Running Down A Dream

Between you and me, I feel your frustrations. It’s a new year and you are on to new things. Secretly, you may not actually tell anyone but you might have promised/sworn to yourself that this is THE year (finally dammit) that you are going to start doing that thing or maybe the things you’ve always wanted to do. The big things. The important things.

Begin writing that blog, outlining the book, building that business, start your volunteering project, working on your tree house, planning that vacation, etc.  Yes, you have told yourself you are going to start working on the dreams you’ve had for quite some time that keep getting placed on the back burner while you are taking care of everyone and everything else. You’re not actually sharing it with anyone because you know there is a strong probability that you won’t get around to beginning, that your secret “resolutions” will be broken before you even have a chance to start.

You already know that this New Year New You thing is all a bunch of hype created by marketers who want to sell you detox juice cleanses and gym memberships. Today’s post is about turning your New Year’s Resolutions into a daily practice of self reflection and ongoing development. Yes, we all probably need a spark of something like ambition and self-motivation to begin building our dreams, the actual transformation happens with small steps taken each day and with a disciplined commitment to continuous iteration.

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 You can’t do it all today, but you can start.

I know this because I have had the same issues. I am too busy. I have to make money, pay the bills, cook the food, maintain the house and I have many different people in my life that depend on me for guidance, support and love.

I’m just spread so thin.

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So, like any day of the year, you start out with a list of things that need to get done today. It might be a mental list, or if you are like me, you might have written or typed your list somewhere.  The thing is, if you want to truly start working on some of those dreams, all of that stuff that you are checking off your list must be prioritized or it will be 3:00 in the afternoon before you know it and you will be kicking yourself for not having started anything that really matters most to you.

What’s Important Vs. Urgent

Knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important in your life is the ticket to winning the day. So much seems “urgent”, but you must identify what is most important and do what is important first. For me, it is getting out a post a day here, so I got up early and made it the thing I had to do. The most important. Sure it has taken three times as long to write it, but I will make more improvements tomorrow.

So many things in life can feel urgent, but they are not. Up close, things feel so much bigger. Checking emails, answering texts, posting on social media all seem urgent and important, but they usually are not. Not to that future thing you are trying to build.

Try today to understand what you need to do to begin that dream and do those things first.

Make your to do list and type an “I” for important next to the things you need to do today to get you closer to where you need to be and a “U” next to those urgent things that you will get done after you’ve done the most important. 

Seems so simple right? Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Don’t Let Your Ambition Overwhelm You

Ambition is the fire, the desire, but when it takes over it can consume you and your time. If you struggle with living a life of overwhelming busyness that you know you can’t sustain, I urger you to stop what you are doing and listen to Rob Bell’s “What to do with your ambition podcast” right now.

Ambition has a place in your life, but it shouldn’t drive you crazy with busyness. Left unbridled, it will.

How do you know if your ambition has got the best of you? Rob explains it as a haunting exhaustion. You are pushing too hard and you don’t know why. It’s when you have over committed and you say yes to everything – and you don’t remember why you did.

Speaking of curbing that overwhelming feeling, it is also important to stay hyper-realistic about what you can do vs what you wish you could do right now. Of course you are not going to write the whole book today, but what is one step you can take to get closer to beginning? You may start out with great intentions, but those long lists of everything that must get done in order to create your masterpiece – you know “the plan” can only be accomplished one task at a time.

Break Those Goals Down To Small Wins

“Too much ambition … can be a problem,” explains Tim Ferris. “not for the world, but for someone individually if it is manifested as a pure focus on self-achievement without any counter-balancing practice that allows you to appreciate [life].”

Collecting a Jar of Awesome

jar of awesome

Ambition must be counter balanced with appreciation. I am going to start today by creating my own jar of awesome. Once a day, I am going to jot down the good moments on my journey. I am going to stop for a moment to jot down something I’ve accomplished towards my goals and celebrate what makes me feel happy, grateful — the small wins.

Inspiration

Books

Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Tim Ferriss Tribe of Mentors

A compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

Rob Bell

What to Do With Your Ambition

You are not here to settle. You are crammed full of greatness. Giving your life to something that means something to you.

How to Be here

How to Be Here lays out concrete steps you can use to define and follow your dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome.

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Featured Art 

Kate Macdowell, Sculpture

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. – C.S. Lewis.

Kate MacDowell’s hand-built porcelain sculptures respond to environmental threats and their consequences, revealing the rifts and frictions between man and nature. Based out of Portland, Oregon, her work has been shown throughout the US, Japan and Europe and at Scope Miami and New York, ArtAmsterdam, ArtHamptons, Art London, London Art Fair, Showoff Paris , Solo Project Basel, NEXT and Art Chicago fairs. She was recently an artist in residence at the Kohler Arts and Industry Program and will have work in group exhibits at JMKAC (Wisconsin), and MAD (NY) this year.

Enough is a Feast & How We Rise Up

An essay and prayer of gratitude from Madeline Johnson

I do not wish to make sense of life. I wish to dwell in it’s sacred mystery.  For life is one infinite, remarkable, unfolding miracle.

Mysterious

Every single breath I take, you take, we take is a true gift.  A moment to be held in reverence. I remain humbled for this life given to all of us today, for it is is nothing short of magnificent.

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I look up at the cosmos and pay my respect.

For life is a daily, daring, epic adventure, a thrilling mystery ride to explore. I live for the questions, the seeking, the learning and the strikingly beautiful moments of awe.

I am comfortable and content with this.

I do not need answers.

enough

Gratitude is my living, breathing moving prayer, and my heart breaks open wide with an enormously huge appreciation for everything that happens today.

My soul cries out a passionate thank you to God and the universe.

This is how I pray.

My heart softening and melting into the moment.

breath

I am genuinely grateful for this breath, and now this one, and the next. . . For as my friend Julia says. . .

we are all just one exhale away . . .

There is nothing to prove or improve. Not to ourselves or to others. Honoring that we are all made perfect already. No mistakes, all of divine intelligence. We connect to our compassionate soul source, our innate goodness to our loving nature right now.

Love is the only real emotion, every other, the absence of it.

This is our best self, our connected self. Leaning on the cheek of of God, we sway, through our divine dance with life each day.

All of us quite unique on the outside, yet our hearts and souls beating as one.

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All throughout the day, I am grateful for this opportunity, this moment right now, to be awake, aware alive and here and I will not waste a moment of it.

Not a single second.

 

This is how I rise.

 

Featured art Nikolina Petolas is a Croatian based photographer and digital artist.

Perennial philosophy (Latinphilosophia perennis),[note 1] also referred to as Perennialism and perennial wisdom, is a perspective in modern spirituality that views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine has grown.
The Perennial Philosophy has its historical roots in the syncretism of Renaissance humanists like Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, who suggested that Plato, Jesus, Hermes Trismegistus and the Kabbalah were all pointing to the same God (they were almost excommunicated as a result). Leibniz also championed the philosophia perennis. You can see it flourishing in the transcendentalism of Emerson, Coleridge and Thoreau.

Joko Beck 

Painfully Grateful, Tragically Optimistic

58037f2269bc647f5a01cbd1c48d5571While it is easy to be grateful for the abundance of gifts in our lives, especially on Thanksgiving -all of the goodness – our freedom, our families, friends and the food on our table, it’s appreciation for those that have caused us hurt and pain that give us a real opportunity to truly grow and evolve.

Give gratitude and forgiveness, because those that hurt, hurt. They need it the most.

When we remember that those that hurt are the one’s that are hurting we  take the pain out of circulation and we begin to heal.

Our enemies give us a huge opportunity to practice love, forgiveness and patience. For if we do not choose to forgive, we give more power to the pain.  In the words of Steve Biko “The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

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I am grateful today and everyday for the good, the bad and the hateful, as well as the inevitable suffering that comes with life. Bring on the pain, I will take it all and make meaning to grow.

The Goods

that-is-a-real-and-great-feeling-that-every-day-is-a-gift-of-the-godI woke up this morning, looking up at the beautiful early dawn and realized, for the very first time, I am not entitled to today.  Today is truly a gift.

This feeling filled my heart with the deepest gratitude I have ever felt. Everything that I have today, every breath, every meal, the work I get to do, my husband, my children, the hot shower I took, this warm cup of coffee, these are all gifts.
No matter what happens today, I will focus on the joy, freedom and passion I have for this day with immense appreciation.

Reading
Man’s Search for Meaning

meaning

Free spirit

  I stay in youth-mode. Liberated, open, independent, playful, light-hearted and free-spirited. I let my imagination run wild. The world is my playground.

With a child-like curiosity and deep love for learning, I believe progress starts with restlessness and discontent. I am okay with feeling uncomfortable.  

I am engaged in newness and experimentation. In youth-mode I am limitless.

Pursuing Your Own Path

creekOn this amazing journey of becoming all that we are to be, we need to be reminded of the power that we have to shape our own lives.  We are never stuck in any one place. We have choices and we have options. We can choose to make where we are better or we can move to a place that calls us. This is true freedom. Not sure which path to take? Start by being curious about life. What sparks your interest?

So, just how do we stay curious? Well, I have been experimenting with the idea of trying to see everything in front of me from a new perspective, with a fresh pair of eyes.  Each morning as I set on my regular workout routine, whether that be a bike, a hike or a run in the same small town that I live in, I force myself to be curious, to find something interesting to photograph and post to Instagram, to see my surroundings in a brand new light. This active curiosity process helps me stay creative and closer to the divine spirit of life.

Read more
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

The question to ask yourself – What vision of your life fills you with curiosity and expectancy?

This post was inspired by our Sunday Morning Ritual, listening to “Be Where You Are” from The Rob Cast, a podcast by Rob Bell, surfer, preacher and master of the sermon on the mount.

amor fati

amor-fati

Amor Fati, to be in love with our fate. An attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and pain as good or, at the very least, necessary.

daily gratitude

gratitude

First I remember, I am not entitled to this life. This morning, like every morning (and each and every moment in-between) is a true gift and I receive it with arms wide open.

The daily practice of appreciation

One of the most helpful  rituals I practice every morning is upon waking up, no matter what is on my mind – worry, fear, anxiety about the day; I quickly redirect my thoughts to write down precisely what I am grateful for, so I can recall the abundance I already have. Sure there are plenty of problems to face today, but these are first world problems. With gratitude, I can handle them. It’s a privilege to have these problems. Yes, I get to do this today. I’m given the opportunity to work through these problems today. Thank you.

Beginning each day with gratitude elevates my level of happiness and peace of mind; allowing me to focus on the greatness of my life and all that I already have. A deep appreciation for where I am right now that empowers me and inspires me to awaken to this very moment and this amazing new day.

It is so simple, so mood altering and elevating. In order to feel truly grateful, I choose to recall all of the incredible blessings that I have right now, including my family, my friends and my hopes, dreams and aspirations.

“This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” Maya Angelou