“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
I started this week at a funeral of a 36 years old colleague and friend. When I met her Mom, she was stunned that I had flown out for the funeral. I knew I had to be there to honor her too short life. Seeing her tribe, the ones who knew her the very best, I could see where she derived her joy, grit, work-ethic, resilience and get-it-done with a smile attitude. On my second hug with her Mom, I told her how sorry I was for her loss and she said she was sorry for mine. What a generous loving response.
Many tears, laughs, sweet conversations and honoring a wonderful person who will be deeply missed. In addition to the conversations with family and friends, the words that remain are from the priest as he concluded with a profound insight and reminder – “hope pulls us forward.”
So no matter what is going on in your life right now, hope does pull us forward and holds us when we can’t hold ourselves. Cling to that, knowing that in the fullness of time, it will be more than alright. And when we stop asking the “unanswerable in this moment” why, we can go deeply in moments of struggle and loss to find hope, gratitude and meaning.
Be grateful, generous and kind today. It will make a difference for others and yourself. It’s a win-win proposition, one that you will never regret.
“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.” – Mary Oliver
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley
A big band as the sun prepares to rest can only make for a bit of delight. Music, art and nature sustain and fill our very soul. A light step, a twirl and a smile and the moment is so much more than enough.
Lily and me escaped to Como Lake tonight. To walk, not run. To saunter, not speed. Embracing the gift of a warm summer evening with a slight breeze at just the right time. When we sat down to enjoy the music, an older couple got up to show us how to lighten up and dance like no one was watching.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato
Escaping all that binds us need not be complicated or planned too far in advance. Spontaneous and special, and required of us daily.
Turn up the music and get out on the dance floor.
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning
It is in the effort and action of reaching that we are simultaneously pulled and pushed. Motion transforms to momentum. Dreams released to unfold. The effort soon becomes effortless and the action natural.
“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad
Change is our friend not foe. Growth is our calling. And reaching our potential is not only for oneself but is the gift that the world needs from each one of us. Our purpose is to leave this world with no regrets or doubts that we became our best and most sacred self. And the world is better for it.
Reach, and keep reaching.
“I have begun to think of life as a series of ripples widening out from an original center.” – Seamus Heaney
“To be attuned to the mysteries at work in our lives is to behold the spirit or the sacred in our otherwise secular experiences. And that perception of the sacred transforms life, raises it to a new level. It makes us alive rather than dead and causes the world to resurrect.” – Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own
Each day becomes sacred when we find the holy in ordinary moments. Slices of time that show us a glimpse of something higher, deeper and renders speech silent so the vastness of it all can be taken in, but for a moment.
See the ripple in the clouds, search for patterns, embrace the embrace longer, smile wide and hold it until people wonder what’s right with you. We become whole an experience and encounter at a time. There are no detours and delays that are not meant to be. Each step, each motion forward make us stronger, more aware, more equipped for what’s next, for what’s expected of us.
Behold and grasp the sheer beauty and awe. Behold.
“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“God changes appearances every second. Blessed is the one who can recognize God in all God’s disguises. One moment God is a glass of fresh water, the next, your son bouncing on your knees, or an enchanting woman or perhaps merely a morning walk.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
May you see the depth, beauty and dimension of each moment today and in the gift of each day that follows. Grace and gratitude.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.” – Eckhart Tolle
Imagine ahead to the sun setting on this day. As you lay your head down to sleep, what will you have done with this day? How we enter each moment, aware or on auto-pilot, makes up our life. Be present this day, in your life and all that is right now.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton
Every once in a while, Lily or Molly quietly disappear from the living room. When I go look, I always find them lying on the bed waiting to be found. When I sit next to them and snuggle in, they always perk up – mission accomplished. That’s all they want. They just want to be found. A simple yet profound reminder that all of us just want to be found, to be missed, to be sought, to be seen, to be heard.
“Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” – Eric Hoffer
When we get out of our own head long enough and use our heart to find others with a smile, a compliment, a moment of attention, our world expands and grows richer.
And when we search and find others, we actually find ourselves, our best self. Shine a light, feel the warmth.
“Recognize the possibility of the divine in any given moment.” – Dani Shapiro
“I awoke only to see the rest of the world was still asleep.” – Leonardo da Vinci
A sunset breaking through the paint brushed clouds and resting on the sleeping water show us how to return to our true north, our center. The sun rises and sets. The water ebbs and flows. Lighting and reflecting all of the beauty that surrounds it. In tune with its nature, rising above the fray. Buoyant, strong, at ease and steady.
We may get pulled under the water now and then, but we are built to be buoyant, returning to the surface. We need only to let go of the anchors that keep pull us under. Wake up, let go and float.
“In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.” – Wislawa Szymborska
Be the poet of your life. Make each word count. Weigh each moment, filled with gratitude and awe. See the extraordinary in the ordinary. Light always overcomes shadow. Be light. A beautiful composition of light.
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T. S. Eliot
When we are still . . . our senses awaken to the beauty that remains even when we can’t see, hear, feel, taste and breath through the noise and distractions that can overcome and distort the truth.
We hear the birds singing in harmony;
We feel the soft breeze of a Spring morn;
We see the hues in the sky;
We breath in and absorb the fragrance of flowers bloom;
We empathize instead of judge others because we realize we are in this life together and merely want to be seen, accepted and loved;
Time stands still because we live and appreciate the depth and brevity of each moment.
“I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.” – Georg Trakl