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Posts tagged ‘Positive attitude’

Beginner’s Mindset

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki

Liam Bootcamp Day 2 – fun in the sun, swimming at two different beaches and a tennis lesson after a nap. Before dinner, we hit balls against the practice wall at the tennis courts up the block. After missing a few times, he wanted to go to the playground.

Rather than move on right away, I asked him to take a few more swings. This time, I held the racket with him to guide it. We took a few practice swings before getting the ball involved and I then told him to keep his eye on the ball. After a few tries, he got four hits in a row. His initial disappointment quickly turned into excitement and enthusiasm.

Sometimes we just need to take a few steps back to the beginning, to the basics and start with the fundamentals. I didn’t want him to end his first try at tennis on a low note so he didn’t want to try again. Rather, I coached and encouraged him, ending the short session on a high note.

As I gave him advice, I decide to learn the lesson too. Try new things, keep your eye on the ball, anticipate where the ball will go and enter each endeavor with a beginner’s mindset willing to learn, unlearn and have fun in the process. A beginner’s mindset is for all ages, especially non-beginners.

Be Your Life

“When we can live our stories and not be ruled by them, we love ourselves into being. There is a Spanish saying, Se tu vida, which means “Be your life.” This is all that is asked of us. And yet, in doing so, we can get lost in all that living engenders.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo

Every time I want to pull back, to hesitate, to delay, to question, to judge, I hope to dive. To jump in without knowing the ending, to jump in and get wet, to jump in and do a belly flop. May we always jump into life with joy, with abandon and the capacity to be surprised and delighted.

Let your guard down, along with reasoning and certainty. Our days our numbered. Make them count.

“Given our entanglements, one of the most difficult acts of presence is not to vanish when overwhelmed by conflict or hardship. The simplest teachers in nature, such as the sun, the birds, and the flowers, are quietly heroic in this regard, not because they achieve anything, but because they remain completely true to their own nature, regardless of what happens to them.”— The Book of Soul: 52 Paths to Living What Matters, Mark Nepo

Nature’s Confetti

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

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” – Wayne Dyer

Flowers are the confetti of nature’s party celebrating full bloom, brilliant color and simple delights. When negativity and criticism is rampant, go out into nature and be captured by the simple grand beauty. Tune into abundance rather than scarcity.

Let go of your opinion long enough to entertain new ideas and possibility. Guard your joy. Start throwing some confetti rather than water. Enjoy each day and cast light.

The Right Ladder

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Make life your playground, not your battlefield.” – Ormond McGill

I’ve been writing most posts at the end of the day, keeping the daily “streak” going. Today will be an 89-day streak. Daily journaling has been an important part of keeping a positive mindset and being present in the classroom of life.

While nighttime is a good time for reflection, it’s also a time when we’re tired and called to rest. As a result, the posts have been shorter, a bit more surface skimming, more mechanical. So rather than merely going through the motions, I’m going to change it up to morning posts for a while to go a little deeper.

In the morning, when the world is new again, if we choose to lay down yesterday, we are offered the gift of a fresh start. We can get our ladder on the right wall by setting our intentions to be present, grateful and engaged. So rather than being tossed around by circumstances, spinning thoughts and those “irritating” people who keep showing up each day to bug us, we can go beneath the surface into the depth of life which is found in connection.

When we lead with kindness, empathy and active listening, suddenly circumstances shift and that irritating person turns out to be someone who’s struggling just like you. Our world changes when we change our perspective and get on the right ladder.

There are many lessons to be learned daily, joy to be had and playgrounds to be played on. Enjoy today on purpose and cast light.

A Ray of Beauty

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Flowers…are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all utilities of the world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our capacity and necessity for beauty and joy should never be discounted. We must actively seek, pursue, decide, exercise, build our beauty “hunting” skills and tune up our joy meter. It’s not by accident or by happenstance that we arrive at a state of joy and delight. It is a mindset that rejects despair, hopelessness and fear.

Goodness. Kindness. Beauty.

Never allow them to slip away or take them for granted.

Bright. Brilliant. Colorful.

Be open to walking alone and to invite others on the path so it is well-traveled.

“The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Rainbow

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” – Lord Byron

“I’m continually inspired by nature, and the rainbow is one of nature’s greatest optical phenomenons. The sighting of a rainbow never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. They signify optimism and positivity: with them comes the sunshine after the rain.” – Matthew Williamson

Suddenly, a rainbow peeked out of the clouds but for a few minutes. Brilliant hues of color, of hope, a whisper, “it’s going to be alright, breathe, trust, believe.”

As Dorothy discovered on her journey to Oz, joy, purpose and destiny are within us, not in some far off land. Return to yourself, to home in this very moment.

Find the rainbows and never, never, ever give up, ever. Trust in the waiting and wandering.

Over the Rainbow
by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dream of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true

Someday, I wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why, oh why can’t I?”

 

Other Side of the Fence

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Get busy watering your own grass so as not to notice whether it’s greener elsewhere.”― Karon Waddell

On our daily jaunt into the woods, I let the girls off leash to run full throttle. Abby chases balls in an open field trying to catch them on the first bounce and Sasha chases her. It brings a new joy to them each day like it’s the first time. Dogs and kids are experts on being fully present and aware of the moment at hand, or paw in this case.

When I threw one of the balls, it went over the barbed wired fence by the water tower. I threw the second ball but Abby was intent on the ball on the other side. She suddenly downgraded and became human, focusing on the other side while a ball was by right next to her and easily accessible. How often do we reach for something out of reach when the same and often better is right in front of us?

Wake up and see what’s in reach and embrace it with gratitude. If we don’t recognize the blessings that are already in front of us, it’s impossible to receive new blessings. The grass and the ball are not always greener on the other side.

Happy ending to the story – I decided not to scale the barbed wired fence, but my arm did fit underneath and Abby walked out of the woods with two balls in mouth. Big win.

It is Well

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”― Julian of Norwich

A long walk on a summer-like evening with the girls and friends followed by fellowship, snacks and a few beverages closed the day in gratitude. As I drove home anchored in a state of ease, I thought of the old hymn, It is well with my soul.

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

When explanation, logic and sense making no longer make sense and we stop the “why” and “when” pursuit, we discover an acceptance and clarity of what we can control and that which we cannot And suddenly, it truly is well with our soul.

Each day, find a wellness in your soul and keep going. How we go through defines the experience of the journey. Choose light and joy.

“All great and beautiful work has come of first gazing without shrinking into the darkness.” – John Ruskin

Joy Catcher

“Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision.” – Helen Keller

My niece Emily and son Liam dropped by today and spent the day with my Mom and me. Liam was styling a day robe, excited to show me his water balloon filler where you can fill a dozen balloons at once. Brilliant, efficient fun. Since it was a bit cool to throw them at each other, we launched two sets over the fence under a cloudy sky and watched them burst open on the ground. More playing, a trip to Target for some toys, dinner, movies and falling asleep in my lap ended a wonderful day.

My normal day is usually hyper-focused on work, how much and efficiently that I can get things done, racing to cut the grass before it rains, training for a marathon and regular old housework. What a wonderful non-normal day as Liam instructed me through actions and few words on how to be not only a joy chaser but a joy catcher. I told him that he made my day and he came back with “You made my dreams come true.” My heart skipped a beat. What a sweet boy.

Don’t worry about tomorrow or what’s next. It’s futile and steals our joy in the process. Putting off joy for someday or when “it’s appropriate” locks us in foreboding. This day is all that we are promised so stop focusing on checking off transactional items on your “to do” list. Take moments in and be transformed by joy.

It’s going to rain most of the day tomorrow. We don’t know what the next month will bring. We’re not perfect. It’s tough some days. And none of this, none of it prevents us from capturing joy in ordinary moments. Don’t wish, waste and wither your days away in pursuit of someday. Your someday is today. The rest of the stuff out of our control (the majority of the stuff we pine about) will take care of itself in due time.

Now off to bed to rest up from joy catching and to prepare to cast a net for more joy catching tomorrow.

“Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Settle In

“All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else.” – Plato

As I took a 5-minute break from a day jammed with “zoom” meetings, I looked at Abby sprawled on the couch and she sent me a glance to remind me to settle in, stretch out and relax. She’s a wonderful relaxation coach.

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” – Thich Nhat Han

With the completion of my home project – painting and new floors – and a few big projects at work, I’m ready to jump into the next activity to keep “busy.” We are made for more than busy and activity. We are built for purpose and depth with a side of delight.

Celebrate the finish, be open to see new beginnings and enjoy the journey of mere being.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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