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Posts tagged ‘Mindfulness’

Speak first, then listen and then listen again

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn

Be careful of what you say and what you hear. I was reminded of this today on several fronts while laying around with the flu. People just want to be heard. No need to solve their problem or give dime store advice. Just listening will do. Well-meaning helpfulness, advice, assumptions and opinions have ruined a good many relationships.

For the quiet ones, slowly expressing and at times pining allows their voice to eventually make sense of thoughts that swirl around inside looking for a place to land. For the exuberant extroverts, sharing is a natural discourse with little effort, and at times, without stopping to consider what comes next. The quiet ones could use less forethought and get it out through the shortcut. The not so quiet ones could use more forethought before racing past the afterthought, taking the longcut.

Don’t interpret yipping as a request to solve a problem and don’t accept silence as agreement or consensus. The good news is that we are not all the same.

Thanks to all who have been patient enough to listen to me through the years on Cast Light on mere observations and my interpretation of the world. Just one voice looking for a place to land.

A good writer can make you feel like they know you. A great writer is an observer who is both self-aware and also aware of the relationships and connections outside of themselves while searching for understanding of the big picture. They may know part of you and they challenge you to keep seeking, asking and going until you transform your perspective for the good.

I hope to be a great writer someday with practice and time.

And while connecting some dots along the way, I’ll have fun sharing through writing rather than speaking.

So lighten up. I plan to do much more of that going forward. I fondly remember my Dad once saying, “if you want to know what’s on Kathie’s mind, read Cast Light, otherwise you’d have no idea what she’s thinking.” He knew me the best of all because he was just like me or vise versa. That’s the thing with both understanding and being understood. Together, they are rare and oh so special. St. Francis nailed it:

“Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned”

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

With a bit less pining and consternation, there’s more time for the fun stuff. And the really good posts are always about Abby and Sasha who have no struggle casting light. They just love being, and they’re good listeners too. Can’t imagine what they think of me, but I’m opting for the good version.

Speak and more importantly, listen.

Unseen and unknown

“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” – James E. Faust

In our need to know things before we should, to see things before we proceed, we miss the present moment. When we accept the job that has been given to us in this moment without seeing and knowing, we can fully enter now and engage fully in the present.

You are where you need to be right now unless you are not safe or are being harmed – if so, leave and get help. But in our regular ordinary days, we are where we need to be and are needed. Stop falling for the fictional “somewhere” else or longing for a perfect peace from the world. There is a perfect peace that gets us through our difficult and delightful days and it’s not rooted in the world.

At the end of our rope is a new rope, ready to be seized, and can only be fully attained and grasped with two hands, so we must let go of the other one. And the minor inconveniences that we have amplified into major problems that control our perspective, take their proper place as minor. We are blessed and abundant beyond our imagination. We just need to be reminded of it from time to time and let it in to change our view.

Accept the job that God has given you and stop complaining about it (lecture to self). You are exactly where you need to be, now get to work. And in all circumstances, a peace and joy that passes all understanding can get you through the unseen and unknown. And what follows is seeing today with new eyes and absence of worry. Good trade off.

“Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!” – Suzanne Brockmann

Granted

“Most people fill their schedules with work, and leisure only happens when there’s time left over. But it’s impossible to live a rich and full life without doing things that give you joy. Forget about productivity once in a while and give yourself permission to goof off.” – Amy Morin

Standing in the coffee shop waiting for a cup of coffee after a fun run and conversation with Jeanne and thinking about the list for the rest of my day, the coffee carrier right in front of me popped out at me and got my attention with this quote on permission. I went to get my phone to take a picture for this post.

“Become slower in your journey through life. Practice yoga and meditation if you suffer from 'hurry sickness.' Become more introspective by visiting quiet places such as churches, museums, mountains and lakes. Give yourself permission to read at least one novel a month for pleasure.” – Wayne Dyer

“Become slower in your journey through life. Practice yoga and meditation if you suffer from ‘hurry sickness.’ Become more introspective by visiting quiet places such as churches, museums, mountains and lakes. Give yourself permission to read at least one novel a month for pleasure.” – Wayne Dyer

What a simple and brilliant reminder that we are the only ones who can grant ourselves permission to make our day, to explore our environment, to choose our path. We wait for permission from others to live our own life, to choose the activities of the day.

So if you are waiting for permission, stop and grant it to yourself. Sign off and send yourself on the way to explore the possibility in today. It only takes one decision in your own mind to give yourself permission and responsibility to enjoy your day. The coffee carrier and I are happy to remind you and me that it’s time to explore and stop asking permission. It’s yours to give and to grant. It belongs to no one else. Granted.

Open Space

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” —Socrates

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann

We must create open space each day to enter our thoughts, hear our voice and witness the unfolding of our purpose for being.  I can multitask with the best of them with meeting after meeting and saying “yes” way more than I should or have the capacity to do.

When we say “yes” to more, we say “no” to what we should really be doing. Urgent trumps important again and again, quickly followed by disappointment and a longing for something real. Jamming more into the day is crippling out ability to do what we want, to rest and to engage our imagination.

We have too much clutter both externally and internally. And our frustration is rooted in the fact that more stuff does not, cannot and will not equate to contentment and happiness.

The Japanese concept of “MA” (pronounced “maah”) is about creating space. When we stop our pursuit of more, we can create space and open ourselves up to enough, depth and meaning.

Slow down, listen, say “no” more so you can say “yes” to what’s important and create some open space today. Here’s to more MA!

Teflon

So much of the narrative of our life is defined by others, our past and what we all have allowed in. Change the narrative, change the story. Be mindful and careful of what you allow in and keep out.

Like Teflon, don’t let fear, other people’s shallow criticism and comments control your now and your future. Our regret rarely lies in what we’ve done but rather what we haven’t done. Dreams we didn’t pursue, activities we didn’t try, things we didn’t say.

Worry and fear hold us back from trying at all ages and stages of our life. And with one step, we can change it all. Do it afraid. Silence those voices by trying things, learning and growing until your last day on this earth.

Like a sponge, soak in possibility, confidence and hope. Let that feeling of “I Can” stick. Fear is a liar.

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar”

Zach Williams, – Fear is a Liar

Get your Teflon on.

Intermission

“Wonder is one of the most powerful forces with which we are born. It is also one of our finest skills.” – Erling Kagge

I remember going to the circus every year growing up. Unlike today where we have an overabundance of daily entertainment options, the circus was a special annual occurrence. Something to look forward to, to anticipate and to foster a sense of wonder.

“Wonder is the very engine of life.” – Erling Kagge

In our pursuit of more at the expense of depth and meaning, our days have turned into a three-ring circus minus the sense of wonder. Attention pulled in several directions. Speed and motion without much thought and insight.

Urgency fosters chaos. We are way too serious about a lot of minutia and worry becomes the driver of our days with no room in the car for joy, delight and awe.

Slow down and finally realize that who you are is more important than what you do. We do a lot of “transaction” living, bouncing from one concrete “do-able” activity to the next to barely keep up mediocrity. A three-ring circus, with little depth and attention to one thing.

Before you race through your day today, plan some intermissions in the show to allow gratitude and wonder to the party. Take a walk, close your eyes, count your blessings, let go of worry. Gratitude magically shifts our perspective from adding more to counting what we already have. It grounds us in “enough” so we can stop the frantic pursuit of more.

Wonder and awe are waiting. Go get em!

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.” – Anne Lamott

Spring Confetti

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party!’”— Robin Williams

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”— Gertrude S. Wister

It always takes longer than we want, but the snow always melts. Winter releases into spring inviting the flowers to awaken and work their way through the frozen ground. With a slow and steady thaw, the gifts of spring unfold and ensue. Suddenly the birds are singing with glee and nature awakens to a new season inviting us to join the party. Winter bids adieu making way for spring to make its long anticipated entrance.

Many gifts appeared for the girls this week as the sun did it’s work on the thaw revealing a few dozen balls, bones and toys trapped by the grip of last bit of ice. A bouquet of balls and confetti celebration welcoming long days ahead to soak up the sun, chase balls and delight in outside endeavors.

We can even enjoy winter while going through when we trust that spring always awaits our arrival in due time, filled with the promise of transformation and celebration of fruition. Winter builds resilience, spring is the reward. Let’s party.

Nonsense Makes Sense

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

“Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.” – Thomas Aquinas

I sure did get a lot done this week on my ridiculously long and unreasonable list. And yet, there’s little satisfaction in that because as soon space opens up, it is immediately filled with the next thing, the next deadline, the next urgent request.

Humans are built and made for more than production.

There’s a restorative power in play, in rest, in space. When we get off the treadmill of our “to do” list and wander about with no agenda, no task, no deadline, we restore our capacity to be present in our own life and grateful for what we already have in this very moment.

Each day, we must carve time for play. Book a meeting with yourself to reconnect with what’s most important. Play, be frivolous, lay upside down with a ball.

There’s joy to be harvested in each day. Don’t get tangled up in the weeds of “one more thing to do.” Plant playful seeds and enjoy the harvest. There is a lot of sense in nonsense. Get that on your list and get it done.

“Your soul is infinitely creative. It is alive and expansive in nature. It is curious and playful, changing with the tides of time.” – Debbie Ford

Look Back, Move Forward, Anchored in Today

“The power for creating a better future is contained in the present moment: You create a good future by creating a good present.” – Eckhart Tolle

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Sasha’s second birthday was on Thursday. Both Sasha and Abby were as happy as they were the day before. That’s the thing that dogs and kids have in common. The ability to be fully present in today and to achieve one thing – joy.

And in their process and pursuit of joy, we witness for ourselves the possibility that resides in each one of us and in each day. The capacity and the call to simply be present and aware without going too far back or reaching too far ahead.

The past has gotten to us to today so it serves to provide lessons, ground us in memories keeping those who have gone ahead of us on their journey in this world in our heart and builds our resilience. The future provides hope, fuels anticipation for new beginnings and comes slowly then quickly.

The present is the real gift hidden in ordinary moments, conversations and quiet reflection filled with gratitude, if we choose.

Be open to and seek joy and depth in today. The past is not the map to your future. Been there, done that. New, wonderful and abundant living lies ahead only to be discovered by you one day at a time. Today, that’s it.

Daily Gratitude

“It was the rainbow gave thee birth, and left thee all her lovely hues.” – W. H. Davies

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A simple glance to the left and the rainbow caught my attention and awe entered, setting the tone for the day. That’s all it takes. Opening our eyes to what is present in this very moment and rediscovering gratitude in daily encounters.

According to research, simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain:

  1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions;
  2. Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it;
  3. Gratitude’s benefits take time;
  4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain.

For more inspiration and ideas on living well, check out the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which I just tripped on looking for quotes on gratitude. The joy that comes from simple pursuits indeed.

To be more grateful, lift your head up, open your eyes and find the rainbows woven through each day.

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