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We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware

beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Kent Nerburn, Make me an Instrument of your Peace: Living the Prayer of Saint Francis

Doing the ordinary things right

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We like to think –  going into work this day – that we might get the opportunity to do something profound and meaningful that will change lives and impact upon policy. Or that we will change people in ways that will bring them closer to our point of view and values. And maybe we will. However, in the meanwhile, we will get lots of ordinary opportunities – to be kind or to listen –  small things which we can overlook, but if we do with love, can have a real impact upon persons.

 [Thomas Merton]  once met a Zen novice who had just finished his first year in the monastery. Merton asked the novice what he had learned during the course of the novitiate, half expecting to hear about encounters with enlightenment, discoveries of the spirit, perhaps even altered states of consciousness.  But the novice replied that during his first year in the contemplative life he had simply learned to open and close doors.

“Learned to open and close doors” Merton loved the answer and often retold the story, for it exemplified for him “play” at its very best – doing the ordinary while being absorbed in it  intensely and utterly.

Haase, A., Living the Lord’s Prayer: The Way of the Disciple

photo enfo

Sunday Quote: Grounded inside yourself


In the past days,  how many times have we run this way and that, expending energy in places that don’t really align with the deepest sense of where we are going?

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save;

they just stand there shining

Anne Lamott

Problems and Inconveniences


If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you have a problem.

Everything else is an inconvenience.

Life is an inconvenience.

Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems.

You will live longer.

Robert Fulghum, American author and Unitarian Minister

Uh-Oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door

Fail better

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One of the biggest challenges in life is how we deal with disappointment:

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

Samuel Beckett, Worstword Ho, 1983

So what I’m saying is: fail. Then fail again, and then maybe you start to work with some of the things I’m saying. And when it happens again, when things don’t work out, you fail better. In other words, you are able to work with the feeling of failure instead of shoving it under the rug, blaming it on somebody else, coming up with a negative self-image — all of those futile strategies.

“Fail better” means you begin to have the ability to hold what I call “the rawness of vulnerability” in your heart, and see it as your connection with other human beings and as a part of your humanness. Failing better means when these things happen in your life, they become a source of growth, a source of forward, a source of, “out of that place of rawness you can really communicate genuinely with other people.” Your best qualities come out of that place because it’s unguarded and you’re not shielding yourself. 

Pema Chodron

photo jorg hempel