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10

“To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.” – Confucius

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

News Flash – the entire world is in the midst of a pandemic right now, civil unrest and an election filled joy and delight. Uncertainty continues. Work from home. School from home. Fear. Anxiety. Unknown.

I can hear the tone and angst in emails, in conversations, on zoom calls. I’ve done my share of contributing in a similar fashion at times. I try to stop myself in my tracks to not become what I attest. In the past three days, I’ve gotten sharp angry emails, assuming the worst intentions rather than simple human error.

So here’s your Mr. Rogers lesson for adults since many are acting like children who have skipped lunch and can’t play with your toys. Count to 10 before you send an email or assume you’re the only person going through a difficult time right now. Mr. Rogers would also advise children to look for the helpers. Why not try to be a helper?

Be kind. Be patient. Empathy works, try it. Learn to breath, assume the best and count to 10. Reflect and think before you speak or send an email.

Tip of the week: Download the Insight Timer meditation app. I’ve been listening in the morning and evening the past two weeks and am finding a deep peace with a few hiccups during 10 hours of daily work filled with delightful emails. Meditate in the morning and evening to reflect on you, not others. We all, all of us, can do and act better.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Breathe.

Cast some light. Please. Let’s help each other carry the load and find joy right now when we need it the most.

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth

Light Burns Fog

“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch

“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse

On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.

Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.

It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.

On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.

Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.

We have enough fog. Cast light.

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin

Seasons

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Labor Day 2020. 54 degrees, cloudy, with the day wrapping up with a cold rain. Summer has taken a sharp left into fall. Like summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring back full circle to summer, life is cyclical. We live our days linearly, in pursuit of the straight line between point A to point B. We miss the cues and clues of seasonality and certain change.

As we move into fall, trust and enter the transformation of the season, knowing we all have the capacity and calling to change, to be transformed. There’s comfort and certainty in the seasonality of living in the moment. Swirls and detours rather than straight lines and efficiency. Glancing into the future, releasing the past and embracing now.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

Reflection

“I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.” – C. S. Lewis

“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” – Dag Hammarskjold

The blues are bluer, the bright is brighter.  Reflect and look for the good. Look for radiance, grace and beauty. It’s in you and all around.

“We all find joy and radiance and a reason to move on even in the most dire of circumstances. Even in chaos and madness, there’s still a beauty that comes from just the vibrancy of another human spirit.” – Ishmael Beah

Blossoms of Hope

“Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.” – Mark Twain

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Beyond circumstances and this time, hope remains, rooted deep in our soul. Waiting patiently to be invited, embraced and held tight to carry us through and beyond. When we look through a lens of gratitude, we discover so much more than a thread of hope, we find a rope of hope. Thick, resilient and strong, a net holding us softly and firmly.

Be open to the possibility to see now differently. Invite awe and enter each moment knowing that you are co-creating your experience. Choose your thoughts, words and actions carefully for they shape your reality.

Blossoms of hope are blooming all around. Look for them and they will appear everywhere.

“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

Make New Memories

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

Today marks the first day of the Minnesota State Fair – 10 days of fun. I live a mile away and have not missed going at least once if not a few times each year. Many good memories with family and friends. With the pandemic, many things have changed, turned upside down and have been canceled.

While I’ll miss the fair and other fun activities this year, I am trying to create new memories and be open to different experiences. And while the change and loss in 2020 is extraordinary, we are not called to remain in they abyss. We are people of hope, resilience, creativity, innovation, imagination, joy, laughter, promise, light, depth and purpose.

Create new memories with trust and assurance that we don’t remain in one place and time forever. So as we live through this rare time in history, many things have not been canceled and new things have been given – quiet, family, joy, gratitude, time to create, plan, think, exercise, read and connect with others in new ways.

We need a collective mind shift to optimism, hope and abundance. If we create that state in this moment, we can confidently move through the pandemic and all of the other struggles on this journey. Keep the faith. The only way to live life is forward. Create new memories and cast light.

“Fun is good.” – Dr. Seuss

“Don’t ever become a pessimist… a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.” – Robert A. Heinlein

Rewire

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”– Pema Chodron

From the time I read The Power of Positive Thinking over 30 years ago, I’ve had a deep interest in psychology, optimism and purpose. It’s why I launched Cast Light over 9 years ago and launched Start3Things last year.

Advancements in neuroscience over the past two decades have provided new insights on how we can rewire our brain to positively impact our daily life. We are “wired” to see negative more than positive. It’s called negativity bias. I just started an online course on Meditations to Change Your Brain to gain new strategies and insights to expand my perspective and go deeper.

With mindfulness and meditation, we can exercise our brain and keep discovering, learning and growing. Meditation can steady your mind, focus attention, reduce stress and prompt creativity. I can’t think of a more important time than right now to pursue this practice daily to plan and prepare for each day and to get to the other side of the pandemic and well beyond.

While there are many meditation apps available, Insight Timer is actually free and has over 55,000 guided meditations. It’s an easy way to rewire our brain to find joy, light and calm in each day. If each of us pursued this for ourselves, imagine the state of the world. Start with your world first and see what the world can become in this very moment.

“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”– Jiddu Krishnamurti

BLESSED!

“What people call serendipity sometimes is just having your eyes open.” Jose Manuel Barroso

On the way home from a long run/walk last night, more walk than run, I sat down on the patio of a new pizza restaurant a block from home and watched three people cut down two trees in the parking lot. As I was thinking how tired I was from a long day of meetings, they were still moving branches, filling a bin with the debris and working hard.

As the owner of the tree cutting business sat down at the table next to me, we began to talk. He told me that he was happy to be outside again and working since he just finished up treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma that weakens the bones. He certainly didn’t look like he was weak as he moved large branches. And as he finished his story, he declared that he was BLESSED! And he said it with all-caps fervor.

A not so random encounter to remind me that I am blessed too! We all are blessed. We just need to recognize it. And when you forget, a stranger crosses your path to remind you to see the blessings amongst the daily mess of ordinary days. Blessed is certainly a better way to live.

Live today aware of your blessings and declare it!

Choose

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Happiness is a choice, a daily one. Regardless of circumstances, others and our own wandering aimless thoughts, we can go deeper within and rise above. Be mindful with your intentions and actions. Hope and conviction beyond the obvious into the unseen.

It’s that simple and that complex. Children and dogs have mastered it. The student really is the teacher. Learn the lesson. Do the work. Choose happy.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller

Space and Grace

“Grow in the root of all grace, which is faith. Believe God’s promises more firmly than ever. Allow your faith to increase in its fullness, firmness, and simplicity.” – Charles Spurgeon

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther

Carve moments throughout the day to create space to listen, ponder and be at ease. Open up to the newness of the day, becoming aware of grace that is present, a free gift if we choose to open it. Go boldly with trust into the simplicity of living that we are called to enter.

Assumptions, old wounds and judgment cloud the path forward. The past, the way we choose to see it, need not define the future. We can write a new story. Empathy is kindness outward that comes back in as well. We realize that we are all on this journey together trying to find the right path forward.

By creating space, we create distance between stimulus and response, between the past and the future. We allow the clouds to part for the rainbow to weave through the cracks casting brilliant colorful light, reminding us of the possibility and abundance abound.

Create space so you can see grace, the rainbow that is behind the clouds.

“When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.” – Wayne Dyer

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