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Sweet. Simple. Joy.

“Ultimately it’s the simple things that make a difference.” – Chris Smalling

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anchor to hope, not circumstances. Assume the best in others and be proven wrong on occasion. Find the blessings in the burdens.

Joy is available in all seasons and cycles. It’s a constant. Our most important job is to find it daily in plain sight, lurking, longing to be found. Let joy sneak up on you.

Joy can be found in the silly, in mischief, in frolicking, in prayer, in laughter, in nature, in an embrace, in flowers, in a smile, in music, in art, in literature, in play, in gratitude, in dogs, even in some people (make sure you’re one of them), in simple encounters.

Double count blessings, multiply joy. Abundance and light with a shift in attention, focus and intention.

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Einstein

Get out of your head into your imagination. The journey is what you make it so settle only for sweet, simple joy.

“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey

The Sprinkler is Calling!

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran

“When ‘happiness’ eludes us – as, eventually, it always will – we have the invitation to examine our programmed responses and to exercise our power to choose again.” – Richard Rohr

Summer invites rest, play and ease. Accept the invitation and get to the party early. It’s been a long year and the world is slowly opening back up. You can feel the energy, the joy, the freedom. As lockdown unlocks externally, do the same inside. Create a different daily normal fueled by gratitude, savoring, kindness, joy, possibility and delight. Make something of this massive reset and seismic shift.

Feel the earth under your feet as the breeze flows through your hair. Do not resist the urge to run through a sprinkler on a hot day. Let the water permeate, renew and refresh. Allow healing and restoration. Let old rules go and enter each new day with your imagination in search of adventure right where you are now.

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

Dust It Off

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

My scooter has been in the corner of my garage collecting dust for years. For the past five years, I’ve tried to start it without success, so it sits taking up space and collecting dust.

Lately, rather than move onto something new, I’ve been tackling and seeing what’s already right in front of me. Keep it, use it or get rid of it. I decided that the scooter will ride again. I guess that’s what gratitude is – seeing and appreciating what’s already present with no need for more.

A few weeks ago, I had Scooterville pick it up to fix it. Since we had a break in days of rain, I picked it up yesterday. The mechanic told me it needed a lot of work but it’s running well and to get some miles on it – drive it! I was a little nervous driving it through busy side streets from Minneapolis to St. Paul through the University of Minnesota campus where I graduated from decades ago. Driving a scooter requires attention, anticipation and awareness since most car drivers operate on automatic pilot and miss what’s in front of them – like scooters and motorcycles.

I am excited to have it back early in the season and will be putting miles on it rather than letting it collect dust in the corner. So often what we enjoy doing is already present and we forget to have fun because we’re too busy working or list checking. The golf clubs are next up this year too! But I won’t be combining activities. Although carrying golf clubs on the back while driving a scooter might get some attention. Look around at what’s already present with fresh eyes. Fun and adventure just may be a dust cloth away.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

Carpe Diem

play

“Forever is composed of nows.”
― Emily Dickinson

“When we’re caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form, we fail to see the opportunities for joy that are right in front of us.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

The snow has begun lightly falling and tomorrow the temperatures will follow suit into a 7 day deep freeze. The fresh snow will create a new base for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and dog parking. The below zero will offer time to stay in to prepare taxes, declutter for spring cleaning and focused time for research, writing and deep work. This is only our second deep freeze this winter and the first that will stretch on this long. We have had a mild winter and good snow to get out to play in.

Within every situation and circumstance is a choice to look for the positive or to succumb to the obvious and easy negative. If you can find joy in winter, joy is rooted in your soul, anchored, unmoved and steady. The spring, summer and fall seasons of our life need no assistance to find joy in the bloom, sun and harvest.

Spring is weeks away so there is double blessing. Finding joy in this moment and in anticipation of tomorrow. We can have both at the same time. Surrender to the joy of now and tomorrow, leaving no room to carry yesterday any further than you already have done.

Carpe Diem – seize the day!

“Listen to your heart and trust the direction you are being pulled. Something inside you already knows what to do.” – Spring Washam

Use Your Imagination

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

There are many quotes from my day with Liam today. My favorite one is “You have to use your imagination.” Well isn’t that an underused muscle. My worry, complaint, uncertainty, judgment, work too much, multitasking and consternation muscles are very strong. They get a lot of use, overuse actually.

This weekend, I am going to “imagination bootcamp” with my camp counselor Liam and his capable assistants Abby and Sasha. Two trips to the playground, a pizza party and three ball throwing practices later, it is a good start to bootcamp. What’s next? Toy Story 2 snuggling next to my best pal of course. Tomorrow – Como, swimming, tennis ball hitting and some Disney movies later, there should be many lessons to be learned.

This is a no work, no worry weekend. Let the games begin. Imagination, look out, we’re coming for you!

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.” – Joseph Joubert

Adrift

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.” – Kailash Satyarthi

It was a two-plow snow yesterday. As the snow softly and slowly fell into the night, the wind did its work to create beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of snow made for childhood fun. The fort-making type to be sure. It stops and detaches you from the complexities of the day to enter into the playground  and gallery of nature.

Like it was last week, I remember the delight when a snow day was declared. We geared up in polyester snow suits, hats, mittens and moon boots to make our way out to create our own sculptures of snowmen and angels in the fresh frozen fluff. Skating for hours, sliding down dead man’s hill until dark.

A serious snow that keeps you in the house until they plow the streets and that you snow blow the driveway a few times to keep ahead of it. And, of course, right when you are done, the snowplow drives by and creates a two foot barrier of heavy thick snow that triggers the snow blower again.

Adrift for but a while to be transported back to the simplicity and delight of childhood. To that feeling that remains in us and need only be awakened with a beautiful deep snow. A place to return to often even without the snow.

Nature. Art. Play. Joy. Adrift.

Your Window

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” – Dale Carnegie

Today is it. Look for the good in your garden of people, place and spirit. Lighten your spirit and lift the burdens from your heart. Tend to your garden so each day is filled joy, delight, and beauty.

There are beautiful roses, even in the midst of winter. Right outside your window.

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things... I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.” - Leo Buscaglia

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.” – Leo Buscaglia

A New View

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” – J. B. Priestley

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” - Dr. Seuss

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” – Dr. Seuss

Search for delight this week. Pull the weeds of anxiety that you plant in your thoughts. “Schedule” some fun into each day, lighten up and put that smile to work. A new week, a new view.

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” – Dr. Seuss

Weeds and Seeds

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” - Lao Tzu

“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – Lao Tzu

In life’s garden, there are weeds and flowers. We can be overtaken by the weeds, those daily irritations, small minds and minor inconveniences. Pull weeds every day and plant seeds in their place, and sow twice as many seeds to hinder the weeds return.

What weeds will you pull and what seeds will you sow?

Weed varieties: complaining, gossip, pettiness, jealousy, entitlement, negativity, unforgiveness. PULL THEM.

Seeds varieties: encouragement, laughter, hope, enthusiasm, fun, gratitude, joy, patience, grace, generosity, compassion, service, faith, optimism. SOW THEM.

Grey doesn’t look good on you. Go color the world.

Drift

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
– John Lubbock

I am just wrapping up a six day vacation of merely drifting. Hanging out, resting and “preparing” for a busy Fall. Although six days won’t make up for two months of chaos, it does help to get realigned. I’ve also been thinking too much about Fall, in essense living it twice. While I may not be in complete control of my schedule, I do have control of my perspective of it. So instead of surviving the next two months, I am going to drift a little bit each day to stay engaged and fresh. Now, back into the waves.

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