“God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself, and for our world.” – Billy Graham
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson
When in the heat of the moment, in the desire to react quickly rather than thoughtfully, at the very tip of weariness, hope wins when we choose it. Hope and joy are daily decisions that we need to consciously make again and again. Never let your guard down and let your joy be stolen by circumstances, stray thoughts or other people.
As Monday lived up to its reputation today, I thought of the Angel of Hope statute in Duluth that we walked by a few weeks ago. I was reminded to let it all go and enter grace, gratitude and ease. When your earthly journey becomes heavy, let go of the unnecessary and take flight.
Be kind, generous, grateful and filled with optimism especially when you don’t feel like it. Get your hope wings on. Look up and cast light.
Relaxing over a long holiday weekend, I am discovering yet again the necessity and utility of stillness, play and fun. Time in the sun and on the water, conversations and laughter. No schedules, demands or meetings.
We hurry and hustle to get to the next “thing” that we don’t realize that we have already arrived where we are meant to be in this moment. On this 4th of July weekend, celebrate freedom on all levels. Independence from trappings of limiting beliefs, unforgiveness, worry, and “shoulds.”
Slow down and be grateful for your imperfect, unfinished and blessed life. We keep arriving each day.
“When we can live our stories and not be ruled by them, we love ourselves into being. There is a Spanish saying, Se tu vida, which means “Be your life.” This is all that is asked of us. And yet, in doing so, we can get lost in all that living engenders.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
Every time I want to pull back, to hesitate, to delay, to question, to judge, I hope to dive. To jump in without knowing the ending, to jump in and get wet, to jump in and do a belly flop. May we always jump into life with joy, with abandon and the capacity to be surprised and delighted.
Let your guard down, along with reasoning and certainty. Our days our numbered. Make them count.
“Given our entanglements, one of the most difficult acts of presence is not to vanish when overwhelmed by conflict or hardship. The simplest teachers in nature, such as the sun, the birds, and the flowers, are quietly heroic in this regard, not because they achieve anything, but because they remain completely true to their own nature, regardless of what happens to them.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
A cloudy warm end to the day. A daily run to breathe in the gift of fresh open air. Routine. Habit. Ordinary. And then suddenly, out of the dry leaves of Winter, brilliant deep crisp purple and orange pop out to awaken and sharpen the senses. The ordinary transforms to extraordinary, to delight, to the unexpected. The first and not last sign of Spring, of life, of expansion, of hope, of color invites us in with open arms. A living prayer. An embrace.
Seasons, cycles, certainty, uncertainty and clarity merge. In the midst of transition, of waiting, of the precursor to Spring, wandering in the desert with the oasis around the corner, we find life vibrant and more than well. Planting season, filled with complexity, mystery, light and color.
“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” – Anne Lamott
This is holy, sacred, hopeful time. Take a knee. Offer a prayer. Let go of the familiar. Be prepared to be surprised, to fully enter awe. It’s all around. Wake up!
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ― Dr. Seuss
“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
My nephew Liam, like all kids, has it figured out. He knows how to accept and immerse himself fully into the moment. Not looking behind and not thinking about what’s ahead, embracing the now in its entirety.
When he starts giggling and doing something fun, he’ll say “again!” wanting to enjoy the same thing over and over again until he’s fully exhausted the joy in giving yourself completely to a simple activity. His work is play and he’s mastered his craft. The joy in his eyes and his authentic smile is contagious. I count him as one of my all-time wonderful gifts in my life.
Many of the answers that we search for as adults are rooted in youth. Adults overcomplicate things and multitask our way to “success.” Kids keep it simple and delight in single-tasking. Adults pine too much over the past never learning the lessons the first time. Kids dive deep into now, let go and forgive quickly so they can keep moving into the present. Adults cling to unproductive thoughts, worry about the future and what others think or say at the expense of our own contentment.
At the end of Mary Poppins Returns, there’s a line in the third act song, “There’s No Where to Go but Up” about the secret we know before life makes us grow – look inside the balloon (our heart) and find your own individual song, sing it and always look up no matter the circumstances.
“Look inside the balloon
And if you hear a tune
There’s no where to go but up
Choose the secret we know
Before life makes us grow
There’s nowhere to go but up”
I write this on a Monday, the day we often lament – the weekend is over again! It goes so fast. As I prepare to go “adulting” which includes a ridiculous number of meetings and a long “to-do” list, I’m going to choose to say “AGAIN!” like Liam says with joy and enthusiasm and enter today with nowhere to go but up.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
There are days when I struggle writing for the blog. When I don’t feel like casting light so I remain quiet, thinking that’s more authentic than to write something I’m not feeling in that moment. But that’s the point, no one feels positive and upbeat all the time or much of the time for that matter. We need to work on it until it becomes natural and the only reasonable option when choosing between light and dark.
I’ve read this line from Proverbs many times before, but today it revealed itself in a new way. Pleasant words are healing to the bones. Healing! I’ve focused more on the honeycomb – the sweetness of being positive, which is often irritating when I don’t feel it deep down. It seems shallow, unauthentic. But our thoughts and words can keep us in the desert or heal us and bring us to the oasis. So if you’re not “feeling” positive, so what, do it anyway. There’s healing in those pleasant, sweet words.
“Man is a thinking reed, but his great works are done when he is not calculating and thinking. ‘Childlikeness’ has to be restored … Perhaps this is why it is said that great poetry is born in silence. Great music and art are said to arise from the quiet depths of the unconscious, and true expressions of love are said to come from a source which lies beneath words and thoughts.” – W. Timothy Gallwey
We need to restore the art of play so we can get to the flow of life as it is meant to be. It’s a loud world, busy with busy-ness and not much substance. Take back your day and hit the brakes on the urgent and unimportant. Like water, like a child, easy and light.
“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James
Good habits are necessary to keep us even and balanced. Running and writing are two habits that are important to me and I’ve not been doing them regularly the last few months. Instead, I’ve been busy only doing others’ priorities, others’ agendas. Go faster, do more, it’s not enough, keep pushing, one more thing…
When we succumb to the demands of others and those become the entire make up of our day, we see it show up in how we see and react to our world. And we become people who we don’t recognize or want to be. Impatient, ungrateful and cynical. Yuck.
We will always have the demands of others and work on us. But when we also put a priority on doing our priorities, we can do what’s required with more ease. Getting back to what we enjoy actually makes us more effective and productive. More importantly to the person we want to be around.
We so often know what we need to do, yet we delay the doing. So spend some time today doing things that you enjoy first and then move on to other demands after. Cast some fun into today – it’s a necessity. Now, I am off for a run.