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Enduring Greatness

30 May

Everyone has their own ideas about life and the choices they make.  There will always be some bad players, but most of us are good and try to do our best most of the time.  Our excellent personal choices and individual humanity make life easier for all of us.  We are precious and valuable but when we get caught up in the things we must get done, or the responsibilities that press us, we may begin to feel insignificant and because there are so many of us, hardly noticeable.  It’s true there are billions of people on earth and sometimes others don’t see us but that does not diminish our personal importance.  We are all part of the whole and where we are and what we’re doing can only be magnified because we’re there.  Even at times when we’re only going through the motions and simply completing tasks that need to get done, our personal impact on the world around us may be great.  We have far more influence over those around us than we may realize.  People watch us and notice when we do things well, when we’re kind, when we give, and when we sacrifice our own comfort to help others.  We have tremendous power to impact the world for good simply by living well.  We don’t have to be loud, and we don’t have to be famous to bring about change.  By being the very best we can be in everyday circumstances we exhibit greatness.  Everyone near us and every situation we’re in is embellished when we choose well.  By sharing with those around us we have incredible potential to bring about goodness and light.  There is no end to the blessings we can bring and the world is better because we’re here.

It’s easy to feel small and insignificant when we compare ourselves to those who are doing big, impressive things the world values and applauds.  We may never find some great cure that changes the world, or discover something amazing but that doesn’t mean the impact we do have is insignificant.  Making choices that bring goodness can change lives and bring great happiness to those around us.  As we choose to share our light and bring joy we lift not only ourselves but everyone with whom we connect.

Having personal greatness does not mean we are perfect.  We all have bad days, we all make mistakes and sometimes we choose things that don’t work out.  Every time we choose to keep going instead of giving up, every time we reach further than we think we can, and every time we stay on the road when it gets dark and hard to see, we magnify who we really are.  We are stronger and more powerful than we realize and when we choose to keep moving forward we magnify the greatness within us.  There isn’t anything we can’t do and do well.  We have all the gifts and tools we need to find incredible success and happiness.

Today if you feel insignificant and unimportant, remember you are the only one who can give the world your personal gifts.  Your influence is greater than you realize and we need you.  The whole world is blessed because you are here.  You are amazing and wonderful in your own perfect way.  Be the best you can be and show us who you are.

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Miracles

30 Dec

A lot of things happen in our lives every day. Many of them are expected and explained and we often feel confident in anticipating much of what comes. But sometimes something unusual happens. Sometimes something unexpected and amazing occurs we can’t explain. Perhaps someone suddenly shows up we haven’t spoken to in a long time, and they bring the perfect answer to a problem we’ve been trying to solve. Or driving home we somehow escape a very dangerous situation we couldn’t avoid. Maybe out of the blue the extra money we desperately need is suddenly provided. We’ve all experienced extraordinary events like these at one time or another in our lives. Miracles happen every day and they are not just for parting big seas or creating a new star in the heavens. They are available to all of us. Sometimes when we get a miracle we try to explain it away or find rational explanations for what happened. But miracles are gifts to us. We don’t have to explain them, and we don’t have to know why they came. It’s enough to receive them, and allow them to bless us.

We all dream about all kinds of wonderful things we think we want. We want to meet Mr. or Miss Right – finally. We want to come into a lot of money. We want to land our dream job or travel somewhere we’ve always wanted to go. Some of these dreams are within our reach and with enough planning and work we can make them come true. Others are more elusive and the only way we can imagine getting them is if we get a miracle. However, most of our personal miracles are just that – personal. They reach something inside us we’ve been trying to understand or fulfill a need we are frantic to obtain. When the unexpected breakthrough comes it’s a wonderful feeling. We can’t control much in life but sometimes the things out of our control are exactly what we need. And when they happen we may be in the presence of our own personal miracle.

Many of us are great planners. We plan what we want to get done each day, where we want to go, and what we need to do. When everything goes according to our plans we feel like we’re accomplishing things and moving forward. But sometimes something gets in the way and blocks our path. We have to stop and rethink the way forward. During those moments, we may get inspiration to turn in a new direction. We may completely revise what we thought we wanted to do because we had to stop and think again and were inspired to go another way. Inspiration is a magical thing. It may come to us at any time and when it does if we listen to it our direction often becomes clearer and we achieve more than we thought we could. Personal inspiration brings the miracle of understanding we need. Miracles come in different ways to all of us. If we pay attention, we’ll see them everywhere.

Today if something special has happened, something you can’t explain that has helped you move forward, be grateful. You deserve every happiness and there are miracles available to you all the time. Look for them, listen to them and be thankful for them. Your life is a blessing to share with others. Embrace the miracles that come to you and extend them to those around you.

Our Gift

14 Sep

“The past is your lesson.  The present is your gift.  The future is your motivation.”  Unknown

While we’re navigating our lives and doing everything we need to accomplish we often think about our futures.  Where are we going?  What do we want to do?  How will get there?  There are questions to explore, ideas to formulate, and plans to make.  If we’re highly ambitious we may spend a lot of time planning for what lies ahead.  There is nothing wrong with making plans for the future and everyone has dreams they hope to accomplish.  But the real gift in our lives is our present.  What’s happening right now is the most important thing in our lives.  The past is behind us and we can take all the lessons we’ve learned from our previous experiences forward with us but we can’t go back.  The future lies ahead and although we may try to plan for it, nobody really knows what it will bring.  Today is the most important day of our lives.  What we’re doing right now is the only thing we have any control over.  What we’re doing, how we’re living, and what we’re learning today is the gift that helps us move forward.  We may forget how important today is if we’re heavily invested in plans for tomorrow, or grieving over something that has passed.  But today, right now, is the most precious gift we have.  If we pay attention and apply ourselves to this moment we will gain as much as possible from our experience.  Without today there would be no tomorrow.  We can honor our lives today and grab hold of everything it has to offer.

When we’re busy and have a lot to get done our time flies by.  The hours seem like minutes and before we know it the day is gone.  If we’ve rushed through it we may have missed some of the blessings available to us as we hurry to the next item on the list.  We may not even see those who pass us or hear others say hello.  Having a singular focus is helpful when there is a lot to get done.  But if we look up and pay attention as our lives rush by we will have a richer experience and deepen our connections to those around us.  It doesn’t take long to acknowledge someone and say hello, or offer a smile as we walk by.  If we take our eyes off ourselves for a moment and interact with others our days will be augmented and enhanced.  This day will be gone quickly and there is nothing we can do to get it back.  Seeing it as a gift and opening ourselves up to receiving all its blessings will bring us happiness and contentment.

They say when we’re dying we don’t regret the things we did, but the things we didn’t do.  If we knew today was our last day on earth, how would we change things?  Who would we see, and what would we do?  This may not be our last day here but if we lived our lives as though it were, how different would it look?  Would we take more time for those we love?  Would we pay more attention to those around us?  Would we offer more care and compassion?  We can change anything about how we’re living our lives at any time.  We can make each day a priority.  This life is precious.  Living each day to the fullest will bring us the most satisfaction.

Today if you’ve been rushing around to get things done, remember what a gift today is.  It’s just for you.  This is the best day of your life because it’s the only day you have.  Live everything to the fullest today.  This is your most precious gift.

Snapshots

2 Oct

As we go through our lives, there are memories that stay with us. Sometimes they are etched in our minds forever because the event was so intense – the death of a loved one, the day our child was born, or when we met the love of our lives.  But often they aren’t anything extraordinary but regular days where something unexpected happened or we felt something deeply. We remember a day at the beach when we found a perfectly round pebble on the shore. Or the time we had lunch with friends and the waiter told a joke so funny we couldn’t stop laughing. Or we remember a long walk through a quiet forest and how fresh the air felt. Our minds capture these events like snapshots frozen in time. Perhaps someone says something and a memory comes forward, or we smell a familiar but long lost scent that takes us back, or we see something and suddenly we are transformed back in time to a special moment. Our lives race by so quickly and when we remember a time before now, we have the chance to reflect and see how far we’ve come.

Every one of our days is sacred. We can only live through them one time and then they are gone. But our memories last forever. They are stored close to our hearts reminding us of who we are, and where we’ve been. It’s impossible to remember everything and some people preserve their daily activities by keeping a journal or a diary. Others take lots of pictures and revisit them again and again. And some of us just rely on ourselves to remember special moments. Whatever we’re doing, memories take us back to times before, and help us understand the road we’ve been on. If we let them, our memories will teach us and show us how much we’ve grown.

When memories are painful we may want them to disappear. If they revisit us again and again and we can’t make them stop there may be unresolved issues from whatever happened. The memory may be a reminder that we still have work to do to move forward. If that’s the case, the only way to stop the pain is to face the memory head on and deal with it. Opening old wounds is never easy but sometimes it’s the only way to make them heal. If we can face the pain openly, see everything clearly, and let it wash over us, we can begin to let it go. We have to open the door to walk through it. And then on the other side we can start to move forward again and although the memory will still be there, working through it will help stop the pain attached to it.

Today if you remember a time gone by that brought you joy, take a moment to relive the memory. Enjoy the experience again and be happy. If you remember something that hurts, look at it, and take some time to work through the pain until you can begin to let it go. Your memories are blessings. Painful or joyful, they are proof that you are here. And being here is wonderful. It’s the greatest blessing of all.

Treasure Chest

13 May

Our society seems obsessed with celebrity. There are dozens of reality shows featuring celebrities supposedly filmed in their regular lives, which as it turns out, generally aren’t regular at all. Every tabloid, every magazine, every periodical is covered with their faces, and stories about their escapades. They are often dysfunctional people, and stories of their troubles are endless. The extravagant excesses of their lifestyles are nearly unbelievable.

As we read about these people, and see them on television, the message seems to be that this is what we should be aiming for. We should seek riches, buy only the finest things, and serve ourselves. The ads we see showing these ideals always feature happy, smiling people. We just have to be rich, buy new cars, bigger homes, and send our children to only the finest private schools. Then we’ll be happy.

But happiness has never had anything to do with money or riches. It’s true, money can buy anything but poverty, but it’s also true that rich or poor, we are who we are. If we are happy and content, if we are thankful when we have little, we will probably be happy, content, and thankful if we get more. And so it follows that if we are miserable complainers who constantly find fault when we have little, we will probably be miserable complainers who constantly find fault when we have more. The monetary things we own do not change who we are inside. They can’t. What happens outside of us may make us more comfortable in the immediate future, but eventually our true selves emerge.

The secret to life isn’t getting more treasure, and seeking after riches. The secret to life is learning to live happily, and gratefully, no matter what circumstance we’re in. Having few possessions, and little money doesn’t mean we must be miserable. If we can be grateful for what we have, no matter how little or how much, we will be happy. A humble meal shared with those we love can be more fun than a meal at a four star restaurant. Time in the park throwing a Frisbee with friends can be as enjoyable as a formal gala.

Racing to get the most, get the best, and get to it first is exhausting, and will not bring joy. If we are thankful for what we have, and enjoy every moment of every day, exactly where we are, we will find happiness. Some years will be lean, some years will be full, it’s the nature of life. But no matter where we are, there is much for which to be grateful.

Today when you walk through the store and see all the splashy pictures of the rich and famous, try to remember that your life is valuable just as it is. It’s good, and it’s worthwhile. It’s the most important thing you have. Be grateful for it. It’s worth more than anything that can be bought. In fact, it’s priceless.