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Posts tagged ‘Contemplation’

Calm

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

“We must go beyond the constant clamor of ego, beyond the tools of logic and reason, to the still, calm place within us: the realm of the soul.” – Deepak Chopra

It was a beautiful warm day with sunny skies offering some moments of reprieve from the heaviness of this week as we try to prepare for tonight with thousands of anarchists coming into Minnesota to not honor George Floyd but to continue to burn and loot the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This afternoon, Minnesotans gathered in peaceful protest to truly honor George Floyd and demand justice.

On a walk tonight before curfew, there was a calm. Flowers reminded me of joy and beauty which is not in the forefront right now but remains and offers hope. When we enter calm and honest conversation, we can learn the timeless lessons of love and understanding. Praying for calm tonight.

“You practice mindfulness, on the one hand, to be calm and peaceful. On the other hand, as you practice mindfulness and live a life of peace, you inspire hope for a future of peace.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Simple. Real. Optimism.

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” – Anne Frank

“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.” – Anne Frank

Today lived up to its Monday-level reputation. The rush, the rally of activity disguised as strategy. Noise to fill the open space. Optimism is hard. It’s rigor, discipline and fluid. We need to be open to having sucky, shitty days and know that they are few and far between, letting them happen so they can pass like a kidney stone. Honest and real today, unapologetic. And it all reveals the most important strategy that we must execute consistently – simple. real. optimism with a side of hope. Optimism is the only real and sustainable option worthy of our passion and pursuit.

As I concluded the day with a walk in the woods, sharing the same sucky day stories with my best friends – one human, two dogs, two beautiful deer appeared in the woods feeding on some leaves, unassuming, unfraid and at ease. God’s brilliant reminder that He’s got this, so settle in for the ride. It’s quite simple, keep it that way.

Tomorrow – a clean slate, another day. Simple. Real. Optimism.

“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” – Anne Frank

Bridges and Trees

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius

What bridges are you building? Are you planting trees? What each person does adds to the collective whole. Our actions matter. Build bridges and plant trees. It’s a beautiful world, get out into it.

“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man… the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” – Chief Seattle

A Living Prayer

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” –  Anne Lamott

A cloudy warm end to the day. A daily run to breathe in the gift of fresh open air. Routine. Habit. Ordinary. And then suddenly, out of the dry leaves of Winter, brilliant deep crisp purple and orange pop out to awaken and sharpen the senses. The ordinary transforms to extraordinary, to delight, to the unexpected. The first and not last sign of Spring, of life, of expansion, of hope, of color invites us in with open arms. A living prayer. An embrace.

Seasons, cycles, certainty, uncertainty and clarity merge. In the midst of transition, of waiting, of the precursor to Spring, wandering in the desert with the oasis around the corner, we find life vibrant and more than well. Planting season, filled with complexity, mystery, light and color.

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” – Anne Lamott

This is holy, sacred, hopeful time. Take a knee. Offer a prayer. Let go of the familiar. Be prepared to be surprised, to fully enter awe. It’s all around. Wake up!

Space – The Final Frontier

“Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. It’s continuing mission. To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.” – Star Trek monologue

Time starved, too busy, overcommitments are no longer an excuse, so let’s get to the work of open space – the final frontier to our joy, reflection and purpose. Like many, I’m cleaning and organizing a room at a time. Clearing clutter. Writing and running every day. The garage will be punched in the face this weekend. I’ll also be trying to narrow down 752 paint color choices for the first -floor paint project in April.

I dare challenge you to savor this time. To explore strange new life, worlds and civilizations of your thoughts, dreams and aspirations. Boldly go where humans avoid at all costs and blame busy and commitments. Don’t miss these moments right now. Return to yourself. The deep. The murky. The complicated. The discovery. The delight. Home.

Break the habit and comfort of mental “to do” flurry and focus on one thought, on “one room at a time.” We have a lot of unstructured time coupled with uncertainty right now. If we get stuck in the uncertainty, we will miss the gift of unstructured and open time.

For so long we’ve been caught in the “fog” of busy and not enough time.  Now we are presented plenty of time and could easily fall into the fog of “uncertainty” and “binge watching” our life away.

Imagine. Explore. Be bold – go into uncharted territory – this is the path to the #otherside and beyond!

Swim in Silence, You Won’t Drown

“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.” – Albert Einstein

Amidst the not knowing remains a knowing, a certainty within. Get comfortable with quiet that has been calling you to enter for so long. Busy is no longer an excuse. Time is no longer an excuse. Stop trying to fill the space and let it remain open and wander on in. Listen. Listen harder.

In uncertainty, we awaken to what already was and is – we don’t know everything but we do know what we should if we listen. When outside circumstances out of our control take over, we get lost and forget what we know inside. Don’t. Stay focused on what you can and let the rest go. Embrace solitude, distance, intuition, your gut so you can re-enter the world anew, changed for good, for better.

Sink into unknowing with open hands, no struggle. The quiet you’ve longed for, the unbusyness, the distance is here right now. Do not let this slip away steeped in worry, trying to predict what no one really can. While a pandemic is certainly not the way that we would have chosen to get to slow and silence, it has arrived, nevertheless. The quiet calls, it longs, for you to ponder, to wander and to rediscover wonder, gratitude and awe. Be fully present and do not miss this opportunity to engage in open space, in searching, in finding and in discovery of what already is within.

In the going through rather than around, we arrive precisely where we should. So gently release into the deep quiet that has been thrust upon us all with no fear. Seize nature. Go for a run. Write. Read. Think. Don’t think. Start those activities and hobbies that are on your list. This is your chance. Go deep, in preparation to surface again, changed, anew, and ready for what’s next with confidence, grace and resolve.

“Listen to silence. It has so much to say.” – Rumi

Slow Internalization

“Unpacking what we’ve been through in the solitude of our reflection – this is our darkroom. This is where we incubate our attempts at understanding until they are exposed, developed, and fixed as glimpses of truth and wisdom. And yet, when we hold back on developing what we know, we dodge the lesson waiting to be revealed. And when we overthink, through worry or doubt, the insight waiting to develop within us, we are burning our experience beyond recognition.

Despite the speed of our age, we need to take experience into our heart and wait for the images of life to show themselves, all of which take time. And any ounce of honest writing requires the courage to let the lessons of life leave their markings on us. In this way, the practice of listening and reflecting etches its insights into our consciousness, and expression then develops those images into stories or poems. The ounce of wisdom we offer is always the result of the slow internalization of what life does to us.” – Mark Nepo, Drinking from the River of Light

When we stop pursuing, racing aimlessly to destination nowhere, slowing into solitude and silence amidst a loud scrambling world, patterns unfold into meaning and insight.

As much as we want “cliff notes” to get to the lessons quickly, the book of life is one to be read, line by line, chapter by chapter to the last page where it all weaves together. We can fight it and remain in the shallow of busy or we can enter the deep flow of time where light reveals the lessons to a marked, worn yet open heart.

Clarity, discernment and wisdom lie dormant, preparing to rise. Life shows itself. Slow internalization.

Daily Legacy

There is power and potential in each day, in one act of kindness, in a soft smile and easy step. Our  legacy is built daily through intentional actions, thoughts and words. In what we say and don’t say. What you do today will be a thread in the fabric of your life.

Live with intention and purpose. The substance and matter of our life is steeped and found in the middle of each day. Write a beautiful page of your legacy today and make someone smile. It’s just that simple. Cast light. It’s a worthy daily legacy.

Between the Ashes

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19

Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent, the seed planted that over 40 days transforms our winters to springs. If we allow, we are called deep within to reflection, waiting, listening and reconnecting to our deepest self and God within. To search and find lasting value and meaningful joy that the world will never fulfill. A deep joy and contentment that remains and lingers through the roller coaster of life.

Like New Year’s Day, (without the hangover), Ash Wednesday is the first day of a journey of possibility and promise through reflection and repentance. A time in the desert of contemplation of how to become our best selves, to find that person hidden inside our impatient, busy and chaotic daily life of doing more and getting less.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – from beginning to the end. What am I doing and who am I becoming between the ashes of birth and death? Seems worthy of 40 days of focus and reflection leading to the resurrection of Easter.

Gifts AND Fruit

“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, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

We are all given gifts, but we often fall short on producing fruit. When we don’t fully engage and release our gifts, we don’t fully produce fruit and bloom. Recognize, be grateful and accept your gifts and start producing some fruit to nourish and light the world.

There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, Fear of the Lord, Piety

There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

Imagine if we align with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit within us. A very worthwhile life. No small ball. Play it big, all out.

Gifts AND Fruit, a power combo.

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