Notable Quotable: Contentment

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking the world belongs to you.”  ~ Lao Tzu (Laozi)

The A-Z craziness is behind us now and we’re getting back to normal programming. As such, I’m returning to my weekly series Notable Quotables. I found some fabulous quotes during the A-Z Challenge. Today’s quote was found at Whispers of Worth, a blog about the quest for simplicity.

I love this quote. To me it’s so powerful. How content would we all be if we could simply be satisfied with what we have? I know, for me, I’ve spent a lifetime of acquisitional climbing. I’d get a good job but then I’d want a better one, one that would put me in a position of higher earning potential, and then I’d get that but would soon find that I viewed it solely as a stepping stone to yet another better position. I owned a condo but that wasn’t enough. I needed a house (it’s just me). Now I dream of an even bigger house, on a bigger lot of land. I have a great SUV now, one that has been very good to me but wouldn’t it be so nice to have a newer one? And it never seems to end. There’s always something more that I’m striving for…and oftentimes my head swims in discouragement because I’m not there yet … and getting there seems so far off.

The line in the quote that really spoke to me was this: “Rejoice in the way things are.”

Yes! Yes! YES!!! It struck me that that may just be the answer, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow I’ve been chasing all these years. Rejoice in the way things are. How much more simple can it get?!

“When you realize there is nothing lacking the world belongs to you.” Wow! Can it actually be that simple? Can I just wake up one morning and say I am happy with all that I have, I don’t need anything else, I’m fine just the way I am and everything in my world is as it should be, perfect? Can I wake up tomorrow morning and say that?

Lao Tzu had it goin’ on. These are some wise words. I’m going to pin this up on my mirror so I can jolt myself back to reality when I start drifting off into my world of wants. Because this indeed is reality. We are not lacking. We’re fine with what we have. The world belongs to us. Let us rejoice in that!

Can I wake up tomorrow and say those words and actually believe them? Can you? Will you?

“Be-content-with-what-you-have-rejoice-in-the-way-things-are.-When-you-realize-there-is-nothing-lacking-the-whole-world-belongs-to-you.”

 

 

 

Notable Quotable – A simple act of kindness

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.    –Maya Angelou

Simple acts of kindness never cease to amaze me in terms of how lingering their effects are felt. For example, just the other day I was taking my Mom to see her heart surgeon. She just had open-heart surgery (valve replacement and repair) last month and we were on our way into her follow-up appointment. She’s very weak and needs assistance walking. She was leaning on me and I asked her if she would rather go up the three steps or did she want to walk up the ramp. Keep in mind that I’m also walking with a boot on because I have an unfused ankle (the two ankle fusion surgeries did NOT work and I’m left with an unfused ankle and have to constantly wear one of those big ugly gray surgical boots). We must have looked like quite the pair: me in my boot and mom leaning on me for support.

This very kind gentleman was coming out of the building and heard me ask my mom if she’d rather take the steps or the ramp. He stopped and asked us if we needed help. I thought that was so nice of him. It was a very simple act of kindness but it lingered with me all these days later. He probably thought nothing of it as it seemed to be quite natural for him. Just a nice guy. But it stuck with me. Something so simple as that.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered kindness in so many realms. Maya Angelou has it right: those times are never forgotten because they ignite something in the heart.

In this crazy busy life, may you always remember to be kind. And when someone extends kindness to you, don’t forget to express thanks and gratitude. Let people know how much their kindness means to you.

When was the last time a simple act of kindness stuck with you?  When was the last time you did something kind?

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Notable Quotable: Timing

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

Have you ever felt yourself regretting those things that you didn’t do years ago when the opportunities presented themselves? We all do. There are always regrets. The “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve’s”. But with most things, it’s never too late.

It’s never too late to pursue a dream. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’m a firm believer in that and I think the oft heard saying goes splendidly with the Chinese proverb above.

As with many Chinese proverbs, this one is powerful.

How do you feel about this proverb? What have you regretted not doing that you could still do now? And will you?

Notable Quotable: Envy

 

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”   ~Oprah Winfrey

 

How many of you suffer from what I do: envy? I always look at people with mansions and big huge pools and acres of land and I want it. Advantages that I don’t have. Even though I have a nice home and a nice yard and nice stuff, I don’t have THAT. And sometimes it gets me down. I’m left thinking when am I ever going to be able to get all THAT?

But on those rare occasions when I take note of how lucky I am and what all I do have, I realize I have much to be grateful for. And I realize that I ought not want for anything because I actually do have it all. I have all I need, that is.

Oprah’s quote therefore really spoke to me. If I look at what I don’t have in life, I’ll never have enough. True, that. If I look at what I have in life, I’ll always have more. That’s true too. In fact, I have more than I need.

Thanks again Oprah!

(Although I truly wish I had all that she has… I’d really be happy then! )

 

How do you feel about Oprah’s quote? Do you often find yourself in a state of envy? Are you truly happy with what you have now and do you think it’s enough?

 

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Notable Quotable – Fear

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

                                    ~ Christopher Columbus

Fear. It holds us back from so much. It is so powerful that it can keep us from realizing dreams.

I love this quote because it serves to instill courage, courage to take that plunge into the unknown. For some, the unknown can be so outrageously scary; for others it is the excitement that drives them.

I think I fall into the latter category, at least most of the time. The unknown to me was always thrilling. I left home (Niagara Falls) to move to a new city (Washington, DC) to start my career. At that time the population there was 3.2 million people. I was fearless (read: young) there and I found getting lost in the city my way of exploring. I was never afraid of getting lost, even in the bad parts of town. Those were the years that I lived life on the edge.

But I soon tired of the big city and yearned for a slower pace. I had visited a good friend in San Antonio, Texas and found the friendly laid back attitudes so inviting that on my next vacation I set up 12 interviews (in the beer industry in San Antonio and both in the beer industry and the radio industry in Austin). I ended up getting a job offer at a radio station while on vacation and came back to DC, packed up my shit and three weeks later I was moving into a condo in Austin and starting a whole new chapter in my life.

That particular chapter lasted for three years when I grew weary of radio advertising sales and decided to open a bar. I didn’t know anything about running a bar…I had just spent a great deal of time drinking in them. I always dreamed of having a little neighborhood bar, similar to the ones that I grew up with back in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, so I took a vacation from the classic rock radio station and opened one. It was one of the scariest things I ever did, giving up a lucrative career in advertising sales and throwing caution to the wind to devote my life to an 1800 foot beer joint with two pool tables and a few dart boards. But I decided that if I was going to do it, I had to throw myself into it 100 percent. I came back from my vacation, went into my sales manager’s office and told him I was leaving to open a bar. (His response was awesome: he put out a memo to the whole station about me opening a bar and announced that my going-away party was going to be at my bar and for people to bring a lot of money to put in my cash register. How cool is that?!)

The unknown, although scary, was also thrilling. I learned a lot from those experiences and know that should the opportunity come again where I might lose sight of the shore, I’ll be able to dive right in.

Because the one thing I realized through all my ventures: God doesn’t bring you this far only to hang you out to dry…

May you always find the courage to lose sight of your shore.

sailing away

When was the last time you did something scary? Did the prospect of “losing sight of the shore” ever keep you from taking the journey? If so, do you regret it?

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