Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Measuring the Moments, Not the Limitations.

“Do the crazy thing the hard-to-imagine-but-somehow-you-did thing the brings-you-to-your-knees thing, the no-one-would-ever-do-it-that-way-thing the safety-net-would-not-even-matter thing the it-could-kill-you-but-not-trying-is-another-kind-of-death thing the thing on your heart do it and let them gasp right before they call it a thing of wonder.” – Ciona Rouse
I watched a gentleman working out at the gym the other night – sweat dripping trails down his languished limbs, as he painstakingly grunted his way towards ‘victory.’

I have to say, I was initially quite impressed – watching what appeared to be a testimony of mind over matter.

But the eyes, often tell those secrets we wish never to be shared -those of lost hope, lingering doubts and dreams that are, as of yet, still unfulfilled.

And then, I watched as this young man succumbed to defeat…and, like a soldier worn from the rigors of war, limped his way off this spiritual battlefield. In his mind, he had formulated this vision of perfection – and, having fallen short, would accept nothing less.

Why do we set such arbitrary standards in place? To define our world more by numbers and repetitions, and less by the greatness of our own character? Where success is measured in inches and pounds, and less by the number of people on this Earth that we have inspired?

Perhaps, because there is no means to measure the true capacity of one human spirit?

I’m not at all suggesting that we shouldn’t have goals, mind you….I just think we must always be mindful to define our goals, instead of letting those goals define us.

Quite the subtle difference, I know – but one, that is infinitely more beneficial to becoming a ‘much better human.’

So, maybe just try living a life without such unwavering expectations…

And, while you’re at it – why not measure the moments, and not all of those limits?

You might just surprise yourself with a much more impressive victory.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

These Paths We Create.

"One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind." ~ Osho
Have you ever just had ‘one of those nights’ – a night in which you toss and turn in a most uncertain kind of unsettledness?

And, try as you might to understand why – there’s really no making any sense of it.

Because, sometimes the unsettledness just is. And, why…even we late night, doggie walking, musers are prone to our own moments of ‘sticking-ness.”

But,…these paths that lead us round and round are destined always to bring us home, once again.

And, my dears, not even the most well-intentioned of prophets and sages can dare to describe how we must travel it.

We must do as we see fit.

You know, I was quite fortunate to be graced by the insight of a dear friend yesterday – who reminded me of the ‘single minded simplicity’ of the most endearing movie character, Forrest Gump. To some, he may have seemed rather slow-sitted and naive, but to others…perhaps, he offered a much needed ‘key’ to an often chaotic world.

Perhaps, it is the simpler things that get us through the ‘very much bigger’ things?

Like, death…disease…and the atrocities of war; the pangs of poverty…and the splintered sting of heart left breaking?

My dears, what if, and in spite of all these things…something as simple as the sound of a pup sniff-snortling his way through the crisp night’s air could set your soul back to right again?
Mama always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna getForrest Gump
Indeed, you really never know quite what you’ll get…but, my dears trust that this path is only just beginning, and it will be exactly and everything you most make of it.
And, maybe that’s the trick now, isn’t it? To learn to be as gentle as the feather floating along the softest breeze ~ and having faith in wherever these winds may choose to carry you?
My dears, if you wouldn’t mind so very much – something has compelled me to share with you the immortal words of American author, Og Mandino.

May his most simple passage serve to remind us of this miraculous gift we’ve been given.
I will live this day as if it is my last.

And what shall I do with this last precious day, which remains in my keeping? First, I will seal up its container of life so that not one drop spills itself upon the sand. I will waste not a moment mourning yesterday’s misfortunes, yesterday’s defeats, yesterday’s aches of the heart, for why should I throw good after bad?

Can sand flow upward in the hourglass? Will the sun rise where it sets and set where it rises? Can I relive the errors of yesterday and right them? Can I become younger than yesterday?  No. Yesterday is buried forever and I will think of it no more.

I will live this day as if it is my last.

And what then shall I do? Forgetting yesterday neither will I think of tomorrow. Why should I throw now after maybe? Can tomorrow’s sand flow through the glass before today’s? Will the sun rise twice this morning? Can I perform tomorrow’s deeds while standing in today’s path? Can I place tomorrow’s gold in today’s purse? Should I concern myself over events, which I may never witness? Should I torment myself with problems that may never come to pass? No! Tomorrow lies buried with yesterday, and I will think of it no more.

I will live this day as if it is my last.

This day is all I have and these hours are now my eternity. I greet this sunrise with cries of joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day. So too, I will beat upon my heart with gratitude as I consider all who greeted yesterday’s sunrise who are no longer with the living today. I am indeed a fortunate man and today’s hours are but a bonus, undeserved. Why have I been allowed to live this extra day when others, far better than I have departed? Is it that they have accomplished their purpose while mine is yet to be achieved? Is this another opportunity for me to become the man I know I can be? Is this my day to excel?

I will live this day as if it is my last.

I have but one life and life is naught but a measurement of time. When I waste one I destroy the other. If I waste today I destroy the last page of my life. Therefore, each hour of this day will I cherish for it can never return. It cannot be banked today to be withdrawn on the morrow, for who can trap the wind? Each minute of this day will I grasp with both hands and fondle with love for its value is beyond price. What dying man can purchase another breath though he willingly give all his gold? What price dare I place on the hours ahead? I will make them priceless!

I will live this day as if it my last.

I will avoid with fury the killers of time. Procrastination I will destroy with action; doubt I will bury under faith; fear I will dismember with confidence. Where there are idle mouths I will listen not; where there are idle hands I will linger not; where there are idle bodies I will visit not.

I will live this day as if it is my last.

And if it is my last, it will be my greatest monument. This day I will make the best day of my life. This day I will drink every minute to its full. I will savor its taste and give thanks. I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value. I will labor harder than ever before and push my muscles until they cry for relief, and then I will continue....Each minute of today will be more fruitful than hours of yesterday. My last must be my best.

I will live this day as if it is my last. And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thanks. (Og Mandino)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Acting Without Expectation

“Don’t burden others with your expectations. Understanding their limitations can inspire compassion instead of disappointment, ensuring beneficial and workable relationships. Remember that you have only a short time together. Be grateful for each day you share”.Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
I love to read.

Every morning, and when I first wake up—I dust off an old book, and sift through the pages waiting for inspiration to find me.

I’m a terrible book owner, by the way. My collection is well worn with pages bent, and notes scribbled along every open margin. I used to feel badly over ‘tarnishing’ those pages—until one day I realized, that’s what books are for.

Books should be well worn, and ravaged with every ounce of our being—with covers torn nearly all the way through. And each page should carry the faint scent of well-traveled, from this sleepy town to all points around the world.

And in my books this morning, and between two dog-eared pages, I found this most beautiful quote from Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche—spiritual leader, and teach of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Vajrayana.

I had scribbled it down some many years before, this reminder that our frustrations with others are generally born of our own expectations.

“He was supposed to call…”

“Why can’t you remember…”

“If you just would have listened…”

Sound familiar? My dears, I can tell you from my own personal experience that that we are prone to stumble awkwardly along this pitted path of supposition.

But, what if we allowed all these things to fall gently into place?

My dears, sometimes we have to let go, to have faith…that wherever these pieces may scatter, and whichever direction our paths may lead us…trust that everything will be ok.

When we allow these things to gently fall into place – we are able to redirect our energies from that anxious, and often overwhelming worry, to that which matters most of all;

The serenity of our very own spirit.

More specifically, we’re able to express our gratitude for this time spent together and sharing…knowing, that these moments are often too quickly passing.

And so, this is how inspiration found me today—in the margins of an dusty old book, one that I had carried for years, and with still just a bit of story left to tell.

My dears, when we’re able to act without expectation, you’ll find – that everything falls so brilliantly into place.

Much love, and namaste.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Make Changes, Not Change Lists.

"Don’t make empty resolutions about this or that external little thing – make one huge resolution to give yourself to yourself. Then everything else will quite effortlessly fall into place." ― Jay Woodman

I was having coffee at the local shop this morning, when I saw a young girl struggling and scribbling with great ferocity.  At the top of the notebook page read in greatest of letters;
My Resolutions for 2014.”

And, yet underneath were half dozen or so ideas that were quickly ‘extinguished.’ I felt so badly for her, that the blessing of this next year might be limited by her inability to properly capture the wording.

It’s such a sad thing, really – and yet, it happens each year, as we struggle to determine our best way forward. We dream of the life we always wished, but never realized – and hope that our scribblings might bring us closer towards it.

I’m always amazed at the number who tread so purposefully into the new year – armed with such freshly scribed lists, and the determination of a bandit raccoon on a late evening ‘raid.’

Go on a trip…Lose 20 pounds…Be the best at (fill in the blank)…

But as the weeks pass, and the busy-ness settles in…those lists crumple under the pressures of one’s day. And when that cycle begins, we quickly lose heart…wondering why we even bothered in the first place.

But perhaps, instinctively we ‘lose’ the less noteworthy of goals? And in order to make room for something much more important?

Get up early…watch a sunrise or two..

Make good choices, help a child tie his shoes…

Let compassion and kindness greet each of your steps,

And while you’re at it… why not pay for that next person in line?

Look, I’m not saying these lists don’t serve a much needed purpose – it’s just that somewhere between the writings there needs to be a little doing.

My dears, it’s the real changes that are far more important.

So this year, why not make changes instead of change lists ~ and let’s just see what happens this time next year.

Namaste, and much love my dearest friends ~ and above all and everything else in this world, know that living extends beyond just those few simple lines

Friday, January 3, 2014

5 Extraordinarily Ordinary People & the Stories That Most Amaze Us.


Everyday, in every moment, we have the opportunity to make a change. And all you have to do, is be your most beautiful you.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we move into this new year, and we reflect upon our past inner ‘year to date’—we might also take a moment to consider the littlest things that can be done to make this world an even more extraordinary place.

It doesn’t take a pile of money, or a butt-load of time. And you don’t have to be a rock star, or a politician, or a super-amazing thought leader. Because, at the very foundation of all great acts there is one fundamental thing in common: love.

Love can take us anywhere and can do for others what to many may seem to be the impossible.
These are just a very few of this world’s most extraordinarily ordinary people and the stories which inspire us most.

Where will love take you today?

Tim-Rushby-Smith-yoga-0071. Paralyzed from the chest down since a car accident at age thirteen, Matthew Sanford is a pioneer in adapting yoga for those with disabilities. Matthew’s passion for communicating a life without limits has inspired millions and helped make yoga a possibility for all.

2. By most standards, Curtis Jackson has nothing. Homeless and destitute, he stands each day holding a small cardboard sign, asking for even the smallest bit of change from each passerby. I’m sure we’ve all passed a Curtis Jackson at some point in our lives, and wondered their story—or even more cynically, perhaps, what they might be doing with the money collected.

But on this day, Curtis Jackson isn’t here for his own personal gain. He is here for a much larger purpose; to help alleviate the suffering of a young mother, displaced from her home and struggling to survive with her 10-year-old son. And so on this day, Curtis greets each passerby with a smile and a purpose—to raise what little change he may so that this young mother and her son may have a safe place to sleep. To date, Curtis has raised over $9,000, taking only enough to pay for his own food and hot coffee each day. In Curtis’ spirit, we may see the true meaning of compassion and generosity and most importantly, of having nothing, and giving all.

3. Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer was an inmate of the The Terezin concentration camp. Surrounded by death and evil and all those things that might otherwise crush our spirits, Alice found her way to her most beautiful inner peace. Through music, she reached deep into her spirit and found a peace unlike anything she had ever known. When asked how it she is able to preserve her optimism and hope, Alice replies simply, “Life is beautiful…wherever you look is beauty.” In Alice we learn that we see this world that surrounds us, not the way it is, but rather the way we are.

4. Veronika Scott, a 21-year-old design student, watched each year as the ever-increasing population of homeless suffered brutally through the harsh Detroit winters. There seemed no hope, until one day Veronika was inspired to use her talents to make a change. In that single moment she created the Element S. Coat—a waterproof, and self-heating garment that could easily transform into a sleeping bag at night. And though, initially each coat was stitched lovingly by Veronika’s own hands—now, the coats are produced by a group of homeless women who are employed through Veronika’s organization, The Empowerment Plan. In this way, Veronika not only found a way to provide comfort, but in her simple act of kindness and ingenuity, she discovered a way to empower and to give hope again.

5. And last, but certainly not least of all—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who’s vision inspired a nation to change, and who’s courage showed us the path to achieve it. God bless you, Dr. King—for it is because of you, that this dream remains.

'An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And so, as you take each step into your busy day and notice those, the ones you are often just passing by—remember, always, that it only takes just one very small act of loving kindness to ripple out and change this world. Take a chance and be that change today.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My New Year’s Wish for You.

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’.. ~ Alfred Tennyson

I don’t know what it is about the New Year that brings about such careful reflection. Perhaps, it is the promise of new beginnings and the heartfelt hope for a better tomorrow.

And on this day, I find myself thinking over all the most beautiful souls on this Earth…in collective heart we gather here, in the hopes of shepherding love’s divine grace to all beings.

We are Love’s guardians, my dears…and with each compassionate act Love’s grasp is further empowered.

Through even the most desolate and impoverished of streets…and desperately disconnected of homes… trust, in this way, Love’s roots will soon take hold.

My dears, may we always remember that it is through our seemingly simple acts of kindness, that we are able to effect the greatest impact on this world.

In closing, I would like to offer, my special wish for you.

I wish you daring adventures from long held wishes, and dreams that have yet been unfulfilled…
I wish you all of this Earth’s magic, and all at once;

Long walks under a massive blanket of stars, and with the ones you love most in this world…

The morning light through this canopy f trees…and the scent of winter billowing from a chimney nearby…

And, I wish you all of the love, I have in this heart – and through the grace of these threads, intertwined, I wish you again a million times more…

But mostly my dears, I wish you peace

Many blessings, my most beautiful friends – I love you, one and all.

My New Year’s Wish
by Neil Gaiman

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Buddhism and the Art of Breaking Up.

"Simply touching a difficult memory with some slight willingness to heal begins to soften the holding and tension around it." ― Stephen Levine 

There must be something in the air these days. Some sort of much bigger ‘cosmic change.’ A transition to higher consciousness, perchance?

I suppose you’re wondering what it is that I am prattling on about? It’s just that, over the course of the last several weeks…everyone in my world seems to be ‘breaking up.’

Why, each day I am met with tear-stained messages – from friends desperately seeking some level of divine insight, and perhaps a little relief from their pain.

But, the truth is…there is no Buddhist ‘magic bullet.’

Most people don’t like hearing this. They want a quick fix, a spiritual analgesic of sorts…a ‘hurry up and let’s move on’ kind of pill. Sadly, our society has become so accustomed to speed – that we often fail to give ourselves the time and space to heal.

The bottom line, my dears, is that the only real way ‘out’ is ‘through.’

And, just how do we do that, you might ask? The getting through part?

Here’s just a few tips, I have collected through the years.

1. Treat yourself with honest gentleness.

Look, I don’t care what the books say on this topic – breakups are grueling, even for the most grounded of hippie Buddhists, like myself.

When we open our heart, we reveal all of our our bumps and bruises…our insecurities and deepest doubts…the weird things we do in the middle of the night. Oh, and the good stuff, too…my dears, that’s in their, too.

And then, the person we loved most in this world – seemingly and most simply just walks away.
I have been there, my dears… curled up in the farthest corner of the floor, wondering why and wishing for more.

Pain hurts, my dear…but it also heals, too.

For inside every frantically patched together tapestry of grief…there is love…kindheartedness and compassion.

And yet, for some reason, we tend to freeze inside our own pain – locking our emotional ‘door’ to the world, and hardening against a grief that is too awful to bear.

It’s this freezing that gets us stuck, convinced that we will never move on.

And while we are there, we fixate – on the only thing we have left to hang onto…

Our suffering.

Can you see the irony of this self-perpetuating cycle? We want to feel better, and yet we cling desperately to our grief…as if too afraid of the ‘what might happen next.’

My dears, no feeling is ever permanent – and I promise you, so long as you are willing to keep a little softness of heart…you will get through.

But, if you try to force your way through – you may end up missing the ‘lesson’ you needed most of all.

2. Allow yourself to feel those emotions (and only those emotions).

In the brilliant words of American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron: “Feel the feelings. Drop the story.”
Whatever you’re feeling, whichever emotions that might come into play – resist the urge to be so damned judgmental.

“If only…”

“Perhaps, if I were just a little more…”

Or, on the flip side of that emotional rainbow;

“How dare he/she…”

Yes, my dears…I have been there, too. And, I can tell you from my own experience that when we begin telling stories we run the risk of the story never being done.

We fall into the abyss of obsessive thinking, instead of dealing straight-on with our real pain.

Likewise, whatever you’re feeling…the anger, the resentment, the drop-to-your-knees sort of grief…it doesn’t make you a bad person. Those feelings are there for a purpose; trust in the process of your own revealing.

Remember, this is your experience…your path…your way forward.

And no one can define this for you. You must walk the path alone…in your own way…and in order to discover something about yourself, that you might not have otherwise ever uncovered.

So, stop telling yourself to ‘get over it’ – instead, allow yourself the opportunity to go through it.

3. Stay open.
“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ”Pema Chödrön
To keep an open heart during difficult times can prove to be our greatest challenge. But, that challenge can likewise yield the greatest reward.

As, when we’re able to keep our hearts open to others, including those ‘tyrants’ we feel have wronged us in some way, it softens us…and helps us to stay present. And, my dears, the moment that we close our hearts to this world – paralyzed by the fear of being hurt once again – is the moment our spirit begins to die.
It’s the staying open that makes this life so worthwhile.

4. Allow yourself to learn love’s lesson.

Everything that we experience is worthwhile.  Did you hear that? Do you understand what this means…?

It means, that we are a reflection of our cumulative experiences – the sum total of the lessons we learn along the way. And every relationship offers the potential for spiritual growth – be open to allowing that growth to occur.

When we are able to embrace all aspects of our relationships – the good, the bad…the ‘omg…did their nose always whistle that ways’ – allows us to build patience, respect…compassion…and loving-kindness also towards our selves.

And, that’s not something you could ever learn through a book. Let yourself settle into the peace of knowing, that you are learning love’s lesson in the most intimate of ways.

(spoiler alert) Somewhere out there in that great big world, someone else is learning this lesson, as well. And when it is that you finally meet (because, that’s how all good stories come into being), then…when you meet you’ll both be ready to love.

And love, for all the right reasons…and in the right way.

Because, in life, there are billions of the tiniest twists and turns – leading up to the moment that will someday steal your breath away.

If only we may have the courage to stay

Namaste, my most beautiful friends….

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Buddhist and the Little Brown Fox.

"None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”― Paulo Coelho

I saw a brown fox along the trail this evening, his leg mangled by the trappings of ‘modern’ man.

The moonlight cast his shadow long against the base of my favorite old oak tree , and causing him to appear so very much larger than life.

I thought at first, that he might just run away – certain that all humans were very much the same. But instead, he stayed – gently sniffing the air as if kindness had a fragrance all its own.

Stillness filled the space between us – two gentle spirits trying desperately to understand this quandary of humanity. And I, the softhearted fool that I am…tossed aside all of my Mother’s stern (and most terrifying) warnings, just to see if I might be able to help.

I was still a good 4 feet away, when I knelt down before him – closing my eyes, and reaching forward a rather unsteady hand.

Perhaps, in a way, I was hoping he might push aside a few of his Mom’s ‘most terrifying’ stories, as well…and simply so that this human might help him to heal.

How frightening it must have been for him…alone in the woods, and suddenly terribly injured. I suppose we have all felt this way once or twice ourselves.

I can’t describe fully what happened next, but before I knew it…I had a fuzzy little fox head resting comfortably in my lap – proving faith can find its way along just about any dark, wooded trail.

My dears, these are the moments when my heart is most clear – when I can see beyond hesitation, to know my true purpose here.

To some, it may be to simply rescue an injured fox – and to others, perhaps it’s to help restore faith in humanity once again.

My dears, I believe we all have a much greater purpose in this life – revealed to us in these moments, when least expected.

And all it really takes is a little scrunching of the eyes, and a hand reached forward to realize just what that purpose may be.

Namaste, my loves…and may we always be mindful of the little ones that we are blessed to meet along the way.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What This World Needs: A Loving Reminder From His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

"Today’s world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. Many of the world’s problems, conflicts and fears arise because we have lost sight of the common experience that binds us all together as a human family." ~ HH, the Dalai Lama

I was thinking over a few things this morning, and as I settled into my most favorite chair on the farthest corner of my garden patio.

And, as I watched the steam rise in brilliant swirls to greet the crisp morning air—I couldn’t help but to think over all of this world’s ‘connectedness.’

From something as simple as watching the steam rise from my mug, I am reminded of the million and one simple things that bring us all here together as one human family.

We humans are a curious sort, allows wallowing about in our loneliness—but, how can we feel so very much alone in a universe that insists upon these interdependencies?

My dears, “just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean” so, too, must we always remember that we are a most integral part of all that which surrounds us…

Because, my most beautiful friends, in the end—we are all, so most beautifully ‘connected.’

Enjoy this most beautiful video from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in which he speaks about our common basic humanity. The clip is from his public talk entitled, “Be the Change” given in Inverness, Scotland, on June 23, 2012.

The entire talk may be viewed at (

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Love That Lights Up the Skies.

That’s Venus, September thought. She was the goddess of love. It’s nice that love comes on first thing in the evening, and goes out last in the morning. Love keeps the light on all night.~ Catherynne M. Valente
Did you know that Venus rises to the east in winter?

She is the first point of light to brace the barren sky…sharing with us the blessing of her love.
And, last night – she was most particularly beautiful. Gracefully twirling through these heavens to capture even the most curmudgeonly of eyes.

When I was a little girl, I used to spend hours gazing out my bedroom window…wondering how many others might have been similarly transfixed. And these days, it seems even more difficult to look away from this magnificence that rises above.

Last night, I was reminded of a story the Navajo used tell – about a time long ago…before the ‘two leggeds’ walked the Earth, and even before there were stars or a moon in the sky.

The nights were so dark that the animals were constantly bumping into one another. Desperate, they gathered before the Great Spirit to plead for his help.

Great Spirit nodded and smiled as he told the animals, “Watch me, little ones.” He then picked up a bright shiny stone from a stream and placed it in the sky, where it became the very first star. “This is the home star” Great Spirit explained “it does not move, use it to find your way home when you are lost.”

He then sent the animals off in search of more bright and shiny stones…asking them to carry them up to the heavens, where they might make pictures of themselves.

And though, the animals began the task with great speed – soon, the little ones grew very tired. And though, the larger animals continued the task…they, too, soon fell to a similar fate.

Once again, they pleaded with Great Spirit, who offered, “Go to Coyote and ask him to help you.”
And, so this is just what they did.

But, Coyote didn’t want to waste his time helping the other animals. Being such a wise and crafty fellow, he had far better things to be doing.

Still, he did not want to offend Great Spirit -so he asked the animals to leave their stones with him, and promised to soon finish the task.

After the animals left, Coyote began thinking of the grand picture of himself he would create in the sky. “It will be better than all the rest,” he sneered. He spent hours locked in careful consideration, and contemplating the very best placement for his stones.

Suddenly, Coyote realized that it nearly morning – and still, there was so much work to be done. He quickly snatched up the bag of stones and hastily flung them into the sky.

That’s why not all the constellations appear to be ‘finished’ and somewhat scattered in appearance – thanks to the treachery of one Coyote, who thought only of himself.

But, Coyote was soon punished for his deeds – as he realized, that in his rush he failed to set aside enough stones for his own image.

Coincidentally, I’m told that is why the Coyotes howl at night – forever mourning the image that ego so cruelly snatched from the heavens.

And, why Venus’ love now lights up this great Earth.

Namaste, and much love on this day, my dears…

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Embracing Our Imperfect-ness.

I had a bit of a troubling yesterday. You see, my most beautiful children – who are always so very thoughtful in their actions and deeds – had, on this Christmas day, forgotten me.

There were no cards, no gifts…as they hurried through the door, just a quick “Hey Mom” and “Happy Christmas.”

And, in one whirling wisp of ‘holiday cheer’ – my dears, I felt so terribly broken. I cried, and sniffled and carried on…like a child caught in the throes of a ‘collapsed-to-the-floor-carrying-on’ sort of tantrum.

A spiritual tantrum, but tantrum nonetheless.

And all the daily meditations, and loving zen practices in this world…couldn’t break through this ‘fortress’ I had just created.

It was as if, my spirit had been hijacked – by the bully, I like to call ‘ego clinging.’

And, it was raw…and ugly…and most decidedly horrid. But, more so – it wasn’t at all representative of my beliefs.

In my heart, I know that my children love me…

In my heart, I know that they care…

Add to this, that I am not at all…even the slightest bit…materialistic. In fact, I make a practice each day of giving.

So, what the heck just happened here?

I cringed…mortified by this lapse in spiritual judgement, and overwhelmed by the unsettled mess I created.

I wanted to run away. That’s the instinct isn’t it? When we catch a glimpse of ourselves in Life’s proverbial mirror…the harsh lighting casting shadows upon each of our imperfections…we immediately turn away, terrified over what we might really see.
Go to your body and connect with the physical sensation. It always feels really bad; it’s usually a tightening in the throat or the heart or the solar plexus. Stay with that and say to yourself, “Millions of people all over the world have this kind of discomfort, fear—I don’t even have to call it anything—this feeling of not wanting things to be this way. This is my link with humanity.” Connect with the idea that this moment is a shared experience all over the world.Pema Chödrön
Indeed, we all experience these moments of profound uncomfortability – and generally owing to this experience of being human.

And, all of those drop-to-your-knees, god-awful humbling sort of moments? They define us, and share with us another aspect of our being.

My dears, we are not perfect – and that’s precisely the point. Our imperfections, as horrible as they may feel once revealed…become the looking glass into another human spirit.

And, it is within this space of shared understanding that compassion’s roots might finally take form.
And, were it not for this business of being most imperfectly human – my dears, we might not have ever known.
Consequently, and in settling into my own ‘blechiness’ for a bit, I realized…

That thing I was so certain had upset me before? Turns out – it wasn’t at all what it first seemed.

(spoiler alert)…it never is.

My dears, when we learn to simply slow our pace and settle into things a bit…the whole world, becomes just simply infinite.

Namaste, and much love on this day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What is Love?

"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life." - John Lennon
My dears, this morning, I must admit I woke to a bit of a funk. You see, the holidays here, though such a blessing – bring to mind a memory from so very long ago.

It was December 8, 1980 – the night John Lennon was gunned down in front of his home—standing next to him, was his loving wife and soul mate.

I was laying in bed in my room, all of just 12 years old, when I heard the breaking news over the television set,
“An unspeakable tragedy. Confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all of the Beatles. Shot twice in the back. Rushed to Roosevelt’s Hospital.”
And then, the announcer paused just a moment to say, these three words that I shall never forget,
It was the first time I remember feeling such an overwhelming sense of helplessness—at the loss of a most beautiful human life, and one that was barely half-lived.

It was also the very first time I questioned my very own faith—not in God, but rather, humanity. I found myself questioning the very depth of humanity’s moral sense.

It was the first time, I felt such a profound sense of ‘brokeness.’

You see, when I look into another person’s face, I see their humanity; I feel the energy of their spirit. I see the shimmer of their past in those creases and lines and I can see their heart’s fullest potential.

And, beyond any question or lingering shadows of doubt – my dears, I can see their love.

You know, for so many years I held firm to the belief that ‘enlightenment’ was reserved only for the mystics and yogis of t could be attained only by the mystics and yogis of this world.

You know, I used to believe that enlightenment was reserved only for the mystics of this world – but, perhaps not…

My dears, perhaps love is our one true awakening?

oh my love – john lennon

Oh my love, for the first time in my life
My eyes are wide open
Oh my lover, for the first time in my life
My eyes can see
I see the wind, oh, I see the trees
Every thing is clear in my heart
I see the clouds, oh, I see the sky
Everything is clear in our world
Oh my lover, for the first time in my life
My mind is wide open
Oh my love, for the first time in my life
My mind can feel
I feel the sorrow, oh, I feel dreams
Everything is clear in my heart
I feel life, oh, I feel love
Everything is clear in our world

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. - Maya Angelou

My dears, what a blessing to stand at the cusp of a brand new year – to look back, with gratitude for all and everything we have shared.

I am grateful to you.

I am grateful to your energy.

I am grateful to the gift of your light.

Much love, and namaste during this Holiday Season ~ and may the blessings of this earth soften each of your steps.

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem.
by Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.

It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Learning to Welcome the Rain.

[...] just remember, the storm doesn’t last forever. It can scare you; it can shake you to your core. But it never lasts. The rain subsides, the thunder dies, and the winds calm to a soft whisper. And that moment after the storm clouds pass, when all is silent and still, you find peace. Quiet, gentle peace.S.L. Jennings
There’s a storm passing through today – breaking the silence of early morning with drifting crescendos of pattering rain.

And, marked by the urgent howling wind through the trees, begging all to ‘take refuge’ before too long.

When I was a little girl, I was so very terrified of these rumbly sort of storms—that the first splintering clap of thunder would send me straight away, sailing to my ‘safe spot’ under the bed.

The monsters, of course – being a much craftier sort – having vacated many hours before.

Oh, and, I would lay there for hours – or what seemed like days….my only defense, a rather well worn red cotton blanket.

In those days, standing up to even the most frightening of storms – was a much easier proposition. Growing up can certainly make things a bit more…complicated.

But, through the years these rains have softened – the crashing bursts of thunder, now signalling the advent of change.

Isn’t it odd how something which was once so very terrifying can become something we learn to embrace? As we realize, there is peace even in the storm.

And, nowadays, my darlings…I have learned to dance in my rain.

Oh, yes….and did you know those monsters were just as equally frightened?

It seems, the solace of their slumber was quite often broken by the haunting screech of one, very loud, little girl.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Importance of the Mountain's Other View.

Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder’s frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side…one small aspect of a mountain. ~ Haruki Murakami
My dears, no matter how great the challenge or seemingly insurmountable the odds…know, that there is always another side to that mountain.

I think we all need to be reminded of this on the odd occasion – and particularly, when we find ourselves ‘wincing’ over the climb.

If only we might always consider, that we really are getting somewhere after all…and even as we are standing here looking upwards at what appears to be a simply impossible height.

One step at a time, my dears…will bring you always closer, still.

And hope is never really lost, at all – just a little bit quiet, at times…

Long enough to find, that belief that was resting inside…waiting for that one perfect, breathless gasp of wonder to make itself known, once again.

So, what’s it gonna be, my friends?

To wallow in the pity of having seen just one side…


Maybe, take a little chance to see what a few extra feet might do for your ‘view’…

You know, I'm told the peak is actually quite lovely this time of year.

And, there’s always an extra mug waiting for those who’ll visit me there.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Learning to Live in the Just Enough.

“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” ― Marcus Aurelius

I caught myself in a flurry of 'thinky-thoughts' this morning - going over the details of my son's arrival, wondering if I had completed everything on 'the list'...

And,*spin, spin, spinning* into the day, once again.

Oh, my dears...and just when does it ever end?

In our hearts, we wish for happiness and calm...

Meanwhile, our 'thinking minds' rumble on and on. 

As I looked out the window, I saw my faithful pup racing around the yard - digging and sniffing his way to a forever sort of bliss. It reminded me of the day I took him for a walk along the nature trail. The fields were filled with brightly colored blooms, which he...simply couldn't wait to explore. 

I sat along the pond's edge, watching and smiling as he moved from flower top to flower top ~ stopping only just long enough, to take in the flower's most beautiful essence without becoming too terribly overwhelmed.

It was the happiest, I believe, I have ever seen him...rolling and wagging in his 'just enough'...

If only we could adopt the same approach to our present thoughts...not too little...and never too much...

And...always, learning to pause in our own 'just enough.'

Namaste, my most beautiful friends ~ and isn't it amazing the lessons we learn from our pups?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Remembering to Breathe.

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ― C. JoyBell C.

What do you do when you find it so difficult to walk away?

Do you drag your feet, toes pulling trails through the sand or do you celebrate the gift of finally being free?

My dears, why do we become so terribly unsettled at this prospect? Ripped to shreds by the claws of our very own anxiety?

And, in that moment where our spirit needs freedom the most - why do we clench our teeth, and grip on with all that we've got? While ironically, wishing it all to go away? 

But, that first new breath always comes - with a bold sweetness of having made our way through.

Oh, and isn't this the most beautiful gift of all? This reflection of a new-found understanding and clarity of purpose?

And, yet we always find our way here. Knowing that this gift is 'out there', yet still making a mess of the 'what we have right here...' 

My dears, hold this breath is always near...and the light of resilience will guide you there.

And, all that you must have is a presence of mind...and a most simple willingness to believe.

So, why not - and just for today, my dears...just simply breathe.


Monday, December 16, 2013

When We Let Go of Ego, We Release the Soul.

“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

I had an incident at work the other day – nothing too serious, mind you…simply a bit of a reminder in a ‘pinchy’ sort of way.

Long story short, I had settled into this view of my ‘work self’ – of ‘slightly disorganized, but mindfully diligent, spit polished and shined’ sort of perspective.

And, when someone pointed out that I wasn’t quite all of those things  – well…it left me, in a sort of unsettled mess.

My dears, we hold so tightly to this ‘view’ of ourselves…that we often, and quite inadvertently, refuse to see things any other way.

This is the ego, clinging. And, it is a oh-so, very subtle…creeping upon us in ways not ever expected.

We cling to old habits.

We cling to pleasing others.

We cling to the way things should have been.

We cling to the idea of love in a nearly loveless relationship.

We even cling to our own stubborn attitude, and the to the perfection of what we believe ‘me’ to be.

In the end, it’s our ‘self’ that gets in the way.

“If only I could have/do/change this one simple thing, then…” and, just like that…the ‘clinging’ catches ego, once again.

Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel Peace”. Whereas, Spirit says, “find your Peace, and then everything will fall into place”.

Can you now see that subtle difference? The critical distinction between self and spirit?

The great fourteenth-century Tibetan teacher, Longchenpa once lectured on the importance of mindful attention; specifically, not allowing our minds to get so very caught up in the meaningless details that we miss that which matters most of all. This useless occupation of our focus can carry on for many moments, weeks, and even years. It’s the time wasted, trapped in the stories we tell – and disconnected from the magnificent beauty of this life we all share.

“Yes, but…” you may offer.

My dears, it’s this sort of thinking that goes on and on and on…leaving a day lost to worries that have yet to manifest.

You see, it’s so very easy to get caught up in our image of self…that we nearly miss out on the better part of living.

“Yes, if only…”

“If I could just be…”

“You just don’t understand…”

My dears, these are the words of a clinging hand…and when you let go of ego, you can release the soul.

So, the only question left to be asked is… what’s keeping you from letting go?

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Little Something They Don’t Teach You in School.

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying.”Neil Gaiman
I really love this quote, by author Neil Gaiman ~ as it provides a much-needed insight on life and of living.

My dears, there are just things that must be learned, and not simply taught. These are the lessons that require real life circumstances to help us understand their meaning.

The pain of watching a loved one’s passing ~ so that we may understand this gift of life.

The uncertainty of moving forward, without yet ever knowing our path ~ so that we may understand the true power in our purpose.

The torturous blow of another man’s hate…so that we may always understand the necessity for compassion.

These are the lessons that matter most of all – the lessons that can not be learned from a book.

It reminds me of a Buddhist story, the one in which an mad elephant charges wildly through a crowded street, forcing all in its path to flee in terror.

But, the Buddha remained ~ silently watching, and just simply waiting.

And when this mad elephant turned all of its massive rage towards Buddha ~ still he sat peacefully in meditation…smiling, and calling the elephant nearer.

The elephant, was so overcome by the Buddha’s radiant kindness, that he knelt before him – bowing his head in a most gentle reverence. In this moment, violent rage was overcome by tenderness.

Spoiler alert ~ the story isn’t really about a charging elephant, at all…rather, this story is about how we may free ourselves from personal suffering by simply changing our interaction with this world.

And that, my dears, is a little something they don’t teach you in school ~ to feel peace in this moment, no matter what life’s circumstances…or how ever many ‘charging elephants’…

Because, my dears…our happiness…our peace…our bliss… is something that we always control.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

To Be Awestruck by Life's Simplicty.

“Oftentimes we call Life bitter names, but only when we ourselves are bitter and dark. And we deem her empty and unprofitable, but only when the soul goes wandering in desolate places, and the heart is drunken with overmindfulness of self.

Life is deep and high and distant; and though only your vast vision can reach even her feet, yet she is near; and though only the breath of your breath reaches her heart, the shadow of your shadow crosses her face, and the echo of your faintest cry becomes a spring and an autumn in her breast.

And life is veiled and hidden, even as your greater self is hidden and veiled. Yet when Life speaks, all the winds become words; and when she speaks again, the smiles upon your lips and the tears in your eyes turn also into words. When she sings, the deaf hear and are held; and when she comes walking, the sightless behold her and are amazed and follow her in wonder and astonishment.”  ~ Kahlil Gibran

I've been doing quite a bit of inner reflection, as of late. Moments of profound stillness, fueled by this burning desire to move a little closer to spirit.

And, it's not so easy, now, is it? Sitting quietly in meditation while our thoughts are so busily churning away.

Confounded by Enlightenment's elusiveness - watching it forever slip, from our permanently tightened grip.

Distraction is such a fool's game - captivated by all that we want, transfixed by that which may never come our way.

But, my dears...even stillness knows to 'breathe softly against those brick walls.'

So, why not settle into things a bit?

And, give yourself this much needed space...

To be awestruck by life's much simpler indeed, and by far, the most wonderful thing.

Video: The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck.

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck - by @JasonSilva from Jason Silva on Vimeo.