Friday, April 30, 2010

Did Your Ship Come In?

"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it.” Jonathan Winters

Jonathan Harshman Winters III is an American comedian and actor. As a stand-up comic with a madcap wildness, his best known character is Maude Frickert, the seemingly sweet old lady with the barbed tongue. In 1999, Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Where’s your ship? This metaphor of a ship coming in is powerful – a big vessel filled with everything imaginable that can change your life in one docking – everyone dreams of this and yet it almost never happens. Let me tell you a secret: your ship is already here. It’s always been here and yet you continue to look over the horizon for what you think will be another that may be better. The reality is that the best job, or friend, or family, or team, or whatever else you’re hoping for are the ones you already have. Here’s the deal: you have to make them the best you hope they will be. You have to put the time and energy and resources and commitment and thought and effort into making them whatever you hope and want them to be. You have to build that ship from the bottom up and fill it with all the things you need, and then use them all each day to make you what you want to be. You have to stop dreaming and start doing – that’s the only way a ship of any kind or size is ever going to arrive for you. Dreaming about this, hoping for this, waiting for this – that’s not what it takes to make it happen. Planning for this, working towards this, making the best use of whatever you have – that’s how to get all you ever want, all you’re ever going to have, and be all you’re ever going to be. That’s how it works – now, start swimming!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning to dance in the rain." Vivian Greene

Vivian Greene is an R&B singer and her songs have been on the top of the dance charts. I haven’t found any about dancing in the rain but I bet she understands the concept.

I love this quote because it’s all about the glass being half full rather than half empty. You’ve heard that expression many times, but have you really thought about it in terms of your life and how you feel about things? Every day you’re in the eye of life’s storms and heavy winds blow through your home and job and neighborhood – how well do you stand up to them? Do you let them knock you off course, or rattle your limbs, or walk with your head down and not looking where you’re going? Or do you stand tall and strong and straight, and point purposely into the direction you’re heading, and never take your eyes off where you’re going? Every day those same winds usually subside and the clouds blow away and the sun shines through the haze – are you still there and ready to lead others so that they don’t stray too far from the path they need to be on? That’s the way to be your best, to have others see you as the best, to provide the guidance and direction and leadership to get things done. All storms and winds and obstacles pass and ultimately leave a clear floor on which to dance. So, start the music, sing a song, and dance through and beyond the rain today!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What's Your Purpose?

"The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us." - Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson (born July 8, 1952) is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. She has published nine books, including four New York Times #1 bestsellers. Her efforts have truly given birth to the best within her.

What’s within you? Are you sensitive to the people and world around you – or do you move through life with little notice of who and what’s there? Do you have feelings for others and their needs – or do you mostly care about yourself and just getting by?? Are you able to express your inner self to others – or do you keep feelings and thoughts to yourself because you think others don’t care??? Can you actively engage with others at home and work and play – or do you find it’s better to stay by, or do it, yourself???? Do you provide for others the way you’d like them to provide for you – do you really care about their needs????? Our lives are so much fuller when we join the universe around us – learning and growing and feeling and serving and caring and knowing about ourselves and others. Taking part in all that’s available, discovering all that’s to be found, sensing all that can sensed by all of our senses. That’s how to begin to find your purpose – and to give birth to all that is best within you and others.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool!

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sing best." -Henry van Dyke

Henry van Dyke graduated from Princeton University in 1873 and from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1877, and served as a professor of English literature at Princeton and the University of Paris between 1899 and 1923. By appointment of President Wilson he became Minister to the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 1913. He chaired the committee that wrote the first Presbyterian printed liturgy, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received many other honors. He sang loudly.

What’s the lesson here – that only the loudest voices and actions are noticed and listened to, or is it that you need to confidently and competently add yours to whatever activities you’re engaged in? The fact is that the former is more often true, and the reality is that more of the latter needs to occur everywhere for the best of anything to occur. That means you have to be prepared to be your best at whatever you’re doing – that’s a tall order because it means you always have to be alert and engaged and attentive to details and positive and thoughtful, and helping others to be the same. The things you’re working on today are going to happen anyways – so sing out, and lend your voice and your talents and skills and energy to make sure that whatever gets done today is as good as it can be. And unlike all those other tall tales that folks around you are telling today, this is no April Fools’ joke - it’s the truth! Welcome to April.