“Aaah, summer – that long anticipated stretch of lazy, lingering days, free of responsibility and rife with possibility. It’s a time to hunt for insects, master handstands, practice swimming strokes, conquer trees, explore nooks and crannies, and make new friends.” – Darell Hammond
“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” – Henry James
Vibrant colors, sun lingering, soft breeze.
Days when glory shows its face in bloom.
Play, wander, watch.
Somersaults and cartwheels.
Crisp vegetables, sweet fruit.
Soak in these days.
No place to be but here.
In the balm of long summer days.
Do not let them pass you by.
“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” – Jenny Uglow
“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“But I want to extol not the sweetness nor the placidity of the dog, but the wilderness out of which he cannot step entirely, and from which we benefit. For wilderness is our first home too, and in our wild ride into modernity with all its concerns and problems we need also all the good attachments to that origin that we can keep or restore. Dog is one of the messengers of that rich and still magical first world. The dog would remind us of the pleasures of the body with its graceful physicality, and the acuity and rapture of the senses, and the beauty of forest and ocean and rain and our own breath.” – Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
Into the adventures of a romp in the woods.
The adventure of a ball pursued and captured.
Pulling us out of self to play and frolic.
Sheer simple delight given without reserve.
Both family and friend.
The gift of unleashed joy.
“Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.”
― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Or maybe it’s about the wonderful things that may happen if you break the ropes that are holding you.” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“All who joy would win must share it. Happiness was born a Twin.” – Lord Byron
“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” – Hugh Sidey
May joy and laughter enter each day.
Fun and frolic.
Gratitude and joy.
Silly and sassy.
Celebration in the ordinary, in reach.
To balance, to be held, to be embraced.
A choice, a decision, a gift.
Lighten up now and again, early and often.
Make it a three-tennis ball kind of day.
“He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise.” – William Blake
“The dog is the god of frolic.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“You have to create little pockets of joy in your life to take care of yourself.” – Jonathan Van Ness
My roommates and “life coaches” Abby and Sasha remind me daily to lighten up;
To have fun;
To be silly;
To work (chase ball) with vigor and focus;
And when done, to leave it and move on to what’s next with rapt attention;
Amidst the duties of the day, the long checklists and chasing, invite and allow frolic, laughter and folly to create pockets of joy to lift, expand and sustain.
All within reach and available.
Be swept away in ordinary delight.
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch
“You have been my friend … That in itself is a tremendous thing.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” – E.B. White
The brilliance of animals is that they have figured out the power of wonder.
They know how to play.
They know how to rest.
They know how to forget.
They remain in lockstep with the present.
They are accepting without question.
A model friend.
And they unselfishly share it all with humans to lift up life a trifle.
May we all be as brilliant and generous.
“By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”― Pema Chodron
Today I share my birthday with Abby, my golden retriever, chaser of squeeky tennis balls, boss of fun, best friend of Sasha and queen of joy. She’s 5 today and I have 5 in my year as well. The other number is irrelevant.
I have no advice for my younger self since there are no do-overs. Maybe that’s the advice. There are no do-overs so be present in your life today. Stop asking permission from others. Don’t bother with approval either. Both waste a lot of time and energy.
Each of us are here for purposes, not just one. You find them in different parts of life, through time, through trial and error. Contemplation and reflection are good but action is required to move into your unfolding, evolving and fruition.
Get outside of yourself to connect and be kind to others, discovering the threads that tie humanity together. Laughter is a must because there are plenty of things in life that will require a sense of humor. Travel lightly. Put down the unnecessary and pick up what brings you joy and peace.
Stop comparing, complaining and criticizing. Do your best and assume the best in others. Forgive and forget – the most important gift that you give yourself. Let it go and dive head first into today.
Gratitude and pain co-exist. Gratitude lightens the burden and feeds hope. Faith is the foundation that explains the unexplainable, carries you when another step is impossible and gives meaning to this very short time here walking the earth.
Do not wait for a birthday for lessons. Learn and apply them daily. Be fully alive, thrown out of the nest to open your wings and fully spent at the end of a good and generous life using all that God gave you.
To another year full of twists, turns, adventures, struggles, joy, laughter, poetry, change, growth. L’Chaim – “to life”
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” – Erma Bombeck
“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.” – Deepak Chopra
“Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.” – Debbie Ford
Make sure you weave fun and frolic into each day;
Laughter and light;
Joy hunting and capturing;
Simple things right in front of you;
Flex your imagination;
Strengthen your smile muscles;
Find your bliss.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Ultimately it’s the simple things that make a difference.” – Chris Smalling
“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anchor to hope, not circumstances. Assume the best in others and be proven wrong on occasion. Find the blessings in the burdens.
Joy is available in all seasons and cycles. It’s a constant. Our most important job is to find it daily in plain sight, lurking, longing to be found. Let joy sneak up on you.
Joy can be found in the silly, in mischief, in frolicking, in prayer, in laughter, in nature, in an embrace, in flowers, in a smile, in music, in art, in literature, in play, in gratitude, in dogs, even in some people (make sure you’re one of them), in simple encounters.
Double count blessings, multiply joy. Abundance and light with a shift in attention, focus and intention.
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Einstein
Get out of your head into your imagination. The journey is what you make it so settle only for sweet, simple joy.
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey