“Effort at its most fundamental level is just that commitment to try, to work hard, to give our all, not knowing where that will lead is also a working definition of faith. Life has taught me that, regardless of what we face, effort and faith will lead us into the larger stream of life that holds us. And being held by the larger stream of life is another way to describe grace.” – Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” – Bradley Whitford
No matter how many times you throw the stick, Grace (my poochie niece) always runs off the dock full throttle with the same level of effort and enthusiasm at the beginning and at the end.
The stick is out of reach but only if you don’t pursue it with all of your heart, soul and being. Yet again, our four-legged friends teach us two-legged over-complicating wanderers how to live well and completely by pursuing the stick and never, ever giving up.
“The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” – Blaise Pascal
“God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations, but commencements. Creation is an ongoing process, and when we create a perfect world where love and compassion are shared by all, suffering will cease.” – Bernie Siegel
What will you create today?
Laughter, light, meaning, value, joy, depth? Will your drop in the ocean sink to the bottom or ripple outward in all directions to move another, to inspire. One small deed. A smile. Undivided attention. A word of encouragement.
We create our own world and cast light or shadow outward. A symphony or a clanging drum. A sigh of relief or signal of distress. If we choose worry, it takes front and center stage. If we choose to murmur, it keeps coming out and expands to fill the room with noise, creating pockets of void.
Kindness, gratitude, compassion and love move mountains, create a new landscape, raise us up. Release the best in you and create a new world right where you stand. One small beautiful act at a time. New beginnings, not endings. Create.
“For we must be one thing or the other, an asset or a liability, the sinew in your wing to help you soar, or the chain to bind you to earth.” – Countee Cullen
While it may seem counter intuitive, that which we let go, releases us to soar higher than we could ever imagine. Yet we cling to inequities, as if holding tighter and owning them fiercely, we justify our position.
Often that which we despise, we become when we act and react in kind to what has been done to us or our perception of what has been done. You name it – it happens every day in dozens of ways. The guy at work who takes credit for your ideas. The car that cuts you off in traffic. Those people who continue to get ahead who haven’t paid their “dues.” The customer who relentlessly complains to get her way. And the list goes on. But we need not go on with it.
“Imagination allows us to escape the predictable. It enables us to reply to the common wisdom that we cannot soar by saying, ‘Just watch!’” – Bill Bradley
The tighter we cling, the less we have – a hollow “prize” that steals our energy, creativity and zest. Instead of moving ahead into the life we are built for, we dig a deeper hole in the same spot, content with being right, but stuck in a hole nevertheless.
We hold our fingers crossed behind our back when we tell ourselves to let go, so we can hang on to a small piece as to not completely give it up. However, we must completely let go to be completely released, to rise above and move forward. It is impossible to partially let go and still take flight, to soar.
“Almost every hour of every day, we’ll find ourselves in a situation where we can be now who we weren’t before, because we know now what we didn’t know before. And from this newness in our being springs fresh opportunities we could never have imagined. God specializes in new beginnings.” – Marianne Williamson
“Love makes the world less worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself.” – Eckhart Tolle
Easter shouts for joy and proclaims the promise of new beginnings and everlasting life. As the sun burns off the fog, there’s a new clarity and vision. We do not walk alone and road ahead need not be defined by miles gone by. Forge ahead confident, open to receiving the gift of awesome possibilities beyond your imagination.
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.” – Mary Oliver
As I waited for my oil to be changed and tires to be rotated, a gentleman sat down next to me on the bench. My head was down looking at my phone. He started a conversation about his son and football. I had the sense to put my phone aside and engage in the conversation for 10 minutes, even though he was a Packer fan (Viking jealousy). Small talk really, but he kept the conversation going, so I did as well.
A simple human exchange that makes you feel human again. What we pay attention to becomes our life, creating depth or mere speed, sometimes a mix of both. If we bring our head up long enough to pay attention, we find a world overflowing with vibrant color and filled with simple conversations that mean more than we know. Be amazed and embrace your life today, for that is all we are promised.
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver
“Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
“The Amen of nature is always a flower.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Let each day unfold without pretense or prediction of what will or should be. Look for the good in others and yourself and let the rest go. Stop trying to fix others and control the uncontrollable. Glimpses of light and clarity are woven through each day to awaken us to life, to ourselves.
“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams
Beneath the weight of the snow lies green grass ready to awaken, flowers ready to burst from the earth. The warmth of the sun brings a slow, steady melt. Renewed and refreshed from the dormancy of Winter, Spring patiently waits to unfold in its time.
Through the seasons of our life, we cycle from hibernation to fruition, never the same, growing and unfolding into ourselves. We can remain buried beneath the layers and weight or we can let the heaviness melt away, letting go, forgetting, forgiving, moving on.
Spring releases Winter. We need not carry it any further. It has served its purpose. Melt, soften, become more gentle. Breakthrough the layers, burst, bud, bloom. Be bright, bold and beautiful. Beneath, beneath, Spring has come.
“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
“What goes on externally is only the tip of the iceberg in any situation. The lessons, the real changes, the opportunities to grow—these are things the body’s eyes can’t see. They remain beneath the spiritual water line, but they are there. And they represent a much more vast picture of the soul’s journey than what we can see from the perspective of our physical senses. Growth is not always about getting what we think we want. Always, it’s about becoming the men and women we have the potential to be. Loving, pure, honest, clear.” – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love
“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
Cast your net more deep than wide. Beneath the surface of assumptions and judgment lies compassion and kindness. The truth is below the waterline, waiting to free us to love deeper, stay longer and become who we are meant to be. Just beneath the waterline.
“I think God’s going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding.” – Steven Wright
“Love knows how to form itself. God will do his work if we do ours. Our job is to prepare ourselves for love. When we do, love finds us every time.” – Marianne Williamson
As I raced through a hectic last week to get ready for a very busy this week, I realized how much I rush through each day. To get through, to get by, to get to the next place, only to focus on the next. So instead of “preparing” for the worst, I am going to be present in each moment, trusting that I am where I am supposed to be. And instead of doing it with speed and velocity, I will embrace each encounter with enthusiasm and love.
Isn’t it awesome to be around people like that? We can be that for ourselves and others. We get what we give. Do this week with love.
“This happiness consisted of nothing else but the harmony of the few things around me with my own existence, a feeling of contentment and well-being that needed no changes and no intensification.” – Herman Hesse
When we let go of the idea that we’ll be happy when circumstances or people change, we discover true contentment doesn’t shift with the wind and resides within and right next to us in the simplicity of daily moments. We need to trust that deep well within, get into alignment with our core values and let the rest go. So much easier said than done, and often a lesson that needs to be relearned daily.
Being grateful for blessings of family and friends, reflection, rest, laughter, singing the “poochy mama” song to the girls, running with friends all get me back in the groove of living well and in the present. We’ve arrived, we just forget sometimes.
“Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.” – Henry Van Dyke