Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Measuring the Moments, Not the Limitations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

These Paths We Create.

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

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

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

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

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

We must do as we see fit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will live this day as if it my last.

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 6, 2014

Acting Without Expectation

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He was supposed to call…”

“Why can’t you remember…”

“If you just would have listened…”

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

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

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

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

The serenity of our very own spirit.

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

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

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

Much love, and namaste.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Make Changes, Not Change Lists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get up early…watch a sunrise or two..

Make good choices, help a child tie his shoes…

Let compassion and kindness greet each of your steps,

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 3, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

Where will love take you today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste, my most beautiful friends.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My New Year’s Wish for You.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But mostly my dears, I wish you peace

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

My New Year’s Wish
by Neil Gaiman

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

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

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

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

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.