It is so easy to fall into a rut and claim that there are no opportunities. When in fact, there are times in life when we need to think outside of the box and seek our own opportunities. (After all, in life, nobody is holding us back but ourselves, right?) You might think it is hard, but in reality, it just takes a little time and attention.In one of the sessions I attended during a Women’s Wellness Retreat a few years ago, the instructor likened finding pennies on the ground to seeking your own opportunities. Her story (filtered through my memory) went something like this:
Most of the time when we are walking through public places, and even at home, we unconsciously step over and ignore pennies. We do it without notice. Most of the time, if a penny on the ground is actually noticed, we think to ourselves, “oh, its only a penny, not worth the time or effort to pick it up.” But in reality, if you start to teach yourself to seek out spare change on the ground, you would be surprised how much more you notice. And after a period of time, say a year, you will notice how many coins or pieces of money you have found on the ground, simply by being open to seeking it out.
Similarly, we pass over so many opportunities each day. It might be an opportunity as simple as a conversation with someone to encourage them, or as complex as creating a way for your dreams to come true or creating career opportunities.
I have noticed, however, that we keep our eyes closed to the opportunities and keep focused on the task at hand. Sometimes we might even brush off our instinct for an idea or opportunity because it sounds “over the top” or crazy. Some of the most profound inventions came from ideas that were over the top. Apple has reinvented itself with ideas that were over the top. In our own lives, we need to be aware of our own ideas and opportunities, even if they sound like they are over the top. Your dreams might not be as unaccessible as you think.
Be open to other people and be open to opportunities that may present themselves, no matter how big or small they might seem. Live in the opportunities and learn from them. When we seek them out, we will notice them more.
If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Start trying to pay attention to the ground for loose pennies or change. The first month, you might not even find a cent. But you will see, the more you try to be aware of the opportunities to seek lost change, the more times you will actually find and notice pennies…and opportunities.
How much can you find over a year? I will await your responses next year! 🙂 I will report my own seized opportunities through the next year. Challenge?
Oh no, no, no. Love is never free. There is a premium. But who controls the cost?
I was just sitting around on facebook and was not expecting the attack. And when I say attack, I don’t mean one of warfare. I mean one of love and affection.
My darling sweet son, one of the loves of my life, decided to rub my back. “For no reason.”
Who am I to pass up a “free” backrub? (Especially since I seem to have pulled a muscle in my shoulder from carrying around school books…unfortunately I am not joking).
So, he rubbed and he rubbed, and then he karate chopped and scratched, and all the little things that our family does to one anothers’ backs. Then, I became enlightened…so far the backrub has more than 30 seconds…that means he wants something. And I think, in some ways, he suspects that I know this and he is actually waiting for me to ask what he wants. But I stay quiet. Heck, he IS rubbing my back.
This went on for nearly 15 minutes before he was able to finally ask. And guess what? The answer was STILL NO! HA…Mama wins again. Kids think they are so smart. 🙂
I just watched the most eye-opening documentary – “Happy” – on the study of happiness (aka positive psychology for those who care). There were some amazingly simple and fundamental points made within the nearly two hours of information. Sounds boring, but really, it was awesome. Just understanding that happiness is something that exists within each of us and that bonds us, is truly compelling.
It kind of reminds me of the simplicity of togetherness that we all seek. Good movie, check it out!
I know the full movie is available on netflix, and there is a clip of it available below (and no, I am not getting paid to promote it or anything…it just added a new perspective through my journey!)
Recently, I gave my son, Ashton, a journal. I have been trying to encourage him to write his thoughts and feelings. As I began digging through all of my own old diaries, I found the notebooks we used to pass between friends and classes. We would each taking turns with this notebook and draw pictures or cartoons, write about whatever”boring teacher” we were ignoring, talk about the latest romance, or write specific notes to specific people. All day long, as the person writes a few messages or whatever, they pass it along to another of the people in our group. They take a turn and pass it on to whoever they see next. And so on…
Long story short, heck, what am I saying? I like to talk…so here goes.
Last week, my first course teacher told us that the class was a “hybrid” class, which evidently means you don’t meet at the campus each week. Instead, you work as small groups online, via phone, and in person, if needed, and meet only once a month or so. (All new college concept to me!)
Thus, this week, our class didn’t meet, which in turn meant that I didn’t have to leave work early.
Of course, I still left early for school, because I FORGOT the class didn’t meet! – I had already left when I remembered!
Because my first class doesn’t meet tonight, I thought my second class started at 6:30. At about 6:38, I come running around the corner and down the halls on the third floor at Loyola, and I walk up to my classroom.
As I peer through the window, I see my Professor, engrossed in lecture.
CRAP! Late as usual AND he has already started. There was even a PowerPoint already glaring across the screen in front. I didn’t even take a moment to breathe, I just rushed in (as quietly as a Sunshine is capable of being).
I spun around without making any eye contact, so as not to admit the guilt of coming into class late. However, as I am spinning, I realize that my Professor has stopped lecturing and was staring at me.
Double CRAP! He stopped the lecture to acknowledgethat I had come into class late!
I mumbled, “Hi.”
As I heard him say, “Hi, Sunshine“I realized there were a LOT more students sitting in the chairs than are in my entire class. Think about it.
CRIBBITY CRAP! “Oh, sorry.” I mumbled. As the giggles began, I spun a graceful, very non-swan-like spin and took shelter in the peaceful hallway. I had completed interrupted another class. (For those that are wondering, I was NOT naked. haha)
I was not late at all. I was early.
Did I emphasize that he used my name? Imagine if you were IN that class…none of them know that my name is Sunshine. Some frazzled woman interrupts your class, and your Professor stops, and then says hi, Sunshine?! WTH is what they would be thinking…that he called her a goofy name to emphasize that she was clearly in the wrong room.
Once I left, I wondered if my Professor explained that Sunshine was my name and/or may have mentioned me being the Baptist Monk named Sunshine that recruits Catholic Nuns…which happened to be how I introduced myself in class last week (How could I not? My work group consisted of a Catholic Priest from India, a Jesuit Priest from Poland, and a female neo-pagan minister. I had no choice but to be who I am.)
Even if my Professor did not elaborate, “Sunshine” has now been linked to me…a very frazzled woman, who is clearly lost.
These were my thoughts as I wandered to the student area to sit at a table. The guy who watched me walk into, and then out of the wrong classroom- was sitting at the table next to me. There was a little slap in the face.
I sat at the table, with my head hunched over a book, tears streaming down my face. No, not just because of this one series of incidences, but because of the culmination of struggles I have been facing. Feelings of failure. Always being late and feeling like . I tried to hide them from everyone. Especially the guy sitting next to me, who had a front seat view of the catastrophe. Oh good grief…please do NOT let one of these counselor students try to come help me right now. I am surrounded by students of Pastoral or Spiritual Counseling. If someone even so much as makes eye contact with me right now, I will completely lose it.
So, I started with my breathing…slow and calm. I just focused on it. Then, I went into some meditative thought (Something I adapted from one of the women’s wellness classes I took last weekend).
Within moments, I was fine. Class was great!
It was however, a real, true, Bridget Jones kind of moment. 🙂
I am blessed enough to be in a unique awareness. I am very aware of people in my life having certain purpose for my life. As if I was meant to know them. As if God brought them into my life as a way of teaching me, comforting me, guiding me, or encouraging me.
I truly do not mean this to sound ego-centric, though I suppose technically it is. It is just life. It is how God speaks to us. It is how God gives us the information that we need to process, contemplate, and regurgitate in our own lives.
These people in my life sometimes appear for a moment and some have been with me forever since. Either way, they shape who I am.
At one point, I just started referring to them as my angels. Though most people usually just call them friends. 🙂
Sometimes, people enter my life for just a brief moment, as if the “fates align” and all chaos in my world grinds to a screeching halt – just for one specific moment with one specific person – for one specific, life-altering moment of time. Maybe it is something they say to me…may just a gesture, but it is life changing!
Other times, my angel stays in my life for any period of time…even forever.
ALL of these people serve a purpose in my own life. It is how God works through each of us to comfort and love one another. This weekend, at my Women’s Wellness Retreat, we called it a “Community of Women” or a “Circle of Friends.”
My angels inspire me, love me, nurture me. At times, their presence in my life might be turbulent, angry or uncomfortable, but even those times ultimately bring to acceptance, or a different perspective…a deep, life-altering enlightenment.
I am so grateful for the angels that God has brought into my life. I am grateful for the treasures of life, laughter, tears they have given me. I am grateful for the love, motivation and comfort, as well as the challenges and diversity they have given me.
I also want to point out that God works through ALL of us – whether we want to or not. Perhaps you have experienced this as well. There are times in my deepest, darkest moments, when my struggles are burdening my heart from moment to moment in excruciating agony…when survival is my ultimate daily goal. My head is too full of worry and uncertainty; of my own emotional, physical, and spiritual fears. But then someone comes up to me and tells me that I have encouraged THEM! (With absolutely no intent or knowledge on my part).
That is when I realize that God works through me to show love, grace and determination to those around me. And I am humbled.
Praise God for the Gift of Community, Fellowship, and Life.
OMgoodness!!!!! I am completely and totally addicted to the game SongPop. (If you have not heard of it, I think it is available through facebook or iproducts.)
Man, I tell ya…it is like I have worked my whole life building a musical database in my head JUST TO BE ABLE TO PLAY SONGPOP!
Everywhere I go now, when I hear a song, I immediately try to think of the song title and singer or band. It is a festering obsession! When I am driving, my finger involuntarily twitches on the steering wheel every time a new song comes on…it is trying to click the mouse button!