Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Life - New Half Century

I didn't mind turning 50. I was actually quite excited about it. And I am thrilled that it came so close to Easter, with all of it's hopefulness.

About 20 years ago, I started a gratitude journal. Every day, I wrote down at least three things I was grateful for. At the time, I was engaged in that hand-to-hand combat with life. I was struggling. Struggling against what was, struggling against it all being so hard, struggling for what should be. When I began focusing on all that was right and beautiful and noble in my life, I became less focused on what I didn't like. In the intervening years, I have spent more and more of my time in gratefulness. Yes, I still struggle. But I more quickly notice the "wall" and find my "yes" to what is. I am more able to see the gifts and graces and less likely to think I know how "it" should be.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I turned 50. I am looking at 50 as a halfway-marker. I have had a half-century so far to do what I'm on earth to do. As to the other half, I know for sure I have this moment and I am making it count! I would be very blessed, indeed, to have another half-century to live out my calling but just in case I don't, I'll make the most of today. And tomorrow, for as long as that is given to me.

As we celebrate the season of new life, I am going to be looking closely at what it is I am giving life to. I will sow seeds of hopefulness in the world. I will share what I've been blessed with in a way that brings about new life in others.

I am made of light
. . . . and bird-song
. . . . . . and hope

And that is what I have to offer others. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Two Lessons from Birds

We call him "tappy." For the past several years a pair of cardinals have lived in our yard and every spring the male goes a little nuts. We have a high window in our room that isn't curtained and every spring morning between 7:00 and 8:00, Tappy shows up to defend his territory against the brightly colored foe in the window. There must be something about the clarity of his reflection that time of day because it is the only time of day he does it.

For 30 minutes to an hour, he tries various of angles of flight to finally defeat his daily foe. He pecks at the guy in the glass until he just can't go on, then rests for a few minutes on the window ledge to recover. Then back again over and over until the sun moves and his enemy disappears.

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as "doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome." I notice that I am a lot like the cardinal, banging my head against the same wall over and over, magically expecting things to turn out differently. And often the enemy I'm fighting is only in my head.

Yesterday, I was pausing at a traffic light and noticed a bird in the grass just a few feet from the freeway. As the cars and trucks zoomed by he was slowly and carefully enjoying the fruits of earth. It was a beautiful spring day. Occasionally he'd lift his head and gaze in a direction while he slowly ate. I watched the light breeze ruffle the feathers on his head. It could have been my imagination, but he looked serene. He had to have known about the traffic whizzing by, but chose to remain oblivious to it, focused on the task at hand.

I am challenged, at times, to focus on what I'm doing and not to get all wrapped up in all that is going on around me. Moreover, I am learning to take time to enjoy the beautiful day while going forward with whatever I'm working on.

So notice what your limits are, take time to let the breeze ruffle your feathers, and have a beautiful weekend.