Daily Joys and Simple Pleasures

“How do you DO it?” she demanded. Her tone was a mix of incredulity and anger.  I didn’t know what to say.  I remained silent, anticipating she would tip her hand a bit further with the opportunity.  Indeed, she did.

“You are going through H@% and yet you just keep on.  Every day I look at you expacting you to crash and burn and you just keep showing up.  Apparently cheerful.  You even seem happy.”  I couldn’t help but note that her tone was more like an accusation than an accolade. But I waded in.

“I AM happy.  If circumstances determined my state of being and my attitude, I would have been dead long ago.  I am not UNaware that my circumstances are unpleasant, to say the least.  But I know this for sure – all I can control in these tumultuous times is my attitude.  And I choose to embrace the day for the opportunities that it holds.  Even in the obstacles there is opportunity.”

Hurumpf.  Or was it, “Humpf.”  She finished our conversation with something about denial being a river in Egypt.  And that was that.  Each time I had to walk past her door between by enterprises, she made a point of looking quickly away.  We didn’t have that conversation again, or any other.

My apparent optimism in the midst of what everyone understood to be personal and public turmoil was almost offensive to this woman.  She was given, herself, to fits of expressed anxiety and on days when anyone inquired after her health with, “How are you?” she took the inquiry to heart and answered with a complete list.  Usually of what was wrong.

A circumstance has its own story.  And it will tell its own story whether I call it an opportunity or an obstacle.  Just like a “DUE” date is its own requirement, a certain 24-hour period of time, whether I call it a deadline or a targeted completion date.  It works better for me if I call it a targeted completion date.  No surprise that it works better for me if I can manage to observe a thing as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.

I expressed to a professional associate the other day that –

“To possess an imagination means another way is always possible.”  mar

And these folks, with what are generally considered uplifting quotes, agree with that view –

“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.  And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumtions. ”  Stephen Covey

“Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny.  Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking actions towards the life you want.”  Steve Maraboli

“Say YES to the whole catastrophe.”  Joseph Campbell

Rarely do you hear a speaker addressing a benchmark moment of their lives saying, “Yes, it was in the period of time when I was devastatingly rich, had the ideal mate and perfect children and the job that was completely satisfying and rewarding that I had the biggest lesson of my life.”  Not the usual story.  Those lessons come from (YOU choose) a) obstacles, b) opportunities.

Which will you embrace today and how will you learn from it?

August is the gentle nudge at your shoulder in case you have been sleeping through your 2011 years of dreams and visions and aspirations.

“Wake up! C’mon,wake up,” is the voice of August stirring you in to a certain realization.  If 2011 is a bank balance (and time is truly our only valued commodity when you think about it) then you’ve spent more than you have left.

Wake up.

What are the stories that you have been repeating in your days?  Are they stories that propel your forward?  Are they stories that deepen your joy?  Are they stories that underscore what you CAN do or what you (think you) CANNOT do?

August is the whispered invitation, “C’mon.  It’s never to late to start what you dreamed about doing on January 1.  Remember those earnest resolutions that promised THIS year would be different?  It can still be different.”

The calendar is simply a marking post.  A way that we measure time between one thing and another thing.  It is never too late to kick your resolve into gear and do just one thing toward your dream, your hope, your passion.  One little thing.  What is it?  Do it now.  Really. Just go do it.

And while you are at it…tell the story.  Speaking something out loud helps make it more real, and assists you as you begin to stay true to the story you are telling.  Hear that?  It’s August saying, “It’s never too late to begin.”

The country road crew has an ambitious project before them.  So much road repair and only a small window of perfect weather in which to do it.

These are hard working professionals.  Their equipment is top notch. They have decades of experience bewteen them on each road crew.  Fact.

This morning as I drove past this sign I could not resist sharing it with you.  Road orange spray paint on the back of an unused road sign: BUMP.

You’d think the county would have prepared plenty of BUMP signs – given the nature of the jobs the crews are undertaking.  But no.  Apparently not.

Directional signs are  readily available in polished, nifty versions.  Warning signs?  Not so much.

So thanks go out to the county worker who did what s/he could with the materials that are available.  It slowed me this morning.  Made me pause and drive more thoughtfully.  I avoided the jarring impact of unexpectedly unpaved road thanks to this makeshift sign.

This is what I offer you here.  This is the underscore of my life’s work.  I grab what materials are available and scribble, spray paint, post, write, mark the most recent warning I perceive.  BUMP.  Most assuredly there will be bumps.  On every road, in every direction.  I am grateful for the workers who do their best to mark out warning signs for me.  And perhaps you, today, can pause to spray paint a much needed warning sign for a traveler who will come after you.  What might that sign say?  I really want to know – what does your warning sign for today say?