“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving a new one.”

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving a new one.”

Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress

Image from Unsplash by Greg Shield

Take two minutes to complain to yourself about your life.

If you are like most people, this short time interval may only get the ball rolling.

Now that you vocalized these items, capture them on paper or a device of your choice to work on in the coming days.

Unlike the unattended potholed roads we often travel during winter, you get to be your own paving crew to smooth out the roads of life that lead to a better future.

EXERCISE:

What areas of your life need some resurfacing?

Who are the people, and what resources will be necessary, to create an autobahn of life to get you where you want to go?

Abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.

“Abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.”

Wayne Dyer, late self-help author and motivational speaker

Image from Unsplash by Braden Callum

When is enough enough? How much money, possessions, status, and achievement lets you know you’ve made it?

Western society keeps fanning the flames of a “more is better” world. Many of us seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of gluttony where our appetites are never satisfied — often to our own detriment.

Where do you find yourself running this race? To what degree do you find yourself on a treadmill getting sweaty but not getting anywhere truly satisfying?

EXERCISE:

What are the absolute essential elements of a good and meaningful life?

How tuned into and appreciative are you of the things you already have?

Try quietly sitting in this space to explore the peaceful abundant feeling it can offer.

To live only for some future goal is shallow

“To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustains life, not the top.”

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Image from Unsplash by Charlie Hammond

I’ve never climbed a mountain but I’ve learned through watching plenty of nature programs that very little lives at extreme heights.

For the tallest of the world’s mountains, climbers enter the “death zone” when they are over 8,000 meters above sea level. At this height, oxygen is about one third the concentration it is on the ground below.

When one examines more modestly sized mountains, we can readily see the tree line only goes so far before things shift to the cold frosty stuff.

EXERCISE:

How often do you take the time to fully explore and appreciate all the steps on your journey to the top? Where might stops along the way and even deciding not to climb all the way be the wisest approach to take?

Peak experiences are fun, but you always have to come back

“Peak experiences are fun, but you always have to come back. Learning to appreciate the ordinary moments is the key to a fulfilling life.”

Cory Muscara, former monk, mindfulness advisor, and University of Pennsylvania instructor

Image from Unsplash by DocuSign

A coaching colleague of mine is a world traveler, currently on their fourth six-month cruise around the world with their spouse.

Their adventures are captured in a daily blog recounting the people, places, and things they experience with beautiful photos and very detailed reflections.

Over the years, I too have had a good number of adventures that were measured in weeks. Although I remember them fondly, I tend to get homesick for the life I’ve created within my current communities.

A recent highlight was spending a full day alone with my 19-month-old granddaughter, to our mutual delight.

EXERCISE:

What peak experiences do your recall with great fondness?

How many have you had?

What are some of the many precious ordinary moments you experience daily that don’t require leaving home at all?

To be happy you must let go of what’s gone

“To be happy you must let go of what’s gone, be grateful for what remains, and look forward to what is coming.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Towfiqu barbhuiya

How would you rate yourself on a one-to-ten scale of happiness?

How has this number varied over the last several years due to personal, professional, and global events?

Consider how today’s quote offers significant wisdom to level up your score with small mindfulness adjustments.

EXERCISE:

How can you more completely let go of what’s gone?

How can you more fully appreciate what you have?

What are the small and big things that you look forward to in the future?

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”

—William Blake, 19th Century English poet

Image from Unsplash by Kim Turk

How thankful have your felt lately? What are the things you appreciate the most? Try rattling off a list or 10 or even 20 items that come to mind.

Did you have clean water and clean air on your list? How about nutritious food in adequate amounts?  What about having shelter and people who care about you?

Dig a little deeper into your list-making effort to determine your essentials. Notice your level of gratitude for the things many people don’t have or live in fear of going without.

It is puzzling to note many of us focus on what’s missing and our wants for more instead of being truly thankful for what we already have in great abundance.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you be a far more thankful receiver?

Where and with whom could you be a more generous giver to support others in having a more plentiful harvest?

For those who expect everything, there are many curses

“For those who expect everything, there are many curses. For those who appreciate everything, there are many blessings.”

James Clear, Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert

Image from Unsplash by Yasin Yusuf

As we get older and hopefully wiser, many people come to learn that the myth of “having it all” is a lie. At some or many points in their lives, they learn that life forces us to choose and make many difficult tradeoffs.

If I say Yes to this it often means saying No to that. If I grasp this, I will likely need to let go of something else.

EXERCISE:

What have you discovered over the years regarding expecting everything versus appreciating everything? In what ways have your blessings outnumbered your curses with this added wisdom?

Take pleasure in what’s already here

Take pleasure in what’s already here.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Lala Azizli

For many people, pleasure seeking is almost a full-time job. They seem always on the hunt for the next great experience to place a check mark on their bucket list. Life, however (for most of us) is what happens between those peak experiences, and can seem routine and boring.

Years ago, there was an TV ad campaign for Van Camp’s pork and beans with the catchy jingle, “Simple pleasures are the best.” Although pork and beans may not be your thing, we can all recognize that simple pleasures are also the most abundant if we heighten our awareness and appreciation of them.

EXERCISE:

Turn on your pleasure-seeking radar to see what’s already here. Keep a log or list to capture the things you easily recognize and perhaps a good number of those you often overlook. Consider placing all of your senses on high alert to expand your list even further.

Divine seeds are scattered throughout our mortal bodies

“Divine seeds are scattered throughout our mortal bodies.”

—Seneca, ancient Roman Stoic philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Annie Spratt

I’m sad to say that over the past few years, I’ve attended more funerals than at any other time in my life. Beyond the sadness and grief I’ve felt, I’ve come to more fully appreciate the celebratory stories often told by friends and family. Learning about these individual’s lives and discovering their gifts, talents, and contributions to the world is heartwarming and inspiring.

How often do we truly see and appreciate the divine seeds in one another? Why does it often take someone’s passing for us to discover their best qualities and gifts?

EXERCISE:

How can you seek out, more fully appreciate, and acknowledge the divine seeds in others today? How can you look beyond all the mortal and imperfect aspects of one another to see and celebrate their soulful virtues and wisdom?

Appreciate each small step and every glimpse of progress

Appreciate each small step and every glimpse of progress. It’s almost always about the journey.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Joshua Sukoff

Where are you at this very moment? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are your thoughts, feelings, and emotions?

We have all been told that life occurs in the here and now and yet we often jump into our mental DeLorean to revisit the past or jump ahead to the future.

Of course, taking occasional trips down memory lane can be helpful to point out pivotal moments and possible missteps.

Lessons learned can also help guide you and offer suggestions about who you may wish to travel with to support your efforts.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways have you progressed this past year? What positive qualities have you developed or enhanced? What journeys do you intend to take and what progress do you intend to make in the year ahead?