“Great thoughts come from the heart.” – Luc de Clapiers
Take a break from swirling thoughts and think with your heart today.
Filter through empathy, connection and acceptance.
Lay down the chains of opinion and assumption long enough to allow fresh thoughts in.
Build, expand and grow.
Be receptive, moved, transformed.
See what is right in front of you only visible through the heart.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”― John Muir
“In our mediocrity and distraction, we forget that we are privileged to live in a wondrous universe.”— John O’Donohue
When you cannot see the forest for the trees, step back and observe the forest, the entire picture, the full journey. Uncover the narrative you’ve come to believe. Fiction or nonfiction? When too close to opinions, assumption and criticism, step back and find the connection between self and others. We are more alike than different. Humans, carrying stories that confine and constrict, trying to figure out the ending and missing the journey in the process. Joy can exist separate from circumstances and is rooted in gratitude.
Find the sacred in this day, found within. Be gentle and others. Kindness and peace to you today and each day that follows. Enter the sanctuary of the trees to be brought back to the fundamental and holiness of living daily. Clarity found in quiet. Ease found in pause. Gratitude found in seeing both the forest and the trees.
“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured…
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.” – Herman Hess, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
“You should belong first in your own interiority.”— John O’Donohue
“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.” – Rabindranath Tagore
“Believe in the holy contour of life.” – Jack Kerouac
Pause to see the detail in things, places, others, in yourself
Beneath and below the surface
Awaiting discovery, to be found
The shapes, dimension, contours, edges, complexity, contradictions, connections
Be willing to move into the unknowing, the mystery, the depth
Allow it to unfold, to be enamored, in awe
Holy, sacred, formative moments that wake us to the present
The gift in the simple, in observation, in gratitude
“Take a walk with a turtle. And behold the world in pause.” – Bruce Feiler
Pause for a moment to stillness, study what is in front of you, reset and begin again new.
“It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.” – Kristin Armstrong
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.” – Charlotte Bronte
In the stillness of time
No place to be but in the middle of now
Weave pockets of quiet to uncover gratitude and joy
Allow unfolding without boundaries to witness the expanse in reach
Detached from obligation and noise
Awake and aware
Open waters to explore and discover
Free and unbound
“Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.” – Voltaire
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra
“The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.” – C.G. Jung, The Red Book
We relive more than live. Repeating our days over and over by looking back in post-game analysis and pre-living the future with worry and little imagination. The present moment is rarely lived while its happening. Yet it is the only real thing in our realm of control.
Participate in this day. Release moments that have been or will be to make space for now. Live moments while they are happening. Enter today, held in gratitude, anchored in stillness.
by Mary Oliver
“Today I am flying low and I’m not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
The bees in the garden rumbling a little,
The fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather
I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance.
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” – David Hume
My Mind to Me a Kingdom Is by Sir Edward Dyer
“MY mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
No princely pomp, no wealthy store,
No force to win the victory,
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to feed a loving eye;
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why? my mind doth serve for all.
I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soon do fall;
I see that those which are aloft
Mishap doth threaten most of all:
They get with toil, they keep with fear:
Such cares my mind could never bear.
Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
Some have too much, yet still do crave;
I little have, and seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have,
And I am rich with little store;
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I leave; they pine, I live.
I laugh not at another’s loss,
I grudge not at another’s gain;
No worldly waves my mind can toss;
My state at one doth still remain:
I fear no foe, I fawn no friend;
I loathe not life, nor dread my end.
Some weigh their pleasure by their lust,
Their wisdom by their rage of will;
Their treasure is their only trust,
A cloakèd craft their store of skill;
But all the pleasure that I find
Is to maintain a quiet mind.
My wealth is health and perfect ease,
My conscience clear my chief defence;
I neither seek by bribes to please,
Nor by deceit to breed offence:
Thus do I live; thus will I die;
Would all did so as well as I!”
May you create your state of mind to seek and find beauty in all circumstances and seasons.
“On your journey, don’t forget to smell the flowers. Take time out to notice that you’re alive. You can only live in one day.” – Ray Fearon
“One can state, without exaggeration, that the observation of and the search for similarities and differences are the basis of all human knowledge.” – Alfred Nobel
Waiting for the coffee to finish filling the cup, I looked out my kitchen window gazing at the lilacs. A command clearly came to mind – “bring in the lilacs.” Following the prompt, I went out in my pajamas to bring them in.
Lilacs demand to be noticed. Their season is short. So while they are here, we are called to enjoy them, to bring them in.
Become an observer, a listener, a witness. See what’s right in front of you in a new way and bring it closer. Awaken, notice and take in the beauty already present, absorb it into your bones, breath it in deeply.
On your hurried way to what’s next, to your list of “to-dos,” to meeting after meeting, get distracted, interrupted and awaken to now, to this moment.
Sweet fragrance, rich flavor, brilliant color all within reach. Arms-length, in view, available now. From transaction to transformation. From grind to gratitude.
“One hour of life, crowded to the full with glorious action, and filled with noble risks, is worth whole years of those mean observances of paltry decorum, in which men steal through existence, like sluggish waters through a marsh, without either honor or observation.” – Walter Scott
“EASTER MORNING The stirring wildness of God calls brittle bones to leaping and stone hearts to soaring. Old women dance among the stars.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”― Ryokan
With a year of the pandemic, weekly church has been on YouTube, sitting on my couch drinking a cup of coffee. With more places opening and the vaccines getting out, I went to Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross “live” this year, all in attendance spaced appropriately with masks. Stations on Good Friday has been a tradition for years with my parents. My Dad will be gone five years on April 28 and as I sat through the service, I thought of the many times we went together.
There are 14 stations of the Cross that are reflected on and contemplated during the service:
Jesus is condemned to death
Jesus takes up His cross
Jesus falls the first time under the Cross
Jesus meets His afflicted mother
Simon of Cyrene is forced to take up the Cross
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Jesus falls a second time
Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem
Jesus falls a third time
Jesus is stripped of His garments
Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Jesus dies on the Cross
The body of Jesus is placed in the arms of His Mother
Jesus is laid in the tomb
The Lenten journey culminates today, Easter morning, in the glory of resurrection of Jesus. On Friday, the priest called the resurrection, the 15th Station.
We all have our own stations that we move through in life. The times we fall and keep getting up only to fall again. When we watch others suffer and can do nothing about it but be quietly present to witness and hold. When we help others, but complain about being interrupted and bothered like Simon, yet do it the same. When we are generous, wiping the face of another like Veronica. When we die to self again and again or cling tightly to offense, resentment and opinion, refusing to change and insisting others change instead. The 15th station is completed by the 14 stations that come before.
In our journey to the 15th station of resurrection, transformation, renewal, we do not walk alone for Jesus walked the path before us and remains with us in our journey if we choose to see.
Eternal spring, a well to return to again and again in our bewilderment, consternation and struggles. We are Easter people. Be changed and rise up. Happy Easter.
“AND THE GLORY The silence breaks into morning. That One Star lights the world. The lily springs to life and not even Solomon… Let it begin with singing and never end! Oh, angels, quit your lamenting! Oh, pilgrims, upon your knees in tearful prayer, rise up and take your hearts and run! We who were no people are named anew God’s people, for he who was no more is forevermore.”— Kneeling in Jerusalem by Ann Weems
“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” – Napoleon Hill
That wanted to be
A beautiful book
It would die
If that’s what it took…” – Butterfly Boucher
Thin ice remains on the shore as the middle gives way to open, cold, deep water. The transformation from winter to spring almost complete. As winter and spring dance, transitioning who leads, a mix of cold and warm, dry and wet will bring us into April. The rain softens and greens the grass. Spring is certain. Winter returning in eight months is certain as well. The dance continues, steps in sync, choregraphed by the Author of Life.
Seasons, cycles, transitions, change are certain. Transformation, growth and transcendence are a choice, a decision. We can remain on the surface, on thin ice, in the hardness of winter or give way to spring, to dance, to deep waters.
The journey is not to foreign lands beyond but within to unfold, unwind and peal the layers to reveal our authentic self. It calls for letting go, dying to old self, releasing what was to be on its own to fully embrace what is while anticipating the fruit that comes with time, sun and rain. Take the journey.
Full of dreams for one thing…
Full of dreams for reasons…
Full of dreams for one thing…
So keep dreaming” – Butterfly Boucher
“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker
For so long
Day after day
Running fast and furious
Checking the box
New list, new boxes
Task after task
Problem solved, another takes its place
To What end?
Ask the questions
Inventory what stays and what must go and then release it
Expectations and assumptions
Quantity over quality
Examine how time is being spent or given
On sabbath, God’s day, He calls us to rest as He did after 6 days creating the world
The Author of Life, asks us to pause
To ask the questions, to listen, to pull off the racetrack to rest, nothing to check off, no problem to solve, to just be so we can carry Sunday into the week
God chases us as we chase everything and everyone but Him
Patiently, lovingly, mercifully, gracefully, generously
He chases, calls and waits for us to see Him in the threads of ordinary moments, always present, whispering, “Come, sit for a while”
You have earned your rest
There is nowhere to go
Nowhere to be than right now
On a bench, taking in the depth and beauty of this very moment
Sunday was created to linger, to laugh, to lounge, to live so the rest of the week makes sense and is lived on purpose, gratefully and with intent, not accidentally
Right here, right now.
Come, sit for a while.
“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.” – Eugene H. Peterson