“Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.” – Plutarch
“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.” – Henri Matisse
On my run this morning, it was difficult to see too far ahead with the looming fog and damp cold. As I was finishing, the sun started to burn through the fog. Light always burns off the fog of uncertainty, negativity and judgment.
Cling to the light of hope, faith and resilience, especially now when the fog is thick with ongoing pandemic uncertainty, a mean season of dirty politics on both sides and hatred rooted in stereotypes rather than reality.
It was a beautiful end to the day with sun shining bright and brilliant. Choose light. Never take optimism for granted or underestimate her power to transform the world. Actively choose light over the fog.
On my way out for a walk tonight, my neighbor told me that she had the police over today because someone shredded her American flag and she was afraid. Stop the rhetoric and hatred! History lesson – the very first amendment is free speech. Speak yours and allow others to speak theirs without judgment, shaming or violence.
Go vote. Regardless of the results of the election in November, live a good life each day by contributing your best and offering kindness, understanding and empathy. Enough is enough. Build a life of your own that you will be proud of when you have to take account for it and stay in your own lane.
We have enough fog. Cast light.
“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”- Benjamin Franklin
“I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.” – C. S. Lewis
“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” – Dag Hammarskjold
The blues are bluer, the bright is brighter. Reflect and look for the good. Look for radiance, grace and beauty. It’s in you and all around.
“We all find joy and radiance and a reason to move on even in the most dire of circumstances. Even in chaos and madness, there’s still a beauty that comes from just the vibrancy of another human spirit.” – Ishmael Beah
“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1
Happiness is a choice, a daily one. Regardless of circumstances, others and our own wandering aimless thoughts, we can go deeper within and rise above. Be mindful with your intentions and actions. Hope and conviction beyond the obvious into the unseen.
It’s that simple and that complex. Children and dogs have mastered it. The student really is the teacher. Learn the lesson. Do the work. Choose happy.
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” – Helen Keller
“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
“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:
- “Is it true?”
- “Can I absolutely know this is true?”
- “How do I react when I believe this thought?”
- “Who would I be without this thought?” Then turn it around and say “What is the opposite?”
A few other takeaways:
- You are your own way out. It begins and ends with you.
- Don’t feel guilty for believing what you believe.
- 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 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.
“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
“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
“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.
“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