“One of the greatest treasures in the world is a contented heart.”
—John O’Donohue, 20th Century Irish poet and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by N.
Today’s quote sends us all on a treasure hunt, challenging us to explore our inner and outer worlds to see what truly offers heartfelt contentment.
What aspects of your life feed and keep you fed — body and soul?
In today’s media-flooded world, many of us have been brainwashed into the myth of having it all. So many of us play this game only to find that long-term satisfaction and contentment eludes us.
Having what we want versus wanting what we have is a perspective worth a closer look.
What aspects of your life are essential for you to close your eyes at night with a contented heart?
How many of these treasures are already in your possession?
“Stillness is what aims the archer’s arrow, it inspires new ideas, it sharpens perspective and illuminates connections.”
—Ryan Holiday, American author, and host of the podcast The Daily Stoic
Image from Unsplash by Mario Doberman
Being still seems like such a passive thing to do. How could the lack of movement get us where we want to go and accomplish the things we desire?
Without a careful aim we certainly miss our targets.
Without new ideas we are destined to keep circling back to the ones whose time has passed.
Without greater perspective we are unlikely to pursue paths meant for today and our future.
Without our connections and communities, we are left as lone rangers, isolated and alone.
How could you squeeze greater benefits out of stillness in your life?
Where can it act as a quiet place to reflect and improve your world in so many ways?
“Be careful not to let the noise in your mind overpower the whispers of your heart.”
—Cory Muscara, international speaker and teacher on mindfulness and positive psychology
Image from Unsplash by Nick Fewings
As a child I was fearful of going to the doctor. The unfamiliar surroundings, the strange smells, and the anticipation of getting a shot from the scary nurse was something to dread.
Doctor Wiederman was always kind and gentle, with a reassuring voice. On one visit, he let me use his stethoscope to listen to my heartbeat. This pulsing sound seemed to let me know that everything was OK and that he and his staff were only there to keep me healthy.
As I’ve gotten older, my perspective on my heart has expanded from a blood pumping organ to the source of my soul. Taking the time to be quiet and listening to its messages is something we can all practice daily.
Where and when do you take the time to listen to the whispers of your heart?
How can you quiet the noisy voices of your mind to embrace this inner wisdom?
Lighten up! Notice what is heavy in your life and release it.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan
Where in your life does it feel like you are carrying the world on your shoulders?
What are some of the personal and professional burdens and responsibilities that are weighing heavy on you these days?
What percent of this heaviness is coming from people and external events and how have you internalized many of them through self judgement and critical thinking?
Consider taking a look at these situations through the eyes of people you know who handle such pressures with ease. How do they do it?
How often have you asked these folks for some coaching or support to lighten your load?
Where would you like to lighten things up in your life?
How can you begin releasing these pressures through shifts in perspective and the use of outside resources that can help?
When you receive criticism take a moment to pause. Let this time be a kind of speed bump to slow down and “try on” what is being said.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan
No one likes to be criticized and judged. We like the way we are doing our lives and anyone who disapproves is clearly wrong!
Oops! What just happened? How can it be that we, too, may be just as critical of others, and they don’t care for it very much either?
What if instead of blocking this feedback and defending our positions, we simply paused to consider their perspective?
What would happen if we actually looked for the potential value in what was being said?
How might new ways of looking at ourselves create new opportunities for growth and self-improvement?
How would slowing down for the seemingly critical speed bumps offered by others make your travel through life smoother?
How might the ideas that are shared actually fit if you “try them on” for size?
If you still find them too tight, loose, itchy, or the wrong color, you can take them off.
It can be helpful examining the game tapes of your days to explore what worked and what didn’t.
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Bezanger
Consider the following scenario:
It’s mid-November and the big Thanksgiving celebration is coming up for the family. A wave of anxiety and hesitation comes over you knowing that similar gatherings in the past did not go well. You replay these events with your selective memory and clearly know that others were wrong in the way they acted.
What if you actually had a recording of some of these gatherings and had a coach to point out your own missteps and shortcomings?
How could this help you set things right and do much better in the future?
What are some of your most helpful reflective practices to examine the game tapes of your days?
Who are the coaches in your life that can offer a far more objective perspective to improve your performance in the games ahead?
“Even in the longest life, real living is the least portion thereof.”
—Seneca, Roman stoic philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Belanger
Social media posts are fascinating.
When we scroll and post we are constantly editing and discerning how we and others are living.
Like an editor of a film, newspaper article, or book, we take out all of the items of marginal interest and leave only what seems noteworthy and exceptional.
If a documentary film crew were to spend a typical day, week, or even a year following you and your family, how much real living would remain?
How much trivial and meaningless footage would be left on the cutting room floor?
What qualities of life represent real living to you?
How can and will you infuse more of these genuine and meaningful expressions of living into your days?
What shifts in perspective might have you reconsider what and how much of these experiences you share with others?
Where there is awareness there is growth.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by olieman.eth
Today’s quote got me thinking about the definition of insanity which suggests that it is fruitless to expect different results when we do the same thing over and over.
I prefer to embrace the idea of “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge,” penned by Tuli Kupferberg.
Given the perspectives above, awareness seems to be a key to opening the doors to growth and new possibilities. Mindlessly trying the same keys that didn’t open the door initially seems to only keep us locked out of our fullest potential.
Where are you currently stalled or stopped in your efforts to grow?
How can you deepen or broaden your mindfulness efforts to unlock new doors and discover more of what’s inside?
Who can and will you ask for help you in your efforts?
“Worry compounds the futility of being trapped on a dead-end street. Thinking opens up new avenues.”
—Cullen Hightower, American quip writer
Image from Unsplash by Yellow I’m Nik
Over the past several weeks I’ve become increasingly aware and sensitive to the worries, complaints, and repeating gossip in the people around me. I am sure I must participate at some level, but I can’t stop wishing others would cease and desist with these ever-looping, dead-end conversations.
I wish I had a magic wand to shift other’s perspectives to open up new avenues to more empowering and productive paths in their discussions.
What are some of your best approaches when you and others in your communities are trapped on the dead-end streets of worry? What can you do to open yourself and others up to new avenues of thinking?
“There is a vastness that quiets the soul, but sometimes we are so squarely in the midst of life’s forces that we can’t see what we’re a part of.”
Image from Unsplash by Sebastian Pichler
Wendy and I purchased our 3½ year-old grandson a junior planetarium as one of his holiday gifts. Weston loves anything to do with the planets, rocket ships, and learning new things.
Those first few weeks when his toy was a novelty, he often urged me into his room — complete with room darkening curtains — to swap out the numerous discs with multiple images like the old viewfinders from childhood.
Beyond the many beautiful images of the other planets, nebulae, and star fields, we always paused a bit longer when we saw the photo of the earth to see the big picture of where we all live.
Where and when do you take the time to zoom out far enough from your daily activities to see what you are part of? Try this zoom out technique and see if and how this wider view quiets your soul.