What seems impossible?

impossible

What seems impossible to you right now?

So much seems out of reach. So many problems have yet to be solved. So many people do not get along. And yet, when we step back and take a long view, so many seemingly impossible things have been accomplished in just a lifetime–anti-biotics, flight, space travel, computers, internet. And though social justice clearly does not move in a straight line, we have seen significant advances in human rights that our great-grandparents may have been unable to predict or even hope for.

So what to make of this? It’s important to keep fighting the good fight even when the odds seem insurmountable. Keep striving for peace, for social justice, for a more equitable world. We may not see the dramatic change now, but when someone looks back at our time here on Earth, they will see we didn’t stop pushing forward and, with that long view, there was continued progress ever forward.

At what price?

priceofanything

You can’t do everything. You can’t have everything. You must choose.

This is particularly true of how we spend our time. We have a set amount of time, no more. When we decide what we do with our time, we necessarily decide what we don’t do with our time.

Choose wisely. Time, once spent, is lost.

An instrument of peace.

assisi

 

St. Francis of Assisi’s timeless prayer soothes the soul today:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life

And, for a special soul-reviving treat, listen to Sarah McLachlan as she sings these precious words. Maybe listen a few times.

Choose joy.

joy

Do we have the ability to notice the beautiful even when we are surrounded by ugly? Can we notice the kindness even in the midst of hate? What if we consciously chose to look for the best in every situation?

Melissa Moore says,

But what if I choose joy? What if I choose to wake up every single day and pursue the good in life rather than wallow in the bad? We have so little time on this earth; to really comprehend the shortness of this process we call life is to receive a gift. I simply decided one day to say yes to receiving the message–the one that is alerting me that I am squandering my short time here and to get with the program.

Our time here is so short. Do we want to waste a second of it being petty or small or cruel? When we have the chance to do good, don’t we want to seize it? Yes, life is tough and full of hardships and obstacles, but within each moment we have a chance to make it better, to shine, to lift each other up.

Let’s choose joy.

Let it go.

 

 

letgo

Do we try too hard to control the results? To cling to our preferred outcomes? To our own sense of how things should be? In this thoughtful list (Click on link for discussion of each item), Dana Saviuc shares her suggestion of fifteen things we need to let go of in order to be happy:

1. Give up your need to always be right.

2. Give up your need for control. 

3. Give up on blame. 

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.

5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible.

6. Give up complaining. 

7. Give up the luxury of criticism. 

8. Give up your need to impress others. 

9. Give up your resistance to change. 

10. Give up labels. 

11. Give up on your fears. 

12. Give up your excuses. 

13. Give up the past. 

14. Give up attachment. 

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

Lots of giving up, but so much more to be gained by the change in focus!

Be kind.

bekind

In a world of senseless violence and hate, you can make a difference.

Be kind.

In a world grieving, you can make a difference.

Be loving.

In a world angry and looking for someone to blame, you can make a difference.

Be gentle.

 

How are we?

weare.jpg

A guy cuts you off in traffic. How do you see him? Is he an inconsiderate lout caring little for the aggravation he causes you or a distracted hapless soul, perhaps late for an emergency? How we see this situation, or any situation, can have a profound effect on our lives.

In this thoughtful essay, Elizabeth Gilbert considers the power of perception. She recounts a time when her father and his siblings were reminiscing about their late mother and how she used to take a sip from any glass of milk she poured for them. They agreed on the fact, that she took a sip, but wildly disagreed on their perception of that fact:

At one point, they found themselves sitting around the old kitchen table, eating sandwiches and talking about the past. My uncle, the baby of the family, looked at the refrigerator and said, “I can still see Mom standing there, pouring me a glass of milk. Do you remember that sweet thing she always used to do whenever she got us a glass of milk? Remember how she’d take a tiny sip first, to make sure it wasn’t spoiled? Always looking out for us.”

My father, the analytical engineer of the family, raised his eyebrows. “No,” he said. “You are so wrong. Mom wasn’t sipping our milk to test it for freshness. She was sipping our milk because she always overfilled the glass. She had no sense of spatial relations. It used to drive me crazy.”

My brilliantly sardonic aunt looked at her two brothers like they were the biggest idiots she’d ever seen.

“You’re both wrong,” she said. “Mom was stealing our damn milk.”

So, what have we learned about my grandmother from this story? Was she a devoted caregiver, an incompetent dunderhead or someone who would steal the milk out of the mouths of her children? (Or maybe just an exceptionally thirsty woman.) The world will never know the truth.

But does the truth really matter?

I don’t think so.

Wow! What a remarkable difference in what each brings to the encounter. Now imagine yourself in each of those mindsets: hostile, critical, or grateful. Which would lead to the happier life?

We don’t have control over facts, but we sure have a tremendous amount of control over how we perceive those facts. We owe it to ourselves to try to see the facts in the most favorable light even if that means consciously going over all the possible interpretations of something and actively selecting the best one to pick.

 

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Normal shmormal.

normality

Can you think of one person you admire who would be summed up with the word, normal? We are each so unique, so varied, like snowflakes and fingerprints. The only thing normal about people is that we are all different, no two alike.

So don’t worry about being normal.

Be the one-of-a-kind precious creation that is YOU!

Be brave.

bravepour

There are so many ways to be brave. Doing something that needs to be done even though you’re scared. And not doing something everyone else is doing when it feels wrong. Standing up for yourself or others. Speaking out against injustice when it would be so much easier to stay quiet. Facing a tough diagnosis with hope and patience. Being there for someone when they are hurting. Each of these experiences is the right thing to do in a less than wonderful situation.

What is your idea of being brave?

Sending love and encouragement to anyone going through a less than wonderful time right now.