The simplest things in life are often the most incredible. Let them reveal themselves.
I have an idea for you.
Pretend as if you are experiencing everything in life for the first time. Pretend, if only for a few hours, that life is happening on purpose and drink deep.
Look at the members of your family with surprise and amazement. Be glad that they are by your side and enjoy the dance of love that is shared between you. Notice it. Enjoy it.
Look at the simple and mundane things you take for granted. Look at them as if you are conscious of them for the first time.
Explore the ceiling above your bed when you wake up.
Feel the sheets that cover you. Notice their warmth and the way they feel against your skin.
Watch your spouse while they sleep, or sneak into your child’s room and try to imagine what they are dreaming.
As you put on your favorite hoodie, or sweat pants, or shorts, take a moment to discern how it was made. Feel the material. Admire the stitching and its imperfections.
Feel the bathroom floor under bare feet. Observe its solidness. Wonder at its beginning and where it came from.
Take a different road on your way home. Explore your neighborhood and look for anything that grabs your attention. Enjoy the uniqueness of each building and its landscaping. Even if the building and landscaping are unattractive, imagine the potential.
Smile at people for no reason. Share the secret of joy through the look in your eyes and the language of your body.
Encounter the sun and sky and how different it is each and every day. Look at the clouds. Watch which way they are moving. Try to see the wind. Pay attention to the shadows and which way they fall. Play games with your shadows. Experience and enjoy the way light works.
The soul thrives on mystery. Look for mystery. Seek it out in nature. Seek it out in your home. Seek it out wherever you are. Hidden beauty is everywhere waiting for someone to discover it.
Say your good mornings, good afternoons and good evenings a little different. Don’t let them dive into simple polite formula. Instead, let them be a form of blessing that shares hope and carries the joy of being alive.
Talk with others with the anticipation of learning something new. Ask a lot of questions and turn off the commentator in your mind so you can listen with quiet expectation. Be amazed by the simple gestures and ordinary emotions as if you’re visiting with a stranger.
Take a few minutes and get quiet. Allow your mind to wander, and after it tires itself out, allow it to empty and enjoy the silence.
Pay attention to the words and chords of a song on the radio. Enjoy the movement of feelings it provokes. Play, sing, whistle, drum along with the melody. Let it move you.
All of this is what Thoreau was was talking about when he wrote about wanting to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life (Walden). Take the time this weekend to live. Take the time to notice and take the time to drink in all this world has for you.
If you do, you’ll find adventure. You’ll find rest. You’ll find life. You’ll find that the things you can be grateful for are infinite.
And best of all, you’ll discover that you’re not alone… Ever.
How do you drink deep from the what the world has to offer?
Part of the process of growth is making mistakes.
Hope. Pray. Trust. Scream. Laugh. Breathe. Shout. Run. Cry. Receive… And give thanks.
** Click here to see the hi-res version. There just might be a surprise or two if you look close.
This is not what you think. What I want to share has nothing to do with buying strategy. Nothing to do with real estate. And certainly nothing to do with finances.
Instead, what I want to talk about is something more valuable than gold. Courage.
Almost ten years ago, my wife and I purchased a home and like most young couples in the early 2000s, we only expected to live in our “first” home for a few years. Then, as the housing market took a nose dive into the poop, we suffered along with millions of other Americans in similar situations, and as much as we hated it, we had a home, a safe place to lay our head at night, and a place where we could raise our kids.
Then earlier this year, out of nowhere, we were forced consider our options and look for a new place to live. We weren’t expecting it, but we had to do something because continuing to live where we were just wasn’t an option anymore.
So I did as anyone would do, I started to panic. Mainly because six years ago, my credit was in the 400s. Don’t ask me how it happened because I just might go into a rant about credit cards, student loans, and how the need to keep up with with the world will be the end of all of us (insert deep breath here!). Anyway, I digress.
I panicked. How on earth were we ever going to get a new home? How on earth would we ever qualify for anything? How on earth is screwed-up-little-me going to be able to take care of my family, provide for a home and hold it all together?
How on earth am I ____________ (insert your own need here)?
Have you ever said those words? I say them all the time, as if I have control. Because I do. I have control. No, seriously, I do… Wait… Maybe I…
Truth is, we don’t have control. No matter how hard we work, how much we plan, or how much we try. We don’t have control.
And just when we think we do… Something happens to remind you just how small you really are. And no matter how much we fight it, life finds a way to make you struggle until you understand that in order to truly live, you have to let go of your need for control. And that takes courage. It takes courage to vulnerable. It takes courage to stand in the unknown. And it takes courage to be afraid, and be okay with being afraid. Like Brene Brown says, we are “wired for struggle,” and in order to get through the struggle, we need courage to trust that the Giver, in His own strangely beautiful way, will give you exactly what you need, when you need it.
And that’s exactly the lesson I learned.
I didn’t have control over our housing situation. I never did. We never do! The home we bought nearly ten years ago was a gift. I didn’t know it then, and most of the time I took it for granted, but when we were forced out, I was forced to trust that, no matter what happened, the Giver knew what he was doing.
And he did.
We were able to close on a new home yesterday.
Now, not every story, or every lesson (struggle) works out like we expect. Sometimes things happen that we can’t explain. But even in those times, even when we might not be able to explain it, what’s happening to you is exactly what you need. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have what I need than what I want. Because what I want just might not be what I need.
So the next time you are handed an unusual situation, or the cards are stacked against you, or you’re forced to drink the bitter cup, remember these three things.
- You are not alone – No matter what it feels like, you are not alone. The Giver is there watching over you, and His gifts are exactly what you need.
- Have courage – It’s okay to be afraid. Vulnerability is a good thing. It forces your courage to grow. And when you have courage, you have rocket fuel for the soul. Look at it this way: If we are indeed made for struggle, our fear and loss of control is a good thing! So don’t fight your fear, instead, learn to embrace it. Learn to lean into it. Because even our enemies (fear in this case) have a gift for us if we’re willing to listen.
- The gift you need often looks different than the one you want – It’s true. Things don’t always look like we think they should, and they don’t often happen like we expect. But the Giver is the giver for a reason. He doesn’t know how to do anything else. So trust that no matter what happens, you’re receiving a gift. Even if it tastes horrible, there is a gift a the bottom of the cup.
God is good. Really good.
Hope. Pray. Trust. Scream. Laugh. Breathe. Shout. Run. Cry. Receive.
And then… Give thanks.