“Every day is a gift from God. Learn to focus on the Giver and enjoy the gift!” – Joyce Meyer
“Opportunities present themselves every day – to everyone. You just have to be alert and ready to act.” – Marc Ostrofsky
Be on alert
Find the squirrel in the tree
The brilliance in the bounty of summer bloom
The regreening of grass from fresh rain
The gentleness in your thoughts
The compassion in your heart
The empathy in your words
The kindness in your actions
Build, create, praise
Be on alert
Your life is happening today.
“Great effort is required to arrest decay and restore vigor. One must exercise proper deliberation, plan carefully before making a move, and be alert in guarding against relapse following a renaissance.” – Horace
“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” – Dr. Seuss
“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.” – Isaac Asimov
Run to something, not from something
Build on what has been, not bound by it
Create your present and future with your thoughts, words, actions and dreams
Tune out the chatter
Turn up the whisper inside and listen
Trip and get up, repeat
Chase joy, find yourself.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e. e. cummings
“Ultimately it’s the simple things that make a difference.” – Chris Smalling
“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Anchor to hope, not circumstances. Assume the best in others and be proven wrong on occasion. Find the blessings in the burdens.
Joy is available in all seasons and cycles. It’s a constant. Our most important job is to find it daily in plain sight, lurking, longing to be found. Let joy sneak up on you.
Joy can be found in the silly, in mischief, in frolicking, in prayer, in laughter, in nature, in an embrace, in flowers, in a smile, in music, in art, in literature, in play, in gratitude, in dogs, even in some people (make sure you’re one of them), in simple encounters.
Double count blessings, multiply joy. Abundance and light with a shift in attention, focus and intention.
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Einstein
Get out of your head into your imagination. The journey is what you make it so settle only for sweet, simple joy.
“Live out of your imagination, not your history.” – Stephen Covey
“Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.” – Henri Nouwen
Lay your thinking down
Give your opinions and assumptions a day off
Enter today with fresh eyes
Free from resistance and rules
Renew, refresh, rewire
Heart over head
Being over doing
Open, listening and aligned in now
No yesterday, no tomorrow, today alone
Go off trail and explore
Anchored in gratitude and awareness in the fullness of each moment
Extraordinary in the ordinary
May you have an ear-flipping, grass stain on the forehead kind of day
“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
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ― A.A. Milne
“What I like doing best is Nothing.”
“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.
It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
“Oh!” said Pooh.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Wander without aim;
Create space for nothing, no place to be;
Free your calendar of obligations and tasks;
Wade in slowly and feel the current of the river;
Offshore to explore;
Out on a limb suspended in time;
Gravity, grounded, floating;
Fully present in nothing so everything can enter all at once.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ― A.A. Milne
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.” – Agnes de Mille
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
To mix it up, I took the girls to a new dog park at the end of the day. Acres to explore, fresh ground to dance on. When we crossed through the gate, leashes came off and they bolted into the field with joy and delight. They kept circling out and back to ensure that I would be a part of their adventure.
We need not travel far to find fresh ground to plant seeds of exploration and reap the fruit of play. Dance on fresh ground, feel the earth under your feet, breathe in the immensity. Expand.
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” – Wayne Dyer
“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.” – Annie Leibovitz
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
With workdays filled with back to back meetings, an unstructured day is a gift. I’ve been weaving a day off here and there to open space. Yesterday, after a slow start, I took the girls to the dog park, unhurried, no rushing, no watch watching, no place to be, nothing to do. Sauntering, wandering and throwing one ball after the next. With a string of sunny warm days, the snow is almost gone, soft fresh mud taking its place. As we wandered down the path along the field, Sasha and Abby jumped over dead trees, ducked under branches and explored with great abandon.
As we were walking back for some more ball throwing, the girls decided to dive into the swamp where ice was last week. They could not have been more pleased with their decision. While I wasn’t too delighted, I decided to respond with laughter rather than angst. It was fun to witness their joy. As Sasha worked her way out of the water, she emerged looking like a skunk. The walk turned out to be a good bad decision because I chose to to go with the good rather than the bad. A choice each of us has every day.
The next stop was the self-serve dog wash. While the dirt washed out, the fun remained fully intact. We jam our days with meetings, activities and busywork with little room for good “bad” decisions of frolic, play and exploration.
Make room each day for silly, goofy and even a little mud. Make a cannon ball into the deep end of the pool of delight and splash some joy on others. It is not only good for the soul, it is required.
“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” -Charles Schaefer
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha
“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
On our daily trip to the dog park yesterday, the girls and I wandered outside of the fenced area to the open field to wander through the maze of frozen cattails. The girls took off as fast and when they realized that they were out of my sight, they would loop back to check on me and to make sure that they still had permission to take the “field” trip. Permission granted with a smile and wave.
With great abandon, weaving, exploring, dancing, flying, all senses in play and at play.
Today is the first day of the week, the first day of the month and marks the meteorological spring. On the cusp of a new season, change is becoming more apparent. Change is always happening but it takes attention and awareness to see it, to enter it with joy and abandon. Each day is a blank slate, a white canvas to fill with colors.
This morning upon waking, I began writing an email in my head as I planned the activities for the day. After five minutes, I stopped the swirl and returned to the field yesterday with gratitude for a beautiful weekend and plans for a glorious day ahead. When we observe our thoughts, what field trip that they are taking us on and decide if we want to take the trip, we can break old patterns, stale reactions and respond with intention and attention to transformation and metanoia, a change of heart resulting in a change in way of life.
You write your own permission slip daily. Stop asking others for permission. Stop making excuses. No past. No future. Just now. What will you do and where will you go on your field trip today?
“To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance) really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.”― Christos Yannaras, Variations on the Song of Songs
“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
“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