Leap & Land with a Bang

Check out this BBC video of mobula rays and their artistic, acrobatic, and aerobatic show.  They are spectacular.  Who knew that rays could leap — and land — so amazingly?   Their landing sends a huge boom through the water.  The higher they leap, the bigger the bang upon landing.  It is believed that the rays that make the biggest impact, give themselves the best odds of standing apart from the herd and of leaving with a mate.

Watch these fabulous flying rays (3:12):


Mating rituals aside . . . when in a group, how do you stand out from the crowd?  How do you get noticed?  How do you draw attention to yourself?   This is not about ego-grabbing narcissism that demands every speck of attention in a social setting.  This is about expressing yourself in your immediate world such that you get noticed, feel understood, and build the best opportunities to connect with others.   Connection . . . it truly is what makes the world go around and is what gives significant meaning to what we do when we aren’t in the midst of connecting.  We, as humans, need connection . . . why not do it with a figurative bang?

So, taking a cue from the mobula rays . . . the higher the leap, the bigger the bang upon landing and the better chance to stand out from the crowd.  What is one thing you can do today or tomorrow or the next day to get noticed?  To make a difference?  To be you?  To exercise your unique you-ness?  Give yourself some credit for being important in the grand scheme of things.  Leap spectacularly and land with a big bang.

Being able to think of something that you will actually do might be a stretch for us introverts.  It might feel unnecessary or unbecoming or way out of one’s wheelhouse.  But why not try one little thing, make a change-up in your wardrobe.  Skip down the sidewalk to retrieve your mail.  Engage with the barista as you wait for your Americano.  Leaping is different for everyone; it is something only you can define for yourself.

Think One New Thing.  Leap and land and leap all over again.  It looks like these mobula rays are expending a tremendous amount of energy to go flying out of the water.  This is something that I think we sometimes want to avoid: The water feels so comfy.  I don’t think I can leap very high.  I’m not very athletic, after all.  Landing might cause me pain.  Someone might laugh at me or think I am weird.  Simply put? Expend the energy.  Your life will become different because of it.  I promise.

And the thing about leaping is that there is gravity on this planet.  You will land.  With a bang. Why not make it a Big Bang and stand out from the crowd?  Take a stand for you.  For a friend or a colleague or a student or a child or a stranger.  And for the world that surrounds you.  The Universe will thank you for it.

pencil stubClick on the sky blue link below for today’s journal prompt.  Have fun discovering (and making!) your leap!

Leap high and land with a bang. journaling prompt

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.  Life is meant to be grown.]

Arise & Whistle

Greetings to everyone on this very lovely Saturday morning.  What a perfect day for music and journaling!

Below is a youtube of “Blackbird” by Eddie Vedder.  I have heard many covers of this song, but what makes this one so special is the participation from the audience and the appreciation that Eddie Vedder expresses for their beautiful whistling.  I just love it!  I don’t know about you, but this song was so sweet I had to listen to it twice.

There are clearly days when it seems as if my life’s level of Whistling Participation is at a pretty low low.  I find myself wrapped up within the cocoon of my work, my family, my laundry list of concerns, my creativity, my chores and to-dos.  I keep things close and don’t stretch in any extraordinary directions, really.  I am like a little embodied capsule of Me that doesn’t live much beyond what is required of me or what pops up in the way of obligatory energy requirements.

“You were only waiting for this moment to arise . . .”

This is not to say that I am slumping through daily life with my head down and my eyes on the ground.  I do keep my eyes and my heart open.  But still.  I know that there are “moments” when I feel prompted to “arise” and I consciously choose to ignore or sidestep the opportunities that call me to action.  I realize that we can’t be “on” all of the time . . . yet today I am thinking that, perhaps with a little conscious and sub-conscious awareness on my part, I could be making a significant difference in random moments that could do with a little bit of “arising.” How about you?  Do you ever feel this way?

If you click on the link below, you will find a journaling prompt for today . . . one that encourages you to participate and to support in a wee small way today.

Arise and Whistle. journaling prompt

Live is a lively event.  Here’s your moment.  What’s stopping you?

Your Personality . . . & the Glory of the Choice

Vision Board 058Your personality . . . what is it exactly?  Aside from the usual adjectives of fun or moody or sunny or temperamental or intense or Type A or laid back or . . . what exactly? What does it really mean to be assigned a personality type?

We’ve all pondered the big debate of Nature vs. Nurture . . . how the spark of life is blessed/cursed/or combination-therein by congenital behavior . . . or wait!  Is it actually shaped by environmental and emotional factors?  And then these is all of the vice-versa stuff that leads one to accept and embrace both and then not think much about it.

Fascinating research points to many interesting findings that help us to understand Who We Really Are, our emotional and social intelligence, and our perception of positive and negative influences.  Nature or Nurture?  It is an enormous question that no one can really answer with total authority.  Take the story of the two children — identical twins, actually — standing on the ocean shore.  They are enjoying themselves while the salt water is gently lapping at their toes.  Suddenly, a rogue wave washes over the top of them.  The same wave, the same temperature of water, the same element of surprise.  One of the twins starts to cry and scream and run from the water. The other twin splashes back at the wave while laughing.   While this story would neither withstand nor support the rigors of a research study focused on Nature vs. Nurture, I like it nonetheless.  It gives me pause: Why not laugh?  It’s a heck of a lot more fun than crying and screaming.

And in the midst of all of this wondering and debating and agreeing, I do believe that there is much to be said for the concept of timshelthe Hebrew word for thou mayest.

When I think on topics of this sort, my mind wanders back to a Time of Great Impressionability in my life, and I was reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  What a book!  Well, “the story bit deeply into me,” and Lee’s treatise on timshel has stayed with me all of these curious years later — a testimony to the notion that life is one great impressionable moment after another.

It is my hope that sharing this gem of Steinbeck’s brilliance and wisdom will not act as any sort of spoiler.  The book is brilliant and one worth reading.  Like life, Steinbeck’s writing is intense and provocative and profound.  He writes the sort of story that stays with you throughout the years.  I thank Mr. Steinbeck for opening my eyes, my mind, my heart, my soul, and my sense of wonder to the notion of thou mayest“the glory of the choice.”

Last week, I came across this quite lovely Personality Test online.  I normally don’t click on these tests, expecting some sort of hook to be set before you receive your “results,” but something prompted me to go ahead and try this one.  Before reading any further, go ahead and click on the link and visualize your responses to the prompts.


All done?

What do you think?  How much of the explanation of your visuals did you feel was accurate?  At the very least, I felt that I was given a sideways glimpse into me — parts of me that are actually true that I generally don’t consciously associate with my “personality.”  I think about Steinbeck’s artistic weaving of timshel into East of Eden . . . and I am reminded that thou mayest carries with it a personal(-ity) responsibility of creative and paradigm-shifting mindfulness that requires daily cultivation, acknowledgement, and celebration on my part.

Personality assessment aside . . . overall, we need not be so hard on ourselves.  I think we sometimes embrace the opinions of  people — people who truly don’t know us — with far too much zeal, and we assign too much authority to the editorializing that is done by others.  We have a proclivity toward jumping into the sinkhole: a morass of self-blame, regret, and guilt that we assign to nature- and nurture-defining personality quirks . . . epic actions that play with our hearts and attempt to define how we choose to forge present moments into future goals and dreams.  Or . . . is this just my personality?

I used to have a quote taped up in every room of my house: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  In the midst of one particularly Challenging Time, I was re-reading the quote, and I realized that I needed to make an edit.  I crossed out about to happen and scribbled in happening right now:

Always believe that something wonderful is happening right now.  

The current paradigm of Overwhelm in that moment screeched to a halt, and life felt like it took a gentler curve toward heart-healing and happiness.  When I realized that I had a choice to become someone new on the inside, my whole life shifted.  This epiphany didn’t segue into some neat and tidy story-book ending, but it did nudge me into a new place, such that I could get back into a timshel state of mind: “the glory of the choice.”

toaster ovenI leave you today with the prayer, the wish, the hope, and the thought that today is a good day for you.  A truly good day.  One of gratitude and filled with micro moments that tell you that Now is Now and life is evolving, constantly evolving, as something that is wonderful.  If this moment isn’t all that great, just wait for the next one.  It will be here before you know it — full of promise and full of timshel.  With some refining, life really can be borne from “the glory of the choice:  . . . keeping “the way open.”

Click on the highlighted link below to download today’s free journaling exercise.  Have fun journaling and putting a new spin on perceptions and keeping your way open!

The Glory of the Choice. A Different Spin. journaling prompt


A reminder that gifts of beauty await when we keep our hearts open.  So lovely.


[P.S. Here is the real Spoiler Alert: To read a longer excerpt that discusses timshel in greater detail from East of Eden, click here.  If you are planning to read the book . . . do not click here.]

Just Breathe

This is such a lovely and wonderful song.  Every time I listen to it, I am reminded to Just Breathe.

Today, just breathe in the moment and “count on both hands”  your blessings of appreciation and gratitude.

Click on the link below for today’s journal entry.

Count on both hands. 10 things of appreciation.

toaster ovenWhile you are journaling, please, listen to this beautiful song by Eddy Vedder.  It is inspiring in that quiet, rich way that leads you to look a little deeper for all of the beauty that is hidden in each and every moment.  Happy journaling!

And I appreciate YOU for visiting The Unseen Words Project today.  You make such a difference in my day!

The byline for the day: Just Believe.

The image from this morning left me momentarily breathless.  It slowed me to a halt.  I witnessed an act of beauty – the anatomy of a miracle.

First, the sinking dismay that accompanies preventable, regrettable loss.  And second, the joyful bounce of unexpected prayerful return.  Kill the fatted calf – my long-lost has returned to me.

All of this amazingness – while driving downtown to my favorite coffee shop for my morning joe.  Generally, I prefer to pay homage to the four fundamentals of coffee brewing – freshness, grind, water, proportion – in my own kitchen.  But the clock had been hounding me from the moment my eyes caught their first peep of fresh morning light.  The alarms had done their jobs of multiple snooze . . . still, I had overslept.  I dashed through my morning routine: showering, picking out which pair of shoes would dictate the dress for the day, untangling some knots in my hair born from a fitful dream, walking the dog, feeding the cat, finding my keys.

Rush, rush, rush.  I met with every red light through the downtown district on my way to connect with some caffeine.  All of those courteous drivers who were yielding to pedestrians not at crosswalks or allowing other drivers to get into the lane ahead of them.  I was all but gnashing my teeth while murmuring my own dialect of cussing: toothpicks, trashbucket, rubybum, jesusmaryandjoseph.

I was at my 8th light when I saw a real-world diorama on the northwest corner of Holly and State.  There were three people waiting to cross at the light: a woman, a young-ish boy approximately nine years old, and a little redheaded girl dressed in pale pink tights, yellow dress, and black shiny shoes.  She was at that enviable age where tears can dry instantly and miracles still have the power to go unnoticed.

Life is all flow at that age.  I do remember.  So much stuff – the wheat and the chaff – pours into one vessel when you are three years old.  Entire lifetimes can occur in a single day – a single action – a single moment.  When you are three-years-old, life is in spontaneous mode.  Your awareness of control is underdeveloped.  You don’t exactly wonder how things are going to get sorted out.  They either do.  Or they don’t.  You might hope for the former, but there is the possibility of the latter inspiring some tears.

Movement caught my eye as I waited for the green.  The little ginger was pointing across the street.  Her hands pressed to her cheeks.  Her mouth a perfect O.  There, on the other side of the street was a bright pink hat.  The kind of hat you wear to church on Easter Sunday.  The woman was holding the hand of the little girl while pulling back on the hood of the boy’s green sweatshirt.  A veritable push-me-pull-you in action.

It did not require an advanced course in reading lips or body language to be able to hear their conversation . . . a study in exclamation marks.  The woman: An emphatic Stop!  You, come closer!  Wait!  You, be careful!  From the boy: Let me go! From the little girl:  Hurry!

The light changed to WALK, the woman released her grip on the boy’s hoodie, and the boy made his dash to the other side of the street.  Scooped up the ruby pink hat.  Loped back.  Plopped the hat on his little sister’s head all catawampus.  The little girl looking up at her brother: My hero!  Her hands adjusting her hat tighter to her head.  It was going to be a good day after all.

While watching, I couldn’t help but hope that the light wouldn’t change so I could see the rescue.  Vicariously experience the resolve.  The driver behind me laid on his horn.  His scowl and middle finger in my rearview told me that I hadn’t been paying attention to the light, the traffic, or my hurry.  I had been transfixed by the story.  Me: the one in the big rush, the one who had been cussing at courteous drivers, the one who had been tailgating law-abiding drivers.  Me: holding up traffic while watching something random and amazing.

The colors: the blue sky; the red hair and pink hat and new pale-pink tights; the baggy green hoodie and crayon-purple stocking hat.  The rescue: the heroes in this life.  The miracle: the joyful reunion.  The lesson: life does provide the chariot to our wishes.  The reminder: Hold loosely but hope for the best.  The hope for the return of some things in life is worth wishing for.  The magic: Just believe.  Life is good.  One never knows when a miracle is about to happen.  They happen every single day.  For this, I feel an immense and abiding abundance of gratitude. toaster oven

miracles can happen

Growth from Complete Destruction

seed crack growthThis is a very powerful quote.  I read this and wonder.  And think about my life.  I think about those times in my life that I would not exactly call fun.  Those times when I have felt confused, fearful, upset, angry, hurt, crushed.  None of these adjectives are new to any one concerning life, love, change, and growth. We are constantly metamorphosing within.  We present what might appear to be our “same self” to others, but we alone gauge the amount of growth that is occurring within.  And without.  There is simply so much dichotomy in life.

In botany, dichotomy is defined as “repeated branching into two equal parts.”  This allows me to look at moments of “complete destruction” as the balancing of another part.  The beautiful part that shows of promise and hope.  The Yin and the Yang.  The Passive and the Vigor.  The Interiority and the Exteriority.  The Earth and the Sky.  The Dense and the Rarefied.  The Diffuse and the Focused.  The Peanut Butter and the Jelly.  Matter and Energy.  Life balances this way, and I strive to be aware of the constant changes that are keeping me alive and growing and loving and learning and in love.  The unexpected blessings that remind me to believe in guided spontaneity.  What a gift it is when I listen to those inner voices that lovingly guide me to my bliss. Wow!      toaster oven

SproutsInception.  Origination.  Germination.  All indicate the origin of change, development, and growth.  As this quote states: “To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”  Today, I feel the balance that my experiences have created, especially during those times when I have felt like my “insides are coming out.”  Today, life feels beautiful — rendering yesterday’s testa as the reminder to grow in appreciation.  Appreciation.   Such a great thing to balance the teeter-totter of growth and “destruction.”

Oh, how I so want to be mindful of choosing grace under pressure.  Growth rewards us with gratefulness.  Deep and abiding gratitude for today.  For right now.  We are so lucky that we have the opportunity to grow and to become something new.

“If you cannot plant a garden, sow one seed.

If you cannot feed all the hungry, fill one need.

The seed you sow may someday bloom and spread

And your loaf supply a multitude with bread.”

— source unknown







“Life. It’s given to you. It’s a gift.”

gratitude-rainbowspiral1” . . . life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and . . . laughter is life’s sweetest creation.”                       — source unknown —

Gratitude.  What is it?  So many things and feelings and experiences.  It is simply enormous.  It is a whisper of a breeze.  It is beauty.  It is real.  It is vapor.  It is life.  We all have our own unique way of experiencing gratitude and of returning it to others.  Gratitude makes the world go around.  It is a gift that creates a good day.

always believeI have this quote hanging in my office on the wall near my computer: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  I l-o-v-e this quote.  It is another way of saying that cultivating gratitude matters.  It is important to believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  It feels so great to just give in to the belief and go with the flow.

This video by Louie Schwartzberg is so very very beautiful.   I watch it when life feels absolutely fantastic and again when life feels as if it needs a reminder to look out, look up, look within.  Believe.  Celebrate.  Embrace the incredible gift of today.  Give to others.  And give some more.  Be happy. Cultivate mindfulness of the beauty that is all around.  Smile.  Laugh at the funny and at the absurd.  And at myself.  Live a life of gratitude and appreciation.

“Life.  It’s given to you.”

May “everyone you meet on this day . . . be blessed by your presence.”  Thank you for joining me today and for reading this post and blessing me by your presence.  It makes me supremely happy to know that we are sharing this moment of significance.  Thank you!

toaster oven


why gratitude?

gratitude. chopraGratitude.  Georg Simmel calls it “the moral memory of mankind.”  Gratitude feels good.  It frees us from moments that try to put us in a muddle.  It expresses joy from the inside out.  It pays attention.  It is a honeybee of movement and purpose and sweetness.  It feeds hope.  It places a necklace of sweet violets around our hearts.  It is fun.  It is the stuffing inside our childhood teddy bear.  It kicks butt on gloom and doom.  It elevates our awareness of happiness.  It deals our cosmic poker hand aces.  It laughs at the absurd and opens itself to the unlikely.  It is a lot of things that just plain feel good.  It is inspiring and edifying.  How great it is to feel gratitude.


“Why gratitude?”  Indeed.  What a great question.  The words of wisdom in this image are so beautiful.  Universe.  Mindfulness.  Everyday.  Precious Jewel.  Joy.  Recognize.  Thankful.  Harvest.  Alive.  Moments.  Hearts.  Conscious.  Treasure.

Just reading these words makes me feel good.  And feeling these words is a true gift.  Makes me want to get up and dance. Pet the dog.  Appreciate the clean, running water from the tap.  Feel the love of my family. Enjoy a good belly laugh to the point of snorting.  So many things.  For all of them, I feel gratitude.

Please, take a few moments to enjoy this brief and very beautiful and inspiring and touching and elevating piece on gratitude below.  I try to watch it at least once a week.  Moreso if my mojo seems to have stopped working unexpectedly.  It is my hope that you have a very beautiful day filled with appreciation and gratitude.

Moving Art: Gratitude

Why gratitude?    “. . . it could be beautiful.”  

universe     mindfulness     everyday     precious jewel     joy     recognize     thankful     harvest     alive     moments     hearts     conscious     treasure     happy     healthy     blessed

Recognition: I See You

I see you.  When was the last time that you took a moment to recognize another person’s hard work?  Another person’s perseverance?  Kindness?  Generosity?  Talents?   Honesty?  Thoughtfulness?  Sweetness?  Creativity?  Spontaneity?  When was the last time that you paused to say, “You’re awesome!” or “I like what you said at the meeting this morning.”  Such a simple gesture.  Still it means so much.

Can you remember how good it felt the last time someone took the time to recognize you?  Your talents, your effort, your creativity . . . your you-ness.  Maybe it is good to be reminded of how good it felt so we feel more inclined to share those good feelings with others.  Pay it forward with simple gestures of recognition.

dulyposted_respect-gratitude_quoteTake a look around today and see if there is something that unsung hero is doing . . .  something that might seem so small or insignificant to that person but that has the potential to make such a difference all around.  Maybe you see someone picking up a piece of garbage in the lunchroom or you see someone offering up their seat on the bus.  A parent tying his child’s shoe or someone holding the door open for a stranger.  I don’t know.   There are so many ways to make the world a brighter place.

It doesn’t take much.  A smile.  A high five.  A Way to go!  A You’ve got this!  An I see you.  So simple, right?  I want to put an I see you into my daily life.  An appreciation for someone else’s thoughtfulness.  I see the ripples that these small acts spread across the water. Each act promises great significance.

And the fun part?  We all benefit.  Recognition.  Gratefulness.  Appreciation.  All of these words take on immense proportions in relation to their original state.    I see you.