“The stars we are given. The constellations we make.”
—Rebecca Solnit, American writer
Image from Unsplash by Robson Hatsukami Morgan
The night sky has been watched, enjoyed, studied and interpreted since the dawn of mankind. Today we look up into the sky less often — perhaps because there is less to see. The lights from our cities are easily seen from space, and our preoccupation with looking down at laptops and phones has stopped all but a small group of us from seeking and finding the constellations seen just generations ago.
Examine how and in what ways we may be limiting our own view and appreciation of the cosmos. How can we continue to seek, find, and even make our discoveries more meaningful for ourselves and for future generations?
“You don’t need superpowers to be someone’s hero.”
—Ricky Maye, writer and public speaker
Image from Unsplash by H. Shaw
I recently had a small basal cell carcinoma removed from my back. Once I got the OK from my insurance company (which took weeks), my dermatologist took a good sized chunk out of me, to make sure he had a significant margin of clean tissue. This left a two-inch boo-boo with numerous sutures.
The wound care instructions required periodic dressing changes which I was unable to do on my own due to the location of the wound. Unfortunately, my wife was out of town supporting my dad with his assisted living efforts. Vidal – and a few other folks who go to my health club – came to my rescue and patched me up.
Who are the heroes in your personal and professional communities? How can you more fully acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to your life? Where and with whom can you don your own cape to be a hero to others in your world?
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”
—Emma Goldman, 20th Century Russian-American political activist
Image from Unsplash by César Abner Martínez Aguilar
Did you know that there are planets in our universe that are made of diamond?
These rocky worlds are composed primarily of carbon and the atmospheric pressure is so great, diamonds result.
Although fascinating – and one might consider a future occupation as a space miner – the more prominent focus of planetary scientists and astronomers is the search for life.
For this group, the inspirational possibility and beauty of life takes on far greater importance than any inanimate object, no matter how much it may sparkle.
What are the roses in your world? How can and will you more fully appreciate their value and beauty, to live an even more richly rewarding life?
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
—Voltaire, 16th Century French Writer
Image of Voltaire from Wikiquote
Voltaire lived to be eighty-four years old. Considering he was born in 1694, that is practically a miracle, given the poor sanitation levels and lack of healthcare available in Europe at the time.
Perhaps it was his considerable appreciation for the world around him that had him experience life with a sense of greater abundance and awe. With such a healthy and robust view of life, who wouldn’t keep reaching for one more day, and then another?
How might you experience and more fully appreciate everything and everyone around you in the coming days? How would such a mindful practice lead you to a richer, more fulfilling life?
“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a Cha-Cha.”
—Robert Brault, Freelance American Writer
Image from Unsplash by Isaiah McClean
As an optimist, I see life as a dance in which we all play a part in the magnificent miracle of living.
If we slow down a bit to observe our surroundings, and even our inner worlds, we will note different rhythms and cycles of give and take, up and down, back and forth. Perhaps it is these cha-cha’s of life that keep things in balance and simply bring workability to our world.
Where and how can you more fully recognize and appreciate the steps backwards in life as integral and important aspects of a happy life?
“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.”
—Pliny the Younger, lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome
Image from Unspash by Ryoji Iwata
I recently saw the film Puzzle, in which Kelly Macdonald plays a woman living a dull and predictable life. One boring day, she finds a puzzle on the shelf and decides to give it a go, only to discover a wondrous joy in putting it together with great speed and mastery.
Consider life as a puzzle we piece together over time, sorting the variety of colors, straight edges, and of course, those all-important corners, to frame our picture of an extraordinary life.
For some reason, there seems to be far more interest and attraction to fitting in the new pieces that come our way, and a bit of taking for granted what we have already accomplished and put into place.
How would a greater appreciation for who you are and what you have provide more satisfaction as you purposefully pursue the pieces needed to complete your picture of a wonderful life?
“There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate – not a grain more.”
—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American essayist, poet, and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Ron Dauphin
We have all heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” For whatever reason, I and perhaps many of you simply glance at this phrase and give only a passing nod of acknowledgement.
In August, my wife Wendy and I took the trip of a lifetime to Africa, Iceland, and Ireland with two good friends. Three weeks and thousands of mouth-gaping experiences and photographs gave us a new and expanded appreciation of the beauty of our planet and its people.
How and in what ways can you enhance your capacity to see and appreciate the beauty all around you by looking more deeply into your own communities – and of course, booking your next bucket list adventure?
“When your feet start to hurt, place yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
—Demi Lovato, American Singer-Songwriter
Image from Amazon.com
I recently finished reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The book’s subtitle really grabbed my interest: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – and Why Things are Better than You Think.
Through the latest socioeconomic data he challenges the reader to find themselves along the continuum of low, middle, and high income countries. What Lovato’s quote suggests is a day walking in the shoes of others when our lives seem so difficult.
The wonderful news is that compared to 20 or 50 years ago, we are phenomenally better off today.
Where could putting yourself in other people’s shoes help you be far more satisfied and appreciative of your life?
To learn more, consider checking out Hans Rosling’s TED Talk.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.”
—Carl Gustav Jung, 20th Century Swiss founder of analytical psychology
I recently watched the Netflix documentary, Genius of the Ancient World. The three-part series focused on The Buddha, Socrates, and Confucius.
Surprisingly, they all lived about 2,500 years ago, but worlds apart geographically. Many of their teachings and influences are still very apparent in our world today.
Who are the brilliant and soul-touching teachers from your past? Who are the current teachers and mentors that continue to make a meaningful difference in your life?
Where have you, and are you, that brilliant and perhaps more importantly, soul-touching teacher for others, personally or professionally?
Reflect on the questions above, and determine some meaningful way to show your gratitude for the teachers who influenced your world.