“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Been going through the motions lately. Busy, busy. Bouncing from one thing to the next with little depth in between. There will always be a reason to put living off for another day. Yet today is the only one promised so stop and carve moments of joy, laughter, quiet and gratitude. A song, a poem, a picture, a few words. At least one.
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“It is a great art to saunter.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Every day brings new choices.” – Martha Beck
It was hot today so Abby and I sauntered once around Como Lake. In our sauntering, we came upon the same bunch of flowers we that we run past again and again. This time, they jumped up and down in brilliant deep purple calling us to stop and take it all in.
Familiarity brings comfort and ease, a feeling of being home. We often take for granted that which is most familiar, seeing past what’s right in front of us in hot pursuit of whatever we so frantically chasing.
Spend some time, each and every day, sauntering more. You never know what will jump out to embrace you and pull you deep into gratitude and delight.
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley
A big band as the sun prepares to rest can only make for a bit of delight. Music, art and nature sustain and fill our very soul. A light step, a twirl and a smile and the moment is so much more than enough.
Lily and me escaped to Como Lake tonight. To walk, not run. To saunter, not speed. Embracing the gift of a warm summer evening with a slight breeze at just the right time. When we sat down to enjoy the music, an older couple got up to show us how to lighten up and dance like no one was watching.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”- Plato
Escaping all that binds us need not be complicated or planned too far in advance. Spontaneous and special, and required of us daily.
“Most days weren’t clear when you were in them.” ― Naomi Shihab Nye
“Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.” – Naomi Shibab Nye
As the days go faster and we go slower, we may long for days gone by, our youth. But the days slow when we remain squarely within each one, fully aware and awake. Wiser from what was and hope-filled for what is to come. The wide path becomes narrow and we can see and appreciate what is most important.
As the need to prove oneself subsides, moments linger and connections grow deeper. Creating and being replace competing and doing. And if we are fortunate to find clarity in the days when we are in them, we discover what has been there the entire time…love expands, multiples, grows, sustains and is what we are here to do. Our moments become holy.
Each time I try to take control, steering and holding on too tight, I get lost. To be a boat, sailing and not steering. To find and to be found.
If I Wanted A Boat
by Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
“I would want a boat, if I wanted a
boat, that bounded hard on the waves,
that didn’t know starboard from port
and wouldn’t learn, that welcomed
dolphins and headed straight for the
whales, that, when rocks were close,
would slide in for a touch or two,
that wouldn’t keep land in sight and
went fast, that leaped into the spray.
What kind of life is it always to plan
and do, to promise and finish, to wish
for the near and the safe? Yes, by the
heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want
a boat that I couldn’t steer.”
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” – Helen Keller
My plans for the day fell through so I actually stayed home and dug into the “when I have time” projects. Facing the pile to file, organizing and discarding clutter. Projects that we delay but once started and completed offer a certain satisfaction. And in the act of decluttering our surroundings, we declutter our minds. We’re good starters and multitaskers at the expense of finishing and focusing. There’s value in finishing and not starting the next thing until we finish, in going deeper instead of wider.
We move so quickly between one thing and the next, not fully appreciating and experiencing the fullness of what is right before us. When we allow for pondering and planting, we harvest joy and gratitude. Plan for some unplanned time and let the tasks and gifts of the day unfold.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren
I am taking a few days off to relax and enjoy the remaining hours of my 49th year. People asked what I am going to do and I told them that I am going to reflect on the past 50 years and think about what I am going to do with my next 50 years. Time moves quickly and slowly at the same time. We wish days away and then suddenly we’re 50 and feel like 30.
If we don’t pause along the way to witness what was and is right now, we miss the gifts and blessings that surround and embrace us. Regret can only be avoided if we remain present in each moment and aware of our power over our own lives and not distracted by the noise.
When we’re younger, we work on getting experience to get to the next thing, the next promotion, the next opportunity, the next trophy… Now I am more interested in experiencing each day giving my best regardless of recognition, learning new things, gaining insight, creating meaning, traveling lighter, letting worries go, trying to be much less serious and making good use of the experience I have earned by growing others.
Looking back, I don’t have the life I thought I would have but I have the life I was meant to and doing my best to live it well. And each day is overflowing with gratitude, grace, love and sprinkled with delight in the simple moments. Figure out what really matters right now and make each day its own end. So instead of the next 50 years, I think I’ll focus on the next 50 minutes.
“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.” – Eckhart Tolle
Every moment, each day is overflowing with promise when we give ourselves permission to accept that simple premise. Too often, we forego awesome people, beautiful places and the depth of the present as we opt to predetermine what lies ahead while clinging tightly to what has gone before.
I knew that this past week was going to have long hours and busy days. But instead of dreading it or wishing them away, I decided to move through each day open to what it may offer, no preconceived notions or conclusions. By letting it flow and unfold, I found a certain ease and renewed energy. I got to know others better, shared a bit about myself and listened intently. No judgment. No controlling. Just connecting with all that was present right in the moment.
I have surrendered too many days to assumptions, misperceptions, frustrations, drama and self-made complexity. If we start with the assumptions that people are good and our options are many, the world is transformed into endless possibilities. Naïve? Perhaps. Will we be disappointed? Absolutely. But living bound up in what has been or what may come steals this moment and the best in us and others.
We all just want to be called out to play, given permission to participate, invited to be seen and heard. Seize the boundless promises waiting to be fulfilled in your day, in your life.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” ― Mark Twain
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
There’s an old saying “eat the frog first” – do what you don’t want to do first so you stop procrastinating and move on. When we delay starting, we give too much power to the “frog.” Our perceptions, assumptions and worries are not reality, but we make them our reality when they prevent us from living the good life we are meant to live.
Jump to it and eat the frog! There’s a lot of living to savor and not a lot of time to do it.