“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann
We must create open space each day to enter our thoughts, hear our voice and witness the unfolding of our purpose for being. I can multitask with the best of them with meeting after meeting and saying “yes” way more than I should or have the capacity to do.
When we say “yes” to more, we say “no” to what we should really be doing. Urgent trumps important again and again, quickly followed by disappointment and a longing for something real. Jamming more into the day is crippling out ability to do what we want, to rest and to engage our imagination.
We have too much clutter both externally and internally. And our frustration is rooted in the fact that more stuff does not, cannot and will not equate to contentment and happiness.
The Japanese concept of “MA” (pronounced “maah”) is about creating space. When we stop our pursuit of more, we can create space and open ourselves up to enough, depth and meaning.
Slow down, listen, say “no” more so you can say “yes” to what’s important and create some open space today. Here’s to more MA!
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir
It never fails. Nature opens us up. As light snow steadily falls on a soft Sunday morning, a run on the trail into the woods turns into a delightful excursion off trail. As the girls open it up and break their own fresh trail.
Our thoughts bind and limit us. Quiet, gentle nature frees us to think new things, see the world as it is meant to be. Wide open spaces ready to be explored and discovered anew. Inviting us to break trail.
When the noise of civilization returns, return to that open space within, to your true self. That still, steady quiet voice within, that place of ease that needs no explanation. Time to break some trail.
Mornings at Blackwater by Mary Oliver, Red Bird
“For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.
And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.
What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,
and put your lips to the world.
Fill your mind and heart with beauty and light to stay positive, to live positive and to never succumb to the magnet of negativity. Guard your heart, keep it soft. Fill your thoughts with love, forgiveness, compassion and understanding – those things that make absolutely no sense and are not warranted. And yet there is no peace without them.
Fight the good fight and live YOUR life. No regrets, unrelenting joy and a peace that passes all understanding.
“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” – William Shakespeare
I got away to a friend’s cabin (house actually) for a few days. Relaxing, spending time together, playing several Scrabble games (still my favorite game). The world slows down between Christmas and the new year inviting us to slow down as well. And in the quiet unstructured time, we can actually hear that still small voice calling us to go deeper, observe what is present and be refreshed and renewed.
While it’s easier to rediscover our thoughts and dreams in down time, we can carry that quiet within as we enter in to a new year with a clean slate. And we are offered a clean slate, a fresh start every day. The lessons we learn in quiet are meant to be carried back into ordinary daily living, making it less chaotic and more meaningful.
“Cabin Rules” should be our daily rules so we have that get-away vacation feeling every day. It is offered to us all if we dare slow down daily to see our blessings, be grateful and offer each day our best.
Happy New Year and may the resolutions on your heart be reality in March. Keep that new, resolved feeling beyond the next few weeks. Cabin rules rule.
“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav
There is plenty of life to be found in winter. In rest, reflection and in getting out into the middle of it to discovery its own special beauty. Winter is not meant for hibernation alone. Its gifts are preparation, silence and transformation. Winter does the work so spring can get the praise.
Never succumb to the “dead” of winter. Be open to life that winter offers in frozen ground, preparing the bud for bloom in due time. Daily gratitude, in each season.
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov
“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:12
In the past few weeks, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures so all of the November snow has melted. This week, the weather people have been showing off all of their computer weather models and predicting with confidence and certainty that we will have a “brown” Christmas which apparently happens 70 percent of the time. Lots of pining and consternation amidst the hurry and hustle of what is meant to be a season of reflection, anticipation and joy.
When letting the dogs out this morning, I was surprised by a beautiful fresh coat of snow, laying quietly on the ground. And, yet again, God enters softly and says something much different than our chatter. Reminding us for the 499th time (only an estimate, probably higher, should check a computer model to be sure) of who’s really driving. And if we would let go of the wheel that we are gripping oh so tightly, we might enjoy the ride.
“All of nature begins to whisper its secrets to us through its sounds. Sounds that were previously incomprehensible to our soul now become the meaningful language of nature.” – Rudolf Steiner
On this eve of Christmas eve and in every ordinary day, God is present waiting patiently to be found by us. And when we are spinning like a top going nowhere, He whispers with a fresh coat of snow making the world and all in it new again.
He has already claimed us unconditionally. And when we stop putting conditions, rules and judgment on our life, we come alive. So with moments to spare, what God says has the final say. As it should. Merry White Christmas.
Surface for air.
Let go sooner.
Change the stories that don’t serve you well.
Release yourself from perfection, rules and regret.
Write a new page, a different ending.
Give yourself and others a break, be a sucker and believe the best.
Be kind and awake in the moment.
Break the pattern.
Create a mosaic from the pieces and see the whole imperfect, beautiful mess.
It’s yours alone.
Be present to it all.
Every bit of it.
Author of your life? – You.
“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.” – Jim Rohn
Bending and not breaking. That’s what we are made of. To flex, to move, to flow, to dance. When we stop fighting change and move into it, we find our strength. There is magic in the mystery of not knowing everything and allowing life to unfold. Set your sails.
“The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.” – Aesop
“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.” – John Greenleaf Whittier
“Thou hast given me so much to me. Give one thing more, – a grateful heart.” – George Herbert
Too much of our precious and finite time is spent chirping – gossiping, being offended, yipping about the weather (too cold, too hot), offering judgment before compassion and the bigger winner – complaining.
Thanksgiving should be the culmination of a year spent in gratitude. As you enter this week and the holiday season that ensues, take time each day to quietly reflect on the many gifts that you have been given as well as those that you have to offer. We are bigger than we allow ourselves to be. Let wonder back in by opening your eyes to daily blessings. Life is found hidden in moments.
This year, we took the shortcut to January in Minnesota. Single degree temps and windchill. We know winter is coming every year and yet somehow are surprised when it arrives. Rather than run from it, run right into the middle of it. Discover the gifts that even winter has to offer like a stunning sunrise on a newly frozen lake before a 3-mile run.
Just one more thing that I ask for – a grateful heart filled with awe, curiosity and wonder. Embrace Thanksgiving this week and the days to follow with an open heart and mind and a loving spirit. Gratitude brings the world to light and light to the world.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e. e. cummings
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” – Socrates
Coming off my first week of vacation this year, I am relaxed and settled. Away from obligations of nonstop meetings, other peoples’ (ridiculous) expectations coupled with my own set of “rules” made up of “shoulds” and “musts” with little consideration for why. Faster at the expense of better.
Wandering always leads back to wonder. And for the wonder to stick, we must “schedule” pockets of unscheduled time each day and not wait for the next vacation. We are bound by time but must unbind ourselves from doing more and more to quietly being, observing and witnessing. Gratitude ensues.
Consciously choose to live with and on purpose. Wander, listen, be present and allow wonder to re-enter and remain. Pursue light and cast it.