“Imagination allows you to bend the rules of the temporal world.” – Amy Sheral
“A line is a dot that went for a walk.” – Paul Klee
On the canvas of today, what colors, shapes, strokes will you brush on the white space?
How will you see the same differently, be changed, moved, uprooted, furled into awe?
Where will you reside and where will you venture to?
You are the artist, the writer, the creator of today.
Do not let the past, circumstances, others take that responsibility and power from you.
Own what is yours and create something beautiful that only you can create.
Be generous, invite whimsy, take the voyage, shine your light.
Blank canvas, create a masterpiece, unfolding a brushstroke at a time.
“Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour.” – Giotto di Bondone
“We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.” – Desmond Tutu
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” – Desmond Tutu
May I never get used to and miss the glory of a sunrise.
May I pause to witness how the light dances on all it touches, including me.
May I begin and end each day aware and in awe more than a minute, steeped in gratitude.
May I always be curious and inquire of others, self and circumstances to enrich the narrative.
May I expand “I” to “We,” inviting and welcoming connection, belonging and generosity into each and every interaction.
May we all seek, find and cast light, peace, grace and joy into the world to be made new daily.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu died on December 26, 2021. A beautiful conversation with Krista Tippett, The Onbeing Project is well worth the listen.
In the rushing, where are you going?
What are you running from and to?
What are you missing now front and center?
Reside and dwell.
Someday, if, when.
False destinations that steal our today.
If blessings available now are unseen, when, how, where will you recognize them?
Enough and overflowing.
In the mess, in difficulty, in scarcity, goodness, abundance and depth reside as well.
Discernment, clarity, awakening in inquiry, observation and listening.
Reside and dwell.
The gift of winter.
Quite, harsh, softness, beauty, peace, wrestling, restoration, preparation, patience, dormancy to unbind, unravel, unfold, cocoon, hibernate, set root.
The precursor to new, to breaking soil, to bud, to bloom, to spring.
Reside and dwell.
Seasons, cycles and circles.
Lessons, letting go, taking hold, tipping points, transformation.
Beginnings, middles and ends. To begin again.
Reside and dwell.
“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.” – Orison Swett Marden
“Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body. As they look, they believe and do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die.”— Peter Chrysologus
The Epiphany – the culmination and destination of Advent and Christmas.
Unfathomable, transformational, relevant, meaningful, vibrant, alive and available to all to this very day.
Not history or fable, but past, present and future.
Ponder, seek, expand, allow awe and wonder in.
In the unknowing, mystery, beneath, above, around and beyond understanding, the Epiphany calls, invites and welcomes all in to be held, changed and made new.
“What are you doing, O Magi? Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel, wrapped in miserable rags? Can this Child be truly God? … Are you become foolish, O Wise Men … Yes, these Wise Men have become fools that they may be wise.”— Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
A woman who said “yes” without hesitation, with unshakeable trust ushers the Savior in. Let the light in to your routine and daily life, be upended, turned up and around. Cast Light.
“Truth, by which the world is held together, has sprung from the earth, in order to be carried in a woman’s arms.”— St Augustine
“Pay attention to the beauty surrounding you.” – Anne Lamott
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius
Rush to color, joy, beauty.
Let them do their work in you.
Be slow to judgment, resentment, assumption.
Think the best in others and let them prove you wrong.
And then forgive them.
People are imperfect, including self.
Beneath the surface, the real story lies.
Don’t accept the answer “fine” when you ask how someone is doing.
Ask the follow up question. Listen, don’t solve.
Choose to be kind and considerate.
Go first in letting others go first.
Music. Art. Literature.
Expand the world, pull us out of “what about me” ruts.
Gratitude. Grace. Anticipation.
Expand the world, focusing our eyes on possibilities and blessings.
Light. Laughter. Love.
Expand the world, saving it from itself.
Live this day in color, joy and beauty.
“Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.” – John Ray
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” – Francis of Assisi
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” Francis of Assisi
In politics – public, work, personal – we create talking points. To win an argument. To sell our view. To get a vote. To get buy in for some corporate flavor of the month. To make “easy” money. To get more with less. Get rid of the old, bring in the new. Boiling down complex issues to sell the shortcut and scheme that will work this time. Make it simple. Even when it’s not, especially then.
If your philosophy can fit on a bumper sticker, it may be time to go a little deeper, to expand your view, to listen more and talk less. If we spent more time on listening points rather talking points, we might gain insight, understanding and connection. Finding substance through inquiry. Authenticity, belonging, understanding, patterns that lead to sustainable plans and outcomes.
We don’t have to boil everything down. Not everything is an argument. Conversation and listening lead to understanding, diversity and beauty. Spend more time honing your listening points rather than your talking points. Pay attention and listen to understand rather than craft a reply. Relationship over transaction. Right over righteousness. Compassion over correction. Empathy over apathy. Cast light, a single sunbeam.
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” – Francis of Assisi
“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” – John F. Kennedy
“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.” – Ivan Nuru
Peace always begins within. Reconcile and release worry, unforgiveness, resentments, open the door to peace. We become what we carry. Lay down the unnecessary, the old, the burdens that bind. Integrate them and move forward, not looking back. Walk lightly. Pour your energy, attention and effort to creating, building and connection. Nurture peace within by pruning, replanting and rooting in good soil of joy, love and gratitude.
Peace be with you, me and the world. Never stop pursuing.
“Learning lessons is a little like reaching maturity. You’re not suddenly more happy, wealthy, or powerful, but you understand the world around you better, and you’re at peace with yourself. Learning life’s lessons is not about making your life perfect, but about seeing life as it was meant to be.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“Nature, which makes nothing durable, always repeats itself so that nothing which it makes may be lost.” – Oscar Wilde
“Whose heart doth hold the Christmas glow Hath little need of Mistletoe; Who bears a smiling grace of mien Need waste no time on wreaths of green; Whose lips have words of comfort spread Needs not the holly-berries red – His very presence scatters wide The spirit of the Christmastide.”– John Kendrick Bangs
Not a day but a new beginning.
To carry forward.
To infuse into your very being.
Carry the generosity, awe, wonder, gratitude, joy, peace and light of Christmas forward.
To be made new.
And to bring it into a hungry world.
“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” – Edna Ferber
“The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young, the heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair, and its soul full of music breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung.” – Phillips Brooks
“All thoughts, all passions, all delights Whatever stirs this mortal frame All are but ministers of Love And feed His sacred flame.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In a world that yells you’re not enough, not welcome, don’t belong, Christmas marks the end of isolation, aloneness, unworthiness, the beginning of acceptance, joy and love. Rejected from the start, no room at the Inn, Jesus comes to walk the same earth, experience the same judgment and though innocent, bears our own sins on the Cross to save the world. Fierce, reckless, unbelievable, undeserving love, grace and mercy.
Put down your rules, assumptions, opinions, ego, religion, judgment, comparison and flat familiar narratives for a moment. Open up to mere consideration of this fierce reckless love. Be held in the invitation, the welcoming, the homecoming, where nothing makes sense yet possibility lingers in inquiry, in imagination.
Change your answer, say yes and “make room at the Inn.” Don’t follow the crowd, break the rules, go off trail. Crack the door, open the window to wonder, contentment, delight, mystery, magnificence. Rest in the blessed assurance that you are never alone, never have been, nor will be.
That’s the message of Christmas – belonging, not just some, but all. Christmas demands more, gives more and transforms if we allow. Accept the invitation in your heart to come home where the hem of heaven kisses the earth this morning and each day going forward. Offered to each without reserve or measure.
Merry, Merry Christmas.
“There are four questions of value in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.” – Lord Byron
“Of all the seasons, winter is the most conducive to the great art of dormancy. This art requires an appreciation of semi-consciousness: the beautiful and necessary prelude to sleep – a special pleasure in itself that is all too often neglected, under-valued or looked down upon.” – Michael Leunig
“The earth was all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way.”― William Wordsworth, The Prelude
Christmas upon us.
Enter slowly and sit awhile.
Pause the busy.
Rest in the beauty.
Embrace time with family and friends.
Be present in each moment.
Witnessing the true gift of Christmas.
Christmas Eve, the prelude, the tipping point.
Spacious. Abundant. Sacred.
Joy. Peace. Light.