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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 

Is This The Person You Want to Be?

Our motives are goal directed activities that energize and direct our behavior. Our motives support what we do, how we behave and what we put forth in the world.

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Sometimes our motives are simply the presentation of how we hope the world perceives us.

Powerful . .

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Intelligent . .

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Foxy. . .

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Strong. . .

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Compassionate . . .

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Sometimes though, we have to make choices. Choices between doing what we want to do and what we must do.

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Doing the right thing may not necessarily match our goals. The right thing may be miles away from our true desires. It isn’t necessarily the thing that will make us happy, get us noticed, respected or appreciated.

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When we remove our selfish motives and realign our priorities to match what is right before us that must be taken care of now, we are free to do the work that matters. The sometimes thankless work.  The work that serves others.

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Feeling Unappreciated

It’s difficult when people are indifferent to our work and to our achievements. We do and do and do  and get no damn respect. No appreciation, zero gratitude. We feel affronted.

Maybe it’s time to review why we do what we do and why we get upset when nobody notices.

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The reward for doing the right thing is not recognition. The reward for doing the right thing is self-respect, a calm heart and a mind at rest.

When you let go and do what is right and give up all thoughts of acknowledgment, it’s actually quite liberating.

 

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There is peace of mind that comes with doing the important work without applause.

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What Are You Grateful For Right Now?

I’m grateful for another chance. The opportunity to start from scratch. An opportunity to improve my attitude and behavior. This day is fresh, clean, unworn with emotional stains. 


Nothing carried over from yesterday, just this rare and beautiful day, made up of many moments ahead, today is a day in my life, not my entire life. How will I use it? 


What I choose to think about today will make me and much around me, better or worse, it is up to me.


Today is a chance to break my bad patterns of behavior. 

An opportunity to control my short temper, release my self-pity and remove envy of others.

I can help those right in front of me that need my help. 

I am given this day as an opportunity to finish projects and work that has been nagging to be done.

Perhaps I will start something new that I’ve been wanting to try.

Maybe I’ll apologize, sympathize, empathize with others.

What are your grateful for right now? How will you use this day? 

This Day Was Made for Adventure

Last night I closed my eyes before falling to sleep and made a decision. I want every day to feel more exciting and adventurous.

 

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Or in other words. . . .

A common song sung to a great melody is another way to find beauty.The Art of Writing, Lu Chi’s Wen Fu.

So, today showed up again. In all it’s predictable glory. The same usual sunrise, just slightly different.

Another clean and clear slate of a day to paint on. To set things right, to improve and to create a new. Another breath, another moment proceeding another moment. This day was made for adventuring.

Today I have made a decision to expect more from myself and more from this day.

Every moment today will be held accountable to demonstrate the wisdom I need right now.

I will look for evidence that the people around me really do care.

I become more conscious of the choices I make today.

This process begins with turning worry into wonder. Anxiety into action.

My improved life comes from making conscious choices while making a commitment to change the way I see the ordinary wonders of the world.

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How to Make An Ordinary Day an Adventure

Ask a stranger a question.

Don’t plan out every minute. Leave a little room for spontaneity.

Travel home on a different route tonight.

Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Experiment. Create something. Anything. Get into maker mode.

500 Million Moments

photo-1444837881208-4d46d5c1f127Life is comprised of moments. Each moment lasting about three seconds. It can be a moment writing a proposal, a moment doing the dishes, walking the dog or a moment saying hello to an old friend. We experience approximately 1,200 three second moments in an hour and about 500 million moments in a lifetime.

The quality of your life is not determined over years and decades but by what you do with each three second moment over the course of your days.

This moment right now can be improved with something as simple as a deep breath, a smile,a hug and appreciation for what you have.

Here I am, trying to make each moment count. How about you?

Inspired reading from author Tom Rath Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

The beautiful photo today from Patrick Hendry on UnSplash

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.

To My King Bee Rider – A Time for ThanksGregging

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Today I honor, acknowledge, applaud, celebrate and recognize the watchful one, my husband, partner, collaborator and best friend, my Knight and Day, Sir Gregory Johnson on his birthday.

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My wish for him today and everyday – that he may remain awake, alert and aware to the divine truth within him and continue to co-create and prevail with God.  Stand tall in the tower Gregory. I support you in every way.

Knight and Lady

Gregory, extraordinarily beautiful yet slightly out of focus, this raging river runs madly deep. This meditation from Marcus Aurelius sums you up for me.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

Having been terribly misunderstood by many, I believe it was but Aristotle who said –

No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.

How to Spot a Genius, Deadhead and Follower of Rhythm Devils, Space Jams and Shows that were The Sacrament.

According to Roman mythology, the genii were gods who watched over particular people and places. Each man had a genius (he not was not “a” genius), a genius was a spirit who had given him being, who taught him and protected him.

No Wasted Time

Sometimes we wonder what happened to our past and linger on whether we took the right path.

dragonTo make the contributions for which they are known, all geniuses depend on the same general process. It starts with an unrestrained search for ideas without foresight into their utility. This hunt takes a creator down many dead-end roads, causing him or her to backtrack and start over. This trial-and-error process eventually leads a solution that works. For anyone who has engaged in a project for which progress is hard to measure or that seems to stall or meander, this theory is heartening.

When a problem or endeavor is difficult, we should probably not expect our research to proceed in a linear fashion. The many seemingly wasted hours exploring roads that lead nowhere may really be necessary to find an effective and innovative solution.

Or in words that resonate with Greg

“There is a road, no simple highway

Between the dawn and the dark of night”
-Ripple

You got to listen to the heavens, you got to try to understand. The greatness of their movement is just as small as it is grand. – Grateful Dead, Walk In The Sunshine

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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

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