It’s important to share your dreams and triumphs. First, people who love you and care about you want to hear about them. I would argue that more importantly you never know just who will be inspired by them and how much that inspiration will alter the course of someone else’s life. You’ve lived your story; the life you’ve created is the result. Stories in and of themselves do not have value. It is the sharing of those stories that makes them valuable. Sharing gives us time to reflect on them and it lets others do the same. When we keep our stories to ourselves, we never realize their full potential.
So go up to the highest mountain top and shout about it. Tell people what you’ve done, and how and why and what you plan to do with everything you learned in the process. Listen to their questions and do your best to answer them. Tell them what your fears were and how you overcame them. Explain your gratitude and thank those who helped you along the way. Talk about your choices and their consequences. Share what you would do differently the next time around. Help others learn from your mistakes.
We have so much to gain by telling our tales and others have so much to learn from hearing them. Be a hero. Share your news.
“A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner. ” ~ English Proverb
We all carry our share of challenges. We don’t have enough time, energy, money, or space. We can feel paralyzed by our giant and never-ending to-do list. Life can be a slog.
Lately I’ve been taking a different approach when the seas of life get rocky. I take a deep breath and whisper a quiet thank you. Difficulties breed growth.
We don’t grow when life is moving along swimmingly and perfectly (but, oh goodness it’s nice to have that feeling once in a while!) The lessons that stick with me the most, that impact my life in powerful and magical ways, were all gained during times of trouble. When I am tested, I rise higher than I thought possible. When I really need strength, I dig down deep and find it harbored within my heart. We don’t know what we’re made of until we actually need to know.
I don’t wish hard times on anyone. I have tremendous compassion and empathy for those who are bearing a heavy load. I lend a hand anywhere and everywhere I can, and many times that means helping others to see the blessings available to us in every moment, difficult or not. There is always a reason for gratitude.
There is a casualty to being a dreamer. Sometimes we spend so much time building a world of our own design that we miss the beauty that is right in front of us. We miss the chance to be inspired right now because we’re so in love with our vision of how things will be.
I have no intention of giving up any of my dreams. I am passionate about carving my own path. However, I also want to make sure that I appreciate exactly where I am on each step of this journey. There is beauty in process, in the act of becoming. In these small, ordinary moments, there are extraordinary things happening. I want to recognize them for all the magnificence that they hold.
Last weekend, I read the New York Times opinion article by Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman. Having climbed to the top of the corporate ladder, she found that the view wasn’t worth the work it took to get there. She gave up a lot of her life to reach that position and in the article she expresses profound regret. I am glad that I took the leap from that path long before I lost my perspective.
Now my life is a work of art, and for that I am immensely grateful.
“How do you say “thank you” for sunshine or health…for clear days or gentle rains…for happiness, joy or love? You say it by sharing what you have. You say it by making the world a better place in which to live.” ~ Thomas D. Willhite
Sure you could say thank you a thousand times over. I recommend it. People need to know that they are appreciated. They need to hear thank you much more often than they do. If someone does something nice for you and you don’t acknowledge that kindness with a “thank you”, then you’re essentially flipping them off, but worse – you’re flipping them off with a passive aggressive air of nonchalance. It’s as if you would flip them off, if only it were worth the time. Ick. Say thank you – loud, proud, and often.
“Thank you” is a lovely sentiment. Simple, direct, and classy. And there’s something even better. Say thank you and then turn around and pay it forward. Sure you could turn around in the line in Starbucks and pay for your neighbors expensive caffeinated beverage. You could also extend your kindness to everyone you meet. For a day, just make it a point to smile, say thank you, look everyone in the eye, and mean it. It’s that simple. And it’s so powerful.
At the end of most of my yoga classes, I let students know that it’s my honor to be there with them, that the light that is in me honors the light that is in each one of them. And that isn’t just some gratuitous sentiment. I mean it. I feel it. I want each one of them to know that. They matter and I’m glad that I had the chance to spend some time with them. I hope the classes are helpful to them. They certainly are for me.
Life is all about exchange. Everyone shows up with what they have. It’s a mental pot luck and everyone’s invited. Share what you have and rest assured that it is enough.
Many people around the world regard Sunday as a day to give thanks. If on any given Sunday you doubt that you have much to be grateful for, print out this image and paste it up by your desk, on your fridge, or above the knob of your front door. We are luckier than we realize. We are blessed.
In most of our interactions, we never really know how we’ve affected another person. Something we say or do can have profound effects on someone else years later, and many times that effect surfaces in unexpected ways. We are all students and teachers. We observe and learn. What we say and do serves as an example for others.
When we are teaching through our words and actions, it’s important to remember that no one observes us and follows along in a rote manner. It’s not the information that’s most important. In our fast-paced world, information changes moment to moment. The system by which we process that information – our thought processes, interpretation, and then what we do with it – is what is under constant reflection by others around us.
By our words and actions, we are planting seeds. Just like a garden, some of those seeds will never germinate. We will never be able to influence some people. However, some of those seeds will sprout and take root when the conditions are right, when the person who observes us is ready to hear and act upon the lessons we teach. And it’s not always readily apparent who belongs to which group. The answers may surprise you.
There’s only one way to handle this ambiguity. Approach every situation, every opportunity, as a seed. Give it your best – all of the sunshine, water, and nutrients you can muster. Give it your love. Despite all of your doting, some of those seeds will remain dormant. But I promise you that some of them will blossom. Some of them will bring you an unimaginable amount of joy. So much so that they will make you grateful beyond measure.
Once you see that growth, put your time and attention there. All of it. That is the work of your life – to make a difference wherever and whenever you can. This is the great adventure.
I started a new morning routine on January 1st. Upon waking, I stretch, place my hands in front of my heart, bow my head, say thank you (out loud), and drink a glass of water.
The stretching reminds me that my body is a vehicle for action to create a world I am proud to call home. The focus on my heart reminds me that it is the best guide for my journey, whatever that journey is each day. I bow my head in reverence for the wonders of the world. I say thank you to remind me that every day is a gift and I’m lucky enough to get another one each morning.
That all sounds lovely, right? But drink a glass of water? What’s that about? you may ask.
Yes, it keeps me nourished and hydrated. Yes, it reminds me about the ebb and flow of life. But why make it part of this ritual? Is there anything spiritual about drinking a glass of water?
Water reminds me to keep it simple and to never underestimate the power of simplicity. This humble offering, a glass of water, keeps all of life moving. Without it, we would all perish. Without it, nothing around us would have ever existed. It offers everything and asks for nothing. It is the ultimate creative force.
Action does not imply aggression. You don’t need to bully and bust your way onto the path that is best for you. It’s so tempting to push and prod and throw an elbow to exhibit strength. But there is a better way. A surer way. A happier, more peaceful option.
Just be your best self. Invest your time and effort not in making others see and behave in the way you want them to. Go about this work on your own and inspire through example.
Live your life. Make your choices. And not for the sake of achieving something or changing someone but only because they fill you with happiness and gratitude. That is the truest definition of freedom, something we all define on our own terms and in our own time.
I was in the airport security line yesterday for my return flight home that was delayed by 3 hours. The line was moving at a snail’s pace when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“Is it okay for everyone to go through those fancy 360 degree body scanners?” a woman asked me.
“I know that if you have a pacemaker or oxygen tank, you should avoid the machine.”
“I have end stage liver disease. Is it safe for me? I hate to ask because I don’t like anyone to know I’m sick.” Without hesitation, I tossed up a silent prayer for this woman while feeling like a jerk for worrying about my travel delays.
She went on to tell me that she was flying to New England to go to Yale University Hospital. She needed to have her levels checked to see how high up on the liver donation list she could be. She has a grandson who is 10. Her name is Camille.
And here’s the real kicker: she looked as healthy as can be. I wouldn’t have guessed she even had a case of the sniffles much less end stage liver disease.
“I will make sure to say a prayer for you. It’s a wonderful hospital,” I assured her. “You will get incredible care there.”
“Thank you so much. You have a happy new year,” she said with a smile and we parted ways.
Nothing like a dose of someone else’s reality to push my worries to the periphery and make me abundantly grateful for all the blessings in my life. On the flight home I said a few prayers for Camille, and a few thank you’s to the Universe for once again letting me know that I am one lucky duck. Far luckier than most, and I won’t forget it nor take it for granted.