A Beautiful Fall Morning of Contrasting Clouds and Sun

Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment – this day – is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day – each moment of this day – a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity. Dan Custer.

you are equal to all others;
some may have greater talents and power
where you are lacking
but you are greater in areas
where they cannot go.
do not stop your own growth and progression
by trying to emulate… or follow… anyone.
step out with courage
develop all that you are meant to be
look for new experiences….
meet new people
learn to add all new dimensions
to your present and future
you are one of a kind….
equal to every other person
accept that fact
live it… use it… stand tall
in belief of who you are
reach for the highest accomplishment
touch it… grasp it…
know it is within your ability
live to win in life
and you will.
Diane Westlake

The words of Custer and Westlake are just what I needed this morning to be reminded of the great gift today is and how perfectly imperfect, yet extraordinarily capable I am. Those thoughts are sweetened by knowing this is Sunday; a day off work and a beautiful fall morning of contrasting clouds and sun. My life is deeply rich and when I take the time to notice its fullness I become humbly grateful.

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies;
but the thankful heart will find, in every hour,
some heavenly blessings.
Henry Ward Beecher

As One Might Make An Offering

There are mornings like today where specific inspiration for writing of my gratitude is outside my grasp. On those days I seek out a favorite writer or a poem dear or else seek out something I have not read before. On some occasions I try my hand at verse. How quickly rhyming words come or how laborious the task feels tells me how clear my thoughts are. Today in my books I found two poems I had not read before and eight lines of poetry fell together for me in minutes. As one might make an offering at the foot of an altar, I lay these are your feet today in hopes they are of good use to you.

“Mystery” by Kenneth L. Patton
Only those who do not know
where’s the home of mystery
look outside the day to day
you and I and all can see.
Mystery is in our minds
hid behind the quiet thought,
under feet, upon our tongues,
anywhere it is not sought.
Mystery is not outside,
But inside the ears and eyes,
in the clasping of the hand
in our unsurprised surprise.
Mystery, bold on the top,
out upon the ample air
hides itself successfully
just by being everywhere.

“If I Knew You & You Knew Me” by Nixon Waterman
If I knew you and you knew me,
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine,
The meaning of your heart and mine,
I’m sure that we would differ less,
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree,
If I knew you and you knew me.

“We Want” by James Browning
We want to know the unknowable,
To see what can’t ever be seen.
We want to hide from high and low
With only joy; no sadness in between.
Like flapping arms expecting to fly,
We run through life mindlessly fast,
Pretending sincerely we won’t die,
But only for our time do we last.

This line appears on my screen as the first gaggle of honking geese go flying over my home signaling the certainty of the change of seasons. So much I have to be grateful for, but at this moment I chose to express only two: 1) my thankfulness for great writers that have inspired me since I was a child; 2) the cooler days of fall are here. To openly be grateful for a thing or two makes me feel full of life as I embrace the new day.

I’m not young enough to know everything
J.M.Barrie

A Thank You Left Unexpressed

Today my leave-behind here is short and simple; a short story of unexpressed gratitude from yesterday about 5:25pm.

Late afternoon rolled around with an appointment for my every five-week haircut. Driving in the peak of late day drive-time traffic, my departure from work was later than it should have been.

As I drove my mind was a flurry of activity that included discussing an issue on a long phone call with a co-worker, concern about getting to my appointment late, reminding myself to stop at the pharmacy on my way home and then getting caught in traffic where two lanes are narrowed into one. It is there the subject of this story lies.

1) It is a personal pet-peeve about people who can clearly see the signs that a lane is closed, but chose to go down the closed lane as far as possible before merging (called a “zipper merge” I read somewhere). Of course, doing that slows down the lane that is open where everyone else has orderly lined up soon after seeing the signage.

  • Admission: In my haste yesterday I was one of those people. In my efforts to get to my destination I disregarded what I should have done to serve my own selfish need. Of course, it’s a little thing, but one I wish to apologize for to those who “followed the unwritten merge rule” . It’s fascinating to me what a human being can justify when they feel cornered; even me.

2) Even though I ‘cheated’ by going down the closed lane as far as I could, there was someone kind enough to let me in. That is one of the wonderful things about living where I do; people are genuinely good and thoughtful. What I regret is pulling into the space the person gave me, but never acknowledging them. Another peeve is letting someone in and not getting some sort of customary signal of thanks. Being late and caught up in my own “stuff” I disregarded expressing gratitude for a small kindness. So lost was I at that moment I could not tell you if the driver was a man or woman, much less what type of car they were driving.

  • My small retribution for a thank you left unexpressed: To that nameless, faceless person who let me merge in traffic yesterday, this morning I say “thank you” and apologize I did not express my gratitude at the very moment of your kindness.

Today I will be a little more aware of each kindness shown me and a bit more expressive of my gratitude for each one. For the small lesson of yesterday I am grateful and even more so for my awareness to notice it.

Happiness cannot be traveled to,
owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience
of living every minute
with love, grace, and gratitude.
Denis Waitley

The Key To A Happy Life

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. It is a mindful acknowledgment of all that we have been given. When we focus on the abundance in our lives, we discover a greater capacity for generosity, cheerfulness, and contentment.

From “A Poem Of Gratitude” By Chuck Danes

I share my debt of gratitude with all my spiritual friends
Whether Christians, Muslims, Jews, and such or even Buddhist zens
Regardless of the place we live or where your faiths begun
My gratitude begins with this, “I’ve learned that we are One”

I’m grateful for the many days when clarity is strong
As well as those it “seems” that life has somehow led me wrong
For it’s those times that awaken me and nudge me toward the light
Till once again my hopes and dreams are clearly held in sight

I’m grateful for the love within the circles that I dwell
My family, friends and even those who’ve made life seem like hell
For each of those have taught me more regarding how to Love
Provide me feelings to express these things that I write of

I’m grateful too for false beliefs which led me on my quest
For mentors met along the way I truly do feel blessed
Who clearly showed me of the need to understand my worth
And “Higher Truth” which promises a life divine on earth

I’m grateful for the joy I feel, I’m grateful for the fear
Understanding what it is and that it draws me near
To the life I know is waiting on the other side
And when it comes I must hold fast and use it as a guide

I’m grateful for all nature, the birds the grass, the trees
The lakes which hold abundant life, a summer evenings breeze
The clouds above the ground below, the moon, the stars, the sun
The days and nights which represent that another day is done

I’ve learned to stay in gratitude no matter how things seem
That perceptions held as negatives will only slow your dream
So even though my path will lead through troubled spots I know
I must keep on, keep focus fixed, on life’s abundant flow

There’s so much that I’m grateful for, though sometimes I’ll forget
Beliefs rekindled from the past that I perceive as threats
But it’s these times I must remind myself of what I know
That when they show their presence, that they’re here to help me grow

One final thought I’ll share today before I say I’m through
I’m so grateful for these words to give today to all of you
It is my wish that they will help you keep the attitude
Which leads to that which you desire and comes through gratitude
Complete poem: http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/a-poem-of-gratitude.html

Expressing gratitude is a rewarding habit that affirms the grace of the giver. Gratitude opens our hearts, encourages us to savor each gift that comes our way, and magically frees us from jealously guarding our possessions. It lets us celebrate today rather than waiting for the next level of accomplishment or wealth. It is a reminder that one can always find reason to be glad. open/close from http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/60-gratitude/meditations

Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands,
because if we are not grateful,
then no matter how much we have we will not be happy
because we will always want to have something else or something more.
Brother David Steindl-Rast

Believe In Love More Today

I was in love with love before I knew what it was. When one lives with lack of affection as I did as a young child, the yearning to fill that hole starts early and never completely leaves. Even understanding today that what went on when I was a kid placed an unnecessary deep need within does not diminish my desire to be loved and appreciated. That’s ironic because love is also a fairly scary for me.

In regards to love I frequently have not known exactly what to do or say, but always have wanted to do it to perfection. Without a stutter or hesitation has been how I have desired to express my truest feelings, yet hesitate and have great difficulty successfully following through on my intention. Or else I go too far and gush forth with such expression of feeling the object of my affection does not what to do with it all. I’m great with family and friends, but in a romantic relationship I always feel like I am thirteen years old again; an unsure, stumbling boy. Actually for me that is some of the charm of it all; I am still excited about the possibilities of love.

Even today I am not tired of love as so many in middle age seem to be. “Been there, done that” is the attitude I hear often from singles in my peer group. The “put downs” of the opposite gender are often spoken by such people frequently as a cover for their bad choices. Well, sorry folks, till my last dying breath I will never adopt such attitudes.  I’ve made my mistakes, but believe in love more today than I ever have.

From one of many of the books I have accumulated on love comes the following advice:

What does the one you love really want from you? The answer is “you”. So that’s what you ought to give. “You”, in your own style and own words. Don’t try to write like a poet, unless tha’s what you really want to do. The point is, you don’t have to write like a poet to say what you want to say, nor is that the standard you will be judged by.

What you will be judged by is feeling, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and, most of all, sincerity. Could any poet convey those qualities to the one you love better than you? Not Shakespeare himself!

Letting go of your inhibitions will add immeasurably to the enthusiasm that you feel and transmit. And in communication, enthusiasm is as contagious as it is credible. The real you, and the assurance that you love him or her in your own way, in your own words. That’s what he or she wants to hear and see from you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remember too, you are writing to only one person who is not going to judge you like an English teacher, because that person is your most understanding friend and is interested in one thing: to know how you feel about her or him, in your own words.

How can you lose? Your audience is totally on your side, and all it wants is what you and you along are capable of delivering. An honest expression of your love that will be as individual as your fingerprint. From “You Don’t Have To Be A Poet To Put Your Love Into Words” by James D. Donovan

With great gratitude I say, “I am deeply grateful for the ability to love and can be loved”. My openness for love is a gift that goes against the grain of age. I am thankful to be able to easily go against the flow.

In the one we love, we find our second self.
Love is the beauty of the soul.
To love abundantly is to live abundantly,
to love forever is to live forever.
There is exquisite beauty in the heart that cares and loves.
Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Unknown

Namaste, Have a Nice Day, Good Morning

“Namaste” is a word I hear quite frequently these days, usually from someone who’s taking yoga or Ti Chi classes. I tend to be around “spiritual seekers” of one kind or another a lot and know the word seems to always be spoken positively in the context of a blessing and good wish. I got curious about what “Namaste” really means.

Namaste, is a common spoken valediction or salutation originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting. A non-contact form of salutation is traditionally preferred in India and Namaste is the most common form of such a salutation.

When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest.. Wikipedia

Namaste, when simply put, means ‘I bow to you’. It is a respectful salutation and is used as a courtesy greeting. When two people greet each other with a Namaste, it is an act of recognizing the presence of divinity in the other as it is in oneself. Therefore, Namaste is a not just a greeting but a reminder that a higher Spirit resides in you as it does in me. So, an alternative definition for Namaste would be ‘I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me’. This definition is attributed to author Kabir Chopra in the book ‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ by Deepak Chopra.

Namaste also has another meaning. The ‘NA’ in Namaste signifies a negation; ‘MA’ means ‘mine’ and ‘TE’ as mentioned earlier means ‘you’. When put together, it simply means ‘not mine but yours’. Thus, saying Namaste is a subtle way of giving up one’s ego and surrendering to the Supreme Spirit that is recognized to be present in the other person. http://voices.yahoo.com/

In coming to know the true meaning of Namaste it seems similar to “bless you” frequently heard in western countries. My curiously continued pushing me toward the roots of this expression as well. What I found was the term “bless you” actually comes from an ancient superstition that a person who sneezes might actually sneeze their soul out of their body. Ok, how about “have a nice day”?

Some say “have a nice day” itself first appeared in the 1948 film “A Letter to Three Wives”. According to Roland Dickison of California State University “have a good day” first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1387 “The Canterbury Tales”.

What about “Good Morning”? As we use it started as a greeting, “have a good morning” with a shortened version of “good morning”‘ dates from around 1400, as “gode morwene”.

Now I have some relatively useless information stored in my head to dump onto others at opportune moments. Interesting I can remember such trivia for years and years, but can’t remember a phone number more than 12 seconds.

“Namaste, have a nice day and good morning” seems to cover my bases on wishing everyone a meaningful day. I am grateful to get to share my thoughts and ramblings here every day!

Lord I know I’m not here to stay,
but thanks for waking me up today.
Prepare me for what may come my way.
Cee Lo Green

Two Simple and Good Reminders

“Religion”

Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think – all these things – twenty-four hours a day. One’s religion, then, is ones life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived.

Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what white people call “religion.” It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion. From “Columbus and Other Cannibals…” by Jack D. Forbes

“The Good Life”

Living a good life means different things to different people. While there is no specific consensus, there is an ambiguous, mutual understanding. “The good life” is the life that you would like to live broken down to its most basic form. It deals with the simple things that make you happy, the compassionate deeds you perform, the personal goals you strive to achieve, the relationships you nurture and the legacy you leave behind. Sincere personal fulfillment is generally the collective end result.

Another vantage point is “The good life” is also about appreciating all your time, not just your leisure time. Far too many people get caught up in the mad rush of a corporate lifestyle and grow completely numb to the little moments, the simple building blocks of time that make life magical. Time, after all, is the single greatest element of life.

Two simple and good reminders to begin my week: 1) All I do and am today is my ‘religion’ and 2) The ‘good life’ is about appreciating all my time including time spent working. Two little statements; a couple of nuggets of wisdom that will make today a better experience because they are at the front of my consciousness. I am grateful for the reminders.

Nothing is ever enough
when what you are looking for
isn’t what you really want.
Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington

A Little Advice

My son and his lady dear are away on a month-long experience in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand in celebration of achieving his doctorate. He posts photos and recaps of each day on a travel blog. I’m touched by the smiles on their faces and how happy they are together. Covered in mud and sweat from riding dirt bikes in a group excursion far out into the country, the expressions on their faces yesterday are the sort of riches a parent hopes for a child. He’s a fully grown man of thirty and a good one too. However, I will always be a “Father” who offers a little advice here and there like the two nuggets of insight below.

“The Tone of Voice” – author unknown
It’s not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It’s not so much the language you use
As the tone in which you convey it;
“Come here!” I sharply said,
And the child cowered and wept.
“Come here,” I said-
He looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.
Words may be mild and fair
Or the tone may pierce like a dart;
Words may be soft as the summer air
But the tone may break my heart;
For words come from the mind
Grow by study and art-
But tone leaps from the inner self
Revealing the state of the heart.
Whether you know it or not,
Whether you mean or care,
Gentleness, kindness, love, and hate,
Envy, anger, are there.
Then, would you quarrels avoid
And peace and love rejoice?
Keep anger not only out of words-
Keep it out of your voice.

From “Tribute On A Very Real Person” Unknown
People are of two kinds, and he
Was the kind I’d like to be.
Some preach their virtues, and a few
Express their lives by what they do;
That sort was he. No flowery phrase
Or glibly spoken word of praise
Won friends for him. He wasn’t cheap
Or shallow, but his course ran deep,
And it was pure. You know the kind.
Not many in life you find
Whose deeds outrun their words so far
That more than what they seem, they are.

Being a father has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. From birth till now my son has been a true joy and it grows as the pile of memories gets bigger and bigger. For the gift of being a parent and all the it has taught me I am deeply grateful.

Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you,
and their souls the heaviest responsibility
He will place in your hands.
Be a person in whom they can have faith.
When you are old,
nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.
Lisa Wingate

Wisdom In Triplicate

(1) Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
So love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the one’s who don’t.
Believe things happen for a reason.
If you get a second chance,
grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy,
they just promised it would be worth it.
Unknown

(2) Remember that things happen for a reason
and if it was meant to be
It wouldn’t have ended.
We should not cry cause it’s gone;
We should be happy that it happened.
Many people touch our lives in different ways;
Some come for a while,
others stay for a season
and show us their magnificent essence
for a purpose and then leave;
And then there’s the people that stay forever,
which ultimately are the ones that count;
so smile and cheer up.
Unknown

(3) Go for long walks,
indulge in hot baths,
question your assumptions,
be kind to yourself,
live for the moment,
loosen up,
scream,
curse the world,
count your blessings,
just let go,
just be.
Carol Shields

Some days my gratitude is general and not specifically focused; its on those mornings that simply being alive seems like such a gift I can’t move to anything more focused. Here at dawn today, I find myself precisely in that spot: flled with thankfulness; brimming with hope; balanced with lessons learned the hard way. I re-typed others words above to remind me of what matters most: life, in all the manners it may come.

Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
Dr. Seuss

It’s Only In My Mind

A bad habit of mine is to wonder if I should be doing something else, have a different job or a different profession, be somewhere else other than where I am or mentally wander off into similar such thinking. In some circles it’s called “future tripping” when what is ahead has a greater focus that what is present. Intellectually I know living happens only in the present; that life is found only in the now; that living in the present well leads to one’s future. But I have human frailties and figurative ‘time travel’ into the future is something mentally I do far too much.

Well I want something to do, to create, to achieve, to whatever…. Something I can’t get enough of. You know something that I can’t wait to get up in the morning to do something I can’t get enough of, something that brings me joy and makes my heart sing. It could be anything, could be more than one thing but something that grabs me. Even a job, if it grabs me so that I could hardly wait to get there. Something that makes me feel good, allows me to be me, gives me freedom to grow and expand, something that grasps my heart, my joy, my excitement and leads me down the path to more joyful things, exciting challenges and challenging things. Klaus Joehle

Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself….His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness. Hermann Hessee

You must love your work, and not be always looking over the edge of it, wanting your play to begin. And the other is, you must not be ashamed of your work, and think it would be more honorable to you to be doing something else. You must have a pride in your own work and in learning to do it well, and not be always saying, There’s this and there’s that—if I had this or that to do, I might make something of it. George Eliot

When you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream,
assigned to you when that dream was born,
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth
with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness
and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion
with a breath of your own spirit.
Work is love made visible.
From “the Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

All those borrowed words don’t put me any closer to putting an end to my “future tripping”. However, they do help me to know my quandaries are not unique; that wondering about where I am going, what I should be doing; and what livelihood I should be immersed in is simply a human condition. Today I will simply try my best at the work I apply myself to knowing a step at a time today is a certain path forward. I am grateful to realize my direction can be changed at any moment. Even if I feel stuck, I am not stuck. It’s only in my mind.

The highest form of human intelligence
is to observe yourself without judgment.
Jiddy Hrishnamurti