“A Bride Married to Amazement”

Recently the extraordinary poet Mary Oliver passed away. Her poetry spoke to me so deeply, as it did to millions. Her words were a beacon of light, shining the way forward to a richer existence. My friend Carla Robertson is a life coach and the name of her business, Living Wild and Precious, was inspired by the famous line from Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day”: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”  

That question just grabs you by the throat, doesn’t it? That’s what I love about her work—the images are breathtakingly beautiful, which is wonderful in itself … but then comes an observation or question that stops you in your tracks and makes you think, long and hard. Like this, from “Moments,” which gave me courage when I needed it:

Your heart is beating, isn’t it?

You’re not in chains, are you?


There is nothing more pathetic than caution

when headlong might save a life,

even, possibly, your own.

 

And this, from “Wild Geese”:

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.


When I first encountered these lines, I cried. I felt such enormous relief. I should re-read them every morning to remind myself of this vital truth. And the way she expresses the idea is so much more powerful than saying, hey, don’t be hard on yourself. She puts it so brilliantly; she was a virtuoso of phrasing.

Here is another of my favorites, which I discovered last year:

“Magellan”

Like Magellan, let us find our islands
To die in, far from home, from anywhere
Familiar. Let us risk the wildest places,
Lest we go down in comfort, and despair.

For years we have labored over common roads,
Dreaming of ships that sail into the night.
Let us be heroes, or, if that's not in us,
Let us find men to follow, honor-bright.

For what is life but reaching for an answer?
And what is death but a refusal to grow?
Magellan had a dream he had to follow.
The sea was big, his ships were awkward, slow.

And when the fever would not set him free,
To his thin crew, “Sail on, sail on!” he cried.
And so they did, carried the frail dream homeward.
And thus Magellan lives, although he died.

Wow. It’s amazing, her ability to move, to encourage, to inspire. I’d love to know how many lives have been changed by her work. And that won’t stop with her passing. She may be gone, but her words will touch people for generations to come. She lived the vivid, all-in life that she wanted to—the life she wrote about below—and what more could any of us want? It’s certainly what I want. I’m enormously grateful that she shared her gifts with us.

From “When Death Comes”:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.


When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

 

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

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On Community, Creating, and Pushing Past the Fear

This past weekend I was reminded—again—of the essential nature of community, and the vital importance of sharing our true selves. We are wired to seek out others with whom we feel like we “belong.” As Brené Brown says in Braving the Wilderness, “Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us.”

Even those of us who are introverts want to feel that connection with others who get us and support us. Brown also says, “Never underestimate the power of being seen.” And yet, in order to truly feel like we belong, we have to show up as our authentic selves.

In a creative setting, where we’re putting out something we made, it can feel like we’re offering up a piece of our soul. I find that to be so risky emotionally. Brown agrees: “True belonging is not passive. It's not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It's not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it's safer. It's a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.”

But the rewards for that risk are great—when you’re accepted for who you are, or your work touches others, it’s deeply satisfying. I work at home and really miss the camaraderie of coworkers. Online groups fill part of the gap, but I also crave personal connection.

Last weekend I had the chance to go to the opening of an exhibit featuring a painting that includes one of my poems. And although it meant driving eight hours to Houston over on Friday and back again on Sunday—and I was nervous because I’d also have to read my poem aloud at the event (risk!)—I grabbed that chance. What made it even better was that I’d get to stay with one of my dearest friends, whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. To be able to spend uninterrupted time catching up with her is a rare treat, and immensely nourishing. (More connection!)

The exhibit was called Color:Story 2019, by amazing artists Leslie Gaworecki and Marlo Saucedo. I met Leslie at Lucky Star Art Camp. Last year she put out a request for words to feature in a collaborative work with Marlo, so I submitted my poem “What If.” I was thrilled when they chose it, and even more so when I saw the finished piece (pic below, and more on my Facebook page).

It felt amazing to be part of a collaboration like that. Then they decided to create more pieces along those lines, and were approved to exhibit them in a show. I figured the opening would be fun, and I knew it would meet my desire for connection, but I didn’t anticipate how very much it would fill my soul.

Their space is a huge warehouse subdivided into studios, and before the opening we were able to wander around and see all the other artists. Being in a place dedicated solely to creativity, I felt a special kind of energy that was inspiring and rejuvenating. (It also made my hands itch with the desire to grab a brush and start painting!!)

It was incredible to see my piece in person, and all the other beautiful pieces in the show. The other writers’ work was amazing. And then hearing that work read aloud, and feeling the appreciation of the crowd, brought a whole new level of energy.

It wasn’t quite enough energy to keep me from being increasingly nervous about my turn. But since my poem actually talks about feeling the fear and doing it anyway, I couldn’t possibly back down! I managed to read it all without losing my place or misspeaking—or tripping on the way up—and afterward, several people told me how much they liked it. That meant the world to me. Writers so often send our word babies out into the universe and don’t hear anything back…to get affirmation that our words touched someone makes all the effort, uncertainty, and fear worthwhile.

Seeing such a large group gathered to support the writers and artists was fantastic. It was like getting an infusion of love and appreciation. And seeing all of the artists gathered in that studio space, inspiring and encouraging each other, really brought home to me how important it is for creatives to have a community. Whether it’s “in real life” or virtual, having others who understand the challenges you face and can cheer you on is invaluable.

Especially when we’re starting out, that inner critic can really be loud, and can stop us before we have a chance to get going. Sharing with others who have been there before, who struggle with their own inner critics, really helps us keep going.

And then having others appreciate your work when it’s out there in the world—wow. We create because we have to—because there’s something inside of us that wants to be born, and if we don’t let it out, part of us withers away. We also create to bring joy, or solace, or inspiration to others. Our own pain or happiness, while personal in detail, is universal in feeling. Sharing it heals both the creator and the viewer. Everyone is lifted up. It’s magic, and I’m grateful to have finally gotten to a place in my life where I can experience it for myself.

If you’re feeling that urge to put something out there, remember this. If even one person is touched, it’s worth the vulnerability and the risk. The world needs your voice. Each of us has something unique to share, and someone else needs to hear it because it will benefit them. Don’t let fear keep your voice bottled up inside. Something that can really help you push past fear and doubt is the book The Artist’s Way. Read that, and find your community, and as Rumi says, “Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal.” The risk is great, but the reward is enormous.

What If


Let's Get Creative

I’ve talked before about how vital creativity is, no matter what form it takes for you. Today I wanted to share two poems that speak to that, by my friend Mary Walker. She is an amazing writer and inspiring person; I met her during the Write into Light class I took, and now she is leading her own online course, “Meet Your Creative Self,” which I am eagerly looking forward to! (It starts in February.) I thought I’d also share that info here, in case it interests you. You’ll find her description of it below the poems. Here’s to a beautifully creative 2019!

 THRIVE

by Mary Walker

Pasture covered slopes
will slip;
shallow rooted grass
cannot hold the hill
on its own.

A life stripped of riches,
a self swept aside
for sameness,
for blending in,
barely holds itself together.

You are a forest.
Recolonise your life.
Let new ideas take seed,
colours bloom,
let the strange and exotic
spring up.
Trust your wild diversity.
Thrive.

***

PERMISSION

by Mary Walker

I see you at the fence
watching everybody play,
waiting to be invited, or discovered,
or allowed.
There is no benevolent guide to open the gate;
no old hand will usher you in.
No encouragement is hearty enough
to fill that hollow doubt. If there was,
you’d be in there already.
No one will announce your arrival,
but no one will bar your way.
Take a ball or a hoop,
find a slide or a swing,
laugh, kick, cry, dig,
burrow, build, or sing.
Life is a playground,
and you,
one of its children.

***

“Meet Your Creative Self” online course led by Mary Walker:

This is for any creative, not just writers. It's even for people who think they aren't creative (but secretly suspect they might be), for the start-stop creators; for those who create but are too scared to share; for those who create but think there's really no point in doing anything with it.

This is for you if you wonder what you might be capable of if you finally let it flow out...

It's all about learning that our creative self is always speaking to us, offering us creative urges and ideas. It's about learning to trust the creative process and being willing to create without seeing what might lay ahead - knowing that the next step will ALWAYS present itself to us.

Working with your creative self is a joy. Our creativity is alive, vibrant and life-giving when we know how to work with it.

Working WITH your creative self feels like the opposite of effort. Instead, it is about allowing.

Less thinking, more quiet.
Less trying, more doing what you love.
Less strategizing, more trusting.
Less about the things ‘out there’, more about what’s ‘in here’.
Less ‘building ourselves up’, more ‘knowing we already are’.
Less ‘getting there’, more ‘already here’.

In February, I'm leading a 10 week immersion called 'Meet Your Creative Self'.

We are focusing on our relationship with our creative self, trusting our creative urges (including the urge to share our creative work in the world), and tuning in to our unique creative needs and practices.

What are you being asked to create? What are you being asked to share in the world? And where and how do you do that?

If you can sense YOU already have the answers, and are ready to tap into your innate creative wisdom, this might be for you.
• Private Facebook group
• 10 live sessions (February 3 – April 10)
• Group Messenger chat
• Three 1:1 private calls (20 mins each)
• Cost: 3 x monthly payments of $140
• No payments until 1 February

REGISTER: https://gum.co/meetyourcreativeself

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Take It Easy and Make It Easy (on Yourself)

Happy New Year! Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I have in the past, and I’ve rarely been able to keep them. I always tend to try to make a huge change or set a lofty goal, and it usually just leads to tears, cursing, and self-recrimination. This year, I’m going to apply a suggestion from several of the women I interviewed for my book on morning rituals. I’m going to START SMALL.

To quote from chapter 22:  “Keep it simple and achievable. To help with consistency, attach it to an existing habit. … Take it easy and make it easy. Start with tiny changes (i.e., I will take ten slow breaths in bed each morning this week), then add on as those become routine.”

In 2019, two of the main areas I want to focus on are physical fitness and creativity. So I've committed to doing one plank and writing one page a day, every day. (And from past experience, even this may not be a small enough start for me!) But it's achievable with just a bit of discipline--and infinitely easier than my previous goals have been, especially where exercise is concerned.

So if you are making any resolutions for this year, I encourage you to go gentle on yourself. Take teeny tiny baby steps. Make it virtually impossible to fail rather than virtually impossible to succeed. You can always ramp it up later. But don't underestimate the power of small. A single drop of water repeated constantly can wear away stone.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy, abundant, joy-filled 2019!

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Make 2019 the Best Year Yet

I can’t believe it’s already December! The holiday merry-go-round is spinning in full force here, so I’m going to take a break from posting for the rest of the month. But first, I want to share with you an article I recently wrote for Hers Magazine titled “Do’s and Don’ts to Make 2019 Incredible.” If you can, try some of these ideas this month. Taking a few moments for ourselves each day can really help keep us calm and centered amidst all the hustle and bustle

I hope you have a happy, magical holiday filled with love and light. See you next year!

***

The morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and each morning is an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s like pressing the reset button—and you get that chance every twenty-four hours.

A morning ritual enables you to make the most of every day. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” that will help you master your mornings and steer your life with purpose toward a clear vision of what you want.

Don’t put yourself last. This is especially important for women. We tend to get up and immediately start handling external obligations, whether it’s for family or work. If we take a moment to care for ourselves first, we fill our own well and have more to give.

A morning ritual is one of the highest forms of self-care. We’re literally putting ourselves first. When we do this each morning, it helps train us to put ourselves first throughout our life. This is not selfish, it’s necessary. If we keep putting others’ needs ahead of our own, never taking the time to replenish our reserves, we will eventually run out. A morning ritual refuels us every day, keeping our life running smoothly.

“Having a morning ritual, I believe, is the key to stepping up to the starting line of a new adventure. Every day is full of possibility. [Mine] gives me the ability to meet the day’s activities in the best possible way.”—Char Cooper, business owner and marathon runner

Don’t use an alarm clock. Try training yourself to wake up without one; this allows your body’s circadian rhythm to wake you up when you’re naturally ready so you feel alert instead of groggy (as can happen when your alarm goes off during deep sleep). In order for this to be possible, you need to get enough sleep; make sure you go to bed early enough the night before.

If you want to keep using an alarm, don’t hit the snooze button—it only makes you sluggish. And once you’re awake, don’t get up immediately. First, take a few deep, slow breaths; doing this will calm and center you.

Don’t check social media or email first thing. Feed your mind with positive input and determine your priorities for the day first, instead of distracting yourself or getting waylaid by others’ needs.

“If I wake up and look at the phone right away, my whole day is wrecked. I have to meditate first. Meditation needs to happen before anything else; that’s my time.”—Jeanne Geier Lewis, start-up entrepreneur and co-founder of Capsure and Creativebug

Don't multitask.

It’s tempting on busy mornings to juggle three things at once, but resist. It might feel like you're getting more done, but studies show that we’re less efficient when we multitask, and it will scatter your energy. Strengthen your ability to focus by putting your full attention on each activity in turn. This also makes your morning feel much more peaceful, and you can carry that feeling of peace with you throughout your day.

Do go outside.

Getting sunlight first thing makes you more alert and spurs production of the mood-booster serotonin; it also helps regulate your sleep cycles. Take your morning coffee or tea out with you and enjoy.

Do what makes you happy and fills you up.

Ask yourself, “What do I need today?” Not “What do I have to do” or “What do others want me to do?” but “What do I need to do for me?” Whatever works for you is right for you.

Do try something creative.

Starting the day by “playing” may seem like slacking off, but it can actually boost your productivity. Ideas include meditative drawing, painting, knitting, writing, and singing. Or, have a short dance party—it’s more fun than exercising, easy to fit into a busy morning, and will rev up your energy while putting you in a good mood.

Do take the time to listen to your inner voice.

Overall, I think the most vital thing is taking quiet time for yourself. That’s when you hear your own voice and find your own truth.”—Tonya Lewis Lee, women’s wellness advocate, entrepreneur, filmmaker, and author

Women often have difficulty achieving the lives of our dreams. In fact, we often have difficulty even knowing what our dreams are. Centering ourselves with a morning ritual helps us access that inner knowing. By connecting to our core self, the one who is often drowned out by the world, we are able to know ourselves better and see clearly what it is that we want, then map out how to achieve it. And when you create the space for inspiration to come to you, you can realize solutions to problems and receive insights that will make life easier.

You don’t need to meditate for an hour—simply sitting in silence for a few minutes can be transformational. Journaling is also an excellent way to get in touch with yourself. If you find it difficult to be still, try a moving meditation with walking, Qi Gong, or yoga.

Creating a morning ritual is about taking charge of your day from the very beginning, gently, with purpose. When you start the day on your own terms, you are better prepared to live your life that way. You are mindful and calm. You can see more clearly the path that you genuinely desire to take—the path that leads to your happiest, most fulfilled life.

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Remembering the Gift of Creativity

Recently, my friend Michelle Wells posted something on Instagram about taking the time to create, even when we feel like we don’t have “enough time,” and it really struck a chord with me. I’ve gotten away from playing around with art the last few months; seems like there’s always something more important to do, and by the end of the day I’m tired and it feels like too much effort to “be creative.” So day after day passes and I don’t do anything. And before I know it, I’m irritable and my energy is low and I can’t figure out why. Oh yeah—all work and no play!

As Michelle said, “Sometimes, I put off my creative urges until I have 'enough' time. As you can imagine, during particularly busy periods, this can become a problem. 'Enough' time never arrives. I've become aware of a direct correlation between my level of stress / irritability and the amount of time that I spend creating. And so, I created a solution. I came up with an easy way to allow myself to create - even when I don't have 'enough' time.

“Exploring my art supplies, I experimented with many papers that would be suitable for tiny masterpieces. Next, I tried out various mediums until I found one that was both portable and enjoyable to use. I put it to the test. When I felt the yearning to create, instead of feeling like I didn't have 'enough' time, I got my paper and pens and made something. These small pops of joy within my day gave me extra mental space and the energy I needed … The best part is that these supplies are available and affordable. No excuses!!!!!!!!!” (You can click here to see the post and the supplies she’s talking about.)

I was inspired by her post and vowed to bring daily creativity back into my life. Yesterday I promised myself that I would do something creative. Well, 6 p.m. rolled around and I was still tackling my list. But instead of giving up, I decided to emulate Michelle and make it happen.

I finished what had to be done, then sat down in my chair, put on some jazz, and pulled out my sketch book and some markers. I closed my eyes and started doodling to the music. When the song changed, I would change the color of the marker. It was really interesting—some songs were long swoopy swirls, some were frenetic dots, and some were little flourishes. I did this for about fifteen minutes. It didn’t look like “art” but it did look cool. And I felt immensely more peaceful and happy. In fact, I started feeling better as soon as I put the first marker to the page.

It’s so restorative to create with my hands, even if it’s just doodling. The feeling of the pencil, marker, or brush against paper is extremely soothing, and drawing or painting absorbs all my attention. For that period of time, I’m focused on just one thing—and in a world full of distractions, that’s a rare occurrence. It’s relaxing and contemplative. And I’m a color-holic; looking at all the different colors, combining them in various ways, makes me ridiculously happy.

Then when I’m done, I have the pride of having made something concrete. It’s right there in front of me—even if it’s not “good,” it’s still something I made that wasn’t in the world previously, and that’s satisfying. All of those feelings are quite a rich payoff for just a few minutes of my time!

And it’s funny how this seems like a new discovery, and yet I’ve known it for a while. When I went to save this post, I wanted to title it “Taking Time for Creativity”—then found that I ALREADY had a post titled that! Pulled it up, and yep—it’s about this exact topic. The post is below. And the line that really struck me this time was: “My inner grownup thinks that creativity for creativity’s sake is useless, but as I seem to have to rediscover over and over again, that simply isn’t true.” Ahem. Yes, apparently, I am still having to rediscover this over and over again.

Taking Time for Creativity

I had a rare opportunity yesterday morning to meet a friend for an “art date.” We set up at a coffee shop with markers and paper (and a chocolate croissant for me—very necessary for creativity!) and I showed her what I had learned in the “whimsical lettering” class at Lucky Star Art Camp taught by Roxanne Glaser (aka Super Doodle Girl).

We had so much fun! It felt frivolous, and I had rescheduled a couple of times because I was “too busy, ”but it was really energizing. Doing something creative—and completely different from my usual routine—on a weekday morning was soul-reviving. Self care, baby!

I made myself a lovely little reminder sign (pictured below), so no, nasty voice in my head, it wasn’t a complete waste of time!

But honestly, even if I hadn’t made anything, it still wouldn’t have been a waste of time.

I have been so focused on finishing and launching my book, plus doing client work and managing the usual life stuff, that I have neglected my creativity. This week I was feeling spring feverish—not in the mood to sit at the computer and work, antsy, bored, grumpy. Taking this time was just what I needed. My inner grownup thinks that creativity for creativity’s sake is useless, but as I seem to have to rediscover over and over again, that simply isn’t true.

As Julia Cameron says in her groundbreaking book The Artist’s Way, “Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy. … We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.”  

This weekend—or, gasp, one day next week!—play around with something creative, just for the heck of it. Doodle, or paint, or collage, or sew, or color, or garden, or cook … whatever form of creativity calls you. Because you can feel it, can’t you? You can feel that tug, that inner child who wants to go play with all those colors and make a mess—but is afraid of getting in trouble. Give your inner grownup some time off and let that child go wild! I promise, you won’t regret it!

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Take a Tizzy Timeout

The holiday season is here, and I can already feel myself revving up into overwhelm mode. I LOVE the holidays, but I can really stress myself out with all the extra tasks I take on during this time. Cooking, baking, hosting, making and sending out holiday cards, shopping for gifts, decorating … does this sound like your list also? Last year, I was able to use my new morning ritual to stay somewhat centered, and it helped me slow down and enjoy the season more. But I still wore myself out. When things get extra busy, I work myself into a tizzy trying to handle everything as quickly as possible. I tend to keep moving until it’s all done—and then collapse.

This year, I plan to take some short breaks each day—“tizzy timeouts”—to recharge myself as I go. I’ve tried this during crazy-busy days recently and it really helps. Give it a try the next time you find yourself in that whirlwind of activity. Just taking a moment to sit down and breathe, or a few minutes to savor a cup of tea, can make all the difference in how you feel. That tiny little rest restores enough energy to keep going without completely burning out. And it can help make whatever you’re doing a lot more enjoyable!

I also highly recommend a morning ritual, if you don’t already do one—or if you’ve tried but find it hard to implement. For some tips, check out this article I wrote recently for Yoga Journal on “5 Ways to Actually Stick to a Morning Ritual,” or this post on The Daily Positive: “Meaningful Morning Rituals in 10 Minutes or Less.

Whether it’s in the morning, at lunch, in mid-afternoon, or in the evening, carve out some space each day just for you. Take some time to rest and recharge. The holidays are a marathon, not a sprint!

I won’t be posting next week since it’s Thanksgiving, so I’ll see you in December! I hope you have a wonderful, happy Thanksgiving (if you’re in the U.S.) and a lovely week (if you’re not!).

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Remembering Joy and Goodness

My friend Keri Wilt, great-great-granddaughter of Frances Hodgson Burnett and author of the blog FHB and Me, recently sent out this post and I wanted to share it with you. She has some wonderful ideas about how we can remind ourselves every day of all the joy and goodness in our lives.

She quotes writer Marianne Williamson, who said, “Joy is what happens when we allows ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” This is truly the key to feeling joy every day. Even during tough times, we can always find something positive to appreciate. I think you’ll love Keri’s idea for gathering up goodness!

Read her full post here.

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Resolution #5: Do Good

{As I’ve posted before, I’m creating resolutions in honor of my recent 50th birthday that will inspire and guide me going forward.}

This resolution also has two meanings, like Be Light, and it’s related in a way as well. As I said in the Be Light post, I want to be a positive influence. I want to do good things in my life. I’m not necessarily thinking of huge things, but whenever I have a chance to do some good, like helping a person in need, I want to take it.

Part of this is keeping my eyes open for those chances. Often I’m all wrapped up in my own life and not really paying full attention to the world around me. It’s easy to miss opportunities to help others when I’m just focused on myself.

It also means choosing actions that will be helpful, rather than hurtful, to others. I want to act with integrity. I never want to harm another through my actions or words. And if I do hurt someone else (which inevitably happens, even when we don’t mean to), I want to step up and apologize immediately, and try to make it right. I want to own my actions rather than letting shame take over and cause me to justify or hide.

It’s hard to admit when I’ve made a mistake, especially if it hurt someone else. But it’s important to be honest and to give the other person a chance to tell me how they feel. It’s uncomfortable, but so much healthier than avoidance! And it’s simply the right thing to do if I want to live a “good” life.

The other meaning of this resolution is that I want to focus on being satisfied with “good” rather than “perfect.” Gretchen Rubin references the quote “Perfect is the enemy of good” in The Happiness Project, and this really struck a chord with me.

I spend way too much energy trying to do everything perfectly, when doing it “good enough” would be just fine. I want to lower some of my ridiculously high standards and, as I’ve talked about before, give myself a break as much as possible. I think that will free up a lot of energy and time. This part may be harder to stick to, but it will really have a positive impact in the long term.

What do you think about the idea of “good” being OK, or even preferable, to “perfect”? Here is an interesting article from Entrepreneur magazine that goes into the concept a little further. And in the spirit of this idea, I’m going to wrap this post up here, rather than attempt to create the perfect ending! :-)

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The Joy of Little Things

So like everyone else in the country, I bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket—and like everyone else except one person, I didn’t win. It was really exciting to imagine what I would have done with all that money, and I was disappointed not to win.

I had to remind myself that while more money would be fun, I don’t need it in order to be happy. (In fact, most lottery winners end up less happy than they were before they won!) As the poem below illustrates so beautifully, what is truly important and valuable in life are the “little things,” which are actually not so little: love, companionship, and the comforts of home.

We can have all the money or fame in the world, but if we’re alone, it doesn’t matter. And as long as we’re safe, we don’t need a large or fancy house to be happy. The tiniest things can bring us joy—a hot cup of tea or coffee in a favorite mug, a lovingly tended plant, a cherished heirloom from a grandparent. We tend to take them for granted. So in praise of those “little things,” here is this wonderful poem.

The Joy of Little Things  

--Robert William Service

It's good the great green earth to roam,
Where sights of awe the soul inspire;
But oh, it's best, the coming home,
The crackle of one's own hearth-fire!
You've hob-nobbed with the solemn Past;
You've seen the pageantry of kings;
Yet oh, how sweet to gain at last
The peace and rest of Little Things!

Perhaps you're counted with the Great;
You strain and strive with mighty men;
Your hand is on the helm of State;
Colossus-like you stride . . . and then
There comes a pause, a shining hour,
A dog that leaps, a hand that clings:
O Titan, turn from pomp and power;
Give all your heart to Little Things.

Go couch you childwise in the grass,
Believing it's some jungle strange,
Where mighty monsters peer and pass,
Where beetles roam and spiders range.
'Mid gloom and gleam of leaf and blade,
What dragons rasp their painted wings!
O magic world of shine and shade!
O beauty land of Little Things!

I sometimes wonder, after all,
Amid this tangled web of fate,
If what is great may not be small,
And what is small may not be great.
So wondering I go my way,
Yet in my heart contentment sings . . .
O may I ever see, I pray,
God's grace and love in Little Things.

So give to me, I only beg,
A little roof to call my own,
A little cider in the keg,
A little meat upon the bone;
A little garden by the sea,
A little boat that dips and swings . . .
Take wealth, take fame, but leave to me,
O Lord of Life, just Little Things.

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