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Posts tagged ‘Encouragement’

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.

GET on with IT

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” – Henry David Thoreau

“I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.” – Laurence Olivier

Keep your eyes open and get on with it – good advice to live a simple life filled with joy. A life where a brilliant leaf on the ground stops you in your tracks. A life filled with hope, light, optimism and gratitude grounded in knowing that our time is finite and possibilities are infinite.

Let go of the past, of grudges, of regrets, of keeping score, of familiar old stories and get on with it. When you can see brilliance all around and are taken back by its beauty, you are on the right path.

Inspect your life, see the detail, catch your breath and get on with it.

Jump Start

I wasn’t feeling it this morning, so I was going to put off posting until tonight. Putting it off is the recipe for not doing it. Stop procrastinating and start right where you are now. Change your attitude and perspective.

When you don’t feel it inside, go outside for some inspiration, motivation and optimism. Day 14 – 30 day positive thinking habit. Make it a GREAT day!

Here’s 5 Positive Quotes to Jump Start Your Day!:

  1. “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  2. “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen
  3. “Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.” – Richard M. DeVos
  4. “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.” – Patricia Neal
  5. “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller

Nature’s Angels

“Butterflies are nature’s angels. They remind us what a gift it is to be alive.” – Robyn Nola

I never tire of seeing butterflies, of flowers bursting, of deer passing quietly through the woods. They wake me up to the simple joy and beauty that is always in reach right now. Accept the gift.

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mustard Seed

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20

The Cathedral of Saint Paul was built between 1907-1915. Eight years with none of the equipment and tools that we have today. The workmanship is magnificent. Those who started in 1907 had the vision, the faith of a mustard seed followed by a heavy dose of fortitude and patience to finish this national treasury. Most days, we don’t have the patience to put eight minutes into something much less eight years.

The Cathedral is two blocks from the end of the Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile run. During my three marathons especially, I would visualize seeing that beautiful sacred place many times along the long path. And when I saw the tip of the dome, I knew that I really was almost done.

A tiny seed planted takes hold, carries us along and mountains are moved. So often we try too hard to figure it out or do more. Rather than more activity, plotting and pining, we just need to be still long enough to hear that still small voice directing the next step.

Not knowing is o.k., believing in greater things than ourselves is required to live contently with deep joy rooted in optimism.

Go move mountains today, not by doing, but by faith. A mustard seed, that’s it.

Take Monday Back!

“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” – Ella Woodward

Mondays have a bad rap. The beginning of the work week when our schedules spin out of control into meetings, the email pours in and we start making our plans for the next weekend while multitasking.

Take Monday back and dip it in glitter.

Drive a new way to work, take a walk at lunch and give Monday another chance to experience joy. We change our scenery when we take a new route, shift our mindset and make a new habit. Every habit starts with a psychological pattern call a “habit loop” consisting of three parts: cue/trigger, routine and reward. I just wrote an article on habit on Start3Things and optimism is an important habit that can fuel more habits. What’s the risk? Joy, delight, laughter? Sounds good to me.

This post is day 7 of 30 day of optimism and positivity. 30 days is a good time frame to start a habit and make it stick. So take this Monday back and seize the day! Now off to work, not on my regular route for sure.

“Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit.” – Natalie Massenet

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