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Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.

And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.

I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.

The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearls. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.

Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

 So what are you waiting for?

What small choices are you making today that will bring you closer to stepping into the fullness of you, of your life, of the life that you are already living and is waiting for you to claim it?

We spend so much time somewhere else, in comparisons, in expectations (of ourselves and others) that sometimes we whittle away our lives not truly ever having lived.  We become to busy trying to fit someone else’s life or someone else’s expectations, listing to someone else’s voices telling us how we should live our life.

What pearls (with your name on them) are waiting to be cultivated?

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The above graphic is from Kristin Noelle.  Her site Trust Tending sends out these beautiful little Trust Notes each week and they are simply delightful.  She has all sorts of other great free and wonderful things you can sign up for as well.

About two months ago for a variety of reasons I decided to get rid of TV (note that I did wait until after football season was over).   Everyone has their vice right?  But for me it went back to looking more closely at my life and living more intentionally.  Although I didn’t watch a whole lot of tv I would find myself turning it on and watching things that after an hour I wondered… did I really need to know which flat they chose in London, or what the final outcome of the Extreme Makeover was?  And all watching the Food Network all it would do is make me hungry… and I wasn’t working on things that were truly feeding me.  Right now I am focusing on saving money, on putting my time and energy into things that deserve them and I realized TV didn’t fit for me anymore.  After getting sick and not turning it on for a few days I decide to take the plunge and I decided to make it into a fun experiment and get rid of TV, at least for the summer.

Giving up TV for the first week or so was a bit tough because it is so instinctual to come in the house and turn it on, “catch up” on the day and what I missed.  But I realize that with all of the access to news online and listening to NPR I am still up to date with current events.  I also worried about whether or not I would have something to talk about with certain people if we didn’t share our stories of the most recent episode of X show… but I am realizing that we are having better conversations about ourselves rather than some other stranger’s life.

Sometimes there is an echoey silence when there isn’t radio or TV on to fill it.  So it started me thinking about silence, and what would happen if I truly befriended silence, and thus the 40 Days of Silence  was born.

I have been reading and writing more, I have been listening to more music, I have been getting more restful sleep, I have been working out more, I have been praying and meditating more, I have been outside more, I have enjoyed my silence more, and one of the unexpected benefits is that I am more content.  When I do go online to watch my shows that I watch I do so intentionally, with the purpose of enjoying them, not as a default setting or as filler.

What has brought me the most peace is not having the constant underlying reminders of what I “need”, what I “can’t live without” and how I don’t “measure up” – the empty promises IF I got this certain product or service my life would be amazing.  The average American consumes over 3,000 ads per day, between radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, online etc. and it seeps into our subconscious coloring our opinions of ourselves and our lives.

Another unexpected benefit is that I have been having some great conversations as a result of this little experiment.  Turns out several of my friends have done this at the same time without really talking about it, and I have yet to find one that wishes they had it back.   It also has created some great conversation about what role the TV plays in our lives.  And for many it isn’t about cutting it out completely so much as it is being more mindful about it, for many it isn’t something they want to consider but the talk of an experiment to change something inspires them to think of some other experiment they have been toying with but haven’t yet done.

What experiment would push your comfort zone?  What kind of experiment could create more space for you to follow your dreams, to invite more fun and joy into your life, to create deeper relationships?  What kind of experiment could get you out of your rut and into your radiant life?

 

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It is March 1st.

March is my favorite month for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it is a birthday month for 14 of my favorite people, including my brother, my dad, my sister-in-law, cousin, aunts, friends and ME!

I was thinking about birthday gifts and cards (14 is a lot to think about!) and also about what I would want to give myself- I have decided that I want to celebrate selling 1,000 books!  So far I have sold 664 books (let’s take a moment for a happy dance here!)  Which for those of you who are great at math (and for the rest of us who are reliant on calculators) means that I will need to sell 336 by March 30th to reach my goal.

I have had so many of you reach out and help me make my previous goals already and I am so humbled by all of the people who have shared my words with your friends, family members and loved ones who have needed them, those who have posted on your wall sharing the links and heartfelt comments with your friends, moments that you have sought me out in person, on FB, or in e-mails sharing how the book has touched you.

And that is what I want… for no one to feel like they are navigating the In-Between on their own, like you have a friend beside you that will be will you in the quiet moments witnessing your strength when you forget, honoring how far you have come while promising to be with you in the journey to come, offering love freely and reminding you that we move forward one step at a time.

So to help me to that end, please keep sharing your stories, to remind me that this is needed.  Please keep sharing the book, to help provide a light in the midst of darkness.  Keep sharing your thoughts about where the book might find a home in your hometown- a small gift shop, a flower shop, a funeral home etc.  Keep sharing the blog posts that touch you.  Keep sharing your love. 

And if you haven’t listened yet here is a 15 minute interview with Teri Knight from KYMN Radio in Northfield, MN that shares the story behind the book and so much more.  It was such a gift to be able to talk with someone who “gets” the book, and the need for it in the world. 

Before life turned upside down I wouldn’t have dreamed of  asking for help like this, or wanted to break 1,000 books sold… but one of the benefits of having your life as you knew it come crashing down is that you get to rebuild your new life and try out new ways of being.  You get to practice a lot of receiving, and asking for help… and you the world doesn’t implode, and people still love you- often even more so because they see all of you- your strength and your struggle.   And what I have found time and time again (in my life and others) is that when you have a dream, when it is ready to be made real and when you ask for help from others more often than not people will respond with something like “Why didn’t you ask sooner?” or “How can I help?”   I have also learned that if I say it outloud I hold myself accountable, if I say it outloud it become a conversation piece and people are more likely to talk to me about it, wanting to know where I am at in the process reminding me to keep going towards my goal.  If I say it outloud people can participate in making my dreams come true.

And that is the best birthday present, the one that lives on through the year… knowing you are loved and supported, knowing that people in ways large and small continue to support you… and that is the true gift and what I celebrate every day. 

AND since it is a birthday month for me I want to be able to give away some books too… and I will be posting more soon about that.  So stay tuned!

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Monday night we were celebrating my friends birthday and I was out with my niece and nephew.  I knew that i was going to be spending Valentine’s evening with them so I had asked Q who is two and utterly adorable as you can see:

“Q, will you be my Valentine?”

He was sitting in my lap at the time and he threw his hands in the air, squealed and said with such fierce determination and a smile just like you see there “YES!”.

My wish for you this Valentine is that whether you spend your Valentine’s Day with your significant other, your children, your parents, your favorite four-legged family member, or enjoying your own company, when that question is asked “Will you be my Valentine?” You can fling your arms up in the air and say “YES!”.

You deserve a love like that, you deserve to have your needs met, your heart held, your very being celebrated.

Surround yourself with people who provide that for you, seek out those who lift you up and who honor the gift you are.

And even more importantly be sure that you are giving yourself that same gift.

 

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Light

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~ Mary Oliver ~

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Something to remember for the New Year!!

It is the New Year… time for many to take stock of where they are, where they want to be and make resolutions.  I have a love hate relationship with resolutions and so I don’t do them in the traditional way… but of course I love the opportunity to be able to think about what I want the next year to look like, how I want to shape my part of it, what I want to leave open to God/the Universe/Mystery/Chance, and what I just don’t even know is possible yet.

So instead of New Year’s Resolutions I decided to make a list of what I want more of and what I want less of:

Less:

Comparing- myself or my life (which is in process) to a static idea of what I “should” be, to my own projection or anyone else’s

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
~ Steve Jobs

Judgment

Saying yes from obligation

Saying no from fear

Guilt

Feeling responsible for others

Being anyone but me

More:

Live Music

Being around people doing what they love

Lightness of being

Reading

Grace

Relaxation

Looking through the eyes of love

Letting go

Joy

Working out

Laughing so hard my stomach and cheeks hurt the next day

Warrior Dash Days

Love

Light

Laughter

Lattes

Enjoying the moment- and being there with no guilt, simply joy and an acute awareness of the blessings that surround me

Letters- sending and receiving

Writing the Brave Letters- (more soon on that :))

Writing- books, poetry, letters, prayers, journal entries- JUST WRITE

Losing myself in beauty

Being outdoors

Remembering the truth of this statement and choosing the company of joy-

There’s only one address anyone lives at and it’s always a duplex: Joy and pain always co-habit every season of life.

Accept them both and keep company with the joy while the pain does it’s necessary renovations. 

~ Ann Voskamp

Prayer/Meditation

Making space

Radiance

Tea

Sun

Sweat- loving the feeling at the end of a workout of muscles that have been pushed to their limit

Pride in the life that I have created

Letting love in

Capturing beauty

Taking time to celebrate all that I have done

Taking time to think about all that I want to do

Investing in myself, in my dreams, in my own life

Clearing out

Asking for help when needed- giving help when the opportunity presents itself

Glowing- with health, with love, with peace and contentment

Creating- being in the flow

Feeling good in my own skin

Deepening into me

Wisdom

Continuing to be a part of something bigger

Moments where I am so entranced by what I am doing that I forget where I am, what time it is, or what I “need” to do

Creating community

Helping bring out the light in others

Letting my own light shine

Celebrating all of the gifts that surround me every day

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Permission…

“The deeper your scars, the more room there is to fill them up with love.  Don’t hate your scars, appreciate their depth.”

—Daniel Chidiac

 At times these quotes can be very comforting, and at times they can rub just the wrong way… feeling frustrated that we have scars, angry that they are so deep, hurt that something so large happened to us… And that is how it is when we are deep in healing work, comfort often comes cloaked in many disguises and sometimes changes costumes mid-play.

Since my recent post about the dilemma of “Merry” Christmas I have been reminded of what an incredible gift permission is.  We don’t allow ourselves often in this culture the permission to be where we are at… we spend so much of our time looking backwards pining for what was, feeling the loss so deeply, wanting to “fix” whatever is broken, or we spend time fantasizing of what “could” be, what we want and punishing ourselves for not being there yet…

What if instead we allowed ourselves permission to be where we are at?

Sometimes that means handling things with grace, poise and composed, and sometimes that means handling things no better than a toddler having a tantrum in the middle of the mall.

Sometimes things will bring comfort that didn’t before, and as your healing takes root, as you move forward the things that used to comfort may not, and you may be looking for a new perspective, a new way of looking at things, a new way of feeling about them.  Your experience may shift from pain into a gift, a new perspective may help you reframe things.  Sometimes you recoil against anything else changing, anything else shifting, it is enough just to walk upright in the world.

I give you permission to handle your life with grace and poise, and I give you permission to have a loud, ugly, tearful temper tantrum that leaves you feeling exhausted but refreshed.

I give you permission to not know what the next step, but the assurance that there will be a next step laid out for you.

I give you permission to be where you are at, and to promise that you won’t be there forever.

I give you permission to stop, to stay in this wave of grief until it subsides.

I give you permission to ride this wave of joy, to feel to the tips of your toes the sheer delight of the first genuine smile as your heart thaws and you feel yourself coming back to life.

I give you permission to feel the hurt, the pain, but also the promise and possibility of the life that will beckon you towards love.

I give you permission to allow the totality of you, with an invitation to travel your own journey in your time, in your way, with the support of all those who love you by your side.

You have permission to be you.

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