Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Matt's Pen

 

 

Some childhood stories stick with you like bright, bobbing buoys in uncharted seas. They serve as vivid markers as we navigate our days.


One story, for me, is about a worker who lost his job. Everything was gone: his income, his years of education, his sense of purpose. He’d been a well-known businessman.

But the one thing he took away from that career was his pen.

That pen? This guy repurposed it for writing stories that would be published and passed down to generations of readers.

By all accounts, this author did not make money from his stories. Something of greater value emerged: his legacy.

The stories became powerful influencers for good: affirmations, encouragement, purpose-filled texts to uplift, to sustain.

I’ve always liked this story. It is timeless. Relatable. Unique yet universal.

We are all repurposing our gifts, just like this writer dude from ancient times.

Sewing machines are being regenerated into mask factories.

Fitness coaches are upping their game - moving their services to interactive video sessions.

Boardroom meetings are expanding into Zoom extravaganzas – wonderfully unexpected, often funny, exchanges among colleagues.

First Responders are keeping us safe in challenging conditions.

Team Leaders are repurposing and expanding their skills to maneuver the platoons and keep everyone focused.

It’s amazing, really, this human capacity to adapt and redirect and manage and breathe;

To release what we’d planned on and embrace what is.

To be grateful we have paychecks, while others are still waiting for help.

To shift our perspective from Planning to Adapting.

To walk away from everything familiar and step into the Unknown.

Perhaps, in a way, we are plying our pens – writing our own stories for our children to read and re-read.

These heirlooms handed down will far surpass any Roth-IRA, 401-K or Estate provision.

Treasures of survival are the currency that can never be stolen, lost or wrongly invested.

You have more abundance than you know.

With reserves to bank on when times are lean.



Kathy Joy

Another look at the gospel of Matthew

May 20, 2020

 



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

With Every Heartbeat


 In small incremental ways, we are returning to “normal”.

Will we ever experience the “normal” we knew pre-pandemic?

Impossible to know.

But, really – how much joy we are finding in the small things, things like actual salt and pepper shakers in the restaurant, instead of those ridiculous tiny packets that scatter everywhere when torn open.

We’re getting outside more. Enjoying nature. Stubborn Northerners, we are waiting out the lingering chill in May, certain that flip flop weather will finally return.

Making plans, feeling hopeful.

Alongside this buoyant feeling we have little remnants of dread, torn bits of anguish hovering in our peripheral vision.

“It’s complex,” a co worker remarked. “We want to believe we can step out, but there’s that little bit of hesitation.”

She’s right.

With every heartbeat there is a silent pulse of “what if”.

Another friend commented on an image of the heart, much like the one in this piece. She remarked, “It makes me think of all the ways our hearts are impacted, for good or for bad. And in this you see the scars, and the signs of growth”.

We are seeing and hearing and tasting bright ribbons of optimism. Yet some days, all we can taste of life is what isn’t here anymore. That’s a longing, a vague hankering for something we can’t even identify.

 

The heart is a

labyrinth,

a

maze

of

passageways

and

chambers.

One of my favorite authors, “Anonymous”, describes how the channels of the heart are formed:

“Sorrow with his pick mines the heart, but he is a cunning workman. He deepens the channels whereby happiness may enter, and he hollows out new chambers for joy to abide in when he is gone.”

Could it be? Could we actually be carriers of a deeper capacity for joy, now that we are slowly emerging from a global pandemic?

Is it possible? Is it imaginable that we are organically vaccinated against anguish? Are we building immunities against despair?

Let’s hope so.

When humans experience loss together, a new passageway is formed. It’s an alternative path toward repair, and it is made of the bone and sinew of sheer will, a spark of unmatched creativity and the kind of humor that has the guts to show up in the dark.

There is uncertainty, sure – clouds roll in, people die, the phone rings and resets your heartbeat forever.

Yet in the scrambled, confusing network of pain and joy mingled, there are markers of growth. There are signs of achievement.

There are strong sutures of binding up, of healing.

I’d never before considered laughter a weapon. It’s our first line of defense, portable and accessible whenever darkness dares sneak in sideways.

Proverbs 17:22, The Message "A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."

We, like the heart, form a complicated and irregular network of pathways and mysterious chambers.

If we stop to learn about each other, we will see the scars, the signs of growth, the purpose and the destination.

That’s the kind of “normal” I hope we are moving toward, arm-in-arm and mindfully matching our strides to each other’s.

This blog supports booksforbondinghearts.com

Please consider purchasing my newly published children's book, Will You Hold My Story? - a story about listening, for kids of all ages. You can read customer reviews by visiting https://www.amazon.com/Will-You-Hold-My-Story/





Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Humor Vaccine

 

It was more than a year ago that we found ourselves in a peculiar lockdown with many unknowns.

A colleague at my office reached out to me with a suggestion we send words of encouragement to the now-disjointed staff.

And so it began: The Daily Jab.

Now pared down to a less frequent occurrence, the “jab” has made attempts to soften the edges of a scary and long pandemic.

I looked back on the jabs from a year ago and thought you might like to read the one on humor.

With some fine-tuning and a few updates, here we go.

Humor is the antitoxin to sadness – and we’ve all had more than our share of grief.

Please, let’s not go it alone.

With over a year of restrictions, cancelled events and masking up, we’ve all become travelers on a journey we never signed up for.

So many detours, too many roadblocks. Our resilience has been tested and found stronger, yet we are a bit bedraggled and road-weary.

Laughter, however, knows no boundaries; it refuses to be contained or dispersed in measured doses.

Laughter spills out everywhere, with little regard for policy and procedure.

How lovely is that?

Humor is an audacious display of endurance.

Laughter is the music of saying, “I care, and I want to see your smile.”


Laughter is a generous glass of mineral water: bubbly, effervescent and delightfully hydrating!

The memes and jokes floating around are surely a healthy antidote to boredom: a ripple of laughter becomes a hug of affirmation; a giddy embrace of joy.

Someone once said laughter is “jogging on the inside”. That’s a good strategy as we continue figuring out how to keep ourselves healthy while leaning toward normal days.

What we need most these days is a hug.

Recently I listened to a podcast about a woman who just wanted to be held. It broke my heart.




Until we can go back to our social norms of meaningful connection, let’s continue sending ripples of humor into the unknown.

Let’s stay connected in playful, childlike ways.

 


 


A good belly laugh releases endorphins, and those are natural inhibitors of pain.

Even a quiet chuckle gives you an upswing of wellbeing for the moment.

Moment by moment – that’s how we’ll continue navigating this foggy voyage, this weird interval in history.

Because, you know what?

We are pathfinders. We’re doing this together, this off-kilter Covid dance, and we will emerge strong. We’ll gather like superheroes at a comic con jubilee: caped up, compassionate and absolutely intrepid.


Infectious humor is the vaccine. Laughter inoculates against despair.

It’s available in unlimited supply. Organically dispatched through real time, Zoom, phone calls, texts and other passageways toward human beings.

Including elbow bumps and rogue hugs. Especially the hugs.

We’re all in need of a boost.

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” 

>Victor Borge, comedian/pianist




 

 

This blog supports https://booksforbondinghearts.com/

Please learn more about my newly published children's book, Will You Hold My Story? - a story about listening, for kids of all ages. You can read customer reviews by visiting https://www.amazon.com/Will-You-Hold-My-Story/


 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Take a Minute

 

Some of the most persuasive people I know are the quiet ones.

Quiet people are a stabilizing influence in a world jangling with noise.

A Spanish proverb says it like this:

abre la boca solo si lo que vas a decir es más hermoso que el silencio

(“Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than the silence.”)

Silence helps us understand ourselves. We can be fully present and connect with others.

When we are stuck or confused, silence brings us little epiphanies.

Silence can be a life-long friend. But we need to pay attention to it.

For some of us, solitude is water to a parched soul; we must have it.

For others, solitude is too deep, too sad, too isolating.

But it can be a shared place for hunkering down and listening.

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence.”

RACHEL NAOMI REMEN, author



Silence is a patient friend. Waiting always, watching over your comings and your goings, hoping you will join the hush and wonder.

Here’s what happens during just one minute while you remain quiet:

>> 255 babies will be born

>> Your Heart will pump 83 Gallons Of Blood

>> A hummingbird will flap its wings 4,000 times

>> 31,600 tons of water will flow over Niagara Falls

>> 1,800 stars will explode

>> 4,500 McDonald’s burgers will be eaten

>> UPS will deliver 11,319 packages

>> 243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook

>> Americans will Eat 21,000 Slices of Pizza

>> 4,310 people will visit Amazon

>> Twitter users will send 347,222 tweets

>> Uber passengers will take 694 rides

**Research from Pawan Patar

www.https://artplusmarketing.com/

 

If this much happens inside the space of 60-seconds, then maybe you can take a little break.


It’s pretty obvious the world will keep churning if you step away from it.

 

Take a pause for you.

Notice your own breathing.

Consider the hummingbird, who flaps and grabs the nectar.

We, too, can join that dance.

We, too, can taste the wonder and the sweetness and come back for more.

 

We, too, can rest a minute and enjoy the quiet.



Photo credits to Claudia Ricci  mystorylives.blogspot.com


This blog supports https://booksforbondinghearts.com/

Please visit the link to join my book launch tour, Will You Hold My Story? - a story about listening, for kids of all ages.

https://booksforbondinghearts.com/book-launch-tours/