“When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.”
In the morning, light pours into my bedroom. It’s kind of a pain to fall asleep with the blinds open and the curtains pulled back, but it’s worth it to be greeted by light. Then, for me, it’s baked oatmeal and one shot of espresso. I’m not a morning person, and I probably haven’t had a single thought about anything worth remembering until I’ve begun to absorb some caffeine. A quick aside- I’ve never understood why people don’t drink more espresso, is it the whip cream thing? And then, a clean shave. I (almost) always use a sharp razor, not a Gillette, and have replaced that blue goop with fluffy and fragrant lavender shave soap applied by a badger hair shave brush.
I’m sharing my routine with you, because I’ve found that from the first ray of sunshine to the first bite of oatmeal, the last sip of espresso to the last bit of shave soap, I tend to concentrate on how lucky I am to enjoy these little luxuries. They are simple joys. When you appreciate your situation first thing in the morning, you start the day off right. And when you start the day off right, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.
If you’re a snooze button 12 times, rush out of bed and into the car to sit in traffic on the way to the job you dread kind of person, consider what you give up each morning. You’ve missed the chance to be gracious, to take a few minutes to yourself to think about your day, to think about what you can do for someone else today. By the time you’re expressing you’re road rage, you’ve given up the chance to work out that day or your opportunity to reflect in your journal. Approaching the beginning of your day differently might change your outlook on school or work, especially if you’ve taken a few minutes to give thanks that you have gainful employment and think about how you can make a difference at work that day. An improved outlook is often the key to improved performance.
So much of this blog is about having a positive and gracious attitude. The reason is simple- life is better that way. The time to establish that attitude is first thing in the morning.
“Whenever they say it can’t be done, remind them that they make a jellybean that tastes exactly like popcorn.”
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it. ”
— Boris Pasternak
It has been a while since I found myself at the helm of this blog. I’m sure the last thing you would expect from the optimist is feelings of guilt, but two weeks have gone by without a post, so here I sit, ready to make amends. You can imagine there is a reason, and here it is: in the past two weeks of my life, I have moved my entire life for a new teaching job, found a place to live, moved my entire classroom, begun unpacking in both places, obtained a new car and drove 1,200 miles in those two weeks. I tell you all of this because within the chaos and movement and craziness that have been the past 14 days, I have found something special within myself. It is a sense of recognition. A new vision and the ability to listen for life’s great moments.
For the past two weeks, I have been waiting for a “hiccup”. A stumbling block. The “catch.” With all of the good that came along, I knew it was good. It felt good to see “good” coming my way. I worked my behind off and it came to fruition. But you just never know if the “good” while find its way downhill.
Believe it or not, with all of the good I wrote about, there wasn’t anything to counteract it. Sure, there was stress. There were tears, breakdowns, and doubts that began to creep into the most trying times. I’m smart enough (and realistic enough) to know that life is not perfect. Mine is no exception. I asked myself, colleagues, and close friends alike. They helped me to come to terms with the fact that these wonderful moments were simply that… GOOD things happening. It was hard-fought, it was long sought-after, and it was meant to be good. Perhaps the reason I was so worried about this “great moment” and all the moments that crammed themselves into that short time was my inability to see the good without looking for the lurking, ever present “not-so-good.”
These long-awaited moments snuck up on me. The ferocity with which they made their entrance left me stunned. When something this big happens, we expect to see it coming for miles and miles, The greatest moments in life find a way to lie in wait for the right time. They listen when we do not. They follow us, echoing our hopes. The fill our soul and our heart. They become the beat that we follow as we dance through life. Before we know it, we are right in the middle of the greatest moment we can imagine.
The great moments do not come by accident. We do also not stumble upon them by accident. We need to learn to listen for the gentle knock of great opportunities. The calm we use to listen more closely to our opportunities will bring calm to the rest of our lives as well.
Life is knocking. Calm your inner voices and feel the pulse of life like you would your own heart beat.
Life is calling. LISTEN.
When you swim out to Black Rock, the cliffs don’t seem very high. But as you climb the boulders, the coarse stone cutting the bottom of your feet, the fish in the tidal pools start to seem tiny. When you peer over the first wall, you realize that you’re climbing a bit higher than your comfort zone. But you keep climbing, because no self-respecting thrill seeker jumps at the first chance. So you keep climbing to the top and try not to look down. After all, if you look down, you might not jump. Now’s your chance to back out, but it’s a long climb back down. You take a deep breath and two steps to fling yourself off the ledge. The second step isn’t necessary because you’re already plummeting towards the water below. You’re not really thinking about anything. All you can do is tuck your arms in at your sides and… SMACK- you plunge beneath the cool salty water. You feel the rush as you break the surface and take another deep breath. Congratulations- you just took the plunge.
Take the plunge.
Live a little.
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
— Earl Nightingale
It’s an amazingly simple concept, really. We use every opportunity to ignore it.
Oh, that will take forever…
I don’t have time for that…
Don’t settle for instant gratification when the time it takes for real success and happiness is going to pass anyway. Why not be proactive towards owning your time? Hold yourself accountable for each minute. Don’t CHOOSE to waste any of it. It’s all in the way you look at it.
— Herb Brooks
As I’m sure some of you are aware, hockey is back.
Speeches are being made, music is being played, rituals are taking place, and the anticipation and excitement are rising.
I am not a die-hard hockey fan. I enjoy it, and I will root for my team until my dying day. However, I don’t get the jolt from it that most people do. I suppose that’s why I really wanted to write this post.
Regardless of your stance on hockey, I’m sure you can agree with Herb on this one. Everyone has opportunities: Big or small. When an opportunity presents itself, it is important to suit up and play. No one said it was going to be easy, and no one said that every opportunity comes with the potential to turn everything around…
… But every opportunity can change your life. It’s the small moments, the seemingly meaningless trials. They are steps in the right direction. They are were greatness begins.
I want you to treat every opportunity like a golden one. You make yourself great.
“This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”
— Viola Davis in Won’t Back Down
A new teacher movie for me to geek out over is coming out this weekend. It was this quote however that reached out to more than simply the parents, students, and educators.
We have one life. ONE. What are you going to do with yours?
Make it one worth remembering. Make it one worth celebrating. And for goodness sake, make it one that makes YOU happy.
Love and Light,