“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
“It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.” – Moliere
Words unsaid. Deeds undone. Forgiveness held back. Talents buried. Regret is most often found in the midst of what we choose not to do. As this week leads to Easter, to redemption and the gift of grace, we can be jolted out of our complacency to live better, more deeply and with great joy.
Say more, do more, forgive more and become who you are meant to be.
“If small things have the power to disturb you, then who you think you are is exactly that: small.” – Eckhart Tolle
Try as we may, we sweat the small stuff. Those people that cause the most consternation only have an impact because we give them permission, even though we know better. We often become that which we try to avoid. Instead of getting the last word in or a flip remark, choose your words and silence carefully. Often silence is the better option.
Each day, we must choose between our authentic self or our conforming self. And if we have a nagging feeling inside, we’ve chosen to conform. Instead of grand gestures, we can simply offer the subtleness of a gentle tone, the gift of civility and eye contact with a smile that says, “I’m listening.”
Cast light and worry not of the darkness around you. It’s longing for light too.
“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
“Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.” – Pope Francis
In the Thornton Wilder play, The Skin of Our Teeth, when the main character George Antrobus is asked what he has lost, he says “the desire to begin again,” noting that it’s the most important thing in life. Each day and every day, we have the opportunity to begin again.
Oftentimes, we allow a few “bad” moments to take our entire day or even week hostage. When we honestly reflect on those days, we realize that there was so much more good in them, but we let the bad trump the good.
By the end of Friday, I had a series of encounters with people demanding me to do what they wanted because it was the most important thing ever. And instead of letting it roll off my back, I let it get to me. 24 hours, a seven mile run and the gift of grace put the “world” back into proper order. And despite the critics, I am going to begin again.
A few definitions of grace include “beauty of form” and “unmerited favor of God.” It’s both really – God giving you the ease and strength to maintain your beauty of form when you don’t feel like it at all.
Grace is the ability to be quiet instead of reacting with our first selfish thought. To choose light over dark. To edify rather than criticize. To let others do what they do and not let it sway your resolve. To let go of the need to be right. It’s a real change of heart that allows us to choose compassion, empathy and love when it’s counterintuitive. It’s aligning our thoughts and heart with our actions. And in order to do all of this, we need the gift of grace and the peace that passes all understanding to intervene to make the seemingly impossible, possible.
Grace comes again to save the day.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Time is only that we may find God.” – St. Bernard
We live in parts and pieces, fragments really. As we swiftly move through the day with thoughts racing to what’s next, we miss the depth and breadth, the fullness. We accept defeat and despair without question. We owe the same to joy and hope.
We are not broken, we are whole. Life is not lacking, it’s full and overflowing with wonder, beauty and bounty. Slow down. Step back. Breath it in. Leave the valley, ascend the hill and see the mighty expanse, the big picture.
All of the pieces and fragments weave together to make up a complete life filled with blessings. We need only see what’s right in front of us, longing to be seen, felt and lived out completely. If only we dare to receive it.
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver
As I waited for my oil to be changed and tires to be rotated, a gentleman sat down next to me on the bench. My head was down looking at my phone. He started a conversation about his son and football. I had the sense to put my phone aside and engage in the conversation for 10 minutes, even though he was a Packer fan (Viking jealousy). Small talk really, but he kept the conversation going, so I did as well.
A simple human exchange that makes you feel human again. What we pay attention to becomes our life, creating depth or mere speed, sometimes a mix of both. If we bring our head up long enough to pay attention, we find a world overflowing with vibrant color and filled with simple conversations that mean more than we know. Be amazed and embrace your life today, for that is all we are promised.
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver
“Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
“The Amen of nature is always a flower.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Let each day unfold without pretense or prediction of what will or should be. Look for the good in others and yourself and let the rest go. Stop trying to fix others and control the uncontrollable. Glimpses of light and clarity are woven through each day to awaken us to life, to ourselves.
“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams
Beneath the weight of the snow lies green grass ready to awaken, flowers ready to burst from the earth. The warmth of the sun brings a slow, steady melt. Renewed and refreshed from the dormancy of Winter, Spring patiently waits to unfold in its time.
Through the seasons of our life, we cycle from hibernation to fruition, never the same, growing and unfolding into ourselves. We can remain buried beneath the layers and weight or we can let the heaviness melt away, letting go, forgetting, forgiving, moving on.
Spring releases Winter. We need not carry it any further. It has served its purpose. Melt, soften, become more gentle. Breakthrough the layers, burst, bud, bloom. Be bright, bold and beautiful. Beneath, beneath, Spring has come.
“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