Eye of the beholder: Captivated, Enthralled, Awed

When I think about Sundays, what I value is communion, reflection, music, words, and community. These values have developed over a lifetime of Sundays. But in reality, those are my values every day.  Sunday is just the day I set aside to celebrate those values. The day we choose is not important.  What matters is that we take the time.

Taking time to commune and reflect, alone and within a community, is how new perspectives can be born.  We all need those moments that form the genesis of creating a new lens – a new portal for seeing ourselves, our loved ones, our work, our lives, our world.  We all need this now more than ever. A year ago, I posted a music video selection that focuses on the idea of perspective and how things shift depending on what we allow ourselves to see, or even not to see.  It’s an incredible work and worthy of sharing again.

I would encourage you to expand your screen (mind) and let the images and words soak in. Borrowing from the title, make this a moment for beholding the world anew.

What a wonderful moment to take us into the week. As we return to our routines, old and new, let’s once again see that world of our childhood and as the speaker exhorts us: be captivated, enthralled, awed.

Beginnings and endings… Are you ready for today?

My favored space where I write and work is filled with creative work from other artists as well as my own. My favorite pieces are where images and words collide and create illustrations that move me.

Just above my desk is such a piece. It isn’t a large work. It only measures 12” by 12” – one square foot. It covers only the basic measure of space. And yet it expresses the drive that fuels my work and inspires me every day. It’s a stretched canvas that has a transferred print from the artist Bonnie Mohr. It has a striking image of a tree in a field with open fencing against a sky with both shadows and the sun. The tree is mature with wide full branches. Its shape is lovely but has gaps through which you see the sky beyond it. You just know that this tree is the keeper of many secrets and dreams.

A tree tells the story of a seed that sprouts roots first and then grows to its fullness in time. We share a similar story. We are born, our roots begin to form even as we grow. For both of us, how we adapt to a changing environment and assimilate all of the elements thrown at us has a great deal to do with how we grow. The impact is in our shape, size, even character.  The tree in this picture has a strong character.

The image frames these words: “Nobody can go back and start a new BEGINNING, but ANYONE can start today and make a new ENDING.” 

We cannot begin again. We’ve already started. For me, it’s not even something I would desire. To start again, I would lose too much of what is dear to me. What I can start today is a new chapter. The ending is still being written. The ending is still mine to choose based on what I choose today. Like the tree, we just keep living. We keep growing and reaching for new horizons.

One of my personal mentors is Robin Sharma.  From his teachings, I incorporated a mantra within my morning reflection where I focus my day before it begins. It is this:

“Every day, in every way, I am growing wiser and stronger. Today will be my best day.”

It is the first part of the mantra that makes the second part true. As we come into each day we bring with us all of the strength and wisdom of each and every day that came before.  We have this incredible bank of experience and knowledge that is unique to us and that moment in our lives.  All we have to do is learn and leverage to make every day our best day. That does not diminish the value of any day that came before. In fact, it honors those days by building on them.

Are you ready for your best day? Are you ready for today?

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

 

Engage with me in a conspiracy of love!

Time For Something New

One of my favorite insights on life comes from Golda Meir. When asked for her thoughts about her achievements and the role she played on a global stage, she offered this advice:

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

The power lies in the fact that we determine which achievements and which sparks to fan into those flames. There is the key – WE must decide. WE must do.

Here are three questions that can help you determine if you are on your own best personal path or if you have become a bit too comfortable in that easy chair of your life:

#1:  When was the last time you tried something new?

Think about this for a moment. Do you always eat the same food?  Listen to the same music?  Read the same authors?  Go to the same places?  Spend time with the same people? If you aren’t exposing yourself to any new experiences, the rut is going to happen naturally. You’re going back and forth in a groove.

#2:  How much are you learning and growing right now?

There is an unlimited curriculum in life for learning. What do you want to know that right now you don’t?  Do you have a learning strategy that is aligned to your life strategy?

#3:  When was the last time you took a REAL risk?

Has something happened in your life or work that has made you more risk averse? Perhaps the economy. Disappointments in relationships. Missed opportunities. When that happens, it can be like the first time we touch a hot stove – it’s pretty rare for us to go back again. We experienced something that didn’t pay off. The danger is that once we’ve started thinking in terms of risk we begin to see all risk the same. We’ve forgotten that risk itself has changed.

Not taking risks today is in fact the greatest risk. Are you employed and know your industry or function is in decline?  Are you taking any risks to change your situation?  Risk could mean investing $$’s in education; it could mean starting your own part-time business; it could simply mean facing your fears and going to a networking function and meeting new people. What we fear the most is usually what is in truth holding us back. Face the fear and remove the obstacle.

If any of these questions resonate with you, it is important to remember that you hold the power to break the barrier of that comfort zone.

There are only three things you need to do:

1)      Decide you are ready for change

2)      Decide where you want to start

3)      Choose one action you can do NOW and BEGIN!

Once you are moving in the right direction, momentum will take over. The fresh energy you experience from changing one thing will also fuel other fires. The sparks will carry into every area of your life.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

 

The Journey – Poetry, Music and Imagery

Cavafy’s “Ithaca” remains one of my most beloved poems.

So, of course it came to mind last week while on a writer’s retreat when the discussion turned to poetry.

One of my favorite ways to experience the poem is by watching a stunning video that has a beautiful score by Vangelis. The poem is read by Sean Connery.

I invite you to experience it as well.

While there are many interpretations of this work, its essence is that the journey and the destination both matter.  The beliefs we take with us on the journey about our destination will determine much about the experience.  And the depth to which we experience the journey will only serve to help us better understand the real value of our destination once we arrive.

I have found success works like this.  We each define what success means to us and set out on our journey to reach it.  By the time we arrive, it will have changed because we will have changed from the journey and gained new understandings.

As Jim Rohn taught, more important than the goal itself is the person we must become to attain it. That is the essence and story of Ithaca for me. It’s a reminder to choose our destinations carefully and then travel well.

ITHACA [1910, 1911]

As you set out for Ithaca, hope that your journey is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laestrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare sensation touches your spirit and your body. Laestrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul; unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope that your journey is a long one. May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors you’re seeing for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind- as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to learn and learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind. Arriving there is what you’re destined for. But don’t hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so that you’re old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way, not expecting Ithaca to make you rich. Ithaca gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would have not set out. She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you’ll have understood by then what these Ithacas mean.