Last spring I heard a woman named Cynthia Jurs speak. She said a lot of interesting and important things during her talk, but what stood out to me most was the way she spoke of “acting from the subtle” and how important it can be to stop and breathe in the midst of the chaos that seems to punctuate our world more than we want it to. She spoke of focusing on the space that is in between where we are and where we want to go. She said it’s that ‘in between’ space that allows new things to come into being. From that space we can learn to recognize our gifts, and once we’ve recognized them, we can offer those gifts out into our communities, our workplaces, and our families. She reminded us that it is from our gifts – those gifts that are unique to our own being — that we can affect our life situation in the deepest way and contribute to the healing of the world. She reminded us that due to the nature of “in between” space, we all have a different version of what’s true for us, but that we can still support each other despite being on differing paths. Continue reading “The Space Between”
Have you ever woken up late, rolled out of bed with your heart pounding, and started rushing around trying to get everything you need ready to start your day? Yeah, me too. Not an awesome way to begin a new day of life. When I get up late and frantically try to cram in all the things I like to do at the beginning of the day (i.e. put the coffee on, make a nice breakfast, practice yoga or run, and sort out the day’s to do list… before I power up the computer for coaching appointments or get my 4 year old daughter up and moving) I start the day feeling frazzled, drained and fuzzy headed. What I want to feel at the beginning of the day is calm, gently energized and clear minded. Because every day is a new day, right? Each and every morning offers up a new opportunity to make the choices that will set up a day full of actions that invite the feelings that we want. So how can we ensure our success in starting the day off right and feeling how we want to feel? Continue reading “5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better”
May has taken hold in Minnesota with warm temperatures, very little rain and lots of sunshine. The lake is being swallowed up by weeds already, but the birds and frogs are conversing, the wildflowers are holding up their brightly colored arms in triumph, Jack in the Pulpit has returned to the shady parts of the woods and the crab apple trees are flaunting their beauty as only a flowering apple tree can. Life is emerging and flowing and thriving in every direction, and it shows no sign of letting up.
But in the midst of all this growth and aliveness, there is death, too. The river has claimed another young life. A dear friend lost her brother. A family in the community mourns a son. Cancer took a friend of a friend sooner than anyone thought it would. The sweet spring air is laced with a sense of loss, and it is jarring to try to find one’s balance as the beauty and vibrancy of a new season sits next to the sadness and grief of death.
We feel for the ones who lost those dear to them in unexpected ways. We wonder how to give our support, we are unsure of what to say. We suspect that simply showing up and feeling the enormity of what has happened is what is important, but we don’t have a road map for navigating something that has never happened before. No one does. Every death is new, never to be repeated. Like every birth, every blossoming, every newly unfurled leaf, death leaves us gasping in astonishment. It shows us the amazement of life, and it shows us the fragility. It offers these things to us as another’s life passes on into whatever comes next. Continue reading “Lost in Transformation”
Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” When I read those words, my thinking, practical mind is apt to frame it in a way that puts the actual tasks on the day’s list at the center. The emails I send. The sitting I do at a desk. The way the computer dictates the work flow. When I look at it through that lens, how I’m spending my days is not how I want to spend my life. I want to be roaming a woodland glade, or diving into a pool of cool water, or watching the sunlight dapple my daughter’s cheeks as she laughs. It’s quite easy to let myself become dissatisfied with the day to day things that punctuate life.
And yet. If I look at Annie Dillard’s words through a lens that looks deeper into how I am showing up to my daily task list, the picture changes. What energy went into that email, or that message, that got sent? Who was on the receiving end? Did I rush through the process, trying to do three other tasks at the same time, or did I put the whole of my focus on the words going out into the universe? How am I sitting in my chair? Do I slouch forward, or do I stay mindful of how the chair feels against my back? What am I allowing my computer to take hold of? Am I scrolling through acres of needless information, or am I being intentional about using technology as a tool to help me live my values?
A wise colleague of mine recently said, “It’s the results of those daily tasks” – the people we speak to, the question that pierces what matters, the way listening without judgment shines light down another path – “those are the moments that show what we do with our days.” And consequently, our lives.
So when I can remember that presence is, above all, the most rewarding part of my daily practice- whatever the task list-I am able to find satisfaction in how I am spending my life. I may still prefer roaming woodland glades to tapping a keyboard and will do my best to make that part of my days, but I can find solace in the good that comes from recognizing that life is more than what we see – or perhaps even what we do- on the surface. It is how we are being that matters at the end of the day, regardless the tasks on the list. “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Indeed.