“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” – Paramahansa Yogananda
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales
Create space each morning to reconnect and take hold of yourself so you can enter the world anchored, quiet and calm. When we focus on our sphere of influence – our thoughts, actions, reactions – with measured response, we invite others into peace and calm.
Each of us can be apart of a worldwide movement to INCITE PEACE! Hold up your signs, go out into your world and respond with kindness, thoughtful discourse, active listening and sincere inquiry to understand rather than be understood.
More dialogue. Less monologue. Let’s take the world back with civility, diversity of thought, generosity, humor and a sense of wonder.
The first step to healing is fostering and nurturing calm within and emanating it without. Peace! Be still.
“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 be calm is the highest achievement of the self.” – Zen proverb
“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
Start and end each day in quiet with pockets woven in between;
Enter reflection, welcome ease;
Detach from activity, order and planning;
In calm, still waters, clarity enters;
Emergence, patterns, flow;
Let it unfold in the silence.
“It’s never too late in life to have a genuine adventure.” – Robert Kurson
“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” – George Eliot
When I got new floors in Spring, I donated a lot of items and only put back what I really wanted into my house, leaving space, organizing and eliminating piles. My goal is to have my basement and garage fully decluttered and organized by spring.
Each day, I organize a shelf, create a file rather than a pile and chip away one step at a time. I’ve collected a lot through the years plus items from my parent’s and Aunt’s house after my Dad and Aunt passed. At the time, I couldn’t part with the items, but now realize that they are not required for me to remember them since they remain in my heart, voice and stories.
As I am decluttering physical spaces, I am noticing that it creates a sense of order in my mind. I can find things easier and am not filling space with new stuff recreating clutter. Not fully a minimalist but on the path to deeper meaning which equates to more with less.
Clearing spaces naturally leads to the clearing of the mind. If we are willing to clear the shelves in our thoughts and narratives, we expose old thinking, limiting beliefs, “should” lists, “others expectations of me” lists, people pleasing habits that no longer and never served our becoming and coming home to ourselves. It isn’t as easy as cleaning a shelf, but the journey is worth the destination. As you unravel trappings of ego, vulnerability and fear, you create space for expectation, joy, creativity, renewal, light and freedom.
And the journey both ends and begins when you arrive in a “new world” and “burn the ships.” In 1519 when Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez landed in the New World, he ordered the burning of the ships signaling that there was no turning back. For King and Country has a song called Burn the Ships:
“Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back”
Until we are willing to “burn the ships,” we will keep returning to the past, assuming the future is a continuation and replay of what was. Clear the deck in all spaces, keep the lessons and burn the ships.
“Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.” – Albert Einstein
“I believe we create our own lives. And we create it by our thinking, feeling patterns in our belief system. I think we’re all born with this huge canvas in front of us and the paintbrushes and the paint, and we choose what to put on this canvas.” – Louise L. Hay
In our effort to prove our rightness and others’ wrongness, we diminish the complexity and depth of the world and our place in it. While it may provide temporary comfort, we miss the rich essence of living fully by both observing and participating, listening before speaking, conversation rather than pontification.
Life is filled with dichotomy and opposite as well as pattern and connection. When we put down our ego, listen and open our eyes, we find that we share the road on this journey, with no one right about everything. In the blending, depth and connection, there are patterns, insights and answers that have been present waiting to be discovered through thoughtful, quiet inquiry.
A meaningful and content life emerges when we ask, “what am I to learn?” and “how can I give rather than take?”
While I may not agree with others, I can still maintain my principles and beliefs without diminishing them in the process. I can even go so far as being kind and generous, especially to those I don’t agree with.
We need to both insulate the noise that distracts us and absorb the rhythms to create music. When we are too close, we need to pull back. When we are too far, we need to move in. From simple to complex and back to simple again. Going deep, then rising to the surface.
Be open to seeing patterns and connections amidst the dichotomy and opposites. There is far more beauty than we account for as we count the wrong things. Be willing to learn and as a result, grow and change.
“Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?” ― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs
“Pray thee, spare, thyself at times: for it becomes a wise man sometimes to relax the high pressure of his attention to work.” – Thomas Aquinas
When we settle in and settle down, allowing relaxation to restore and rejuvenate, we gain new perspective. A shift, a turn of the head and the world becomes new from the inside out. Don’t waste days wallowing, wading and willowing. Rest up, look up and relax. It’s all good and going to be good with the fullness of time. In the meantime, let go and relax.
This public service announcement is brought to you by my life coaches Abby and Sasha – the model fun makers and relaxation queens. Lighten up, it makes the journey so much sweeter.
“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott
A cloudy warm end to the day. A daily run to breathe in the gift of fresh open air. Routine. Habit. Ordinary. And then suddenly, out of the dry leaves of Winter, brilliant deep crisp purple and orange pop out to awaken and sharpen the senses. The ordinary transforms to extraordinary, to delight, to the unexpected. The first and not last sign of Spring, of life, of expansion, of hope, of color invites us in with open arms. A living prayer. An embrace.
Seasons, cycles, certainty, uncertainty and clarity merge. In the midst of transition, of waiting, of the precursor to Spring, wandering in the desert with the oasis around the corner, we find life vibrant and more than well. Planting season, filled with complexity, mystery, light and color.
“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” – Anne Lamott
This is holy, sacred, hopeful time. Take a knee. Offer a prayer. Let go of the familiar. Be prepared to be surprised, to fully enter awe. It’s all around. Wake up!
“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.” – Albert Einstein
Amidst the not knowing remains a knowing, a certainty within. Get comfortable with quiet that has been calling you to enter for so long. Busy is no longer an excuse. Time is no longer an excuse. Stop trying to fill the space and let it remain open and wander on in. Listen. Listen harder.
In uncertainty, we awaken to what already was and is – we don’t know everything but we do know what we should if we listen. When outside circumstances out of our control take over, we get lost and forget what we know inside. Don’t. Stay focused on what you can and let the rest go. Embrace solitude, distance, intuition, your gut so you can re-enter the world anew, changed for good, for better.
Sink into unknowing with open hands, no struggle. The quiet you’ve longed for, the unbusyness, the distance is here right now. Do not let this slip away steeped in worry, trying to predict what no one really can. While a pandemic is certainly not the way that we would have chosen to get to slow and silence, it has arrived, nevertheless. The quiet calls, it longs, for you to ponder, to wander and to rediscover wonder, gratitude and awe. Be fully present and do not miss this opportunity to engage in open space, in searching, in finding and in discovery of what already is within.
In the going through rather than around, we arrive precisely where we should. So gently release into the deep quiet that has been thrust upon us all with no fear. Seize nature. Go for a run. Write. Read. Think. Don’t think. Start those activities and hobbies that are on your list. This is your chance. Go deep, in preparation to surface again, changed, anew, and ready for what’s next with confidence, grace and resolve.
“Listen to silence. It has so much to say.” – Rumi
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
We are all given gifts, but we often fall short on producing fruit. When we don’t fully engage and release our gifts, we don’t fully produce fruit and bloom. Recognize, be grateful and accept your gifts and start producing some fruit to nourish and light the world.
There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, Fear of the Lord, Piety
There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control
Imagine if we align with the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit within us. A very worthwhile life. No small ball. Play it big, all out.
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” – R. Buckminster Fuller
We are meant to evolve, to unfold.
When we are uncertain, feeling stuck and a bit lost in our own “neighborhood,” we are at a crossroad. Clinging and comfortable with what has been because it’s familiar and fearing the unknown. Change happens when we are uncomfortable.
The caterpillar transforms in the struggle to get out, only becoming the butterfly when breaking free from the past. We get unstuck by choosing forward motion, trusting our instinct and intuition, questioning the truth in our stories we’re telling ourselves – both past and future narratives.
Confident that going backwards or staying safe in the fork is not the path to what’s next and where we are meant to be. The past has paved the way to now and is not meant to repeat but to provide a foundation for growth. It has prepared us for change, for our talents and gifts to take root in what’s next. Sometimes it’s where we are now with a shift in our perspective, sometimes it’s somewhere new.