“When things feel heavy, reach out to whomever is near and distribute the weight.”
Image from Unsplash by Rémi Walle
This past spring and summer Wendy and I began and eventually finished our move from Michigan to Pennsylvania. Our last move prior to this was 29 years earlier and we had the services of a corporate relocation company that handled all the details — including most of the heavy lifting.
The added years and the lack of corporate support made this move far more demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thankfully we were blessed with the help of our amazing children, friends, and some interesting out-of-the-blue strangers who came to the rescue to lighten our load.
Where have certain aspects of your life become heavy and difficult to manage? Who are some of the people in your various communities that can and would happily let you distribute this weight? Who in your life needs your assistance at this heavy time in their lives?
“The eyes experience less stress when they can look upon a wider horizon.”
Image from Unsplash by v2osk
Try reading a book held 4-6 inches from your eyes. Slowly move the text away an inch or two every few seconds until you can make out the words with some difficulty. Hold your gaze there and read one complete page — or even a single paragraph — and notice the strain.
Now move your arms away to the proper focal length and reread the same passage.
Sometimes we find ourselves far too close to a situation, in which we may lack the objectivity and perspective to see the whole picture. Zooming out to provide a wider view may be all that is required to see things more clearly.
Take a look at The View from Above with astronaut Terry Virts.
Sometimes a little distance is all you need to see things in a brand-new way.
“We are the only creatures that seek out guarantees, and in doing so, we snuff the spark that is discovery.”
Image from Unsplash by Marcos Paulo Prado
At the age of eleven I grew up seemingly overnight. My dad, who was then 41, had a stroke. Everything changed for the family. Dad’s recovery was slow; he was able to return to work in about six months with only limited residual impact.
For me, it seemed like my childhood was lost and I became more diligent and responsible given dad’s limited capacities. I felt the need to be strong and dependable to help hold the family together. Doing so seemed to please my parents very much, and I continued to play this role as I launched my own life and became a husband and father.
As our two children left the nest and Wendy and I became grandparents a few years ago, a spark of discovery returned. Observing young Weston — and little Ella now that we live 20 minutes away — has rekindled new sparks of curiosity and wonder in all of us.
Where do you find yourself seeking guarantees and sure things in your life? How has doing so diminished or snuffed out your spark of discovery? Where and how can you rekindle this sense of aliveness throughout this new year?
“Who in your life deserves a sincere apology and a shift in your behavior?”
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by mark tulip
Apologizing is an act of generosity. It acknowledges a wrongdoing and seeks to make amends. We cannot change the past, but a sincere apology and a request for forgiveness can create the foundation for a better future.
Make note of the word “can.”
Words alone without a definitive and observable change in behavior aren’t usually enough to mend life’s fences for long.
To whom might you owe a sincere apology? What do you plan to say and what new promises regarding your future behavior will make things right?
“The Inner life of any great thing will be incomprehensible to me until I develop and deepen an inner life of my own.”
—Parker J. Palmer, founder and Sr. Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal
Image from Unsplash by Naassom Azevedo
As a child I did not enjoy reading. Books with big words were the worst and having to “look them up” in the 20-pound unabridged dictionary added to my displeasure. Not understanding the meaning of things and having to read aloud in school were sources of painful frustration and embarrassment.
Things shifted when I finished college and entered the working world. Learning suddenly became more relevant and purposeful, and I gobbled up new sources of information and knowledge to feed my appetite for professional development.
It took a bit longer for me to find my hunger for morsels of personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. If you told me years earlier, I’d be reading spiritual resources — and even poetry — on a daily basis, you would surely have seen my eyes roll.
How have you developed and deepened your own inner life? What inner work is calling you to continue on this path toward greater self-awareness and wisdom?
“There are two ways to feel the wind: Climb into the open and be still, or keep moving.”
Image from Unsplash by Crystal Baeza
We all want to feel vital and alive. Feeling the wind on our skin when we are still lets us know that the world around us is alive. When we feel no breeze about us, we often tap our own stores of energy and take action to move in the world to feel something.
On most days, I take a walk around my housing development. One circuit is about eight-tenths of a mile and there are four primary segments that point in all four directions. During parts of my walks, I feel the wind directly in my face. Other times it comes toward me from the sides or from behind. It is in this last situation I can often make my walking pace equal to the speed of the breeze when only the aliveness from within my heart and breath can be felt.
Where and when do you feel the greatest sense of aliveness? Try some experiments of being still and doing something active to see what you discover.
“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”
Image from Unsplash by Giorgio Trovato
I just finished binge watching the Disney+ 6-part series Welcome to Earth with Will Smith. It reminded me a bit of the series Running Wild with Bear Grylls but on steroids.
Instead of each episode highlighting a different celebrity, Welcome to Earth took a deeper dive into our breathtaking natural world, and into the world of Smith’s fascinations and fears of exploring.
Watching from the safety of my recliner I felt his excitement in stretching beyond his physical and emotional limits. I too wanted to be an explorer and yet I realized it is hard to do that wearing fuzzy slippers!
Where and how can you learn a great deal about yourself by becoming more of an explorer? What opportunities present themselves to you each day that you have yet to embrace?
Decide to decide and then take the leap. You will land on your feet more than you think.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Bishop
Making good decisions takes practice. Consider letting your heart, gut, and then your head be your guide. Seeking congruency among these three and acting with courage will increase your batting average and confidence with future decisions.
Where are you currently struggling to make an important decision? How can you let your head, heart, and gut guide your path forward?
Requesting the support of a close friend, family member, or coach can offer alternative perspectives you may wish to consider.