“Wow, I get to wake up again? Ok. You have to make good with what you’ve got.” ~ Dave Grohl
How often do you say, WOW?
I think we all felt wowsbefore we spoke the word. It was when we were new in this world and sensed-or knew-the holiness of it all.
What stirs you to say it?
I said WOW when I saw this stunningly beautiful, sacred-looking, albino peacock and this curious, lovable crane who seems to like dancing.
Even if we don’t feel goosebumps and shivers of awe when we wake up each morning, perhaps if we said something like, “Wow, I get to wake up again? I get to experience life today? Human life? MY LIFE?” perhaps we would begin to see more beauty, experience deeper love and compassion, and feel more awe with gratitude and joy.
No matter what’s happening, as Dave Grohl says, “You have to make good with what you’ve got.”
THE NINTH GIFT IS REVERENCE. May you appreciate the wonder that you are and the miracle of all creation. – from The Twelve Gifts of Birth
“Makes no difference who you are…” – Leigh Harline and Ned Washington
It’s true. It makes no difference.
“Makes no difference who you are,” goes the song, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Jiminy Cricket sings it in the film, Pinocchio.
The message is meant for all of us. We all deserve to have dreams. And when they come from our hearts, they can come true.
Another true message for all of us is demonstrated by Coco, the kitten in the photo with her security blanket, “Fishie.”
Everyone needs to feel safe and secure. We all deserve to be safe and secure. We all deserve to have dreams and be free to follow them.
Let’s do all we can to assure safety and the freedom to be oneself, for ourselves and for all. This includes fostering respect and reverence within ourselves and cultivating then in our culture. How might we do this?
Here are some ways to consider:
Practice mindfulness and compassion for oneself.
Notice when thoughts about ourselves and others are harsh. Get into the habit of then pausing, taking a few slow, deep breaths, and saying something like, “I forgive myself for judging myself and others as not good enough, bad, worthless, dumb, lazy, weak, stupid, ugly, or whatever negative label we are using.”
Apply love like a healing balm for our hearts. One way to do this is by placing our hands over our hearts, close our eyes, intend to have love flow into our hearts, and stay in this position until subtle or strong warmth is felt.
Avoid all books, films, games, conversations, and situations that celebrate and encourage meanness.
Perform at least one deliberate act of kindness every day.
Another activity to try and possibly make a habit is to remember that every person we see and encounter was an innocent, trusting, playful toddler. Take this further by, as best we can, “seeing” at least one person each day as they sweet child they once were. Imagine getting in touch with the young child we were. Stir love and compassion for the children we were and the child we aim to see in others, in all.
Pray for increased love and respect flowing among us all.
Reach inside for courage and strength every time we feel reluctant, shy, afraid, not important enough, or any other limiting perspective that holds us back from doing the right thing and from following our dreams.
I wish you deep sleep and beautiful dreams, the REM kind and the make-a-difference-in-the-world kind. I wish you peace and hope too.
With love, Charlene
The eighth gift is IMAGINATION. May it nourish your visions and dreams. – from The Twelve Gifts of Birth
“Walk like a lion, talk like pigeons, live like elephants, and love like an infant child.” ~ Santosh Kalwar
“Be fearless,” the quote begins.
Breath and bring out the best of you,
It’s easy to picture walking like a lion:
proudly, with confident grace.
I understand loving like an infant child
and laughing with joy like a toddler,
An elephant? She too loves in a way that’s good to follow,
quite like the child but more deeply than freely.
Remember well; forgive easily;
and stick together the women and children do.
I’m familiar with pidgin talk but not pigeon talk.
I’ve heard them coo and sort of warble.
I’ve heard they can carry and deliver messages.
That’s a valuable thing too.
There’s strength and beauty in all creation. And it’s smart for us to look for it,
and wise for us to see it in ourselves and all others. When fear is present,
take deep breaths, stretch tall,
and be you.
“When life gets you down, do you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” – Dory, from Little Nemo
What do you do when life gets you down? Do you “keep swimming? Or do you hide yourself away? Or deny the hurt? Or put on a happy face? Do you pretend all is well?
Do you do something nice for someone else?
How you you take care of you?
Maybe it is to keep swimming.
Or seek help.
Or find your happy place.
Where is your happy place?
What uplifts you?
What brings you joy?
Consider listing at least 12 things that lift your spirits.
Engage in one or more every day.
A simple but good one is to practice gratitude.
Notice things that you appreciate, even if it’s just a little.
Gratefulness leads to joy.
“The tenth gift is wisdom. Wisdom will lead you through knowledge to understanding. May you hear its soft voice.” ~ from The Twelve Gifts of Birth
When I came across this image, I immediately thought of this wisdom quote in The Twelve Gifts of Birth. For me, the book morphing into nature represents knowledge transforming into deep understanding in a beautiful way. Also, whenever I am in mountains and forests, by the sea, or in any natural setting, many of The Twelve Gifts are stirred in me, among them: wisdom. Strength, beauty, compassion, hope, joy, imagination, love, reverence, and faith are usually stirred and nourished too.
If you can, spend some time in nature today. Everyday. We all need regular doses of vitamin N. Regular reflection is good for us too. There are many ways to reflect. Here’s one way:
Please clear your mind as best you can. Take several deep breaths. Place your dominant hand over your heart and your other hand over your belly. Intend to open your heart and engage with your gut feelings. Tune in.
Now look at the photo. What are you thinking? Feeling? Knowing?
Reread the quote. Consider each sentence. Notice what you are thinking, feeling, and knowing.
Now recall a time when you experienced wisdom resonating, or activating, or growing, or awakening in you. Was it like an ah-ha? Was it an intuitive knowing? What was it like? Have you ever heard or felt an inner “Yes” or “No” or other instruction?
We all have valuable wisdom stories. Perhaps just one or a few seem significant to you. Maybe many do. If you feel inclined to share one, please do. I’d love to hear from you.
“Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” said Christopher Robin
to his best friend, Pooh.
I now wish to say the same thing to you. You’re also more beautiful than you know and more talented too. You’re all this and more. If only you knew, you’d feel light, bright, and shiny like a penny brand new. May the love in your heart help you know this message is honest and really true.
“I find that the very things that I get criticized for, which is usually being different and just doing my own thing and just being original, is the very thing that’s making me successful.” – Shania Twain
It takes courage to be ourselves. Self-love and respect too.
Along with a likelihood of leading us to success, being authentic can lead us to better health and more happiness.
For these and other reasons, let’s summon courage, love and reverence today and allow our true selves to show up in all that we do. Let’s encourage authenticity in others too.
Surely there will be greater hope for peace in our world when we recognize the beauty of everyone’s uniqueness.
Me too, Lee Ann. I wish that wonder would be protected and nourished in every child and adult.
I believe we can’t actually lose the wonderment we were born with, just as we can’t lose our innate gifts of hope, joy, courage, compassion, love or any of the qualities that are a part of our essence. But we can lose our sense of them. It seems to me that we all sometimes lose our sensing of the beauty that’s built into our being. If we ignore them, we can get out of touch with all of our inner gifts.
That’s why I write “touchstones” and share them freely each day. They feed my gifts. They feed my soul. And sharing them doesn’t diminish them one bit. In fact, the more they’re shared, the more their nutritional power grows like yeasted dough.
I’m resolving to deepen my awareness of and appreciation for the gifts of life in the New Year. Care to join me in this intention for 2018? That’s all we need to begin: the intention. We’ll be guided further.
Already I’m feeling a surge of increased enthusiasm for messages that uplift and encourage us. And not only for the touchstones I compose. I’ll be watching for inspiration in books, films, music, news and all forms of expression and communication. If you don’t already receive Today’s Touchstone via email, perhaps you’ll subscribe now, using the form on this website.
Before closing, I’d like to add a few more lines from the well-known song recorded by Lee Ann Womack:
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance I hope you dance I hope you dance”
As Leo Buscaglia said, “Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
We don’t. So let’s aim to release all the things that block living and loving, such as regrets, resentments, guilt, shame, blame, hate, fear, and fault finding. Let’s let them go and make room for love, compassion, hope, joy, courage, wisdom, faith, strength and more.
Consider this intention-anchoring activity: Several times throughout the day, take deep breaths. As you do, imagine drawing all the energy of those love-blocking things into that breath. Imagine expelling them in the exhale. Now breathe in all that’s love related. If this helpful, repeat as often as you wish. I like to do this outdoors and add bubble-blowing to the activity. I imagine the released stuff carried off and away in the bubbles.
Of course, there are many more ways to approach freeing ourselves from guilts and grudges, including professional therapy to work through deep-seated issues. My suggested activities are meant to strengthen intentions and to use imagination to build well-being. As Adele Brookman said, “Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.”
Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”
– Brene Brown
It takes courage to be vulnerable. Fortunately we all have courage built in to us. Of course, we need to use wisdom along with courage regarding how much to share in a given situation. But even if what we communicate is appropriately on a surface level, we can still share it in a way that keeps us honest and authentic.
With courage, let’s remove any masks we’re wearing and bravely show the world
the magnificent real person that we are.
Be you. Be real. You are beautiful. Strong and courageous too.