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Monday, June 30, 2014

FEELING FLAT

"Some days are diamonds and some days are stones."
~John Denver~

Some days I'm just not feeling it. I lack energy and zest and inspiration. I am flat. And other days, without any particular effort on my part, I am bright and bubbly. I feel unstoppable.
     Maybe it's the moon, or the weather, or the last meal I ate; maybe it's fatigue, or boredom. But whatever it is, I needn't worry too much because it always passes in its turn. Tired, crabby, unmotivated feelings dissolve in the fresh air, and with a bit of laughter, and in the light of whatever comes along next.

I trust that low energy and dark feelings will pass in their turn like clouds across the sky.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

MANNERS

"Life is short but there is always time for courtesy."
~RW Emerson~

Courtesy and delicacy are often missing from modern life. We are blatant and loud and pushy- not particularly good at stepping aside and letting others pass. We lack tact and gentility. We are rough-shod and slip-shod.
     Let's not be. Let's restore an element of grace and consideration to our lives. Let's be ladies and gentlemen. Let's be modest for a change, and soft-spoken, and quietly wise.

I stop blundering my way through time like I am the only one who matters and become thoughtful, and careful, and genteel.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

STRENGTH

"Endeavor to make your talents convertible to ready use, prompt for the occasion, and adapted to the ordinary purposes of life."
~Washington Irving~
 
Real strength is not about  how much we can bench-press, or how much we can lift, or carry. It's about the depth of our roots, in what ground we are planted, and our ability to bend and sway in heavy winds. Our strength is in our optimism and our courage and our ability to be consistent, and steady, and true to our values.
     Our strength is in our core, more than our arms and legs, and in our hearts, more than our pecs, and in our vision more than our ability to see.

My strength is not about how hard I can force things, but about how much I can withstand.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LIVE AND LET LIVE

"Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances."
~Wayne Dyer~

We can't worry too much about what other people are doing or not doing, even if we love them and they share our space. That doesn't give us rights to be proprietary. Our business is what we do, and how we are behaving, and the reality of our motivations and reactivity. And in the same way that we want our freedom to live without judgment and condemnation, we have to offer it to others.
     Nothing can grow or thrive if it is constantly being pecked at and picked on and re-routed at every turn.
 
I mind my own business and let other people make their way without my constant, uninvited, input.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

STRESS

"Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live."
~Margaret Fuller~
 
Ours is a stressed-out society. We live at the end of our proverbial ropes. Sleepless, overworked, over-fed, and over-obligated, we are so busy getting through our days that we have no time or inclination to actually enjoy them. We experience stress over everything.
     Let's not. Let's slow down and enjoy whatever we're doing. Let's appreciate every little nuance. Let's look around with care, and listen from the heart, and clearly articulate what we are feeling. Let's save ourselves from the common maladies of angst and stress. Let's relax and enjoy the journey. Let's become willing to joyfully experience the ride.

Stress is not worth my time or effort. I choose to leave it alone.

Monday, June 23, 2014

GRIEF

"It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief.  But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses." ~Colette~
 
Grief is messy, and surprising. It comes and goes at the strangest moments and for the most unusual reasons. It pounces on us like a cat after days of nothing. It creeps in behind laughter and haunts us in our sleep. Grief is disconcerting at times, but it's working its process all the same- bringing us to peace in the end, and blessing us through tears.

Whatever it looks like, I accept the process of grief.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

FAITH

"Faith means not worrying."
~John Dewey~
 
The more nervous we are, the more grabby we become. A kind of fearful desperation consumes us- that we will miss out, that we will not have what we need, that we will fall behind before we've begun. Faith comes from experience. We have to learn to trust by small degrees.
 
Even when facing the unknown, I am willing to relax and believe that all is well.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE IDEA OF THINGS

"Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas."
~Shoseki~
 
It's easy to like the idea of things without entirely liking the reality of them. We have such vivid imaginations and selective memories. We can create worlds of beauty and comfort in our minds. But often, the truth of situations as they are, is much more of a mix-mash of good and bad, ugly and beautiful than we can possibly understand.
     When we find ourselves longing for things, let's beware. Chances are that we've put on rose colored glasses that have made our options and our possibilities far more perfect and satisfying than they could ever, realistically, be.

I stop projecting perfection onto future possibilities and remember that all of life is a mixed up bundle, and that nothing is exclusively one way, or another.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

POINT-OF-ARRIVAL

"Everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stay."
~ Matthew Flickstein~
 
There is a certain arrogance in thinking that we have a handle on life- that we have it figured out somehow, and that we're "good." Our learning isn't absolute. We don't understand it once and then get it for all time, whatever "it" may be. The evolutionary journey is one of continuous refinement and new information and the coordinating adjustment in our thinking and behavior. I look back a few months and think how far I've come. It never stops.
     So let's not become too comfortable with where we are and feel like we've "arrived" somehow. There is no point-of-arrival. Ours is a never ending journey forth.
 
I am a work-in-progress and will be for the foreseeable future. I keep on growing until the day I die and maybe even then.
:)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HEAT AND HUMIDITY

"Weather is a great metaphor for life."
~Terri Guillemets~
 
Humid, hot days exhaust me. They deplete my energy and make it hard to fire up; to create and to motivate. Lazy is not my usual comfort zone, and yet, hot and humid seem to demand it. The air is too thick to move. I sit as still as possible and savor whatever breeze there may be. 
     Every year I resist the arrival of the intense heat and resist the lack of momentum that hits me like a wall. And yet, the lesson is a good one, and important, and apt: to slow down, to do less, and to laze around a bit between required activities.
 
I open to the lessons of the moment. Opportunities exist in everything.

Monday, June 16, 2014

TRAFFIC

"The shortest distance between two points is under construction."
~Noelie Altito~
 
Hitting a patch of traffic when we are cruising along and close to our destination can be excruciating. To lose our momentum is a stinging burr. To be so close- and yet, not quite there, and nothing to be done but to wait and sit and patiently ooch along. Sometimes that's just the way it goes I guess- in traffic as in life. We arrive eventually.

I don't give traffic the power to rob my joy.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

CHOOSING LESS

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life."
~Socrates~
 
It's easy to overfill our lives. We have so many options and so many obligations, and a righteous sense of entitlement. We hunger for more of everything, and more yet again. We thirst for escape, and for fun, and for oblivion. We quest recklessly for happiness, and over-complicate everything.
     Let's make do with less and enjoy smaller portions all the way around. We don't have to do or have nearly as much stuff as we think.

Whatever level of activity and stress I experience is my choice.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

WHAT GOES AROUND

"A wise lover values not so much the gift of the lover as the love of the giver."
~Thomas a Kempis~
 
If we forget to be appropriately humble, life circumstances will do the job for us. If we cannot find it within ourselves to be giving, things will be taken away. If we are dishonest, we will not be trusted. And if we are callous, we will encounter one hard edge after another.
     Reciprocity is a law of life, as real as gravity or motion. If we want balance we have to be balanced. If we want good health we have to behave in healthy ways. And if we want our lives to be beautiful, we have to embrace beauty in ourselves first, and then in others, and then we will learn to see it everywhere we look.
 
I get what I give.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FOOTWORK AND SURRENDER

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
~Reinhold Niebuhr~

I would never be foolish enough to think I could stop the rain from falling with the force of my will, and yet, so many other things- equally uncontrollable in my life- I believe I can manipulate: that I have more power over outcomes than I do, and more power over other people.
     We can expend as much effort as is humanly possible; we can come at things from every angle and use all of our wit and skill and planning and pleading, but none of that changes the facts. We cannot control what we cannot control, and the sooner we accept that, the more peaceful and fulfilling our lives will become.

I do what I can and let go of the rest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

COURAGE

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
 ~Joyce Meyer~
 
Beginning something completely new is a scary proposition. There is so much unknown and a great need for faith. We are asked to courageously step forth with all of our positivity and willingness and give it our best shot... It's bound to be messy at times, and frustrating. And soon after we've begun, we may feel tempted to throw in the towel and retreat to what we know.
     But we cannot go backwards in life. We cannot return to an earlier time or a previous feeling. We have to work with what we have every new day, and take it from right where we are.

Even when the going gets tough, I have the courage to keep on.

Monday, June 9, 2014

FLEXIBILITY

"He is making you more flexible, and for this be thankful."
~Terri Guillemets~
 
We have our agendas, but sometimes life has other plans. We keep getting interrupted, sidetracked, or otherwise dislodged. Fighting whatever happens doesn't stop it from happening. It just makes us tense. So let's surrender instead- to the whirlwinds and detours and circuitous pathways of whatever way the path unfolds.

If nothing goes according to plan, I needn't panic. I can surrender to the powers beyond my control that have taken over the situation and trust them to effectively run the show.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

WORDS

"I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions."
~James Michener~

I love words. I love their rhythm and innuendo. I love that certain words like hiss and sizzle sound like what they are. I love the character of words and the way they are spoken and written and sung, and the way they are hung on signs: Bump. Stop. Exit. Merge.
     But there is one word that seems to lack any redeeming quality. It's hard for me to find any way to feel good about "stupid." It can't seem to help itself. It drops flatly on the air with judgment and contempt. So I choose not to use it, and choose instead to let my language reflect the goodness that I believe in, and the curiosity, and the redemption, and the faith.
 
I bring awareness to the words that I use, and choose those that have a positive connotation for me, and that make me feel great.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

EFFORT

"Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose..."
~Indigo Girls~
 
Living with care and attention to self-worth, and compassion for others, is good living. Doing good makes us feel good. If we cut corners and shirk our duties, we do not get away with anything. We pay a price instead, for being reckless, and for our lack of integrity.
     If we want to feel the best we can, we have to do the best we can- not sometimes, when we feel like it, but all of the time, because the rewards are worth it, and because we're worth it, and because it's the right thing to do.
 
I give 100% of my best effort, whatever that may look like on any given day. My life is worth it, and so am I.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

BULLIES

"Not being able to govern events, I govern myself..."
~Michel de Montaigne~
 
Bullies are a pitiable lot. Like a stampeding herd, they charge forth with volume and aggression but without any care or precision. They use big hand gestures and unreasonable arguments and scare tactics. They are confrontational blowhards. If we try to match them point for point, everything escalates out-of-control and there is no winning anywhere. So we often tend to accommodate them instead, in an effort to keep the peace. And in this way, their bully behavior is reinforced.
     Maybe we would do better to remain neutral. They bait us, and we bite, but maybe we would be better served to simply let the bait dangle and not give it our attention or our time.
 
I disempower bullies by refusing to engage with them on their terms. I remain calm and neutral.
    

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NEGOTIATING THE WIND

"Life is like sailing. You can use any wind to go in any direction. " ~Robert Brault~
 
It's easy to be flip about our future, which is the opposite extreme from being paralyzed by fear. But perhaps, good health and the most favorable outcome falls somewhere in-between. Maybe, we can be both appropriately cautious and appropriately prepared.
     We are like sailors. Though we cannot control the wind, we can still manage to get from point A to point B and arrive at our intended destination so long as we set the sails and do the proper trimming and steering.
 
I plan for the future, but remain open to possibility. I am willing to adapt and improvise in order to stay on course.

Monday, June 2, 2014

HEART

"Nothing is impossible to a willing heart."
~John Heywood~

Watching "heart" in action is an inspiration. It emboldens hope and empowers possibility. It is success against all odds. And it happens! That's what's so exciting. It is faith over fear and the willingness to believe where belief seems not only impractical, but almost foolish. It is Secretariat and the 1980 Men's US Ice Hockey Team. It is miraculous. It is fire within and thrilling to the core.
     Let's learn to spot it in the world and feel it inside of ourselves. It is the rising of passion. It is unstoppable. It is fierce and surprising and fully alive. Heart will take us farther than all of our skills, and carry us beyond all limits. It is in us and for us and beautiful to behold: a glorious gift of intractable glory.

I believe in the power of heart. 
    

Sunday, June 1, 2014

WHAT MATTERS MOST

"The best practical advice I can give to the present generation is to practice the virtue which the Christians call love."
~Bertrand Russell~

In the big scope of things, it only matters that I am kind. Material success, credentials, awards, and fame have their place and their purpose, but they do not give my life meaning or absolution or gold stars. Who I am, how I behave, and what I give, are the determiners of my value. Being loving and thoughtful are the things that make me feel the best.
 
I am kind and compassionate and keep my priorities where they belong.