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Posts from the ‘Samoyed’ Category

Happy Hour

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Our daily ritual of going to the dog park invites joy and delight in the ordinary. When I turn left on Larpenteur Avenue, they know the destination and perk up in anticipation. With enthusiasm and excitement, they pull me down the hill to get into the park to run off leash, greet other dogs and then return to me to begin ball throwing and exploring activities.

When we go in the morning, we are usually by ourselves and they pal around searching for left behind balls and checking out the scents from previous visitors. When we go at dusk, the place is bustling with dogs letting out a day of energy, chasing each other and running in circles. It’s happy hour for dogs, a party every time.

When get bound in a busy, efficient “to do” list mindset, we need to break the meaningless grind with play, wondering and wandering to create meaning and purpose to being.

Rituals, practices and open spaces are ways to embed joy and meaning into daily living. A trip to the dog park, snowshoeing, reading and writing, cross country skiing on a fresh layer of snow are invitations back to self, to fill the well so the “doing” is not so futile.

Separate your being from your doing. No ego, release attachment to work, approval, rules, judgment and assumptions. Enter quiet so you can hear your intuition and follow your internal compass. Nothing to prove, no comparison or competition, no one to outrun. Savor simple moments, return to home to yourself early and often. Sacred, off-leash, ordinary moments.

It’s happy hour somewhere. Start running in circles, dancing with delight.

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.” – John Barrymore

Namaste

“Simply enjoy life and the great pleasures that come with it.” – Karolina Kurkova

A picture says it all. Rest, relax and breath.

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” – William S. Burroughs

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

Dog Days of Summer

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia

“Wherever you are, be there totally.” Eckhart Tolle

No matter the season, these two always know how to have fun. Summer brings rolling in the grass and some serious ball chasing. When I get caught up in my “to do” list and my swirling thoughts, they bring me back to focus on gratitude, presence and joy.

Life is not a continuous puzzle to solve, a checklist to be checked off, a hot pursuit of what’s next. Life is hidden right in front of us in simple moments, in a walk with a friend, in laying next to your best pal and flipping a tennis ball into the air to show off your ball handling skills.

Breathe, laugh and take it all in.

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

Joy Catcher

“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.” – Helen Keller

My niece Emily and son Liam dropped by today and spent the day with my Mom and me. Liam was styling a day robe, excited to show me his water balloon filler where you can fill a dozen balloons at once. Brilliant, efficient fun. Since it was a bit cool to throw them at each other, we launched two sets over the fence under a cloudy sky and watched them burst open on the ground. More playing, a trip to Target for some toys, dinner, movies and falling asleep in my lap ended a wonderful day.

My normal day is usually hyper-focused on work, how much and efficiently that I can get things done, racing to cut the grass before it rains, training for a marathon and regular old housework. What a wonderful non-normal day as Liam instructed me through actions and few words on how to be not only a joy chaser but a joy catcher. I told him that he made my day and he came back with “You made my dreams come true.” My heart skipped a beat. What a sweet boy.

Don’t worry about tomorrow or what’s next. It’s futile and steals our joy in the process. Putting off joy for someday or when “it’s appropriate” locks us in foreboding. This day is all that we are promised so stop focusing on checking off transactional items on your “to do” list. Take moments in and be transformed by joy.

It’s going to rain most of the day tomorrow. We don’t know what the next month will bring. We’re not perfect. It’s tough some days. And none of this, none of it prevents us from capturing joy in ordinary moments. Don’t wish, waste and wither your days away in pursuit of someday. Your someday is today. The rest of the stuff out of our control (the majority of the stuff we pine about) will take care of itself in due time.

Now off to bed to rest up from joy catching and to prepare to cast a net for more joy catching tomorrow.

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Perspective

“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs

“Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” – Thomas Aquinas

When we settle in and settle down, allowing relaxation to restore and rejuvenate, we gain new perspective. A shift, a turn of the head and the world becomes new from the inside out. Don’t waste days wallowing, wading and willowing. Rest up, look up and relax. It’s all good and going to be good with the fullness of time. In the meantime, let go and relax.

This public service announcement is brought to you by my life coaches Abby and Sasha – the model fun makers and relaxation queens. Lighten up, it makes the journey so much sweeter.

“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts

To Good Days Right Now


“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” – Khalil Gibran

To long runs to prepare for a marathon that will probably be canceled in October. To time with family to celebrate motherhood. To friends who show up in texts and call checking in. Good days are available right now, not in the pandemic-free future, if there is one. Look around and take inventory of all that is present and good right now in this very moment. These are abundant, blessed days. Never, ever give up. Naïve – hell yeah and necessary.

“Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” – Epicurus

Chasing

“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

What are you chasing? When we pursue the right things, the ones that are woven with flow, meaning and purpose, the chase becomes the destination. Choose the chase with intention in hot pursuit of pure joy.

“Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.” – William Butler Yeats

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

Onward!

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.” Dr. Seuss

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

As I crammed in a 10-minute rushed jaunt with the girls this morning before a day-long schedule of zoom meetings, the girls were thrilled to be out, poking at each other and then focused attention on the road ahead.

As my mind moved too far ahead, reviewing the endless “to do” list and overcommitments, I saw the girls lunge to the road ahead, with rapt attention, delight and enthusiasm. And yet again, they reminded me how to live the big life in small steps. In the moment, one step at a time, always looking ahead with optimism and joy in search of new adventures.

Not sure where to go? Onward! Of course.

Expansive!

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” – William James

No matter where we are in life, we decide whether we will expand or contract. Right now, the obvious, easy and natural response to contract. Do the opposite. Expand into the world. Connect in new ways, love deeper and embrace optimism and hope. It is the only sustainable and joyful path.

Get out in the fresh air and look beyond the horizon, beyond immediate circumstances. Watch the sun slowly set. Walk and run with your best friend. Let go of the leash and dance in the field. Look up, pull your mask off and simply say hello when passing by to acknowledge our shared humanity and experience.

This moment, how we move through, survive and thrive beyond the immediate is our defining moment. Define the moment rather than letting the moment define you.

We are so much bigger and wonderous than this moment. Observe, absorb and expand!

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