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Posts from the ‘optimism’ Category

The Unmaking

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.”― Seneca

Change and transitions invite us to awaken, observe and be opened. The struggle is not in change itself, but in the resistance to it. The process of being “broken” releases the power of transformation and transcendence of circumstances, other people and our own ego.

When we observe our life broadly and deeply, we uncover and discover that blessings are woven through burdens. The uncertainty and struggle that accompanies, is our calling to the “unmaking” of what has accumulated and collected, been protected and fed.

We own our response, create our daily condition and influence the outcome. When we choose the transformative journey over the shortcut, we go deeper into “demolition day” to start again, daring to be made new with no desire to return to the old. The lyrics of Nicole Nordeman’s The Unmaking say it so well:

“This is where the walls gave way
This is demolition day
All the debris and all this dust
What is left of what once was
Sorting through what goes and what should stay

What happens now?
When all I’ve made is torn down
What happens next?
When all of you is all that’s left
This is the unmaking
Beauty and the breaking
Had to lose myself to find out who you are
Before each beginning
There must be an ending
Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars
This is the unmaking”

If willing and open, release the old to create space for the new. “Before each beginning, there must be an ending.” Welcome the endings so new beginnings can ensue. New heart and spirit.

Optimism and hope show us the finish line, providing the fuel to get there. Never underestimate the power of gratitude, laughter, joy and light to change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has or ever will. Keep searching for light, accept it and cast it back out again in ordinary everyday exchanges. We are the heroes and authors of our own life. Write your story well.

“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” – Ezekiel 36:26

To or For Us?

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – E. M. Forster

Often we assume that things are happening to us rather than for us. Immediately going to “worst-case” scenario thinking, we shut the door on exploration, insight and expansion. Abundance to scarcity in a split second. Assumptions, judgments and the past serve as the lens for the present and a map for the future. How many times have we been “saved” from something in hindsight that at the time felt like we were being “screwed over?”

A woman last week was standing in the middle of the road when Abby, Sasha and I were on the way to the dog park. Her back turned toward me, she was waving her arms to stop a truck. At first, I was irritated that she was in my way, so I turned into the parking lot to go another direction. As I looked closer, she was in the middle of the road because a live wire was down and she was stopping traffic from driving over it. In that moment, I realized how quickly we jump to the wrong conclusions and race to judgment. I was grateful that she just didn’t drive away when she saw it but stood there preventing others from driving over it. Generosity, kindness and empathy in a simple act.

In our need to understand and control, we put everything and everyone in a box that serves our narrow narrative, our biases that experiences often reinforce if they go unchecked. How many awesome people have you never really met because you labeled them before getting to know them?

Amidst the pandemic, civil unrest is surging and anger rising. Rooted in bias, hatred, social inequities, conspiracy theories on all sides, arrogant institutions and political parties that never have learned the necessity to work together to create policies and frameworks for the whole rather than advancing their power and position.

In the days ahead, take a breath, go within and check your own assumptions and biases. Contribute to peace and understanding through reflection, thoughtful discourse and empathy. We always have been and always will be in this together. How we choose to shape the future depends on our individual response and contribution to understanding, peace and solving problems together.

So much is happening “for” us rather than “to” us. See today with fresh, unassuming eyes and make something positive, meaningful and lasting of your time on earth. Be remembered for light, not darkness.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa

 

equanimity

“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav

After 100+ days of a morning meditation with Insight Timer, I have attained equanimity – mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper. By no means a perfect record, the daily ritual is moving me to a new ease. Self-awareness, kindness, self-care all lead to changing the only person we can change – me.

In addition to self-reflection through meditation and prayer, the way to make it “stick”  is adding affirmations. We not only need to identify and remove the negative, we need to replace it with optimism and action.

Start the journey back to yourself. Be selfish, work on yourself before trying to fix others. May we all be patient and aware enough to keep moving through the process of transformation. From caterpillar to butterfly, again and again.

Right in Your Own Backyard

“On your journey, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Take time out to notice that you’re alive. You can only live in one day.” – Ray Fearon

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

Last week, I took Abby and Sasha for the first time to a dog park in Hastings when meeting a friend to pick up a Christmas gift that she painted. When we first arrived and I took them off leash, they were perplexed. Surely I made a mistake, they were in open space with other dogs and new territory to explore. Once they acclimated, they absolutely loved it.

Abby chased tennis balls with her usual vigor and delight. Sasha was the social director, introducing herself and making friends with other dogs inviting them to chase her and she would reciprocate. I was so pleasantly surprised and wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner.

There’s a dog park just blocks from my house that I’ve passed for years and never stopped. This week, we went there every day. Each time, they were excited as the first time, meeting new friends and dancing through leaves to hunt balls.

So often, we have places, people and blessings in plain sight, right in our own “backyard.” We miss them going on to the next thing, to the “better” yard, the “other person’s” yard. We pass them each day, not noticing, taking them for granted, as if invisible. In the middle of our ordinary days are extraordinary gifts.

Start noticing and exploring your own “backyard” with gratitude, awe and joy. It’s a beautiful view right outside your window.

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Threads of Hope

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” – Tertullian

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” – Aeschylus

There are threads of hope woven through every day. Look for the threads and do not cease before finding them. Rainbows after rain. Color all around. Beauty in the forefront. Joy to embrace. When we open to hope, we can offer it in return. Hope is a way of life, not a last resort. Choose hope. Choose light and cast it.

“Hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone.” – Martha Beck

Sweet Nectar

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” – Marcus Aurelius

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus

We’re on the cusp of fall now as summer wanes. Warm during the day, cool nights and mornings. Not quite before, not quite after, in between on the edge. Through seasons and transitions, we make our decision how we will go through. Some will choose to fall backward into the past, comforted with familiarity and false certainty. Others will trip forward still hanging on to pieces of the past, begrudgingly moving into the future. And then there are those brave few who hurl themselves forward into the unknown with certainty that action and momentum will do their job of revealing what’s next and our role in it.

Be that brave soul and launch into the unknown, allowing transformation and fruition.

“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.” – Wayne Dyer

Let’s Play Now

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” – Carl Jung

“The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.” – Carl Jung

Every time I let others get to me, not in a good way. Every time, I get off the positivity path and wander into a cloud of negativity. Every time, I choose dark over light. I soon wake up and rediscover blessings and gifts that are already present and available when I look with new eyes. My wake up call comes in a text from a friend, a dog with a toy, the brilliance of a flower or a child in their natural state before we make them “grow up.”

We must never surrender our power and responsibility to be joyful, playful, grateful and in awe. Especially right now when the world is upside down.

Don’t let others get you down. Do your part to lift up, look up and never, ever give up. I am deeply grateful for my tribe who inspire, listen and love unconditionally, moving me rapidly through moments of scarcity and comparison into abundance and purpose. Get out and play and invite others to join you.

“The mind cannot long play the heart’s role.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Light Burns Fog

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse

On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.

Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.

It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.

On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.

Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.

We have enough fog. Cast light.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin

Reflection

“I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.” – C. S. Lewis

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” – Dag Hammarskjold

The blues are bluer, the bright is brighter.  Reflect and look for the good. Look for radiance, grace and beauty. It’s in you and all around.

“We all find joy and radiance and a reason to move on even in the most dire of circumstances. Even in chaos and madness, there’s still a beauty that comes from just the vibrancy of another human spirit.” – Ishmael Beah

Streaming Light

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“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

Whether we choose to see it or not, light is streaming all around us. In nature, in people, in our very being. What we focus on, what we look for, what we think about, what we have hope in becomes our daily reality.

Be honest. Were you content before the pandemic? Are you now? Will you be after? The illusive and perfect someday withers away our today. When you guard and savor joy, circumstances, other people, even a pandemic can’t take it away.

Be intentional not accidental in what you see, think and say. It is a daily decision and discipline to choose light and optimism.

Look for and allow the streams of light to break through the cracks in your life. Break open.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

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