Is it seriously almost July?
As we hit the completion of half of the year, I find myself amazed that July is right around the corner. Four blog friends and I started the year by each choosing a word that would be our guiding beacon for 2009 and at the end of each month, we have each posted something about how that word is shaping our year. (You can see our collective progression through the year here, here, here, here and here.)
My word for the year has been excellence. When I selected this word, I thought it to be the element that would wind its way through many of the areas in my life in which I seek to grow and improve, in my relationships, homemaking, schooling, writing, photography and walk with the Lord. To pursue excellence has become a lesson in degrees. How does one know when they have achieved 'excellence'? It's not really a destination or accomplishment, but rather an approach and attitude toward the duties and desires in life. And one thing that has emerged as I have pursued excellence this year is that it can be practiced in the smallest things. In my world right now, with so much of my time joyfully captured by the needs of small children, big goals could be frustrating. But to know that I can exercise excellence in making a bed, wiping a nose and reading a book to a child allows me to honor my New Year's goals without creating frustration and overwhelm, which is a very excellent thing indeed.
Here are my bloggy word girlfriends with their thought at mid-year:
6 months, 26 weeks, 181 days, 4,344 hours......four Americans and one Australian united together believing by focusing and reflecting on our tools called words our journey would become clearer.
For me, without a doubt the journey so far has been very rewarding. Who would have thought that by focusing on a few simple words (Balance, Desire, Persistence) they would grant me so much power and freedom.
This month I would like to reflect on finding balance in the midst of life’s ups and downs.
In life there will always be ups and downs. When something negative happens, instead of agonizing over it or trying to oppose it, we should accept it and try to turn it into a positive. Similarly, when positive things happen in our life we need to be prepared for the fact that good things can’t last forever.
Instead of wishing for a life of complete happiness where nothing bad ever happens, these ups and downs should be embraced, because they are what gives life its colour and meaning.
In Taoism it is believed that the entire universe is a balance of opposites, symbolized by yin and yang (day and night, winter and summer, male and female, life and death, etc).
“The Tao is the One. From the One come yin and yang; From these two, creative energy (chi); From energy, ten thousand things; The forms of all creation. All life embodies yin AND yang; Through their union Achieving harmony”.
Tao Te Ching (Dreher translation)
AVT Coach reflects:
I have been blessed to be attending a Yoga class three days per week. Through this class I have also met some amazing women. One of the women, a new friend has added so much to my life in only a few months. We enjoy a nice cup of chai on Sat. morning after our yoga class.
The first weekend in June we went on an overnight trip to a retreat center about 40 miles from our town. We stayed in an old farmhouse. Here is the abundance of this 24 hour time away. A glass of wine on the front porch, talking, watching the sun go down, watching the three new young alpaca's recently adopted by our retreat center owners, sharing again a viewing of the movie Chocalat while of course eating dark chocolate and sharing another glass of wine and talking. Feeling the morning breeze flow through the windows upon awakening in the morning, and taking turns getting a massage by a massage therapist who came to our farmhouse with table in hand..and talking. Enjoy an organic salad then taking a nap just because we can..and talking. It was a gift we gave ourselves and the shared experience was truly abundant. It is not easy to take the time to break away from old habits and do something new. We did it and we are only blessed beyond measure. Thank you Cris for our girl time away.
Abundance is.. sharing new experiences with a trusted friend.
MommyVictory is seeing her word for the year in her daughter:
Discipline is remembering what you want.” David Campbell
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” Roy L Smith
“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” Buddha
My daughter epitomizes the definitions of discipline described above. She has working since September towards the goal of attending the Showcase National Dance Competition. By setting an achievable and measurable goal, she was able to see that dream come to fruition this past weekend.
Caitlin spent several hours a week attending ballet, tap, jazz and technique classes without complaint. Additionally, her instructors would call weekend rehearsals.
What was the result of all this work?
Two amazing performances and two platinum awards. Which just goes to show that when you have the necssary discipline, you can achieve just about anything.
And sweet FlyGirl has these thoughts on her words:
JOY. Amazing how such a small, simple word can make such a huge impact in your life (when you let it!). Acknowledging the joy in my life has been one of my goals this year. By focusing on the word “joy,” I hoped to leave worrisome thoughts behind as I looked for those proverbial silver linings instead.
For me, finding joy is really about slowing down to enjoy the moments that make up my life. It’s about stopping the thoughts that whirl through my mind long enough to truly enJOY what life has to offer.
As I focused on this word, I began to recognize joy all around me. I saw joy in a baby’s smile at the grocery store, in the words of a student, and in my daughter’s unique way of seeing things. I found joy in a rare March snowfall and in the serenade of cicadas and frogs on a warm summer night. I found joy while cooking meals for my family and when treating myself to a few good books.
I have found that joy is not elusive but awaits me every day if I just look in the right place. Joy, I found, is a simple thing to enJOY.