Archive for December, 2013

December 27, 2013

Step beyond the threshold into something more

Thought for the day, courtesy of Franz Kafka:

From a certain point onward, there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

In life, in love, in learning, seek this point. Reach it. Then exceed it.

December 26, 2013

Why I love B.C. – Geography on a grand scale

Everything about British Columbia is big — so big that the province’s physical dimensions, geographic features, cultural diversity and biological plenitude often defy imagination. Author John Vaillant pays fitting homage to the grandeur of this fair land in his book The Golden Spruce:

By any measure, British Columbia is an absolutely enormous place; it occupies two time zones and is bigger than 164 of the world’s countries.* All of California, Oregon and Washington could fit inside it with room left over for most of New England. From end to end and side to side, the province is composed almost entirely of mountain ranges that are thickly wooded from valley bottom to tree line. Even today, it is a hard country to navigate; the drive from Vancouver, in the southwest corner, to Prince Rupert, halfway up the coast, takes 24 hours — weather permitting. There are only two paved roads accessing its northern border, and one of them is the Alaska Highway. B.C.’s coastline — including island and inlets — is 21,000 kilometres long, and all of it was once forested, in most cases down to the waterline. . . . [T]his landscape exudes an overwhelming power to diminish all who move across it.

* There are 196 countries in the world as of this writing. 

December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

The best gift you can give is

the gift of your time;

the gift of an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on;

the gift of an open heart.

Merry Christmas.

December 20, 2013

Dabble in invisible reality

I like this quote from the 2004 film The Polar Express:

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.

Like love, joy, the ties of friendship, the magic of a moment. And more.

December 19, 2013

Get on that train (before it leaves for good)

Life offers countless opportunities for each of us to grab on to new adventures and experiences and see where they lead. Often, as we head out in some new direction, we do so blindly, with no idea of where we’ll actually end up. All we can do is decide to board that new train (unfamiliar as it is) and place our faith in the journey ahead.

Yet many people shy away from new adventures, activities and relationships out of a fear of the “unknown entities” that might lurk along the way. Without having proof that these entities actually exist, people worry that these phantoms will somehow overpower them, or derail the journey altogether. But each of us is stronger (and braver) than we think. And each of us is clever, resourceful and capable enough to overcome any obstacles that might loom ahead.

The real crux of the situation is this: when an opportunity comes your way and you let it pass, it may never come your way again. Never. Would your life be fuller, richer — more magical — if you summoned the courage to embrace more of these proffered adventures and experiences before they slip away forever?

To quote the train conductor from the 2004 movie The Polar Express (in which children must choose whether or not to board a magical train that will transport them to the North Pole):

The thing about trains is, it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.

The next time an enticing opportunity comes your way, decide to get on. Ride the magic, and believe in your own ability to see the journey through.

December 18, 2013

You are (always) unwritten

Great lyrics from Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Unwritten” — reminding us that, at any time in our lives, we have the option to turn over a new leaf, turn to a blank page, and start afresh . . . and to embrace that experience as it unfolds before us.

I am unwritten
Can’t read my mind
I’m undefined
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else
No one else can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where you book begins
The rest is still unwritten

December 11, 2013

You have to be lost to be found

The following passage comes from Rachel Friedman’s travel memoir The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost. Friedman wrote her words in the context of travel, but I think they apply to other areas of life, too:

What happens when we lose the things that anchor us? What if, instead of grasping at something to hold on to, we pull up our roots and walk away? Instead of trying to find the way back, we walk deeper and deeper into the woods, willing ourselves to get lost. In this place where nothing is recognizable, not the people or the language or the food, we are truly on our own. Eventually, we find ourselves unencumbered by the past or the future. Here is a fleeting glimpse of our truest self, our self in the present moment. After that, maybe we can finally go home — or maybe not.

Sometimes life requires us to get lost before we are truly found. Sometimes the “losing of our path” happens unexpectedly, without our input or intent, while other times we are the ones who purposely throw away the map and stride off into the unknown. Whatever the case, such instances provide us with the unique opportunity to live outside our “normal routines” for a time. In those strange places of initial discomfort, we often encounter aspects of ourselves that don’t typically show their faces in our day-to-day lives. Sometimes those aspects empower us, sometimes they unsettle us, and sometimes they just confuse us. But unearthing them is important, as each one of them gives us a more complete picture of who we truly are — and a better position from which to determine the kind of life we really want to lead.

So, every once in a while, give yourself permission to get lost. You never know just what you might find . . . .

December 1, 2013

December challenge: Aim for the space beyond your safety zone

This month’s challenge is inspired by these words from Michelangelo:

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

This December, choose one of the goals you’re currently cultivating — whether big or small — and aim your sights higher and farther than you think possible. Strive for more than you think you can accomplish; ask for more than you think you can get; throw yourself in farther or deeper than you think you can go. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Now is the month to show it.