Reality Reflections: do your best

Today I have a simple message for you: do the best you can and be the best you can. I said it was a simple message, I didn’t say it was necessarily an easy one. The best you can doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect, that everyone will like you or that you’ll always be satisfied with yourself at the end of the day. Doing your best means that you don’t give up when the going gets tough, you don’t let the criticisms beat you down, and you choose to do the right thing rather than the easy one.

Doing your best means that you get up each and every day with the thought in mind that you’re going to give this new day your best effort, that you’re not going to give up on it, just like the sun doesn’t give up on us (it’s always behind the clouds or on the other side of the world). It means that you’re committed to being aware of what’s going on around you in the world, to have an attitude of love, care and helping others, and to believe in standing up for yourself and others.

It makes finishing a day that didn’t go so well a little easier. It makes it a little easier to sleep at night knowing that you’ll try to solve tomorrow’s problems then and that you’ve done as well as you could with today’s. It won’t “fix” other people or their problems, but it will help you find the patience to deal with them and reach peace easier when something or someone is completely outside of your control or influence.

I encourage you to choose today to be the best person you can be for your partner, your coworkers, your kids, your boss, your employees, your customers and/or yourself.

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A Little Anticipation

Happy Autumn!  The new season has arrived, how are you feeling?  Are you looking forward to what is to come this season, or are you more apprehensive of the changes that are coming?  I’ve been thinking about what this season means to me and the potential it could hold.  Some of those thoughts are pretty overwhelming, and often when it comes to change it does seem overwhelming.  That could be the reason why you’ve been hesitating with changes that you’re considering in your life.

As I was thinking about autumn I was reminded of the season and events that are upcoming: winter and Christmas.  We look to Christmas (or Hanukkah) with a big sense of anticipation, even as adults.  We look forward to gatherings of family and friends.  We look forward to seeing what the stores come up with as window displays.  We look forward to our kids’ gleeful cheers and crazy antics with gift giving.  We look forward to cookies, things we let ourselves eat once a year and even leftovers seem to taste better because it’s the holidays.

Sure some of us anticipate pumpkin spice lattes, apple pie and apple and pumpkin everything that shows up this time of year. Some of us really enjoy Halloween and others really enjoy the falling leaves and autumn activities.  But do we really look forward to it as a season or are we so busy getting back into things, or missing the summer that we almost dismiss fall?  Would we adjust better and enjoy ourselves more if we lived life with anticipation rather than dread or just trying to get by?  I know that Christmas isn’t the perfect holiday, most of us can remember at least one bad one that we had (I can remember a couple that I was really sick for).  So it’s not about having the feeling of Christmas all year long, or having Christmas all year long, but about looking forward to what life sends us.

I encourage you to choose an attitude of anticipation for the rest of this month and season, rather than dread or apathy and see what awesome things come your way.

The Hope of Autumn

This week is the beginning of Autumn here in the US.  I’m not a big fan of the cold winter nights which follow autumn, but there is something awe insipring about the colors and what the trees go through every year during this season.  As a summer person I always struggle a bit with letting the summer go and moving into autumn.  Don’t get me wrong, I love curling up in a sweatshirt and with blankets in front of a fire with a cup of tea or coffee, a good book or a snuggle with my partner.  But the freedom that we have with the summer and late nights and relaxed schedules plus the warm days and lack of necessary clothing are super appealing and make it much easier to plan what to wear each day.

So every year when fall rolls around I seek out encouragement to help me get through it with a good attitude and maybe even enjoy it a bit.  As I was contemplating it today I read Genesis 8:22 which says: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”  

This verse reminds me that God has a plan for our lives and the world, one that is often very orderly and regular. One of those things that we can really count on is the change of the seasons.  While we talk about the seasons as things ending or starting, God sees it as all part of His cycle of life, and a reason for us to keep hope alive.  This verse says that the change of seasons is very much like seeing the rainbow in the sky.  It’s a reminder that God hasn’t forgotten us, that He still has great plans for our lives and that there is still hope for the world to become a better and more faith-filled place.

What hope does this autumn bring you?

Truth for Today

This month we’re talking about lessons and learning things and one of the biggest lessons can be learned from the seasons and their changes around us. Whether you live in a part of the world that sees big seasonal changes like I do or you’re just subject to the daily changes of warm or wet, you can’t avoid that it changes or stop the changes. It’s not easy to accept that is the norm rather than the occasional, but even the most basic of changes from alive to dead and morning to night happen without fail. Sometimes we can prolong life, and sometimes just because it’s a new day doesn’t mean it’s light out, but time has moved forward, whether we were ready or not.

But then we know all that, and we know that change happens whether we agree or participate or not. So really it comes back to our perspectives, the truth we believe and what we do with our knowledge. When we hold so tight to the truth we currently have we’re not able to accept the changes to the truth or that they may be good for us. However there are new things being discovered and uncovered each day, so to not be willing to change your perspective of what you see as truth is like saying that the world is still flat, just because it was believed to be so for years.

Does that mean we shouldn’t ever take things as fact or that there is no reality because it’s so ever changing? No, because for the time that it is today it is still today, and for the time that it is autumn, it is still autumn. It goes along with the statement of “innocent until proven guilty;” until guilt has been proven one way or the other the assumption is that innocence is the truth.

So what is your truth today? Are you living it and thriving because of it or is it time to discover some new truths?

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”  Zhuangzi

The Necessity of Spring

Every day I see a few more signs of spring, this week there were tons even though on this first day of spring we’ve got snow coming down. I can’t wait until we’re all free to just leave the house and take a walk without considering how many layers we need, if it’s going to snow or where we’ll walk because there’s snow all over the roads.  I’m thankful that I live in an area of the world that has spring, I can’t imagine what I would do if I lived where there was mostly snow or only summer because spring has a very important role to play in our lives.

I do love summer, it’s one of my favorite seasons.  Summer is associated with warm temperatures and fresh produce.  It’s a great time to get out and go places as well as a time to grow things because of longer hours and warmer weather.  Because summer reminds us to grow it’s an important season.

Fall is a time of change, which is an important season for us because our lives change too. Change isn’t a topic we’re all comfortable with but it’s a fact of life, just like fall is associated with cooler temperature and changing leaves. I like fall because it reminds us that things have to change, very few things stay the same.

Winter is associated with warm fires and more time spent at home.  It’s the one season that you can really see the impact of the weather as the snow falls from the sky and fills the ground.  You can’t see the sun do that and you can’t see the direct impact of the rain usually.  But winter reminds us that sometimes we need a break and need to take time to rest and reflect.

But spring is an explosion of life.  Maybe it’s because there’s such a drastic difference between winter’s snows and spring’s life. Maybe it’s because there’s so much activity after so little. Maybe it’s the multitude of colors from white and grey. For these reasons and more spring is a time to celebrate.  Spring does something very important: it celebrates life.  I always remind my clients of how important it is to celebrate the victories, big and small, in their lives and work.  It’s not always about the finished races, big financial goals or meeting that special someone, the journey itself should be celebrated.

So today on this first day of spring, I invite you to share the things that you’re celebrating today big or little in the comments below.

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”” Robin Williams

Learning for Life

The new school year has arrived and the kids are back at it.  Personally I’m thrilled to not be attending classes each year anymore, and happy to be able to learn whatever and whenever I want.  Spring and fall are two seasons that typically invite people to explore.  It’s not so hot, yet not too cool so we’re not encumbered by big jackets, ice or snow or heat waves.  It’s a great time for people to go on hikes, take day trips, visit museums and aquariums and generally get out there to explore the great world we live in.

One of my favorite memories of growing up would be of the weekend we went to Vermont each year and the little stores we got to know and places we would always go.  It was a fun weekend to see leaves and visit a part of the country that was similar yet very different from New Jersey.

Most of us are born with that need to go out and see more of our world.  Some of us call it roaming, some call it an adventure and others are seen as free spirits.  However you view it, it’s important for us to get out there and explore the world beyond ours.  We’re not even to space travel and other planets that might have life on them, we’re still trying to learn about the world we live in.

As I’ve said in the past, it goes back to being important that we are curious about our world.  Curiosity and exploration keep our mind and body healthy and help us become smarter by making connections, comparisons and contributions.

It’s been said that when some people retire it’s like their life is over.  Why?  Because they’re no longer getting the necessary stimulation to live and thrive.  We all need some challenge in our daily lives, or else we end up vegetables and apathetic about life.

What will you be curious about and explore this week? Maybe it’s time for you and your partner to try some new things.  Maybe it’s time for you to really get to know your child or teen.  Maybe it’s time to learn who you really are and not who the world says you should be.  What will you learn this week?

“There are many spokes on the wheel of life. First, we’re here to explore new possibilities.”  Ray Charles

Halloween: Get it or Forget it?

Coming up next week is Halloween.  Many Christians, and other religious people, are against the holiday, believing that all it does is promote evil stuff.  I think that it has lost a lot of it’s original meaning, and now it’s mostly a holiday where kids (and some adults) dress up and get candy.  While I could share many reasons why I like Halloween (including the candy), let’s focus on two reasons that are the most convincing, and what we can learn from this holiday.

1-it gives kids a chance to try something different. No matter what their parents say or how they’re groomed, Halloween provides kids an opportunity to be anyone they want to be.  Kids use their imaginations and live their dreams for this one day.  We should take a clue from them and try something different.  We’ve been taught certain things, raised certain ways and have fallen into certain habits.  Trying something different is not only fun but healthy.

2-Halloween promotes community.  There’s no two ways around this, Halloween requires you to go around your neighborhood, meet your neighbors and have some fun.  You can’t properly celebrate Halloween without seeing other people.  You can celebrate Christmas with a drink and watching Miracle on 34th Street, but you can’t “do” Halloween without knocking on other people’s doors.

So this Halloween, stay safe, have fun, and go out into your communities!