One of the best ways to ensure peace and calm in your day is to start it with silence. There is something soft and ethereal in those first moments of the day that will dissipate if, instead, you rush around with noise and hubbub.
Your homework today is to turn off all electronic devices and find a space where you can be alone without distraction and interruption. Let your muscles relax and release the tightness and tension. Sit quietly; watch, listen. Let the wisdom of the early morning unfold for you.
No matter how well you plan and how good your intentions, there are days when things don’t go as you expect. Sometimes you can only manage “good enough”. These are the days to be kind to yourself.
Your homework is to remember on this type of day is to cut yourself some slack. Perhaps enjoy a few moments with your hobbies. Or read a good book. Maybe spend some time with someone who’s positive and upbeat and who likes you.
You can do it, you can be kind and gentle with yourself.
You must be content with where you are right now in order to step into the life of your dreams. This doesn’t mean you’ve settled for where you are and it doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with crumbs.
All that “being content with where you are” means is that you’re focused on the good things in your life. Doing this creates a spirit of generosity in you so that your heart, mind, and soul are open and accepting. This makes for an inviting and welcoming atmosphere in your life.
Your homework today is to open to the goodness around you. Let go of expectations and all the woulda shoulda couldas.
Many times people tell us to “Have a good day”, “Enjoy”, “Have a good one”, and the like. We smile back and say “You, too”.
But do we, do we then make sure to “Have a good day” or “Enjoy”?
I’ll bet you’re a lot like the rest of us and we don’t take the suggestion to heart and “Have a good one”. We miss small moments to enjoy because so much on our plates overshadows them. We’re running late getting the kids to their activities, our boss or co-workers are difficult to work with, gas prices are going up, traffic is terrible….
You may think it’s too much to have a whole day that you enjoy. Sometimes there is a day when it’s great from start to finish, but for it to happen every day??? “WAAAAAAY too much to ask,” you say!
Start out with baby steps. Find little pockets of time where you can stop for a moment and find something to enjoy.
To get you started, here are a few things that bring me a twinkling of pleasure in my day:
~Waking to the birds chirping in the morning:
To me, this is one of the most cheerful and hopeful sounds. I also love hearing babies laughing and the sounds of children at a playground.
~Pausing a moment to notice the scene around me:
Perhaps at work you notice the relative positions of your coffee cup, a pen, and a report you’re working on and it strikes you that this is the modern office worker’s version of a still life.
~Enjoying food instead of gobbling it and moving on to the next task:
The first sip of coffee in the morning, a refreshing drink of water with lemon squeezed into it, the sweetness of tomatoes on my sandwich.
~Noticing what I’m feeling physically:
The warm sunshine on my hair, the soft breeze on my arms, the feel of my feet working as I walk.
~Tuning into the scents around me:
The aroma of a fresh cup of coffee or jasmine tea, the delicious smells of a homemade dinner filling my kitchen, the smell of pine trees as they warm in the sun.
Your homework today is to start enjoying your day by beginning with baby steps.
For instance, take the scenic route to or from work—or both! Pay attention and notice the light slanting through the trees or between the buildings.
Or, pause a moment in your day and sit quietly. Open all your senses and observe (no judgment!) what you’re seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Does anything capture your attention?
I know for certain that you can think of other things that would give you little sparkles of joy in your day.
Doing this exercise regularly will help build a positive, expectant attitude that is essential for achieving your dreams.
I had a friend who had immigrated to America from an Eastern European country. Somehow he made it to our shores more than a decade before Glasnost brought down the Iron Curtain. I asked him about it once and he was very vague saying something about it taking a while and he had to go through several countries. It must have been a truly harrowing experience, to say the least, because it was one of the few times I’d ever seen his ready smile fade.
He was always happy, always had a big smile and kind word for others, no matter what kind of day he was having. In fact, he was always so cheerful that it never occurred to me that he might have had worries or struggles or bad days of his own.
A group of us were out one evening and someone asked him how he could always be so happy. He opened his arms wide and, with his trademark good humor and big smile, he said, “I’m in America. What’s not to be happy about?”
My friend passed suddenly and unexpectedly a few days ago. In his memory, no matter where you are in the world and no matter where you are in life, ask yourself “what’s not to be happy about?” Make a list of what you do have and what you can do and the progress you are making. Be glad about it and grateful for it.
Here’s to fathers the world over who share themselves with their children: teaching us about intellectual pursuits and the value of education; the joy of physical activity, goofing around, and sportsmanship; the honor of putting our best foot forward and—regardless of the outcome—the satisfaction of knowing we did our best.
Thank you fathers for holding our hand when we needed it and for pushing us out of our comfort zones when we needed that—and thanks for knowing the difference!
Thank you fathers for showing us that real men step up to the plate and do what needs doing, whether they want to or not or whether it’s cool or not. Thanks for showing us that real men are gentle, compassionate, kind, and forgiving, and that they also know when to be tough, strong, and fierce.
Thanks fathers for showing us how to live with honor and integrity and that those virtues really are the best guides in life.