“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The school year is coming quickly to a close.
Weeks until summer break.
Commencement speeches for graduation.
Advice, celebration, reflection, anticipation.
Prepping and planning meticulously for the future.
As we get older, we realize that class is in session our entire life.
The journey we thought was linear is circular, seasonal, spiraling.
A mystery requiring trust and faith, a sense of humor, a bucket of grace.
If we think we are done, we are done.
Done growing, learning, becoming.
There are still lessons to be learned, unlearned, applied, forgotten.
Choose a growth and beginner’s mindset.
Ready and willing to inquire, listen, change, grow.
What will you discover today?
How will you contribute?
What will you take?
Will you be present or race by another day?
Class is in session.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional” – John Maxwell
“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – William Shakespeare
“The earth was all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way.”― William Wordsworth, The Prelude
Those moments before spring, tipping point to awakening, the prelude;
The anticipation of the kiss, the unfolding, the sweetness within reach;
Our winters to springs;
Within and around;
Alone and connected to all at the same time;
Joy in the prelude, the postlude, the new beginning;
Celebration and exultation in each day.
“Here must thou be, O man,
Strength to thyself — no helper hast thou here —
Here keepest thou thy individual state:
No other can divide with thee this work,
No secondary hand can intervene
To fashion this ability. ‘Tis thine,
The prime and vital principle is thine
In the recesses of thy nature, far
From any reach of outward fellowship,
Else ’tis not thine at all.” ― William Wordsworth, The Prelude
“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive But to be young was very heaven.”— William Wordsworth
“Beauty is always knocking, we just forget to let it in.” – Sarah Blondin
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
The weather forecast this week is temperatures into the 40s and 50s.
Soon the snowpack will become puddles.
The dormant grass exposed.
The light will linger longer.
The sun stronger.
The earth warms, beginning the thaw.
Spring is on the cusp of leading the dance of shifting seasons.
Winter certainly is not done but closer to the finish than the start.
Blessed are those with a cheerful heart in all seasons.
Who find the gift of winter solace and of spring renewal.
May you see and immerse in beauty in all seasons.
In transitions when one foot is in winter and one in spring.
Dry bones come to life.
A cheerful heart good medicine to heal, restore and transform.
“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.” – John O’Donohue
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize.” – George Eliot
“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” – Carl Sandburg
Summer lingers and leads the dance a bit longer. The last waltz coming as summer begins the release to fall. Temperatures swing from 40s in the morning to 80s in the afternoon. Early sunsets shortening the light span of each day. The grass growth slows, preparing for rest, dormancy and rejuvenation.
As summer takes its last waltz and fall appears in one leaf turning to brilliant orange followed by the next and next, enter the gift of transition time. Grateful for what was then releasing it to sweet memory, opening arms to ready for what is to come.
Each season builds and weaves into the next, often for reasons we do not know in the now. Trust the surety and process of seasons, transitions and new beginnings. While often not on our time, never failing and always the right time. Awaken and enter the flow, ease and glide of the last waltz.
“Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them— The summer flowers depart— Sit still— as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Autumn
“As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ” — Adabella Radici
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer
According to research, “mindfulness meditation has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological well-being that extend beyond the time the individual is formally meditating. Over the last three decades mindfulness meditation practices have been increasingly incorporated into psychotherapeutic programs, to take advantage of these benefits. A large body of research has established the efficacy of these mindfulness-based interventions in reducing symptoms of a number of disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic pain, as well as improving well-being and quality of life. Mindfulness meditation involves the development of awareness of present-moment experience with a compassionate, non-judgmental stance. It has been suggested that this process is associated with a perceptual shift, in which one’s thoughts and feelings are recognized as events occurring in the broader field of awareness.”
To simplify the practice of meditation, I use Insight Timer every morning with guided meditation or music to set the course for the day as well as listening to relaxing music before bed. Our mind naturally resists change, but we can change our minds. Change your mind, change your life. Stop trying to change others, change your life. We don’t need to be in a constant state of fight or flight.
Meditation, gratitude and optimism are powerful practices to create a daily state filled with joy, light and ease amidst challenging circumstances and people. Rise above by going within.
“Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Not in his goals but in his transitions man is great. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We resist transition not because we can’t accept the change, but because we can’t accept letting go of that piece of ourselves that we have to give up when and because the situation has changed.”― William Bridges, The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments
In many cultures, the black butterfly is a symbol of transition, renewal and rebirth. A dying to the old, creating space for the new to enter. When we cling to the familiar, limiting narratives and beliefs, we waste our energy, get stuck in the past and miss the gift of new beginnings.
We are built to grow, evolve, expand, change and redirect when the road becomes a dead end. Stop circling the culdesac. Move forward into unknowing, to new beginnings, fresh starts.
The Bridges Transition Model describes the three stages of transition – endings, neutral zone and new beginnings. Allow the neutral zone to do its work and don’t get stuck there. Allow new beginnings to take center stage and welcome you home to yourself.
“transition always starts with an ending. To become something else, you have to stop being what you are now; to start doing things a new way, you have to end the way you are doing them now; and to develop a new attitude or outlook, you have to let go of the old”― William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”- Wayne Dyer
“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” – Gilda Radner
Ease into the unknown, embrace uncertainty, hold what’s necessary and release what weighs you down, what blocks your path. Lessons often unfold in hindsight with time and distance, with no recourse to change course. Awareness beckons, invites and welcomes learning in real time, in the very moment, deepening moments and amplifying time.
Awareness first. Lessons in the moment. Change certain, growth optional. Choose growth, expansion, gratitude and joy. Fight the good fight.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl
We’ve all said it, “let it go.” And then proceed to hold on tight as ever. We can’t “let go” of our circumstances, difficult people, a pandemic. In Abby’s case, she can’t let go of her tennis ball after I throw it which is why I carry three balls. When she sees me ready to throw the next one, she’ll let go of the one so she can pursue the other. So many of the things that we cling to, try to control that we can’t, end up controlling us.
When we shift our focus on what we can control – our perspective, imagination, attitude and outlook – letting go is possible.
There are a few more steps in the process of letting go. Letting it be and letting it come. Letting it be allows us to stop, quiet the noise so we can get a full perspective to determine if “it” is in our control or not. If yes, then it’s time to proactively respond and develop a plan on what to do that will make a difference. If no, then it’s time to lay it down and let it go for good. No returning, no more controlling our time and attention. For the letting go to stick, we need to fill the open space with what will come. Anticipation, preparation and planning for what’s next shifts our attention to what can come if we allow it to.
We choose familiarity over change. Our fear of change keeps us stuck in old thinking and in situations we should have left a long time ago. We make change hard by assuming that it’s not going to be good. Change is not only inevitable, it’s required for growth and fruition. When change stops, so do we.
If we “let it be” long enough to gain clarity and work on what we can, we can move onto “letting it go” followed by moving on. Let it be, go and come. There’s always going to be a new ball to chase when we are ready to lay the old one down.
“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” – Henry Miller
We all go through dry spells, transition times meant for quiet reflection. If we slow down to check our internal compass, we can change course and live in the right direction. And in the desert moments, we are transforming into our true self. Growth never stops. The lessons are optional.
Some days are thicker than others – I’ve had a turkey this week – three in a row. Great if I was bowling. It really doesn’t matter “why” or “what” but more important is the “how” we go through these days. With grace or complaint. All of us have them – remember that. No one, no one, no one does not go through “thick days.” We all do. And having that awareness and looking for the cues can allow us to help others through them.