Even Cloudy Days


Today I chose to walk my dogs to the park.  It was a Sunday morning the sun was shining.   We wanted to take advantage of the park being ours in those quiet early moments.  As we arrived in the park, my English Bulldog Puzo found a perfect spot to pause in the grass.  The sun shone in his face, there was a light breeze.  He was content, no need to walk further.  And then the clouds came in.  I looked up at the sky, thinking this would be momentary.  Minutes went by, and the clouds continued.  There were tiny breaks for the sun to shine in, but overall the clouds shifted the temperature from warm to cool.  Perhaps this wasn’t the greatest idea.  Bella, my 12 year old chihuahua pug mix, was content regardless of the weather.  But my bulldog who is nearly 14 years old, he was temperamental.   A walk to the park was not always on his agenda. He would put on his paw breaks and refuse to walk further than beyond our doorstep if he didn’t feel like it.  But he was here now, and surprisingly he wanted to stay.  

And so we lingered in the park, we shifted to an open area surrounded by park benches.  We all looked up at the sky, hoping for the clouds to clear.  Nope.  It was just one of those days.  I regretted not going to the park the day prior, which was warmer and sunnier.  I scolded myself for not taking advantage of the sun.  I internally talked to the sun saying, “I know you are there sun.  I see you, if only those clouds could just move a bit.”  My wishes to move the clouds was not successful.   Time passed.  We lingered more.

We then walked towards a gated area, which was surrounded by a tiny fountain and garden.  This generally was our shortcut to the rest of the grounds, which were filled with ruins of an abbey that was hundreds of years old.  

Yet as we walked in, Puzo looked at the bench.  

He wanted to take a seat and stare at the scenery.  

And so we did.

My thoughts shifted from disappointment to gratitude.

He reminded me that despite the clouds, we could still appreciate the day.  There was still beauty beholden in front of us.   We could sit and hear the soothing sounds of the water and take in the greenery that framed the pond.    

We can find joy and beauty, even in a cloudy day.  

A Shift

            There was a moment that arose where I realized I was satisfied with life this week.  I didn’t need to fill my life with things to do, busy-ness to distract me.  It is mid-April, one week post the lift of the UK lockdown.  We have been locked down since Christmas Day, with no interacting with others socially in person, no shops, no sit down dining, and definitely no travel.  In the past 12 months, 7 of them have been in lockdown.  It’s no wonder that people want to dip outside into the stores or explore activities in the local area.  

This weekend was the first time in months that colleagues asked about my plans for the weekend.   I didn’t have any outside of writing and shopping at my local outdoor market.  Yet these are my same plans every weekend, and this was okay.  In the past, I may have felt a need to compare the excitement of my weekend (or lack thereof) to others.  Now I don’t have the urge.  I am satisfied, full.  There’s no need for more.  There will be moments of more in the future, but it’s not necessary for now.  

Now that I am back at the office five days a week, I actually prefer weekends at home, or in the local park in the sun with my dogs.  I realize how precious my time is, and through the act of being at home, I can stretch it versus trying to squeeze in every ounce of activity into it.

Have you made a shift post lockdown? 

Energy of Money

Currently I am re-reading the book The Energy of Money by Maria
Newmenth, PhD.  It’s been years since I have read this book, and I am
savouring it.  It’s filled with self help reflective homework
exercises which I love.  I want to share one with you:

Write out a bucket list.

Everything you want to do in this lifetime.  This include things like
places you vow to travel to, degrees or certificates you want to earn,
dream jobs you want to attain, or creativity bench marks.  After you
have created this list, write out the reasons why you want to attain
these goals.  For example “Write a best selling novel”, the reason
behind this may be “to be recognized as an author.”  Or “travel to the
pyramids of Egypt,” the essence behind this is “to be an adventurer.”

Next, imagine it is your 85th birthday.  Everyone you love is there
honoring you.  What are the accolades you want to hear about yourself?
 What have you accomplished?  Who were you as a person?

Now look at both of these lists, are there themes that are repeated?

What does this say about you?  Are you living your life by these
principles?  If yes, how so?  If not, why not?

It was interesting doing this exercise, I have previously created a
bucket list (and actually laminated it on index cards), but this time
doing a bucket list, it was different.  I realized my goals were my
simple and day to day.  I have achieved many of my far off dreams.
There was a recognition of the everyday life I want to live versus the
one off things to check off a list.  In addition, there was a
realization of how I need to continue to check in if I am living an
intentional life based on my current values.

This was an incredible exercise, and I encourage you to challenge
yourself and write out your future !

A Chicken Soup Full Circle

When I was in junior high, I was overjoyed with The Chicken Soup For The Soul book series. I think I knew in my early teens that self-help books were going to be my favorite genre. I was even able to meet author Jack Canfield when he did a signing in my Ohio town. Twenty plus years later my first story finally made it into a Chicken Soup For The Soul series: Be You.

For those who have never read a book from this series, each one contains 100 stories or poems that help inspire and uplift us. Just as chicken soup mends us during the times we have the flu, these stories help warm our hearts. I am so grateful to be part of the chicken soup family.

I encourage us all to find comfort during these difficult days, whether through our pets, loved ones, inspirational zoom classes, and of course a powerful book.

“Reading Is To The Mind, As Exercise Is To The Body.” – Brian Tracy