Take a deep breath.
Put your hands on your heart. Take another deep breath.
Feel into your presence.
Notice where you are.
Breathe into yourself and the present moment.
Pick a number between 1 and 100.
Got your number?
Breathe in the energy of a new day.
Breathe out all that's behind you, all that's done.
Today is a day you will be supported by the whole Universe.
Today is a day all your hopes and dreams will be heard by the Divine.
You are not alone today.
You are loved and supported by all that keeps this world alive and moving forwards.
Your deepest desires are held in the hands of your Creator,
where they are protected and nourished as they are brought to life.
Today is a new day, full of new possibility.
Today is a day of your own design.
What you think about today will create the world around you.
Think about what you love.
Think about what brings you joy.
Think about what makes you feel alive.
Think about the flowers blooming, the birds soaring, and all that is well, right outside your window.
Today is a new day.
Breathe in the energy of a new day.
Breathe out all that's behind you, all that's done.
I wish you many blessings and moments of joy and love today.
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
- Norman Vincent Peale
Nothing that comes your way in life is too much for you.
We all go through challenges. Disappointments. Unfair situations. It's easy to let it overwhelm us, to where we think "This is too much. I can't deal with this illness. I can't handle this difficult child. Or, I can't take this traffic, it's driving me crazy!"
God would not have allowed it if you couldn't handle it. But as long as you're telling yourself it's too much, you'll talk yourself out of it. You've got to get in agreement with God. You are not weak. You are full of can-do power. All through the day, whether you're stuck in traffic or facing a major disappointment, you're attitude should be, "I can handle it."
I can handle this grouchy boss. I can handle this difficult child. I can handle these people talking about me.
You can't have a weak, defeated mentality. You've got to have a warrior mentality.
No person can keep you from your destiny. No bad break, no disappointment, no sickness.
My mother was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in 1981, given a few weeks to live. She could've fallen apart and thought, "God, it's not fair. I've served you all these years. I don't understand it." No, her attitude was, "I can handle it. I'm not a victim I'm a victor. Nothing can snatch me out of God's hands." This week, we're celebrating her 80th birthday - still strong and healthy, full of joy, full of peace.
God is in complete control. The most powerful force in the Universe is breathing in your direction.
You don't have to get upset when things don't go your way. You have the power to remain calm. You can handle any situation. Quit letting little things steal your joy. Every day is a gift from God.
- Joel Osteen Podcast
"You Can Handle It" 3/27/19
Have you ever planted the seed of a flower? How did you know it would grow?
The seed has no brain. No eyes. No map to the surface. There's no switch you flip that says, "And now you are in soil so you will grow!"
The seed just knows it's in soil. But what is it that understands this? Again, there is no brain. How is it the seed understands that the pull of gravity is where roots go? How does it even sense gravity? What is it sensing this with? And how does it process this and react accordingly? What if the seed misunderstood and grew sideways?
What if it didn't understand what roots are for, and it didn't absorb nutrients from the soil? Worse still, what if it came thisclose to sprouting, but it gave up because it believed the darkness would go on forever?
The idea that a seed has no idea how to become a flower seems illogical.
We know the seed's roots will grow down and it's head will reach up. We know the soil pressing upon it isn't suffocating or crushing it, it's bringing it to life. Even though we can't see it, we know it's growing, we know all is well. We know that in a single moment it will break free of the darkness and spring forth into the light. No matter how long it takes, we keep watering it, because we know there are divine forces guiding it.
There's a magic to the whole process, a magic we rarely think about, we simply take it for granted.
And yet, when it comes to our own dreams, desires and lives we lose all belief in the magic of this world. That very same divine energy that guides a growing seed permeates us too. It has to. How else could we go from being one single cell to a dynamic and complex being with a head, arms, organs and so on?
We do not live by different rules than the natural world. We aren't separate from nature. We are as natural and divinely guided as every flower on this earth. We are created from that same magic and we are the magic. It's in our DNA. It's in our life force. So why do we doubt that our dreams have their own divine forces guiding them to the surface?
When things we want don't blossom right away we tend to fall into despair and doubt. The more we doubt the more we give up on the seeds growing within us. We turn away from them, refuse to nourish them, and believe there is only barren soil within us. We neglect our inner garden and allow it to be taken over with the weeds of fear, anger and disappointment.
But it's okay. No matter how deeply they have taken root, all weeds can be ripped out. The soil can be replanted with love, happiness and excitement. And even though we can't see it happening, we will know, our dreams will blossom. We ourselves will blossom.
All we must do is trust in the divine forces that guide everything and continue to follow our intuition. Our intuition is the same thing that guides a seed's roots down and its head up. As our seeds grow within we can nourish them with positive beliefs, loving thoughts and encouraging feelings.
That's all we must do. Trust in the magic. Believe in what we can't see. Nourish the good stuff. Keep the weeds away.
And when there is that moment, that single moment, when it all breaks free from the darkness of gestation and springs forth into the light, we might take a moment to marvel in the magic. To give gratitude to the divine forces. To give gratitude to ourselves for bringing forth roses and orchids in a world that too quickly expects weeds.
Free Solo is the story of one man's quest to be the first person to climb El Capitan, which is 3,000 feet from base to summit, without any ropes or safety equipment.
It's just him and the mountain. The only thing keeping him on the granite as he climbs is his sheer will power and some tiny, often times imperceptible cracks. Watching him pull himself up and cling to the rock with nothing below him except air is incredibly surreal.
I've watched this film three times, and I could easily watch it again, with just as much reverence and awe as the first time. This is the kind of story that makes you question the limits of potential. We are all told we are capable of so much more than we know. And if we pushed those limits, what would we find?
As you look at the photo below, keep in mind there is nothing supporting him. If he slips, he's going to free fall to his death. He got himself up there by his own physical and mental strength, and only he can ensure he gets down safely.
It's incredible what we can each truly do. Which isn't to say you would or could do this - but you have your own personal version of free climbing El Capitan, and only you know what it is. And you will climb it, by sheer will and inner strength, as soon as you too believe that you can.
It's hard to explain just how powerful the images in this movie are. The scenery is breathtaking. The heights are dizzying. And the feat being accomplished will make you gasp and sit on the edge of your seat.
It isn't just the climb that's incredible. The team assembled to film this did so in such a way that you'll feel as if you're there. They got us in there, without ever being in the way of Alex. In several shots of the movie, you see the cameramen and just how precarious their situations were as well. To film this was an extraordinary accomplishment in itself.
It's no surprise this film took home this year's Oscar for best documentary.
Last night, I rented this and showed it to my family. I loved showing this to my nieces and nephew, and seeing them get inspired by it also. I loved feeling that energetic rush of knowing I just witnessed something powerful and ground breaking.
When you get a chance, check out Free Solo. It's currently available to rent, and might even still be showing somewhere near you. You can find a list of current showings here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/films/free-solo/screenings
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, it's perfect.
You are whole and complete, just as you are.
You are as loved, cherished, and divine as the flowers in the grass and the birds in the sky.
There is nothing a flower must do in order to be loved, cherished and divine. It just is. Just by being, it blossoms in harmony with the whole Universe.
You too are blossoming in harmony with the whole Universe. All the feelings you have, from light to dark, are a part of your symphony. Just by being you, the music of the Universe deepens and expands.
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, it's perfect.
You are where you're meant to be. You are who you're meant to be.
You are loved and cherished, just as you are.
I wish you a wonderful day.
Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.
- Earl Nightingale
"No one else can do what you do," is an oft used phrase to motivate and inspire people.
In other words, no one has the perspective you have. No one has lived the life you have. No one will express themselves in the way you do, and the fact that you have your own unique way of doing things is powerful.
If you were to write a song, no one would sing it in just the way you do. If you were to create a shirt, no one would design in the exact same way as you. No one would teach, heal, or speak the same as you. You will have ideas and ways of executing them that will be entirely unique to you, and because you can put new things into the world, the world needs you!
Sounds great, right?
I guess so...
To be honest, for most of my life, this motivational message did not motivate me. It terrified me. It pushed on all my self-worth issues and made me not want to show up at all.
If I put my unique work out the world, which is essentially me putting myself out there, what happens if no one likes it? What if people don't actually want it the way I do it? What if my way is in fact the worst way? What if I'm in the way of someone better? What if my own unique perspective is one no one relates to? What if people just absolutely HATE what I put forth?
Does that mean they hate me?
And this is where people would say, "Don't worry what other people think!"
I mean seriously, UGH.
We're constantly telling each other not to worry what other people think while living in fear of being judged ourselves.
Can we all collectively stop telling each other not to care? We care, okay. We all care. Telling people not to care is like telling them not to be human. People never stop caring. We just put up walls upon walls, which is not the same as not caring - it's just shutting off the flow of our feelings. This in turn causes a major backup in the emotional system, which leads to depression, anger, and sickness.
I don't want you to get depressed and sick. I do want you to know it's okay to feel sensitive to other people's opinions. It doesn't mean you're not tough enough. You're not failing in some way. It's challenging to put yourself and your work out to a cynical and critical world. Especially a world where our humanity depends on us listening to each other and keeping our hearts open.
If people tell you that you should follow your passion because you're unique, and the world needs your unique vision, and that scares the shit out of you, I can relate.
In this world, achievement and ambition is almost always valued over self-love and self-care. And so for that reason, we are often quicker to encourage someone to "go for it" than we are to ask them how they feel and if they feel ready.
And so, if no one's asked you, are you ready to pursue this thing that scares you, or do you need a moment? It's okay if you do. In fact, I would prefer you took that moment to pause and breathe. That moment of recognizing your feelings and valuing them, that's the thing that's saying, I'm here, I'm alive, and I'm worthy of being heard.
You cannot value your unique gifts if you do not first value yourself as a person.
I wish you could. I know it seems it'd be so much simpler if we could do our thing, have everyone tell us how amazing it is, and then our self-worth would explode. But that would actually have the opposite effect - it would make you entirely dependent on other people's approval. It would not raise your self-esteem. It would just cause you to live and die based on outside opinion.
The only way to truly put your unique work out, and feel good about it, is it to start with a solid foundation. Start with you. Nurture yourself. Treat yourself like precious cargo. Do whatever you need to do in order to see yourself as a valuable and unique member of team humanity. Go to therapy, meditate, talk to a coach, float in an isolation tank, read all the self-help books you can. I've done all those things and more.
It took me years to build up the kind of foundation I needed in order to value my unique gifts and perspective.
It did not happen over night, and it did not happen because I charged ahead and overpowered my fear and did it anyway. I have put things out to the world when I was scared, insecure, and did not feel ready. It did not help. It only made me more scared.
How long it will take you to build your foundation depends on where you are and where you're coming from. I have no idea what kind of life you've lived nor how big your dreams are. All I know is, you have something to do that's entirely unique to you. And you will share and do that thing when you feel ready and in a way that feels good to you. Your way might involve two people, it might involve 20,000, it might involve the whole world.
It's all up to you, cause it's your life, and only you get to decide what your heart and soul need.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding.
I get really upset when I see people stuck.
It makes me anxious when I see people who want to be doing something and they're not doing it. I think part of the kind of physical anxiety I feel is similar to watching an animal in a cage and the door is open. And the animal is pacing in the cage, and you're like, "The door is literally open." And the animal is like, "Get me out of this cage! Get me out of this cage!"
When they release chimpanzees back into the wild, they open their cages, and the jungle is all around them, and the chimpanzees literally do that - pacing, circling the cage, stuck inside of it. They could just walk out. But they don't know what the wild is, and so they stay in there, freaking out.
The jungle is your natural habit. The cage is an artificial reality. It's like you've been living in captivity, but that's artificial. What's natural is the wild.
I want you to come out here, and come into the jungle where you want to be, and play, and make things, and make noise, and try stuff. Because it kills me to see you in that cage.
I have no idea who made this, and if anyone does know, please let me know in the comments so I can update this with a reference. This was shared on Facebook, and I think it's one of the most helpful things I've ever seen. I've caught myself using trite positive expressions before, and will certainly refer to this when I'm struggling to find the right words.
If you'd like to share it, you will see icons for Facebook, Pinterest, and to copy the link when you hover over the image. Or else you can download it and share it directly by right clicking on it and selecting "save as".
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Liz Gilbert speak at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. It was a conversation guided by Lisa Congdon, a fine print and graphic artist. As I post more quotes and selections from her talk, I'll be tagging them all under Elizabeth Gilbert for easy finding.
Passion is very much unpredictable.
And it's very much at the whims of the Gods. It will come and go. And when you've got it, ride it. And when you don't, back down and rely on curiosity.
Curiosity is a much more mild, gentle, impulse.
Passion is something like: burn your house down, get divorced, move to another country, and get a face tattoo. Curiosity is more like, pottery's interesting! And you don't have to sacrifice anything - passion demands the full sacrifice. Curiosity just asks you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look a little closer at something that's got your interest.
When I'm in a place where I don't have any ideas, and I don't feel any passion, and my head's not on fire - which is most Tuesdays - what I pay attention to is 'what's got me interested? What's like a little blip the radar?'
Awhile ago, I'd just bought a house and I thought, I'd like to put in a garden. I was just messing around with it.
It was as simple as 'this is nice. I want to do this.'
Over the course of the summer of creating this garden, I wanted to know the history of the plants. I found out that a lot of the plant people were women, and that botany was the only science women were allowed to participate in during the 19th century.
And then I'm like, I'd like to read about that. Wait - I might even like to write about that! All of a sudden it's growing and growing, and the next thing you know I'm writing a 500 page novel about it.
I didn't wake up one day and say, "I want to write this book." This was a year and a half after my garden was planted. These things take awhile. To me, curiosity is a series of clues on a great scavenger hunt. I've had things in my life that I've created out of passion, but mostly, of the stuff that I've done, it came from curiosity. If I waited for passion to strike, I would've written maybe one book.
Miracles happen everyday. Change your perception of what a miracle is and you'll see them all around you.
- Jon Bon Jovi
During the holiday season, people tend to talk about miracles.
Sometimes it's in a joking way, like they'll get the last parking spot and say, "It's a Christmas miracle!" Sometimes it's in a fond way, as they think of all the blessings in their life. Or maybe they just think of all those Hallmark movies that have a miraculous ending (did you see the one about a woman who crawled through a dryer to a parallel universe? It's my favorite).
Whatever it is, we talk a lot about miracles during this time of year. But do we actually see them? Is it real? Or is it just a thing we do in December, like the same way we hang lights?
Perhaps miracles are just another holiday concept we'll box up and forget about until next year...
Or maybe not.
I've shared two blog posts before on miracles, and I have to tell you, they're still two of my favorites posts. So much so I re-read them myself.
The first one, The Miracle of the Diaries, is about the only story I've ever heard that's a real life, I can't explain this, the only way this happened is divine intervention miracle. The first time I heard it I was listening to a podcast and I was so moved I ran home to write a post about it. I had to share this story. It was powerful and beautiful and best of all, real.
The second one, Expect Miracles, is the inverse of the first. It's not a big story at all. In fact, it's about the small miracles that are all around us. It's about how the entire world conspires together to make even the smallest things come together in your life. It looks at how miraculous are world really is, and I promise you, you'll never look at a cup of coffee the same way after.
I hope you enjoy these posts on miracles. And wherever you are, whatever your beliefs, I wish you a wonderful holiday season.