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This is Your Life, Are You Who You Want to Be?

“We ‘reorder’ our lives when we choose spirit over the illusions of physical circumstances. With each choice we make, we either become more involved in the illusory physical world, or we invest energy into the power of spirit… Each time we choose to enhance our internal power, we limit the authority of the physical world over our lives, bodies, health, minds, and spirits. From an energy point of view, every choice that enhances our spirits strengthens our energy field; and the stronger our energy field, the fewer connections to negative people and experiences.” – Caroline Myss, PhD, Anatomy of the Spirit

As I was driving to work yesterday on autopilot, my thoughts focused on my overwhelming “to do” list, one line from a song playing on the radio suddenly caught my attention – “this is your life, are you who you want to be?”

Songs, books, nature, art all have a way of capturing our attention, bringing us back to center, to the important questions that need answers. Signs, seeds, and clues surround us begging for our attention, to wake us up and give meaning to our days.

Take yourself off auto pilot, cruise control – look and listen to what’s all around. You will be surprised what you see and hear. Suddenly, awe and wonder enter into your noisy busy, busy world that you’ve convinced yourself that you must participate in. Slow down so you can answer the questions that really matter, that define your life.

This is your life, are you who you want to be? If you don’t like the answer, do something different. Not sure what to do? Listen closely, the answers are there.

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“You and I have been created for greater things. We have not been created to just pass through this life without aim. And that greater aim is to love and be loved. Give yourself fully to God, who will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in his love than in your weakness. Never think that a small action done to your neighbor is not worth much. It is not how much we do that is pleasing to God, but how much love we put into the doing.” – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is being canonized a saint today. We often think of saints as being super-human, perfect, without flaw. I was surprised to learn that for most of her life, with the exception of one month in 1958, she lived in spiritual darkness, feeling abandoned by God. Saint John of the Cross called this “the dark night of the soul.” We all go through dark nights of the soul, but to spend a life there and still love the way Mother Teresa did is stunning.

Saint Mother Teresa lived out unconditional love her entire life despite what she felt inside. She chose every day to enter deeply into a wounded world to love and heal others. Despite her spiritual turmoil that lasted for most of her life, she saw beauty and light in the world, serving God faithfully with an unfailing trust.

Each of us is called to pursue with vigor and resolve our own blooming, our best selves, our calling. Saint Mother Teresa is a wonderful model and inspiration to show us how to cast light regardless of what we are going through. Welcome to the communion of saints Mother Teresa.

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“As long as we are persistence in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

Toast

“Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.” – Garrison Keillor

One of my favorite memories of the Minnesota State Fair is my parents coming out on Sunday after the 5k Milk Run, listening to music and having a beer or two with my friends. Yesterday was the first one without Dad, so we toasted the good memories and the good life we have even when it’s difficult.

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

True friends show up in the difficult times as well as for the toasts to honor people who remain with us even when they are gone.

Toast your life today and those who are in it right now. It is a good life. We need only open our eyes and see the light.

Claim It

“No desire will ever be placed in you by the Holy Spirit unless He intends to fulfill it. So let your faith rise up and soar away to claim all the land you can discover.” – S.A. Keen

We have right within us what we need each day. It’s not off in far off places, other people or in the mythical “someday” we create in our heads. It’s within us, this very moment. We need only suspend our search and be found. Then we can move to what’s most important and written on our hearts. Then we can begin to live the life we were called to fulfill.

Uncover it and let your light shine.

Don’t, Don’t Miss This Day

“If every moment is sacred, and If you are amazed and in awe most of the time when you find yourself breathing and not crazy, then you are in a state of constant thankfulness, worship and humility.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

In our frantic pursuit of who knows what, don’t miss this day. The one thing that this year has revealed in my search for understanding is that what is most important and remembered forever are the moments that we spend in simple conversation and connection, in laughter and in tears.

Be present and awake each day. And when you drift to the past or race to the future, grab yourself by the collar and pull yourself back to now. Our ordinary days offer a profoundness that we often only discover after they are gone. Capture the profound in the midst of unfolding.

Make your words more meaningful, embrace a bit longer, awaken to the sacredness of each day. Don’t ever dismiss or miss this day and the joy it offers. Ever.

EFG – Effort, Faith and Grace

“Effort at its most fundamental level is just that commitment to try, to work hard, to give our all, not knowing where that will lead is also a working definition of faith. Life has taught me that, regardless of what we face, effort and faith will lead us into the larger stream of life that holds us. And being held by the larger stream of life is another way to describe grace.” – Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

“Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford

No matter how many times you throw the stick, Grace (my poochie niece) always runs off the dock full throttle with the same level of effort and enthusiasm at the beginning and at the end.

The stick is out of reach but only if you don’t pursue it with all of your heart, soul and being. Yet again, our four-legged friends teach us two-legged over-complicating wanderers how to live well and completely by pursuing the stick and never, ever giving up.

EFG

A Big Band

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley

A big band as the sun prepares to rest can only make for a bit of delight. Music, art and nature sustain and fill our very soul. A light step, a twirl and a smile and the moment is so much more than enough.

Lily and me escaped to Como Lake tonight. To walk, not run. To saunter, not speed. Embracing the gift of a warm summer evening with a slight breeze at just the right time. When we sat down to enjoy the music, an older couple got up to show us how to lighten up and dance like no one was watching.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato

Escaping all that binds us need not be complicated or planned too far in advance. Spontaneous and special, and required of us daily.

Turn up the music and get out on the dance floor.

Reach

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

It is in the effort and action of reaching that we are simultaneously pulled and pushed. Motion transforms to momentum. Dreams released to unfold. The effort soon becomes effortless and the action natural.

“But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line?” – Diana Nyad

Change is our friend not foe. Growth is our calling. And reaching our potential is not only for oneself but is the gift that the world needs from each one of us. Our purpose is to leave this world with no regrets or doubts that we became our best and most sacred self. And the world is better for it.

Reach, and keep reaching.

Permission to Play

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” – Marianne Williams

In the past months, I’ve been asked a lot “how are you doing?” While I appreciate the concern, I feel obligated to say “good,” to avoid talking about how I am really feeling, to not share the impact and depth of loss since who really wants to hear it. I often don’t want to hear it, say it or feel it myself.

But to be straight up and honest – Lily and me miss the members of our pack and best friends – Molly and Dad. It’s been a month for Molly and three months for Dad. Each day that passes eases the sharp and deep blow, yet a steady melancholy remains. Loneliness is hard to explain. Yet we all carry loss. How we carry or acknowledge or don’t acknowledge it varies.

“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” – Iyanla Vanzant

“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Tonight I arranged a “play” date with Lily and her cousins Chloe and Grace. The past few times we’ve been together, Lily has been tentative and stayed in the house as a spectator rather than a participant. Tonight, it took a bit, but Lily let go and gave herself permission to play, to let loose. It was fun to see her chase the girls and to allow her smile to light up, if but for a short time.

No matter what we carry, we can lay it down for a moment and be carried by light and frivolity. It plants a seed of hope that this too shall pass with healing that time gives. And letting our burdens go to delight in the moment doesn’t erase or diminish loss. It reveals the sacredness and redemption of joy.

No matter what you may be going through, or what may come, give yourself permission to play like a kid or puppy. Forgetting where we are exposes that shadows are momentary and that momentous light remains steady and strong. Search for, delight in and cast light each day.

Daily Grace

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fabric, the very essence of life, is found in the daily-ness of it. Beauty, blessings and mystery are present to each of us in the thread of moments, the pattern of days and revelations that unfold in months and years.

Never take your days or those who are in them for granted. Be present, in awe and deeply aware of the fragility and grace that embraces, carries and holds each of us whether we realize it or not.

“For me, every hour is grace.” – Elie Wiesel

“For me, every hour is grace.” – Elie Wiesel

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