Today we honor Nick, class valedictorian, exceptional student, school leader, and dedicated athlete. This is his day. We've watched him relax into his gifts over the last four years, and come to understand him in new ways and with deep appreciation. Nick has distinguished himself in every way possible and earned the respect of his teachers, his peers, and his family. He is a young man I am proud to know.
Congratulations, Nick! This is just the beginning. :)
I love my son and celebrate his high school graduation.
People do not always behave the way they should, and some are unpredictable and difficult by nature- by nature of their mentality or possibly their circumstances. We are triggered into drama and defense and disbelief. How can they behave that way? We wonder. How can they be so inappropriate, so off-base, so out-of-line and out-of-touch? And yet, our wondering leads us nowhere. They simply do what they do and behave the way they behave, and all we can do is experience the ride and observe our instinct to get caught up and pulled out of whack, and then make the choice not to.
As a general rule, things are not nearly as complicated as we think they are. We cannot control other people so we don't have to try. We can set boundaries and make choices. It's always up to us. We can choose the adrenalin rush of creating a tornado, or we can sit back and let the drama unfold around us. It's the difference between standing outside with a lightning rod during a thunderstorm, or taking cover and watching the show.
I allow others their right to insanity, but do not have to participate. I remember that I have a choice.
Our beautiful daughter, Sienna, graduates from high school today, with distinction and grace. We are all gathered to witness her transition and to applaud her achievements: the family personalities. May we all be graceful as well, and patient, and accepting of our heightened emotions.
The day is not about us. It's about Sienna. It's about honoring the passage from youth to burgeoning adulthood of a small, fiercely determined girl with creative genius, extraordinary physical beauty, and wisdom beyond her years. It's a celebration of who she is and her journey to this moment.
Congratulations, Sienna! You are some kind of wonderful!!! :)
I love my daughter and celebrate her achievements in life.
I am competitive by nature and I like to dig deep inside myself and engage everything I have and all of my heart to give whatever is in front of me my best shot. And if I come out on top, what glory! And if I do not, I still feel good, and my own kind of victorious, because I didn't hold back. I left nothing in reserve.
We get so focused on the "win," the achievement, the goal, and the destination, that we lose sight of the greater experience. It's not so much about the win as it is about the all out effort and the feeling of stretching beyond our previous limits. We are bigger than we thought, and stronger, and full of passion beyond our wildest dreams.
In competition, I give everything I've got. I'm a good sport, and I have fun. With that formula, no matter the end result, I win every time.
Having our kids watch television while driving in the car is convenient in the sense that they are distracted and quiet and do not pester us with questions or conversation. But what they are not learning is how to look out the window at the wonderful and curious world that is passing by... the other cars and people and stores and streets and houses and fields and signs. They are not learning to be observant and aware. Instead, we are teaching them technological dependency. Is that the best that we can do?
I engage with my children during car rides. We see things and share our observations and appreciate the world around us.
How we feel on the inside is how we experience the world on the outside. If we are fearful, everything is scary, and if we are full of love it's beautiful. It's a true statement that we don't see things as they are, but as we are. Depending on out outlook, a rainy day can be cozy, or fun, or it can ruin our life. It's not one thing or the other in reality. It's just raining. We impose the meaning of our choosing; we slap it on like a packaging label: good, bad, miraculous, unfair...
Let's consider the way we interpret our experience, and recognize that we can choose to experience it differently at any time. Let's make a regular reality check and be willing to change our minds.
My take on life is up to me. I can choose neutrality or negativity, optimism or despair.
We must seize our opportunities if we want them, because secure as they might seem in the moment, they may never return.We think we can come back, re-visit, re-do. We think that we can be better prepared. We figure that when conditions aren't quite perfect enough, or if we don't feel like it for whatever reason, that we will take advantage the next time around...
But there may be no next time. We needn't be reckless, but we do need to be realistic. We need to see our windows and make the careful decision to open them, or not.
I appreciate my daily opportunities and do not take them for granted.
Some days I feel perky, positively bright eyed and bushy tailed, and some days I feel road weary. And my most relaxing time is not on the weekends, or on vacation, but after a day of work when I have put in my time and put forth my effort and given my best.
This fact makes late afternoons and evenings beautiful and sweet to me. I like mornings too, but for a different reason. They are fresh and hopeful and all possibility. But the end of the workday is like a song of gratitude. It's labor expended and energy spent: soft, heavy, tired, and worn- sleepy in the muscles but satisfied, and full to brimming in my heart.
Work affords me the best relaxation I know. There is nothing like the feeling of having put in a good day.
It's exhausting to be self-conscious, to feel uncomfortable in what we are wearing, or out of place inside our own skins. It is a test of spiritual evolution to be aware of such discomfort and then find a way to rise above it; to be secure in our inherent value, and stable no matter the clothes and no matter our awkwardness, and no matter our less than perfect presentation to the world. We worry what others will think, but the only opinion that really makes the difference in the end is our own.
I accept myself as I am and carry my insecurities with grace and humor and a certain amount of style.
Boundaries are like fences and they have to be kept clear, moved when necessary, checked after storms, and readily maintained. They require a certain amount of care and attention, and gates for passage in and out. We are not meant to live hidden behind a fortress or completely exposed. We set posts and hang boards to protect ourselves, but we can see through them, and move through them if need be.
The thing we must learn to do is say no when we mean no and yes when we mean yes and stand firm and without guilt in the steady conviction of our internal integrity and our sense of what's right. We need to be honest with ourselves and with the world about what suits us and what does not.
I set appropriate boundaries but do not lock myself rigidly behind them. I allow for the flowing currents of life.
I find it far more satisfying to forgive others than to punish them, even if they are unkind. We are all wrong at times, and hurt at times, and able to be less than thoughtful. We are impatient, bitter, cruel, and manipulative in varying degrees, and none of us perfectly pure.
So let's not be unforgiving. Let's give others a break even if they do not give us one. Let's be the bigger person. As many times as it takes, let's learn to let it go.
I refrain from punishing others. I am allowing and forgiving.
I seem to believe that limits can be established in a once and for all kind of way, but the truth is that setting boundaries, like all things, requires daily care and occasional revision. I think in absolutes. I arrive impulsively at a catastrophic decision point: something big and definitive has to be done- something major- something dramatic...
But even when major change is in order, it doesn't happen in one fell swoop. It's a bit at a time and a slow steady adjustment to the new perspective, the new behavior, and the new way of life. I can't impose my absolutes on others, and I can't successfully impose them on myself. Everything is process and evolution. Even cutting ties that bind requires a period of loss, adjustment, and recovery.
I stop trying to make people and situations all one thing or another. I accept change in behavior and habits as a slow process.
I have a tendency towards impatience. I want what I want when I want it and experience waiting as a kind of punishment and torture. I think I have to earn things, so if I'm not getting what I'm after, I must be doing something wrong. Working harder is my solution to everything, but it's not always the solution.
Sometimes the very thing I need to do is stop working and sit quietly, gathering my peace within, allowing the forces that be to take over. Sometimes the absolutely best thing I can do to keep the current moving in my life is to get out of the way.
I am willing to stop pushing and wait for things to come.
I have mixed feelings about most things. My faith is peppered with doubt, my love with distaste, my hope with fear. I am excited in some ways and exhausted in others. I am young and old, wise and foolish, strong as an ox, and fragile as a butterfly.
What is new and fresh becomes stale. What is foreign becomes familiar, and what is big becomes small. We are expansion and reduction. We are all things: paradoxical at every turn.
Everything in life is a mix of this and that, including me. I am at ease with the tensions of my life.
Apparently the cicadas are coming and will be here in swarms, more populous than the imagination can conceive. Their time has cycled around again. But where are they coming from, and where have they been while they've been gone? And where is the oak tree in the acorn and the honey in the bee?
Life is full of wonderful mysteries and unending miracles. Let's take a little time each day to appreciate all of the incredible realities of our world that we cannot begin to understand, and accept the possibility that there is wonder within us as well as around us, and that delights and surprises never cease.
I embrace possibility and the beautiful mysteries of the unknown.
The guiding principle of life is change. Just when we get comfortable, discomfort erupts; just as we make peace, new conflict confronts us, and just as we learn the rules, the rules change. It's a never-ending process of adjustment and revision, and there is both frustration and refreshment in this fact.
In a world that is constantly shifting, we attach ourselves with gusto to whatever we can in order to feel secure, but the only real security lies in adaptability. We must learn to be flexible or we will be broken at every turn.
I resist the desire to force certainty and predictability on my life and my future. I am open and willing to change.
Just because it's raining doesn't mean we can't take a walk. We can walk in any weather. Conditions do not have to be perfect in order to set out. We simply have to dress differently and prepare for the possibility that we might get wet.
I don't have to wait for things to be just right. I can make adjustments and adapt myself to circumstances such as they are.
A positive attitude makes all the difference. I go through a toll booth every day and interact with toll booth operators of all kinds. Some of them do their job and stop there. And some of them are visibly annoyed to have to deal with me at all, especially if I ask them for some kind of favor- my change a certain way, for instance. But some of them are smiley and happy to help, and it's a moment of warmth and pleasure to exchange energy with them. And I go away a little lighter and brighter for the experience.
So the question and the consideration is... which type of person are we?
I choose to be pleasant. A smile feels so much better than a scowl.
We all use the expression "with my luck" as if we have terrible luck and bad things always happen. But if we're honest, don't plenty of good things happen as well? And the bad things aren't really "luck" are they, so much as the nature of life being life? I believe to my core that divine mercy is always at work in our lives, and that if we only received what we deserved, we might all have substantially less than we do.
So let's change our perspective. Let's be grateful for all of the hardship and accidents that we've missed, and learn to take our challenges as they come in stride and with grace, trusting that ultimately, even the most difficult of situations can, and usually does, turn out to bless us in the end.
I am blessed beyond measure in ways I cannot even begin to properly comprehend.
The source of resentment is resistance so the anecdote to it is acceptance, and consequently, forgiveness. We perceive that we have been wronged, that someone's behavior is reprehensible and not ok... and yet, we rarely ask ourselves if we have ever done the same given similar circumstances. We can feel disappointed, frustrated, hurt, etc, for the way others behave, but if we are spiritually fit, we must not judge, lest we be judged. We have to remember that when we point a finger at someone, there are three other fingers pointing back at us.
If we want to stop feeling angry and done-to, we have to divvy up some forgiveness. We have to allow others their mistakes and trust them to do the best they can with the information and tools that they have. Let's give them the dignity of self-correction and not harp at them and nag and rifle with blame.
I accept the mistakes of others and do not take them personally or hold a grudge. I am understanding and forgiving.
I have times when I make my situation out to be more pathetic than it really is in order to solicit sympathy or pity, or to manipulate some kind of guilt payment in cash or services or whatever it might be. And I never feel good about myself when I do this so I need to stop.
I may be pathetic in some ways, but I don't need to advertise that. I can honor what's best in me and in my life and live full of gratitude for what I have. I need not whine and supplicate myself in order to get what I want.
There are different ways to ask for help. Let's choose the one that does not belittle us. Let's ask straight-up. Let's ask free from excuses and stories and over-explanations.
I ask for help from a position of strength instead of weakness. I don't have to paint a miserable picture of myself and make a case for pity.