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Take Monday Back!

“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” – Ella Woodward

Mondays have a bad rap. The beginning of the work week when our schedules spin out of control into meetings, the email pours in and we start making our plans for the next weekend while multitasking.

Take Monday back and dip it in glitter.

Drive a new way to work, take a walk at lunch and give Monday another chance to experience joy. We change our scenery when we take a new route, shift our mindset and make a new habit. Every habit starts with a psychological pattern call a “habit loop” consisting of three parts: cue/trigger, routine and reward. I just wrote an article on habit on Start3Things and optimism is an important habit that can fuel more habits. What’s the risk? Joy, delight, laughter? Sounds good to me.

This post is day 7 of 30 day of optimism and positivity. 30 days is a good time frame to start a habit and make it stick. So take this Monday back and seize the day! Now off to work, not on my regular route for sure.

“Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit.” – Natalie Massenet

The Dew of Little Things

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran

One of my favorite Fall weekends is the Twin Cities 10 mile run and Marathon. I’ve done three marathons and today was probably my 15th 10 miler. It’s fun to see friends and family running, people encouraging others on the sidelines and finishing a good run on a cool, sunny morning. The fruition of months of work for thousands of weekend warriors.

This group has run many events with me through the years, both running on the road and all of life events, both victories and losses. We meet up twice a week to run and enjoy a meal and always to gather on this weekend to celebrate the human spirit and resolve. They all make my life better by their presence.

Physical activity releases endorphins, changes our mood and keeps us young. And decades of research shows the value of relationships is the key to our longevity. So get your dose of friends, fun and moving your bones – your best prescription for a very good life.

To understand and to be understood. Let there be laughter!

Delicious Autumn

“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen Covey

“Delicious autumn. My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot

The rain is bringing the transformation of the leaves on the trees and preparing the ground to go dormant as autumn moves us gradually to winter. The cold rain reminds us that it’s transition time, again.

Fear of change, clinging to the past, need for control of circumstances and people, owning others issues as our own all steal of joy for today. Transitions, change and growth are the threads in the fabric leading us to our next selves, our best selves.

“Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally without reservation or regret.” – Dr. William H. Sheldon

May you wholeheartedly embrace today and find your bliss.

Rise

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure,  joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Optimism is rooted in resilience and grit. It’s knowing that things aren’t perfect, days are tough, the past can be heavy and still choosing to look at the world with new and hopeful eyes. Fully aware that each of us is going through challenges with others, work hassles, health concerns, disappointments, we can still rise.

Karma – what you send out, returns to you. Day 4 of positive vibes and wide-eyed optimism – cast light. Join me and invite others to the party.

Still I Rise

BY MAYA ANGELOU

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.  Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

Welcome Mat

“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen

Open the door and lay down the welcome mat to your heart and soul. We seal the windows and lock the doors of our mind to possibility, hope, and serendipity. The time is right now, not some distant fictional future of perfect circumstances – more money, better relationships, 20 pound lighter, the perfect job.  Start right where you are at in this very moment to welcome the gift of today and the calling for you to be exactly where you are at now.

Welcome the world in and walk out boldly into it with your authenticity, flaws and beauty, imperfections and worthiness all wrapped up in one unique, gifted human who is made for joy and delight.

Soak in the light and cast it out in return.

Day 3 of 30 on the positive mindset habit train – all aboard.

4 Simple Things

“I am here and I’m alive. That’s enough.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

The morning is the best time to plant seeds, to set the tone for the day. Set your mind on how you will enter the world. Little things push us over the edge. Stop before you talk or say anything negative. Bring light into the world and it shines back on you tenfold.

Day 2 – optimism rocks – spread it!

“Light originates from a single point…and that point is everywhere.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements offers simple and straightforward directions to live by to find joy daily.

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

Check out more encouraging articles and resources here.

Impeccable words, don’t take it personally, no assumptions, do your best no matter what’s going on.

Cast light!

30 Days of Light – Go!

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell

There’s something about a new month, a new week, a new day that wipes the slate clean, if we allow, giving us the chance to start again. Life can only be lived going forward to be fully realized. The past is done, learn the lessons, be open to growth, let go and move on.

As we kick off the first day of October, I am committing to sending 30 days of positive vibes and daily encouragement to take a walk on the bright side of the road. Optimism is a choice, and often, not an easy one. With practice, intention and commitment, it becomes habit.

So my featured resource for today is the Greater Good Magazine and a few cool links:

Happiness October Calendar download
How to Prime Your Mind for Optimism
Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better

As we enter the first day of this month, join me for the next 30 days choosing gratitude, positive thoughts and actions. Search out awe, say and share only good things, spread joy to lighten the path for yourself and others.

30 days of light starts now – Cast light!

Beautiful Light

“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

I have fond memories of this lamp through decades of seeing it as a center piece at my Aunt Terry’s house. It’s been 26 days since she passed away and the lamp was moved carefully and solemnly to my house today. My eyes keep getting drawn to it and there’s comfort in it.

As I walked by it tonight to turn it off, it reminded me of the beautiful light that we all have within us. It shined the brightest and with little effort when we were young.

With the passage of time, our lights often dim and flicker. Yet, our light always remains within longing to come out to dance and play with abandon. And when we show our beautiful light to the world, it gives the “permission slip” to others to join us on the field trip of joy and gratitude.

No matter where you are on your journey, you have a beautiful light within that remains steady and unwavering. Let it out.

Shine, beautiful light.

Neutral

Life goes from full throttle, twists and turns, to slow and steady, to stalling in neutral. So many chapters we would never have written ourselves. And yet we are right in the middle of the story with nowhere to go but to write the next chapter as best we can.

Each season has its purpose. Neutral, seemingly fruitless ones so often bear the most fruit. Neutral allows us to observe, to shift our attention, to rest our spirit, to examine our assumptions, to grow patience with a side of resilience and trust. And then suddenly, hidden in plain sight of the ordinary dailiness of life are beautiful, wondrous mysteries taking us deeper to new meaning and astonishment.

Look! Amen.

Mysteries, Yes by Mary Oliver

“Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.”

Flowering

“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” – Joseph Campbell

Always think the best of others and choose the bright side. The alternative is dismal. You have no idea what others are going through, so lighten their load with a smile, a shoulder, an empathetic heart. And give yourself a break in the process.

We are all traveling this short journey together in pursuit of purpose, joy, and fulfillment. New eyes, new world.

“Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

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