“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.
“All of us need to begin to think in terms of our own inner strengths, our resilience and resourcefulness, our capacity to adapt and to rely upon ourselves and our families.” – Steven Pressfield
“I think we build resilience to prepare for whatever adversity we’ll face. And we all face some adversity – we’re all living some form of Option B.” – Sheryl Sandberg
This week, Jeanne gave me a ceramic pumpkin filled with fresh tomatoes from her garden. The tomatoes alone would be awesome enough, but the pumpkin had very special meaning. Years ago, the pumpkin was filled with fresh beautiful flowers. They were sent to our office in St. Paul addressed to Jessica Gill. Jeanne got them and called Jessica immediately to let her know that she received flowers.
Jessica was a fellow coworker/friend who worked for us remotely in Montana. She was the original remote worker before COVID-remote work became “cool.” It was from a client thanking her for her outstanding work – no surprise. Our office should have been filled with flowers, gifts and chocolates for her commitment, creativity and leadership through the years for both our clients and staff.
So the pumpkin filled with tomatoes this week went deeper. It was a sweet reminder of Jessica who worked for me for years. We talked every day. She was one of the most brilliant, kind and generous young woman/person that I’ve worked with over a 30+ year career. She succumbed to a second ass-kicking from cancer on January 6, 2019, in her 30s with two young boys and a husband who adored her, like the rest of us.
Not one single day goes by that I don’t want to pick up the phone to talk, strategize and solve complex problems with a laugh weaved in the conversation. She understood me and the depth of the tech work that we worked on together for the years.
So as I finished this week, with my pumpkin displayed in my living room, one thought kept rising in my heart – “we’re still here.” That’s really the gist of it, especially now. We are still here in this “unprecedented time” and are called to keep living, contributing, caring and being generous with ourselves and others. We are still here to honor those who have gone before us, rising to all occasions with resilience, hope, joy, enthusiasm and victory. Until we cross over, we are still here to fight the good fight, so let’s do this!
When you start feeling sorry for yourself – and I do myself regularly – remember, we are still here and here for a purpose. Be present, be hopeful, be joyful and serve the world until you are no longer a part of it. Carry on with hope, spunk and fight. Cast light – we all are in desperate need of it right now!
“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” – Albert Bandura
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha
Optimism is rooted in resilience and grit. It’s knowing that things aren’t perfect, days are tough, the past can be heavy and still choosing to look at the world with new and hopeful eyes. Fully aware that each of us is going through challenges with others, work hassles, health concerns, disappointments, we can still rise.
Karma – what you send out, returns to you. Day 4 of positive vibes and wide-eyed optimism – cast light. Join me and invite others to the party.