If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

Over the past few weeks, several friends recommended that I watch ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.  I had honestly never heard of it before, but I’ve learned to listen when something comes across my path over and over.  So, last night I sat down and watched it and I have to say, I loved it!  It’s well done and has lots of great messages to share.  One line was used a number of times throughout the film and it really stuck with me – “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

What a great quote!  It speaks to the optimist in me and reminds me of something that has been a driving force in my life – to keep moving forward, no matter what.  It is often difficult for many of us to see or even believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We get stuck in our current circumstances and spend far too much time and energy trying to figure out what we could have done differently to not end up where we are.

The truth is we all are being our very best in every moment.  Where you are right now is less about one specific event or incident and more about every moment in your life leading you to this one.  It isn’t good or bad, it just is and spending your energy trying to analyze and isolate that one thing that you could have done differently to possibly change your situation isn’t going to help.  It won’t help because it won’t do the one thing that you want it to do – change where you are right now.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t okay to learn from what we perceive as mistakes we’ve made – that’s how we grow.  But dwelling on them won’t do anything to change the past.  What it will do is steal the joy you could have right now and after all, right now is all we have.  The really good news is that your current circumstances will change, that’s guaranteed.  How things change and where that leads you are really up to you and what you decide to do with this moment, right here, right now.  That’s all you have to figure out and trust that if you aren’t where you want to be, you won’t be here for long.  And remember, everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.

Inspiration Friday: Starfish!

For many of us Friday is the winding down of the work week and a mad dash into a much needed weekend.  To end the week on a high point, I wanted to share a story with you that you may have heard, but is one that never gets old for me.  It usually goes uncredited, but is actually an adaptation from a story written by Loren Eiseley, an American educator and natural scientist.  He was unique in his time in that he discussed scientific ideas in a context of spirituality and believed that we all have a responsibility to each other and the natural world that goes beyond our own ambitions.

I don’t believe that I could say it any better, so without further ado I hope you enjoy ‘The Starfish’!

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one!

What Success Is.

I’m sure many of you have seen the image below that compares what we think success looks like and what it really is.  I saw this making its rounds the past few weeks on various social media forums and I have to say, I don’t really like it.  The picture tells me that either way you look at it, you have to have upward mobility be considered successful.  Plus, the arrows both point off the chart, implying that success will always be out somewhere ‘out there’ that has to be chased, but never caught.

SuccessSince this didn’t really feel true to me, I thought I’d create my own little graphic.  To me success is about being happy, not just the pursuit of something that will make me happy when I get it.  Too many people I know spend their lives chasing the thing that will ‘finally’ allow them to be happy.  For some it’s losing that last 20 lbs, finding their soulmate, that next higher title or position or a certain amount of financial abundance.  It’s great to have goals and things that you strive for, but don’t give away the happiness you can have right now just because those things haven’t arrived yet.  You can be successful right now, in this moment, if you choose to be.  You decide what success is and if you choose to feel successful, then you are!  Success_True

Feel the beat of the Rhythm of Life!

Have you ever found yourself sitting in front of your computer trying to force yourself to start a particular task?  I know that I have and I’ve tried all of the ways to nudge or trick myself into action – from faking excited to nearly inciting panic, but more often than not, my hands remained poised, inactive above the keyboard.

I was in that all too familiar position recently working on a project at home when one of our three barking puppies gave me just the excuse I needed to get up and go see what they were into this time.  They were doing what puppies do, chasing each other around the house and having a blast.  I watched the mayhem for a few minutes when something remarkable happened, they slowed, came to a stop and all three puppies found a place to sprawl on the floor and were asleep in a matter of seconds.

It was funny and cute, but also struck a cord with me.  They weren’t worried about getting 5 more minutes of play in or barking at each other to keep going – they got tired, so they flopped down and took a nap.  It wasn’t about rationalizing or explaining or convincing, it was just what felt right for them in that moment.

So I took a lesson from the puppies and went and did something else, something that I felt motivated to do.  Maybe it wasn’t the task I had on my  mental ‘to-do list’, but I actually enjoyed doing them.  I didn’t worry about the things that I wasn’t doing.  I just let my own internal rhythm carry me from one activity to another.  I felt productive and eventually came back around to the task that started it all and not surprisingly, knocked it out in far less time that I thought it would have taken me earlier.

Far too often we try and force ourselves through an activity or task because of some artificial reasoning that tells us that it must get done right now.  I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t.  Give yourself a break and walk away, even if it is just for a few moments.  I suspect that you’ll find out what I have – that when your internal rhythm brings you back to that task when you’re truly ready to do it, it will be far easier and less painful for you to tackle.

We all have a unique sense of rhythm in our lives and learning to recognize that in yourself can be very powerful.  Taking on a chore or activity when you’re ready and ‘into it’ makes all the difference.  So take a lesson from the puppies and find your rhythm!