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Posts tagged ‘Encouragement’

Look Back, Move Forward, Anchored in Today

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Sasha’s second birthday was on Thursday. Both Sasha and Abby were as happy as they were the day before. That’s the thing that dogs and kids have in common. The ability to be fully present in today and to achieve one thing – joy.

And in their process and pursuit of joy, we witness for ourselves the possibility that resides in each one of us and in each day. The capacity and the call to simply be present and aware without going too far back or reaching too far ahead.

The past has gotten to us to today so it serves to provide lessons, ground us in memories keeping those who have gone ahead of us on their journey in this world in our heart and builds our resilience. The future provides hope, fuels anticipation for new beginnings and comes slowly then quickly.

The present is the real gift hidden in ordinary moments, conversations and quiet reflection filled with gratitude, if we choose.

Be open to and seek joy and depth in today. The past is not the map to your future. Been there, done that. New, wonderful and abundant living lies ahead only to be discovered by you one day at a time. Today, that’s it.

Walk Into It

“And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk into it.” – Isaiah 30:21

So often we force things. We try to make the puzzle pieces fit where they just don’t fit. Square peg, round hole activities. There is value in allowing things to arrive rather than to always be in hot pursuit. When we allow God to do his work in us, we unfold. A good place to be and remain, a holy sacred ease.

Trust in the mystery. Don’t assume you know the final chapter before you write the first ones. The path appears as we walk into it and at the right time which is often not on our watch. And as the chapters weave the story together, we can find joy in each day, no matter the circumstances.

If you’re at a crossroads or you can’t quite find the road right now, it’s alright. Trust, listen and be open to that soft yet firm voice that whispers, “this is the way, walk into it.”

“A painting is not thought out and settled in advance. While it is being done, it changes as one’s thoughts change. And when it’s finished, it goes on changing, according to the state of mind of whoever is looking at it.” – Picasso

You are an unfinished beautiful work of art that is being revealed, finished and yet never done, unfolding as you should. Ease up and enjoy the walk.

Carrying Sunday into Monday

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” – Billy Graham

For Lent, I decided to not give up something but to gain something – patience. To be more patient and not allow the little stuff, irritating people, busyness and interruptions to affect my attitude. And, of course, more patience will result in less swearing, even though studies show that people who swear are more intelligent. It’s easy to be positive and peaceful on Sundays. It’s the Monday-Thursday time frame that’s problematic.

We are not perfect and are not built to be. Perfect is God’s job, not ours. What I missed in my intention to be more patient was involving God in the process, allowing him to do his work rather than trying harder.

As soon as we set intentions, forces enter to block and tackle to ensure we are tested. On the way back to work on Thursday (note, the day after Ash Wednesday, within 24 hours of my intention setting), I was driving back to work after letting the dogs out at lunch and bringing three cups of coffee back to friends at work. Rushing to get back to the next meeting, I was three blocks away from the office and the idiot in front of me (note, no patience) stopped quickly for no apparent reason and I hit the brakes. Three large cups of Americano on the passenger side floor flew across the mat, opened up and spilled all over the place.

“My trust in God flows out of the experience of his loving me, day in and day out, whether the day is stormy or fair, whether I’m sick or in good health, whether I’m in a state of grace or disgrace. He comes to me where I live and loves me as I am.” – Brennan Manning

Needless to say, swearing ensued. The construction workers at our building learned a few new words that day as I pulled out the cups and tray and stomped and kicked them. Within the first 24 hours of setting my intention, I blew it big time. Nowhere near the mark.

If we allow, time gives perspective and offers up lessons. If I want more patience or anything else, I need to allow God to do his work in me and be open to change. We think that if we work harder and faster and do more, we can find the shortcut to our best self.

When we do less, let go and listen more, we soon discover that where we are right now is for a purpose and when we fail, we need to get back up again and again and keep trying, accepting and offering grace and moving forward to learn and grow. To be better, not perfect.

When we are rooted in the peace and beauty of Sundays, steeped in God’s grace, we can transform Mondays and every other day into opportunities to be fully present, grow in our imperfection and enjoy each day.

“Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It Adds Up

The steps that you take today add up. What they add up to is up to you. Fulfillment and fruition require effort and time. Short cuts are detours that take us off the path we are intended to take.

Do today’s work, allow time to do its work and be gratefully present in this day. Be positive, kind, hopeful, generous and lighten up. Laugh, sing and dance along the way too. We are a work in progress, called to daily joy, growing in preparation to bloom in due time.

YOU Matter

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” – Ferdinand Foch

If you can be certain of one sure thing, let it be knowing that you matter. Despite what others say or do, you are here for a purpose and have your own special gifts to contribute.

In a world that has the attention span of a gnat, flittering from one empty promise to the next without regard, it is important for you to fully grasp that you matter.

Tune out the noise and enthusiastically dive into your life each day with abandon and joy. Do not be discarded. Be kind to yourself and others, with a side of gratitude. Get to work enjoying your life.

Insulate

“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” – William Alexander

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

As the snow continues to pile on and winter lingers, beneath the insulation of the snow lies the earth quietly preparing for spring. Preparation, waiting and anticipation are fundamental to the seasons in our life to unfold as they always do in due time.

We grow weary in the waiting and must insulate our minds and hearts from the blustery winds of negativity and fear. We know spring comes yet we get caught in a winter-mindset. A bad day turns into a “bad” life. A snapshot into the photo album. A scene into an entire movie. We turn temporary bumps into insurmountable mountains.

We long for change and then fight it when it arrives. There’s comfort and safety in the familiar to be sure. And yet that yearning inside incessantly whispers to us that we are made of more than we allow ourselves to be.

Insulation keeps the cold out but it also breaths so we don’t suffocate. In order to enjoy each day, no matter the circumstances, we need to be porous, letting the fresh air in and keeping the stale, cold air out. We need a Tigger mindset in an Eeyore world, with a spring in our step and spring in our heart.

Never let anyone’s opinion or narrow view define your life. Each of us is called and expected to define our own life, make our own way, help others along their journey and become our true self in the process. No matter where you are at or how old you are, you can always change your perspective, outlook and path.

“If nothing ever changed, there would be no such things as butterflies.” – Wendy Mass

2nd Thought

“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.” – Jen Sincero

When I pulled into work this morning, my front tire was flat and a bit shredded. No patching this one. While a “what now” thought initially ran through my mind, I immediately went to my second thought of gratitude. Grateful for making it to work safely in below zero weather, for not being on the highway. I called a tow truck and at the end of day, I had four new tires since you can’t replace just one without causing alignment issues with the car. $850 later I have a new set of tires.

Inconveniences and irritations are a part of daily life but they need not define the quality of our days. When we give them too much power, we surrender our joy and diminish all of the blessings and gifts present to us each day. Loosen up, get a perspective and don’t allow pebbles in the road to become boulders on your back. Get past your initial reaction, take a breath and let a calm second thought in to put it all in perspective. A flat tire need not deflate your day. Move on to your second, third and fourth thoughts to go deeper to that well of gratitude.

“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

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.

Deep Freeze

“Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.” – Terri Guillemets

We are about to enter a deep freeze in Minnesota. Schools closing in anticipation of -35 degree temps coupled with additional -30 degrees wind chill in the next few days. The weather, circumstances and the world can freeze us in place.

While we should prepare and hibernate when weather gets severe to be safe, we should do the opposite when stuck by our own thoughts, others’ opinions and life’s challenges that rise-up, keeping us frozen in place.

It is precisely then that we should risk moving out of our comfort zone, to crack the ice, thawing to keep our hearts open to the ebb and flow of life. Worry and fear are thieves that steal our joy.

Frozen in place? Look up to the sun and let the thaw begin. And spring soon follows in due time.

Hope Pulls Us Forward

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

I started this week at a funeral of a 36 years old colleague and friend. When I met her Mom, she was stunned that I had flown out for the funeral. I knew I had to be there to honor her too short life. Seeing her tribe, the ones who knew her the very best, I could see where she derived her joy, grit, work-ethic, resilience and get-it-done with a smile attitude. On my second hug with her Mom, I told her how sorry I was for her loss and she said she was sorry for mine. What a generous loving response.

Many tears, laughs, sweet conversations and honoring a wonderful person who will be deeply missed. In addition to the conversations with family and friends, the words that remain are from the priest as he concluded with a profound insight and reminder – “hope pulls us forward.”

So no matter what is going on in your life right now, hope does pull us forward and holds us when we can’t hold ourselves. Cling to that, knowing that in the fullness of time, it will be more than alright. And when we stop asking the “unanswerable in this moment” why, we can go deeply in moments of struggle and loss to find hope, gratitude and meaning.

Be grateful, generous and kind today. It will make a difference for others and yourself. It’s a win-win proposition, one that you will never regret.

“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.” – Mary Oliver

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