“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” – Norman Vincent Peale
In the past 6 months, I’ve lost 32 pounds. I set my mind in December, got on a program and did the work. The main goal was and is to lose and then get stronger. I started with a trainer this week for strength training. I just completed my third weight session this morning and feel terrific. I’m sure there will be many more lessons as I go down the strength training path.
Strength training is a daily commitment with work and rest to recover to build muscle and gain strength. And one muscle that we often ignore is our joy muscle. Expanding our capacity to remain present in the moment aware of the beauty abound takes work and effort. We create our daily reality and our future through our intentions, thoughts, words and actions.
Pay attention and bring joy to the forefront. Proactively and intentionally build your joy muscle so you can flex it daily. As we strengthen our joy muscle, our circumstances, other people and our own perspective suddenly change and become new.
A few interval sessions to build your joy muscles include smiling, laughing, listening, looking up preparing for flight.
Liam, Abby and Sasha are my joy trainers. Never failing, they always bring a smile, a laugh and push my reset button to focus on joy when I get distracted.
Get your superwoman and superman on today. Flex that joy muscle.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – James Allen
What are you going to do today to make this your best day ever? In your thoughts, words and actions, plant some seeds. Water your garden. Cultivate each interaction with another. Harvest joy in each moment.
You are the only one who can make this the best day ever.
Get to it.
“Life is once, forever.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
This quote is on the top of my ongoing “to do” list to remind me of what is more important than checking off tasks.
With little desire to prove anything or climb “the” or any ladder, I find joy and delight in learning, growing and not making the same mistake over and over again. A few lessons that I remind myself of often include:
- Stop worrying about what others think;
- I can only change myself so stop trying to change others;
- Fear is a liar, do it afraid;
- Love is where it starts and finishes – inside and out;
- Assumptions and judgments are usually wrong so don’t bother, assume the best;
- Intentions matter, action on them matters more;
- Everyone is going through something, be kind;
- Work less, play more;
- Timing is everything, try it again – you may have tried too early;
- Seeds must be planted and cultivated to get a harvest;
- Kids, dogs and flowers bring heaven to earth;
- Faith, love, grace, patience, mercy, joy, kindness are the main ingredients of a good life;
- Water the grass you are standing on right now and watch what blooms.
“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham
There is power and potential in each day, in one act of kindness, in a soft smile and easy step. Our legacy is built daily through intentional actions, thoughts and words. In what we say and don’t say. What you do today will be a thread in the fabric of your life.
Live with intention and purpose. The substance and matter of our life is steeped and found in the middle of each day. Write a beautiful page of your legacy today and make someone smile. It’s just that simple. Cast light. It’s a worthy daily legacy.
“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
I didn’t notice it until I pulled a drooping flower from the bouquet that I got on Mother’s Day from my niece Emily. There was a green plastic straw at the bottom of the daisy. When I slid it up, the flower popped up back in upright position. I looked it up and found that florists use stem straws with certain flowers that have soft stems to hold up the heads. What a brilliant idea.
As I think back on the past few weeks, I am grateful for those stem straws who have propped my head up as struggles have been winning the day. People who remain steady and who say the right thing at the right time and don’t even know it. Abby and Sasha never waiver and are my constant stem straws when circumstances and daily living become too heavy.
When we remain steady and keep going, transformative moments come in due time as we make our way through “dark nights of the soul” periods in our life. Growth comes with struggle and ends with joy. Be open up to new things, be ready to drop old things and trust the process of transitions and transformation. There is a real peace that passes all understanding for each one of us. We need to be open to accept that gift.
Whether we know it or not, we have several opportunities each day to be a stem straw. To prop up and draw another’s eyes up to see a broader perspective beyond the chaos and drama of intense moments. Be a stem straw that provides that extra support that can change someone’s day, change their perspective and offer hope that sustains us to the finish line of fruition.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”― Julian of Norwich
There’s a weariness to rollercoaster living. I had a wonderful 3 days off last week (the first 3 this year) with open space to think, reflect and plan. Enter this week of back to work and the same old rollercoaster of meetings, problems and fundamental stupidity.
Also some wonderful moments which included a goat, guacamole, a running event, May Day and a beautiful painting from a co-worker (all which will be shared in future posts). A mixed bag to be sure.
Yesterday, when I was tired from it all, I missed fully engaging in a wonderful phone conversation with one of my favorite people I’ve met through work. She is kind, a kindred-spirit, honest and warm. She started the conversation with the quote above from one of her favorite saints – Saint Julian of Norwich.
I was listening, but I was worn out from the rollercoaster and missed out fully engaging and being present.
Waking up this morning, determined to make this a good day, I looked up some quotes from Julian of Norwich. When we get our mind off of ourselves and take a break from stupidity, we can choose to engage with others so we don’t miss moments that last long past the rollercoaster living that we’ve grown accustomed to and are way too accepting of. Make up your mind to enjoy today.
“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.” ― Julian of Norwich
Live gladly today.
“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
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.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
I couldn’t let this day go by without acknowledging and remembering Dad’s passing 3 years ago today. But rather than talk about what was, I’m going to ponder and reflect on what is. In addition to losing my Dad in 2016, I lost both of my dogs – Molly in June and Lily in October. It was relentless. And yet, amidst the deep loss and sorrow of 2016, there was a bright light. Liam was born in August, bringing love and hope.
Liam is joyful and filled with life lessons that I learn every time I’m with him. And while it’s important to remember and honor those who have gone before us, we also must carry on and celebrate and honor what and who is present in this very moment.
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” – Eckhart Tolle
On Friday, Liam and I wandered up to the park and climbed on ladders, flew down slides and hopped on the swing for some air time. And when we are around humans like him, they invite, encourage and allow us to come out and play in the same all out like no one’s looking kind of a way. Uninhibited and unapologetic.
So today I celebrate a life well-lived and see Dad in each day from sayings I now say, to my work ethic and values, to a deep faith in God that carries me through whatever life brings. And I also celebrate a life filled with light, joy and laughter who’s got a lot of living to do but it’s ok if he takes his time growing up.
Carry on and savor today. It is the only gift worth opening.
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
We often think that we are done with something, it’s over, and then it comes back again. Sometimes finishing takes a bit longer and it’s more of a circular rather than linear path.
We allow outside circumstances and people to limit and control our own outlook, keeping us from seeing the full beautiful, complicated view. Our outlook begins and always remains with what’s inside. We own it. Our view of the world is in our hands not others so stop trying to pass off the responsibility of ownership.
Kids have their Ph.D. in a joyful perspective, and so many other areas as well – multidisciplinary to be sure. They know how to suck the most out the present moment and simply engage in possibility.
It’s the second week of April, the start of Spring. And, yep, one more round of winter. From 50s to snow, ice and cold. When visiting my nephew Liam yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to build a snowman. It took 10 seconds for him to rush the closet in search of his boots. And being the sweet, intuitive guy that he is, he handed me a hat from the hat bin before he put on his own to ensure I was prepared for this adventure as well.
And thus the launching of a special memory and actual fun amidst the “catastrophe” of winter’s return. We can flip our perspective in but a minute and turn our winters into “invincible” summers by doing the opposite of our natural inclination to complain. Dive in and make some fun.
Snow? Go build a snowman. Rain? Go dance in it. Sun? Go soak it in to refill your inner light.
Winter, again? Preparing for the brightest of Spring blooms. Start budding.