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Posts tagged ‘Happiness’

Use Your Imagination

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

There are many quotes from my day with Liam today. My favorite one is “You have to use your imagination.” Well isn’t that an underused muscle. My worry, complaint, uncertainty, judgment, work too much, multitasking and consternation muscles are very strong. They get a lot of use, overuse actually.

This weekend, I am going to “imagination bootcamp” with my camp counselor Liam and his capable assistants Abby and Sasha. Two trips to the playground, a pizza party and three ball throwing practices later, it is a good start to bootcamp. What’s next? Toy Story 2 snuggling next to my best pal of course. Tomorrow – Como, swimming, tennis ball hitting and some Disney movies later, there should be many lessons to be learned.

This is a no work, no worry weekend. Let the games begin. Imagination, look out, we’re coming for you!

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.” – Joseph Joubert

Do the Work

“I stopped waiting for the world to give me what I wanted; I started giving it to myself.” – Byron Katie

“Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon, nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” – Byron Katie

I always listen to one of three podcasts on my training runs. Cathy Heller’s Don’t Keep Your Day Job, Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic and Joyce Meyer’s Enjoying Everyday Life. Books, music, podcasts pull us out of our own thoughts to explore, question and ponder.

The interview this week on Don’t Keep Your Day Job with Byron Katie, The Work was filled with wonderful insights including four questions to ask yourself to change the narrative you tell yourself and the power to change it to serve you better:

  1. “Is it true?”
  2. “Can I absolutely know this is true?”
  3. “How do I react when I believe this thought?”
  4. “Who would I be without this thought?” Then turn it around and say “What is the opposite?”

A few other takeaways:

  1. You are your own way out. It begins and ends with you.
  2. Don’t feel guilty for believing what you believe.
  3. Freedom and happiness are your birthright.

We choose our own thoughts so we have the power to change our world. Explore abundance, create your days, see the brilliance in the petal of a flower.

Do the work and carve the life you deserve.

The Right Ladder

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Make life your playground, not your battlefield.” – Ormond McGill

I’ve been writing most posts at the end of the day, keeping the daily “streak” going. Today will be an 89-day streak. Daily journaling has been an important part of keeping a positive mindset and being present in the classroom of life.

While nighttime is a good time for reflection, it’s also a time when we’re tired and called to rest. As a result, the posts have been shorter, a bit more surface skimming, more mechanical. So rather than merely going through the motions, I’m going to change it up to morning posts for a while to go a little deeper.

In the morning, when the world is new again, if we choose to lay down yesterday, we are offered the gift of a fresh start. We can get our ladder on the right wall by setting our intentions to be present, grateful and engaged. So rather than being tossed around by circumstances, spinning thoughts and those “irritating” people who keep showing up each day to bug us, we can go beneath the surface into the depth of life which is found in connection.

When we lead with kindness, empathy and active listening, suddenly circumstances shift and that irritating person turns out to be someone who’s struggling just like you. Our world changes when we change our perspective and get on the right ladder.

There are many lessons to be learned daily, joy to be had and playgrounds to be played on. Enjoy today on purpose and cast light.

Powerful Hope

“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

I received this postcard from Joyce Meyer Ministries a few days ago and have put it on my table to remind me of the power of hope. Like prayer, we often think of hope as a last resort, lofty, inactive and passive. And yet prayer and hope are the most powerful and active things we can do as a first resort. It changes our energy, takes the weight that is not ours to carry off of our shoulders and focuses our efforts on that which we can impact and change.

Be filled with hope each day without fail. Bold. Daring. Firm. Persevere. Passion. The power of hope surprises, delights and always delivers. Let it in and let it be.

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – Michelle Obama

Joy Catcher

“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.” – Helen Keller

My niece Emily and son Liam dropped by today and spent the day with my Mom and me. Liam was styling a day robe, excited to show me his water balloon filler where you can fill a dozen balloons at once. Brilliant, efficient fun. Since it was a bit cool to throw them at each other, we launched two sets over the fence under a cloudy sky and watched them burst open on the ground. More playing, a trip to Target for some toys, dinner, movies and falling asleep in my lap ended a wonderful day.

My normal day is usually hyper-focused on work, how much and efficiently that I can get things done, racing to cut the grass before it rains, training for a marathon and regular old housework. What a wonderful non-normal day as Liam instructed me through actions and few words on how to be not only a joy chaser but a joy catcher. I told him that he made my day and he came back with “You made my dreams come true.” My heart skipped a beat. What a sweet boy.

Don’t worry about tomorrow or what’s next. It’s futile and steals our joy in the process. Putting off joy for someday or when “it’s appropriate” locks us in foreboding. This day is all that we are promised so stop focusing on checking off transactional items on your “to do” list. Take moments in and be transformed by joy.

It’s going to rain most of the day tomorrow. We don’t know what the next month will bring. We’re not perfect. It’s tough some days. And none of this, none of it prevents us from capturing joy in ordinary moments. Don’t wish, waste and wither your days away in pursuit of someday. Your someday is today. The rest of the stuff out of our control (the majority of the stuff we pine about) will take care of itself in due time.

Now off to bed to rest up from joy catching and to prepare to cast a net for more joy catching tomorrow.

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Tipping Point

“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” – William Wordsworth

The lilacs are at the tipping point of bloom. When it’s time, the buds will break open releasing sweet bold refreshing fragrance to welcome spring home. We don’t know when the lilacs will bloom, but they always do. Their time is short and they make the most of it.

Plant. Cultivate. Bloom.

Simple. Real. Optimism.

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” – Anne Frank

“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.” – Anne Frank

Today lived up to its Monday-level reputation. The rush, the rally of activity disguised as strategy. Noise to fill the open space. Optimism is hard. It’s rigor, discipline and fluid. We need to be open to having sucky, shitty days and know that they are few and far between, letting them happen so they can pass like a kidney stone. Honest and real today, unapologetic. And it all reveals the most important strategy that we must execute consistently – simple. real. optimism with a side of hope. Optimism is the only real and sustainable option worthy of our passion and pursuit.

As I concluded the day with a walk in the woods, sharing the same sucky day stories with my best friends – one human, two dogs, two beautiful deer appeared in the woods feeding on some leaves, unassuming, unfraid and at ease. God’s brilliant reminder that He’s got this, so settle in for the ride. It’s quite simple, keep it that way.

Tomorrow – a clean slate, another day. Simple. Real. Optimism.

“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” – Anne Frank

Ending, Beginning. Repeat.

“I don’t believe in an outside agent that creates the world, then walks away. But I feel very strongly there is an intelligence at work in every flower, in every blade of grass, in every cell of my body. And it is that intelligence that, I wouldn’t say created the universe. It is creating the universe. It’s an ongoing process.” – Eckhart Tolle

“The end is the beginning of all things, Suppressed and hidden, Awaiting to be released through the rhythm Of pain and pleasure.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

With a long slow spring, I assumed that I’d be pulling a few dead shrubs in the front yard. And then suddenly and surely, the green popped from beneath and the old dead petals are weakening and falling off, saying good-bye. When we think it’s over, it’s really the beginning. Follow, embrace and hold to the seasons, cycles and rhythms. They remain whether we remember or not. They remain.

The buds, spring push through to take their place, to take the baton from winter and hibernation. We have a lot of spring and summer ahead. Let the light in, no questions asked.

 

Before and After

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou

“The important stuff will still be important by the time you get to it. The unimportant will have made its insignificance obvious (or simply disappear). Then, with stillness rather than needless urgency or exhaustion, you will be able to sit down and give what deserves consideration your full attention.” – Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

In “before” we prepare, we do the work, we walk the path step by step that gets to “after.” Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in before, circling, lost and then suddenly, after arrives and the work pays off.

I’ve been planning for a first-floor remodel for a few months. Clearing clutter, organizing. Choosing the paint, then painting. Looking at several floor options, then deciding. Moving an entire first floor into my garage. All with help of course. And today is day one of three to get new floors installed – luxury vinyl plank flooring – much better with dogs. Good-bye 15 year-old laminate, linoleum and carpet and hello new floors in 22 easy steps. I haven’t taken a vacation in a long while so this is my “big” trip, creating a new cool space at home, little did I know how much time we’d all be staying at home.

And during this time, especially during this time, it’s good to plan and prepare for the future, even though we are stuck in the murkiness of now, in our before. We are all going to get to our after when before finishes its job, even though we don’t understand why, how or when. Keep planning, do the work, hold tight to trust and faith, savoring the long overdue stillness. After is coming and our before will carry us forward fully prepared for it.

Good Days – Create Them

“Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.” – Mary Oliver

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

A walk with friends by the river with the girls. House chores to prepare for new floors on Monday. The plumber. Comcast for a new cable box. A long ride with Mom and the girls. Sasha chasing geese in the field. A drop by my sister’s house as she gazed into the eyes of her grandson with pure joy. A stop to pick up dinner. A few more chores. Sit down and watch a movie.

No meetings. No zooming. No tech. Flat as hell hair and it isn’t going to get prettier with the state locks down stay at home until May 18th and a perm reschedule, yet again, for Memorial Day weekend. A simple day, a good day.

Don’t miss good days. Create them and accept nothing less. Not defined by accomplishment or to dos but by presence and ease. Deep gratitude for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Good days – create them.

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

Yep, I put the quote in twice because we forget. We will not be here forever.

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