a lot less. Then every day, even Mondays, become Fridays.
“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” – Kristin Armstrong
Growing up around lakes, we would pick up rocks and see how far we could skip them across the water. Finding flat shaped rocks and throwing side arm, the rock barely touching the surface. Distance over depth.
The demands of our “do more with less and do it as fast as you can” world is like having a bottomless mountain of rocks skimming for distance. And it’s a pretty hollow activity that produces little relevance and quality in our days.
We worry about machines taking over our jobs. I hope they do so we can stop producing like machines and creating like humans, as we are meant to do. We have so much more deeper down than we pursue. Those individuals who are creating to their full cognitive ability and capacity are those who go deeper, linger longer and have said “no thanks” to more with less.
I am in hot pursuit of less pursuit, of going deeper, lingering to allow my mind to absorb rather than process. Beauty is found in simplicity and depth. Every one of us has the same 24 hours to work with. We need to make different decisions, take different actions to get to a different place. Each day we need uninterrupted quiet time to pursue depth. Multi-tasking and frantically jumping from one thing to the next is skimming rocks. Slow down and tap into the depth of your being so you can discover who you are meant to be and what you are here to contribute to this world.
Less mindless production, more sweet fruit. Find your light and cast it.
“In this world of ours, every believer must be a spark of light, a center of love, a vivifying ferment for the mass; and it will be that all the more as, in the depths of his being, he lives in communion with God.” – Pope John XXIII
“If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.” – Logan Pearsall Smith
“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Speed over depth
Multi over single tasking
Loud over quiet
Busy over slow
Quantity over quality
Make different choices, get different results. Pause. And then pause again. Go deeper, slower and stay longer in each moment.