“The years teach much which the days never know.”

“The years teach much which the days never know.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist, philosopher, poet

Image from Unsplash by Christopher Burns

If you take a close look at our beautiful Earth and have done some traveling, you will have likely enjoyed Mother Nature’s magnificence.

Consider the sculpting power of wind, water, ice, the tectonic forces below us, and how they have all shaped our world for 4.5 billion years.

Occasionally, and perhaps a bit more often these days, we see dramatic examples of Mother Nature’s power. However, it may be her patience and ongoing work over years, decades, centuries, and millennium in which we can most fully appreciate her masterpiece.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully appreciate your own daily efforts as the sculpting tools they represent in designing and crafting the future you desire?

“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

“When you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

—Tal Ben-Shahar, American/Israeli author & teacher

Image from Unsplash by Nathan Lemon

On most days, and for most of my life, I’ve had a half full, positivity bias toward life.

How about you?

Although it is easy to see areas in our world that need work, I see it as all of our jobs to do this work with both body and soul. Seeing and appreciating the good in others and our world seems to have a pulling attractiveness to make things even better.

If you research what drives us, you will find considerable evidence that our ability to positively influence our communities, better ourselves personally, and have a values-centered purpose are key.

EXERCISE:

How would having a greater positivity bias help you more fully appreciate all the good in your world?

Consider the idea of keeping an appreciation or gratitude journal for a least a week to see what appreciates in your life.

FRIDAY REVIEW: APPRECIATION

FRIDAY REVIEW: APPRECIATION

How do you show appreciation in your life? What makes you feel appreciated? Here are a few appreciation-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.

 

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

 

 

 

 

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

 

 

 

 

“You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.”

 

 

 

 

 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing

“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

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?

EXERCISE:

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

“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 of a couple doing latin dance

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“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 of a hand placing a piece in a jigsaw puzzle

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“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 of a zebra on the African tundra

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“When your feet start to hurt, place yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

—Demi Lovato, American Singer-Songwriter

Image of Factfulness book cover

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“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?

EXERCISE:

Reflect on the questions above, and determine some meaningful way to show your gratitude for the teachers who influenced your world.

I Will Love the Light

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”

—Og Mandino, 20th Century American Author

Image of a starry sky

Image from Flickr by Kristopher Roller

Every summer when I was young my entire family headed to Camp Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Back then, our trusty flashlights were essential tools for nighttime navigation in finding our way back to our cabins.

On clear nights with virtually no ambient light for miles, we would often turn off our torches to enjoy the spectacle of the night sky, filled with what must have been millions of stars.

The flash lights were only helpful in seeing 50 or so feet ahead. The darkness allowed us to see the light of stars, and perhaps galaxies many light years away.

EXERCISE:

Where would a greater appreciation for both the light and the darkness of life reveal even greater insight into yourself and the world?