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Posts tagged ‘joy’

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

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

To Good Days Right Now


“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” – Khalil Gibran

To long runs to prepare for a marathon that will probably be canceled in October. To time with family to celebrate motherhood. To friends who show up in texts and call checking in. Good days are available right now, not in the pandemic-free future, if there is one. Look around and take inventory of all that is present and good right now in this very moment. These are abundant, blessed days. Never, ever give up. Naïve – hell yeah and necessary.

“Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” – Epicurus

Exclamat!on Po!nts!

i “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.” – Buddha

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.” – Walt Whitman

What punctuation are you using to define your story? Commas, question marks, periods? How about weaving more exclamation points into the narrative of your daily life, especially right now in this very moment.

We pause and stop too soon, starting a sentence but not finishing the paragraph. Your story is not over yet. You have the pen so keep writing, first drafts, second drafts, final edits to launch.

If you need prompts, inspiration, watch the natural expression of flowers in full bloom, dancing with delight, in exclamation and celebration.

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.” – Ecouchard Le Brun

Chasing

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown

What are you chasing? When we pursue the right things, the ones that are woven with flow, meaning and purpose, the chase becomes the destination. Choose the chase with intention in hot pursuit of pure joy.

“Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.” – William Butler Yeats

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

Did You Find Joy?

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” – Emily Dickinson

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

What if the one question that you are asked at the end of your days, at the pearly gates of heaven are, “Did you find joy?” What would your answer be? I believe we will each individually be accountable to report out what we did with this “one wild and precious life.”

Can you change the answer now so you can get an “A” at the end of the course of life?

On a 10-mile run today, I ran the red light on the path since no cars were around, not even the sound of cars approaching. A block away from the light, I turned back and watched a biker sit and wait for the red light to turn green with no one around. She was following the rules, even if they don’t make sense anymore. Run the red and keep moving, in hot pursuit of daily joy, new constructs and possibilities when we draw outside the lines.

So as you enter tomorrow, start your day with a simple and complex question – “where will I find joy today?”

When we pursue and find joy, we become joy. A light, an energy source, a beacon, a walking smile, steeped in awe and wonder, ready and willing to be surprised.

So rather than changing the world, our circumstances, or our neighbor who irritates the hell out of us, what if we simply pursued daily joy?

Joy fosters kindness, generosity, forgiveness, curiosity, creativity, empathy, purpose, clarity and ease. Joy found must be shared – it’s the nature of joy. And if each one of us focuses, prepares and answers the one question that we may be asked at the end of our days – “did you find joy?” we may just be fulfilling our purpose and calling.

Start each and every day – “how will l find joy today?” and be ready to answer the question.

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Christopher McCandless

The Cutest Virtual Worker

“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.” – Deepak Chopra

“Our present moment is a mystery that we are part of. Here and now is where all the wonder of life lies hidden. And make no mistake about it, to strive to live completely in the present is to strive for what already is the case.” – Wayne Dyer

My great-nephew Liam – a regular character on this blog – has been calling me the last few mornings on his Grandpa’s work headset. He’s at home from school learning, playing and joining the virtual meeting world that we are all in right now. He is a steady, consistent force of optimism, delight and enthusiasm and my best life coach.

Many coworkers and colleagues are at home with kids and four-legged family members working through this “new normal.” While it may not be as fun for the parents, I am really enjoying seeing the energetic kids and happy dogs.

Each day, we own the choices we make that create our perspective. Choose abundance over scarcity. Generosity over hoarding. Empathy over judgment. Energy over order. Joy over fear. This is a call to enjoy these close, irritating and home bound days.

We will long for this time again when we get to the other side. See the good in this moment, savor this time and prepare for the #otherside.

Happy Bird

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

My nephew Liam loves going to Target. I enjoy taking him and watching him pick out a toy. Our last trip, he picked an Angry Birds playset. In addition to the ritual hanging on the side of the cart through the store, he politely asks the cashier for a sticker when we are checking out. This trip, he hit jackpot and got four stickers. His forehead was an obvious place to put one of them.

As he was examining his new toy, I asked him if he was an “angry bird.” He promptly responded “no, I’m a happy bird.” No truer words have ever been spoken. Liam is innately happy, joyful and an empathetic soul and spirit. He generously shares that light with all who cross his path. For a 3.5 year old, he is a sage, figuring out the secret of life.

Practicing and mastering optimism, joy and delight are the only reasonable approaches to daily living. Anything else just leaves us angry birds. No hesitation – be a happy bird!

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