Sunday, June 30, 2013

Breathe.



Breathe and you know you are alive.
Breathe and you know that all is helping you.
Breathe and you know that you are the world.
Breathe and you know that the flower is breathing too.
Breathe for yourself and you breathe for the world.
Breathe in compassion and breathe out joy.

Breathe and be one with the air that you breathe.
Breathe and be one with the river that flows.
Breathe and be one with the earth that you tread.
Breathe and be one with the fire that glows.
Breathe and you break the thought of birth and death.
Breathe and you see that impermanence is life.

Breathe for your joy to be steady and calm.
Breathe for your sorrow to flow away.
Breathe to renew every cell in your blood.
Breathe to renew the depths of consciousness.
Breathe and you dwell in the here and now.
Breathe and all you touch is new and real."

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

What Does Success Really Mean?


“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.”
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

I'm Just Watching the Wheels.


"People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?" ~ John Lennon
 
Oh, and isn't that a brilliant testimony to life these days?

I often think of this song during these moments of simply being. I think of John Lennon as he stepped outside the limits of the life he knew so well, and on into a life not yet discovered.

And, he did it simply to enjoy those moments. You know which ones I mean, right? Those moments when life pauses gently, and just long enough for us to breathe in.

It's those moments when our children screech with delight as they race through a cloud of bubbles.

It's those moments when we watch a hummingbird come to visit outside our window.

It's those moments when all of the notes of this life come together in a most beautiful symphony.

And, it's those moments that make this life worth living.

I think John got it right when he left it all behind, to embrace those moments he most wanted to know.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends...and for today, may we all have a chance to watch those 'wheels go round and round...' and may those wheels, fill us every corner of our spirit.




Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Dear Friend Limitless.



I'm really proud of myself this beautiful morning, as I have accomplished something that I have never done...not once before.

I don't often get to use those words these days, to say "I am proud of myself" is a hard thing to do.

I suppose I've slipped into this habit ~ of allowing my limitations to define my role in this world. In everything I do, as I walk...as I live...as I breathe...I have been always 'mindful' of what I can and can not do.

When we experience the awfully very physically side of this life and of living ~ whether through illness, or simply by way of just growing older...we begin to see ourselves through a different 'view.'

Last night, and as I struggled to keep mind, body, and soul fully 'functional' - and just as those tears were starting to form...a most brilliant peace washed over me in the form of one simple word....

"limitless"

I thought back to my childhood racing through those woods, knees torn and fingers caked with the dirt of that day...and into the setting sun, and well past the mosquito's 'feasting hour' I ran... I ran and ran and ran...until my spirit breathed that final, "yes!"

Because, in those days, my dears... I was limitless.

And so, last night as I fumbled my way through these late evening doings ~ and just as my mind prepared that god-awful, "you mustn't push yourself, dear" speech...I heard that sweet, soulful word...

"limitless"

My dears, our limitlessness is our power....our source...and our whole reason for being....

As travelers...explorers and fearless life adventurers...we must never lose faith in our limitlessness...

And it can't be constrained by our notions of self...because, my dears, limitless just simple is. 

Namaste, and all of my love...my most beautiful friends...and please welcome, my old friend, "limitless."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Paying it Forward With a Simple Cup of Coffee.


“There is no wrong way to perform an act of kindness.”  ― Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward 
Some things we take for granted ~ like that first cup of decaf that we hold thoughtfully in our hands as we make ready for another, brand new day.

We don't often think about those who'll go without. Coffee is coffee, after all...right?

But it's just these small comforts that bring warmth to our heart and spirit; that one little thing that no matter what, we will be alright.

And now, coffee shops all over the world are offering a 'suspended coffee' - in which, when you buy yourself a cup...you can also buy a cup for someone else. The purchase goes into an account, and can be claimed by anyone and at anytime they need a little love. And in doing so, not only does it allow coffee patrons to exercise a little early morning generosity...but, it also builds a much needed sense of community by 'creating a shared experience between those who can afford the luxury of a good cup of Joe and those who cannot." So, on your way home today ~ why not stop off at your favorite coffee shop, and ask them if they are participating in this program. And if they are, remember...a few extra dollars in your pocket can't help much at all, if you don't bring it out occasionally to share a little love.

Video: Suspended Coffee

Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day.

 

“In your light I learn how to love. 
In your beauty, how to make poems. 
You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, 
But sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”
Rumi
I love this poem. I love the image it projects, that of a love so beautiful that it resonates within our whole being...becoming the artwork of our life, and this universe.

When you think of love in this way, it surrounds you ~ manifesting in all these most wonderful things that fill our days...

Like the soft hues of my hydrangea blooms, or the sound of the rain falling gently against the steel frame of my window pane. Or, in the cool crispness of the breeze that gracefully lifts the hair from my face.

In this way, love is all around us.

But most of all, this love that you feel connects us all.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Lesson in Empathy.

"I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I love this short film which was developed by the doctors and caregivers at The Cleveland Clinic. It's intention is to guide us to look past the many faces we see in each day, and see...really see...the human.

"Our lives intersect with others all day, everyday. Sometimes we know these other lives well; frequently, though, the points of connection are brief and transient. Who are these people? How might they tell their own stories? What thoughts preoccupy their minds? What joys and troubles are coursing through their feelings? This short film, produced by the Cleveland Clinic, reminds us that empathy is our tool for beginning to know these things. It asks the question: If we could catch a glimpse of others' stories, would we treat them differently"
This film, in so many ways, resonated with me. It moved me, as I stopped to consider the many times I have felt lost in my own story ~ sitting in waiting rooms and watching those faces passing by...


We all have a story to share. And our stories are very much what define us.

My hope for this day is that we may all pause just long enough to consider life outside the confines of our own racing brains—so that we may, in some small way, embrace the stories of others.

I have learned well this past year, that in order to really heal—there needs to be an inseparable connection between body, mind and soul.

Namaste, and much love this day.

CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD, shared this video, titled "Empathy," with the Cleveland Clinic staff during his 2012 State of the Clinic address on Feb. 27, 2013.

Sitting in Love's Judgement.


"Love is the absence of judgment.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV
 There was a time not so long ago, that I had sworn off love for the remainder of this life on earth. 

I had been hurt by love, in a way that felt was so forever, never-ending.

"I only love you 60 percent today," he would snarl with a twisted smile on his face.

Those are the words that are often never ending - inflicting the deepest wounds on that unprotected part of our spirit.

And we are never once again, the same.

But still, our spirit remains...and it aches for that which is most needs.

Love wasn't easy for me, in those days...I had to 'work for it.' And each day, I walked away in the shadow of 'never feeling quite good enough' and cowering in the corner of 'my being alone.'

And then, one day I realized....true love never judges...because, true love is what sets our spirits free.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends ~ and here's to love's freedom this day.




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day. {Rumi}


“You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust.
You were born with ideals and dreams.
You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”

Rumi

We see potential in most things. 

In the way the trees bend to reach the path beneath us, and to know that they won't break on this day.  

In the way the flowers make their way through the soft earth, and to know that their cycle is never ending.

In the laughter of children...we hear innocence. 

In the smile of a friend...we feel love.

In the smallest act of loving-kindness...we allow our faith to be restored. 

And yet, each morning when we look into life's 'mirror' ~ how often do we see the truest potential of our very own self?

There is a potential in all and everything which surrounds us each day ~ but, the greatest potential is always right there within you.

You have wings, my dears....today is the day you learn to use them and in order to fly
Much love, and namaste...






Nuzzling Deeper Into the Soft Scented Earth.



“She thought herself awake when she was already asleep. She saw the stars above her face, whirling on their silent and sleepless axis, and the leaves of the trees rustling against them, and she heard small changes in the grass. These little noises of footsteps and soft-fringed wing-beats and stealthy bellies drawn over the grass blades or rattling against the bracken at first frightened or interested her, so that she moved to see what they were (but never saw), then soothed her, so that she no longer cared to see what they were but trusted them to be themselves, and finally left her altogether as she swam down deeper and deeper, nuzzling into the scented turf, into the warm ground, into the unending waters under the earth.”  ― T.H. White
I took the liberty of making a small change to this beautiful quote, and in order to bring it up closer to this present day.

Where I sit and ponder-wander myself in these fields, feeling those grass blades rattlings against my shoulder blades. 

We gals so very much love to notice those much smaller things—like nuzzling deeper into the soft scented earth.

Namaste, and much love this day ~

My Little 'Flower' Girl.



There was a knock, again, at my door today.

And as I looked out, I could see her standing there...sniffling, and all kinds of 'little girl' shaken.

"What's wrong, my little one?" as I knelt closer to hear.

And as she sniffled her way through each gaspy breath, she replied, "That boy...called...me ugly."

Oh, that last word just made me cringe ~ as 'ugly', is one of my least favorite words of all.

You know, I have always explained to the little girls in my neighborhood ~ that flowers bring out a girl's 'inside, most innermost' beauty.

So, I took this little one by the hand and led her out to the best part of my garden.

"Do you remember what I once told you," I leaned in and asked, grabbing the most beautiful bloom from my Hydrangea bush.

"Flowers make you beautiful," she knodded and softly answered.

"Yes, that's right...flowers make you beautiful—and, all the way from your insides and down to your toes. There's not even a hint of ugly anywhere inside of you."

And, oh how she smiled—looking into these blooms. I could tell just from the glint in her eyes—that her faith had been restored.

She raced off with bouquet in hands, finding her way back to that little boy—where she pulled her shoulders back proudly, and smiled...

"Flowers...make...you...BEAUTIFUL..." she screeched, thrashing him about the head with her bouquet of hand picked blooms.

Yep, I don't suspect ugly will be coming around here again, soon.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends...and remember, 'flowers...make...you...BEAUTIFUL!"


The Coolest and Most Amazing Window Washers in the World.

tumblr_mc7u2lx4Dw1qzfsnio1_500

Because, sometimes...you just have to know how to bring a little light into this world.

I have always wondered what it is that Superheros do when there's a little 'break' in this business of fighting crime.

Apparently, they perform a much greater service—that is, to help the littlest hearts find their biggest smiles.

Bravo, and hats off to the Superheroes of this world...my "faith" in humanity is restored.

Watch Spiderman and Captain America Surprise Patients at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital

A Little Something About Following Our Dreams.

{be you}
“We may place blame, give reasons, and even have excuses; but in the end, it is an act of cowardice to not follow your dreams.” ~ Steve Maraboli
My dears, today is a most special day - and one I wish most to share with all of you.

For you see, today is the day I shall be moving past these crossroads right here, and onward through adventure's greatest door.

Today, is the day I stand with toes at cliff's edge ~ knowing full well, that these wings shall be fashioned on the way down.

And I feel a 'down to my toes' kind of alive.

Oh, darling, I have such big dreams this day - dreams of the me I most wish to become.

I hope that you will take my hand and join me on my journey ~ as I would so wish to include the brilliance of your loving light.

Each one of you has inspired me.

Each one of you has helped me to believe.

Each one of you has given me just a little life's 'nudge.'

And,  I am so ever-grateful for this most amazing gift of your love.

And this life's leap that I take, it's all because of you.

Much love, and namaste ~ and here is my most amazing announcement.

Be You Media Group Launch on July 4th: Declaring our Independence.‏

As you all may well know, one of my greatest passions in this life is my writing. As a writer, this spark of creativity courses through every cell of my being. It is an unstoppable force that is the greater part of the better part of me. 

And, I live each moment of this life to inspire.

And now, I shall be partnering with several of this world's most incredibly creative...talented...crazy beautiful, loving spirits to launch a brand new media group.

This was a decision that came at a point in my life where I was literally standing at the crossroad. And, as I believe very strongly in these messages from the universe...I shall be following fate through to my destiny.

As such, I will no longer be writing for elephant journal - much as I love them, I will need to focus my energies and spirit where it will be most needed.

The blog/online magazine portion of this project is slated to launch on July 4th. If this resonates with what you are doing, welcome aboard and let me know how I can help, or how you would like to contribute.


If you read this and you're excited—great, let us know! If you read this and five other friends that are creating amazing things come to mind, let them know.

Cheers to declaring creative independence!

Much love, and namaste...


Video: Brandi Carlile, Dreams....

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Difference Between Heaven and Hell.


“Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.” ― Steve Maraboli

I work with storytellers.

Great men and woman, who through the course of their lives have stitched together the fabric of a many, most wonder-filled and fanciful tales.

And, each day that I have the blessing to share in their wisdom, I find myself much like a small child - leaning forward with great anticipation of the story they are about to tell.

And always, I am most eager to share with you here.

Today, the story was of a Lithuanian Rabbi - and his vision of both heaven and hell.

In his first vision, the Rabbi traveled to the depths of hell.  And, upon his arrival, saw a great table set before him ~ overflowing with an abundance of food and of wine. But around the table sat men, gaunt from their 'wanting' and emaciating from 'not having enough.'

And when this young Rabbi looked closer still, he could see - that these men were unable to eat, as both arms were splinted with wooden slats so they could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth.

In his second vision, the Rabbi traveled to heaven. And, when he arrived he saw this very same table set before him - overflowing with an abundance of food, and of drink. Only, in this case, the faces of those surrounding him were contented and swathed in a vibrant glow of life and of living.

And, when the young Rabbi looked closer still he was stunned - as in this case, their arms were slatted as well.

But, there was just one simple difference.

As the Rabbi looked down towards the end of the table he witnessed the most miraculous of things - a young man, with arms locked, reaching forward to feed another.


For you see, when it is that we are able to focus on the needs of others - only then, are we ever truly fulfilled.

And, in the end - the difference between heaven and hell is you.

Namaste, and much love this day.



Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day: Patience, Child, Patience.

 

"Patience child, patience. Remember, life is a journey. If you got everything you wanted all at once there'd be no point to living. Enjoy the ride, and in the end you'll see these 'setbacks' as giant leaps forward, only you couldn't see the bigger picture in the moment. Remain calm, all is within reach; all you have to do is show up every day, stay true to your path and you will surely find the treasure you seek."

- Jackson Kiddard, author & polymath.
How often do we grumble our way through what feels to be an endless, and most unwelcoming path? We loathe each step, complaining over the briars and the branches and the 'yet another fine predicament we've found ourselves in again.' We feel the whole weight of this world in our legs, and worry we'll not ever make it through these 'woods' again. 

But then, the clearing comes ~ and, the daylight greets us here.

And, we realize - had we only wandered with this day's light in our hearts, it's quite possible we might not ever have complained.

But, that's the problem now, isn't it?  

We never really know the truest meaning of light, until that moment when it finally makes its way through those trees once again.



Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Gift of a Hummingbird's Love.

"Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.”  ~ Papyrus
A hummingbird came to see me today, and for the purposes of sharing it's love this evening ~ and maybe perhaps a little sweet tea.

I could hear the familiar buzz of it's approach, as the air softened just long enough for this tiny creature to pass.

When I was a little girl, my teacher told me that a hummingbird blesses a home with every 'flap' of its wings...

And, did you know if you extend your hand without expectation ~ the hummingbird will always come closer to say his "hello."

Oh, and I am so very grateful for this most beautiful night...and more so for the gift of a hummingbird's love.

The Magic of Not Ever Knowing.


“Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all. When there's a big disappointment, we don't know if that's the end of the story. It may just be the beginning of a great adventure. Life is like that. We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know.” ― Pema Chödrön
Oh, how we are all so very guilty of this, after all. For, in our few first moments of a new experience just 'waking up,' our human brains struggle to find a place for it to belong.

And in our struggle, we rush quickly to label - we call it anger, disappointment, sadness...or failure.

We label first before we ever really even understand.

And, it's only in these many years forward and looking back, that it all becomes clear once again.

Had we only paused just long enough to breathe, we might have realized that every new beginning 'comes from some other beginning's end.'

And that's the magic of this life, right here, now isn't it? That each day, each moment - is a brand new beginning...and life, is a most brilliant adventure, when it is that we allow it the space to just simply be.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends...and here's to the magic of not ever knowing. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Son, if the mountain were smooth, you couldn't climb it."

"Son, if the mountain were smooth, you couldn't climb it." ~ Wintley Phipps

By far, one of the most powerful renditions of John Newton's classic, "Amazing Grace"—a gift to all of us, and as delivered by the soulful brilliance of gospel singer, Wintley Phipps.

Before a captivated audience at Carnegie Hall in 2007, Wintley took a moment to share this song's rich history in a manner that I shall not ever forget.
 "A lot of people don't realize that just about all Negro spirituals are written on the black notes of the piano. Probably the most famous on this slave scale was written by John Newton, who used to be the captain of a slave ship, and many believe he heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant. And it has a haunting, haunting plaintive quality to it that reaches past your arrogance, past your pride, and it speaks to that part of you that's in bondage. And we feel it. We feel it. It's just one of the most amazing melodies in all of human history."
I cried when I watched this video today.

The notes reached out to me in a way that they've not ever before—past my arrogance, past my pride and through to the part of me that knows now what grace truly means.

Thank you, Wintley Phipps for sharing the gift of this song.

Coming Clean Means Never Closing Curtains, I Just Change My Scene.


"Coming clean means never closing curtains I just change my scene" ~ Brandi Carlile, I Will
One of my new favorite songs, and one that simply resonates with me. It's a very powerful song, about a young woman who realizes one day that she must place her faith in the now, and not in the 'what might have been.'

We all have that one moment, when we slip into this comfort of no longer needing, because this need has been filled through other means.

It gets filled by changing the way we look and we see

"I can try and I wont find it where I'm looking
I can hold it till its putty in my hands
You cant break a heart that wasn't even yours to break
You can never be there for me in the end
But I will do the right thing I will, I will, I will..."
For all of us, who have always done the right thing in the end.

Namaste, and much love this day.

How We May Change This World.

“We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.”  ― David R. Hawkins
Each day we have this most amazing choice as we walk out into this world. We have choice to see, we have a choice to experience, and we have a choice to make a change.

But, so often we turn a deaf ear to the headlines that blast their way through to us each day, and through every means of media available.

We look past those most beautiful people who are suffering the greatest distress - and, whose haunting eyes look to us, pleading, as we block their glances and hurry on and away to that next 'meeting.'

But, what does this say of our spirit? What does that say of these countless hours we have spent seeking that one opportunity to make this life just a little better? And what does that say of our fellow humans that we leave desperately clinging to a hope that is quickly fading?

We are more than our existence - we are the sum total of our choices. And there is no higher purpose than to reflect the inner light of all that we have become.

Let today be the day that you see...that you hear....that you take action.

Because, this world, my dears, so desperately needs you.

Namaste, and much love this day.
 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Walking Through Fear's Door.


"Fear is like being invited to a party by a complete stranger to celebrate the life of someone you've never met, when you had other plans.

Should you choose to attend, however irrational it may surely seem, upon presenting your invitation at the gate you'd notice that it was in your own handwriting. Then you'd be warmly greeted by the most wonderful, familiar faces - everyone so excited, like you, because, it turns out, you're about to meet the person you've always dreamed you'd one day become"
I received this quote to my inbox this morning. You know, I have been quite blessed in my life, that these messages seem always to find their way to me ~ and invariably at just that 'most perfect moment, now.'

There is an unfamiliar awkwardness associated with our fears, one generated from own swirl of racing thoughts. It's just these thoughts that fuel fear's image, causing us to cower and shrink before something that is, as of yet, unexplored.

We recoil before we ever really know.

Facing fear is much like standing on the front porch of a stranger's door...as we are left wondering what to expect once we find our way through.

But, it's the getting through that can sometimes become the very best part of all... as it introduces us to that person we had most hoped to become.

Namaste my most beautiful friends...and here's to the brilliance of this, most beautiful brand new day.










Thursday, June 20, 2013

Can You Imagine a World Without Hate?


I love this public service announcement which was developed by the Anti-defamation League and in honor of their centennial.

It invites us to imagine, for just a moment, if we will - a world in which hate would have nowhere to manifest. Where all of the hearts and minds serve towards a much higher purpose, that of ensuring that our world is filled with love.

Can you imagine?


Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League

Your Most Delightful Question of the Day.

I had the most delightful question asked of me just yesterday by one of the 3-year-old neighborhood boys.

He had been staring thoughtfully at our neighbor's newest acquisition - a pair of god-awful, plastic 'bronzed' deer lawn ornaments.

"Do you like the deer," I asked, already somewhat knowing his answer.

"No," he said, "they're too small" his face still scrunched tightly in little-boy disapproval.

"Oh, yes I see your point," I offered, sensing there was just a bit more. "Anything else?"

To which he replied, and only after a few more moments lost in face-scrunching thought...

"I just was wondering if the deers think the same things we think when we see the peoples (translation: mannequins) at the mall?"

Well, now, that's certainly something to consider, isn't it?

I delight in these moments when I'm able to see the world through a 3-year-old's view.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day.


“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~ Maya Angelou
I like to think that we are much like the butterfly, and that our bumps and bruises along this path are just natural byproduct of breaking through our tough outer 'cocoon.'

And, that it is moments spent with friends we most love, that lend a little of that color to our wings.

Namaste, and much love this day...

p.s. - I hope you like my butterfly...

Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day.



“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ― Maya Angelou
 

What Makes a Writer?


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou 

This is a beautiful obituary, written for journalist Michael Hastings.

I am posting it because...it is a reminder for all writers, even those whose words have not yet been heard...that we are all part of this most magnificent fabric.

And our task is not often and easy one. We write about those topics that make most people uncomfortable, and we give voice to those stories that most need to be told.

We break all of those 'unwritten' rules.

We are relentless, tireless, pains in the asses - but in the end, our words, they always rise above.

This is why I write. Because, in this world there are still too many stories left to be told.

RIP Michael...

Source: Buzzfeed, "Missing Michael Hastings."


Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave. And he was warm and honest in a way that left him many unlikely friends among people you’d expect to hate him.

Michael, who died at the age of 33 in a high-speed wreck in Los Angeles early Tuesday morning, wasn’t like any reporter I’ve ever worked with. He found conflict constantly, but never by accident. We fought, first, over the adjectives in his stories — “discredited” was a favorite — and then over his theories, which were typically the opposite of whatever I was hearing from my Washington sources. In the meantime I marveled at his talent and at the thing I hadn’t particularly expected: his generosity.

The talent first. That is the reason Michael’s death was news to so many people who didn’t know him personally, the reason his stories hit a nerve almost without fail.

Michael’s journalistic roots were in the 1970s, in gonzo writers like Hunter S. Thompson who flung their bodies at the story, and often got hurt. He had been badly hurt once: His fiancée was killed in Baghdad in January of 2007, when he was a Newsweek reporter there, and her death was still utterly raw to him when he published his first book, I Lost My Love In Baghdad.
And then the other part: He knew how to tell it. He knew that there are certain truths that nobody has an interest in speaking, ones that will make both your subjects and their enemies uncomfortable. They’re stories that don’t get told because nobody in power has much of an interest in telling them — the story, for instance, of how a president is getting rolled by his generals.
There is perpetual handwringing in journalism about how to make Worthy topics interesting to a broad audience. The simple fact is that Michael had discovered the answer: Make it about power and sex and personality and conflict (because, by the way, it usually is) and — and here’s the real trick — draw a straight and clear line between the vibrant reporting and the point. His most vivid scenes, set in the carnage of Baghdad at its worst days, or in the grim light of pay-per-view in an Iowa hotel room, were never gratuitous. Michael’s most famous story, the one that got General Stanley McChrystal fired, was a great yarn, but it was also about something: A military leadership that had turned its tactical sophistication inward, and trapped a president it disdained into a war he didn’t want to fight. The story helped push the American government to pull out of Afghanistan, not because a general said some bad words, but because those words conveyed the general’s sense of superiority to his civilian masters.

Michael found those stories because he never forgot his job. It is so easy, and so basically human, for journalists to want the people around them — including their sources — to be their friends. Michael cared about friends and was good at making them; it visibly pained him when, late in the 2012 campaign, the reporters around him made little secret of their distrust for him. But he also knew what he was there — in Denver, or Paris, or Hollywood — for. He was there to tell his readers what was going on.

Michael made people nervous — he made me nervous — with his jittery energy and what Tim Dickinson, in his obituary of Michael, called his “enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism.” (He also knew this about himself: When we started emailing, in Jan. 2012, about his coming to work for BuzzFeed, he included this codicil: “I’d need a clause somewhere in the contract that says if BuzzFeed fires me for saying or writing something controversial or offensive on BuzzFeed or on Twitter or elsewhere, there will have to be some kind of severance payment. I have a demonstrated ability to really piss powerful people off, and I would need some kind of assurance that BuzzFeed has my back, 120 percent.”) That intense sense of responsibility was to his readers — “friends,” he typically began his tweets — not to his sources, and so he had no time for implied off-the-record agreements or of the clubbiness of the traveling press corps. It takes an enormous level of tolerance for awkward social situations to infuriate the small group of people with whom you are traveling, eating, and sleeping for weeks on end. He did that, mostly for good reasons, with the protection only of a pair of giant headphones.

Michael had made no secret of his lacerating views of much of the political press — his 2010 GQ article on the experience was filled with self-loathing, too, for having been part of the machine. (“Jacking off in a hotel room was not unlike the larger experience of campaign reporting.”) But he also couldn’t control his curiosity. When we began talking that January, he wrote that while “I have a pretty good gig … the pull of the campaign trail is always very real,” he had an instinct that we were doing something “fairly unique/hot/exciting.” And so he somehow persuaded his Rolling Stone editors to let him dive into the campaign for BuzzFeed, while persuading me to let him, somehow, amid the 96 pieces he wrote for us, to complete a powerful story about “America’s Last Prisoner of War” for Rolling Stone.
And this time out on the trail, he ran in the other direction. He infuriated his peers by breaking unwritten rules: He wrote about events that were presumed, though not stipulated, to be off the record; he wrote about what reporters said and did; and he wrote that the President had joined a cocktail hour with the press, though he respected his agreement not to report on the substance of the conversation. He knew his role was to tell his readers what he knew — not to hold things back. He liked to quote an old Newsweek colleague, Peter Goldman: “Journalists’ behavior is always on the record.”

His own certainly was. He is the anti-hero of his campaign book, Panic 2012, and included a scene of his own intemperate, drunken rage at another reporter, as well as a familiarity with “my cooler than thou persona,” which backfired when he found himself about to meet Obama, “dressed like a beachcomber” in shorts and a pink T-shirt. He scrambled to put on a suit.

Great journalists take themselves and their work seriously because it is serious; they know the power they wield. Michael knew how good he was, how much damage he could do. He was shy of playing gotcha games with junior staffers — his target was always the principal.

He cared about his image — he worked out hard, looked good in clothes and in pictures, and enjoyed it — but he always cared more about the story. One day last fall, he had a furious exchange with a spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. His impulse, and mine, was to print the back-and-forth, the crucial exchange of which was:

Reines: Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?

Hastings: Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?

But there was a problem: Michael had not exactly conducted himself as well-mannered professional in the exchange. “You will look,” I pointed out to him, “like an asshole.”

“Everyone knows I’m an asshole,” he said. “The point is that they’re assholes.”

Michael had a great nose for conventional wisdom and conventional taste, and a visceral, irresistible urge to run the other way. If every reporter in Washington knew that Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama’s close aide and friend, is a disaster — the view of her internal enemies, who happen to be closer to the press — Michael’s impulse was to find the other narrative: The “Revolt of the White Male Ego” (capital letters Michael’s). If the problem with reporting on an Afghan hospital scandal was that the images were simply too horrifying to print, Michael wanted to use a new medium to display them all.
Michael’s curiosity took him to Hollywood, his last beat. There, he saw the same thing he had seen in Washington and Afghanistan: power and its abuse and its devastating effect on a man’s life.

Michael’s large sense of himself and of his abilities could, and perhaps should, have made him into that feared caricature, the egomaniacal bigfoot magazine writer. But unlike most ambitious and successful reporters in their 30s, Michael was also intensely interested in the younger people around him. I didn’t particularly expect him to show up to work at BuzzFeed — he was one of those magazine writers who did their own thing — but during the spring and summer of 2012, before he encased himself in giant headphones for the mortal combat of the Obama Campaign charter — he was there most days. He gaped at the exotica an editor sitting beside him collected from dark corners of the internet. He invited the whole office to his apartment after our holiday party. He was obsessed with online animal culture and with the corgi, Bobby Sneakers, he shared with his wife, Elise Jordan. He was more obsessed, only, with Elise, whose thoughts, plans, and prospects he couldn’t stop talking about when I last saw him in New York two weeks ago.

Michael always had time for advice to young reporters, many of whom really got to learn from him. He handed out scoops to the kids around him — sometimes based on complicated calculations about his own byline, sometimes out of pure generosity. He gave great, sensible advice: “Go to DC for a couple of years, it’s money in the bank, source-wise, even if you hate it.” A half-dozen young reporters walked away with a bit of his fairy dust.

Perhaps most to Michael’s credit, though, is the esteem of his enemies. I asked Michael’s advice not long ago for who to call for a story about David Petraeus’s comeback, expecting a list of haters. Michael’s definitive story on the former general and CIA director had, after all, begun, “The fraud that General David Petraeus perpetrated on America started many years before the general seduced Paula Broadwell….”

Instead, Michael gave me the emails of some of Petraeus’ closest friends and allies. I shouldn’t mention your name, right, I asked? Actually, he said, I should; and his name, of all things, prompted people devoted to Petraeus to talk openly and freely to me. I still haven’t quite figured that one out.

Tuesday night, one prominent defense intellectual whose views on counterinsurgency operations, among other factors, had meant Michael never much liked him, messaged me.

“I was struggling to explain to my wife why the death of Michael Hastings made me sad. He didn’t much like me, and I didn’t much like him,” he wrote. “But I respected his pluck and his courage, even when I disagreed with him.”

Some of that was Michael’s warmth, charm, and charisma. Some of it, I think, was the opposite: His anger and fearlessness made working with him, or against him, something more than the usual journalistic transaction. There’s a relief in dealing with someone and knowing where he stands.

In a way, Michael was born too late: He wrote with the sort of commitment of the generation of reporters shaped by the government’s lies about Vietnam, not by the triumphalism of the 1990s or the reflexive patriotism of the years after 9/11. He was surer than most of us that power is, presumptively, not to be trusted. Writers of his courage and talent are so rare, and he was taken way too soon.

There are few like him. We will miss him terribly.

The Voice That Speaks Inside.

“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
                  
Shel Silverstein
I don't know what made me think back to this most brilliant passage. Some things in life I suppose just 'stick' a little more so than the others...and always, it seems for a most compelling reason. 

We all have this voice within us. It calls out to us in the middle of our darkest night and urges to take just that one 'next step forward'...

And in spite of all our fears and notions of doom and failure....still we listen, we listen to our 'voice' inside. 

And, this voice...it is our greatest friend, our most precious gift...

It is an irrepressible, indomitable force...connecting us always to those dreams that reside within the farthest reaches of our most spiritual being...

A dear friend shared this with me this morning:
"Having a dream is awesome.

Having a dream and showing up every day, even when nothing seems to be happening, is priceless.

But having a dream and showing up every day, while sauntering, winking, and hugging everyone, is when the floodgates begin to tremble."
So, today, my most beautiful friends ~ I shall be listening closely to that voice that speaks inside.

Much love, and namaste ~





Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We Are the Dreamers of Dreams.


“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”

Not many know the full verse of that poem, so I have opted to include it here—and to serve as a gentle reminder for this day.

Our dreams carry us gently through these nights when doubt creeps in through this open window of our mind, and casts fears shadow where hope once existed.

That's the real question, isn't it?

Do we forge ahead fearlessly on that 'path wanting wear', or do we let go Dream's grasp to simply exist?

Dreams visit us here for a reason.

Because dreams, are the cornerstone of spirit.

A Playlist of Dreams.


The Littlest Superheroes - Your Big Smile for the Day.

 

 Do you remember those days (some many years ago) when simply tying a towel around your shoulders would leave you with a feeling of limitless power and invincibility? That would help you to believe with one swooshy flip of that cape, you could take on any adversary in this world?

Capes, even those which were hand fashioned from our Mother's best beach towels, seemed to have woven in their fibers the magic of possibility.

Meet Robyn Rosenberger who has worked selflessly to create this feeling for over 500 children who are currently fighting life-limiting illness and disability. And though, they may seem to be just one small swath of fabric - to these tiny superheroes, they represent hope and belief.

To read more about Robyn or the many Superheros she has helped, you may visit her at her website here.

I love stories just like this, where one person identifies and need and without hesitation works to improve it.

Namaste, Robyn...and much love this day.

The Dalai Lama on Children.

(Photo by Rusty Stewart/DLIA 2013)
“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don't usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

I love this photo.

I love how it captures the truest essence of spirit between these two most beautiful souls.

In some ways, I believe you can actually see their connection...bonded on a plane that can only exist when we allow our filters and walls and veils turned outward to this world to come down.

Only then, can we truly understand and connect with this world.

Namaste, and much love this day...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Good Night, Good Dreams...and Namaste.


“Sometimes it's the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.”  ― Steve Maraboli
Oh, dear... the light from my window has certainly faded. The birds are quietly tucked away in their nests...and even dear Nudnick is snoring loudly from the softer billowings of his puppy pillow.

These days often slip quickly past. How many of moments in your day today will you...some time from now...look back to with a smile in your heart, and gratitude that this moment picked *you*...?

I wanted to share this following passage with you. By author, Douglas Couplandfor some reason, they resonate with me on this evening...and I feel most compelled to share them with you. Much love, and namaste.

“My mind then wandered. I thought of this: I thought of how every day each of us experiences a few little moments that have just a bit more resonance than other moments—we hear a word that sticks in our mind—or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out of ourselves, if only briefly—we share a hotel elevator with a bride in her veils, say, or a stranger gives us a piece of bread to feed to the mallard ducks in the lagoon; a small child starts a conversation with us in a Dairy Queen—or we have an episode like the one I had with the M&M cars back at the Husky station.

And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge from our collection—certain voices would emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether; one we didn’t even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real—this clunky day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives.” 

Dove's Latest Ad Campaign Reunites 300 Military Families.



Dove, the company that first brought us to tears with its Real Beauty campaign, in which women were given a little insight into how they really see themselves, has done it once again. 

In their newest campaign, Dove is working with the military's Operation Homefront and in order to reunite 300 service members withe families.

It's quite touching....

Video: Dove Brings Nation to Tears (again)

Your Most Amazing Video of the Day.

 

Two passersby struggling to make their way through a flooded street in Russia are amazed at what they find - a wheelchair bound elderly man, who is almost lost to the current, receives a little help from man's best friend.

This is simply incredible, and proof positive of the true capacity of unconditional love.

Namaste.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Daddy's Little Girl - Happy Father's Day To All Of Our Veterans.


"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." -Cynthia Ozick
 I love this song, The Mills Brother's rendition of "Daddy's Little Girl." Whenever I hear this song, I tear up as I think of my first dance with my Dad.

He was a veteran, too. As are so many more who'll miss these most special moments—the moments that once passed, are never recovered. They are the 'firsts' and 'onlys'—the 'wish I could be theres'...the 'I hate that I am so very far from homes.'

On this Father's Day, I made a little something just for my military friends ~ and pray that you may soon all come home.

Namaste, and God bless you for your service...


To Be Grateful - Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day.


“Sometimes the completely open heart and mind of bhodichitta is called the soft spot, a place as vulnerable and tender as an open wound. It is equated, in part, with our ability to love. [...]
Sometimes this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment, and blame. But under the hardness of that armor there is the tenderness of genuine sadness.
This is our link with all those who have ever loved.
This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we're arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference.
This continual ache of the heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all." ~ Pema Chödrön
I have experienced many challenges in my life—and for each one I am eternally grateful.

I am grateful for each day I worried that there wasn't possibly enough. 

I am grateful for each night I lay awake wondering "will I ever make it through?"

I am grateful for every doctor who has told me "there's simply nothing more we can do."

I am grateful for every person who has ever doubted my spirit, called me names, or tried desperately to destroy my spirit. 

Because, with each bump, bruise, busted knee and bloodied up scrape along life's path...my heart has stretched and flexed just a little more.

Without which my spirit might never have grown.

Happy Father's Day

“That was when the world wasn't so big and I could see everywhere. It was when my father was a hero and not a human.” ― Markus Zusak
I still remember the very moment when I realized just how small I really was in this world.

It was morning, and at just barely 4-years-old, I reached up to slip my hand into my Dad's.

Everything seemed so much bigger back then...and I, was so simply terrified of this world.

But next to my Dad...I was fearless.

And, next to my Dad I could take on this world.

Oh, to be that small once again...when all of life's troubles could just simply melt right away, in that moment a little girl pulled closer to her father.

Namaste and Happy Father's Day.



This Morning Light.



“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

I took a walk along my favorite forest path this morning—and just before the sun rays broke free of the dawn.

I love watching the light as it finds its way through the heavy canopy of trees, determined to illuminate every corner of this day.

I love watching how the light changes things—with each gentle ray, a rich new color is created.

A little light can change just about anything in this world—compelling even the darkest path to green once again.

I love watching the light in the mornings along this path—but more so, I love how light brings life to all. 

Namaste, my most beautiful friends...may we all embrace a little light in our days.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

About Life's Troublemakers.


“My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegarWhen Dad was in one of his rare, fanciful moods, he told guests that the pixies left me on the doorstep because I bit their fingers too often. My favorite was always when Mum said that before I was born, it rained for seven days and seven nights solid, and when she went out into the yard to ask the sky what it was weeping for, I dropped out of the clouds at her feet and the sun came out. I always liked the idea of being such a bother that I affected even the weather.” ― Maggie Stiefvater

A little light-hearted post for this evening—and regarding the true purpose of life's little troublemakers.

We've all experienced, those snarly little sprites that find their way deep into our soul and shake it about with all of their might—and, leaving even the most well-grounded of hippie Buddhist spirits frazzled and worn.

And yet, even with all of the lessons learned on life's 'mat'—we still tend to spin wildly out of control.

These spiritual stinkers always seem to find the quickest way to wind up our own emotional vortex.

This is by far one of my most favorite videos, from the most brilliant Pema Chodron - and regarding this topic of troublemakers.

I know you will enjoy.


The Benefit of Building Sand Castles. (Quote of the Day)

“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.” ― Pema Chödrön 

Act 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 worn 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 born of our own expectations. But more specifically, to be grateful for the time spent together and sharing...as 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.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Beyond all that Fuss. {Pema Chödrön}

 
"Sometimes we're going to find ourselves completely caught up in a drama. We're going to be just as angry as if someone had just walked into the room and slapped us in the face. Then it might occur to us: 'Wait a minute--what's going on here?' We look into it and are able to see that, out of nowhere, we feel that we have lost something or been insulted. Where this thought came from we don't know, but here we are, hooked again...Right then, we can feel that energy, and give ourselves a break.
Beyond all that fuss and bother is a big sky. Right there in the middle of the tempest, we can drop it and relax."
~ Pema Chödrön

Get Off The Scale - Your Most Amazing Quote of the Day.



"Get Off The Scale!

You are beautiful

Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success, is immeasurable. Day after day, countless people across the globe get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.

Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. 

I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. 

I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile

Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.

It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. 

Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life. 

You are beautiful!”

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

The True Meaning of Father’s Day: 3 Things I Learned When My Plane Crashed. {Ric Elias}


“I came up with a saying, which is, “I collect bad wines.” Because if the wine is ready and the person is there, I’m opening it. I no longer want to postpone anything in life. And that urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life.” – Ric Elias

Life changes in an instant—we all know this to be true. We see flashes of this reality each day across our computer screens, as we bow our heads silently in reverence to the humbling impermanence of life.

But how often, do we really allow ourselves to sit with this knowledge—to reflect on just how fully we’ve lived each one of our moments? Perhaps, in some ways, we are too frightened to glance into life’s mirror—in fear, that we might just see fully what it is that we’ve been missing?

Ric Elias was in seat 1D on Flight 1549, that famous plane that crash-landed into New York’s Hudson River in January of 2009. For most, it was just another day…another flight…another frantic dash through an airport security gate—but for this man, it soon became his greatest lesson on life and of living.
“We have this bucket list, we have these things we want to do in life, and I thought about all the people I wanted to reach out to that I didn’t, all the fences I wanted to mend, all the experiences I wanted to have and I never did…And after, as I reflected on that, I decided to eliminate negative energy from my life…I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy.”
When asked if in those final moments he had any regrets, he answered simply,
I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter with people that [do] matter.
Indeed, we all find ourselves trapped in these moments–moments where our ego becomes more important than the energy shared. I experienced one of these moments just the other day, one that left me with the most profound feeling of emptiness and sadness. In the moments following I remember thinking, “Did it ever really matter much at all?” I believe this would be my greatest fear at life’s end, that I would look back to those moments wasted holding my own silly sentiments over compassion and love.

For Ric, those last few moments counting down before the impact were the ones the greatest insight and clarity. And, as he sat some weeks later watching his first grade daughter’s recital, he realized that the only thing that really mattered to him was being a dad.
“I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying that day. I was given another gift, which was to be able to see into the future and come back and live differently.”
Take a few moments, you’ll not regret it, to watch this most amazing video—as a father recounts the true meaning of Father’s Day. And, when you’ve finished ask yourself, “Have I really been living the life I have most wanted to live?”

Though, hopefully, it doesn’t take a plane crash to help you figure out that answer.

Video: Ric Elias: 3 things I learned While My Plane Crashed – TED Talk