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Posts tagged ‘Encouragement’

Good-bye, Again

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” – Nikki Giovanni

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

We did the final haul out tonight of the few remaining items in my parent’s house. 41 years of memories, now empty rooms for someone else to fill up. Bittersweet to be sure, but it’s time. Over 3 years after Dad has passed with Mom only there a few days a week, it time to say good-bye again, let go and move on.

As with all transitions, we know when it’s the right time and yet we linger and hang on one more minute, or year or more. A lot of good memories have been built through the years in this place, but the memories were with the people first, place second. Any yet we are still tied to place, even though home is within and with others.

So good-bye old friend and welcome new memories in new places with the same and new people.

Closing is Thursday. The final good-bye of many over the past 3 months of preparation. And then moving on. So often we only see the loss and miss the gain in the process. We cling to things so tightly that we miss the gifts of now and the promise of what is to come.

There are times and seasons for everything. Let go, move on and open your arms and heart to what’s new, next and calling. Life is about experiences and relationships not about stuff and structures.

August Bloom

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” – Denis Waitley

“Change is a continuous process. You cannot assess it with the static yardstick of a limited time frame. When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant. You have to be patient. With time, it grows into a large tree. And then the flowers bloom, and only then can the fruits be plucked.” – Mamata Banerjee

There’s something special about an August bloom. Spring invites bloom, so there’s no surprise with the accompanied delight. A late bloom shows us the capacity we all have to continue to change, grow and bloom into beauty.

Keep planting seeds, cultivating the soil, soaking in the rain and be ready for your burst of brilliance. It happens in all seasons.

Persistence. Time. Fruition.

Not easy, not perfect but GOOD!

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

After a pretty good run this morning, Jeanne and I stopped for coffee before getting to the details of the day. Another running friend Soni – 80 years young – stopped by to say “hi.” She was telling us that she’s got some knee problems so she’s only running 2 miles every other day until she can get back to her daily schedule. She runs early in the morning and could outrun people half her age.

Jeanne and I were sharing our own ailments and injuries preventing us from doing what we want to do. All of us were in agreement that while we may be slowing down, we’re not stopping.

Soni then summed it up “it’s a bitch” and then we all started laughing – it set the tone for the day. And her t-shirt was perfect too – “Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t perfect. Life is good.” Jeanne told her that she was her hero and Soni’s response was “I don’t feel very heroic.” Moving through life with joy despite circumstances and challenges is heroic indeed.

The gospel this week was the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was working hard, preparing and in full worry mode. She was upset when Mary chose to not help her but rather to rest at Jesus’ feet and be with him fully. When Martha lamented to Jesus about Mary not helping, he responded -“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Let Martha rest and put on your Mary today. Enjoy what is present in this very moment and remember, life really is good.

Taking Flight

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou

I have been writing Cast-Light for 8 years with almost 900 posts and intend to continue. And because of this endeavor, I am also launching a new website called Start3Things. It’s been ruminating inside of me for over 3 years and today, on Freedom Day 2019, I am lighting the bottle rocket and launching this new endeavor. It is unfinished and still evolving just like me, but it’s time to launch so it can get momentum that comes from starting, committing and doing the work every day.

I’ve shared the depth of this concept for the past few years with co-worker and good friend Nicki Brunner, Minnemama. She listened, questioned, looked confused and then pushed me to finish the sentence per se. She is a phenomenal human being, artist and writer who designed my Cast-Light logo and designed the Start3Things (S3T) website, which will eventually become my “retirement” business in a decade as it evolves into additional income through subscriptions, e-books, freelance writing and whatever else comes up as it transforms and takes on a life of its own. Maybe even a book – who knows? That’s the goal and the dream. And now comes the work to get there.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s “official” launch article:

“The original concept was based on doing 3 things everyday that move you to your purpose. To becoming the you that you are called to be. And it’s still true today but I realized a few months ago that it’s more than starting and finishing. I’ve been caught the last three years in the middle. I started and then I sputtered and stopped. We have hundreds of ideas of starts but not a proportional amount of finishes. Why? The middle – the working ground. Starting again and where we are at is where living and being intersect.

So S3T started to make more sense as the concept evolved and I evolved my thinking along with it. The only way to the finish is starting but we need that grit and fortitude in the middle to keep going.  Starting is easy compared to the work demanded in the middle to finish.

And the concept of 3 took on more itself as well. Life is a series of beginnings, middles and ends. It’s cyclical and dynamic. And in all areas of our life in one of those areas all at the same time. We are complex beings living in a chaotic world. And the one thing we all have in common to be sure is that we are here for a purpose in our daily life, on our years and in what we leave behind.”

Over the next month, I will be digging in with discipline and rigor to research, curate and write content including a weekly enews, building out pages and articles and posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram. Over time, I will be looking at a mobile app and other features to make this a valuable resource to return to again and again.

Thanks to all who have followed Cast-Light, encouraged me with comments and likes and helped me improve my writing. I am grateful and excited to continue to evolve and develop my writing and have fun along the way with both Cast-Light and Start3Things.

Happy Freedom Day!!

“Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.” – Louie Schwartzberg

Understatement

There are days when “rough road” is an understatement.

“Am I blessed? That would be an understatement.” – Amruta Khanvilkar

“Am I blessed? That would be an understatement.” – Amruta Khanvilkar

The rough patches serve their purpose of building patience, resilience, fortitude and trust that God’s got this so we can let go our expectations, ideas, assumptions and rules of what should be. And it can’t be overstated that there are more days that are filled with beauty and peace on the road less traveled.

“Cross the meadow and the stream and listen as the peaceful water brings peace upon your soul.” – Maximillian Degenerez

“Cross the meadow and the stream and listen as the peaceful water brings peace upon your soul.” – Maximillian Degenerez

Go off road. Embrace and succumb to the extraordinary in the ordinary which really is the understatement. Gratitude, grace and joy are gifts that await opening again and again. Breathe in the fragrance of the day and enter fully into now.

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O'Keeffe

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

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.

Flex

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

In the past 6 months, I’ve lost 32 pounds. I set my mind in December, got on a program and did the work. The main goal was and is to lose and then get stronger. I started with a trainer this week for strength training. I just completed my third weight session this morning and feel terrific. I’m sure there will be many more lessons as I go down the strength training path.

Strength training is a daily commitment with work and rest to recover to build muscle and gain strength.  And one muscle that we often ignore is our joy muscle. Expanding our capacity to remain present in the moment aware of the beauty abound takes work and effort. We create our daily reality and our future through our intentions, thoughts, words and actions.

Pay attention and bring joy to the forefront. Proactively and intentionally build your joy muscle so you can flex it daily.  As we strengthen our joy muscle, our circumstances, other people and our own perspective suddenly change and become new.

A few interval sessions to build your joy muscles include smiling, laughing, listening, looking up preparing for flight.

Liam, Abby and Sasha are my joy trainers. Never failing, they always bring a smile, a laugh and push my reset button to focus on joy when I get distracted.

Get your superwoman and superman on today. Flex that joy muscle.

 

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

 

 

 

Cosmic Dance

“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things, nor stain the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there. – Thomas Merton

I had a different post ready on pruning, cutting the dry branches for the good of the whole. But I was compelled to change the topic based on conversations, exchanges and observations today. It feels like a pep talk is in order to offer hope, hold out a hand and cast light rather than offer insight and analysis.

Each one of us will face depths that we can never explain, plan or prepare for but must walk through. No one is immune from the side effects of daily living.

A grandmother who suddenly fades and lands delicately on the pivot point of life and death. A halt in our daily activities from an injury that makes it painfully difficult to stand, to walk with ease. And then the regular old self-centered, ego driven actions of humans.

And despite the noise and chaos, there remains an anchor, an unshakable foundation of hope in a friend who listens without giving advice, in an encouraging word and smile that says “I’ve been there and it’s going to be o.k.”

So if you are in that spot right now, hold tight and go through it. Don’t try to take a shortcut or bypass the depth. It won’t work and you won’t stay there. The other side is always waiting for you to arrive when the time is right and the proper work is complete. And if you are not in that spot right now, assume the person next to you is and be kind.

The cosmic dance knows the song so stop trying to lead. Simply let go, follow the steps and dance.

Speak first, then listen and then listen again

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn

Be careful of what you say and what you hear. I was reminded of this today on several fronts while laying around with the flu. People just want to be heard. No need to solve their problem or give dime store advice. Just listening will do. Well-meaning helpfulness, advice, assumptions and opinions have ruined a good many relationships.

For the quiet ones, slowly expressing and at times pining allows their voice to eventually make sense of thoughts that swirl around inside looking for a place to land. For the exuberant extroverts, sharing is a natural discourse with little effort, and at times, without stopping to consider what comes next. The quiet ones could use less forethought and get it out through the shortcut. The not so quiet ones could use more forethought before racing past the afterthought, taking the longcut.

Don’t interpret yipping as a request to solve a problem and don’t accept silence as agreement or consensus. The good news is that we are not all the same.

Thanks to all who have been patient enough to listen to me through the years on Cast Light on mere observations and my interpretation of the world. Just one voice looking for a place to land.

A good writer can make you feel like they know you. A great writer is an observer who is both self-aware and also aware of the relationships and connections outside of themselves while searching for understanding of the big picture. They may know part of you and they challenge you to keep seeking, asking and going until you transform your perspective for the good.

I hope to be a great writer someday with practice and time.

And while connecting some dots along the way, I’ll have fun sharing through writing rather than speaking.

So lighten up. I plan to do much more of that going forward. I fondly remember my Dad once saying, “if you want to know what’s on Kathie’s mind, read Cast Light, otherwise you’d have no idea what she’s thinking.” He knew me the best of all because he was just like me or vise versa. That’s the thing with both understanding and being understood. Together, they are rare and oh so special. St. Francis nailed it:

“Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned”

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

With a bit less pining and consternation, there’s more time for the fun stuff. And the really good posts are always about Abby and Sasha who have no struggle casting light. They just love being, and they’re good listeners too. Can’t imagine what they think of me, but I’m opting for the good version.

Speak and more importantly, listen.

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