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Posts tagged ‘Encouragement’

Transformation Time

“Time flies never to be recalled.” – Virgil

“Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things befall you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.”― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

When circling the cul-de-sac of comparison, fairness, control, disappointment, expectations, hard right out.
Leave the familiar and flat behind, venture out and go deeper.
New map, new path, new territory.
Be kind and generous along the way, share the road, make space for other.
In the stillness of winter, create your spring.
Transformation time.

“Breaching out of their rooted darkness, breakthroughs are seeds of nonconformity determined to sprout into the light of freethinking.”― Monica Gagliano

The Way of the Heart

“You do not always have to be producing, creating, harvesting. Learn to be idle. Learn to rest.”― Joyce Rupp, The Circle Of Life: The Heart’s Journey Through The Seasons

As the holidays kick off this week with Thanksgiving, find pockets of slow, of wonder, of awe.
Nothing, no one is perfect.
Control what is yours, put the rest down.
Broken, lost, confused, authentic, beautiful, overflowing.
It is here that we are called to live in the mix of it all.
Held by light, seen and unseen.
The way of the heart, stay on course.

“No matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart.”― Joyce Rupp, The Star in My Heart: Experiencing Sophia, Inner Wisdom

Already Here

“…And we pray, not for new
earth or heaven, but to be quiet
in heart, and in eye clear.
What we need is here.”― Wendell Berry

“You mustn’t wish for another life. You mustn’t want to be somebody else. What you must do is this:
“Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks.”
I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.”― Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter

We get and give advice.
We read the books.
We conjure up the formula, the secret recipe.
We search for the shortcut.
We have the instructions.

And yet, and yet, still.

Amid the schemes, the prescriptions, life continues in the unknowing, uncertainty and mystery.
Twisting, turning, flipping, flopping.
From boredom to busy.
We don’t need all the answers.
We need to live well with the questions.
Moving through with a sense of wonder and delight, gratitude and optimism for no good reasons at all.
Merely because we can, especially when it makes no sense at all.
Be present in today.
Be kind, generous, light, laughter, grateful, playful, at ease.
What we need is already here.

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”― Wendell Berry

Wave of Color, of Light

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.”― Alice Walker

“Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.”
― Alice Walker

Contradictions, complexity, unanswered questions.
Amidst imperfections, we weave a life.
Dreaming, hope, resilience.
The weaving tools to create joy, delight, contentment, independent of circumstances.
Knit your shawl, a wave of brilliant colors.

“we are the ones we have been waiting for”― Alice Walker

Invite Gratitude In

“Does not the gratitude of the dog put to shame any man who is ungrateful to his benefactors?” – Saint Basil

“Gratitude, warm, sincere, intense, when it takes possession of the bosom, fills the soul to overflowing and scarce leaves room for any other sentiment or thought.” – John Quincy Adams

When scarcity enters the room, invite gratitude in.
When comparison fills the page, invite gratitude in.
When running on empty, invite gratitude in.
Gratitude, optimism and hope shift the narrative, change the story.
A act, a practice, an intention, an effort each day.
Invite gratitude in.
Be held in joy and delight.
Sing a new song.

“Fill the earth with your songs of gratitude.” – Charles Spurgeon

A Tapestry

“We look at life from the back side of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God’s light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.” John Piper

Worthy. Beloved. Connected.
We belong to each other and forget it daily.
Invite, welcome, embrace.
Self and other.
You belong and everyone else does too.
A smile, a please, a thank you, conversation, looking, listening, understanding.
A tapestry of love.

A Blessing When You Want to Belong by Kate Bowler

“Blessed are you playing the stories of who you are through your mind like a filmstrip.
Where you got your laugh or love of music or those terrible navigation skills.
You who can pinpoint yourself on a family tree.
You who know exactly WHOSE you are.

And blessed are you when you don’t belong.
When you can’t explain exactly how you ended up here,
Outside of what was acceptable.
But longing to fit in nonetheless.

Blessed are you in the alienation and the fear,
The “where will I find my people”
The confusion or anger or the still-wounded from unbelonging.
May you feel your own worthiness.
May you feel your own belovedness.
May you find yourself wrapped in a story larger than the one you can trace.
A story of love and hope and courage
A story truer than the one you’ve been told.

Blessed are all of us here, in this family of God.”

Gardener of Joy

“When you transform your mind, everything you experience is transformed.”― Yongey Mingyur, The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness

“Because in trying to articulate what, perhaps, joy is, it has occurred to me that among other things—the trees and the mushrooms have shown me this—joy is the mostly invisible, the underground union between us, you and me, which is, among other things, the great fact of our life and the lives of everyone and thing we love going away. If we sink a spoon into that fact, into the duff between us, we will find it teeming. It will look like all the books ever written. It will look like all the nerves in a body. We might call it sorrow, but we might call it a union, one that, once we notice it, once we bring it into the light, might become flower and food. Might be joy.”― Ross Gay, The Book of Delights

May you be a gardener of joy.
Tilling, seeding, feeding, waiting.
Bud to bloom.
Winter to spring.
Looking for the good in others, self, the world.
Beyond first reactions, lingering longer to await understanding.
Bursting with wonder, awe and delight.
Change the narrative, write a new story of beauty, light and joy.
We can change our thoughts and soften our hearts.
May we all be a gardeners of joy, coloring the world anew.

“To see beyond what despair sees—to move from the feeling toward the possibility—calls for things we have in abundance: love, imagination, and a willingness to simply tend the world as best we can, without guarantee of success.”― Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Starts, Middles, Finishes

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

This weekend, I finished what I started two years ago.
I signed up for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC in 2020.
COVID – canceled like most things in life in 2020 and 2021, still lingering today.
Ran it virtually in 2020.
2021 – marathon canceled due to security concerns.
Yesterday, I ran the 47th Annual Marine Corp Marathon live and in person.
Fifth and final marathon.

“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.” – Joseph Joubert

A beautiful day and awesome course through our history.
Watching others who were running in memory of others.
Wheelchair racers struggling to get up hills.
Runners pushing others in wheelchairs.
The Marines either running it or working the water stations.
I sighed at mile 18 with a deep breath and a woman offered me her energy gels.
At mile 23, a man running with one leg and a blade prosthetic.

“Indeed, this life is a test. It is a test of many things – of our convictions and priorities, our faith and our faithfulness, our patience and our resilience, and in the end, our ultimate desires.” Sheri L. Dew

So many lessons woven through one day and two years.
I started the race and just kept reminding myself, one mile at a time.
Not too far out ahead, remain present and aware of the place and space to take it all in.
Each mile mattered, nothing wasted as in life itself.
Sometimes we finish in a few steps and moments, sometimes it takes years.
Struggle. Fall. Get back up. Fall. Get back up. Succeed.
Dream and do the work.
Keep going, striving, looking ahead to the finish lines, ready to start again and again.

“When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.” – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” – Jamais Cascio

What Do You Know for Sure?

“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

In a Anne Lamott’s TEDTalk, she shares 12 things she knows for sure. Below are five to ponder as you consider your own list of things you know for sure. Beyond opinion. Deeper than assumption. Underlying foundations that don’t shift with the winds.

Each of us has pivotal insights and truths that resonate in our own life. If we have the right list, not rules and regulations, they serve to open us up, expand our view, deepen our compassion and prompt us to love fully without counting.

  1. All truth is a paradox. Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift, and it is impossible here,” she says. Life is “filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”.
  2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. That includes you.”.
  3. Nothing outside of you will help you in any real, lasting way. Radical self-care is the only thing that will get you through. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true, and it works the other way around too. “If it is someone else’s problem, you probably don’t have the solution,” she says.
  4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared. Everyone, even the people who seem to have it most together. So don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides,” she says.
  5. Grace is a powerful thing. “Grace is Spiritual WD-40 or water wings. Laughter really is carbonated holiness.”

What do you really know for sure?

Fight Them Daily

“All God wants of man is a peaceful heart.”― Meister Eckhart

“There were many terrible things in my life and most of them never happened.”― Michel de Montaigne

Eyes of the road in front and just ahead.
Not in the rearview mirror, not too far out.
Worry, opinion, assumptions, resentment, judgment, comparison suck the life out of life.
Time wasters, energy drainers.
Cynicism is like planting seeds in cement, nothing grows, nothing created.
Joy, beauty, peace, laughter, anticipation, gratitude, kindness, generosity, delight, wonder – balms for the soul, well-fillers, life-changers.
Cast light, change your world, change the world.

“We have to fight them daily, lake fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies.”― Etty Hillesum

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