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Posts tagged ‘Dogs’

The Deep End

Abby, Sasha and I went up north this weekend to my sister-in-law’s family cabin. This was the first time at the cabin without Grace, my brother and sister-in-law’s black lab who died in Winter, way too young from lymes disease.

When the girls jumped out of the car, they enthusiastically ran to the cabin door looking for Gracie to ask her to come out and play. But Grace was not to be found.

Grace loved the cabin and swimming. She was the head of the pack and would lead the girls around showing them the ropes of cabin living. Diving off the dock again and again in pursuit of the perfect jump to get the ball as it floated on the water. In awe, Abby and Sasha would watch her dive long and deep and then run off the dock to enter the water from shore to meet her the middle.

After bringing in bags to the cabin, we walked down to the lake with tennis balls in hand. I threw a ball for Abby off the dock, assuming that she would come off the dock and enter the water from the shore. But this time, Abby dove off the dock, a bit tentative but a solid first time effort. Swimming to shore, back on the dock, she pursued the ball yet again diving off the end of the dock with more confidence this time. And it continued.

With a big smile inside and out, I thought of how proud Grace would be of Abby diving off the deep end, learning the lessons that she taught her over and over. Sasha gazed on and then ran off the dock to enter the water by shore and met Abby in the middle as she proudly swam to shore with ball squeaking away.

Without Grace by their side, they hesitantly carried on. A timely reminder that in the depth of our loss, we honor those who have gone before us by carrying on. A bit of solace on the fourth Father’s Day without Dad by our side to honor in person.

In the midst of loss, we remember, we miss, we regret, we wish for one more day and most importantly, we carry on. And we honor those who have gone ahead by diving off the deep end in pursuit of daily joy and adventure. Carry on, the deep end is calling.

Once, Forever

“Life is once, forever.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

This quote is on the top of my ongoing “to do” list to remind me of what is more important than checking off tasks.

With little desire to prove anything or climb “the” or any ladder, I find joy and delight in learning, growing and not making the same mistake over and over again. A few lessons that I remind myself of often include:

  1. Stop worrying about what others think;
  2. I can only change myself so stop trying to change others;
  3. Fear is a liar, do it afraid;
  4. Love is where it starts and finishes – inside and out;
  5. Assumptions and judgments are usually wrong so don’t bother, assume the best;
  6. Intentions matter, action on them matters more;
  7. Everyone is going through something, be kind;
  8. Work less, play more;
  9. Timing is everything, try it again – you may have tried too early;
  10. Seeds must be planted and cultivated to get a harvest;
  11. Kids, dogs and flowers bring heaven to earth;
  12. Faith, love, grace, patience, mercy, joy, kindness are the main ingredients of a good life;
  13. Water the grass you are standing on right now and watch what blooms.

“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham

 

 

 

Breaking Trail

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

“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

It never fails. Nature opens us up. As light snow steadily falls on a soft Sunday morning, a run on the trail into the woods turns into a delightful excursion off trail. As the girls open it up and break their own fresh trail.

Our thoughts bind and limit us. Quiet, gentle nature frees us to think new things, see the world as it is meant to be. Wide open spaces ready to be explored and discovered anew. Inviting us to break trail.

When the noise of civilization returns, return to that open space within, to your true self. That still, steady quiet voice within, that place of ease that needs no explanation. Time to break some trail.

 

Joy Habit

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Just like exercise and good nutrition, joy is the result of habit and discipline. Repetition, practice and doing the work daily to reach our long-term goals and aspirations. Our intentions, thoughts and actions lead us down the path to fruition. And no matter where we are at in our journey, even if we are steeped in difficulty, we can experience joy, daily.

Our own joy does not reside in others, in circumstances, in the past or in the fictional “someday” we’ve created in our mind. We search broad and far until we figure out yet again, joy is borne within. The secret is found in returning to ourselves. Joy always comes from within and is available right now, experienced fully in this moment. Joy is a choice and a habit.

Joy strengthening exercises: gratitude, generosity, laughter, reflection, forgiveness, compassion, prayer and throwing ball in a field with your best friends witnessing the delight and awe in simple, soft moments.

“When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.” – W. Bruce Cameron

There is discipline in joy and joy in discipline. Practice, practice, practice. The journey is completed one habit, thought, action, day at a time. Get in the habit.

Come Out and Play, Now

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Theresa

Can Kathie come out to play?

We rush, multitask and race through the day with little thought but to keep up the pace and get to the next thing. Wishing for time to pass quickly in struggle and linger longer in bliss.

Looking back, we long for more time, a chance to have one more deep conversation and long hug from someone who’s gone. Looking ahead, we fear change, clinging to what’s familiar, even if it’s uncomfortable. At least we know it.

And in the process of this back and forth, this paradox of living, we miss the only thing we truly own – this very moment, this day. The joy, delight and power of now. This is the stuff that the past is made of and directs what the future will hold. What we think, feel and who we interact with and how we do so. This is it, it’s not an illusion. This moment, the present is where we are called to be.

Stop. Look around and settle your thoughts long enough to be grateful and allow contentment to enter and remain. Your presence in this very moment is requested and required to open up to the joy awaiting illusively in this very moment and hour at hand. Not back, not ahead. Right now.

The search is complete. Engaged and immersed in awareness of your next breath, your next thought and the words that can gently and softly roll off your tongue. All of your senses sharpened in silence to anchor the day ahead in full presence and anticipation. What you think, say and do today determines your future past.

The true gift of children and dogs is that they understand and embrace the magic of being fully present in the moment with no regard for the past or future. Mere, pure being fully in the moment free to let loose and explore.

So go for a run, throw a ball, play hopscotch, jump a rope, pick up that book that you’ve been reading three pages at a time for the past three months. Be frivolous, unplanned and unstructured for a slice of each day, woven through every hour and in between the busy.

Break free of the illusion of looking back or too far ahead and seize this day. There is awe, ease and wonder right around the corner. Come out and play.

Joy Trail

“You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail.” – Buffy Sainte-Marie

Don’t let your guard down. Be intentional. We can easily stray off the joy trail by meaningless distractions, busyness, over-committing, trying to jam one more thing into a minute so we miss the minute that we’re in.

As you enter into these final days of Advent and the dawning of a new year, put on the brakes, pull over and take in the beautiful scenery. Be aware and awake and most importantly, in awe. Choose quality or quantity, essence over efficiency, wow over worry, relationship over transaction, slow over fast, quiet over clanging, depth over width.

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire


“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

Hunt for joy with vigor, hope and assurance that it is there to be found, not too far in the distance. If there’s a road I intend to travel in 2019, it certainly is the joy trail. Join me so we can take this journey together. Today is the only day promised to us. Don’t miss it.

Chasing Balls

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

Our days are defined by what we hold on to and what we let go. The balls we chase and the ones we don’t. The stories that we tell ourselves and the stories others put on us that hold us back, that preach scarcity and fear.

What has been cannot be redone or undone, and it all has its purpose in the full story. The future is so much more than the repetition of the past if we dare. We get to choose what’s next for us at any age. Not what is supposed to be or what others think it is or should be.

Be open, in tune to that quiet voice and change your story by widening your view. Hold on to what’s most important and let go of everything that does not complete your story. There are signs and signals all around guiding, directing and hollering at us to get our attention.

Chase the right balls and enjoy the daily pursuit of simple joy. Dream and then do the work.

“Have a dream, chase it down, jump over every single hurdle, and run through fire and ice to get there.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd

It’s a Job

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Joy is a job. It takes effort, rigor, repetition and practice to get good at it. We look for the shortcut and expect it to be innate. But often, it’s not. So rather that succumbing to the negativity, gossip and cynicism, get to work.

Focus on being grateful, even when the struggle is so very real. Lift your head and open your eyes a bit wider to see the beauty that is within reach right now. Ignore those voices in your head that serve no purpose but to prevent you from becoming you, the real one.

When I forget and get distracted by the minutia, I simply take the girls for a run into the woods and let them run off leash in the open field to pounce, chase and explore. It works every, single time.

“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett

“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” – Jimmy Buffett

Make joy a priority and let it take root. Welcome it home like a long lost friend. And by all means, share it with others. Joy is a job and the most important one that you will ever have. Hunt, pounce, chase, explore and sniff it out daily.

When joy is your job, life becomes less work.

Eat Cake

“Take life on life’s terms – one day at a time. And have fun while you’re doing it.” – Joe Perry

When I get too far ahead into the future or lag behind tangled up in the past, I need not look far to be reminded to stop, breathe, laugh and have some fun right now!

Let go, be grateful and embrace today.

Eat cake.

Amazement

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.” – Gerard De Nerval

Flowers, sunrises, sunsets, children and dogs all have one thing in common. They burst with the glory of God, uninhibited. Their colors, brilliance, simplicity, innocence, and sheer joy call us back to our true selves, to a longing that won’t be silenced until we acknowledge, engage and fulfill our purpose.

Amazement is their gift to us all.

Find your vivid color, your bliss, your genuine delight and pursue it with vigilance and fervor. Gratitude requires attention and awareness of this very moment, no more, no less.

Busily going through the motions is not worthy of this one precious life. Start each day new again, filled with possibility and hope. Be amazed and let it do its work on you.

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