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Posts tagged ‘Gratitude’

Give Into It

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don’t Hesitate)”

― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Poet and Pulitzer Prize winner Mary Oliver passed away last week on January 17th. Grateful for her beautiful words and observations that inspire reflection and attention to what is before us right now.

Read poetry, write poetry, live poetry. Give into daily joy. In this very moment.

Long and short, mostly short

“The days are long, but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

In the past month, two colleagues and friends have passed away. One was 67 and on the brink of retirement after a tremendous career. An author, scholar, professor – authentic, big-heart, generous, brutally honest and funny as hell kind of guy. The other, a 36 year-old brilliant, positive, sweet young woman who I worked with for over 10 years. There’s a quip at work about “work wives’ – that person you can talk to, you have things in common with and she understands you. One of the greatest desires that each of us has is to be understood without having to explain things. She was my “work-wife.” Even though she worked remotely in Montana, we spoke every day, we could complete each other’s sentences and had the same geeky joy for data, learning and caring about the work and the outcome.

We need to grieve loss, to honor a people who have had an impact on us. Both of these individuals had tremendous impact in the world, well-beyond their immediate sphere. I saw each of them “give a damn,” get burned and yet they got back up and kept swinging, caring. They didn’t allow circumstances, small-minded negative people or challenges get in their way. They kept moving through life with vigor, humor and passion.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with our self-created busyness and chaos of daily life. To ride the surface and not go deep. You certainly don’t get burned that way. No one can catch you long enough to get burned. But when we do that we shortchange ourselves and the world. If others don’t give a damn, that’s precisely the time to care even more.

With my own busyness (non-stop meetings and ridiculous demands of work), I’ve been on the brink of joining the rest of the pack in not giving a damn. There’s even a book that’s a best-seller on “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.” I started reading it, but I didn’t get far. I want to give a “f*ck” and get burned. The opposite of love and joy is not hate but apathy.

As I reflect on my two professional colleagues who became friends over the years, I am reminded that often the days are long, but the years are short, too short to be sure.

Dig in, care, give your best without counting and fully grasp each day and the blessings that surround you. There are many gifts present right now in your life if you stop complaining and gossiping long enough to see them. Live the life that you were put here to do. Whether it’s staying where you are at or moving on.

Choose depth, awe and light. The rest of it is really a waste of very, very precious time. And when I forget, I can remember two role models who lived fully even though they were not granted the full time that they should have been. No guarantees for any of us really.

If we allow, loss fosters gratitude. Be grateful now and kind to others so when you’re gone like we all will be one day you will be greatly missed because you made a difference in other peoples lives.

Daily Rules

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” – William Shakespeare

I got away to a friend’s cabin (house actually) for a few days. Relaxing, spending time together, playing several Scrabble games (still my favorite game). The world slows down between Christmas and the new year inviting us to slow down as well. And in the quiet unstructured time, we can actually hear that still small voice calling us to go deeper, observe what is present and be refreshed and renewed.

While it’s easier to rediscover our thoughts and dreams in down time, we can carry that quiet within as we enter in to a new year with a clean slate. And we are offered a clean slate, a fresh start every day. The lessons we learn in quiet are meant to be carried back into ordinary daily living, making it less chaotic and more meaningful.

“Cabin Rules” should be our daily rules so we have that get-away vacation feeling every day. It is offered to us all if we dare slow down daily to see our blessings, be grateful and offer each day our best.

Happy New Year and may the resolutions on your heart be reality in March. Keep that new, resolved feeling beyond the next few weeks. Cabin rules rule.

In the Life of Winter

“We cannot stop the winter or the summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or make them other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” – Gary Zukav

There is plenty of life to be found in winter. In rest, reflection and in getting out into the middle of it to discovery its own special beauty. Winter is not meant for hibernation alone. Its gifts are preparation, silence and transformation. Winter does the work so spring can get the praise.

Never succumb to the “dead” of winter. Be open to life that winter offers in frozen ground, preparing the bud for bloom in due time. Daily gratitude, in each season.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov

One Piece at a Time

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” – Deepak Chopra

When it all doesn’t fit together, keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together one at a time. The big picture, the next step, the purpose will show itself when enough of the little pieces come together. Don’t overthink, freeze or give up. One piece at a time, with time and it all comes together. Faith is active. Keep the faith, and use it.

The Gift of Spring, and Winter

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” – Thomas Wentworth Higginson

There are things in our life that change us forever. Loss of a father, mother, sister, best friend, divorce, career changes. The depth of loss can bury us. Which is alright if we know that we won’t and shouldn’t remain there. We are meant to be changed, especially through the difficulty. What was has gotten us to now and has prepared us for what’s next.

And after we go through the mourning of life shifts and earthquakes, we gradually and then suddenly awaken to gratitude to what remains and hope in what is to come. We need to go through transitions, and keep moving, to open to transformation and grace.

In the midst of your winter, always remember that the gift of spring always comes. And there are gifts in winter as well. Fight the good fight.

Just One More Thing

“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

“Thou hast given me so much to me. Give one thing more, – a grateful heart.” – George Herbert

Too much of our precious and finite time is spent chirping – gossiping, being offended, yipping about the weather (too cold, too hot), offering judgment before compassion and the bigger winner – complaining.

Thanksgiving should be the culmination of a year spent in gratitude. As you enter this week and the holiday season that ensues, take time each day to quietly reflect on the many gifts that you have been given as well as those that you have to offer. We are bigger than we allow ourselves to be. Let wonder back in by opening your eyes to daily blessings. Life is found hidden in moments.

This year, we took the shortcut to January in Minnesota. Single degree temps and windchill. We know winter is coming every year and yet somehow are surprised when it arrives. Rather than run from it, run right into the middle of it. Discover the gifts that even winter has to offer like a stunning sunrise on a newly frozen lake before a 3-mile run.

Just one more thing that I ask for – a grateful heart filled with awe, curiosity and wonder. Embrace Thanksgiving this week and the days to follow with an open heart and mind and a loving spirit. Gratitude brings the world to light and light to the world.

Just Wandering

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e. e. cummings

“Wisdom begins in wonder.” – Socrates

Coming off my first week of vacation this year, I am relaxed and settled. Away from obligations of nonstop meetings, other peoples’ (ridiculous) expectations coupled with my own set of “rules” made up of “shoulds” and “musts” with little consideration for why. Faster at the expense of better.

Wandering always leads back to wonder. And for the wonder to stick, we must “schedule” pockets of unscheduled time each day and not wait for the next vacation. We are bound by time but must unbind ourselves from doing more and more to quietly being, observing and witnessing. Gratitude ensues.

Consciously choose to live with and on purpose. Wander, listen, be present and allow wonder to re-enter and remain. Pursue light and cast it.

Freedom

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

When we step back, remove ourselves from the chaos of busy to get a more complete and full view, we discover the freedom that we already have right now, should we choose to exercise it. Our thoughts and assumptions can either free us or imprison us. If we live only with a snapshot view that this moment will be forever, we surrender our joy and freedom to be content and grateful where we are no matter the circumstances.

Life is made up of moments that weave together to create a bigger story, a beautiful fabric. Sometimes it makes sense, other times it doesn’t. But it unfolds as it should. Trust in the story as it unfolds and embrace your freedom to choose the next chapter.

If changes need to be made, make them. If they don’t, change your view. And by all means, soar.

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” – Carl Sandburg

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.” – Carl Sandburg

From Glory to Glory

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

Whether we believe it or not in this moment, we are built to transform, to unfold, to become new. Rarely in our time, but surely in due time.

Cynicism is easy, it’s defensible. And it also makes for a lousy life. Optimism may be disappointing time to time, but cynicism owns disappointment all of the time, stealing our joy.

Create a space for light to break through and in. Light always remains. Steady and true. Hold your joy close. From glory to glory. Transformed.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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