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Monday, November 30, 2015

PROCEEDING CALMLY

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." 
~ Lao Tzu ~

I commit to not rushing through my life. What's the hurry? It's as if I am afraid, and maybe I am- that I will run out of time, that I cannot keep up, that things will be out-of-control. But I am tired of rushing. I am tired of moving frantically, of feeling frantic, and of being frantic. I want calmness. I want inner steadiness. I want quietude no matter what insanity and chaos rains around me.
     And so, I commit to not rushing. Everything will get done or it won't get done. And either way, it's ok. I don't have to push myself beyond all reason every moment of every day. I can be productive, on time, and thorough without being hassled and harried. And that's the mission for the new day, and for the coming new year. I am certain that life as it unfolds, and at whatever pace it comes, can be experienced with assurance, pleasure, grace, and command.

I allow everything in my life to unfold in it's own way, and according to intrinsic timelines, rather than those I impose.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

FEELING RESTLESS

"'Tis the great art of life to manage well the restless mind." 
~John Armstrong ~

I find that I get restless anticipating certain happenings, meetings, events, and milestones. To remain calm and still at such times is a challenge. I have this urgent feeling that something must be done to prepare, to insure success, to consider all possibilities and how each one will be dealt with if it ensues. So it's easier to distract myself with busyness.
     But the thing is, I think that distractions in life are just that, and as such, they keep us from the important work of self-honesty and feeling our feelings. We are a distraction rich culture. Both as a group and as individuals, we tend to avoid our inner lives with surface blustering and constant noise.
    Let's not! Let's acknowledge our restlessness and be willing to sit with it, to talk about it, and to breathe deeply. Let's be wiling to see what triggers us, and what we are afraid of, and trust in the messages that come to us from within.

I acknowledge my restlessness, but don't let it drive me. I am willing to sit with uncomfortable feelings and allow them to teach me.

Friday, November 27, 2015

THE TWO SIDES OF FAMILY

"A family is a unit comprised not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold." 
~ Ogden Nash ~

Family is at once both our rootedness and our launching pad. Our families give us connection, history, and bloodlines, but they also push us from them with their knowing a bit too much. We must appreciate where we've come from, but be willing to continuously strike out on our own two feet.

I love my family, but I have my own life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

THANKSGIVING

"Thanksgiving speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seed time and harvest, the ripe product of the year- and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God." 
~Ray Stannard Baker ~

That the pilgrims survived their first winter in Massachusetts and were able to grow sufficient crops over the summer to harvest in the fall was indeed a reason to give thanks. When we are faced with similar challenges, let's seek out the guidance of those who are more familiar, just as the pilgrims sought guidance from the Indians. And let's send a few prayers skyward, be prepared to endure some hardship, and then give bountiful thanks when we have made it through to the other side.

I give thanks today for all of my blessings, and for the lessons and learning that have come from all that I've survived.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TOUGH AND TENDER

"Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman- he is a bridge and not a goal."
~Fredrich Nietzsche ~

The human spirit is strong and strapping, but it has its limits. So we must learn to balance fortitude with grace, and flexibility with being stubborn. We are hearty beyond our wildest dreams, and at the very same time, more fragile than a teacup.

I accept the balance in me of willpower and surrender.

Monday, November 23, 2015

OWNING WHAT IS OURS TO OWN

"The outward man is the swinging door; the inner man is the still hinge." 
~Eckhart ~

Power  is defined as the ability to direct or influence other people or the course of events. I think we misunderstand this on so many levels, believing we can strong-arm life to suit our pleasure if we just exert enough force. But real power, it seems to me, is taking responsibility for all of the things that are naturally and easily ours to control, not by force, but by diligence, by paying attention, being sincere, and taking care of what is ours to take care of: our bodies, our behaviors, our intentions, our attitude, our words, and our homes.
     We push against people and things trying to make them do what we want, and abandon ourselves in the process. Let's not. Let's step up and do right by our lives.

I stop trying to change the world and work on changing myself. That's where all great change begins.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

STEADY AND CALM

"I like the physical part, but I'm also drawn to the spiritual." 
~ Mary Glover ~

It's possible to be busy and relaxed at the same time, which is what I strive for, but it's definitely not my forte. To be able to go about things with ease and assurance- what a skill!
     We can practice this by keeping our sense of humor and remembering to breathe, by moving steadily, but not rushing, and by being able and willing to go with the flow. It's possible, though it may be something we have to work towards, to get done what we have to get done, and to do it without angst or strain.

I calmly, but efficiently, go about my business.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

THE NEED TO MOVE

"Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk."
~Rayond Inmon ~

With all of the screens that we use for business and pleasure, most of us sit far too much. Let's bring awareness to this sedentary habit. Let's get up and walk around. Let's move our bodies and stretch our muscles and enjoy the lengthening and flexibility of our limbs.

When I have been sitting too long, I get up and take a walk.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

THE BENEFITS OF HUMILITY

"Pride goeth before a fall." 
~ Proverbs 16:18 ~

Smugness, complacency, and a lack of humility are dangerous positions to hold. They beg to be struck down and right sized, and eventually that's what happens. So let's take nothing for granted. Let's remain forever grateful for all that we are given, and not be reckless or arrogant or too all-fire sure about anything.

I experience life with curiosity, wonder, and an open heart, and I appreciate and respect everyone and everything that I encounter.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

THE WAY THINGS PLAY OUT

"Let your tears come. let them water your soul." 
~ Eileen Mayhew ~

We have expectations of things and people without even knowing we have them; and so, when we are face to face with reality, we often feel disappointed, and irritable even, without even knowing that's what we're feeling. It's a sense of inner urgency and flutter- a bit of desperation, a hint of despair. We find ourselves almost irrevocably perturbed, and it's entirely likely that we know not why.
     Let's admit our disappointments and give ourselves a break. It's ok- natural even- to create a future scenario in our minds and feel certain of it, not even think to question it, and then feel let down when it doesn't play out. It's ok at both ends. It may take some time, but we will eventually come around and adjust.

I go easy on myself when I have disappointed expectations, and accept that's just the way it is sometimes. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

VISUAL SENSE BLESSING

"In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty." 
~ Christopher Marley ~

My gratitude today is for my eyesight. I love colors and angles and human faces. I love structures and landscapes and shapes and lines. I love contrast, coordination, clouds, and shadows; moving bodies, art, and misty fog. It's a wondrous miracle beyond description to be able to see!

I am thankful for my eyes and the gift of sight.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

SEEKING APPROVAL

"When weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw in that blanket to let the soul out." 
~ Martha Graham ~

I'm not sure why we want our fathers to be proud of us, but somehow, I think most of us do. And so many fathers, especially old-school ones, are incapable of articulating that even if they feel it. Or maybe they're really as judgmental as we fear they are, and maybe we can't ever measure up to their impossible yardstick.
     But whichever way, it doesn't really matter. Our worth is not determined by anyone else's opinion of us, but by the fact that we are alive and we have our unique gift to contribute. Not all will appreciate it, and that's ok. We are not here to please everyone.

I am grateful to those who appreciate what I have to offer, and understanding with those who do not.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

OWNING OUR POWER

"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 ~

There are so many things that we can't control in life, and that we have to surrender to, or else suffer the consequences that come from resisting. But there is a balance of things that we can control. So the question is, why do we abdicate our power where we have it, and why don't we more readily take responsibility for the changeable portion of our lives?

I step up and take ownership of the things in my life that I have the power to change.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

THIS GLORIOUS TIME OF YEAR

"Falling leaves
hide the path
so quietly." 
~ John Bailey ~

There's something gracious about the fall. The trees are regal in their splendor and dignity, and they drop their leaves like a bejeweled skirt. Fall color softens the hard edges of the world. The process is slower than we think, and more subtle. Everything changes in phases and waves like a firework display. One tree fades out and another lights up.
     But unlike fireworks, there is no grand finale. There is a slow, and almost sensuous diminishing of color. And when it seems to be ending, a lone lingering tree bursts forth bright yellow amidst the empty branches of neighboring others, and bushes burn red, and grasses dry in shades of beige.
     And in the midst of this glorious scene, holly berries and pine cones come to the fore with their unique appeal in anticipation of the winter season to come. It's a continuous process of transformational beauty.

Fall leaves are a magnificent and sensually satisfying spiritual delight.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

THE PRIMARY EXCHANGE

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

Our purpose doesn't have to be some great, achievement-driven thing. It can be about being loving, self-reflecting, expressing joy, or the thirst for knowledge. It can be the appreciation of music, being mindful of the present moment, or delighting in our natural gifts.
     But purpose does need to happen in some kind of relation to others because of the way we are interconnected. It cannot happen in a vacuum, or in total isolation- not with any satisfaction. Real life purpose for all of us has to do something with the natural processes of sharing and caring, output and input, speaking and listening, the generosity of giving and the ability to receive.

Give and take is the natural purpose of my life.

Monday, November 9, 2015

EXQUISITE BEAUTY

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in." 
~George Washington Carver ~

There is so much beauty in the world that we so often miss by being busy in our minds- leaves rustling and falling, a handful of birds scattering out of a bush, the subtleties of lengthening light, and the ever-changing sky. To notice these things is a great joy to the spirit and a gift to the heart. And if we are aware, and care enough to notice, nature delivers up endless such blessings in the course of each moment, and over and over in the course of each day.

I still my mind and look around at the beauty of the world around me.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

THE POWER OF FILM

"We love films because they make us feel something... They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. they fill us with longing. But also, they tell us to remember; they remind us of life."
~ Nina LaCour ~

I love going to a movie of my choosing. I sit close to the screen and allow the bigness of it to carry me. I am lifted, engaged, and inspired by the dialogue and cinematography.
     And when it's over, I am renewed and refreshed. It's a mini-vacation and a source of artistic inspiration. It's a salve for the accumulated wounds of the week and a sense of wholeness restored.

I appreciate the power of a good movie to restore my faith and recover my soul.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

REFRESHMENT

"Human nature, if healthy, demands excitement."
~ Oswald Chambers ~
Occasionally I feel extreme exhaustion. And though I may not show it externally, on the inside I am dragging and life is hard work. But I find, in such cases, that rest is not the only thing that can restore me. Something that captures my imagination and my intellect with intrigue is often as effective, or more so, than a good night's sleep. 
    
Sometimes my exhaustion is more about too much repetition rather than lack of sleep, and what's required is fresh inspiration rather than excessive slumber.
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

THE NEED FOR COMMUNITY

"We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth."
~ GB Shaw ~

We need each other. We cannot produce anything of value except in some kind of cooperation with others. We need an expert, an audience, a listening ear, or a helping hand. We cannot operate in a vacuum, though the idea of doing so may appeal to us.
     We are interconnected at a deep level: individual and absolutely unique, yes, but also inevitably, intrinsically, and infinitely linked.
 
I understand and appreciate my connection to others, and that I am one of many- a garden variety member of the human race.

Monday, November 2, 2015

FRESH THINKING

"The Possible's slow fuse is lit
by the Imagination."
~Emily Dickenson ~

Creative inspiration is energizing. It awakens my spirit and invigorates my mind. Excitement grows in me, and I look forward to evolving the idea.
     But I have to create silence and space enough for the creativity to come forth. So long as I stay busy and push on without ceasing, nothing fresh can be born in me, and in that case, I feel tired instead of vital and alive.

I make time and space in my life for creative inspiration.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

WHAT'S UNDERNEATH

"At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled."
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg ~
 
Anger indulged is limited in its effectiveness, though the sensation itself has a powerful purpose in our lives. It signals us that something is off- that our boundaries have been crossed or something hidden has been triggered and woken up.
     Having a hissy fit or temper tantrum does not solve any problem, but acknowledging our hurt, or disappointment, or fear does. So let's feel our anger, but express it in a constructive way, with honesty and ownership, and a willingness to forgive where necessary and stand up where needed.
 
I appreciate my anger as a messenger that points to the need for honesty, courage, and steady resolve.