“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?
“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.
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.”
—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.
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.
“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?