Archives for posts with tag: gratitude

Ebb and flow

Come and go

To and fro

Above and below

Friend and foe

Reap and sow

Learn and grow

Dedicated to two wonderful individuals who also form an formidable duo Debbie Hyde and David Durant of It’s All Good. Two people who have a practise of making their transitions absolutely amazing.  Here’s to going with that ebb and flow we call Life.

Cheers! And remember. It really is all good. It’s just in how we choose to look at things.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Set your heart on fire

Seek those who fan your flames

Rumi

Credit J Fries 2018

There is beauty in the ashes of a heart that burned for what it loved

Ariana

One loving heart sets another on fire

St Agustine

Love is friendship set on fire

Look a little closer in those delicate eyes, her heart’s a wild creature and her soul’s on fire

– NR Hart

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire

-Ferdinand Foch

Create what sets your heart on fire

It will illuminate the path ahead

©️2018 J Fries/Rise Like Air

We have now officially ushered out 2017 and introduced ourselves to 2018.

I’m not sure how old i was when I remember I expected to feel something different when I woke up after my birthday, or on New Year’s Day. After all something defining had occurred right? Another year older, another year past.

I realized then it wasn’t the magic of the clock turning to a new day, there wasn’t a wham bang sudden change. I grew another year older day by day and 2017 passed day by day like every other year. Today is just the day after yesterday. Just like every other day. It’s what we choose to do with that extraordinarily ordinary day that matters. Every one of them.

Some of us are bounding in to 2018 with smiles, hope, plans and attitude. Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Sometimes it seems there is only hardship and sadness on the road ahead of us. But, in amongst the challenges life puts in front of each of us right now, may we also find our way to see the beauty, feel the joy, hear the music and be touched by the love hidden in each day that dawns before us.

And I say to you as well,

Rock on. Make it your year. Fly! Learn, love, grow.

Wishing you a blessed 2018! Every extraordinarily ordinary day of it.

©️2018 JFries/Rise Like Air

Originally published December 2014

I am one of those people who hate waking up in the dark.  I am a sunny morning  kind of person.  If dawn hasn’t cracked and the sun hasn’t risen, then neither should I, especially if it’s cold outside.  And let’s face it; where I live, it’s dark and cold for a good number of months.

©2014 JFries

©2014 JFries

The exception to my usual disposition is the month of December.  December is special in this regard and I actually look forward to waking up in the dark.  Yes, I said it, “I look forward to it.”  I pull on warm fuzzy clothes to ward off the early morning chill, tip toe down the darkened hallway and stairs, flip a couple of switches and am greeted with the soft coloured lights welcoming me on the staircase where the stockings are all hung with care waiting for the Christmas Eve magic that never grows old.   I step into the parlour which is bathed in warm colours from the glowing Christmas tree, it’s branches spreading protectively over the gaily coloured packages carefully wrapped and placed there over the last few days.

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The stillness of the house is still intact as I make my way to the living room where the villagers are just starting to wake up.   The early risers are already at the bakery choosing their delicacies for their own celebrations.

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On a regular day I would throw on all the lights I could to drive the darkness away, but instead, in December I shuffle my way to the kitchen and make a cup of tea.  Deeply I inhale the rich aroma of bergamot and settle myself in a cozy chair with a view to the East.  This morning I’m in no rush for the sun to chase away the darkness.  Instead I am ready to welcome it with patience and wonder, amongst the softly glowing lights that twinkle here and there, much like the last stars slowly blinking their good night as they take their turn to rest.  I marvel at the beauty as the sun paints the sky with brilliant pinks, reds, and purples, welcoming the new day with all the beauty and all the magic it holds, just waiting for me to discover all it has to offer.

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And now, the adventure begins.

It’s All Good, it really is just how you choose to look at things.

©2014/2017 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

Photos are ©2014 J.Fries

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A few days ago I got a message from fellow blogger Vaibhav Gupta saying a mutual friend had passed on my name and he was wondering if I’d be interested in being interviewed for his blog  TalkBack Tuesday.   (Stay tuned… for news when it will be available)

I was in complete shock, but after reviewing what was required I jumped at the opportunity. A little outside my comfort zone, how perfect is that?

But seriously, how could I not.

Talkback Tuesday is a feature for and about everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.

Everyday people…. life as complex… large… confusing…  Ok, that’s sounding about right.

So early in the morning I was at my key board on FB messenger answering unprepared, refreshing and thought provoking questions. It was  really a unique and enlightening experience I will treasure for a long time to come. Afterwards, I messaged my friend Soumya who had recommend me and I said, “Thank you so much for giving Vaibhav my name.” She responded with a brief but breathtaking message,

Your are one of the most amazing people I know.

I got teary, because I’ll be honest, I seldom, feel like I’m an amazing person. As another friend of mine would say, “I’m just me, just a guy.” Well in my case, “just a girl”. And that really is how I see myself.  Just me, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies.  Lots and lots of cracks – that let the light in, maybe get filled with gold now and then. Truly a work in progress, hopefully a masterpiece at the same time? Pretty much like I see everyone else to be honest. I mean, I have some really lousy days and on those days I don’t always do amazing things. I started to think about all the everyday people I know who really are amazing, at least to me. Like people I know recovering from brain surgery, quickly growing families, couples picking up shards of marriages or just trying to make relationships better, parents with a hole in their hearts that can’t be filled, people letting go of their past, embracing their futures, tenants uncertain about security and shelter, people just trying to honestly figure out life, I mean REALLY figure it out.. AMAZING people.

Then it hit me.

Amazing, everyday people struggle too

I realized that struggling, and bad days, even feeling overwhelmed doesn’t ever stop us from being amazing; just maybe from recognizing it ourselves.

We struggle. We struggle to find our smile, to find our confidence, to find time, to be real, to get it right, and to just be ourselves. We struggle, to find words, to connect the dots, to achieve what we think we want. We can make it easier or harder on ourselves or we can cross our fingers and hope for the best. But through all of that, we can be and are amazing, in so many incredibly magical jaw dropping ways.

So we struggle. There is purpose.

And we succeed. 

So go out there and be AMAZING; just be YOU!

Soumya, just so you know, you are with out a doubt one of the most amazing people I know. Thank you for being you.

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Dedicated to all the amazing people I know and there are so very many of you. Thank you

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Some days are just like that. You seem doomed from the start. My mother had a day like that a little while ago and she was kind enough to call and share it with me.

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It started out simply enough. A trip across the street to the mall for a few groceries.No big deal, except when you’re getting close to 90 years old, things take a little longer than they used to. They take a little more effort than they used to. But independent and undaunted as always my parents went on their shopping excursion.

Upon returning home and unpacking the groceries, she realized she had forgotten to purchase whipping cream for the pie that was waiting for dessert. Of course you can’t serve pumpkin pie without whipped cream. So, taking it all in stride as you tend to do when you’re in your 80’s my mother grabbed a five dollar bill, her keys and off they went again. Back to the mall, to the far end where the grocery store is, picked up the cream and got in line. When the cashier rang the purchase through it came to a grand total of….. drum roll please….. $5.20. Yes. She was short $.20. Two dimes.  Four nickels.  Forget the pennies because we don’t have them anymore.

So, as she tells the story, there she stands, mouth hanging open thinking.  Here we go again! When, a kind gentleman who had heard the exchange reached over and handed her a dollar coin wrapped up with a kind smile.

Now my mom has heard me tell many stories of paying it forward because it’s a favourite thing for me to do. And I tend to hang around with people who like to do it too. So here’s my mother, experiencing a stranger’s gesture of kindness.

I loved hearing my mom’s excitement as she described her relief at not having to go home and return for a third time. She was so appreciative that when she got the change she found the gentleman and gave it to him, much to his surprise. She even confided that she is quite looking forward to being able to return the favour in kind to someone else in need. Watch out! Mom is on kindness patrol!

My mom has always been a kind person, but I do believe she’s been bitten by the pay it forward bug. The only kind of bug I like getting bitten by. All part of living a the kindness lifestyle.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I love Marcel Proust quotes and this morning seemed a good day to remind myself of a few of my favourites.  While curled up waiting for my tea to steep I thought that just maybe someone else would enjoy his wisdom on this Tuesday as well.

 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

My personal favourite. I have never ceased to be amazed at how  a different perspective can literally change my world.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Is there a better feeling than experiencing a soul blossoming?

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.

So many argue this point, but those I know who have given up on dreaming seem to have given up on the joy of life too.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.

Probably the hardest lesson I am still learning. And what a journey it is.  I am honoured to a part of so many wonderful people’s journey.

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Being a procrastinator and avoider I argued this one for a very long time and still like to put my fingers in my ears and go “lalalalala” but, yes, “what you resist persists” And boy oh boy, does it ever……

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Sigh, need we really say more….

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING but…… you have to admit there does seem to be a possible connection…. maybe…

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.

Still mulling this one, but I have to admit there is something about those aha moments….

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.

I really really want to argue this one but there is at least some truth in it for far too many of us.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

Oh to have the days of childhood and endless reading.

 

So there you have it, some of my favourite Marcel Proust quotes to ponder this terrific Tuesday.  And if it’s not so terrific?  I have a suggestion….. go back to quote #1 and give it a shot.  Change up your eyes and shift that perspective.  You might just be amazed.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I went to the lake for three days. On my own. Because I said I wanted to. Apparently, this raised some eyebrows, caused some speculation.

Though I owe no one an explanation I’ll tell you. I only hope you can handle the truth and it is all you thought it would be.

I had a most delicious rendezvous with an old love. And oh my, shhhhh, but it really was delicious. Time stood still and disappeared all at once.

Now I admit that at first I felt more than a little trepidation, but it disappeared when I caught my first glimpse of them. It was like no time had passed at all.

It was cold so we curled up in blankets, sipped whiskey and water while we read books together, taking turns flipping the pages. We laughed and reminisced, finishing each other’s sentences. We went for walks hand in hand, telling each other stories. And when we got back we shared our thoughts and feelings, our dreams and relationships and our regrets because we genuinely wanted to. We played our favourite music and danced with abandon, laughing until our sides ached and tears ran down our cheeks. And when we couldn’t laugh anymore, we drank in each other’s spirit, curling up to sleep peacefully each night. We cherished each other unabashedly and it was divine and peacefully beautiful.

As the end drew near we looked into each other’s sparkling eyes and promised we would never let time or distraction separate us again. We hugged until we melted into each other and then it was time to leave. We never said good bye, because it wasn’t. It was hello.

When I arrived home I felt no guilt or shame as I walked by the mirror. Pausing, I recognized the smile. I winked, and my re-found love winked back at me. “Hello,” I grinned. Delicious.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I was at the Dollar Store yesterday. It was the usual fascinating experience of eclectic people and merchandise.  I happened to be with my mother so we were taking our time wandering down the aisles.

A young man turned into our aisle and I noticed him right away. There was just something about his presence that made me turn my head. He was average build, blond and had on a rather large white T-Shirt with scrawled signatures. In his hand I noticed 2 markers.

He looked at me and in a firm but quiet voice made a single request, “Would you mind signing my shirt? I need to get 85 signatures.” It seemed a rather odd request, and he looked like he had a long way to go.  For some reason, I really wanted to sign his shirt. So I did. And so did my mother (on a side note, pretty huge step outside my mom’s comfort zone. Rock on mom!) As I was signing I asked him what it was all about.

As he began to explain I could see the flush of red creep up his neck but he kept right on explaining.  It was part of a self help class  he was taking. He had to write his biggest fear on his shirt, and then face it.

He said, “My biggest fear is striking up a conversation.” I spread out the back of his shirt and sure enough, in crooked black marker was “I’m afraid to strike up a conversation.”

“Wow, 85 new conversations!” That is really something to be proud of I told him. We spent a few minutes chatting and wished him well.  I could hear him in the next aisle, “Hi, would you mind signing my shirt.”

Now the evening  before I had faced one of my own fears. I had to give a presentation to maybe 30 people.  Something I’ve done before, and I faced it well, didn’t even break a sweat though I was happy when it was over. But I well remember the days when sweat would have literally been running down my back at the thought of doing that.

I really empathized with that young man. As my mom and I reflected on his bravery, I remarked, “You know just talking about what he’s doing is making my heart race and increasing my anxiety and I’m not even the one having to do it!”

Another woman who had been in our aisle and witnessed what happened turned to us and said, “I feel exactly the same. I’m almost in a panic thinking about it! I feel like asking him what class he’s taking because I want to make sure I don’t!”

Facing our fears, publicly.  Never an easy thing to do. But like so many things, so very worth it. I sort of wish I would have stopped him and asked what class he was taking. So I could be sure to sign up. Facing fears never ends.

What are you writing on your shirt? What are you going to finally face today?

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I have a friend who is completely selfless. I mean completely. This person doesn’t always do it with the right attitude I admit, because this person can never say no.
Yet this person seems to receive so little good in return and is slowly losing sight of any goodness around them, yet they just keep doing all that is asked of them, and even more.
While everyone around this person senses a subtle quiet, no one seems to see what is happening, they just accept all this person has to offer with seldom a thank you or by your leave, they just keep asking for more and this person just keeps giving more and more as they slowly wither away.
To help this person I just keep trying to plant seeds. Overtime I just about give up I remember you never know which seed will sprout or when. So I just keep sowing, watering and hoping. I am a gardener of minds, hearts and souls.
If you have space today to send the people pleasers of this world energy and love for the strength to set healthy boundaries and learn to serve without losing themselves, I would appreciate it. My friend is one of many who suffer this same problem.
To all those out there struggling, feeling like you are always the one to compromise, always the one to go the extra mile, the one who never gets noticed or helped but is the one who always seems to be giving to others, who feels it will never change or get better. You are not alone. You are enough. And you are appreciated. And it will get better. Be open to it, let it.
To all those out there who are blind to the struggles of others. Take a moment or many. Be still. Take time to notice and not only show appreciation but give back in return.
You can argue we should give yet expect nothing in return, but we should also accept with appreciation – if we do both, we will all receive more than we need.
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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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