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Posts tagged ‘Samoyed’

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

“A merry heart does good like medicine.” – Proverbs 17:22

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

On a quiet Christmas morning, we were greeted with a fresh blanket of snow on our daily trip to the dog park. The new snow creates a challenge for ball chasing if you don’t keep your eye on the ball. If Abby looked too far ahead or back in anticipation, she missed the ball when it went deep in the snow. She searched with intent and focus to look for the lost ball.

This season is a time to reflect on and celebrate the birth of Jesus who entered a broken world in a stable filled with animals and ordinary people. The promise and gift is that He remains with us each day on our imperfect, beautiful and flawed journey. He searches for our time and attention to lighten our days and create meaning from the journey.

The Christmas story is not one of the past but of what’s present and available to us now. Today and every day, heaven comes to earth to save us from ourselves. Accept this incomprehensible, undeserved gift of peace, grace, mercy, light and love. It’s as real today as it was that cold, lonely, miraculous day in a stable for there was no room at the Inn. Make room at your “Inn” for God to participate in your life.

Not too far back or ahead, keep your eye on the ball. Merry Christmas.

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15

Right in Your Own Backyard

“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

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

Last week, I took Abby and Sasha for the first time to a dog park in Hastings when meeting a friend to pick up a Christmas gift that she painted. When we first arrived and I took them off leash, they were perplexed. Surely I made a mistake, they were in open space with other dogs and new territory to explore. Once they acclimated, they absolutely loved it.

Abby chased tennis balls with her usual vigor and delight. Sasha was the social director, introducing herself and making friends with other dogs inviting them to chase her and she would reciprocate. I was so pleasantly surprised and wondered why I hadn’t done this sooner.

There’s a dog park just blocks from my house that I’ve passed for years and never stopped. This week, we went there every day. Each time, they were excited as the first time, meeting new friends and dancing through leaves to hunt balls.

So often, we have places, people and blessings in plain sight, right in our own “backyard.” We miss them going on to the next thing, to the “better” yard, the “other person’s” yard. We pass them each day, not noticing, taking them for granted, as if invisible. In the middle of our ordinary days are extraordinary gifts.

Start noticing and exploring your own “backyard” with gratitude, awe and joy. It’s a beautiful view right outside your window.

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Better Days = Better Life

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” – Karl Barth

According to research, 40% of our happiness relies on our thought patterns and behaviors, 10% our circumstances and 50% our genes. If we focus on the 40% in our control, we may also be able to shift our perspective on our circumstances, making it 50% in our hands to make better days. And better days = better life.

Sonja Lyubominsky, The How of Happiness offers ten ways to boost happiness.

  1. Practice gratitude – list three things that you are grateful for each day (three of mine are in the photo);
  2. Be kind – assume the best in others and show empathy. You never know what someone is going through and you can be that beacon of light that pulls them through;
  3. Practice optimism – stop the spiral of complaining, comparing and criticizing and fill that space with imagination, play and positivity. Flip worst-case scenario thinking to best-case scenario;
  4. Avoid rumination – let it go. When thoughts bounce in your head like a pinball machine, stop and ground yourself in the present. The past is done, move on.
  5. Physical exercise – training for a marathon which turned into a virtual marathon kept me focused this year. You don’t need to run a marathon. Getting out every day into nature and moving your bones is good for your soul;
  6. Meditation – I’ve tried meditation on and off over the years and it wasn’t until I downloaded the Insight Timer app that it stuck – 80 consecutive days and counting. Download it – 5-10 minutes in the morning and meditative music to fall asleep to will shift your very foundation;
  7. Religious/spiritual observance – I strive for deep faith and meaning beyond myself. It’s the anchor, the rock that has held my hand through life and particularly valuable this year. No preaching, just fact – God’s holding all of us, let Him;
  8. Forgive others – we free ourselves when we forgive others. Let it go and live your life;
  9. Pursue goals – set goals and develop the steps to get there. The world needs you to bloom and give away your gifts and talents;
  10. Savor – stop the monkey mind and be fully present in this moment and allow joy to soak in. Each of us can find things to be grateful for. Gratitude shifts our energy and attention and lifts our spirit.

You find what you are looking for so look for light, joy and laughter, available to all of us if we choose to partake.

Dog Days of Summer

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia

“Wherever you are, be there totally.” Eckhart Tolle

No matter the season, these two always know how to have fun. Summer brings rolling in the grass and some serious ball chasing. When I get caught up in my “to do” list and my swirling thoughts, they bring me back to focus on gratitude, presence and joy.

Life is not a continuous puzzle to solve, a checklist to be checked off, a hot pursuit of what’s next. Life is hidden right in front of us in simple moments, in a walk with a friend, in laying next to your best pal and flipping a tennis ball into the air to show off your ball handling skills.

Breathe, laugh and take it all in.

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

Perspective

“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

Chasing

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown

What are you chasing? When we pursue the right things, the ones that are woven with flow, meaning and purpose, the chase becomes the destination. Choose the chase with intention in hot pursuit of pure joy.

“Joy is of the will which labours, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.” – William Butler Yeats

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

Good Days – Create Them

“Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they’re thirsty. That’s prayer. They don’t live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.” – Mary Oliver

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

A walk with friends by the river with the girls. House chores to prepare for new floors on Monday. The plumber. Comcast for a new cable box. A long ride with Mom and the girls. Sasha chasing geese in the field. A drop by my sister’s house as she gazed into the eyes of her grandson with pure joy. A stop to pick up dinner. A few more chores. Sit down and watch a movie.

No meetings. No zooming. No tech. Flat as hell hair and it isn’t going to get prettier with the state locks down stay at home until May 18th and a perm reschedule, yet again, for Memorial Day weekend. A simple day, a good day.

Don’t miss good days. Create them and accept nothing less. Not defined by accomplishment or to dos but by presence and ease. Deep gratitude for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Good days – create them.

“Every day should be a good day. People fool themselves that they’ll be here forever.” – Stephen A. Schwarzman

Yep, I put the quote in twice because we forget. We will not be here forever.

Expansive!

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.” – William James

No matter where we are in life, we decide whether we will expand or contract. Right now, the obvious, easy and natural response to contract. Do the opposite. Expand into the world. Connect in new ways, love deeper and embrace optimism and hope. It is the only sustainable and joyful path.

Get out in the fresh air and look beyond the horizon, beyond immediate circumstances. Watch the sun slowly set. Walk and run with your best friend. Let go of the leash and dance in the field. Look up, pull your mask off and simply say hello when passing by to acknowledge our shared humanity and experience.

This moment, how we move through, survive and thrive beyond the immediate is our defining moment. Define the moment rather than letting the moment define you.

We are so much bigger and wonderous than this moment. Observe, absorb and expand!

Love is All Around

“Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have the town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all” – Mary Tyler Moore Show Lyrics

As I stopped tonight after three days of 15 hour days of painting six rooms of my house in preparation of new floors, I settled in to full gratitude and awareness of now, of this very moment. We are in the middle of a pandemic, a massive transition and transformation of our future. At the same time, we are prepared and have no clue. We need to get tuned into our power rather than our weakness.

When I look into the eyes of Abby and Sasha, I am promptly reminded of the Mary Tyler Moore Show lyrics that “love is all around – you’re going to make it after all.” We are going to adapt, rise and make it after all. It will require resilience, rigor, rest and new eyes. We really can overcome and thrive.

These times are overwhelming, showstopping and comprehensive to be sure. And amidst the fear, the unknown, the uncertainty, of the lock down, lies a tremendous opportunity to lighten up, solve, create, innovate. To rise up.

Settle in and absorb these moments without comfortable, familiar standard bitching and whining. We are in the midst of transformation, joy and awareness. It requires resolve, transcendence and courage to move into the unknown. Don’t’ miss this. Wake the hell up and start to participate and contribute to the #otherside. Resilience, insight and internal strength.

We are so much deeper and beyond circumstances. Rise and breakthrough complacency and mere acceptance. Prepare and hope for life beyond COVID-19. Love, joy, hope wins, triumphs. Love is all around – for real!

A Few of My Favorite Things

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs

No matter the circumstances, we have a choice to lean in or bury our head, to smile or frown, to embrace or shun, to hold tight or let go. It is your choice. Suffering is optional.

Find and hold those people and things that rock your world and never let them go. They are here to show us the way. Hold tight through the storms.

We are so much bigger than the storms and stronger than the waves. Keep afloat, head up and find joy in today. For that is all we are promised. From Blake flying high to Liam’s morning zoom calls as my favorite remote worker, to Como Conservatory from the outside looking in to Sasha (Samoyed) and Abby (Golden Retriever) running full throttle through the woods on a spring, cloudy day, SEIZE this very moment and hold tight to your favorite things. Blessings in disguise.

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