“Living the focused life is not about trying to feel happy all the time…rather, it’s about treating your mind as you would a private garden and being as careful as possible about what you introduce and allow to grow there.”― Winifred Gallagher
With rapt attention, the bee moves into the center to fulfill her purpose. Pick your flower and dig in.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” – Emily Dickinson
Care for and guard your garden. Clarity comes in slowness, unfolding in gentle solitude of an open heart. Wonder, possibility and awe follow.
Never stop asking or answering Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
The focused, wild and precious life. One attention-rich day at a time.
“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
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
Watching kids’ excitement at Halloween is a delightful and much-needed reminder of the importance of imagination in our daily life. Smiles are deep and wide. Joy is pure.
I had a wonderful night walking the neighborhood witnessing kids running excitedly door to door yelling “trick or treat” and saying thank you with vigor for a few pieces of candy.
Logic is linear and how we roll through our days, checking off the task list. Imagination brings color, possibility and bigness to our days. Nonsense makes good sense.
“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.” – Dr. Seuss
“Halloween is not only about putting on a costume, but it’s about finding the imagination and costume within ourselves.” – Elvis Duran
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.” – Helen Keller
It’s safe in the harbor of the past, assumptions and sameness. But we are built for adventure, discovery and high seas living. For beautiful sunsets, for gliding across open waters and yes, for waves and high winds.
Resilient, strong and ready for overcoming and victory, living each moment fully. Stay the course, keep the faith, trust your journey.
No more wasted days. Only vibrant awareness of possibility and abundance. Enter the marvelous richness of uncharted waters. Pull the anchor up, furl the sails and venture out into the open, deep water.
Day 30 of 30. I’ve written a post for 30 days focusing on optimism and the power of positive thinking which results in positive living. I’ve not been perfect in my thinking and doing, but I have been more aware of how I start my day and where I allow my mind to wander. A habit is formed in 30 days and optimism is good medicine.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
“While you can’t control your experiences, you can control your explanations.”― Martin E.P. Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
We want things to be different but are unwilling to change. When we shift our energy and effort from trying to change other people and circumstances, we can focus on the only thing we can change – ME.
Studies have shown that optimism and gratitude improve our health including preventing chronic disease, improving our immune system, reducing stress and increasing life longevity.
And, yes it can be difficult to be optimistic when other people are pessimistic, complaining, gossiping and chirping. But with attention and practice, you can strengthen your optimism muscles and be healthier and happier. A worthy pursuit to be sure.
In her article How to Be Optimistic When the World Around You Isn’t, Amy Morin, LCSW offers a few suggestions:
- Optimism is a choice – turn your mindset around and think positive thoughts;
- Decide to be optimistic – it’s a daily decision, start each day reading, thinking and saying positive things. Force it until it takes hold;
- Avoid positive energy vampires – boundaries and limits on toxic people and the news;
- Recognize your negative thoughts – catch yourself in the act, reframe and flip it;
- Bestow positivity on others – share positive feedback with others – BONUS – it returns to you!;
- Imagine a positive future – dream big;
- Practice gratitude – an instant boost of optimism.
There is no risk, only reward in becoming optimistic. Changing your perspective, old stories and explanations = happier life.
“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay
If we do it right, our birthday should be just another day of gratitude, light and joy. Happy Birthday to me and to my golden retriever Abby who’s 3 years old today – my birthday mate. This girl was one of a few bright lights in 2016. Liam, my little Lion King, was the other gift that year.
Celebrate each day like it’s your birthday and last day on this earth. One day, you will be right. No “do-overs,” this is it. Let go of what’s behind that’s holding you back and savor each day.
Discover why and pursue it vigorously. Gratitude is a gift that keeps giving and expanding at the same time. Make it another good day.
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.” – Ausonius
“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.
“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power or goodness.” – Martin Seligman
Gratitude is a key ingredient to real optimism and whole-hearted living. Starting a daily gratitude journal can transform ordinary days into extraordinary days.
A Verywellmind.com article offers some simple and doable tips on starting and maintaining a gratitude journal:
- Decide on a Journal – online or paper;
- Decide on a framework – long form or lists;
- Commit to a schedule – do it everyday;
- Keep writing – things unwind and unfold when we write them down.
The 5 Minute Journal app has a morning and evening check in a very simple format. In the morning, you record 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you will do to make today great? And then daily affirmations – I am… In the evening, you record 3 amazing things that happened today, How could I have made today even better? You can look back and see how you make progress when you do it daily.
Being intentional, aware of your blessings daily and saying “thank you” fosters an abundance mindset. Knowledge, power, goodness.
“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver
“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.” – Ann Landers
Sasha and Abby follow me around and keep a close eye on me. When we go for a run, they glance back to make sure that I’m still there. This adoring unconditional love is why we love our dogs – they are both friend and family, teaching us to be better humans.
Each day is a relentless pursuit of more joy than the day before. They look deeply into our eyes, wanting to be seen as much as they see us. They make it easy to love them.
If only we would love and treat people in the same way that we love our dogs. Unconditionally, loyally, with concern and care, drawing out the best in them and accepting their faults and foibles. It’s not easy to love humans a lot of the time but somehow dogs have figured out how to do it. Seeing the best, forgetting the worst.
If you want to experience the deep colors and hues in the world, open your eyes and see others with no judgment, assumptions or angst. When we look deeply into the eyes of others, we see ourselves, sharing the same imperfect, finite and beautiful journey.
If you need a model of eternal optimism and unconditional love, look no further than our four-legged, bright-eyed furry friends.
See and be seen. Cast light!
“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.