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Posts from the ‘Summer’ Category

Slow and Steady

“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon.” – Sue Monk Kidd

“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon.” – Sue Monk Kidd

“The fullness of one’s soul evolves slowly.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits

As summer winds down and “back to school” awaits just around the corner, another season enters and the pace quickens. Summer invites us to slow down and take in sun, flowers and long weekends.

I’ve yet to experience a slow summer or a fast winter. But all seasons have their purpose. When we gratefully open the gifts each has to offer, we can be fully present in our life right now as it unfolds, often in waiting. Patience, like abs, is a tough muscle to build. It also requires us to keep moving without seeing and knowing. Trust is patience’s best friend.

Slowly and steady, cocoon to butterfly.

“And somehow the transformation you knew would never come, that impossible lumping of fresh life and revelation, does come. It manifests itself in unseen slowness.” – Sue Monk Kidd

August Bloom

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“Change is a continuous process. You cannot assess it with the static yardstick of a limited time frame. When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant. You have to be patient. With time, it grows into a large tree. And then the flowers bloom, and only then can the fruits be plucked.” – Mamata Banerjee

There’s something special about an August bloom. Spring invites bloom, so there’s no surprise with the accompanied delight. A late bloom shows us the capacity we all have to continue to change, grow and bloom into beauty.

Keep planting seeds, cultivating the soil, soaking in the rain and be ready for your burst of brilliance. It happens in all seasons.

Persistence. Time. Fruition.

Stop in Your Tracks

“I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.” – Laurence Olivier

On a long run last night, this flower stopped me in my tracks.

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker

This beauty was followed by dozens of flitting and playful monarch butterflies swimming through flower patches on the path, floating about in joy and delight. Flowers, butterflies, a sunset pull us out of our spinning thoughts and worries, reminding us of the amazing miracle of life.

God is a creative creator, sustainer and redeemer. He shows us this in nature, in people and in soft whispers in our heart. We are swimming in signs and wonders in seemingly daily “little” things.

Like a flower and butterfly, we go from seed to bloom, from cocoon to butterfly. And in the middle of transformation, we get distracted, confused and discouraged. Keep going. And while you’re on the journey, stop in your tracks and see the depth and brilliance in a purple flower.

Wake up and notice the simple miraculous beauty abound today, tomorrow and the next.

New Mountains

“You have stayed at this mountain long enough.” – Deuteronomy 1:6

The Israelites journeyed in the wilderness for 40 years. The distance to the promised land should have taken 11 days.

We spend way too long in the wilderness looking for the shortcut, lost in our rules and assumptions, making the journey longer than it has to be. We then get comfortable in the wilderness rather than finishing the journey and preparing for new mountains.

You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Stop circling the same mountain and move on. Comfort and familiarity are not goals to aspire to in this one short precious life. New, exciting and fulfilling mountains ahead so keep moving forward. Let go of what was and move into your becoming.

“Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day —Mary Oliver

Winter, Again

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.

We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.

Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.

It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.

And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.

Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.

Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.

 

Blue Skies, Eventually and Always

“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” – Augustus Hare

The morning sky broken open with rain, not leaving much hope for outdoor activity. And then it ceased but the clouds lingered into the afternoon. While not perfect, the pontoon will only be in the water a few weeks more, so we launched to capture one of the last rides of the season.

The lake was windy, offering the perfect invitation for sail boats to harness the wind. And many accepted the invitation. So we weaved around and watched them dance across the water with speed and grace.

The beauty of freedom with the art of holding the sail just right with the shifting winds. One of the sail boats missed a cue and fell over. Boats stopped to check and waited until they went upright. With just the right pull, the wet sails arose, ready to join the others in the pursuit of the wind again.

Soon the clouds dissipated, and blue sky broke through. What started as a rainy day transformed into a beautiful afternoon.

Our start is not where we finish. And when we join in even in less than perfect circumstances and patiently wait for things to unfold, we discover the joy in the wind and the surprise ending filled with blue.

Blue skies always are behind the clouds, eventually and always.

 

Nectar to Honey

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” – Saint Francis de Sales

“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Joy is a choice and our highest calling. When we can find joy each day, despite our circumstances, we have found the sweet nectar of a good life filled with gratitude. Float lightly in search of nectar and the honey will follow.

Aaah and Awe

“Awe is the finest portion of mankind …In awe, one feels profoundly the immense.” – Goethe

“Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.” – Darrell Hammond

Watching the kids jump off the bus today brought me back to those days in May filled with anticipation of school getting out for the summer. The excitement of hanging out with friends, swimming, biking and carefree days. Just pure ease that summer demands.

So often, we appreciate days and moments the most in the rear view mirror rather than when we are in the midst of them. As you move into these sweet days of summer, be present and aware while you are in them, tune out the noise. Pay attention to moments rather than fictional “some days.”

Take long walks, enjoy an ice cream cone, read a book or take a nap in one of those adirondack chairs or hammocks that are always empty. This day, this moment is the substance, depth and breadth of life.

Get on the bus.  The journey is the destination.

Cutting the Lawn in Winter

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” – Albert Camus

Mid-April and 17+ inches of snow in Minnesota this past weekend. No doubt, it has been one long winter that continues on. Circumstances, other people, the weather take up too much of our time. We lament and try to change things that we can’t change. In the midst of this effort, we are missing out on our life.

It’s pretty simple, yet we’ve made it hard. We either hibernate or we find the invincible summer inside and burst out into the world, regardless of what’s in our peripheral vision. Our ability to focus our attention and time on what’s important and of meaning has never been more important.

If 17 inches of snow can defeat us, we need to work on our resilience and more importantly our sense of humor needs some exercising. Flex your joy muscles today and bring summer to the winters that surround you, even in July. However, I am not convinced that snow is not possible in July based on this past winter. Bring it on!

Sometimes, you need to get the lawnmower out in the snow.

A Good Grass Stain

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.” – Thomas Jefferson

“There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.” – Rupert Brooke

You know you’re having fun when you have a grass stain on your head and a smile ear to ear. When is the last time you had a good grass stain and a hearty smile? Too long for me I must say.

Lighten up and take it all with a bit less seriousness. Too much worry, too much work and no play makes our days drudgery.  Our regrets will center on not being in the moment when it was happening and realizing the joy that was ours for the taking. “Someday” is an excuse to put off your life.

Schedule time each day to search out a good grass stain and a smile that sprouts from within.

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