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“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

On average, I sift through 350 emails per day in my work email and another 100 plus in my home email. That doesn’t include about 100 emails that get stopped by the spam blocker. Probably three quarters of the emails are junk or email I am not interested in so I delete them rather than going the extra step and unsubscribing so I don’t have keep dealing with them.

We spend much of our day responding and reacting rather than creating and producing. But the good news is (and there is always good news) that we have a choice. We can unsubscribe to the noise in our technology, the noise in the world and the noise in our heads that distract us from living well. And not only can we unsubscribe, we can subscribe and opt in to that which is most important – becoming the person we are called to be through kindness, gratitude, service and light.

Start opting in and subscribing to joy each and every day and let the noise fade to the background and dissipate into thin air where it belongs.

Launch

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” – Henry David Thoreau

In the ebb and flow of our days, we can easily succumb to the waves, overcome.

But they will subside and we overcome and rise again, more resilient and more grateful.

Our days will have their ups, downs and in-betweens.  But we are stronger than the tides, shaped and refined by their rhythm. Rather than try to figure it all out, we should focus our finite and ever so valuable time on enjoying moments and absorbing our blessings. Awe and delight are available to each of us. Launch on to that wave.

Unlocked Handcuffs

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Our thoughts so easily stray and wander to assumptions, judgements, the rules, what others think, what I should do, what I shouldn’t do all based on no evidence. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough. We weren’t put here to remain the same, to curl up comfortable and safe in the cocoon. Squirm, move, struggle to get out into the butterfly that you are meant to become.

When we bind ourselves with unlocked handcuffs, we miss the fulfillment and depth of the pursuit, of the work, of running freely, falling hard because we gave it our all and from getting right back up and going at it again.

Challenge your assumptions, your scarcity mindset and push the button of action and abundance. The handcuffs aren’t locked. The cocoon is only a transition to so much more.

Happy 5 Months

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – e. e. cummings

Abby is 5 months old today.

Puppies and babies change so much each day that we count the months rather than the years. We could all enjoy our days more if we counted each one rather than looking too far ahead or behind.

When I had to pick between two puppies three months ago, I chose Abby when she looked deeply into my eyes. She still does and melts my heart each time. From 8 to 32 pounds and almost all of her adult teeth are in, which is great for my arms. Those puppy teeth are razor sharp.

Happy 5 Month Birthday Abby and for making each day a new adventure, filled with fun and joy. Can’t ask for much more than that.

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

Show Tunes

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo

My great nephew Liam who’s six months old actually smiles when I sing, so naturally, I sing. I downloaded a few show tunes this week to add some “depth” to my performances of made-up songs  – Singing in the Rain, Good Morning and Oklahoma. A little Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds go a long way.

Music, art, prose pull us beyond our routine daily-ness to a higher calling of simple delight and soulful connection. Feeling out of sorts? Pick up an umbrella and start dancing and singing in the rain.

There’s More

For some reason I didn’t bring my phone when I took Abby for a walk this morning. We went down to the playground a few blocks from our house on the way back. As we walked quietly, three deer came out from the woods 20 feet away. Abby sat and watched as the leader leapt with ease and grace and the other two followed with joy and delight.

I believe in signs and signals.  My thoughts immediately went to seeing Dad, Molly and Lily coming down from heaven for a brief moment to let me know there’s more. There’s more to this life and there’s more, so much more after we leave. Sure puts things in perspective.

I’ve been struggling with a few things lately. Probably making them bigger than they should be or avoiding them for a long time and they are showing themselves telling me to deal with them now. For so many years, Dad was my sounding board to talk through things, kindred spirits who could say anything to each other. I’ve been missing that every day.

Seeing the three deer this morning reminded me that he remains with me and whatever decisions that I make will be based on years of our conversations and how he shaped so much of who I am today.

In lieu of not capturing a photo on my phone of the three amigos in the woods this morning, I am posting one of my favorite photos of Dad. One that shows a youthful joy, free from the weight of this life and the weight we put on ourselves in this life.

dad1

There’s more. Delight in it. Every single day.

Carry

As I walked past my bookshelf, this old plaque on the shelf stood out – Footprints. It’s probably 25 years old and one of my favorites. I gave a more modern version to my nephew and his bride last month for one of their wedding gifts because it is a poignant reminder that when we are struggling, feeling alone, and there’s only one set of footprints, we are being carried.

God sends people (and dogs, maybe cats) to carry us. And when we are on steady ground again, we are called to carry others as well. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, this life remains a beautiful mystery filled with blessings every single day. Never alone. Cast light today.

footprints

Anew

“I decided to start anew, to strip away what I had been taught.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

In the midst of it all,  in the heat of the moment, we see only the height of the mountain, the width of the rift, the depth of the valley. Time and its companion patience eventually bring a fresh perspective, new priorities. We find our perseverance, grit, faith and strength to overcome, to withstand, to rise once again.

Life is often a series of starting again, getting up once more. But it is never starting over or from the very beginning. The journey, places, circumstances and people along the path, bring us to a new beginning, whether we realize it or not. We are moving forward to where we should be, never frozen in place.

“It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”- Muhammad Ali

If today was less than expected, if you are in the middle of the desert parched and searching for the oasis, it will come in due time. In due time, all starts anew. Spring comes and melts it all into the river of life.

A Blank Page

“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron

Each day is a new blank page in the story of our life that we are writing with our actions, thoughts and words. We either write our story or we let others write it for us.

Some days, too many days, our page is filled the scribbles of chaos, busy work, mechanically going through the motions. Some days, not enough days, are pure poetry, light and joy. Life makes sense when we connect in conversation with that quiet voice that calls us home to who we really are, not who others want us to be.

So if your story is not turning out the way you want it to or know that it can be, start changing the plot, a few new words at a time, each day. Tomorrow is a blank page.

Poetry unfolds a word at a time, with first drafts, edits and rewrites, leading us down a path to the unknown but known to us at the same time. Take your pen back and start filling that blank page with meaning, depth, dimension and lasting value. Create the life, the story you are meant to write.

It’s Happening

“The regret of my life is that I have not said ‘I love you’ often enough” – Yoko Ono

Life is happening, whether we recognize it or not. And so often we do not. We let busy define our life, but as fast as we go, as many checks we check off our “to do” list, we remain unsatisfied, unsettled. And then that soft persistent voice whispers over and over again, “there’s more!”.

So we run faster, add more to our over-scheduled lives. Again, more incomplete. That uncomfortable, bothersome, empty feeling is our wake-up call. So stop hitting the snooze button.

No grand gestures, no complicated plan, no broken resolutions. Start now – tune in to each day and realize that the “more” is found in less, in gratitude, in slowing down, in kindness, in delight, in laughter (and even in tears), in loving more deeply, in forgiving, in living each day as if it’s our only one remaining.

Damn, it’s hard to do. But that persistent pesky voice isn’t going away. And if we don’t heed the call, our call, we will be one of the many souls that have gone before who look back in regret wanting a “do-over.”

There are no “do-overs.” It’s happening right now – life is happening. Participate.

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