Share Your Gifts – Feed Your Joy

Share Your Gifts – Feed Your Joy

As December has arrived and gift buying is in full swing, I am reminded that gifts are not only made of material. Walking through the mall, listening to the Christmas music, and watching the young ballet dancer gracefully float across center stage, I recognize a deep longing within myself to reconnect to meaning as I push aside the hustling yet robotic tasks of the holiday season.

Gifts of the heart given from the center of our beings shine through us like twinkling Christmas lights. Yet it is possible that some of these lights can burn out leaving us with a half-lit strand of joy. When we allow the resentments of events that we cannot control to seethe beneath the surface, our power is drained eventually resulting in burn out.

Join me in changing the empty bulbs to once again receive positive, supportive, and loving energy. Let us recharge and reignite our passion, the direct passage of energy from the heart of our meaning. There is redemptive power in recognizing our individual gift to the world. So let it shine radiantly, joyfully sharing it with others.

Rather than allow the distractions of the season to zap our energy, let it infuse us with hope as we look for opportunities to encourage those around us even those who may judge us, outrun us, or are simply more talented than us. In truly appreciating other’s gifts to this world, we act as a conduit supporting the transfer of loving intentions and positive energy.

When we focus on sharing our unique and creative gifts, all else seems to fall into place. We reconnect to the power source, as our bulbs are refreshed.

We are once again ready to shine.

🎶”May your season be merry and bright.”🎶

©Erika K Rothwell

Birds Fly in the Rain

Birds Fly in the Rain

Birds fly in the rain. Their joy is contagious. Outside my window, one enjoys a meal at a bird feeder as he rests for a moment. Another perches on the wrought iron fence as his coat deflects the torrential downpour. They sing in the rain and we can too.

It is from here, I share with you the positivity I attempt to glean from this wet weather day. “Free writing, in the rain, how delightful! My thoughts pour over me, my feelings flow, and the words sing.”

We can view what comes our way from any perspective our attitude directs. Grateful for the lessons of life that wash over us, appreciating that they came into our life for a reason, shifts our mood. We may even feel purified by a unexpected deluge.

Surrender to a melancholy state of mind is not always the answer. And gloom can be brightened if we look for joy. Appreciation often points the way.

Light still shines in the rain, as the dance and song of the birds enlighten my day. I delight in observing them, knowing everything is growing, while they move the seeds from one place to another and propagate the earth’s bounty as the sky nourishes the movement.

Our work still needs to be done in the rain. The storms that come our way are only as insurmountable as we make them. The rain can drench us if we absorb it or it can cleanse and teach us how to grow.

Today I’m getting my feet wet and learning how to fly in the rain.

© Erika K Rothwell

*I have added in photo description, but also want to credit June Jurcak for the beautiful image, photographed from her greeting card.

Hope – Appreciating Simplicity

Hope – Appreciating Simplicity

Simplicity does not signify weakness nor unimportance. 

Small forces that appear insignificant can cause powerful effects.  A tiny drop of water over time can drill its way into rock.  Words of hope written from one’s heart and understated actions can dig deep into the crevices of our beings.

There is a world to be found in simplicity.  Treasures, discovered in the appreciation of just one word or even a small gesture.

The simple letters in H-O-P-E continue to spell out a life-changing motivation for me. However, at times my search for hope becomes disguised as a quest for happiness.

And I discover, seeking happiness is not equal to simply being happy.   

Yet if you are a believer that happiness can be found, it must reside in the simplest, yet a most profound, symbol of joy on this planet that is neglected when we forget to smile.

How many times have we caught ourselves in a tense situation because we forgot to smile?  Or rather, how many times have we gotten out of a sticky situation because we chose to smile?

Our simple and genuine smile shares positivity with others and conveys our hope of happiness for them.  

Connection with words can be much like a smile. I send you my smile and a final thought.

😊

Smiling will make your heart happy, no matter what you may be facing.  It’s really that simple.  

© Erika K Rothwell

Hope – Path of Inspiration – Day 29

Hope – Path of Inspiration – Day 29

When inspiration takes you down side roads for a meandering moment, space is opened between what must be done and what is possible. Traveling along the road of life reminds me that we often focus on an endpoint while forgetting to make time for inspiration along the way. Why are we always in such a hurry?  Do we actually ever arrive in life?

In a hurried life, paths we choose may not allow time for whimsical detours or perceived frivolities.  Likewise, when we travel, our planned arrival time typically sets in motion the fastest and most efficient route to our destination.

I still mourn a missed opportunity during my last road trip to stop for a moment, to capture a “photograph to be” calling to me, once the goal of arriving took over as the priority.

Remember when time seemed to last forever.  You didn’t count the minutes or the hours because you didn’t know they even existed.  Your days were filled with adventure, entertaining inspiration, while learning and growing.

At what point did we allow a clock to determine our life’s path?  When did our accomplishments become measured between numbers and our purpose quantified by a dictated plan on a to-do list?

Once inspiration is lost, motivation fades and energy wanes.

Productivity is a sum of variables and can be looked upon as so much more than a completed checklist of tasks.  So, I remind myself to take the time to savor the joys of inspiration.  Without it, life seems drab and daily motions become robotic.  

Our life may indeed hold a hidden algorithm, but we can always input new variables. 

Look around you and sense your current environment.  We were meant to do more than simply survive, we were meant to use our senses and dream of possibilities.  Anything is possible especially when time is not dictating what is possible.  Inspiration changes the clock. 

As we head toward a planned destination, the joy of inspiration will expand the frame along the way.

The stars come out every night, but our view of those stars changes with our perspective.  On days of hurry or disinterest, we miss them completely.  On nights where gloom clouds their view, they may not appear at all.  When we make the time to see them, we know the plan is so much bigger than what exists in the 24 hours we are given each day.  

Hope lives in the inspiration of living life to its fullest, when we remember to smell the flowers, listen to our hearts, take the pictures, and gaze at the stars.

Take some time to meander down the path of inspiration.

-Erika K Rothwell

Hope Unfolds – Pink Flowers – Day 20

Hope Unfolds – Pink Flowers – Day 20

For the past week, I watched them unfold.  A vase of tulips sat on my kitchen counter moving through one stage of intoxicating beauty to another, each day’s visual array outdoing the previous day.  And a stinging yet joyful memory was aroused.

My dad passed away this month two years ago.  He bought me flowers.  First, he asked what color I liked and I told him to choose since he was the one buying me flowers.  

He chose pink.  They were tulips, breathing a little fresh air into January after the unimaginable heartache of the holidays.  It was to be the last day he would ever choose anything for me.  

We had just left the cancer specialist office where he jovially conversed with the doctor, and still tried to beat him in an arm wrestle, with the little bit of steroid strength he had left.  

After stopping for a lunch where he ordered his final Jonnie Walker, allowed by the doctor, we decided to pick up a few groceries.  The dichotomous marital relationship between my mom and him caused regular disagreements and I was once again mediating an argument, this time about chestnuts, in the middle of Central Market.  My Dad wanted more even though we had just ordered a large box straight from the grower somewhere in the middle of the country.  And his obsession with chestnuts continued morphing into a typical battle of words that he always won.  All the while, I watched through a haze as I was still trying to process the meaning of the doctor’s words from an hour ago, “Call hospice now”.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, my Dad felt compelled to choose the first ever flowers for me.

Apparently, the large tumor was gone from his brain, but the inflammation was beginning to wreak havoc. He had survived brain surgery at the age of 86.  And this was week 3 post surgery, one day before he fell into a coma.  

The flowers lasted longer than any other tulips I had ever had.  I now look at the small glass vase holding the dried pink petals as it sits on the shelf.  Suddenly the writhing waves of loss shake me, yet the view of the new tulips I have watched daily for the past week infuse joy and hope into my tears.

Life is a beautiful yet arduous journey. It is through the unfolding of these petals, I am reawakened to the hope that he is still here somewhere with me. Although we can’t hold our loved ones forever in our arms, they live on in our hearts.

-Erika K Rothwell

An excerpt from a memoir in progress.