“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” – Anne Lamott
“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” – Jose Ortega y Gasset
The clarity and crispness in a single petal. The depth of purple as the flowers open their arms and drink in the sun.
Search relentlessly for flowers. For color and hue. For music coming from the trees dancing in the wind, from a beating heart. Focus and listen intently. Pinpoint the blessings in the simple things.
What we pay attention to truly does define our days. Choose well and transform each moment into magic and wonder. Our treasures do not last forever so savor them now. Go deep into gratitude and rapt attention.
Crisp. Colorful. Brilliance.
“I would argue that nothing gives life more purpose than the realization that every moment of consciousness is a precious and fragile gift.” – Steven Pinker
“Love is the strongest and most fragile thing we have in life.” – Vanessa Paradis
Two years ago on this Sunday, I backed out of my parents’ driveway after spending the day with them as I often did every weekend. Molly and Lily in the front seat with me and my Dad standing looking out with his hand in the air waving and watching until I reached the end of the driveway.
It turned out that this would be the last day I would see him alive. He died on Thursday while I was stuck on a plane coming back from a work trip. I didn’t make it back in time to say good-bye. We spoke everyday and nothing was left unsaid, so no regrets. Only deep loss and missing him every day since and until I see him again. This coming Saturday on the two-year anniversary of his passing, I will be back on a plane for another work trip. Flying has never been the same since that day two years ago.
In a moment, life changes. And then we are reminded again of that which we so often forget. Each day is a gift and joy is found in simply spending time together.
Be present, grateful and profoundly aware of all that surrounds you each and every single day. We have no guarantees of what is to come. Love fiercely. Hug longer. Forgive often. Laugh hard. Soak it all in.
Today was a beautiful sunny day as the 60+ degree temperature slowly melted the late snow away and spring softly enters a bit late. There are many doors and seasons we pass through. Each one has its own gifts. Open them all.
“Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” – Barbara Kingsolver
GOOD NEWS! You are in control of you – your thoughts, moods, assumptions. So carefully and mindfully make right choices each day. Change your thoughts, change your world. Get beyond the “why me” and worrying mindset and meditate and take action on what is most important.
It is a guarantee – we will all have setbacks and disappointments. Everyone of us. And when we move through the grief and frustration of often times deep loss and change, there will a pivot point when you must move to what is new and next.
And when defeated by the cumulation of little things, pause, take a deep breath and push the reset button. Each day is a brand new opportunity to start again. Stop carrying all of that stuff that is dragging you down and shake it off. Gratitude and a hearty smile will change your world.
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.” – Aristotle Onassis
It is April 9th and it snowed again. I worked half the weekend on projects and trying to get my email down which didn’t work. I’m still at 500 emails with “to dos” attached to them. Civility is at an all-time low and adult-bullying is at an all-time high. Friends struggling with death, surgery, elderly parents. And it’s Monday and my calendar is filled with meetings that will produce more “busyness.”
Insert your list here.
We all are justified to be exhausted, frustrated and fed up. But that bus trip gets you to wasted days that never return. So despite our justifications, we must cling to hope and find joy in our winter seasons.
So much of what we suffer is outside of us – circumstances, unreasonable expectations, other people, the weather. We can and must control what’s inside so we can go out into the world and be hope and joy-filled people. To contribute to light rather than darken the darkness.
We have to intentionally, mindfully and actively choose hope over despair. So write your list, acknowledge the challenges and then move on. Also, write a list of your blessing and gifts. It will be much longer and deeper than you think. Gratitude is the bus to get on.
Find your inner “Tigger” and grow flowers within when the soil outside is still frozen and barren. And go out and beam, start a domino-effect of joy. That’s powerful. Joy over despair.
Cast light, bloom, multiply joy. Now that’s worthy of our time and attention.
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II
“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Been going through the motions lately. Busy, busy. Bouncing from one thing to the next with little depth in between. There will always be a reason to put living off for another day. Yet today is the only one promised so stop and carve moments of joy, laughter, quiet and gratitude. A song, a poem, a picture, a few words. At least one.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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