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Posts tagged ‘Faith’

New Mountains

“You have stayed at this mountain long enough.” – Deuteronomy 1:6

The Israelites journeyed in the wilderness for 40 years. The distance to the promised land should have taken 11 days.

We spend way too long in the wilderness looking for the shortcut, lost in our rules and assumptions, making the journey longer than it has to be. We then get comfortable in the wilderness rather than finishing the journey and preparing for new mountains.

You have stayed at this mountain long enough. Stop circling the same mountain and move on. Comfort and familiarity are not goals to aspire to in this one short precious life. New, exciting and fulfilling mountains ahead so keep moving forward. Let go of what was and move into your becoming.

“Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?”

The Summer Day —Mary Oliver

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

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.

Somewhere In Between

Yesterday, I listened to my favorite songs loudly on the way into work and decided it was going to be a good day. And not only was it a good day, it was an outstanding day. One of the best in a long time because I set the stage, I made a plan, set my mind and stuck to it. Enjoy the day and have some fun. It worked.

Today, I had the same intentions. Hit the repeat button and let’s do it again. Same intentions, not same results. Pretty strong start to the day with some engaging conversations and meetings. And then mid-afternoon, it unraveled. Tech issues with our internet that I had been asking our vendor about for the past month, only to be ignored, and then the internet went down for the entire office for two hours with no back up and while I was in the middle of a client meeting. Other than getting them to fix the connection, I couldn’t talk to them today because I knew it wouldn’t be a constructive conversation that I would be proud of.

We live in extremes – way up or way down. And both are exhausting if we remain in them too long. Most of living is found somewhere in between the highs and the lows. I went home quietly to push the reset button again which consists of wandering in the woods with the girls and throwing balls in an open field while listening to nature party.

"You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters." -Saint Bernard

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” -Saint Bernard

And then as the night progressed and errands took my attention, I realized that three years ago on this Thursday evening, I was going 60 miles an hour down West 7th to rush to Regions Hospital after getting off a flight from Boston, even though I didn’t need to rush. It was too late. I didn’t make it in time, Dad had already passed away in the hospital. This Sunday, April 28th is the actual date and not a day has gone by where I haven’t missed him and haven’t wanted to pick up the phone after a day like today to talk to him about it and have him masterfully put it into perspective for me. Not one day. And I know my brother, sister and Mom feel the exact same way. One big hole.

It sure puts in perspective a stupid preventable tech failure or another day at work putting in too much damn time thinking more time at work will make an impact other than to the bottom line of someone else.

Pick up the phone, drop by and never let anything go unsaid to your loved ones. I am happy to say that’s how it was left with Dad. In an instant the internet can go down. And, in an instant, you can lose your best friend. Don’t waste your time pining on stupid problems and caught up in the BS people throw at you all day. Spend time with family and friends who really make life worth living and rich with joy. You can find them “in between” it all.

Easter Promise, Fulfilled

A somber weekend
Silence and contemplation
Rest and restlessness

The third day arrives

Hope complete
Spring blooms
Waiting finishes its course

Easter promise, fulfilled

Time for celebration
For the sun to invite the next season to begin
Flowers dance

The gift of Spring

Open and savor
Drink it in
Summer stands by ready for its turn

Transformation

Not too soon
Not too late
Always in due time

Rend thy chains

“It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.” – Katharine Lee Bates

A Year from Now

“In basic research, the use of the electron microscope has revealed to us the complex universe of the cell, the basic unit of life.” – Gunter Blobel

“The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.” – Henry Ward Beecher

While I encourage savoring the moment and being present in today, we also need to put the microscope down and pull out our telescope to look to the stars, trigger our imagination and get a new perspective when life’s challenges get too close.

Moments are rich with joy that can be discovered with a microscopic view. When the details of the day are steeped in chaos, it can distort our view requiring the use of our telescopic view. Pulling back and getting a new view. Moments are snapshots that accumulate into the entire album of our life.

Using both our microscope and telescope at the right times keep us balanced through our day to prevent “rollercoaster” living. Zooming into to see moments of connection, joy and delight in simple interactions. And then, when necessary, pulling back to remind ourselves that “this too shall pass.”

So, do both. Savor the moment, the beauty and detail in the petal of a flower. And when things get distorted and lead us down “frustration lane,” look up and remind yourself that you won’t be here in a year or even tomorrow for that matter.

Carry your microscope and telescope with you today and use each one appropriately so you can enjoy the gift of this day.

Hope Always Remains

The international treasure, historic 850 old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was consumed by fire yesterday. As the fire settled and smoke rose, the cross remained. One image summarizing the end of the story of Holy Week, the hope of Easter.

As we go through our own Last Suppers and suffering of our daily crosses, remember that the end of every story is always Easter. The cross always remains through the fires of hell. Hope remains. Always. Cling to hope no matter what you are going through now. The third day comes, resurrection and new life from ashes.

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

Clarity in the Morning

There’s a clarity in the morning like no other time of day. Fresh from resting if we allowed ourselves to lay the day down the night before to recover, refresh and renew. It’s a new start, a clean slate, an opportunity to do better. No distractions or interruptions. Quiet time to get a perspective that will be challenged, tested and pushed around the rest of the day with the demands of long to do lists, last minute requests due to lack of planning usually caused by putting out the last fire from the last round of lack of planning and forethought.

It’s good artificial intelligence is coming since real intelligence is in short supply. And humans will be able to teach the machines how to do it. Factory line, grind it out, more with less, get better by the hour, productivity, keep going even if it’s in the wrong direction. And certainly don’t let relationships and emotion get in the way. Busy, busy. Sounds great doesn’t it?

But that is not how we are built. The frustration, exhaustion and emptiness keeps showing up in the pathetic 32% employee engagement number that Gallup regularly measures. I would suspect that it will drop even further as we tout how artificial intelligence and machine learning will put you out of a job and really change the world for the better, again. Same empty promise, get rich quick scheme we bought into with the proliferation of technology giving us more time back. How’d that one work out?

Don’t get me wrong, a big part of my career is built on technology and what it can do to actually make our life better and connect the world to do cool things for humanity if we choose. But we fall for the shortcuts, the quick fixes, the 21 day solutions, the 10 minute a day train for a marathon formulas, the magic pill. How’s that working?

No matter how far we frantically search to discovery that “thing” that will change our lives forever, it comes down to what’s inside of each one of us and in messy, complicated, illogical relationships with others. How we play with others on the playground.

So from this morning clarity and rambling, I come to a few final thoughts since this will break into a longer version article when I have the time to go deeper someday (that’s also what we tell ourselves too often – “someday I will…”)

So someday is today:

  1. Slow down and breath at regular intervals today, take 5 two minute breaks from the action and the “ASAP” lists people keep creating for you. Let clarity be a part of your entire day rather than just the morning when people aren’t around to mess up your plans;
  2. Be a human being. Offer grace and generosity of spirit to others who disappoint you and come up short all of the time, despite your perfection. Show and share your humanness, flaws and all. Kindness to others begins with kindness within. You’re not perfect and no one else is either. Celebrate your imperfections;
  3. Choose empathy over apathy, even though apathy is what makes complete sense;
  4. Laugh, until it hurts, which I actually did last night. I pulled a muscle in my abdomen from laughing with friends. When I self-diagnosed myself last night with Dr. Google, you can actually strain muscles in your abdomen, proving the need to strengthen your laugh muscles every day. I’m sure there’s a 21 day fix for this. I’ll google that later, when I have time;
  5. Take full inventory. So often we count the hassles, set backs and losses making them larger than they warrant. Choose abundance over scarcity and make sure that you at least equally count the many blessings and gifts in your life. It’s irritating when someone says “be grateful” because they’re right.

That’s right – 5 Easy Steps to Happiness Today, with a money-back guarantee of your success. And order within the next 60 minutes and we’ll send 2 sets for the price of shipping.

Lighten up and cast some light today. Now, go get em! Your head lock is waiting.

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