We did it.
We got through the year we never could have expected to have happened.
So much loss on so many different levels.
But we made it through. We are still here.
If this past year has taught us anything it’s that we are far more resilient than we probably expected we were. If we were told last January what we’d be facing in the coming year I’d suggest many of us would have questioned our ability to get through it.
But we did.
Resiliency is a painful life lesson only life gets to teach us. When going through the wall isn’t ideal but it’s the only option you have. This past year has been quite a wall.
There are still walls in front of us, some pandemic related and others not. A new year doesn’t simply reset the challenges of life. Perhaps, though, we’d serve ourselves well in reflecting upon exactly what we’ve been through and see that yes, we are far more resilient than we may have given ourselves credit for.
Perhaps a small victory, but a rather important one.
“So much for going for a small role, huh Dad?”
Her face was fully aglow from the brightness of the iPhone as she read the email. And in an instant the size of her eyes doubled.
She got the part.
My daughter auditioned for a rather important part in her school’s drama club performance of “Willy Wonka”. This being her first year in this new school, she would be competing with seasoned students, more well-known to those who make the ultimate decision as to who gets selected for the roles. And since she has never been in a school play before, I had actually tried to convince her to try out for a smaller, less visible role.
She didn’t quite see it that way.
One of the countless joys of being around my daughter is her blissful enthusiasm. Continue reading “The Inheritance of Limitation”
She didn’t even care. And I’m certain she never even thought about it. It looked like fun, especially the ones which moved up and down.
Behold the world through the eyes of a six year old.
Going through some old photos, I found a picture of my daughter at an amusement park from a few years back. There she was, with a smile from ear to ear, her eyes as wide open as they could possibly be. She was holding on tightly to the brass-colored pole which connected the plastic horse to the mechanism which allowed it to go up and down.
When it comes to exciting amusement park rides, the carousel pales in comparison to the more modern gravity-defying, vomit-inducing rides. But there she was. In the moment. Fully present. Simply enjoying the ride. Never comparing the Continue reading “What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?”
When I grow up I want to be a tree.
Trees, simply, grow.
Trees live up to their potential. Everyday. They fully expand and become all they were created to be. Because trees never work against themselves. The don’t fill themselves with doubt or question their worthiness. They don’t complain about the quality of the soil they’re planted in. They don’t stress wondering what will happen if there isn’t as much rain as last year. Trees never look at other trees with jealousy or envy, the short trees never wishing they were taller, the wide-trunked trees never wishing they were thinner.
Trees never work against themselves.
Continue reading “The Surprising Benefits of Thinking Like A Tree”
What if you just decided to be happy, right now, for no particular reason?
Certain things make us happy. That usually happens when the outside world meets or exceeds our expectations. Then we allow ourselves to be happy. Happiness becomes the result when our terms and conditions are met.
But what happens when the world around us lets us down?
Think about how a rainy day off from work makes you feel. We establish our expectations for what a “perfect” day off should be, and then the rain ruins everything. Our expectations are not met and our disappointment undermines our ability to be happy.
Why do we place so much of our capacity for happiness into the hands of the outside world of which we have zero control over?
Continue reading “Embracing the Radical Idea of Unconditional Happiness”
Independence Day. A day most of the nation unplugs and celebrates the freedoms which serve as the backbone of America.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
But when do you ever stop to celebrate your own greatest personal freedom?
As humans, regardless of birthplace or nationality, we all possess the freedom to choose our thoughts. Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl described this as the “last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
Standing where you are, you have some life-shaping decisions to make. You get to decide if the Continue reading “The Forgotten Freedom?”
There is something quite beautiful about feeling the need to punch a hole in the wall. Or in returning the favor when another driver flips me off on the way to work.
Anger and aggravation are wonderful blessings. Because they are two emotions which tell me how well I am handling the world when the world isn’t living up to my expectations of it. If my best response in the moment is the desire to put my fist through a 1/2-inch of drywall, I am no longer in control of my emotions. My emotions are in control of me.
The world can provide us with unlimited opportunities to become angry and aggravated. If we let it. But negative and hostile reactions tell me I need to stop and analyze why I Continue reading “Anger and Aggravation Are My New Best Friends”
I admit my ignorance when it comes to understanding the “art” of the bonsai tree. In fact, I’m not sure I ever saw much artistry in it. What’s the big deal about trimming little trees with a pair of little scissors anyway?
Once again, I was probably missing the point.
And I was.
Last week I unexpectedly found myself reading a magazine article about bonsai trees. As I read and looked at the photos, I challenged myself to open my mind and look beyond my preconceived notions to see if I could gain a better understanding of these cute little trees. I had always dismissed them as nothing more than, well, cute little trees. As I Continue reading “Bonsai Thinking”
Funny how most of the important parts of our lives don’t come with any instructions. But buy a $10 toaster and inside the box you’ll find an owner’s manual with detailed instructions on how to turn soft room temperature bread into warm crusty bread. Usually this information is translated into several different languages, ensuring that a language barrier will never prevent any one from enjoying the simple pleasures of toast.
As much as I enjoy toast and the science and technology behind it, I’d like to think that a troubleshooting guide to life’s deeper questions would be far more valuable than figuring out how to get my bread to toast a little lighter.
Life, and all the questions that come along with it, is just one of those things you have to figure out on your own.
Perhaps life is just far too complicated to have all its mysteries resolved by following a few simple steps. And since no two of us are Continue reading “Expecting Green To Be Blue”
Perhaps your toaster is trying to tell you something?
I never think about my toaster. Even when I’m plugging it in. Even when I’m putting my English muffins into the over-sized slots. I never think about my toaster.
My toaster is just sitting there on the counter. It’s always been on my counter. Probably always will be, too. It’s just one of those props on the set of my mornings, just like the coffee maker and the can opener.
My relationship with my toaster is decidedly one-sided. It’s always been about what the toaster can do for me. White, wheat, or Continue reading “Why You Really Need To Hug Your Toaster”