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Posts tagged ‘Faith’

Write Your History

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill

We are in the middle of writing our history right in this very moment. What’s your story, the plot, your narrative, your third act? What will you be remembered for?

Joy
Optimism
Faith
Generosity
Creativity
Imperfection
Empathy
Curiosity
Gratitude
Resilience
Hope
Imagination
Laughter
Silly
Innovative
Purposeful
Fun
Playful
Kind

Seems like a good list to aspire to no matter the circumstances. If choosing only one, choose kindness. Be Kind. Cast Light!

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” – Henry James

Hope-20 Outbreak

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson

“All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope.” – Alexandre Dumas

Non-stop news, hundreds of emails and resource centers on COVID-19, dozens of commercials on “uncertain times” and “we’re all in this together.” Others are trying to help, to create order from chaos, to figure it out.

We are all in this together, but each person is unique so don’t assume all are handling this time in the same way. Check in on colleagues, friends and family every day. Give yourself a break, stop trying to figure out much past today and know that it’s OK to not be OK. There are tough moments and struggles so be kind and gentle with yourself and others.

Move beyond fear and uncertainty. Surrender and succumb to HOPE. We will get to the #otherside!

Hope carries us, pushes us to keep going, holds up a mirror to our resilience, transcends the rational and sparks joy independent of circumstances.

Hope-2020 and beyond. Let’s do this!

Anchor UP

“Lent is a time to renew wherever we are in that process that I call the divine therapy. It’s a time to look what our instinctual needs are, look at what the dynamics of our unconscious are.” – Thomas Keating

“O lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen.” – Henri Nouwen

Well this is certainly a Lenten season different from any other in our lifetime. The world is upside down, on lock down and tipsy turvy to say the least. What we’ve anchored ourselves in the past has been uprooted.

Trying to understand, to predict, to plan is out of our control in this moment but will come in due time. So rather than wallowing in consternation, chaos and confusion, do the opposite. If you want to coil up and stay in, get out. If you want to keep everything in motion, stop and rest. It’s difficult to explain the unexplainable of these rare days. Go deep, enter the quiet and anchor up. Settle into the unexplainable, mystery and waiting time.

Rather than running/wandering at our usual meeting spot today at Como, four of my running group friends met up (6 feet apart) in St. Paul for a new adventure through the beautiful brick-laid streets of the Summit Avenue area – historic and beautiful, past Garrison Keillor’s home and the James J. Hill House. Up and down stairs, hills and then wrapping up at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul.

Gazing up at this phenomenal holy architecture, this sacred offering, puts it all in perspective. The cross rests firmly on the top pointing our eyes up, reminding us to anchor up, to keep the faith. Tomorrow is the 5th week of Lent – desert time filled with more waiting, patience and anticipation. Easter is two weeks from tomorrow and most likely won’t be celebrated in church followed by a family gathering – the first time ever. This year, we must be Easter people in our heart, soul and spirit.

The desert is always followed by the oasis so keep going, stay hopeful and hold tight amidst the solitude, wandering and the unknown. It’s going to be more than alright. Anchor up.

Author

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” – Epictetus

Resolve to not be defined by this time but define it for yourself. Be the author of your own story. Write each act with intention and diligence. We are more than our circumstances and limitations that we put on ourselves, so very much more.

The pen is in your hand, the time is now and yours alone. Write this chapter and the next, so when the third act has arrived, you have defined and owned the life you have lived. Run the race, fight the good fight, remain in the game.

“No great thing is created suddenly.” – Epictetus

Run the Red

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” – Bob Marley

As I finished my run with the girls this evening with the drizzle easing up, the “uneven lanes” sign came into view. Isn’t that an understatement of this rare and uncertain time. We are surely amidst a collective unevenness, one massive pothole.

When we got to the red light, there were no cars to be seen near or far as the “stay at home” order is being followed with diligence. I waited at the red light for a moment to follow “the rules” and then decided to “run the red.”

We have signs and signals giving us cues and clues all around us. If we open up and listen we can learn something of value and relevance. So rather than focusing on the uneven lanes, I am going to keep running right through the red lights of fear, boredom, hopelessness, negativity, scarcity, hording, seriousness and uncertainty.

Give the green light to creativity, starting 3 things each day, quiet time, hobbies, joy, exploring, laughing, embracing (from afar for now), gratitude, reflection, planning and preparing for #theotherside.

Run the red!

“It’s true that I’ve driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I’ve stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it.” – Glenn Gould

Draw

“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Kids section. Dollar Store. Drawing book. Try something new, frivolous and creative. Dive into the unknown with joy and a sense of exploration and adventure. Cling to new and what’s next because it IS coming. In addition to planning for painting in a few weeks, I ventured outside, stocked up on cleaning stuff, cleaned and wrote “Is This Y(our) Renaissance? on Start3Things today. I also checked to make sure work technology is still up and running for my awesome coworkers who are in this to overcome and prevail to the other side.

I intend to post daily for Cast Light to offer up light, optimism and joy amidst “reality.” Pick up a coloring book, dare to draw and journal daily to tap into your very soul. Get out and give nature a warm long embrace. Forgive. Love. Laugh. – yep, laugh. Be vividly aware and deeply grateful for what already is right now amidst chaos. Do NOT miss this moment fully and deeply. Rapt attention.

Pick up the pencil and start drawing.

The Sun Within

“When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

Plenty of ink has been spilled on the paper of the internet filled with predictions, fear and consternation on COVID-19. It is serious. I will keep up with the news on a limited basis, social distance and wash my hands to a thousand “happy birthday” songs.

However, I am consciously and rigorously choosing to not succumb to hopelessness and doomsday predictions. Each day has become more urgent, vibrant and precious. I will cling to faith, joy and gratitude of all the blessings that remain.

After a week of diligent preparation, dozens of meetings and technology testing, a 15 minute ride around the lake at sunset brings it all into clear view. A vivid reminder that we are still here and the brilliant magical sun remains. We are strong, resilient and will overcome.

So if you are looking for “harsh reality” predictions, worst-case scenarios, blame games or complex theories of how this will all play out, this will not be the place to visit. This will be a garden of encouragement, frivolity, awe, positivity and deep confidence in our resolve and capacity to be bigger, stronger and kinder than our current circumstances. Light resides in each of us ready to be cast out.

In the silence of these days, let the sun within light the way through to the other side which always arrives. We are all in this together and are in the middle of a world-wide lesson in empathy. Be gentle, offer a genuine smile and feel the warmth of the sun within you. Look up, see the light and find the way.

Spilled Milk or Coffee in this Case

Driving into work yesterday, I prepared my mind by listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on being prisoner of hope and the energy of optimism. I stopped by my regular coffee spot to fill up my coffee mug with some delicious hazelnut vanilla dark roast. Armed with a positive mindset, intent on seizing the day, I bounced in like Tigger to be a bright light.

Twelve minutes later, the day took a detour into a technology “pothole” that needed to be dealt with right away, moving me off my tasks that I intended to conquer as I was seizing the day, being a prisoner of hope. I gathered a few staff into my office for a phone call to resolve it. As we discussed our options, I sat back in my chair and took a big gulp of my cup of deliciousness to fuel my problem-solving super-powers.

The cover was not screwed on all of the way and coffee proceeded to pour down my chin onto my sweater and pants, well beyond the help of a Shout stain remover pad to fix. It was fun to have an audience too. I whispered, “son of a b___” and continued on with the discussion. With one meeting after another, I didn’t have time to go home to change so I spent the morning with a bucket of coffee on me.

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.” – Saint Augustine

I went home at lunch to change and on the way back the necklace that I had on broke and fell in my lap. My assessment of the day was that the Holy Spirit was on my ass, challenging me to rise above circumstances and be anchored in light and optimism. The old saying is “don’t cry over spilled milk” or in this case, spilled coffee. While not perfect, I did try to make light of it and not have it ruin my day.

We get to choose each day whether spilled coffee or series of technology mishaps or imperfect people will defeat us. Despite our circumstances, we can actually be a prisoner of hope, filled with optimism that is borne within us, untouched by external distractions, disruptions and detours.

And the final lesson, make sure the cap is screwed on both your coffee mug and your head. See the humor in each day and lighten up. It’s only spilled milk.

Today, I am going into work with a helmet on.

Keep Daring, Again and Again

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Our regrets lie in what we don’t do or try. Failure is not in the falling, in making wrong decisions, but in indecision and not daring to venture into new things, to be a beginner. There is a Japanese proverb called Nana korobi ya oki, which means fall down seven times and get up eight.

We learn from our successes and more from our mistakes. We never learn or grow by staying in neutral. Each step we dare to take weaves together into the hero’s journey as defined by Joseph Campbell who also advised “find your bliss.”

One of my favorite quotes that Brené Brown starts her book Daring Greatly with is Teddy Roosevelt’s, The Arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Stay in the arena and never give up. Keep daring, again and again.

Fresh Water

“Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?” – Alice Walker

“For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive.” – D. H. Lawrence

No special occasion. No waiting on someone else. On the weekly grocery list. I buy flowers for myself like I buy lettuce. Nutrition for the soul to savor the fragrant brilliance found only in a party of fresh blooms. Each one unique, brimming with beauty. Showing off as they should. Unapologetic.

A florist once advised me that to make the flowers last longer, freshen the water daily. Solid advice for living too. Dump out the stale, clouded water and begin each day a new. Fresh water, fresh blooms.

 

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