Saturday morning started with a good amount of sunshine and blue skies. I hiked and took in the fresh air and the beautiful landscape, and spent some time remembering Cindy Ross Friedman, whom I got to meet for coffee and chats many times after moving to Kamloops and whose celebration of life service I was to attend later in the day. Gone too soon, she had a spark like no other.
Tag: self-improvement Page 1 of 3
It is early morning, the house is dark and quiet and there is no better time to be aware of where I am.
I pull the curtains because it snowed overnight and whiteness makes me feel safe and cozy.
I open the door, breathe in the cold and look at the sleepiness around. Across the street, smoke raises from a smokestack, pointing straight to a sky that’s so clear it squeaks when you look at it. No more snow. I know that from my dad, about the smoke going straight up.
This is the time to be where I am and nowhere else. No planning the day, no urgent this or that, no deadlines.
This is the time to stop.
So much is happening every day, even on those days that seem slow and dull. They are not. They are life. And we barely acknowledge it, even on the good days.
Why so hurried? Because it’s what we do. Life hurries and we hurry with it. Hurrying is a choice; but you knew that. Or not. Is it really? (yes)
Like heading straight down a wild river that we know for a fact ends up in a waterfall, we ride a raft we barely hang onto. White knuckles scream desperation and a need to stop, a need to readjust here and there and take a look around. We’re moving too fast, we know that much.
Speed enables us to persist in thinking we’re doing it right. And speed even more.
Everywhere we look, white knuckles are interpreted not as a sign of desperation but as an acknowledgement of being on this wild river. It’s what everyone does, right? Very few of us will say otherwise and the ones who do, are on the shores, looking around and telling us to slow down. Can they be believed? How would they know? Why are they there to begin with?
The answer is as simple as it is troubling: Because they know that knuckles are connected to the heart and the mind. Not when they’re white and cold though. They only get warm when we stop. But that’s slowing down, isn’t it? That means losing something? More? Less? Enough? At all?
Where’s the truth? Who has it?
Somehow slowing down does not appeal enough to our competitive nature. Slowing down is a right we don’t want to make much use of. We take odd comfort in saying “But I am not the only one.” And oddly enough, that truly is the weakest argument of them all. It really will not matter who was with you and why when you reach the waterfall. You’ll reach it by yourself. As it’s always been.
Gravity evens things out for us all. Which is why it’s so important to mind things along the way, to stop your raft by shores you deem necessary to see, or to simply stop to see. To listen, to breathe and know of yourself. To make sense of why you’re on that wild river to begin with.
To be grateful.
White knuckles will not let any feelings sink in deep enough for you to feel that. Perhaps that’s the best reason why stopping every now and then makes sense.
You’ll have made time along the way to know faces, not just see them in that mad dash down a river that was never intended for us ride so recklessly and white-knuckled but we do it because everyone does.
Which is never a good argument to begin with. So learn to stop. Today.
To Laura and Nemo, thought munchies for the road ahead…
If you were my kid and leaving today to see and feel and taste the world, this is what I’d tell you:
- That you’re never alone. Repeat as often as you need to so you will believe it. It’s true.
- That you can always smile. Smiling makes your eyes arch in a way that drains tears. I’ve tried it enough times to know.
- That every day, even the ones that seem long and punishing, have 24h, no more no less. Tomorrow is always around the corner. You get to try again.
- That you have choices. Always. And you need to be honest with yourself to admit it.
- That you can find the horizon from wherever you are.
- That you need to believe in yourself. If you want it, you can make it happen.
- That you should not spend what you don’t have.
- That you learn to listen. Few do. It’s an important life skill.
- That when you are joyful, so are those around you.
- That you have to own your words and actions. Don’t ever make yourself run away from your own heart. Self-betrayal is a heavy load to carry no matter where you go.
- That even when you’re lost, you are somewhere. Therefore, you are never lost.
- That when you smile, people smile back.
- That idleness is a sin.
- Travel light. You already have what you need with you.
- That you should not call it a good day until you learned something, or until you brighten someone’s day. Often times that someone is you.
- Sometimes all it takes is to ask. So ask. The worst that can happen is to be told no. No is a word. A short one though.
- That you should never stop dreaming.
- That gratefulness is the road to joy.
- That everything seems brighter in the morning. So sleep on it, you will find a solution.
- That your mind can make a big problem bigger. Use your mind’s ability to your advantage. Everyone needs a confidence boost every now and then.
- That it is better to regret the things you did rather than the ones you never had the courage to do.
- That you should not let anyone tell you cannot follow your dreams.
- That no one is responsible for your happiness but you.
- You cannot force someone to love you, nor can you ask or whine for it. Love is a gift. It should be given.
- Don’t be afraid to love and when you do, give it all you’ve got. Might as well. Holding back might lead to “could’ve” and “should’ve.” They are like silent forgotten mines. People’s hearts become minefields and that can lead to hurting.
- Being afraid can keep you safe or make you miss out on life. It takes time to learn when and how to do it wise, so learn.
- That there is always a way out. With a catch: You need to find it.
- That you can learn something from everything that happens to you. It is said that smooth seas never made good sailors.
- That when you give you will be given.
- That life is fluid. Only make promises you can keep. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- That hugs are needed for growth; Soul growth that is. Hug for real, halfway will never do.
- That you need to believe in something. The more solid that something, the stronger the rope that ties you to it when you need it most.
- That you can only know how you yourself feel, but never how others feel. So express feelings starting with an I. You will find that it makes people listen more carefully.
- Those who care will never hurt you on purpose. Have the courage to see the others.
- People may not be aware that you hurt. Speak up. But… yelling never makes people understand you better.
- Own your past. You are here today and you are you because of what’s behind you.
- That pain cannot be avoided sometimes. But like everything else, pain also passes.
- Laugh often and heartily. More begets more.
- Few things are as bad (or worse) than they look. Most are better.
- Truth is peace. Peace of mind that is.
- Never settle for broken dreams. They are not called dreams anymore but shards. They will cut your feet and others’.
- Sing if you want to, dance, paint or ride your bike. Never be afraid to feed your soul. Feeding your soul is never ridiculous or wrong. A well-fed soul is a happy soul.
- Everyone loves to do something. Find yours and make it your job.
- If you have the choice, choose a job where you don’t have to count the minutes. Those minutes always seem longer. Emptier too.
- Farewells are a part of life. If you’re afraid of leaving you will never get anywhere. Farewell tears help grow appreciation for who you leave behind.
- If you care, show it. Guessing games are a gamble.
- Speak up. Make sure you are being heard.
- Assumptions can take you awfully close to the edge. Use sparingly.
- Learn the sound of your soul. Sometimes it’ll be only whispers. Go somewhere quiet to hear it well. It’s the truest voice you have.
- Life happens. Embrace it.
You have choices. Always.
The day turns to night and you have no choice to make daylight longer or brighter, nor do you have the option to stop the rain or bring one around if it gets too dry. But you have the choice to wake up and make every minute count.
You have the choice to make the best use of daylight to see people’s faces, to do the next thing you have to do; to build, to read, to write, to move on. You can choose. Unless your spirit and or body are confined by someone or something, you have choices.
You meet people; some will add sunshine and joy to your life, others will suck yours out. You have choices. It is an honest thing to exercise your choices, respectful too, towards yourself and others. You can choose to love, forgive, hug, or let go. You have choices: To be at peace or not.
You can smile or frown, believe in yourself or choose defeat, you can pity yourself or tell yourself you can do whatever you put your mind and heart to.
With everything you do, with the choices you make, you make a statement about yourself and life, every day. Whether you choose to exercise your right to make choices, you are still making choices, but are they the right ones?
You have the choice to make every day count. If I would ask you to give up the last 3650 days of your life, would you do that? That’s ten years. If you wouldn’t, then why would you give away a day like today?
You have the choice to make today count. You have choices. Always. Unless… You choose not to. Also a choice. Yours.
You paint tomorrow using the colors you choose today…