Saturday, November 30, 2013

When We Are Awakening.

"Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment." ~ John O'Donoghue

Mornings are the very best time for me - this blissful solitude reaching me before the 'thinking' ever settles in.

Alone, and just simply being...I dare say, is the most wonderful feeling of all. Where beliefs may be formed before judgement steals them away? 

When we have this opportunity to stay...we find there's really nothing more than our own self getting in our 'selfly' sort of way.

Maybe this is the key to our awakening? When we realize tucked inside these moments right here, is the very spark that lights Passion's eternal flame?

My dears, when we are awakening...even the softest of breaths, has the capacity to take on an entirely new meaning.

And, when we are awakening...we find that even these, the emptiest of moments, are filled with quite nearly everything.

When we are awakening...we realize, the morning is here to greet us each day, with the knowledge that we are so perfectly limitless.

Much love, and many blessings, my dears ~ and know, that each day I am most grateful to awaken to you.

Video: Awakening

Friday, November 29, 2013

The True Meaning of Friendship.

 

 “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis


I was so very proud of my daughter yesterday evening as we sat curled up and on our couch. We were settling into a night of ‘silly program watching’—something we do together when we feel our energy needs just a little ‘lightening.’

And, then it began—that god-awful buzz, buzz, buzzing of my daughter’s mobile phone text and email alerts.

Irritated, and in order to offer a bit of a ‘nudge,’ I said,
“You have so many friends. Do you know how many I have? Just, one.”
To which she replied, and without missing a beat, “And, do you know how many friends you really need, Mom? Just only one…to love.”

Yes, indeed—friendship is not measured in quantity, rather in the brilliance of that just only ‘one.’

It’s in that gentle extension of compassion and acceptance, and the sharing of that most unconditional kind of love.

And the unending offerings of trust and of hope, even when all other paths seem to fail.
But mostly, friendship is that sense of just knowing—knowing there’s no other who will care for you in much the same way.

She’s right, you know, my daughter..that is…all that we ever really need in this life, is that ‘just one’ the one that we love.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen
And so, that’s what the true meaning of friendship is—as told to me by my most brilliantly beautiful daughter.

May we all find our just ‘one’ to love.

Bonus Video: The Beatles, All You Need is Love.

 

My Favorite Buddhist Quote (by Someone I'll Bet You Didn't Realize Was Buddhist).


“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and let others move forward with it.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Though he may often refer to God in his stories, Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles (as well as, 600 or so other odd stories) when interviewed on the occasion of his 90th birthday had this to say,


“I’m a Zen Buddhist if I would describe myself. I don’t think about what I do. I do it. That’s Buddhism. I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.”
It’s one of my most favorite quotes regarding Buddhism, life, and the truest form of living. Not thinking, rather doing, and figuring it all out ‘on the way down.’
I have faced many challenges in my life. Some, a little more recent than those which have gone before them.

Nevertheless, with each new day—and, no matter how I may feel—I smile in the biggest and most special sort of ways. For you see, these days, I am smiling because I am grateful—grateful to simply greet and embrace each and every single one of my days.

And though, my mobility may be just a bit wobbly at times…like the bird, my wings are formed each time I leap from ‘life’s cliff’ and always before my feet hit the ground.

I take great comfort in this, most gentle ‘knowing’—this understanding, that no matter what, I’ll be, always, okay.


Namaste, my most beautiful friends—and remember, sometimes you’ve got to ‘leap’ in order to ‘fly.’

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Grateful: A Love Song to the World ~ And, To All of You, As Well!


"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." ~ Albert Schweitzer

My dears, I have been in a bit of a funk these past few days - owing to the longer hours, and limitations of the day.

It happens, you see ~ even to the best of us, the most hope-filled of souls. Because, my dears...we are, after all, just simply human.

And, what a most beautiful blessing this being human is.

With these eyes, we may see the true miracle of life - in all things, both great and small. A child's first steps, a heron's graceful path...or a simple kindness shared between friends.

With these hands, we may embrace this great earth ~ holding dearly to the promise of our future.

And, with this heart we may offer a love that is limitless.

Because, we are...my dears...so brilliantly and most perfectly human.

Amazing how quickly a stubborn mood might be lifted, with just a little nudge of 'consider what you've been given.'

My dears, I hope you'll enjoy the following video, entitled, "Gratitude: A Love Song to the World."

Musicians Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod brought together dozens of people from around the world to create this beautiful, heart-opening melody. Inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge, the song is a celebration of our spirit and all that is a blessing in life.

For the 21 Days, over 11,000 participants from 118 countries learned that "gratefulness" is a habit cultivated consciously and a muscle built over time.

As a famous Roman, Cicero, once said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."

This soul-stirring music video, created within a week by a team of volunteers, shines the light on all the small things that make up the beautiful fabric of our lives.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks is the Highest Poetry.

 

“Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun.... there are millions of suns left,
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand.... nor look through the eyes of the dead.... nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.”
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition

Celebrated poet Walt Whitman was once asked his thoughts on the Thanksgiving Day holiday. To which, the aging poet replied,

“Thanksgiving goes probably far deeper than you folks suppose. I am not sure but it is the source of the highest poetry…”


His most beautiful thoughts, have for many years, reflected the sentiment of our collective humanity - a profound realization that in the light of gratitude, our world takes on an entirely different hue. 


Within each pause, there is an opportunity - to see, to appreciate...to assess and redefine the value of this one human life.

Indeed, in these moments we are offered the richest of blessings - a chance reflection into Empathy's mirror, to understand the 'oneness' of all humankind.

Scene. — A large family supper party, a night or two ago, with voices and laughter of the young, mellow faces of the old, and a by-and-by pause in the general joviality. 'Now, Mr. Whitman,' spoke up one of the girls, 'what have you to say about Thanksgiving? Won’t you give us a sermon in advance, to sober us down?'

The sage nodded smilingly, look’d a moment at the blaze of the great wood fire, ran his forefinger right and left through the heavy white mustache that might have otherwise impeded his voice, and began: 'Thanksgiving goes probably far deeper than you folks suppose. I am not sure but it is the source of the highest poetry....

Gratitude, anyhow, has never been made half enough of by the moralists; it is indispensable to a complete character, man’s or woman’s — the disposition to be appreciative, thankful. That is the main matter, the element, inclination — what geologists call the trend. Of my own life and writings I estimate the giving thanks part, with what it infers, as essentially the best item."
My dears, tomorrow and in celebration of our giving thanks holiday - perhaps, we might all take a peek around that proverbial table, to acknowledge the fullness of this one human life.

And so, on this day, what am I most thankful for?

My dears, just simply this...

"That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” ~ Walt Whitman
Much love, and many blessings my dears...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Might Our Moments Be?


“Sometimes it's the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.” ~ Steve Maraboli
What if we approached each day with an irrepressible gratitude, unlike none we've ever felt before?

To embrace each instance with equanimity and grace, and with all the love this universe has to share?

To behold the miracle of life, with a curiosity that shines with the brilliance of one million stars...?


And, to hold each human heart as a most delicate flower, which has so generously shared it's bloom into the last of the summer's hours?


My dears, then...what might our moments be? 




A Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
   And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
   And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
   Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
   Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
   Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
   And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
   Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
   In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
   Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
   Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
   Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
   We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
   Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
   Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
   With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
   Learn to labor and to wait.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Greatest Blessing Ever Known.

“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow. Possibility is the secret heart of time.” ~ John O'Donohue

I've been under just the smallest bit of stress these past few days. With the holidays fast approaching, I am well reminded that son will not be joining us this year.

And though, I always knew one day my children would grow up and venture outwards - still, I find myself pining over a extra dinner setting that won't be used.

Yet, in all things, there is always balance - and, even in these passing years I am so very gently reminded.

You see, I raised my children with a single intention - that they should always be fearless explorers.

I want them to ponder the impossible...attempt the unimaginable...and fall headfirst into a life worth living.

To seize each moment with the voracity of a young child standing at the doorway, and looking out after the season's first big snow.


To cherish even the harshest of challenges, knowing there's something to be gained in facing one's fear.

To carry the light of hope with them always, even in those moments they may feel most overwhelmed.

And yet, here I stand in my own 'having forgottens' - mulling over the very thing I wanted most of all.

To have raised a child to believe in possibility, is the greatest blessing ever known.

"Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of a single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life- just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
Still another…

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. ”


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Art of Living: Lessons From a Tai Chi Master.


“We all have inner demons to fight. We call these demons ‘fear’, and ‘hatred’, and ‘anger’. If you don’t conquer them, then a life of a hundred years… is a tragedy. If you do, a life of a single day can be a triumph.” ~ Yip Man
I began sessions with a Tai Chi master this morning, and at the gnawing nagging request of my dearest doctor.

"Movement is so good for you," she insisted, "and you'll really like this dear old man."

My doctor is super-crafty, as evidenced by the ease of her guilt tripping ways.

And so, I went - with toes dragging deeply behind me in protest. As I walked into the room, I felt so completely out of place. The faces surrounding me were far more weathered from the years - their bodies hunched over under the advancements of age.

I nearly ran away. Why are we so darned afraid of getting old? What is it about the passing of time that strikes a cold fear through every aspect of our being?

Is it perhaps because we know we've been passing this time without ever really fully living?

Are we afraid of simply just existing?

But, not so soon after I had these thoughts did this little muppet of an old man shuffle in. 

*gah* I was stuck...

The class is intended as therapy for people with 'movement disorders' - and this old man was no exception. As he introduced himself, I learned - he also had Parkinson's.

So, I settled my mind...and opened my heart, to welcome with gratitude this brand new experience. 

And do you know what? My dears, after just a few short moments....

IT GOT WORSE!!

Everyone else was moving with such grace - like well-rehearsed dancers gliding across the stage. And me? I fumbled and strained and sniffled my way into an inconsolable mess. My face already beginning to twist into tears - I wanted so badly to get the heck out of there.
“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape -- all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can't stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.” ~ Pema Chödrön

And sometimes, that 'addiction' can be running away.

"Don't think...let body follow spirit," he said, smiling and taking my hand...he could see in my eyes that I was right at my edge. And then he winked and walked away.

Boy, talk about a 'wax on, wax off' sort of moment - because, with those few simple words everything just sort of fell into place.

I finally understood what it meant to be healed - when we turn off our minds, we can finally tune in...

And, when the body follows spirit - it will find it's balance, as well.

Much love, and many blessings my most beautiful friends. And, here's to all of our moments standing with toes to our edge.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Lesson in LIfe And, As Shared to Me By My Dog.

Nudnick, at rest.
“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” ~ John Grogan, Marley and Me

I heard a scribble-scratch at my bedroom door this morning...tentative, at first...and with just a hint of, "I do hope she's awake."

My dearest pup, Nudnick, a dog who lives for burrowing muzzle-first into the coziest of comforts - had spent all night, sans doggie blanket, outside my door. Waiting, with the keenest of puppy dog senses, for that single moment of stirring inside the deepest solitude of night.

And I, a crumpled up, half-awake mess of a 'human'...shuffled my stiffened self to the door to let him in.

It took him less than 20 seconds to find what he had been waiting so patiently for - a curled up cocoon of a spot, nearest the the heart he loves most of all.

Little pups have such an uncanny way of getting straight away through to exactly what they want. I suppose that's because their "oh dear, what if" button has been permanently switched to off.

My dears, we could learn so very much from our dogs - to hone in on our heart's desire, before the clutter of thinking settles in.

To fall into the unbridled exuberance of life....surrendering fully to this, the moment right now.

Can you imagine the joy in beginning each day wrapped in a bliss such as this?

So resolute of purpose, to let nothing stand in one's way.

My dears, this is how I choose to begin each day...with the blessing of these, such simple things that carry with them the greatest joy of all.

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


Friday, November 22, 2013

Surrending to Stillness.


“In the place of stillness, rises potential. From the place of potential, emerges possibility. Where there is possibility, there is choice. And where there is choice, there is freedom.”

~ Gabriella Goddard

We’ve all had them, those days in which the moments seem to fly at us far too quickly—causing us, at times, to metaphorically reach our hands forward in hopes of finding that big, cosmic ‘pause’ button.
These are the days which may leave us feeling most disconnected, drained and discouraged. And, these are the days that often challenge us the most.

And on these such days, as it sometimes often is, we may feel the inclination to hide ourselves, and tuck away again—retreating to the safety and comfort of our own cozy beds.

And as we peer out through the smallest break in our sheets, a little voice may rise up from deep within us—pleading with this universe, to just and very simply, “Please go away, just for today.”

But that trickster, self-doubt, will find his way through even the smallest of breaks—causing us to stop right there in our tracks, and question, “Am I really able to do this, just me on my own?”
These are the days we need most to surrender—to find a way to soften and bend, to fall into that space where our minds can most rest again.

And yet, in these moments, we are often ‘frozen’ in this space of resistance and fear. In not knowing our ‘way forward,’ we may find that we don’t move at all. We are afraid to do, so we don’t do at all. Instead, we grip on for dear life to those little things that maybe don’t matter most of all.

If only, we might simply just let it all go—we might find, that surrendering is one of the most beautifully empowering things we can ever do. And, in this act of letting go, we may find a freedom we’ve not ever known.

So, how do we find the bliss of our own inner stillness?

Step One: Breathe.

The first step in any and all things, is always just to breathe. To take that one moment to pause—to shut off this world and all of the stuff in it. And in doing so, you may find that your breath is that one constant that will carry you through—even when the chaos might threaten to engulf us all. Your breath connects directly and straight through to your heart—in breathing in, you find a comfort…and in breathing out, your hope is restored again.

So, as you peek out from beneath that crack in your bed, remember to take that one single moment, to breathe—and as you breath, learn to let it all go, again.

Step Two: Be still and learn to become one with your own stillness.

Because:
“When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Let your stillness become your sanctuary, your blissful retreat. Fall into it, and find your most perfect center. Become the ‘eye’ of your own inner storm and in doing so reconnect your mind with your spirit once again.

Let your stillness find you, and when it finds you—feel it. In doing so, you’ll find that your own inner quiet, is greater than any outside forces.

Step Three: Let go.

When did letting go become such a God-awful thing to do? And when did letting go become such a great sign of weakness, or shame?

To surrender does not mean we are ‘giving up’ or ‘giving in’—rather, it means that we are making a choice to meet life exactly where it is.

So, loosen up that ‘death grip’—on all those things that are bothering you most. I promise you, your letting go will go mostly unnoticed in the faster pace of this more crazier world.

And I doubt that you’ll be labeled a weakling or wimp, because, surrendering isn’t about giving in—rather, it’s more about knowing most when to let go.

But, greater still is this learning—an understanding, that sometimes it’s not always the what, but rather, the who we need to surrender to most of all.

So take a moment in your day today, to feel this bliss of your own inner stillness. Find your freedom, if even in the smallest of things.

Because, in this greater process of letting it all go, you might just win it all back in the end.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This Path of Possibility.



I love this poem by Robert Frost, as it takes me back to a time when I was just a little girl...and not much higher than the tallest of our counter tops.

Most striking, was the feeling of true limitlessness that washed over me through the course of a few simple words.

I remember thinking, "Someday, when I grow up..."

Funny, how some things never change ~ that even throughout these so very many long years...still I stand, with young girl's heart so filled with dreams.

And, no matter how uninviting that trail ahead - I have never, not once, ever stopped believing..

In this, the road not taken...and on this path where the possibilities are endless.

"Someday, when I grow up..."

 And, that my dears...has made all the difference.

Namaste, my most beautiful friends - and here's to that road, less traveled.

The Road Not Taken
 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pressing Pause on Our Frenzied Pace.


“In our rushing, bulls in china shops, we break our own lives.” ― Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

I had a few extra moments upon waking this morning, a rare and most cherished delight in my day.

I like to think of time as a gift, you see. And these, unexpected instances where I may step reverently through my thoughts before the noise of the day settles in...are indeed a most wonderful blessing.

Generally speaking, my very best thoughts tend to find me in this space where my mind is still enough for my heart to finally hear.

It's here that I find clarity, hope, and purpose - and all the strength I need to carry on.

And yet, in looking out my back porch window - I can't help but note the frenzied pace, of parents shuffling children off to school bus stops and other places. In such a rush, they do not savor - these few short moments which really matter.

Why are we in such a rush these days? That even making memories has become so schedule driven?

And, just when did our morning cup get banished to a travel mug?

My dears, this life...it's not a race...slow your pace.

Because, these moments lost are gone forever...and there's just no getting back what we pushed off to never.

So, what is it that you're waiting for...to finally let go of those schedule driven reigns.


Life is not a Race.
Unknown

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say “hi”

You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.


When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift…
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song’s over.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

To Love Without Limits.


"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.  I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way." Pablo Neruda
I watched two little ones walking hand in hand to the bus stop this morning...

"I love you, just because," she whispered into her sister's ear. And, without even a moment's hesitation, her sister whispered back, "I love you that way, too..."

How refreshing to watch something so magical unfold; to see the simplicity of love in it's truest sense - without limitations, and well before preconceived notions have had their chance to settle in.
To experience this type of joy, is truly to love unconditionally.
"I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body."

To live with such a purpose, that we may love honestly and with integrity...allowing us to experience love in all of it's rawness and glory...and in such a way, as to leave our ego far enough behind.
"I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

To love in such a way that leaves our ego so far and well enough behind, that two people may simply...just exist.
I believe this to be the best sort of love, all around.

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

My dears, if I may ask...what's keeping you from loving in just this way?

Monday, November 18, 2013

A 15-Year-Old With A Huge Brain And An Even Bigger Heart Blows MIT Away

In a world where the word "genius" gets thrown around to describe taxi-cab apps and online dating algorithms, it’s nice to meet someone who remembers that truly important inventions are about making life better for your community and your world ... not just about finding the most efficient way to get a cheeseburger at 3 a.m.

15-Year-Old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours the trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters. Completely self-taught, Kelvin has created his own radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker, DJ Focus.

Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the "Visiting Practitioner's Program" at MIT. THNKR had exclusive access to Kelvin and his life-changing journey - experiencing the US for the first time, exploring incredible opportunities, contending with homesickness, and mapping out his future.

The Dalai Lama: What This World Needs.



“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…

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

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, very much, ‘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 can be viewed at http://youtu.be/qBHt02IocLI (www.dalailama.com)

Video: What this World Needs.

 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ethics: A Much Needed Education of Heart.


We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.” ― J.K. Rowling

When I was a little girl, they still taught 'ethics' in the school room. Even at the youngest age we were asked to consider this dilemma of man's inhumanity to man.

Sadly, and as the years passed, these conversations faded - making room for the many budget cuts, and competitive coursework necessary to secure more educational funding. Slowly, the mentality of the school systems changed - from that of creating an environment for young minds to grow, to that of taking measures to secure next year's dwindling resources.

But, in doing so, are we selling out mankind's greatest potential?

I always thought it very sad, and quite ironic, that the measures taken to prove a school's worthiness...were given place over the needs of humanity. That the children were being measure in terms of a scoring system, and not based on their interactions with other children.

We need to teach our children about the value of one human life; we need to show them what it means to see their essence in another's eyes.

We need them to understand the truest value of being human.

Some children are not meant to have a perfect score on their SATs - but that doesn't mean they are not intended for greatness.

Growing up, my teachers used to criticize me for 'day dreaming' in class, "Pay attention," they'd shout and casting a rather disapproving glance. But, I couldn't ever help myself, you see - because, in looking around to the other student faces, I couldn't help thinking, "I wonder who'll they'll grow up to be...?"

For inside each and every classroom throughout this planet...there's a bright young child whose destiny it to change human consciousness. And, tucked away inside those seemingly arbitrary scores - there's a Gandhi, a Rosa Parks...and a Nelson Mandela...with full hearts, waiting to be born.

And, don't our children deserve so much more?

Namaste, my most beautiful friends ~ I hope you'll enjoy this lecture presented by His Holiness and on the topic of ethics. I absolutely loved it, and it prompted me to share.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Gift That Morning Brings.


“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.” ― Lemony Snicket
I took a little extra time this morning—as this is my most favorite time of day. I like the stillness that permeates my surroundings and all of the sounds of this world awakening. There is a profound sense of peace and tranquility which can only be found in those few short moments before the day has fully settled in.

And so today, and well before even my faithful puppy surrendered his rightful space at the foot of my bed—today, my dears, I listened instead.

I heard a car rushing off, as the tires shrooshed through the pockets of rain collected the night before.

Caw, caw....cawing...in the background, a young Mama bird bursts to upright, and having only just realized the error of her over-sleeping ways.

The morning is still, and yet so full of life—and I, while sitting warming hands against my mug—can pull the sounds of this earth's symphony from each and every corner.

And, with just a flip of the covers and one final back-stretching arch - the world is ours, once more.

To live...to love...to explore...all these gifts right here at our 'front door.'

You know, I used to think the world was a divine gift to all—but, what if it's the other way around?

What if we are the gifts to this world, as well?

And with each morning, it waits patiently in stillness—watching, wondering...and hoping for the blessings we might share with it on this day.

When you think of things this way, I suppose—it brings a much richer understanding to what these mornings really mean.

And a new found sense of knowing, that the truest of gifts is you.

Namaste, and much love my most beautiful friends...and smile.

Remember, this whole world is watching you.



Friday, November 15, 2013

When We Realize That There Is No Impossible.



“Never say that you can't do something, or that something seems impossible, or that something can't be done, no matter how discouraging or harrowing it may be; human beings are limited only by what we allow ourselves to be limited by: our own minds. We are each the masters of our own reality; when we become self-aware to this: absolutely anything in the world is possible.

Master yourself, and become king of the world around you. Let no odds, chastisement, exile, doubt, fear, or ANY mental virii prevent you from accomplishing your dreams. Never be a victim of life; be it's conqueror.” ― Mike Norton

A wonderful reminder for this lovely, crisp fall morning...and as I settle in with my faithful puppy in my lap.

That this life, and your experience within it - is so directly connected to the actions you are willing to take.

Every step forward, each stumble and fall....and all of the moments of getting back up to try once again...they are all part of this most magnificent reflection, which is the most beautiful part of you.

Look closely, my dears...what do you see inside your reflection?

Do you see the peace that comes only by way of knowing...that even through the worst of times, all things must pass?

Do you smile at the softening of lines in this face, and knowing that it's the tumbling waters that smooth a jagged rock's edges?

And, do you see the resilience that's formed...in the end, and when it seemed all hope was lost?

My dears, what do you see looking back from that mirror?








Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Simple Buddhist in a Parkinsonian World.


“Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.” ~ Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves 

You may have noticed I didn't post yesterday - it was the first time in over a year that I have felt the need to stay quietly tucked away.

I love to write, as many of you now well know - but more so, it's so very important to me to 'stay connected.' In an odd sense, I've grown accustomed to your energy here - which has more than once uplifted me on even my most challenging of days.

In many ways, the energy that you share here with me each day - has become the cornerstone of my gratitude. It's that very gratitude that holds my connection so firmly to hope - and hope, is something we all need along our way.

I don't care how tough you think you might or ought to be - hope, is just as necessary as the air that we breathe.

And, I've done a hell of a lot of breathing lately.

Suffice to say, and back to my earlier point - for me not to write, is generally an indication of something awfully very big going on.

And, awfully very big it was. So much so, that I turned my energy inwards - to a space that I felt needed me more. I think we very much need to make these special allowance for ourselves - to offer our spirit the same care we might share with others.

So that in the end, whatever 'it' is - we can brush it off, breathe again...and soldier on. We need these moments, that space...to assess our circumstances...and make adjustments so that we may remain grounded in even the most unsettling of chaos.

This is what I did with my yesterday.

I often view my life as one big, long...endless meditation....applying only those pieces of my practice that most support a softening and settling in.

And, it has nothing to do with walls or barriers or preconceived notions of acceptance and tolerance...it just is.

I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease - which is a progressive, and incurable, neurodegenerative disorder affecting primarily my interaction with the rest of this world. Because, scientists are not yet quite sure the cause - treatment can prove to be, quite tricky, at best. 

And, as evidenced by this 'travel bag' of medication I now carry with me each day.

Want to know where I was a little more than a year ago? Drinking green smoothies and popping an occasional aspirin. 

Life can certainly come at you fast. That's why, it's so very important to slow down...to breathe...to relax

I mean, how do you expect to soften when you're body is pulled so tightly to tense? 

But, I digress...

My dears, as part of this settling in - I've had to make a few very important decisions. Some, I suppose, were much easier...for example, 'how will I keep up my beautiful garden?'

And others, were a little more difficult...

Who will take care of my kids?

How will I continue to make ends meet?

What happens next?

You see, there's an aspect of 'balance' that never gets taught on that yoga mat...it's learned by way of living our lives...falling hard...and getting back up again. Learning to let move on from even our deepest of wounds.

And, you have to tend to those wounds...

My tending included whittling down my personal Facebook page to only those closest to me, and...so that I might have the means to communicate more freely all of these things that they are asking of me.

In doing so, I inadvertently stepped on a few toes. One set belonging to a writer at elephant journal - who posted this article about the ugliness of my actions.

In this article, she referred to my actions as immature - attaching only her perception to the reality at hand.

She reacted without ever knowing. As a result - I feel obliged to share these details of my life with all of you right here.

To some, my actions may be viewed as 'self-ish'...but I rather like to think of them as 'self-nurturing,' instead.

Self-ish implies an inability to look outside of ourselves to the needs of others - to see that we are all part of one human family...and to lose sight of this most sacred connection.

I promise you dears, no matter how great the challenge - your most beautiful spirits shall never be diminished in meaning. And, I promise you for the rest of my time here on earth - I shall continue to give my love unconditionally.

Likewise, I may sometimes need a little rest - my only hope is that you'll understand.

And, to the person I have most certainly unsettled - my dear, this is my life...my disease...my decision...and, I get to choose the best way to handle it.

That doesn't make us aggressive, hate-filled ogres - it means simply that we are human.


And, in the end, I'd rather be a stumbling, shaking mess than to suffer this disease called 'judgement.'
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Does "Enemy" Really Mean?

"An enemy is one whose story we have not heard." ~ Gene Knudsen Hoffman
This is such a lovely story, and one that I very much wished to share with you. It's a story of kindness, and compassion; a story of letting go, and setting aside preconception and prejudice...

But, mostly - it's a story about giving, which I believe to be the greatest aspect of all humanity.

I do hope you'll enjoy, and perhaps share the meaning behind these words. That we are all in this together.

Namaste.


Truce In the Forest"   by Fritz Vincken
 
It was Christmas Eve, and the last, desperate German offensive of World War II raged around our tiny cabin.
  

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door... 
When we heard the knock on our door that Christmas Eve in 1944, neither Mother nor I had the slightest inkling of the quiet miracle that lay in store for us.

I was 12 then, and we were living in a small cottage in the Hürtgen Forest, near the German-Belgian border. Father had stayed at the cottage on hunting weekends before the war; when Allied bombers partly destroyed our hometown of Aachen, he sent us to live there. He had been ordered into the civil-defense fire guard in the border town of Monschau, four miles away.

"You'll be safe in the woods," he had told me. "Take care of Mother. Now you're the man of the family."

But, nine days before Christmas, Field Marshal von Rundstedt had launched the last, desperate German offensive of the war, and now, as I went to the door, the Battle of the Bulge was raging all around us. We heard the incessant booming of field guns; planes soared continuously overhead; at night, searchlights stabbed through the darkness. Thousands of Allied and German soldiers were fighting and dying nearby.

When that first knock came, Mother quickly blew out the candles; then, as I went to answer it, she stepped ahead of me and pushed open the door. Outside, like phantoms against the snowclad trees, stood two steel-helmeted men. One of them spoke to Mother in a language we did not understand, pointing to a third man lying in the snow. She realized before I did that these were American soldiers. Enemies!

Mother stood silent, motionless, her hand on my shoulder. They were armed and could have forced their entrance, yet they stood there and asked with their eyes. And the wounded man seemed more dead than alive. "Kommt rein," Mother said finally. "Come in." The soldiers carried their comrade inside and stretched him out on my bed.

None of them understood German. Mother tried French, and one of the soldiers could converse in that language. As Mother went to look after the wounded man, she said to me, "The fingers of those two are numb. Take off their jackets and boots, and bring in a bucket of snow." Soon I was rubbing their blue feet with snow.

We learned that the stocky, dark- haired fellow was Jim; his friend, tall and slender, was Robin. Harry, the wounded one, was now sleeping on my bed, his face as white as the snow outside. They'd lost their battalion and had wandered in the forest for three days, looking for the Americans, hiding from the Germans. They hadn't shaved, but still, without their heavy coats, they looked merely like big boys. And that was the way Mother began to treat them.

Now Mother said to me, "Go get Hermann. And bring six potatoes."
This was a serious departure from our pre-Christmas plans. Hermann was the plump rooster(named after portly Hermann G ring, Hitler's No. 2, for whom Mother had little affection) that we had been fattening for weeks in the hope that Father would be home for Christmas. But, some hours before, when it was obvious that Father would not make it, Mother had decided that Hermann should live a few more days, in case Father could get home for New Year's. Now she had changed her mind again: Hermann would serve an immediate, pressing purpose.

While Jim and I helped with the cooking, Robin took care of Harry. He had a bullet through his upper leg, and had almost bled to death. Mother tore a bedsheet into long strips for bandages.

Soon, the tempting smell of roast chicken permeated our room. I was setting the table when once again there came a knock at the door. 

Expecting to find more lost Americans, I opened the door without hesitation. There stood four soldiers, wearing uniforms quite familiar to me after five years of war. They were Wehrmacht¡ªGermans!
I was paralyzed with fear. Although still a child, I knew the harsh law: sheltering enemy soldiers constituted high treason. We could all be shot! Mother was frightened, too. Her face was white, but she stepped outside and said, quietly, "Fröhliche Weihnachten." The soldiers wished her a Merry Christmas, too.

"We have lost our regiment and would like to wait for daylight," explained the corporal. "Can we rest here?"
"Of course," Mother replied, with a calmness born of panic. "You can also have a fine, warm meal and eat till the pot is empty."
The Germans smiled as they sniffed the aroma through the half-open door. "But," Mother added firmly, "we have three other guests, whom you may not consider friends." Now her voice was suddenly sterner than I'd ever heard it before. "This is Christmas Eve, and there will be no shooting here."

"Who's inside?" the corporal demanded. "Amerikaner?"
Mother looked at each frost-chilled face. "Listen," she said slowly. "You could be my sons, and so could those in there. A boy with a gunshot wound, fighting for his life. His two friends¡ªlost like you and just as hungry and exhausted as you are. This one night," she turned to the corporal and raised her voice a little, "this Christmas night, let us forget about killing."
The corporal stared at her. There were two or three endless seconds of silence. Then Mother put an end to indecision. "Enough talking!" she ordered and clapped her hands sharply. "Please put your weapons here on the woodpile and hurry up before the others eat the dinner!"
Dazedly, the four soldiers placed their arms on the pile of firewood just inside the door: three carbines, a light machine gun and two bazookas. Meanwhile, Mother was speaking French rapidly to Jim. He said something in English, and to my amazement I saw the American boys, too, turn their weapons over to Mother.

Now, as Germans and Americans tensely rubbed elbows in the small room, Mother was really on her mettle. Never losing her smile, she tried to find a seat for everyone. We had only three chairs, but Mother's bed was big, and on it she placed two of the newcomers side by side with Jim and Robin.
Despite the strained atmosphere, Mother went right on preparing dinner. But Hermann wasn't going to grow any bigger, and now there were four more mouths to feed. "Quick," she whispered to me, "get more potatoes and some oats. These boys are hungry, and a starving man is an angry one."

While foraging in the storage room, I heard Harry moan. When I returned, one of the Germans had put on his glasses to inspect the American's wound. "Do you belong to the medical corps?" Mother asked him. "No," he answered. "But I studied medicine at Heidelberg until a few months ago." Thanks to the cold, he told the Americans in what sounded like fairly good English, Harry's wound hadn't become infected. "He is suffering from a severe loss of blood," he explained to Mother. "What he needs is rest and nourishment."

Relaxation was now beginning to replace suspicion. Even to me, all the soldiers looked very young as we sat there together. Heinz and Willi, both from Cologne, were 16. The German corporal, at 23, was the oldest of them all. From his food bag he drew out a bottle of red wine, and Heinz managed to find a loaf of rye bread. Mother cut that in small pieces to be served with the dinner; half the wine, however, she put away¡ª"for the wounded boy."

Then Mother said grace. I noticed that there were tears in her eyes as she said the old, familiar words, "Komm, Herr Jesus. Be our guest." And as I looked around the table, I saw tears, too, in the eyes of the battle-weary soldiers, boys again, some from America, some from Germany, all far from home.

Just before midnight, Mother went to the doorstep and asked us to join her to look up at the Star of Bethlehem. We all stood beside her except Harry, who was sleeping. For all of us during that moment of silence, looking at the brightest star in the heavens, the war was a distant, almost-forgotten thing.

Our private armistice continued next morning. Harry woke in the early hours, and swallowed some broth that Mother fed him. With the dawn, it was apparent that he was becoming stronger. Mother now made him an invigorating drink from our one egg, the rest of the corporal's wine and some sugar. Everyone else had oatmeal. Afterward, two poles and Mother's best tablecloth were fashioned into a stretcher for Harry.
The corporal then advised the Americans how to find their way back to their lines. Looking over Jim's map, the corporal pointed out a stream. "Continue along this creek," he said, "and you will find the 1st Army rebuilding its forces on its upper course." The medical student relayed the information in English.

"Why don't we head for Monschau?" Jim had the student ask. "Nein!" the corporal exclaimed. "We've retaken Monschau."
Now Mother gave them all back their weapons. "Be careful, boys," she said. "I want you to get home someday where you belong. God bless you all!" The German and American soldiers shook hands, and we watched them disappear in opposite directions.

When I returned inside, Mother had brought out the old family Bible. I glanced over her shoulder. The book was open to the Christmas story, the Birth in the Manger and how the Wise Men came from afar bearing their gifts. Her finger was tracing the last line from Matthew 2:12: "...they departed into their own country another way."


Monday, November 11, 2013

Friends, by Chance.


"It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends." ~ Henri Nouwen

I was making my way into my car today, and following a very brutal yoga class.

Exhausted, tired, and completely humbled by the physicality of today's session - I reached for my keys, and hung my head in despair - thinking how I just couldn't wait to get back home again.

And then I heard a voice call out to me - an old man leaning into his car, and waiting for me to return

"I see you have a child in the military," he said, as he pointed to the little sticker on the window of my car. It read, "Proud Parent of a U.S. Army Soldier" - my son gave it to me just before he left. He was so proud that day, having just enlisted - and looking forward to this new life ahead. And though, I tried my very best to dissuade my dear son, it soon became clear...service was his purpose.

I guess I can understand that. Likewise, when purpose takes hold of a young man's heart - there's simply no holding him back.

"Why yes," I said, looking over the well-worn creases in this stranger's face, and knowing lines like that come only by way of the very best of stories. "My son, he just left for boot camp - Fort Jackson, S.C."

"Well, God bless him," he smiled, shaking my hand. And then, his voice choked a bit as he lowered his head, "My boy never made it back."

You know, I have always believed there to be an invisible force guiding happenstance and chance meetings. Whether it be some higher spiritual power, or just the clever inner-workings of this most magnificent universe - it's clear, fate...always finds its way.

For you see, on any other day this man may have sat, still silently a stranger - and, yet something urged him to reach his hand forward.

Isn't it incredible how these things work? To consider, out of all the potential millions upon millions of interactions - that two strangers might walk away 'friends'?

So, my dears - I must apologize for this late posting, but...you see, someone else needed me more.

My dears, we never quite know the sacrifices of others until that stranger looks us square in our eyes and shares fully, his heart.

And, when that moment happens - we must always listen.

For, there's generally a much greater 'gift' to go along with their story...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This Is Your Life - Live It (That Means, "Now")

The Holsteen Manifesto.
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~ Jack London

I love this quote by author Jack London. Even as a young girl, his words resonated so very deeply within me.

There was always a deep knowing within me, that the purpose of this life is to live.

And, yet inevitably it's our fear that keeps us so solidly tucked away - ironically, fearing life, as much as death, in the end.

We become so helplessly pulled into this emotion of fear, that we never once leave the 'security' of our head.
"Your fear is always about what's going to happen next. That means your fear is always about that which does not exist."
But, this fear can be teacher if you wish it - and the mind can set you free if you believe it.

And, there's a life to be lived within all of us ~

Namaste, and many blessings on this day.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Watch as This Mother Hears Her Daughter's Heartbeat Once Again. {Powerfully Moving Video}


"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold." — Zelda Fitzgerald

I remember the very first I heard my unborn son's heart beat so strongly through the scratch, crackling of the doppler equipment.

For something so small, and not yet fully formed - it was amazing how powerful it seemed.

It's a sound no mother can ever forget.

Watch this most amazing video of a mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter in a tragic ski accident, and who wished that her daughter's life may continue on through the greatest gift we have to give - our heart.

Watch as Taylor’s mom listens to her beautiful daughter’s heart one more time.

It certainly reminds us to take notice of the littler things that can bring so much meaning to our world.

We Are Nothing Without the Something of Our Humanness.


There are moments so beautiful, simple words can do nothing to express the depth of their love...nor, the true magnitude of their meaning.

I had one of those such moments just this morning, and upon settling in to my day ahead. Oh, and it wasn't anything of great bother, you see - just a minute of feeling rather...well...uninspired.

I know what you're thinking, "Well, that's not such a bad thing, at all..." But, when you're a writing, creating sort like myself, uninspired can quickly turn to a squidgy sort of endlessness.

It's a finality we humans reserve for only the most special of occasions - and generally those which are blown so tremendously out of proportion.

You see, for so many years I felt had no voice, at all - or, at least, that is what I believed. I let moments pass, while self-consciousness held my tongue and fear nearly paralyzed my spirit. Isn't it ironic, that when we are young - we believe all things to be possible, allowing our dreams to model after only the finest of fairy tales?

And yet in any given instance...we can call headfirst into our very own brokenness.

From opened to closed in less than a blink....but, what's really changed from that moment to this?

I'd claim 'perspective, but surely there's more to it than this?

Maybe, these moments are intended to become our own 'spiritual catalyst'?

Perhaps, even these most difficult of bristly life bumpiness, can, in time, become our opportunity to give?
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” ― Walt Whitman
Because, my dears...most most beautiful friends...we are nothing without the something of our humanness.

And maybe that's how we get compassion to 'stick'?

So, today - instead of feeling so very much overwhelmed by these troublings, why not take a moment to look for the gift in them, as well?

In mine? I found a most beautiful inspiration...funny how the universe sometimes works. 

 Namaste, my dears ~ and on this day, may we welcome all of our 'guests.'

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Little Something On Climbing That Mountain.

 
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain.” ― Jack Kerouac
I happened upon this quote the other day, and...as is generally the case...it got me thinking. I thought of the many times I wished I had, but hadn't. Or, wished I could...but didn't.

I think life is often this way...a series of missed moments resulting from our own inner heart's hesitation...and keeping us always an arm's reach from that which might have been. 

And, it's often not until we have been standing a good long while at the base of our 'mountain' and looking upwards to the brilliance of snow capped peaks along the pale blue sky, that we realize..

now is the time....

They say that hindsight is 20/20...but, I have always believed a robust, thought-filled reflection is just what the spirit needs to soar.

And, soar we must...lest we wander this earth so forever hopelessly lost...

Because, the heart knows where the spirit must go...

And yours, my dears - is somewhere...way up there amongst the clouds, and next to the dreams that you have always wished might be.

So, if may be so bold - what is it that you're really waiting for?

now is the time....


Thursday, November 7, 2013

From Homeless Veteran to Brand New Man: A Most Uplifting Video.



“Sometimes it's easy to walk by because we know we can't change someone's whole life in a single afternoon. But what we fail to realize it that simple kindness can go a long way toward encouraging someone who is stuck in a desolate place.” Mike Yankoski 

I've always believed so very strongly, that those who sacrifice for others should never be without need. And yet, each day I watch the streets fill with more and more of my Veteran friends.

We never know their stories - and yet, so many of us will assume that they are here by either choice or self-negligence.

But, that can not ever represent the degree of difficulty these veterans face when transitioning back into society - the many nights laying awake as the horrors of war revisit their dreams.
The battle rhythm never quite goes away.

Jim Wolf is a United States Army Veteran. Following his return from service,  Jim faced perhaps his toughest battle - that of alcoholism and homelessness.

Lost to the streets, he was nearly forgotten - by friends, family, and even the most casual of passerby. Until, one day, when this incredible transformation took place.

Watch this incredible video as Jim is shown that a respectable guy still exists underneath all that scruff. 

Spoiler alert: Jim has since become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous


Sometimes the Crisis Is the Healing. {Pema Chödrön}

“To stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening.”

Pema Chödrön

That’s the trick, isn’t it? To find peace in our hearts even in those moments intended to topple us to our knees. To find strength within our hopelessness. To find faith, when we’ve lost our willingness to believe.

We may see these moments as our spiritual ‘test’—but, aren’t they really, at heart, our own spiritual awakening?

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”~ Rumi

To which, some may challenge, ‘easier said, than done.’

Because, being silently drawn is often much simpler—when it is, that life tucks cleanly out of our way.
We are somewhat ‘programmed’ aren’t we? To solve any issues that may come our way. We spend hours contemplating each what if scenario—but fewer less moments, coming nearer to the real truth of our understanding.

Not everything is meant to be solved. Sometimes these moments are intended to be our teachers.

“Things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Life is just this way. Sometimes the ‘crisis is the healing.’

And fear, is often the ‘vanguard to courage.’

Video: Pema Chödrön: The Nature of Fear and Fearlessness

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

When We Are Judged.


“We judge others instantly by their clothes, their cars, their appearance, their race, their education, their social status. The list is endless. What gets me is that most people decide who another person is before they have even spoken to them. What's even worse is that these same people decide who someone else is, and don't even know who they are themselves.” ― Ashly Lorenzana

Just the other day, I was on the receiving end of some harsh work-related criticism. I had made a simple mistake, one that would have been easily corrected, and..hadn't yet impacted anyone.

In other words, we caught the error just in time for most - but not quite soon enough for a certain someone else.

And...that someone else ranted on for nearly an hour - as he called to question every aspect of character, and each instance of my being.

All over a single keystroke error.

As I made my way back to my desk, I cried - but, not for the reasons this someone else might think.

I cried over the harshness of words, and in the space where kindness could have easily prevailed.

I cried over the intensity of judgement, and knowing the fear that most certainly served as catalyst.

But mostly, I cried for the emptiness...so clearly evidenced in this one human soul.

It's a tricky business dolling out harsh criticisms to a hippie Buddhist - as it never seems to impact the way it was intended.

And, sometimes reflection can prove the much better medicine - particularly, for those whose words may have otherwise offended.

So, my dears - today...I wanted to offer a most simple reminder, to let kindness prevail even when hope may seem lost.

Life Vest: The Kindness Boomerang