“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
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”– Pema Chodron
From the time I read The Power of Positive Thinking over 30 years ago, I’ve had a deep interest in psychology, optimism and purpose. It’s why I launched Cast Light over 9 years ago and launched Start3Things last year.
Advancements in neuroscience over the past two decades have provided new insights on how we can rewire our brain to positively impact our daily life. We are “wired” to see negative more than positive. It’s called negativity bias. I just started an online course on Meditations to Change Your Brain to gain new strategies and insights to expand my perspective and go deeper.
With mindfulness and meditation, we can exercise our brain and keep discovering, learning and growing. Meditation can steady your mind, focus attention, reduce stress and prompt creativity. I can’t think of a more important time than right now to pursue this practice daily to plan and prepare for each day and to get to the other side of the pandemic and well beyond.
While there are many meditation apps available, Insight Timer is actually free and has over 55,000 guided meditations. It’s an easy way to rewire our brain to find joy, light and calm in each day. If each of us pursued this for ourselves, imagine the state of the world. Start with your world first and see what the world can become in this very moment.
“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”
“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans.” – Khalil Gibran
“From which sense of center will we live our days: as an arrow always seeking its mark, or as a drop of water always seeking its home? Half the time, we’re so eager to get somewhere only because we’re uncomfortable with where we are. Much of the time, we’re trying so hard to keep the difficult things out that we stop letting in what is always present and beautiful.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
Each of us makes a choice from where we will live our days. Fluid as a drop of water or an arrow in fervent flight aiming for somewhere else. In the pursuit of what’s next, we miss what already is in this very moment. Allow movement, grace and the slow work of being so you can go deeper into the ocean of your very soul.
“As fish in their grace demonstrate, it’s not surfacing or bottoming that is our home, but our movement back and forth. That immersion brings us alive. For the slow work of being leads us to a thorough life, where the deeper currents moving through us are life-giving and empowering. And the Whole of Life rinsing through our heart and mind is what we feel and think and speak.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia
“Wherever you are, be there totally.” Eckhart Tolle
No matter the season, these two always know how to have fun. Summer brings rolling in the grass and some serious ball chasing. When I get caught up in my “to do” list and my swirling thoughts, they bring me back to focus on gratitude, presence and joy.
Life is not a continuous puzzle to solve, a checklist to be checked off, a hot pursuit of what’s next. Life is hidden right in front of us in simple moments, in a walk with a friend, in laying next to your best pal and flipping a tennis ball into the air to show off your ball handling skills.
Breathe, laugh and take it all in.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Life seeks life and loves life. The opening of a catkin of a willow, in the flight of the butterfly, in the chirping of a tree-toad or the sweep of an eagle – my life loves to see how others live, exults in their joy, and so far is partner in their great concern.” – Edward Everett Hale
“Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.” – Thomas Merton
Eagles can see four to five times farther than the average human. So rather than 20/20 vision, they have 20/5 vision.
So often we get caught in the day to day “mouse eye” view focused on our to do lists, transactional demands rather than vision and intention required to live a deep, meaningful and fulfilling life.
The meaning of life is not found in checklists, multitasking or a scorecard. Rather it is a beautiful complicated, confusing, confounding, original story that each of us are meant to write, create and to enter into the mystery of the unknown.
Take an eagle’s eye view of your life and see the big picture. It most certainly won’t end where you have planned. It will be much, much grander, beyond your imagination when you are alive, awake and filled with vision.
“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.
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Meditation is an attempt to stop rowing and let the water of life go clear, so you can see through to the bottom of things. Let’s try this now. Put down your oars and drift. Center yourself and breathe slowly. Whatever the day holds can wait. The first oar to leave alone is your mind. Inhale and exhale deeply. The second oar to ungrip is the oar of fear and worry. Inhale and exhale slowly. Simply breathe and let the water of your life settle and calm. Let your breathing quiet the ripples. Let the water of all life settle and calm. Look through the calm, not searching for anything, just seeing what’s there.” — The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo
Stop rowing. Let the water settle so you can observe, listen and be present. Our thoughts, opinions, judgments either contract or expand us. When we drift and observe, we choose expansion and mystery.
Dare to be quiet long enough to awaken your senses to see to the bottom of things. Put the paddles down each day to cultivate clarity and joy. We cast light by allowing light in.
“Practice yourself, for heaven’s sake in little things, and then proceed to greater.” – Epictetus
“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” – Marcus Aurelius
They make balance bikes to get kids to learn how to balance before they start to bike. There are nuances in balancing. It’s both science and art. And when gravity wins and you fall down, get back up to try another run at balance until it strikes.
Watch a child learn to balance so you can relearn it yourself. Because we understand it, we pursue it and we so often forget it.
“Love grounds you. It orients you. Love brings your awareness to others and yourself. Love opens your mind and heart to others and yourself. Love settles you and gives you balance.” – Gary Zukav
Practice balance. Balance practice.
“Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.” – Saint Augustine
Empty the vessel to create space for new narratives, abundance and delight in the ordinary. Empty and fill.
Each day, we need to get out of our own mind to enter new worlds of books, of nature, of quiet, of thoughts that recreate our mind. When we continue to grind, going through the motions expecting different results, we run dry and unfilled. It is in wrestling in unknowing and letting go of our own answers, we discover an immense world beyond our own experience. Allow imagination and innate creativity to enter and wander with them each day.
Daily habits, plans and rituals are important to keep us on task and doing things. But in order to be drawn into meaningful things that last and add value, we must carve time to restore, replenish and feed our mind, body and spirit.
Daily journaling, reading, running and wandering into the woods pull me out of my limiting thoughts, assumptions and keeping score. It is in these activities that I am moved to deeper work, to pursuit of purpose, to richness of meaning.
Be diligent in both emptying the vessel and filling it with the things that give you peace, joy and contentment.
Empty and fill.
“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” — Lao Tzu
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” — Loren Eiseley
When water is still too long, it gets stale. Movement and flow filters and cleans. Rather than sit in the house at the end of the day, I took the girls up to Central Park in Roseville for a walk. While the lake was still and green, the falls were clear. After our walk, we drove a few blocks up to Lake Johanna for a dip in the lake.
Water, fresh air and warm sun have magical powers to transform routine and monotony into extraordinary moments.
Be grateful and aware for what already is present right now or a mile from home. If you don’t remember, swirl it up and it will soon appear hiding in plain sight.
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau