“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” – Michelangelo
You are never finished. When you think you are, you have decided to stop becoming, to finding the statute in the stone. Growth, discovery and joy all require an openness to trying, a vulnerability to make mistakes and to have assumptions challenged, views changed.
While not finished, you are enough and worthy in this moment, so keep carving the stone. Each day, every chip is moving you to where you need to be.
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
We are meant to evolve, to unfold.
When we are uncertain, feeling stuck and a bit lost in our own “neighborhood,” we are at a crossroad. Clinging and comfortable with what has been because it’s familiar and fearing the unknown. Change happens when we are uncomfortable.
The caterpillar transforms in the struggle to get out, only becoming the butterfly when breaking free from the past. We get unstuck by choosing forward motion, trusting our instinct and intuition, questioning the truth in our stories we’re telling ourselves – both past and future narratives.
Confident that going backwards or staying safe in the fork is not the path to what’s next and where we are meant to be. The past has paved the way to now and is not meant to repeat but to provide a foundation for growth. It has prepared us for change, for our talents and gifts to take root in what’s next. Sometimes it’s where we are now with a shift in our perspective, sometimes it’s somewhere new.
“Everyone was a rose but even more complex than a mere flower. Everyone was made up of infinitely layered petals. And everyone had something indescribably precious at the heart of their being.”― Mary Balogh, A Secret Affair
“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
We put things in a box to make them fit into our limited definition of the world, our history, our assumptions. When we are brave enough to let go of judgment, remove our filters and strip away what we’ve been taught, suddenly, the richness of layers, of hue, of beauty that exists in all beings and nature transform our perspective, challenging our rules and regulations of how things are.
Flowers are God’s way of reminding us of the complexity and depth of His work on earth. In the mystery of a simple flower, we start anew through awe. If a flower can be this brilliant, imagine what we can discover when we dive into the layers beyond the mere surface we skim upon each day. Open your eyes to the details of creation. Petals are unfolding before us in this very moment.
“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
Joy is a job. It takes effort, rigor, repetition and practice to get good at it. We look for the shortcut and expect it to be innate. But often, it’s not. So rather that succumbing to the negativity, gossip and cynicism, get to work.
Focus on being grateful, even when the struggle is so very real. Lift your head and open your eyes a bit wider to see the beauty that is within reach right now. Ignore those voices in your head that serve no purpose but to prevent you from becoming you, the real one.
When I forget and get distracted by the minutia, I simply take the girls for a run into the woods and let them run off leash in the open field to pounce, chase and explore. It works every, single time.
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett
Make joy a priority and let it take root. Welcome it home like a long lost friend. And by all means, share it with others. Joy is a job and the most important one that you will ever have. Hunt, pounce, chase, explore and sniff it out daily.
“The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
There’s a rhythm to life. An ebb and flow. When we only focus on the ebb and ignore the flow, we fight the rhythm that remains steady and strong. We wrestle with God by clinging to our own plans, our own limited view, our past, our future and to our stubborn ways.
Ease up and enter into the ebb and flow. Find the rhythm, dive deep into gratitude and be confident in the unfolding of purpose and meaning that will be revealed.
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler
We so often use the pen to merely check off our “to do” list. Initially satisfying and then suddenly shallow. Go deeper, do less, be more and create real meaning.
When we go below the surface of transactional busy living and enter what’s beneath, we expose the stories we tell ourselves. Those stories that tell us to spend time on obligations, over committing, over doing.
Each of us has a purpose, gifts to unwrap and release into the world. Spending our time and attention on these pursuits makes the world better, one dream fulfilled at a time. Yep, I get it – you have to make a “living”. Been doing that for 30+ years.
Joy and fulfillment come when we align who we are, our gifts, what we do and who we do it with. In relationship, in play, in pursuit of something bigger than ourselves and in being present in each day while it’s occurring.
I just started a new book – Redirect, Changing the Stories We Live By, by Timothy D. Wilson on the stories we tell ourselves and what we can do to change the stories that hold us back. I am looking forward to diving deep into it this weekend and not checking off the “to do” list. When we expose and let go of those old stories, we can rewrite our own story starting today.
Pick up the pen and write down what your assumptions are, what you want to do, and what “rules” that you’ve created that need to be broken. Stop asking for permission to live your life. Time to start a new chapter of thinking, doing and most importantly, living with joy, awe and even some fun. Life is short, find your light and cast it wide.
“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Gratitude and grace remind of the gifts that are present and remain ever present especially in difficult times.
It’s a heavy season right now. Serious cancer diagnoses for friends, beautiful courageous young women. No words can adequately express the deep concern and care of many who just want to do something, anything to make it better.
We so often don’t have answers to what life deals us. It requires us to let go of our plans, to trust in the darkness, to exist in the unknowing. It’s not easy. But while we are here in this place, breathing, we must continue to get up and come out swinging. Hope and trust in the waiting.
And a simple reminder to all. We never fully know what someone is going through, so always error on the side of kindness, compassion, empathy and love, without condition. Be present and fully aware so you can be a gift that someone may desperately need. Go deeper, stay longer and never give up.
“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
“Every thought, word and deed is a pebble in a pool. The ripples circle outward. They eventually reach the shore and then return to us. We are the creators of the life we are living. If we do not like our present circumstance, we have only to look within to see the choices we have made that have brought us here. Only through inner change can we hope to transform our external experience. The work always lies within. – Ann Mortifee, In Love with the Mystery
As the seasons change, so must we. Summer awakens as spring lets go into blooming flowers. Fall’s chill is tempered with a tapestry of vibrant leaves floating to the ground. Each season has its purpose, its job. Transition calls for acceptance so we can move fully into what’s next, into transformation.
Fighting change only slows the journey and steals our daily joy. Let go of the consternation that is rooted in fear of change. Grasp it, fully confident that it is leading you exactly where it should, where you need to be.
“Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” – Anne Frank
While running tonight at our usual Wednesday spot at Como Lake, a boy stood fishing. I’ve never seen anyone catch a fish out of this city lake. Suddenly his pole bent and line pulled tight. You could see his excitement as he softly called for his Dad.
He had a big fish on the line and wasn’t sure what to do. Before his Dad came over, a stranger walked by and started to guide him. He told him that his fishing line would break if he tried to pull it up based on the size of the fish. He gently advised him to loosen the line and walk the fish on the line to the dock so he could land it.
“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.” – Desmond Tutu
It was a joy to witness. The goodness of a stranger helping a young boy land a big fish, one he could talk about for a long time coming. He was guessing that it was probably an 8 pound Northern.
It was sweet. It was innocent. It was lovely.
If we believe what we see on the news and political ads (pick your side – both angry and mean-spirited) as the only thing that’s real, we miss what’s truly real and good. There is more good than evil. There are more wonderful people than jerks.
Seek the good and you will find it. Seek sweetness, innocence, and loveliness. This is what we are meant to find despite the noise, chaos and distractions. Don’t fall for cynicism, anger and scarcity.
Abundance, generosity and joy. Choose these good things. Go fishing and land some light.