We are all familiar with walking down the street and coming to a crossroads with a stoplight and the direction of “walk, don’t run” flashing when it’s our turn to cross the street.  What a wonderful saying for our journeys through life.

How often does it happen that before you know it, a day has passed and you don’t remember the feelings or impact your actions or experiences have had on you?  You have gotten a host of things done off your to-do list and start preparing your list for the next day.  Maybe a sense of accomplishment is felt, but what was your experience of this day?  What opportunities did you miss or what challenges were skipped because of racing through that checklist of “productivity”?

I do not discount how busy our schedules can be and the errands and chores that require attention on a daily basis.  But, consider this.  We all have been driving down a city street, noticing and trying to avoid the vehicle that weaves in and out of traffic to get ahead of everyone else.  How many of you are aware that more often than not you catch up with the hurried driver at the next stoplight?

The point is that we get nowhere fast when we race through life.  We miss the nuances, the beauty, the life lessons, the seeds for wisdom whenever we hurry, destined to repeat the same mistakes, miss the important messages, and feel drained of energy.  There is no finish line to cross, no person to beat, no stopwatch to monitor.

Life truly is not a race to be won, but a journey to be enjoyed.  Make sure you see all the sights:  Walk, Don’t Run!

Today, all around us, there is so much that could trigger a pessimistic attitude towards life.  We all know what our triggers are.    How can I see the rainbow when it’s raining so hard?  How can I see the glass half full when even the glass is dirty?  Silver lining?  What silver lining?  What I want to focus on is cultivating optimism in the face of today’s struggles.

Cultivating optimism begins with attitude.  How we look at a situation, event, or interaction demonstrates which side of the attitudinal scale we come from – the upside or the downside.  Our thoughts and feelings will follow based on our location on the scale.

It is key to know that we are in charge of the attitude.  We may not be in control of the situation or event, but we are definitely in charge of how we look at it.  So, it is a choice.  No matter what the circumstance, we must stay in charge of how we see it to cultivate optimism.  Once we claim our ownership of attitude, we can begin to look at each life event from anywhere on the scale we choose.

Cultivating optimism involves looking for the lesson in a tough situation.  What purpose does it serve for us?  Sometimes the answer is a resounding “I don’t know”.  That’s ok.  The purpose is understood when it presents itself, and no sooner.  Trusting that the lesson will be revealed, learned, and applied allows us to view anything from a more positive, life-enriching standpoint.

So, take a look at the glass:  half-full or half-empty?  You decide.

Glass Half Empty

Half full or half empty?

As the winter slowly moves forward, each day that passes takes us a day closer to springtime.  Many of us have this attitude about winter.  We get caught up in the waiting for the next season (planning our spring cleaning or even the summer vacation to Disneyworld or Las Vegas).  We skip over today and the wonders, joys, surprises, and awareness of the present.

Yet, all we truly have is today.  Of course, it is wise to plan ahead to some extent; but not to the exclusion of living in the now.  To fully experience life, all of our senses deserve to be in touch with what is connecting us to the present.

Only in the present moment can we truly see the possibilities for growth, change, self-improvement, etc.  If we are focused on the future or mired in the past, we will miss the life lessons that open the doors to a sense of peace, contentment, and accomplishment.  It is very difficult, if not impossible, to discover and live your purpose in life if you are disconnected from the now.

If you struggle with staying in the moment, here’s a simple way to start being in touch with your now:  Use your five senses to identify what is presently occurring for you.  Right now, what do you see?  Right now, what do you hear?  Right now, what do you smell?  Right now, what are you physically touching?  Right now, what do you taste?  By answering these questions, you force yourself into the now.  Once you get practice doing this exercise, add another question:  Right now, what am I feeling?  You’ll find yourself connecting more with you and your experience of life in the now.

So, embrace today!