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Posts tagged ‘Gratitude’

Self + Heart, Sacred Space

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

“For one moment, try to not to get to a place. To not busy your mind + self with things to achieve, or decorate your walls. For one moment, try, to arrive with nothing in your pockets, no shoes on your feet, with only your body, + breath to rely.” – Sarah Blondin

We think we have infinite time with finite choices. Flip it. We have finite time with infinite choices. No more yesterdays, only today to grasp, embrace, honor and to set the stage for tomorrow. This moment alone, the fullness, all the colors and awareness of its depth.

Will you see it or will you let it pass you by on the way to somewhere else?

Will you be a spectator or participant?

Will you accept or reject?

Depart for a moment from the minefield of your racing thoughts. Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs. Release and let the pressure dissipate. Awaken all senses to this moment. Let your thoughts go, pausing to bring you back to equilibrium, to center.

Make your life sacred by immersing yourself in moments, suspended in mid-air of possibility, anchored in light. Do not leave this place until you embrace gratitude and feel the magnitude and immensity of being held by God. A holy, reverent reckoning and unexplainable ease.

When you arrive, you have just found grace. Hold onto it long enough to remember that it is always present. Let it soak into your being. It is not reserved for others. It is a gift for all. Given freely. No counting, no comparing, no scorekeeping. A river that flows softly on the surface and powerfully in the current beneath, it remains. A force to be reckoned with when it is recognized.

Suspend and detach from your thoughts, assumptions, judgments, worry, regret and fear to make space for love, forgiveness, joy, trust, gratitude, wonder and awe woven in the sacred ordinary. Take your hands off the wheel of the bike and steer from your core – heart, soul, spirit. Releasing from the mechanics and transactions to the magic and miracle of ordinary days.

“Scale mountains. Revel at the moon. Kneel at the foot of ancient trunks. Seek wisdom. Find kinship + holy teachers. Offer love to both, sour + soft living things. Roll precious stones in your palm. Carry clost to you, the quill of an owl. Burn the threads of flagrant grasses. Do what brings you closest to feeling the weight of goodness pressing up against you. But the most noble thing you can ever do is come to be a student of your own Self + heart.” – Sarah Blondin

Thoughts and Words

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” – Yehuda Berg

What you say to yourself and others matters. It carries an energy. Positive or negative. Full or empty. Be mindful so you bring positive energy to create enthusiasm, optimism and light.

In a meeting yesterday, one participant was clearly having a bad day and showed it in words, facial expression and heavy sighs. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life at any particular moment so you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. But this person is this way a lot and it sucks the energy out of the room, even on a zoom call.

It was a good reminder to me to be aware of the energy that I am exuding in my own exchanges with myself and others. We all have a bad day but string too many of them together we arrive at a bad life. Be in tune with your energy level and make sure daily self-care is on the list to balance out stress so you have positive energy which creates positive outlook and outcomes. Awareness, mindfulness, intention can change the trajectory of the day and infuse it with optimism.

Gratitude is fuel to power through the day. Pursue optimism vigorously so negativity and cynicism don’t take permanent hold. It’s hard to shake it off. Check on your own energy which is the only thing that you control and it can influence others in a good way.

Read, write, laugh, walk in nature, look at photos, count your blessings and seek joy. Choose your thoughts and words carefully and make something good of this day. Cast light!

“Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders – not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks.” – Daniel Kahneman

Beyond Your Comfort Zone

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

We have been out of our comfort zone for a year now.
The pandemic has put us into this place.
Or has it?
We are stuck.
Or are we?
Question your assumptions, dare to entertain a different answer, flip the narrative.
Go deeper.

The pandemic is certainly not nothing and it is also not everything.
We long for certainty, take comfort in familiarity and sameness to ground us.
Were we comfortable and content before the pandemic?
When the pandemic is over, you’ll need another excuse.

Difficulty makes us grateful for what is gone.
Gratitude can be a way of life rather than a momentary feeling.
What we think serves us, often binds us.

Scarcity, fear, negativity, assumptions, stories, a pandemic justify our “stuckness,” frame our view, limit possibility.
In protecting ourselves from uncertainty, chaos of circumstances, unreasonableness of others, not us of course, we create blind spots and live small.
We long to figure out the ending before we take a step, find comfort in blame and try to organize life into boxes we can label and understand.

It’s exhausting, isn’t it?

We are meant for joy, light and fruition.
Born with a purpose and purposes, with talents and gifts to give away not to bury.
To move forward pre, middle and post pandemic and any other life transition and transformation, we must lay down what we think has served us well.
Moving forward does not negate the past, it honors it by living in the present and writing a deeper narrative by taking hold of the pen and finishing our own story.

Move into the day from a place of abundance, a thirst for mystery and a capacity for joy.
Open up to ambiguity, uncertainty and possibility found in a blank page, in the confidence and trust that we are built for metamorphosis, going from cocoon to butterfly hundreds of times though life.

Finding the holes, problems and gaps in our life, in others and in the world traps us in rearview mirror living, scarcity and cynicism. Identify and integrate the lessons and move to the next grade by applying them. Open up to new learning and expansion. Release offenses both received and given to transform the holes into wholehearted joyful daily living.

There is no real comfort in comfort zones. Ground in abundance and optimism, fueled by light and energized by possibility.

Brave, bold and brilliantly break the patterns and narratives that bind and restrict. Dare to be enthusiastic and optimistic found in wholeness rather than holes. Abundance, possibility and joy right now, today, not delayed for tomorrow, not post-pandemic or “someday” when things are perfect (not happening). From the comfort zone of the cocoon to the flight of the butterfly.

This is what my Dad would call a “kick in the ass” post. We need those now and again to wake up. I need it daily and miss him daily so this one is for you Dad.

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

 

Field Trip

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

On our daily trip to the dog park yesterday, the girls and I wandered outside of the fenced area to the open field to wander through the maze of frozen cattails. The girls took off as fast and when they realized that they were out of my sight, they would loop back to check on me and to make sure that they still had permission to take the “field” trip. Permission granted with a smile and wave.

With great abandon, weaving, exploring, dancing, flying, all senses in play and at play.

Today is the first day of the week, the first day of the month and marks the meteorological spring. On the cusp of a new season, change is becoming more apparent. Change is always happening but it takes attention and awareness to see it, to enter it with joy and abandon. Each day is a blank slate, a white canvas to fill with colors.

This morning upon waking, I began writing an email in my head as I planned the activities for the day. After five minutes, I stopped the swirl and returned to the field yesterday with gratitude for a beautiful weekend and plans for a glorious day ahead. When we observe our thoughts, what field trip that they are taking us on and decide if we want to take the trip, we can break old patterns, stale reactions and respond with intention and attention to transformation and metanoia, a change of heart resulting in a change in way of life.

You write your own permission slip daily. Stop asking others for permission. Stop making excuses. No past. No future. Just now. What will you do and where will you go on your field trip today?

“To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance) really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.”― Christos Yannaras, Variations on the Song of Songs

And So It Returns

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin

“We were not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts.” ― John Ruskin

Over the past week, we’ve been enjoying 40-degree temperature days after two weeks of continuous -20 degree days. The paths at Como Lake were packed yesterday, people wearing shorts, lots of runners and walkers. We get out several times a week year-round and the paths during winter are wide-open, plenty of room to roam. As soon as a nice day hits, there are “traffic jams,” smiling crowds as attitudes shift from “winter angst” to “spring delight.” The weather has that much control over our outlook.

The only way to not only survive winter but to thrive in it is to get out right into the middle of it, finding and making joy in all seasons of life. Forgoing four months for winter or a year for a pandemic? I don’t get it and I don’t want to.

Life is happening regardless of weather, our circumstances and even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It is certainly not our choice and it has been an unpredictable, uncertain, unprecedented year without a doubt. But we don’t get time back, so we need to treat it with the respect it deserves, honor it, make the best of each day.

Blessings and burdens coexist, always have and always will. Each day offers gifts even in and perhaps especially during difficult seasons if we choose to look, be open and accept them. For me, deep gratitude, joy and awareness of how, why, what, where and who I spend my time with has been the blessing this year.

We are placed where we need to be whether we understand it or not. In difficult times, in our winters, it is hard to understand. We are called deeper to meaning and purpose. Go beyond dismissing, mourning and lamenting to enter praise, gratitude and joy.

It’s February about to fall into March. It would be foolish to think that this swath of spring would remain, but winter is on its way out. Seasons come and go. Time has not stopped so follow suit and keep going.

Now, time to get out for some snowshoeing.

“It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.” – John Ruskin

Laugh, Every Day

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” – Clive James

Find humor and knit laughter into each day to lighten up. A simple shape of snow on a tree, a walk in nature, soaking in the sun as winter turns to spring. Pay attention to little things, to what’s right in front of you in this moment. Notice, dance, dare to delight.

If you can find humor daily, even in winter, joy finds you, transforming ordinary days into extraordinary ones filled with light.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Pathways

“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.” – Anatole France

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

The space between two end points.
The pathway.
The middle.
The journey.
This is where life is lived.
We must start to finish.
The pathway is filled with ordinary days.
Sacred if we allow.
Holy if we invite.
Joyful is we accept.
We carry the weight of life in our neck and shoulders.
The neck is the pathway between the heart and mind.
The shoulders are where we carry weight that is not ours to carry.
Lay it down.
Tune into your heart and let it lead to clear the path to the mind.
A flower blooms without fail when the pathway from the dirt through the stem is open.
To absorb water and nutrients.
To breath in the sun.
When the path is winding with detours, delays and distractions, return to your heart to open the pathway.
Let sun and water do their work.
Roots and blooms.
Open pathways.

“A blessing is, finally, something wild. It leads us where we did not imagine to go, and never in a straight line. That is the nature of a blessing—and the nature of God, who meets us in each moment, within time and beyond it, encompassing us season by season in a circle of grace.” — Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons by Jan Richardson

Two Ways

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein

There is an innate joy in children, a natural smile bursting from within, rooted firmly in the soul and spirit. It never goes away but time and experience bury it as we succumb to the ways of the world. When we return to this place of optimism, joy and light, suddenly everything becomes a miracle, blessings abound.

“Thin places assure us that what we can see is not all there is, that within the struggle, joy, pain, and delight that attend our life, there is an invisible circle of grace that enfolds and encompasses us in every moment. Blessings help us to perceive this circle of grace, to find our place of belonging within it, and to receive the strength the circle holds for us.”— Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, Jan Richardson

Blessings and miracles are woven into our ordinary days, amidst a pandemic, politics, struggling relationships, hidden in plain sight. Our most important and only job is to notice them. In quiet meditation and reflection, gratitude, grace and awareness ensue, a full accounting of our life, an awakening.

“The best blessings awaken our imaginations. In places of difficulty, struggle, or pain, blessings beckon us to look closely rather than turn away. In such places, they challenge us not to accept how things are but to dream of how they could be transformed. They invite us to discern how God might be calling us to participate in bringing this transformation to pass.”— Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, Jan Richardson

 

To Live Again

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson

Spring is in the air, if only but for a moment. After two weeks of way below zero temperatures, we are getting two days of 40 degrees, a glimpse of the next season, a sneak preview in February. The slow melt of snow to water, ice to puddles, skating rinks returning to lakes. While the cold air of winter lingers, the sun and longer days take center stage to remind us of the certainty of seasons.

Glimpses, beams and threads are woven into the fabric of each day to pull us through winters, delays and desert time. Gifts of hope, inviting and guiding us beneath the surface of the obvious, beyond the oblivious and rush of mere activity into the deep waters of gratitude, grace and awe.

Examine, observe and absorb the sheer beauty in the petals of a flower, revealing complexity and simplicity in creation, in a single moment.

Winter is sure to return to finish its job, offering its final gifts of quiet preparation and dormancy to prepare for the emergence and awakening of spring bud and bloom. Open the gifts of each season, make each day holy with open arms and a grateful heart.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams

Was, Is and Coming

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

Winter solstice was December 21st.
First day of spring is March 20th.

Light is coming out sooner and lingering longer.
In January, each day offers 90-120 seconds more daylight.
In February, 150 seconds each day as the sun moves higher with March approaching.
We are closer to spring as winter begins its finishing.
The small changes of each day are becoming noticeable.
Seconds turn to minutes, to hours, to days, to a lifetime.

In between “was” and “coming” is “is”
In the process of was and coming is living, progress unfolding in moments.
Do not lose “is” by remaining in “was” or moving too quickly into “coming.”

Each season offers its gifts.
Open them.
Bask in the warmth of the light.
Grow in the patience of the dark.

“Is” is “it.”
Remain there, embracing the depth, grace and gratitude found in being fully present.
In light within and light surrounding each day.

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” – Harriet Ann Jacobs

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