Monthly Archives: November 2010

52 things I know about words (and you should too) #4 Words Elevate

I was reminded recently of how just a few simple words can elevate our thinking, our emotions, our intentions, and the quality of our daily living.

A woman I had never met -but who was known well by many members of my immediate social circle – died recently. I didn’t know her, but since so many of my friends did I have been party to conversations about her life, who she was for those around her, and her passing. Hearing my friends speak of her, I know she was certainly a remarkable woman. I wish I had known her.

You’re probably familiar with the popular practice of having a “bucket list.” A list of things you want to do before you die. Most of these lists, mine included, are made up of experiences and accomplishments – vacations, traveling, achieving goals and such.

Hers was different, and one of her closest friends shared it with me (with permission to share it with you):

Joanne left us a road map in the form of her bucket-list. Now, you’ll remember that her list was not your ordinary traditional bucket-list. It didn’t list places to go and things to do or see before you die. Rather, it is a list to live by:
1. Love Everyone
2. Acknowledge Everyone
3. Forgive Everyone
4. BEing Compassionate

As I said – surely a remarkable woman. I am moved each time I read this. I am humbled. I am also a bit embarrassed of my own bucket-list – rather narcissistic in comparison –  that includes mostly things like: sail around the word, go to Greece with my girlfriends, write a best-selling book, become a sought-after speaker and coach. Yes, there are some generous, altruistic and benevolent-sounding things on my list, but they are nowhere near the top  and (telling the unflattering truth) they only came to mind to include once I had pictured that all the other “fun stuff” was accomplished.

Do I want to do those things? Yes. Do I think it is wrong to have those kinds of goals for myself? No. And yet,  by Joanne’s words, I am humbled and inspired to push to the top of the list a few things more lofty and uplifting to the world and those around me. The words of woman I never met have elevated my thinking and my aspirations to reach farther and deeper than my own amusement.
My new, elevated bucket-list now includes at the top:

  1. Love everyone.
  2. Acknowledge everyone.
  3. Forgive everyone.
  4. Live with heart, humility and passion.
  5. Leave a legacy worth celebrating.

As I move quickly toward a milestone birthday (more on that later), I am so very grateful for the elevating gift of Joanne’s words.

What about you? What are some words that have elevated your life? What can you say today to elevate your world?

photo credit: phil h

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My Annual Ode to Fall


Last days of red and yellow

I see neighbors, bundled and well meaning
with their rakes and leaf blowers, and in an instant,
I despise them.

Not yet.
Let them be.
Until I have piled high a cloud of yellow glow and run through it kicking my feet and tossing handfuls of nature’s confetti to the sky like a child.

Not yet.
Let them be.
While they still pulse with color
As though each golden leaf had drunk in every summer ray and saved it up to shine back at gray November skies triumphant
As though the glow of every sunset red and orange had faded into the night sky only to live on dormant, merely hidden
Waiting for this one fall day to burn boldly again.

Not yet.
Let me walk a little longer – a week or two – on this sparkling path of gold no less wondrous than the road to Oz.
Let my eyes drink in the red blaze that moves me, dares me, commands me to live fiercely, to abandon my certitude for passion, if only for an afternoon, or better, as long as the colors remain.

Not yet.
Soon enough the deciding storm will come.
The storm that rips the last defiant leaves from their branches, and leaves the glorious golden carpet a mass of fibrous, browning decay.

Not yet.
Soon enough the branches will stand bare and naked, stripped, with no adornment to shield them from the unforgiving winter sky.

That is the time for raking.

photo credit:oedipusphinx

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