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Posts tagged ‘Encouragement’

Happy YOU Day!

We go into a new year looking to change, “fix” and improve who we are. To be better, to hit the high mark, in hot pursuit of our best selves.

We are halfway through January – the most motivating month of the year – a fresh start and new beginning. Before you let the month, the next day, slip away in pursuit of something “better” than you, stop, celebrate and honor you as you are right in this very moment.

No changes, no improvement, no perfection. Not future you, not high performance you. You as you are right now, unapologetic, imperfect and beautiful you filled with strength, resilience and character.  What you’ve overcome, rode straight though, survived and thrived to arrive at the person you are right now.

We wane on our resolutions because we don’t recognize, appreciate and notice the person we already are right now. Time to light the fireworks, bring out the balloons and strike up the band to celebrate current you just as you are.

Happy You Day!

Swirls

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

I found this card and wanted to keep it as a reminder that the line from A to B in this life is not straight, no matter how much we prepare, worry and plan. We forget to find joy in each day in pursuit of someday, the next thing and perfection. Rather than keeping it, I gave it to a friend at work for her birthday. I thought it was an excellent birthday reminder to celebrate the other 364 days during the year, not worrying about the detours, potholes and traffic on the path. Enjoy the daily journey, no matter what course you’re on right now.

Life is short and we realize that when we have less of it left. Figure that out early and start enjoying the journey today. We get distracted about the details of the map and struggles along the way that we miss the beautiful scenery on the path.

The swirls on the journey are often the sweetest moments. And we miss them thinking that we should be somewhere else. Slow down, see today and enjoy the swirls that always get us to our right destination. Follow the signs and signals in your heart rather than loud distracting horns of the world.

The journey always makes sense going backwards. Flip that truth and know that the path you’re on will make sense someday. Enjoy your forwards while you are present in them.

Practice 360 degree gratitude for where you’ve been, where you are and the promise of where you’re going. Enjoy the your journey, swirls and all.

Pull Over, Daily

This past week was my first week off this year. No meetings, open time to think rather than react, sleeping in without an alarm (made it to 7:00 am, but still a victory.) Simply delightful and longgggg over due.

We need to create space daily to witness and participate in our life, to see what’s right in front of us, to set our priorities and be conscious.

Pulling over shouldn’t be an annual event but a daily practice. Slow the pace, pull over to enjoy the view, fully awake, deeply aware and profoundly grateful. Racing from one thing to the next is no way to live, unless you’re in hot pursuit chasing a tennis ball to catch it on the first bounce, of course.

As we enter this new year and decade, commit to creating space daily, expanding your capacity for gratitude and basking in joy. Catch the ball on the first bounce. Happy New Year and Decade! Pursue joy!

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” – Denis Waitley

Get Out and In

Get out…

of your own way;
of the fast lane;
of your limiting thoughts;
of judgment and assumptions;
of unforgiveness and regret;
of your ego;
of the past;
of what others think.

Get into …

fresh crisp air;
the slow lane;
cutting new paths;
assuming the best;
a new mindset filled with possibility, joy and growth;
a soft heart filled with empathy and compassion;
the present;
advice-free and quiet listening.

Empty the old to make room for new. Out and in.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

Serenity Now!

“Your days are short here; this is the last of your springs. And now in the serenity and quiet of this lovely place, touch the depths of truth, feel the hem of Heaven. You will go away with old, good friends. And don’t forget when you leave why you came.” Adlai Stevenson I

Serenity Now is one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes when Frank Costanza gets a relaxation exercise tape to practice saying “serenity now” to calm down. It starts out with a soft chant and quickly becomes a loud frustrated yell. My favorite gift this year so far is the serenity now button from my hair stylist Christine.

We do need serenity now and it’s in our reach.

Slow down;
Rest and recharge daily;
Stop spiraling thoughts and negativity;
Let go of the past, all of it but the lessons;
Release resentment, it’s only hurting you;
Stop comparing and complaining;
Help others;
Anticipate and plan for good days;
Believe beyond current understanding;
Lighten up and pursue your lost sense of humor;
Foster gratitude;

I haven’t been practicing what I preach above the past few weeks but intend to recommit to real serenity now.

This time of the year is difficult for many people with loss of loved ones, fractured relationships and frustration with life not going as planned. In parallel and along side loss, we can and must choose hope, joy and delight to hold our hand on this winding journey. You have permission to both laugh and cry. You are not alone and are very human.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

The wisdom to know the difference indeed.

Let joy in and cast light. Serenity now!

Beneath and Beyond

“The Amen of nature is always a flower.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.” – Heraclitus

Beneath the fresh clean snow, each flower prepares in silence;
Beyond the frigid temperatures, the ground rests patiently for spring;

Beneath and beyond this moment, you are being prepared and cultivated for your unfolding, becoming and blooming;

Beneath and beyond your knowing is a certainty that all is well and as it should be;
Patience breaks ground revealing hidden harmony.

Beneath and beyond.

 

Alleluia

“Life itself is an exercise in learning to sing alleluia here in order to recognize the face of God hidden in the recesses of time. To deal with the meaning of alleluia in life means to deal with moments that do not feel like alleluia moments at all. But how is it possible to say alleluia to the parts of life that weigh us down, that drain our spirits dry, that seem to deserve anything but praise? The question is a worthy one. Life, after all, is a struggle, a journey in uncharted space, an exercise in both gain and loss, joy and sorrow. No life consists of nothing but success and satisfaction, security and self-gratification. Failure and disappointment, loss and pain are natural parts of the human equation. Then what? What use is an alleluia then, except perhaps to encourage some kind of emotionally unhealthy self-deception? But alleluia is not a substitute for reality. It is simply the awareness of another whole kind of reality—beyond the immediate, beyond the delusional, beyond the instant perception of things.”— Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is by Joan Chittister, Rowan Williams

Today is someday.

No more putting off joy, AWAKEness and gratitude for our imperfect, frustrating, fleeting, abundant and beautiful life.

If we wait for the perfect time, when all is well to sing alleluia, not a note will be sung. Our resolve, practice and commitment to “alleluia” daily living defines the essence and substance of our life. It requires action, rigor and hope amidst our natural inclination to pull the covers over our head and weed out all people who are a pain in the a** out of our life. We are not called to perfection. We are called to love, often the “unlovable.” Love is nothing if not unconditional.

While a sunset, a dog gazing into your eyes and the simple delight of a child prompt shouts of “alleluia” and “amen,” we must be alleluia people amidst people and circumstances that are a drag and drain. Empathy, compassion and understanding beyond the surface of our knowing are the greatest gifts that we give to ourselves and others.

Keep singing alleluia beyond the instant perception of things. You will then be in control of the only thing you truly have control of – your own response, outlook and ability to contribute positively to this world by singing loudly, regardless of what the world is serving up right now.

Do I have an “alleluia”!!??

Patience as a Strategy

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

As I waited in a four-block line just to check my luggage, people started complaining. It’s understandable to be frustrated when we are inconvenienced. I was a bit concerned about making my flight as others were as well.  However, complaining and worrying won’t ever change the outcome and it makes the journey a drag.

A woman ahead of me asked the airport staff “what’s the strategy on the line?” The staff person looked at her and calmly answered, “patience.” Patience as a strategy? Brilliant!

We overdo, over-complicate and want to control everything. And in the process, we make our lives miserable and spread it to others too. When we focus our energy on what we can control and let the rest unfold as it will, we have suddenly have more “magical” days.

Listen carefully to your thoughts and words. Choose patience, optimism and light. Have a magical day, indeed!

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

Nowness

“The principle of nowness is very important to any effort to establish an enlightened society.”― Pema Chödrön, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind

“IN the morning when you wake up, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, think over what you’ve done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence, and compassion.”― Pema Chödrön, The Pocket Pema Chodron

Remain in nowness and moments overflow with enough. No yesterday, no tomorrow, just this moment. Clarity. Confidence. Compassion. Open your heart and have a grateful day.

“Nowness is the sense that we are attuned to what is happening. The past is fiction and the future is a dream, and we are just living on the edge of a razor blade.”― Chögyam Trungpa

Preparation

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

“Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.” Hermann Hesse

We need to prepare for the inevitable – snow, inconveniences, detours, delays, loss – all that life weaves between the victories, joy, growth, happiness and love that lasts beyond this world. There will rarely be long stretches of problem-free living. While we can’t control some circumstances, we can prepare how we will react to them.

I bought a new snowblower yesterday to be ready for winter, which in Minnesota can happen anytime now. My Sears snowblower lasted 20 years.

I remember the day that my Dad and I bought it like it was yesterday. I just had been diagnosed with melanoma in February, 1999 and had surgery in March with three lymph nodes removed under my arm. I couldn’t lift my arm for about a month. A  week after surgery, we got a few feet of snow. I usually shoveled and didn’t have a snowblower.

When I saw my Dad and neighbor digging me out, we went out the next day and got a snowblower. As I said good-bye to my tough old Sears model, I thought, as I do daily, how much I miss my Dad. And I am deeply grateful for many good years with him. He was my best friend.

A lot has happened in the last 20 years and the past three has been intense at times. As Gretchen Rubin says, “the days are long and the years are short.” If we are wise, loss gives us a deep appreciation for what we have right now and to not take one day for granted.

Prepare for joy and be open to discover it daily.

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