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Posts tagged ‘Positive attitude’

Happy Hour

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

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Our daily ritual of going to the dog park invites joy and delight in the ordinary. When I turn left on Larpenteur Avenue, they know the destination and perk up in anticipation. With enthusiasm and excitement, they pull me down the hill to get into the park to run off leash, greet other dogs and then return to me to begin ball throwing and exploring activities.

When we go in the morning, we are usually by ourselves and they pal around searching for left behind balls and checking out the scents from previous visitors. When we go at dusk, the place is bustling with dogs letting out a day of energy, chasing each other and running in circles. It’s happy hour for dogs, a party every time.

When get bound in a busy, efficient “to do” list mindset, we need to break the meaningless grind with play, wondering and wandering to create meaning and purpose to being.

Rituals, practices and open spaces are ways to embed joy and meaning into daily living. A trip to the dog park, snowshoeing, reading and writing, cross country skiing on a fresh layer of snow are invitations back to self, to fill the well so the “doing” is not so futile.

Separate your being from your doing. No ego, release attachment to work, approval, rules, judgment and assumptions. Enter quiet so you can hear your intuition and follow your internal compass. Nothing to prove, no comparison or competition, no one to outrun. Savor simple moments, return to home to yourself early and often. Sacred, off-leash, ordinary moments.

It’s happy hour somewhere. Start running in circles, dancing with delight.

“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.” – John Barrymore

A Year Ago, A Year Ahead

“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb

We mark our lives remembering successes, losses, anniversaries. Yet most of our life is filled with ordinary moments that fill the gaps in between milestones. In our daily busyness, we are unaware of moments, their capacity for joy and how they weave together into the fabric, nuance and richness of life. When we move between both epiphany and ordinary, we opt to live a deeper, hopeful and lighter life with purpose, grace and meaning.

A year ago, we had no idea that we were on the cusp on a worldwide pandemic. The signs and signals, cues and clues pointed us in that direction, but we didn’t think it would happen to us. And then it did. We have harsh words with others, hold tight to broken relationships rather than healing or pursuing a “truce” because we think we have forever. And then we don’t. That person is suddenly gone, leaving us with deep regret we carry forward.

This is a blunt and loving reminder that a year ago is over and we can’t change it. However, we do have power over today and what we will do with it. If you are not different and changed from this last year, you have missed the master class that has been given to us all. The lessons include empathy, compassion, savoring, gratitude, connection, purpose, generosity and joy. It’s been one hell of a wake-up call to hope, to optimism, to dream. We will be in a new place a year from now. What will you do today to ensure you are different?. As Red said so well in the movie Shawshank Redemption, “get busy living or get busy dying.”

 

Return to Center

“When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you. Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.” – Lynda Resnick

“The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.” – Empedocles

Honestly, the last few days have been a bit of a struggle culminating from at least a three week build up. The reasons don’t matter. How I respond does. Each of us can change our perspective. Rather than defaulting to the easy answer of things happening “to” us, we can transcend to see the whole picture and discover all that is happening “for” us. Blessings and meaning can always be found when we look for them.

The common thread of our discontent usually returns to other people and circumstances, not getting our way assuming our way is the right way. It may very well be, so keep going. Don’t let external forces knock you off your center of knowing, your intuition, your light. If it is you, face it, be honest and don’t react with the same behavior that has never served you well. As Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

Before reacting, pause and choose to respond with ease, positivity and kindness. I am in the middle of unfolding a lot right now so I am returning to center to mindfully respond rather than randomly react. When we get our equilibrium back, the thin crack of light bursts open for more light to shine to illuminate the path forward. As the sun greets the morning or bids adieu to rest at days end, center on the light.

Let bliss find you and embrace light, so you can release it again and again.

“Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life.” – David Lynch

To or For Us?

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – E. M. Forster

Often we assume that things are happening to us rather than for us. Immediately going to “worst-case” scenario thinking, we shut the door on exploration, insight and expansion. Abundance to scarcity in a split second. Assumptions, judgments and the past serve as the lens for the present and a map for the future. How many times have we been “saved” from something in hindsight that at the time felt like we were being “screwed over?”

A woman last week was standing in the middle of the road when Abby, Sasha and I were on the way to the dog park. Her back turned toward me, she was waving her arms to stop a truck. At first, I was irritated that she was in my way, so I turned into the parking lot to go another direction. As I looked closer, she was in the middle of the road because a live wire was down and she was stopping traffic from driving over it. In that moment, I realized how quickly we jump to the wrong conclusions and race to judgment. I was grateful that she just didn’t drive away when she saw it but stood there preventing others from driving over it. Generosity, kindness and empathy in a simple act.

In our need to understand and control, we put everything and everyone in a box that serves our narrow narrative, our biases that experiences often reinforce if they go unchecked. How many awesome people have you never really met because you labeled them before getting to know them?

Amidst the pandemic, civil unrest is surging and anger rising. Rooted in bias, hatred, social inequities, conspiracy theories on all sides, arrogant institutions and political parties that never have learned the necessity to work together to create policies and frameworks for the whole rather than advancing their power and position.

In the days ahead, take a breath, go within and check your own assumptions and biases. Contribute to peace and understanding through reflection, thoughtful discourse and empathy. We always have been and always will be in this together. How we choose to shape the future depends on our individual response and contribution to understanding, peace and solving problems together.

So much is happening “for” us rather than “to” us. See today with fresh, unassuming eyes and make something positive, meaningful and lasting of your time on earth. Be remembered for light, not darkness.

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa

 

equanimity

“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” – Gary Zukav

After 100+ days of a morning meditation with Insight Timer, I have attained equanimity – mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper. By no means a perfect record, the daily ritual is moving me to a new ease. Self-awareness, kindness, self-care all lead to changing the only person we can change – me.

In addition to self-reflection through meditation and prayer, the way to make it “stick”  is adding affirmations. We not only need to identify and remove the negative, we need to replace it with optimism and action.

Start the journey back to yourself. Be selfish, work on yourself before trying to fix others. May we all be patient and aware enough to keep moving through the process of transformation. From caterpillar to butterfly, again and again.

Finish the Sentence.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Life is circular and cyclical and we live it linearly. When we think we’re done, beyond and past something, it pops up again to remind us to “finish the sentence.” We need to cross the “t” and dot the “i” before we can complete the sentences with a period rather than a comma.

Emotions, triggers, attachments that weigh us down and keep us circling back to learn the lesson, to see ourselves differently and act accordingly. Until we resolve and integrate our experiences, disappointments, incomplete narratives, we will keep going back to finally learn the lessons so we can move on. It requires us to keep rising up, never giving up. When we get caught in the net of the same and progress seems distant, the question to ask is not why or when but “what is the lesson I need to learn?”

Some lessons are harder, deeper and more complex. Keep at it and unravel the mystery. Class is always in session, learning is optional. When we don’t learn the lessons, we remain in the same “grade” until we do. Disparate pieces come together to complete the picture when we step back and find the missing pieces and fill the hole. The full story always comes looking back so keep working your way through the middle to the finish line. And when you arrive, celebrate and know that you are prepared for the next start line.

“‎Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning… Anyone can start over and make a new ending.” ― Chico Xavier

And in the learning, always be open to hope, joy and light. It is a journey, enjoy it.

Lucid

“When you are an aware being, you no longer become completely immersed in the events around you. Instead, you remain inwardly aware that you are the one who is experiencing both the events and the corresponding thoughts and emotions. When a thought is created in this state of awareness, instead of getting lost in it, you remain aware that you are the one who is thinking the thought. You are lucid.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

Become an observer. When too close, take a step back. When lost in the fog, focus on the next ten feet. Be present, in rapt awareness of your thoughts, energy and intentions. We are steeped in plenty of external ongoing turmoil. Unrest is rooted within. Return to yourself, quiet your thoughts to gain clarity and lucidity. We change the world by first changing ourself. When feeling lost, scarcity, cynicism, untether your soul to see possibility and light in the moment. No past. No future. Just the depth of a moment.

“You can wear yourself out struggling with the experience of a single event, or even a single thought or emotion. And you know that all too well. Eventually you’ll see that this resistance is a tremendous waste of energy. The fact is, you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. You are sitting inside resisting impressions from the past or thoughts about the future. Think of how much energy is wasted resisting what has already happened. Since the event has already passed, you are actually struggling with yourself, not with the event. In addition, contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy way. How you deal with your energy flow has a major effect on your life.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

Breathe

“Gratitude is not a limited resource, nor is it costly. It is abundant as air. We breathe it in but forget to exhale.” – Marshall Goldsmith

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor during the Antinone plague which lasted 15 years, resulting in 5 million deaths, 1/3 of the population lost. During this time, his journal turned into the classic Meditations, which can inform and guide us especially now. In our most challenging times, we must choose to keep going in the darkness and to never let our spirit be kept down but for more than a brief moment. Fall two times, get back up three times.

Focus on what’s good, hold tight to hope and never ever give up. There are plenty of dark and heavy moments. And woven through it all is goodness, light and growth. Light always remains and works its way through. Streams, beams and then full sunlight. Take time several times throughout the day to stop and breathe.

Strength, resilience, gratitude, joy and hope. Carry on. Breathe. We are and will be alright.

Not More of the Same

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen

“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” – Hannah More

The past year, the past few weeks and yesterday in particular, being positive, hopeful and optimistic feels like a futile pursuit. If we believe that all of humanity is what’s represented on the news and Facebook, it does seem hopeless. The world is disappointing because it’s made up of flawed, broken and imperfect humans. Humans are fundamentally good. Our circumstances, other people and our own thoughts inflict pain that’s carried forward from one generation to the next, continuing the cycle of hatred, self-loathing and scarcity.

We are put here to bear fruit, to be salt and light, to walk peacefully with others not on them. Real, meaningful answers come through difficult conversations, hard work and resilience in the face of obstacles and complexities. If we focus on the destination and accept that the solution doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, we can get to the hard work that requires authenticity, strength and resilience to stick to it and keep going. Cynicism, hatred, judgment drain our capacity and energy to do the necessary, difficult work grounded in love.

Stop the rhetoric, stop the “they” accusations, stop pouring gasoline on open fires. Start with yourself first before casting stones. Self-awareness leads to empathy, kindness, conversation, forgiveness, compassion, honesty, generosity, accountability, grace, mercy, optimism, hope, understanding and love. Hatred never has and never will be the answer to anything.

The pain in this world is very real. Healing is optional. Choose to be an outlier, a rebel. Dare to be optimistic, hopeful and be light. Enter the world with enthusiasm and resolve to be part of the solution, not the problem. We don’t need more of the same of either side. We need different and more of it. Sow seeds today, cast light.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” – Francis of Assisi

Yeah! It’s Monday!

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Einstein

We fall into patterns and mindsets that don’t serve us well. Sundays before Mondays are heavy as we contemplate the “to do” list for the week. Fridays we sigh with relief that we made it through four grueling days. We find joy in three days and forego the other four.

Enough. Take each and every day back! Be as excited on Monday as you are on Friday by changing your expectations, trying new things and not falling for false narratives.

Each day is a gift ready to be seen and opened. Pay attention and tune out the noise. Be willing to accept joy in ordinary moments and create memories on a weekday rather than on vacation and long weekends.

As we come off a few weeks of holidays and respite from the grind, commit and build time into each day for self-care, delight and celebration of ordinary moments. Life is meant for the grand not the grind. Dare to be light and carefree, even and especially on a Monday. Repeat on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Get into the grind of joy!

A few hours with Jeanne and the girls proved to be, yet again, good medicine for the soul.

Yeah!!! It’s Monday. May we each have the wisdom to say this daily prayer, “God, I am blessed and I know it in my bones. Thank you and Amen!”

“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” – Wayne Dyer

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