Skip to content

That Flame

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” – Theodore Roethke

That prompt, that soft whisper, that lingering feeling – the flame within. It remains, calling us to our authentic self. In difficult days, when we are left wondering what we are doing and why, it reminds us of our strength and resilience, what we are truly made of. And it pushes us to make changes, whether in our perspective or in our circumstances. It directs, leads and guides us like a compass. Trust it. Take steps each day to pursue your own becoming.

Our freedom comes in our daily choices of what we allow in and what we send out. We so often figure things out when we stop trying to figure them out. Gratitude always reframes our days. That flame within – let it shine. We need more light.

Look Back, Move Forward, Anchored in Today

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Sasha’s second birthday was on Thursday. Both Sasha and Abby were as happy as they were the day before. That’s the thing that dogs and kids have in common. The ability to be fully present in today and to achieve one thing – joy.

And in their process and pursuit of joy, we witness for ourselves the possibility that resides in each one of us and in each day. The capacity and the call to simply be present and aware without going too far back or reaching too far ahead.

The past has gotten to us to today so it serves to provide lessons, ground us in memories keeping those who have gone ahead of us on their journey in this world in our heart and builds our resilience. The future provides hope, fuels anticipation for new beginnings and comes slowly then quickly.

The present is the real gift hidden in ordinary moments, conversations and quiet reflection filled with gratitude, if we choose.

Be open to and seek joy and depth in today. The past is not the map to your future. Been there, done that. New, wonderful and abundant living lies ahead only to be discovered by you one day at a time. Today, that’s it.

Walk Into It

“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk into it.” – Isaiah 30:21

So often we force things. We try to make the puzzle pieces fit where they just don’t fit. Square peg, round hole activities. There is value in allowing things to arrive rather than to always be in hot pursuit. When we allow God to do his work in us, we unfold. A good place to be and remain, a holy sacred ease.

Trust in the mystery. Don’t assume you know the final chapter before you write the first ones. The path appears as we walk into it and at the right time which is often not on our watch. And as the chapters weave the story together, we can find joy in each day, no matter the circumstances.

If you’re at a crossroads or you can’t quite find the road right now, it’s alright. Trust, listen and be open to that soft yet firm voice that whispers, “this is the way, walk into it.”

“A painting is not thought out and settled in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it’s finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.” – Picasso

You are an unfinished beautiful work of art that is being revealed, finished and yet never done, unfolding as you should. Ease up and enjoy the walk.

Carrying Sunday into Monday

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” – Billy Graham

For Lent, I decided to not give up something but to gain something – patience. To be more patient and not allow the little stuff, irritating people, busyness and interruptions to affect my attitude. And, of course, more patience will result in less swearing, even though studies show that people who swear are more intelligent. It’s easy to be positive and peaceful on Sundays. It’s the Monday-Thursday time frame that’s problematic.

We are not perfect and are not built to be. Perfect is God’s job, not ours. What I missed in my intention to be more patient was involving God in the process, allowing him to do his work rather than trying harder.

As soon as we set intentions, forces enter to block and tackle to ensure we are tested. On the way back to work on Thursday (note, the day after Ash Wednesday, within 24 hours of my intention setting), I was driving back to work after letting the dogs out at lunch and bringing three cups of coffee back to friends at work. Rushing to get back to the next meeting, I was three blocks away from the office and the idiot in front of me (note, no patience) stopped quickly for no apparent reason and I hit the brakes. Three large cups of Americano on the passenger side floor flew across the mat, opened up and spilled all over the place.

“My trust in God flows out of the experience of his loving me, day in and day out, whether the day is stormy or fair, whether I’m sick or in good health, whether I’m in a state of grace or disgrace. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am.” – Brennan Manning

Needless to say, swearing ensued. The construction workers at our building learned a few new words that day as I pulled out the cups and tray and stomped and kicked them. Within the first 24 hours of setting my intention, I blew it big time. Nowhere near the mark.

If we allow, time gives perspective and offers up lessons. If I want more patience or anything else, I need to allow God to do his work in me and be open to change. We think that if we work harder and faster and do more, we can find the shortcut to our best self.

When we do less, let go and listen more, we soon discover that where we are right now is for a purpose and when we fail, we need to get back up again and again and keep trying, accepting and offering grace and moving forward to learn and grow. To be better, not perfect.

When we are rooted in the peace and beauty of Sundays, steeped in God’s grace, we can transform Mondays and every other day into opportunities to be fully present, grow in our imperfection and enjoy each day.

“Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It Adds Up

The steps that you take today add up. What they add up to is up to you. Fulfillment and fruition require effort and time. Short cuts are detours that take us off the path we are intended to take.

Do today’s work, allow time to do its work and be gratefully present in this day. Be positive, kind, hopeful, generous and lighten up. Laugh, sing and dance along the way too. We are a work in progress, called to daily joy, growing in preparation to bloom in due time.

Between the Ashes

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19

Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent, the seed planted that over 40 days transforms our winters to springs. If we allow, we are called deep within to reflection, waiting, listening and reconnecting to our deepest self and God within. To search and find lasting value and meaningful joy that the world will never fulfill. A deep joy and contentment that remains and lingers through the roller coaster of life.

Like New Year’s Day, (without the hangover), Ash Wednesday is the first day of a journey of possibility and promise through reflection and repentance. A time in the desert of contemplation of how to become our best selves, to find that person hidden inside our impatient, busy and chaotic daily life of doing more and getting less.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – from beginning to the end. What am I doing and who am I becoming between the ashes of birth and death? Seems worthy of 40 days of focus and reflection leading to the resurrection of Easter.

Daily Gratitude

“It was the rainbow gave thee birth, and left thee all her lovely hues.” – W. H. Davies

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A simple glance to the left and the rainbow caught my attention and awe entered, setting the tone for the day. That’s all it takes. Opening our eyes to what is present in this very moment and rediscovering gratitude in daily encounters.

According to research, simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain:

  1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions;
  2. Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it;
  3. Gratitude’s benefits take time;
  4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain.

For more inspiration and ideas on living well, check out the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which I just tripped on looking for quotes on gratitude. The joy that comes from simple pursuits indeed.

To be more grateful, lift your head up, open your eyes and find the rainbows woven through each day.

YOU Matter

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Ferdinand Foch

If you can be certain of one sure thing, let it be knowing that you matter. Despite what others say or do, you are here for a purpose and have your own special gifts to contribute.

In a world that has the attention span of a gnat, flittering from one empty promise to the next without regard, it is important for you to fully grasp that you matter.

Tune out the noise and enthusiastically dive into your life each day with abandon and joy. Do not be discarded. Be kind to yourself and others, with a side of gratitude. Get to work enjoying your life.

Insulate

“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

As the snow continues to pile on and winter lingers, beneath the insulation of the snow lies the earth quietly preparing for spring. Preparation, waiting and anticipation are fundamental to the seasons in our life to unfold as they always do in due time.

We grow weary in the waiting and must insulate our minds and hearts from the blustery winds of negativity and fear. We know spring comes yet we get caught in a winter-mindset. A bad day turns into a “bad” life. A snapshot into the photo album. A scene into an entire movie. We turn temporary bumps into insurmountable mountains.

We long for change and then fight it when it arrives. There’s comfort and safety in the familiar to be sure. And yet that yearning inside incessantly whispers to us that we are made of more than we allow ourselves to be.

Insulation keeps the cold out but it also breaths so we don’t suffocate. In order to enjoy each day, no matter the circumstances, we need to be porous, letting the fresh air in and keeping the stale, cold air out. We need a Tigger mindset in an Eeyore world, with a spring in our step and spring in our heart.

Never let anyone’s opinion or narrow view define your life. Each of us is called and expected to define our own life, make our own way, help others along their journey and become our true self in the process. No matter where you are at or how old you are, you can always change your perspective, outlook and path.

“If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.” – Wendy Mass

AGAIN!

“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.

%d bloggers like this: