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Posts tagged ‘joy’

Trail Management and Blazing!

“There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by.” – William Cullen Bryant

It’s important to establish routines, rituals and daily practices to focus our attention, effort and time to create habits to reach goals, check off resolutions. Discipline, repetition and commitment are the ingredients of progress, growth and fruition.

In addition to the mechanics of “trail management” which include plans, goals, actions, discipline, accountability and efficiency, we also need to integrate “off trail” adventures to find joy, play, fun and magic. “Trail blazing” is messy, iterative, inconsistent, inefficient exploration that fosters imagination, creating new patterns, connections and deeper ways to see the world. Life balance comes with the integration of mechanics and magic in our daily life.

For the past nine months, almost every Sunday morning I’ve done a long run as a part of marathon training. After completing the marathon in October, I’ve continued the “Sunday practice” to stay in shape, albeit not as many miles or structure as marathon training. Jeanne would meet me with water and join me for the last 4-5 miles.

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

This morning, we decided to break the Sunday routine, because we had the opportunity to walk with Bob at Como. One of Jeanne’s superpowers is to meet and connect with people who soon become fast friends. She “picked up” Bob, an 82 year old sweet soul who walks 1.6 miles around Como every day and has for years. Bob’s going to Arizona for a few months so he asked us if we were coming to Como today to say good-bye. Rather than a quick “hi” in passing, we opted to walk with him to enjoy conversation and connection. We stopped four times to take a break. It was the slowest and most important workout of the month.

We were wise enough to open the gift of connection, conversation and time over plans and routines. We went snow shoeing after to get an additional work out. Today we chose both trail management but more importantly trail blazing. That decision is not only is good for the body, but for the mind, spirit and soul, our whole being.

As you look at the schedule for the week filled with meetings and “trail management” activities, make sure that you start booking some “trail blazing” time to wander, to laugh, to add meaning to all of the activity. Find the joy in the JOurneY.

Now, off to do some more trail blazing tennis ball chasing activity with with Abby and Sasha in the woods. Cast light, chase joy.

Yeah! It’s Monday!

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran

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

We fall into patterns and mindsets that don’t serve us well. Sundays before Mondays are heavy as we contemplate the “to do” list for the week. Fridays we sigh with relief that we made it through four grueling days. We find joy in three days and forego the other four.

Enough. Take each and every day back! Be as excited on Monday as you are on Friday by changing your expectations, trying new things and not falling for false narratives.

Each day is a gift ready to be seen and opened. Pay attention and tune out the noise. Be willing to accept joy in ordinary moments and create memories on a weekday rather than on vacation and long weekends.

As we come off a few weeks of holidays and respite from the grind, commit and build time into each day for self-care, delight and celebration of ordinary moments. Life is meant for the grand not the grind. Dare to be light and carefree, even and especially on a Monday. Repeat on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Get into the grind of joy!

A few hours with Jeanne and the girls proved to be, yet again, good medicine for the soul.

Yeah!!! It’s Monday. May we each have the wisdom to say this daily prayer, “God, I am blessed and I know it in my bones. Thank you and Amen!”

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” – Wayne Dyer

Better Days = Better Life

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

According to research, 40% of our happiness relies on our thought patterns and behaviors, 10% our circumstances and 50% our genes. If we focus on the 40% in our control, we may also be able to shift our perspective on our circumstances, making it 50% in our hands to make better days. And better days = better life.

Sonja Lyubominsky, The How of Happiness offers ten ways to boost happiness.

  1. Practice gratitude – list three things that you are grateful for each day (three of mine are in the photo);
  2. Be kind – assume the best in others and show empathy. You never know what someone is going through and you can be that beacon of light that pulls them through;
  3. Practice optimism – stop the spiral of complaining, comparing and criticizing and fill that space with imagination, play and positivity. Flip worst-case scenario thinking to best-case scenario;
  4. Avoid rumination – let it go. When thoughts bounce in your head like a pinball machine, stop and ground yourself in the present. The past is done, move on.
  5. Physical exercise – training for a marathon which turned into a virtual marathon kept me focused this year. You don’t need to run a marathon. Getting out every day into nature and moving your bones is good for your soul;
  6. Meditation – I’ve tried meditation on and off over the years and it wasn’t until I downloaded the Insight Timer app that it stuck – 80 consecutive days and counting. Download it – 5-10 minutes in the morning and meditative music to fall asleep to will shift your very foundation;
  7. Religious/spiritual observance – I strive for deep faith and meaning beyond myself. It’s the anchor, the rock that has held my hand through life and particularly valuable this year. No preaching, just fact – God’s holding all of us, let Him;
  8. Forgive others – we free ourselves when we forgive others. Let it go and live your life;
  9. Pursue goals – set goals and develop the steps to get there. The world needs you to bloom and give away your gifts and talents;
  10. Savor – stop the monkey mind and be fully present in this moment and allow joy to soak in. Each of us can find things to be grateful for. Gratitude shifts our energy and attention and lifts our spirit.

You find what you are looking for so look for light, joy and laughter, available to all of us if we choose to partake.

The Other Side of the White Out

“When you quiet your mind, you can enter a world of clarity, peace and understanding.” – Alice Coltrane

“Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things – with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.” – Corazon Aquino

The past nine months has felt like a nonstop white out in winter. Limited visibility, slow going, uncertain of what’s ahead, fish tailing on the ice, with a few spin outs into the ditch. And like winter, this is a season, a long one albeit.

We have the capacity to experience both sorrow and joy at the same time. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. Keep moving until the snow clears and the horizon shows itself.

We are deeper, wider and stronger than we realize. Never, never, never give up. Accept the rollercoaster of emotions and go through them to the other side.

God gives us grace to embrace what is and asks us to pass grace on so it multiplies. Accept and give grace, allow imperfection and invite delight into each day.

Joy, hope, resilience, gratitude and faith move us through the white outs, without fail. The other side is just ahead, keep moving, smiling, crying, mourning and celebrating! Create clear skies and sunshine within and patience, perspective and peace will follow.

Streaming Light

“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

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

Whether we choose to see it or not, light is streaming all around us. In nature, in people, in our very being. What we focus on, what we look for, what we think about, what we have hope in becomes our daily reality.

Be honest. Were you content before the pandemic? Are you now? Will you be after? The illusive and perfect someday withers away our today. When you guard and savor joy, circumstances, other people, even a pandemic can’t take it away.

Be intentional not accidental in what you see, think and say. It is a daily decision and discipline to choose light and optimism.

Look for and allow the streams of light to break through the cracks in your life. Break open.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Light Show

“I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.” – Eden Ahbez

As the sky darkened and the rain moved in, a stunning light show danced through the clouds. Awe fills the heavy air. The immensity and beauty of creation remind us that life is bigger than a day, deeper than our circumstances and wider than the worry that we allow into our mind.

Let gratitude, hope, optimism, faith, trust, joy and grace in to light up your heart and soul. Bigger. Deeper. Wider.

Enjoy the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” – Joseph Addison

Joy Economy

“Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.” – Mark Twain

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.” – Zig Ziglar

Nothing like a trip to the Farmer’s Market with friends for fresh veggies and flowers to seize one of the many joys of summer. Joy is found in simple things we weave through each day.

Never underestimate the need to make daily deposits into your own economy to cash in on the riches of a life lived well in the depth of daily joy.

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” – William James

Lessons in Joy

“We’re put here on Earth to learn our own lessons. No one can tell you what your lessons are; it is part of your personal journey to discover them. On these journeys we may be given a lot, or just a little bit, of the things we must grapple with, but never more than we can handle.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” – Henri Nouwen

How we go through is more important than what we go through. The past four months have certainly tested our resolve, resilience and grit. Accept the gift of grace, embrace the hope that is proven with the fullness of time and apply the lessons of joy.

The clearing is ahead. Until then, keep the faith and learn the lessons, the lasting ones that change us forever, that transform, that create new life.

Joy over despair. Hope over angst. Clearing at the end and beginning of the journey.

“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller

Rain

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The sky opened and the rain poured out in heavy sheets. A mile out with the dogs guaranteed that we would get soaked and we did. It was refreshing after a hot day and a very heavy week. If only the rain could wash it all away. It did for a moment and after it let up, the sun tried to peak out from behind the clouds.

These are heavy serious days. And in the midst of the rain, we must seek the sun behind the clouds to be buoyed by hope and transformation.

And as I wrap up this day, I decided to take a break from the news, from social media and to do something frivolous by looking for a movie. And, of course, I decided Uncle Buck with John Candy was the best decision right now. Our ability to laugh, to be frivolous, reminds us to lighten up if but for a few hours and rediscover our capacity for joy.

It is Well

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”― Julian of Norwich

A long walk on a summer-like evening with the girls and friends followed by fellowship, snacks and a few beverages closed the day in gratitude. As I drove home anchored in a state of ease, I thought of the old hymn, It is well with my soul.

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

When explanation, logic and sense making no longer make sense and we stop the “why” and “when” pursuit, we discover an acceptance and clarity of what we can control and that which we cannot And suddenly, it truly is well with our soul.

Each day, find a wellness in your soul and keep going. How we go through defines the experience of the journey. Choose light and joy.

“All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.” – John Ruskin

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