Mistakes are to learn from.

mistakes

Mistakes are inevitable. As you practice a piano piece, you’ll hit some clunkers. Go on. As you learn to walk, you’ll stumble. Keep walking. As you reach out in kindness, you may be rebuffed. Keep being kind.

Consider this fascinating account of some of Thomas Edison’s unknown mistakes:

“One of the things that makes Edison stand out as an innovator was he was very good at reducing the risk of innovation—he’s not an inventor that depends on just one thing,” DeGraaf says. “He knows that if one idea or one product doesn’t do well he has others…that can make up for it.”

Chances are you haven’t heard of Edison’s botched ideas, several of which are highlighted here, because the Ohio native refused to dwell on them. DeGraaf says, “Edison’s not a guy that looks back. Even for his biggest failures he didn’t spend a lot of time wringing his hands and saying ‘Oh my God, we spent a fortune on that.’ He said, ‘we had fun spending it.’”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/7-epic-fails-brought-to-you-by-the-genius-mind-of-thomas-edison-180947786/#I8co0DAKgoFZTybb.99

Keep stretching. Keep innovating. Keep reaching out. One attempt may not work, but you have thousands, maybe millions, in you.

You are braver than you know.

lion

In all the din, what is one voice more? Why bother speaking up? No one seems to listen to each other anymore anyway.

But inside you is a well spring, and you’re fueled by truth and an honest desire to help others. Your opinion matters.

Consider these words from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Who are you to speak up?

You are a child of God. Let God’s light shine on a dark world through your words.

Today is a new day.

today

On days that seem dark and heavy, mired with concerns about the future, it is nice to remember that babies are being born, people are proposing, family members are coming home, and we are all here today.

Today, where we still have power to work toward better tomorrows.

 

Do not lose heart.

heroism

It feels like we have fought this battle before. Why won’t it go away? Why are we here again?

Perhaps it is as simple and complex as that there are epic forces of good and evil alive in the world. Evil, whether in the form or racism, misogyny, selfishness, and so on, keeps coming back, even when we think progress has been made. That is the nature of the world we live in.

The answer: to keep flooding the world with good, keep fighting the good fight.

Do not lose hope.

The joy of it all.

joy

Oh, to be a kid, before we’ve learned to wear masks and tamp down our emotions to keep from looking silly. We’ve mastered the art of staying calm when really we want to grab someone and spin them around in the air because we are so happy to see them, or to guffaw at a joke or funny thought, or to just break out in dance walking down the street.

We are so civilized.

But sometimes, maybe, it’s nice to be like this dog and just let someone know how you feel:

That’s wearing his heart on his sleeve, isn’t it? But life’s short; what’s the point of hiding our joy?

Leaving the world a bit better.

breatheeasier

We all want to succeed, but what is the metric for measuring whether we’ve been successful? There are so many. Money, status, power, bucket lists, fame, travel… but what of the little things? Are you successful if you have enough money to buy a small country but no one to love or trust? Is it success if you are famous but lonely? If you have power but wield it to cause pain and misfortune to others, how can that be considered success? If you’ve traveled the world but not been truly present anywhere, does that count?

Perhaps true success at this thing called life is as simple as Emerson’s thoughts above. To leave the world a bit better, to ease the burdens of others, to look for and bring out the best in others, to do no harm. These all matter, maybe not in measurable concrete ways, but in ways we can all feel and appreciate if not count. More important, these are all things we each can do. We have the ability to be successful beyond our wildest imaginings.

And don’t forget to laugh often and much. Finding the joy and not letting it slip right past you undetected is important, too.

Count your blessings instead of sheep.

presentblessings

When your weary head fills with all the things you need to do or all the things that have gone wrong and keeps you from sleep, consider instead your present blessings. Let the negative thoughts drift from your focus like clouds blowing across a starlit sky, and turn your attention to the things you are grateful for, right here, right now.

For inspiration, consider this poem, Three Gratitudes, by Carrie Newcomer:

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat,
A new poem,
My library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.
And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,

Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.

 

Pleasant dreams.

Be the crane.

protect

Where would we be without people who passionately care about others, including those beyond their immediate circle? Who will protect the vulnerable, the voiceless, and the overlooked? Who will speak out on behalf of Earth herself?

We protect the things we love. When we see a hurting world and people, maybe we need to broaden our love.

Take a minute to watch this remarkable video of a father crane protecting his young from an alligator.

What a beautiful metaphor this father crane is for us: yes there are alligators in the world; they come in lots of shapes in sizes.

But let’s hear it for the cranes.

Create.

artist

How do you define success?

Is it in a purely monetary way or is it more nuanced and complex?

A creative life expands the heart and sharpens the senses. It opens the creator to insight and wisdom. It constantly pushes the creator to new levels. It is a fountain of youth and immortality all in one.

Mountain or molehill?

mad

We talk so much louder with our actions than our words. How we treat other people, what rankles us, what motivates us, who our heroes are–these speak volumes about who we are regardless of what’s on our resumes.

What gets you mad?

If you step back and look reasonably objectively at it, you can get glimpses into your inner self that may appall you. Maybe ego, pride, pettiness, and self-pity are more present than you would have ever guessed, and now’s the time to change that up and set your sites on bigger foes.