*

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NEW YEAR'S EVE

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
~ Hal Borland~

New Year's Eve is about looking back. A year is ending, and a new one dawns. What have been our victories, and what our defeats? How have we grown; who have we lost, and who have we loved?
     It's time for review and consideration; a time to acknowledge progress, and lessons learned. We close out a cycle and make peace with what has been, so that we can start fresh.
     New Year's Eve is all about remembering, but once we have aptly remembered, it's about letting go. It's closure and release; a tidying-up of loose ends and a sad and beautiful song about auld lang syne.

I thoughtfully consider the passing year in review, and then I let it go.

Monday, December 29, 2014

ALCOHOL-FREE LIVING

"If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim."
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr ~
 
Ten years ago today, I quit drinking, and it was both the hardest and the best decision I ever made. Life without alcohol is cleaner, and clearer, and free from the guilt and shame that used to cripple me. Life is life, so it's never easy, but living sober is the best kind of living I know.
 
I am grateful to be sober.

NO-MAN'S LAND

"The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears."
~ John Vance Cheney ~
 
This is a tricky time of year: the no-man's land between Christmas and New Years. Everything to do with Christmas feels stale and messy, and January first with all of its high hopes and expectations looms before us, urging us to do better with our lives.
     I feel a bit at a loss, like I'm supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my family, but everything feels discombobulated and out-of-sync. It's probably me and not necessarily the time of year. I'm a bit squirrely in my skin, and ready to return to the comfort of my beloved daily routines.
     But still, and as always, there are blessings to accompany my discomfort, and goodness and mercy as well. So I'll take it all, and let life just keep on coming, the way it always does, and welcome it, whatever it may bring.
 
I allow for the discomfort of the holiday season, as well as the joy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

THE DAY AFTER

"Keep your Christmas heart open all the year round."
~ Jessica Archmint ~

As we return to life and commerce, let's allow the best of Christmas to live on in us, and sustain us as we continue down the road. Anything else, let's make the decision to leave behind.

As I carry on with life past Christmas, I let only the love remain.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air,"
~ WT Ellis ~

The longer I live, the more I believe that Christmas is a feeling more than an event. It's bright with expectation and softly glowing with the simple reality of what is.
     We give what we can to those who matter in our lives, and we allow others to give to us. Christmas is a coming and a going and a being all at once. It's beautiful, but quick- widespread love and kindness that is over in a flash. So let's slow down, become present for the celebration, and enjoy every moment of the experience while it's still here.

I savor the day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE

"Twas the night before Christmas..."
~ Clement Clarke Moore ~
 
No matter whether we're 5 or 65, Christmas Eve has a kind of special hopefulness about it. It is sweet, exciting, and sad all at the same time. We feel our losses magnified as well as our joys, but there is ever and always this tickling hope of what's to come, and the possibility of unexpected love and magic on Earth.
 
I bask in the emotional sea of Coming Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

RECEIVING

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."
~ GB Stern ~

In some ways, it's much easier to give than to receive, and yet, receiving is an art we must master, especially this time of year. Being gracious and appreciative of whatever we are given is important, because thoughtfulness and generosity of all kinds and in all ways deserves our recognition; and we are less entitled to goodness than we may think.
     So let's receive with sincerity and express out thanks for every kindness that is shown us, whether it be large, or small.

I lovingly receive what's given me, and feel the grace of genuine appreciation.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

GIVING

"It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it."
~Eileen Elias Freeman~

There's a world of things beyond the material that we can give: love, forgiveness, compassion and appreciation, to name just a few. And arguably these may be more meaningful than whatever we wrap up and put under the tree.
     And we can give these things all year long, to ourselves as well as others. To give is to feel good. It reaches us beyond ourselves and lifts us to a higher plane.

I give with open arms and from the heart.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ACCEPTANCE

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."
~Matthew 7:1-5 ~

It's not our job to judge others- only to accept them and enjoy them as they are. I know far less about other people than I think I do, and I give them their dignity by not second-guessing their every move.

I trust others to know their own hearts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TRAFFIC JAM

"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it."
~Toni Morrison ~

Unexpected traffic jams are a real momentum buster. So much for our plans and designs. We are stuck in a halting proposition, powerless and choiceless, except for the way we respond emotionally.
     All we can do is ooch along with everyone else for however long it takes, and trust that eventually, it will bust open and we'll be back on track and cruising along happily yet again.

I surrender to blocks in my progress that I cannot predict or control.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FINISHING

"It is ripeness and color and a time of completion; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance."
~ Emily Bronte ~

It's easy to not complete things, but it's possible. We tend to be good at starting, but finishing, not so much. And yet, the completion of a large and complex project is a grand reward. To be able to say, "I did that," and to intrinsically know each measure of the mix is a beautiful and satisfying thing.

I am proud of completed projects and take satisfaction in a job well done.

Monday, December 15, 2014

UP AND DOWN

"We think of them as opposites but they're really not."
~ Laurence Shames ~

Life is a paradox- simple in some ways, and complex in others: beautiful and tragic: mundane and sublime. And yet, somehow, the co-existence of these opposing elements makes for a perfect equilibrium. Without both sides, our life is like a grounded see-saw. Without the rising and falling, it's a lot less fun.

I appreciate the juxtaposed opposites that exist in my life.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

FULL PLATE

"There must be a tomorrow, because my life overflows today."
~Lois Chartrand ~

I have an overfull plate at the moment. I imagine that many of us do. It's hard to keep grounded and steady and to get enough sleep or down time.
     My plate is full of good things, however- positive forward momentum, self-evolving choices, and the details of Christmas. That it's all here at the same time makes it challenging to appreciate, but I don't want to miss the experience by being too busy to notice.
     So I will proceed, on course, with all of my powers of stamina and sincerity, and trust in survival and satisfaction and success on the far side. My plate won't be this full forever.

I enjoy the bounty of my full life.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

REMAINING CALM

"Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year."
~ WJ Cameron ~

As we approach Christmas, it's always a good reminder to slow down instead of speed up. We tend to approach our shopping, card-writing, and gift wrapping with a kind of urgent frenzy, but we needn't. We miss the pleasure that way, and we miss the whole point. Let's savor the season instead, and all that it entails.

I take my time and enjoy preparing for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FRESH AIR

"In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."
~William Blake~
 
I love cold air and the smell of wood-smoke. It is the ultimate combination of refreshment and comfort.
 
I appreciate the gifts of December

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NO MORE FEAR

"Our distrust is very expensive."
~ RW Emerson~

I made a decision the other day not to be afraid. I am tired of worrying about what might happen and fretting over how I should best handle it if it does. I'm done with fear. It's that simple: fear and all its armored horsemen. I choose faith instead, and to trust in all of the things that I cannot foresee, or properly understand in advance.

I trust in the process of life.

Monday, December 8, 2014

"THE HARD WAY"

"I am learning all the time."
~Eartha Kitt~

We learn our lessons "the hard way." That's how we learn. When all is smooth and easy, we coast and enjoy ourselves. But when we are called upon to engage the best of our skill to manage difficult situations and emotions, sometimes our skill doesn't hold up. We feel helpless and unsure and in a fair bit of pain. And that's exactly when we grow.
     To feel better, we have to ask for help, or otherwise change our perspective. We come through difficulties however we come through them; and it may not be graceful, and it may not be pretty, but the mere act of coming though is the lesson we take away.

I accept my challenges and appreciate that they grow me.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

ANGER AND FEAR

"Fear cannot take what you do not give it."
~Christopher Coan~

When I feel angry it's because I'm afraid. That's the bottom line. I may not be exactly in touch with it, but the fear is definitely there. And yet, what I worry about never plays out the way I think it will. Real life hardship generally comes from out of left field.
     So my fear doesn't change whatever might or might not happen and it only makes me angry and upset.

I am willing to let go of my fear and relax into peace.
    

Thursday, December 4, 2014

LETTING GO

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." ~Reinhold Niebuhr~

It's so hard for me to believe that it's ok to be happy when someone I love is suffering. I feel like I should be furrowing my brow in deep concentration and angst- trying to figure things out and fix what I cannot fix. I feel sure that there must be some way to change someone else's circumstances if I just concentrate hard enough and come at it from the right angle. But this makes me old and harried and doesn't change anything. Letting go is what changes things; it's what makes sense and what allows for happiness.

I am willing to stop fretting over circumstances beyond my control.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HOME SWEET HOME

"The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there." ~Ellie Rodriguez~

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is just go home. We have a tendency to want to keep on pushing and driving in the world at large, when what we really need for our recovery is to retreat and recuperate. If we have a good home, then that is where the healing happens, and the hope is born again. It's a freedom-zone, and a place of relaxation and repair.

I appreciate the restorative powers of being at home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ORGANIZING ACHIEVEMENT

"If you don't know where you're going, you will probably end up somewhere else."
~Lawrence J. Peter~

I love the process of breaking the achievement of goals into manageable steps. It's a kind of organization that pleases me: first-things-first, a prioritized to-do list, and a sensible hierarchy of action to be taken. After that, it simply becomes a matter of following the steps, one by one, in order, until we get there, adjusting if necessary as we go.

I appreciate the process of planning. It simplifies my path.

Monday, December 1, 2014

THE LIMITS OF TEXTING

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." ~Frank Lloyd Wright~

Texting can be toxic. It's inefficient for communication that matters; ok for checking in, but not for any kind of actual conversation. Halting, abbreviated, truncated words and sentences get our point across, but not with any grace.
     And the worst of it is the invasive and demanding non-stop back and forth, back and forth that eats away hours of our time and leaves us feeling nothing but flat.

I set limits around texting and do not let it overtake my day.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

PERSONAL ADVOCACY

"Things are never quite as scary when you have a best friend."
~Bill Watterson~

We have to be our own advocates in life, but it helps to have some additional advocates as well: those who will speak up for us, who know who we are and what matters, and who won't let us compromise ourselves beyond reason. Such advocates champion our cause and help us to protect and nurture our tender dreams.

I advocate for myself, and for others who I love.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

BLESSED

"My cup runneth over."
~Psalm 23:5~
 
I am blessed with goodness and mercy, and believe that we all are. In spite of its ups, downs, twists, turns, and sideway arches; and maybe even because of them, life is a grand affair.
 
I am grateful.

THANKSGIVING

"For each new morning with its light
For rest and shelter of the night
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends."
~RW Emerson~

I love Thanksgiving! What an opportunity for good food and gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for- more than we even know. Let's consider our blessings today, and acknowledge them; and fill up on family and festivity, but not over-stuff ourselves. We don't have to indulge to the point of sickness in order to express our thanks.

I keep Thanksgiving with care.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

LETTING GO OF THE DETAILS

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind."
~Seneca~

I like adventures, and if I can let go of my need to control the details, I like them even more. Unknown, unexpected, and unusual opportunities present themselves to me when I'm on the road; and if I'm open to them, my experience can be a pure delight.

I surrender to the road I'm on.

Monday, November 24, 2014

NOT THERE YET

"The living moment is everything."
~DH Lawrence ~

It's hardest for me to be present when I have something to look forward to. Like a child on the last day of school before break, it's hard for me to concentrate and to focus.
     I am excited, and that's understandable, but I am also not quite there yet. So I need to slow down and breathe, and be where I am until it's time to be elsewhere.

I graciously accept the reality of the present moment.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

JOURNEYING

"Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings."
~Rumi~

I used to be rather an instant gratification junkie. I was all about the quick fix and had little, if any, patience for the journeying process. I wasn't interested in journeys. I wanted to arrive.
     I understand now what I didn't then- that there are markers along the path, and moments of import; crossroads, and overnight stays. But real arrival is the end of it all. So I'm ok today with slow progress, and able to enjoy the whole ride.
 
It's ok with me that things happen in their own sweet time.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

LACK OF LOGIC

"Look both ways before entering the insanity."
~ Terri Guillemets ~

In certain situations that we find ourselves, there is an utter lack of logic. We are presented with terms that are impossible-to-work-with, so there's no compromising or negotiation possible- only stalemate.
     To force logic on such situations is to engage in battle, and to fight with no hope of support or understanding. So in the long run, it may be less costly to simply accept the insanity of what we are facing and let it be what it is. We don't have to insist that it make sense. We can cut bait and walk away.

I let insanity be insanity and stop trying to straighten it out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RUDENESS

"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax."
 ~Arthur Schopenhauer~
 
It never ceases to amaze me that people who work in the service industry think it's ok to be rude to their customers, and sometimes even belligerent. Where is the logic in that? Who hired them and who is over-seeing the situation? There's no percentage in rudeness, not for any of us, and not at any time.
 
I treat everyone I encounter with civility and respect.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE MESSES WE MAKE

"Take responsibility for your own progress."
~ I Ching ~

It's not always easy or possible to clean-up life messes that we've made. Sometimes there's a process by which we have to suffer the chaos in order to fully appreciate the error of our ways. We want to get in the clear, and wash our hands of whatever the mess may be. But sometimes, our hands are stained, and it's only time that will clean them fully.

Other people can't clean up my messes for me. I have to do that for myself.

Monday, November 17, 2014

EXCUSES

"We excuse our sloth under pretext of difficulty."
~ Marcus Fabius Quintilian~

Nobody wants to hear our excuses, because they usually have nothing really to do the issue at hand. We need to step up and take honest ownership of our part in the drama of our lives. We need to say, "Here's how I could have handled things differently, and next time, I will."
     We try to wiggle out of responsibility by making excuses for ourselves, but the bottom line is that at least some part of the responsibility  in every situation is ours to own. So let's own it... and move on.

I admit my mistakes, make my apologies, and agree to do better going forth.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

CHOICE FOR LIFE

"Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live."
~Jacqueline Winspear~

It's a state of being to be grateful; an energetic position that acknowledges that we receive all kinds of goodness and blessings from unknown sources. We are gifted with life, for one thing, and the beauty of the natural world in which we live.
     Appreciating is something that we do, but grateful is something that we are- or not. It's a choice. What do you choose?
 
I choose gratitude.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

LOOKING FOR BEAUTY

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
~American Idiom~

We are all hard enough on ourselves. We don't need to pick at our loved ones and point out all of their flaws. Let's look for their glories instead, and their unique beauty, and the special gifts that they bring to our lives.

I focus on what's right and beautiful in others instead of what they need to improve.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

JUST THE WAY I AM

"If I am not for myself, who will be?"
~Pirke Avoth~

Historically, I can be a bit of a doormat. It comes to me naturally. But I don't like it, and in truth these days, being a doormat rather pisses me off. I am not for walking all over. I am for celebration and respect.

I am worthy of appreciation and consideration just the way I am.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

THE FUTILITY OF SELF-SACRIFICE

"Never dull your shine for somebody else."
~Tyra Banks~

I often find myself wanting to please other people. I want them to be happy with me. So much so, in fact, that I would sooner sacrifice my own well-being for theirs. But this is foolish and unnecessary. There is a middle-ground that honors us both, and that's the one I need to find.

I don't have to throw myself under the bus as my default position. There's a way to accommodate others and honor myself at the same time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

FOR THOSE WHO SERVED

"When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them." ~Chinese Proverb~
 
One day is not enough to properly honor those who have stood up for our country and fought for our freedom and defended our rights. They return to us war weary, combat stricken, and forever changed by what they've experienced. Veteran's Day is our opportunity to say thank you.
     Thank you for risking your life for us, for missing your family for us, and for sacrificing your comfort and your soft bed. We appreciate your service. We appreciate your courage. And we appreciate your ongoing willingness to step up.

I honor veterans today, and express my thanks for their invaluable and indefatigable service.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

INTENSITY PHASE

"You can't have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic."
~ Author Unknown~
 
I find that my life has phases of intensity, and that I am in a high-intensity phase at the moment. There's a lot going on and that needs to be kept up with and pursued. It's a building phase. And it will pass and ease-up, but I can't force the easing up until it comes. It's first things first, and right here and right now it's a full plate. Right here and right now what's needed is discipline and endurance, and the willingness to keep on with the work.

I honor my life's work and give it the time and attention it needs.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

MAINTAINING CHARACTER

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Sometimes the things that make us successful are the very same things that get us in trouble. In one environment they launch us to the top, and in another, they alienate us from the ones we love.
     And since it's not advisable to be a chameleon and change our personality depending on the situation, we have to learn how to temper ourselves while still maintaining our character. We can be sensitive to the needs of others without disowning ourselves.

I can be sensitive without being a doormat. I don't have to squish myself in order to fit inside someone else's comfort zone. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SHARING THE JOURNEY

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others."
~African Proverb~

Self-propulsion can only take us so far. We need the cooperation of others to go the full distance. We cannot operate in a vacuum or remove ourselves from the currents of life and expect to fulfill our purpose in that way. We can retreat, but we always have to return. It's in sharing the journey with others that we are ultimately made whole.

I live and grow in cooperation with others. Life is not a solo-ride, but a shared adventure.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HOLDING ON

"I am iron resisting the most enormous magnet there is."
 ~Rumi~

It's possible to carry ourselves in a state of up-tightness for days on end, and not even realize how up-tight we are. Our necks and shoulders and low backs ache. We are irritable and full of angst; holding on with everything we have, trying to keep it all together. And we are sure, that if we let go, we will completely fall apart.
     Pressure builds and builds. And maybe, when we are finally able to let go, there will be tears, or some kind of uncontrollable verbal out-burst. But what follows is worth it, because what follows is relief, and peace, and relaxation at last.

I have the courage to stop holding it all together so perfectly and just allow myself to express what I'm feeling.

Monday, November 3, 2014

LIFE TRANSITIONS

"Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form."
~Rumi~

I like everything put away and in its place: ship-shape. So when things are not where they belong, I feel discombobulated and distressed. But life is full of change, so I have to find a way to be at ease with things and people turning up in unexpected places. I have to find a way to be "in-sync" with new movement patterns, and learn to trust them, and not keep looking backwards wanting things to be the way they were.

I am willing to adapt to the transitions in my life.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

BEING ASSERTIVE

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak."
~Winston Churchill~

I can make my point without being a jerk about it. I can be soft-spoken and diplomatic, while still being assertive and clear. I don't have to shrink and waffle in life. I can be who I am, and feel what I feel, and decide whatever I may choose to decide.
    
I diplomatically claim the right to my particular point-of-view.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."
~Henry Ford~

Sometimes I want other people to see things the way that I see them. But maybe, in the long run, it's better if they don't. Because it's the variety of perspectives that makes for well-rounded living, and great ideas. And the more perspectives there are on any given situation, the better and the broader the view.

I welcome the way that other people see things.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CLAIMING OUR CHOICES

"Life is the sum of all your choices."
~Albert Camus~

Our time is our own, though we may not think so. We are reckless with it and give it away with abandon. Perhaps we believe that if people demand things of us, that we owe them somehow. But we don't.
     Saying yes is a choice, and saying no is also a choice. These are boundary setting words, and we use them for self-protection and to define the tenor of our lives.
     So let's be sure to use them honestly, and straight-up, and not say yes when we mean no and no when we mean yes and leave it to others to dictate what's best for us and what is not. That's our job.

I say yes and no to things as it suits me, without apology, and without guilt or shame.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THE STRENGTH WITHIN

"The greatest oak was once a little nut who held his ground."
~Author Unknown~

We have wells of strength within us. We are capable of endurance beyond our wildest dreams and seemingly impossible adaptability. There is more to us than we realize...
     And while there is plenty in life that we cannot control or affect or manipulate, where we do have power, it is deep and limitless and absolutely real.

I am stronger than I realize and have more power than I know.

Monday, October 27, 2014

STANDING MY GROUND

"They cannot take our self-respect if we do not give it to them."
~Mahatma Gandhi~

What other people do they are free to do and I don't have to let it rattle me. I can be ok in my own skin no matter what. I can be alive and well and honest and real even if everyone around me is not.

In any and every situation I can choose my position and establish my stance.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WORKING WITH PLEASURE

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
~American Proverb~

Just because we are given responsibility does not mean that we have to become serious and severe. We can have a high-integrity work ethic and high-intensity work and still have fun at the same time.
     Learning to mix pleasure with our have-tos is a valuable practice, both for ourselves, and for those with whom we are engaged. It is the mix that's needed and the mix that's appreciated and the mix that brings enjoyment to the path.

     I am able to be productive and efficient but still maintain my lightness and my good humor and my lively sense of play.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MUD PUDDLES

"Yet with the same light the moon goes on shining."
~Saigyo~

Sometimes our lives get stirred up like a mud puddle, and dirt and silt cover us thickly. Our world becomes cloudy and whirling and murky, and it feels like things will never be normal again.
     But in time, the water settles, and stillness and stasis are restored. And though the pieces may not end up exactly where they began, this is actually a good thing. We find ourselves able to start over again- fresh- and discover, to our delight and surprise, that we have been positively re-positioned by life.

I trust the process of transition in my life.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CURIOSITY

"Be curious always!"
~Sudie Back~

Let's approach our lives with curiosity. Let's look around and see what we see and not impose some projected expectation all over the day to come. Let's allow for possibility and allow for beauty and allow for the unexpected. Let's welcome all of the things that we do not have the ability to foresee.

I am curious rather than judgmental. I do not insist upon knowing what I do not know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LESSONS OF THE FALL

"October poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter."
~N.S. Blair~

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the crispness of it, and everything about the leaves. And though it is its own kind of ending, it is also anticipatory: preparing for winter, and generating mulch for the spring.

The cycle of seasons demonstrates our own need to let go, and be quiet, and renew ourselves.

Monday, October 20, 2014

SITUATIONAL INTERPRETATION

"Objectivity has about as much substance as the emperor's new clothes."
~ Connie Miller ~

Life is an interpretive affair. Though we all may be exposed to the identical information and situation, our experience of it- what we take away and process- is unique to us. And so, clarity and simplicity are more subjective than we might think. What is simple to one may be hugely and highly complex to another.
     In this way, everything is relative, and relational. Everything is skewed in the direction of our personal interpretation. Life, it turns out, is exactly the way that we interpret it to be.

I allow for everyone I encounter to have a unique perspective on the situation at hand.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

KEEPING ON

"The moment you turn a corner you see another straight stretch ahead and there comes some further challenge..."
~Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr~
 
Some days take more courage than others, and some days take more care. But they all pass in their turn and the thing for me to do is just keep on keeping on.

I stay the course, experience the experience, and ride the ride. Life carries me forward and supplies me whatever I need.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN

"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning."
~Ivy Baker Priest~
 
It can be blue skies on ones side of the mountain and rain on the other- at the same time and on the same day. And depending which side I'm on, I can see and believe that it's dark and stormy, and yet, only a few paces down the road, it's a whole different situation.

Life is a mix of clear skies and rain.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

THE ADVENTURE CYCLE

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."
~Lin Yutang~
 
Every adventure begins and ends at home. We start from wherever we are and step forth into the broad world with our hopes and fears and expectations; our bag of clothing, and our best intentions. And whatever happens, happens, and we learn and grow and experience the ride.
     And then we come home when it's all over, to reflect, or to celebrate, or to lick our wounds. Every adventure is a circle, and every adventure is an opportunity to evolve.
 
I am grateful and aware of my comings and goings. I love to go away, but I also love to come back home when the adventure is complete.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THE LIMITS OF CONTROL

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote the freedom to err."
~M. Gandhi~
 
We can only control people so far using guilt and shame tactics, and brandishing threats and fear. Eventually, they will always learn their own power and step up to claim it, or else walk away tired of the game.
     We do far better to give others their freedom, a bit of encouragement, and lots of love. Because the truth is that when it comes right down to it, they don't really need us in the end.
 
I stop trying to control people and let them be.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

LOVE IS...

"Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness."
~Oliver Wendel Holmes~

Love is willingness- willingness to see what is and to be exactly who we are with no pretense and no fa├žade. Love is courage- courage to share our vulnerable selves with the world and talk about what's going with us on the inside. Love is awareness- awareness that we are alike each other, and that we have more in common than we think. And love is appreciation- appreciation for the fact that we are not alone, and that we can reach out to others and share our dreams with them.

Love is a mixture of willingness, courage, awareness, and appreciation, and I am all in!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

THE ROAD

"I travel not to go anywhere but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
~Robert Louis Stevenson~

Challenges and difficulties in life do not stick around forever. They come and they go, as do our joys. All we have to do is step forward, and then step again, and again.
     Our view will change, and the road will straighten, and bend, and curve, and rise up, and descend. It's the changing terrain that makes for such a good adventure. Too much of the same scenery would make for a dull ride.

I enjoy the variety of my life experience. The ups and downs keep me sharp at the wheel.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EXPERIENCE AS A MIRROR

"Seek truth and you will find a path."
~Frank Slaughter~

We project ourselves onto other people. If we are angry, we see anger in those with whom we interact. If we are happy and secure, we see that. Kindness sees kindness, and hatred sees hate. So if we focus on extending compassion and generosity into the world, then that is what we will see, and that is what we will feel, and that is what we will experience as truth.

I am whatever I experience in the world. Life, in this way, is a fair exchange.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GOOD LIVING

"How many things there are which I do not want."
~Socrates~

We over-complicate our lives to the point of insanity. We need only awake and acknowledge our blessings, eat wholesome food in reasonable portions, work with integrity, get a bit of exercise, fresh air, and a good night of sleep, and be kind. Life can be this simple. It need not be melodrama, and it need not be slippery and questionable. Life well lived is a simple thing. It's straightforward, honest, and clear.

Keeping things simple and balanced makes for good living and a quiet heart.

Monday, October 6, 2014

BODY GLOVE

"I sing the body electric..."
~Walt Whitman ~

Sometimes I feel comfortable in my skin and other times, not so much. I think it's possible to be at odds with our very physicality- to be almost numb to our flesh and bones and wear our body like a shell instead of richly inhabiting it with our living energy.
     It feels so solid and secure to be viscerally aware of occupying every inch of my skin, like a perfectly fitting glove: a delight, a connectivity, a oneness, and the most comfortable home I know.

I celebrate my physical self. I am my body as much as I am my soul.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SIMPLE LIVING

"Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. when you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
~ Lao Tzu ~

Perhaps all the wisdom we need for enlightened living can be found in the simple lines of our old and cherished nursery rhyme:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream...
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

Seems to me, that pretty much sums things up.

I enjoy my days and accept the fact that most of my striving and grasping is nothing but chasing after the wind.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DAILY MAINTENANCE

"Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and again." ~Chinese Inscription quoted by Thoreau in Walden~

If we don't do regular maintenance on our houses, they start to show the lack of care. Paint peels, vines overtake bushes and trees, window panes crack, and all kinds of functioning gadgets cease to function.
     And our bodies and souls are no different. If we don't take care of ourselves in a consistent and compassionate manner, we will wear out and slowly fall apart.  

I take tender loving care of my body and my soul.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WHO WE ARE

"I am what I am."
~ Popeye ~

We are who we are, and the people we love are who they are as well. We have to work with what we have, and accept our assets and liabilities, and become wiling daily to explore the oceans of our own selves.

I accept myself with all of my gifts and imperfections. I stand square on the earth and feel equal to whatever I may have to face.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

THE LAW OF PHYSICS

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
~Newton's Third Law ~
 
Unsavory choices lead to unsavory situations. Indecision leads to a lack of clarity. Anger leads to resentment, courage leads to empowerment, exercise leads to fitness, and love leads to love.
 
I accept that connectivity exists in life, and I surrender to the reality of cause and effect.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PUSHING BEYOND REASON

"He has spent all his life in letting down empty buckets into empty wells; and he is fritting away his age in trying to draw them up again."
~Sydney Smith ~

I push beyond the threshold of reason on a regular basis. I pretend that I have no choice in the matter. But if I'm honest, that's not the truth. There's something that I'm trying to prove to myself daily... that, if I'm honest, doesn't really need proving at all.

I don't have to overdo things in order to establish my worth.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

RHYTHM AND FLOW

"Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances."
~Maya Angelou ~

Understanding and coordinating with the flow and the rhythm of things is a spiritual practice. Forcing ourselves against the flow is an act of arrogance and futility and results in unending stress. Paying attention to the way people and situations want to sway and shift, and learning to allow them to move how they will, is a refined skill, and a creative exercise.
     Let's use this as a reminder to stop setting ourselves up in cross-friction to life. Let's watch instead, and learn to listen and feel for the flow.

I surrender to the rhythm of life.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

LOVE LIST

"Wherever I have knocked, a door has opened. Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared."
~Alice Walker ~

I love getting in bed at the end of a long day and I love waking up without an alarm clock. I love fluffy-looking needles on big old pine trees, and being a witness to courage and grace and authentic feelings. I love sunshine and late afternoon light. I love the subtlety of early-changing-leaves and bright orange pumpkins growing on vines.
     I love to eat when I'm hungry and to stop eating when I'm full. I love good music and a toe-tapping beat. I love to dance! I love cool nights and bright stars and fresh mornings and hope. I love the way that life changes, and situations evolve, and that things we never see coming come anyway.

I notice and appreciate all of the things in life that I love.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

THE WAY LIFE IS

"It's all part of the plan."
~The Dark Knight ~
 
I think we wait for life to be calm, and for all strain to leave us, and to leave for good. But truthfully, life without strain is not life. Our difficulties keep us from complacency, and give us the exact lessons that we need to evolve.

I accept that my life is not supposed to be easy. It is, in fact, the challenge of it that makes me grow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FORWARD MOTION

"Time heals all wounds."
~Proverb~

In the olden days, when someone died, they used to stop the clocks in the house of the deceased, and I get that. Whenever extreme challenge or loss or upset occur, it always feels as if time should hold still for a bit until we can gather ourselves and establish our bearings.
     And yet, it is because life goes on, and because days cycle into nights and nights into new days again and again that we are able to carry on. It is, in fact, the very wheel of life moving that sustains us, and the momentum that keeps us going in spite of our grief.

Things always get better with time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

THE STRENGTH WE SEEK

"Faith is the bird that sings to the dawn while it is still dark."
~Rabindranath Tagore~
 
Faith is the only antidote to living in fear and uncertainty. We have to find a way to trust what we believe in and surrender to all the things in life that we cannot control or understand. We will know what we need to know when we need to know it, and understand things in the same way. Hindsight is 20/20, and so often, things work out better than planned.

I trust what I believe in. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

THE HARD WORK OF FEELINGS

"Without a single thought, two hands collide and the world finally makes sense again."
~Kayla Dawn~

The emotional stuff of life is exhausting. High-intensity situations involving conflicting feelings and uncertainties are draining, and energy sapping, and leave us depleted and raw. Having to handle our own internal roller-coaster and be responsive and considerate and understanding of the ones we love at the same time is hard work.
     But life is a process and communication is a process. And we are headed somewhere worth going if we will only remain willing to be understanding, and to travel the journey of our feelings, and to keep on sharing what's going on inside of us, no matter how challenging and overwhelming it all may seem.

I am willing to communicate honestly and without hostility no matter how upsetting any given situation may be.

Friday, September 19, 2014

QUIET LOVE

"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undisturbed."
~Hans Margolius~
 
When my children come to me for help, I figure that they want my words and my wisdom and all of my thoughtful suggestions. But maybe they just want me to be there without words. Maybe they just want my presence, and my quiet loving, and not my problem solving capabilities and big ideas.
    
I don't have to take control to be supportive and loving.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

EGO ON FIRE

"It wasn't until late in life that I discovered how easy it is to say, 'I don't know.'"
~W. Somerset Maughm~
 
I have been doing a lot of thinking I know things lately- thinking that I have an inside line to the future, and a gut sense like a crystal ball. And it's stressful to be preparing for challenges "in advance" like this, and entirely un-necessary.
     It's so hard for me to simply state things in my mind as they are. I want to embellish them, to give them innuendo and intrigue and drama and pizazz. I am ego on fire and a three-alarm blaze. And if I don't check myself, I know that life will come along in its way and do the job for me. Life will raise its ladders and put me out.

I catch myself being overly-dramatic and stop. Things are no more and no less than exactly what they are.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

PRESENCE

"Before enlightenment- chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment- chop wood, carry water."
~Zen Proverb~

Bringing our full attention to where we are and what we are doing in every given moment is the secret to enlightenment. If we are able to appreciate every nuance and sensation of even the most ordinary things, we will live in a world of blessing and pleasure. Instead of being lost in reckless thinking and figuring and worrying, we can become aware of the present moment. And if we can do that, then we will experience a sense of well-being and satisfaction beyond our wildest dreams.

If I can fully experience exactly what I'm experiencing, my life will be rich and delicious and ripe with sensual delight.

Monday, September 15, 2014

THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER...

"I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet."
~Denis Waitley~

No matter what we're going through, it could always be worse than it is. Without a tremendous amount of imagination, we can understand this point, and yet, often, we don't.
     But life has a way of putting people in front of us who are facing bigger challenges than we are; who are happy in spite of their handicap and cheerful in spite of their challenge. We are given a reality-check opportunity, and if we take it, we will feel better, and feel grateful, and realize that what we have and who we are is ever and always absolutely enough.

I am who I am and I have what I have and I am grateful for my life.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

"If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice."
~Steven D. Woodhull~

We may be victims of abuse, trauma, poor genes, accidents, and a whole host of other things. But we are not victims of the consequences of our choices. Those are the result of cause and effect. If we want better effects- better conditions and better outcomes- then we have to make better choices. That's really the bottom line in the end.

I stop claiming victim status and get up and claim my life.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

LIFE IS TOUGH

"We are one."
~Ziggy Marley~

We may compare ourselves to others and feel better or worse by comparison, but the truth is that we all have our challenges, no matter who we are. We all have difficulties as well as delights, and disappointments as well as victories. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. If life were easy for any of us, it would be a lot less interesting.
 
I am grateful for my hardships. They add intrigue and intricacy to my life story.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

LOWERING THE BOOM

"Judge not lest ye be judged."
~Matthew 7:1~

Sometimes when we sit in judgment of other people's behavior, it might be a worthwhile exercise to consider if we have ever behaved in a similar fashion at any point in our lives. Likely we have, and if that is, in fact, the case, then perhaps we can find it within ourselves to be a little more forgiving, and a little more compassionate, and a little less quick to lower the boom.

I have often done myself what I condemn in others, so I allow for being human, and give us both a break.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MORE THAN ONE WAY...

"Flowers often grow more beautifully on dung-hills than in gardens that are beautifully kept."
~Saint Francis de Sales~

I can be happy no matter what if I keep an open mind. If I allow for additional ways of looking at the situation instead of insisting exclusively upon my own, I can see the good in everything, even that which challenges me. Other perspectives and viewpoints enrich my life and make it bigger. They do not detract.

I expand my existence by opening my mind.

Monday, September 8, 2014

"YOU KNOW" AND "LIKE"

"The words you choose are just as important as the decision to speak."
~ Author Unknown~

Our speech can become polluted with un-necessary words. "You know" and "like" are fillers and buffers. They keep our sentences moving along, but detract from our message and clarity and the point we are trying to make.
     Let's bring awareness to the way we articulate sentences. Let's slow down a bit if we need to, and choose each word that we utter with care.
 
I communicate clearly and refrain from using an excess of filler words.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

THE LIMITS OF DRAMA

"Look both ways before entering the insanity."
~Terri Guillemets~

I used to live with high drama. Everything was an emergency and a catastrophe. And being in a frantic emotional panic was it's own kind of rush. I felt alive and buzzing with so much going on.
     But now, living in a calmer internal airspace, I see the insanity of drama for what it is. And I am grateful for the understanding that as we make better choices in life, we experience more peace, no matter the external circumstances of our lives.
    
I needn't engage in high drama to feel fully alive. I take great joy in simple pleasures.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

CALM, COOL, AND COLLECTED

"Do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything."
~St Francis de Sales~
 
It's so easy to measure success by material achievement. But perhaps, success can also be measured by our ability to stay calm when material achievement eludes us. Perhaps, in fact, our ability to keep cool when everything that's happening around us would completely justify our becoming disturbed and distraught, is the greatest achievement of all.

I keep my wits about me no matter what, and carry on with great faith in spite of disappointment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DEPTH

"We acquire the strength we have overcome."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I don't regret any of the suffering I've endured because what I've been through has given me depth. Challenges, infringements, betrayals, heartaches- all of these have grown me, and continue to grow me.
     And I would rather come through hardship and be the wiser and the stronger for it than to live a bland and shallow kind of existence. I like my depth, and I like it in others as well. Our wounds have made us beautiful, and our wounds have raised us to a higher plane.

I am grateful for all of the difficulty I have been through in my life. It has grown me roots and branches.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

THE FEAR OF PAIN

"He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear."
~French Proverb~

I think what I'm afraid of is the idea of painful emotional stuff. And if it's coming, I seem to want it to hurry up and come, so I can get through it and be done with it and move on. But if I'm honest, I know that life is full of never-ending emotional stuff, and some part of it is always painful. So wanting to get it over with is really like saying I want to get my life over with, which I don't, so maybe it's better to let time and life and pain and hardship play out in their own way, and for me to simply resolve to experience the experience, whatever it may be.

I show up for life with an open mind and a loving heart and let whatever is coming my way simply come.

Monday, September 1, 2014

TRENDS IN THE GARDEN

"Gardens are a form of autobiography."
~Sydney Eddison~

Last year, the garden was overflowing with perfect tomatoes; so much so that I was giving them away by the armful. And the pumpkins were well-proportioned and beautifully orange, and two years ago, the kale was just right.
     But this year, the kale didn't grow, the tomatoes are cracked and almost bitter, and the pumpkins are growing green and oblong. This year, it's all about the sweet potatoes: a beautiful and idyllic crop.
     Different things thrive under different conditions. And what is a no-brainer at one time can become an impossible task under a different weather pattern. So instead of expecting things to repeat their greatness, I have to open to new trends. That's the nature of the garden, and that's the nature of life.

I open my eyes and let nature teach me.

LABOR DAY

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."
~Ovid~

Another summer winds to a close and another school year dawns. Labor day, like all holidays, is bitter-sweet: one part ending, one part beginning, one part serious, and one part fun.
     Let's remember to carry the lightening bugs and beach trips with us as we welcome cooler weather and the luminescent color of changing leaves.
 
I am grateful for the fall no less than the summer, and grateful for the summer no less than the fall.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN

"I do not know what is untried and afterwards, but I know it will, in its turn, prove sufficient, and cannot fail."
~Walt Whitman~

I want what I want when I want it. Don't we all? But the truth is, if life were easy that way, it might lose some of its appeal. Roadblocks point us to a better way, and delays mean that it's not yet time.
     I want things on my terms, but there's a limit to my point-of-view. And if I'm honest with myself, not knowing is exciting in a way. There's a distinctive and delicious pleasure that comes from the intrigue of what I cannot possibly foresee.

If I don't have instantaneous success, it does not mean that I fail, but only that more creativity is required.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LIVING IN A WEB

"Man is a knot into which relationships are tied."
~Antoine de Saint Exupery~

It's hard work to count on people, so it's no wonder that we tend towards self-sufficiency the way we do. It seems easier to take care of things ourselves than to have to wait and accommodate and entreat and plead in order to have others participate in our vision. It's tough to be in need of a favor, and to need help, and to simply not be able to go it alone. And yet, that is the nature of life. That is how it is and how it should be. We live in a web, not in a tunnel.
     And so, learning patience and learning acceptance and learning to trust  in the process when the pieces simply don't seem to be coming together the way we want them to is a challenging business. But it's what we're here for, at least in part, so I guess we better learn...

I cannot control other people- not their timing or their inclinations or their method of response- so I am willing to let go and trust.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ASSUMPTIONS

"Live truth instead of professing it."
~Elbert Hubbard~

More often than not, we base our opinions on assumptions rather than facts. We make our judgments impulsively, at the first indication of any sort of a position that we are familiar with. We know how we feel about things, or think we do, and so we habitually fall on the same side of most arguments and mental positions. We go there automatically, in a kind of default mode.
     And consequently, we miss the whole other side of the story. We fix our stance and defend it to the hilt. But perhaps, if we actually took the time to clearly understand the whole situation, we might end up with a very different point-of-view.

I catch myself jumping to conclusions before I have all of the facts, and I slow down. I am willing to pay attention, and listen with care.

Monday, August 25, 2014

FOR CONSIDERATION

"There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it..."
~Lin Yutang~

Would you give up your eyesight for a million dollars? How about a billion?

Perhaps, considering the above question and answering it honestly helps to put the value of things in their proper perspective.

There are some things that no amount of money can buy.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

BLESSED

"The struggle ends when the gratitude begins."
~Neale Donald Walsch~
 
I am grateful for my good health and the colors of nature. I am grateful for the hint of fall in the air and the feeling of release through tears and laughter. I am grateful for our German Shepard's soft ears and spontaneous dancing in the kitchen with my husband. I am grateful for goose-down pillows and songs I can sing along to; for uplifting movies, Black-Eyed Susans, and home grown tomatoes. I am grateful for words and the art of writing, for family dinners and acoustic guitars, and for the ever-turning wheel of life.

I make it a daily habit to acknowledge the blessings in my life.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

MIRACLES

"The real miracle does not lie in the outer event, in the apparent good or bad fortune... The real miracle lies in the spiritual purpose behind the event."
~Paul Ferrini~

Miracles are not always evident on the surface of our lives where we can easily see them. More often, they come from the inside, in the form of a change of heart or a shift in perspective that restores us to inner peace and acceptance when we have been all twisted up in knots and full of angst. We are suddenly free from the deluge of circular thinking and able to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
     So let's stop looking for miracles in everything externally coming together just the way we want it to, and open instead to the subtle, but powerful internal miracles that happen every day.

I accept and appreciate that a fresh perspective that gives me emotional relief is no less of a miracle than the parting of the seas.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LOVE

"Love is not consolation. It is light."
~Friedrich Nietzsche~

Self-sacrifice and martyrdom are not love; they are sickness and dysfunction. Love allows for the care of everyone involved. It does not claim victims or seek subservience. It wants everybody upright and honest and in their best light. Love is not shadowy or questionable. It is straight-forward and crystal clear, unapologetic, authentic, and full of the right stuff.
 
I stop pretending that self-sacrificing is love.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

PEOPLE PLEASING

"Owning your burdens is half the battle."
~Scrubs~

I expect people to be willing to do as much for me as I am willing to do, even if unreasonably, for them. I expect them to make extreme efforts and demonstrate loyalty that is above and beyond. And it always surprises me when this is not the case.
     The error, as always, is in me. I am overly sensitive and easily disappointed, and this comes as the result of my trying to please everyone all of the time instead of living with appropriate boundaries and from my own personal truth.
 
I don't blame others for living reasonably. I let them inspire me to do the same.

Monday, August 18, 2014

SAD AND HAPPY

"Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by." ~Carl Sandburg~

Recklessness makes me sad. So does carelessness, callousness and malice; unfulfilled potential, misunderstanding, and righteousness of the self.

Consideration makes me happy. So does forgiveness, peaceful quiet, and a job well done; honest communication, affirmation, good humor, and love.

And I can pick from either list any time I want to. I can pick what I focus on in others, and I can pick which space I choose to operate from inside of myself.

I behave well and experience happiness.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

THE STATE OF OUR SELVES

"I am what is mine."
~Norman Brown~

What is the condition of our houses? Our cars? Our animals? Our clothes? The way that we care for the things that belong to us reflects, on some level, the state of our being.
     Are we well-weathered, or shabby? Cluttered? Messy? Neat as a pin? Are our animals overweight, underweight, reticent, friendly? If we have dogs, do they lack boundaries and pester everyone all the time, or are they well-behaved and well-kept?
     Let's bring awareness to our negligence or pro-activity. Let's remember that everything is interdependent, and how we are with things and animals is a pretty good indication of how we are with ourselves. And let's be willing to raise the bar when necessary, and make changes, where changes are called for.

I care for the world in which I live, and respectfully honor whatever I own.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

THE LIMITS OF ARROGANCE

"It is always the secure who are humble."
~G.K. Chesterton~
 
Arrogance is a distasteful state of being. It is smug and holier-than-thou. Arrogance looks down and judges; feels entitled. Arrogance is a smokescreen and a sham, often absolutely wrong in spite of its righteousness, and as tippy as a house of cards.
     Let's be gracious instead of arrogant; open minded and allowing instead of judgmental and closed. Let's be kind and heartfelt. Let's make an effort to extend love to others, and to share a little less of our scorn.

Life is too short to be arrogant. There's not one among us who really knows-it-all.   

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

EBB AND FLOW

"The tides are in our veins."
~ Robinson Jeffers~

All of life reflects the tides- rising and falling, filling and emptying, ebbing and flowing. Our ships come in and they go out. Energy shifts. Popularity waxes and wanes. And whether the tide is rising or falling, it carries us with it. We are up and down, in and out, like the waves on a beach.
     The thing to learn though, and the thing to be able to recognize, is the moment when the tide shifts; when it's no longer coming in, but starting to flow out instead. At this moment, we need to pay attention and to keep an eye out, because as it's emptying in one place, it's always starting to fill up somewhere else.

I pay attention to the rising and falling tides of my life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

PROJECTION AND LOSS

"The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes."
~Thomas Hardy~
 
Some of the ideas that float across our consciousness have promise. They sparkle almost, with possibility and excitement, and we hook onto them with our thinking and create fantasies around their playing out. We travel a distance down the road with them, imagining all of the implications of their being a reality, and we become emotionally invested.
     So when our creative vision doesn't unfold exactly as we've imagined, we experience a real sense of loss. And that loss, even if briefly, has to be grieved. We must learn to honor the death of our old hopes just as we honor the birth of our new ones- all in their turn, and as they cycle round and round.

I have compassion and sympathy for all of the hopeful imaginings that never quite play out.

Monday, August 11, 2014

THE EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before."
 ~Jacob A. Riis~

Things of worth are created by a slow process that goes on and on indefinitely. Subtly at first, and so small it's almost imperceptible, something begins to grow and develop, gestating like a fetus in the womb. It seems improbable and maybe even impossible, but with steady, continuous effort, it expands.
     All great and magnificent structures and establishments and creative works begin this way. And if they don't- if they burst forth like an explosion, they usually lack staying power and fizzle out before they have evolved. So let's be grateful for slow growth and the ongoing process that carries us to greatness.

I build my dreams slowly, and from the ground up, over time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

SENSATIONAL RECALL

"We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it."
~Bill Wilson~

Our senses are memory chambers. A certain scent or taste or sound or view can carry us back in time and evoke emotions from the depths of our being, unknown and unrecalled until that moment of recognition: the once familiar.
     Wood-smoke and the honking of Canadian Geese do this to me, and songs from my years in college, and the cooing of mourning doves. It's spooky and comforting at the same time- surprising, startling even, but never completely unwelcome. It is our past come up again: the things that went into making us who we are.

I am touched by the recollection of my sensory perception and curiously welcome the emotions that arise within me from long forgotten sights and scents and sounds.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

NO DOUBT

"Don't tell me the sky is the limit, when there are footprints on the moon."
~Anonymous~

It's no less than miraculous what we can accomplish if we set our hearts and minds to it- if we commit our energy and our creativity and our persistent effort; if we proceed with courage and faith.
     Anything is possible. That's what I've learned. And the only thing that stops us is us.

I open to possibility and believe in the miraculous nature of life.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

TIMING

"The place you are right now
God circled on a map for you."
~Hafez~

Timing isn't everything, or, then again, maybe it is.
 
I listen and sway to the rhythm of life.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

THE ADVENTURE OF LIFE

"I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within." ~Lillian Smith~
 

I used to have a desire to travel the world, to go everywhere and explore everything and to see all that I could possibly see. But I feel less drawn to it these days. These days, I am interested in exploring the depths of my own soul and traveling the distance of my limits. I'm more interested in what's possible than in what's already established.
     Living life feels adventure enough for me today- finding creative solutions to the problems that arise, and enjoying the simple pleasures of being.

Traveling through time is as grand an adventure as any. I am content to experience the world from within.

Monday, August 4, 2014

KNOWING WHEN

"There is an unseen life that dreams us. It knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize and we need have no fear."
~John O'Donohue~

I am learning not to force things, to wait for the right wind, the right feeling, and the auspicious sign. And I am learning to wait with ease instead of angst, and with a certain amount of trust instead of panic-driven fear. I am learning to trust that I will know what I need to know when I need to know it and not a moment before, so I needn't bother grabbing for it. I can simply relax, and let it come.

I trust that I will know when action is called for, and when to be quiet and still.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

FEEDING THE BIRDS

"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."
~ William Wordsworth~
 
Birdfeeders are one of the best investments we can make. The return on them is a thousand-fold and then some. Watching birds of all kinds and colors and size come fluttering and perching is an unparalleled delight. It's soothing and scintillating at the same time. And if the mess of falling seeds is more than we are willing to handle, we can feed hummingbirds instead, with sugar-water out of a red plastic flower feeder.
     Let's not miss this easy opportunity for joy. It's a small price to pay for entertainment and intrigue.
 
I keep my birdfeeder full and watch with delight as the birds come and go.

Friday, August 1, 2014

DAILY ENLIGHTENMENTS: THE BOOK

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.
~Edward P. Morgan~

If you enjoy this blog, please help spread the word about the book version, Daily Enlightenments, 365 Days of Spiritual Reflection. And if you are unfamiliar with the book, please check it out here:  http://amzn.to/1n1d8P8
     It's a book for grounding and centering and remembering. It's about what really matters. It's about love and gratitude, the present moment, and our part in things. It's a beacon for hope and a call to personal responsibility.
     I am the author, but this book is so much bigger than me. It's full of amazing photographs by amazing people, and of amazing people! Plus, wisdom quotes from across the ages, and a spiritually useful thought for each day. Daily Enlightenments has come as a blessing and deserves a good word. Please add your voice!

Thank you!
 
I honor the gift and the magic of Daily Enlightenments and share it with the world!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

STRAIGHT UP

"Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find."
~Matthew 7:7~
 
No matter how strong we feel on the inside, I think it's possible, and easy even, to be vague on the outside. We hope for things. We hint at them and make subtle suggestions. But we rarely have the courage to simply ask, in a straightforward manner, for exactly what we want.
     Maybe we pretend that we don't really want what we want, that whatever happens will be ok. And everything will be ok- that's a given- but it's still helpful to be clear with ourselves, with others, and with God. A sincere free-from-whining "please" is a much stronger position to come from than shuffling our feet around and pretending that we don't care... when we do.

I am clear about what I want and ask for it without apology.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

GOOD BEHAVIOR

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it."
~David Star Jordan~
 
Getting drunk, over-indulging in food, shopping to excess, sleeping around- all of these things may seem like solutions to the problems of our lives, but they are not, and they never will be. It's not possible to feel good in life unless we behave well. One leads to the other. The law of cause and effect is always in play.
     So not getting drunk, eating in moderation, saving our money, and choosing our intimate partners with care are the types of things that will actually solve our problems.
     Let's get honest about this. We are so easily, and so willingly misled.
 
I have integrity. I respect myself and behave in ways that make me feel good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE

"Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits."
~Robert Brault~
 
Life is less about achievement than it is about the next step. We reach goals by degree and evolve in layers, not leaps. Everything is a building process. We have to establish firm footing first, and then slowly rise upwards. A finished product without the benefit of a strong infrastructure and slow growth is vulnerable to wreckage and dissolution.
     To build something that will last is to not take any shortcuts. It's to stay on course and keep our faith for however long it takes and against all odds. Chances are that the strength of our structure will be equal to the time and effort we have put in, so we needn't be impatient and pushy. All we need to do is to take the next step, and then the next one as they come.

Life is a process and I don't ever arrive anywhere worthwhile all at once. I arrive by degrees with the completion of each successive step.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A WORLD OF UNCERTAINTY

"To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do."
~Bertrand Russell~

Waiting for an answer regarding something we care about deeply is a test of patience and faith. It might go the way we want it to or it might not. Living with the possibility of either outcome is an emotional balancing act of the highest order. Whatever is decided will steer us in our next direction, but coming to terms with not knowing is a psychological endeavor. We talk ourselves from one side of the coin to the other and back again. But we can't know until we know.
    
I long for definitive answers insofar as I can have them, but life teaches me over and over that nothing is ever as certain as I think.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

RUN-AWAY EXPECTATIONS

"Oft, expectation fails, and most oft where it most promises..."
 ~William Shakespeare~

What people will agree to "in theory;" what they will agree to do, to say, to bequeath, to remove, they are not necessarily willing to do. When a real decision is presented to them, a real opportunity to follow through on their talk, their idea, or their verbal commitment, we can watch with fascination as they make excuses and start to pedal backwards. Sometimes they are polite about it, and sometimes not.
     I have spent more time in my life than I care to admit counting on what can't really be counted on, and believing people at their literal word. I take casual, theoretical conversation as fact, and then feel disappointed when reality doesn't pan out as I've anticipated. I can save myself a lot of angst if, going forward, I catch my expectations before they run away with me instead of after the fact.

I stop myself from banking on what is only a done deal in theory. Nothing is done until it's done.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE JOY OF WEEKENDS

"Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath." 
~Lynden B. Johnson~

I am so grateful for weekends, for the freedom of time off and not having to travel up and down the road. Every time Friday cycles around again and accomplishment and exhaustion mix with the suspension of my daily grind, my whole body feels the relief.
     I don't mind working hard. I enjoy it. But I sure do appreciate a couple of days off.

I am thankful for the cyclical relief of weekends every time they come around.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SADNESS

"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."
~Jean Giraudoux~

Sometimes I'm just sad, and that's ok. It's a free-floating kind of sadness- for exhaustion, for pain, for effort expended and opportunities missed. I feel sad for all of the suffering of humanity, and for the travails of our beautiful trash-wracked earth.
     But something sweet always come along to restore my hope- something rich and fertile and natural and sublime- something full of life, and full of beauty, and full of loving vibration.
     At moments such as these, life is sad and beautiful at the same time.
 
I accept sadness when it bubbles up. It balances the sweetness and enriches my life.