10.22.2009

Wise words for your thoughts...

I'm reading Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' again for the second time, and as my dear friend Josh Smith says : "That silly Alchemist is always right!"

For such a simple story this book is utterly profound.  Everyone should read this book! There are a couple of phrases that have really hit home for me that I would like to share with you.

"When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises." This sentence struck me to the core. I know i've always felt some version of this, but it wasn't until reading this book that I came to understand my feelings better. What is life composed of? Well, literally it's composed of years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds. A day wasted is life wasted. I know that seems a little dramatic- however I firmly believe it to be true. We should never feel 'bored' in our lives; and if we find ourselves 'bored' it's our own faults. Life is filled with too many options to settle for boredom. Our lives are made up of tiny little events or happenings that create who we are today. Next time you find yourself bored, think about the great things that have happened that day. If there aren't any- it's never too late to create some!

"People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of." I cannot preach this saying enough! Living in this century, especially in the United States, I feel the pressure of succeeding. I feel the pressure to disregard things like love, family and relationships to pursue my career. It's actually quite simple to have it all, because I am a firm believer that if you are consistently working towards goals in your life, you will never be disappointed with where it takes you. Dreams change as often as people change. When they do, don't resist them but allow them to change you for the better. 

"Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should live their lives, but none about his or her own." Oh how true this is!! I have an opinion about how everyone is living. I can tell you what I think they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, what mistakes they've made.... and that makes me a hypocritical mess. Life is hard and confusing. We are all human beings who are prone to screwing up. Next time you begin to judge someone for their choices in life, stop. Take a good, long and hard look at what choices you've made in your own life, and choose to love them for all theirs. We are all in this game of life together and we could all use a lot more supporters than judgers.

"It's the simple things in life that are extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them." This goes along the same lines as my last post. Life is actually terribly simple- we just choose to complicate it. I have a painting on my wall that says "Real power is usually unspectacular: A simple setting aside of fear that allows the free flow of love." Let's strive to be wise and recognize the power that comes from simplicity. 

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." Life is full of dreams. If you've achieved one of your dreams then it's time to realize a new one.  Marriage is one of those dreams for many people and if you are lucky enough to have achieved that- congratulations!! Now start daydreaming of a new goal that you and your spouse can benefit from. If you are single, there is no better time to be marking goals off of that long goal list you have. I have a bucket list of 40+ things I want to accomplish in my life: single or married. I am currently working on 2 of those dreams and plan on completing that list before I kick the bucket! Life becomes mundane and boredom sets in when we don't challenge ourselves in new ways. Our divine potential rests on our ability to push ourselves to the next limit. If you don't have a goal list, well then sit down and make one!

The last thing I want to talk about is something a friend said to me last week as I was brooding about past mistakes. He said "Courtney, you need to respect your mistakes and move on." I was touched by his wonderful advice. A missionary from church once told me that God forgets our mistakes when we repent of them, however we don't. We remember them so we don't repeat them. I have a hard time forgiving myself for things I have done in the past, but I've often wondered how one moves past the mistake fully and still remembers the consequences of that action. The answer is to respect them. The definition of respect is: A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard. Learn to have that deferential regard for your mistakes so they don't hinder your future!

Life is a funny thing. It can kick you when you're down. It can starting raining when it's already pouring. And it certainly can be joyuos beyond measure. Choose to live fully. Choose to love fully. In the end, when you are sitting in your rocking chair on the porch, celebrating your 90th birthday- you'll have so many incredible stories to tell. My goal is the same as my best friend Josh Lattimore: to be the most interesting old person anyone's ever known. The only way to achieve this is to live now.

10.13.2009

The times they are a' changin.

Bob Dylan said it best. The times are always a' changing. 

For a woman who has hated change her entire life, I have begun to grow accustomed to it's inevitability. I was quickly reminded of this concept yesterday while helping two of my best friends move into their apartment in Astoria, Queens. 

Josh and Raynor have been dating for awhile and I have been blessed to witness their lives progressively change- for the better. I watched them fall in love, I helped Josh pick out the engagement ring, I saw them deal with the stresses of being engaged and planning a huge wedding themselves, and I was there to witness and humbly participate in their wedding. I was there for the first dance, the reception, and the exit to the honeymoon . Not even 2 weeks later I was helping them set up their first apartment together as husband and wife. 



As I pulled items out of the moving truck I stopped for a moment to take in the significance of what was happening. As a child or a young adult these are moments you dream of: meeting the love of your life, getting married, and starting a life together. When you so closely observe the beauty of this progression, you realize how simple it really is. Isn't it funny that the events that we dream of the most in our lives are usually the smallest and most intimate? 

I felt a little of this when I graduated from college. It was the day i'd been waiting for for 5 years and suddenly after a 45 min. ceremony- it was over. There was no Hollywood orchestrated score behind it, or dramatic scenes with proclamations of love. Instead it was simple. I've always expected that so dramatic of a change deserved a dramatic send off; yet what i've come to realize is, it wasn't the change that I was unable to wrap my head around, it was the simplicity of the moment.

I think this is the point i'm getting at. Life is simple. Change is simple. The reason people grow so hateful of change is because they complicate it with their preconceived notions of their own future. We can actually do ourselves a service if we focus more on living in the moment and enjoying the simplicity of life, than complicating the future for ourselves. 

I have more respect for these life changing events now, than anticipation. I am no where near getting married or starting a life with my future spouse- but I cannot wait to meet him. I cannot wait to be able to experience more of these intimate moments in life. The lesson though, is not to focus on 'how happy I will be when I finally find the love of my life', but how I can find ways to be happy now.

I'm so grateful that God has put people like Josh and Raynor into my life, who show me the significance of simple love, and who allow me to share in their new adventures with them.