Monthly Archives: March 2018

ramblings

I make a lot of proclamations. They’re entirely unnecessary. Except maybe the claim of worth. But other than that… how things will go “from now on”… it’s just silly.

But, the claim of worth… oh, the claim of worth. the radical idea that you and I are enough. right now. just as we are. we are enough and we are naturally growing. and as we become ourselves, we are moving in the direction of our thoughts, of our focus and of our love. We can get a whole other ball of wax in there, but at its essence, it’s our love.

I am enough! You are enough! We are enough! just as we are! It’s really a radical idea – and isn’t that crazy? It’s not so much “all is well” as “all is as it is, as evidenced by its being so.” and feeling AGENCY within that. operating from the perspective that that which you are has the tools to navigate whatever you are in the midst of. that’s a bad sentence, but a nice idea.

One of the things I love about Tucker is that he articulated his belief in the universe that if a crazy dark force presented itself, so would the sword to slay it. It’s a basic agreement with the universe.

today I researched whether it was Einstein who said the most fundamental question to ask is “Is the Universe friendly?” It’s debateable. But it is a seriously important question. So much rests on it. It is Einstein-worthy.

We have so many brilliant minds in the human experience. there’s scary stuff and bullshit, but there is So. Much. Love. So much wonder. so much brilliance and so many *extremely cool* people. Tons and tons of really, really beautiful souls.

i like this evolutionary approach to life. this idea that wherever we are, here we are, and where are we looking? towards greater love, freedom and order. always growing, always changing, always becoming, but more importantly, always “being”. What are we “being” Who are we Being? Making choices for love. Making choices to grow and learn and express in the areas that we care about. Put this purpose first: living your values. Our actions are always expressing our beliefs. How about our beliefs include we are expressions of love able to express this love and contribute to the supremecy of love in the universe. something like that.

i love this knowledge that we are an expression of something beyond our comprehension. Whatever force can create universes and life and water and all sorts of *incredible* stuff. Life Itself is SOMETHING.  It is magnificent and intricate and just so darn cool. But we get caught up in the minutia and cannot see the majesty of the simple fact of human existence, however long it lasts. And this continual promise of nature with decay and renewal. we are so afraid of death, but nature isn’t. she transforms it. it’s not a theory, it’s evident.

I’m getting too deep even for me, and i’m pretty sure my time’s way up.

Slow Recognition

I did nothing I intended to do today. No amount of slowness was going to change that, but the mentality that cultivating slowness has developed in me let me really engage with what has been happening instead of the long-held habit of only partially paying attention to what IS happening and mostly lamenting what I wanted to happen and how to make it so. Let me be 100% clear: I like this way better than the old way.

My intended day didn’t slowly drain from the agenda, it flew away like a little piece of paper in a hurricane. Because of this, there was nothing left for me to try to save, no amount of “if i just do this, then i can…” and consequently I have been able to engage with my children with a freedom most days don’t allow. Most days have at least some objectives no matter how slowly I am going.

But, today, I got some 1-on-1 time with each of them. Each of them told me things I’ve never heard before, got excited about things I didn’t know about and expressed interests that were new to me. I mean, we are all changing, evolving beings – and children are changing and evolving at an outrageous pace, but it is exciting to have someone you know so well surprise you. It is especially invigorating to go roaming into new territory. All this from listening without agenda, nowhere to go, nothing to be but here and now with you.

I would like this to be my every day. I would like to bring focused attention to these marvelous beings that are always bubbling with new thoughts. When I am reactive, when I am “on task” or when I am just treading water I do not have the time or inclination to meet them with such openness. Realizing that is just so sad. How often I listen to the story simply so I can get to the “that’s nice. now will you please empty the dishwasher?” And that just sucks.

I get this wonderful feeling that as I deepen my practice of slowing down, of stillness, of agenda-release, today is giving me a glimpse of the kind of connection that can become our new normal. Laughter-based over criteria-meeting. I am so freaking sick of criteria.

I am also super psyched to have this tangibly come up while my kids are still relatively young. Enjoying their current stages, and their coming ones may just be the most important stages of all. Most parents are pretty chillax about a child learning to walk. No need to freak out, it’s a process, there are ups and downs – we recognize that. Plus, let’s face it: toddlers are adorable. But when kids are learning to really be themselves? Who they are socially, what they really care about, how they want to show up in the world – all this stuff that is *really hard* and it just happens to fall during the period of time when their bodies are changing and lanky and awkward, their hormones are messing with them and we parents are often the most demanding, the least empathetic, the most frustrated.

Culturally, I think we can do better. I remember Gordon School’s principal talking about how important it is to hire middle school teachers that *actually enjoy* middle school kids.  The thought had never occurred to me before (honestly, and this is embarrassing, that anyone particularly liked that awkward phase, much less that teachers could enjoy students at all). Now I see the beauty, the humor, the vast vistas and the dark corners of adolescence. It is so much different for my kids than it was for me. And i am SO happy my life has conspired to have me be here, so persent to it. And today showed me I can be even moreso, and the rewards are… beyond.

Everyone’s Life is Different

While I literally believe “we are all one” I am also just so blown away by how different our lives are. our bodies. our opinions and beliefs and proclivities…. the diversity on this planet is truly astounding. And all of those dozens of ‘wonder cures’ I tried on the internet, that I genuinely believe fully worked for plenty of people (and hence my willingness to give it a shot). Every body is different, and it is up to each of us to feel around in there and be and express who our internal self is asking us to be.

I’ve had this wonderful coalition of inputs over the past three months, maybe a little more. I’m loathe to change anything because I really like the direction my health, mind, contribution and general wellness are headed in. I would imagine this is probably my 1,967th combination of elements since getting sick. I’d say about 200 of them were really solid, but none quite like this.

But, we know your mileage may vary. indeed, my own mileage may vary next week. these periods of homeostasis or growth are periods. learning to listen and be responsive instead of reactive makes the transitions between them smoother. less surprising, less caught-off-guard.

Assuming the body is in the right and has an important message, slowing down to  listen takes us into greater love, freedom and communion with ourselves, others, and the universe.  It is a moment of mindfulness met with a heaping helping of nurturance to the highest expression of the individual and the whole. Every breath counts. And truly, every breath summons a cascade of the universe’s loving response. So, yeah. I want to do that all the time.

Most meditation techniques start with a decent chunk of time – 15minutes or more, although I’ve seen apps with some much more manageable bites – 2-10, which i think is great. I had the worst attitude in the world toward sitting meditation. Sitting meditation was the one thing I wanted to not have to do. It wasn’t until I came to it through moments of deep listening  I wanted to extend that the whole thing turned around.

I really do believe that every breath counts. And every moment offers the opportunity for one of these healing, restorative breaths. It’s actually just the application of focus and intention on that which is happening regardless. May as well make it restorative.

But what restorative means differs for everybody, and on every day for the same person. so the practice isn’t so much a prescription but a development of sensitivity towards the present moment and how to meet it with love, openness and strength.

Because isn’t that what we all want? We’re doing it different ways, but we’re seeking happiness as we define it. That’s the reason for the diversity and that’s the opportunity. Because how we define happiness defines us.

 

 

If you need to know now…

My dad had some sayings, one of the most annoying of which was, “if you need to know now, the answer is “No!”” If you were trying to pressure him into a decision, click, dead in the water… As a teenager trying to answer my friend, this seemed to me like him being a jerk. As an adult participating in the 21st century scam-economy, the man was brilliant.

So many people (usually trying to sell something) try to pressure us to take advantage of “this limited time offer,” to create urgency for us when none exists except to benefit them.  This is the culture that created FOMO and my dad was having none of it. He saw through whatever offer it was, to its essential nature, and if you were trying to create urgency you clearly had your own interests at heart.

It was not in my realm of possibility not to give an answer right now to whatever you were asking of me. There were lots of things I pined for and the urgency in an offer created a real sense of loss when I couldn’t act upon it. It was a goose-chase caused by haste and desire and trying to please.

As slowing down became my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual practice, I started to see the wisdom of my dad’s policy. It really is revolutionary. It usurps that sense of urgency immediately and puts the scales back to zero to begin to weigh the decision. Dad was a Libra. Makes sense.

There are still times when I just can’t help myself. I get caught up in the sway. Significantly less than before this practice, but it is so nice to have this practice to come back to. (horrible grammar, I know).  The sense of urgency gets all of the air sucked out of it. The present moment gets a little space. the desire to try to prove oneself worthy by participating in the right things gives way to sensing the nuances of internal feeling to decide what is right for you.  That subtle shift changes the whole world.

It’s nice to catch when someone’s trying to generate urgency (hello: the internet) and to use my dad’s technique to dismiss it entirely and get onto the real practice of being in the present moment.

My favorite place to sit

Once there was a place called “camp.”

When I first drove to camp, I encountered all kinds of wildlife down the long driveway. I thought the barn-like outbuilding garage to the french-style main house was for rent, but the gentleman took me along around the house, down a fieldstone path, down 40 steps to a 700 square foot boathouse with a 7×25 porch overlooking a crystal clear lake. “Camp” rocked.

It was called “camp” so that I didn’t mind the spiders so much.

About a month after I moved in (a place where I answered the phone, ‘paradise, may I help you?’) my back went out. As in I heard a pop and the next time i sat down I had no movement from the waist down. (I am literally, just now, noticing this pattern of my body full-on shutting down to get me to slow down. I thought this current thing was the first time. It never is.) I got real slow real fast, and got to stay employed and working from home – the most beautiful home I could imagine – actually it sortof burst my idea of joy in place wide open. I’d had some fine places before, but this was the cream of the crop.

So, the summer of 1999, I was very slow. I sat. A lot. I also walked the driveway 3 times, 2x per day. The driveway up past the pine grove, the orchard, the gardens, the meadow, the bees…. Sorry. Reverie.

Camp taught me how to sit happily. I was in wonderment of the place every. single. day.

Then life got started up again, and I went back to work, always with my scrappy little attitude. I kinda honored my body and needs, and kinda drank too much, and kinda operated from a series of belief systems that didn’t really serve me. I met Tucker and started this adventure, and essentially moved on thinking my need to be slow had passed with the surgery and recovery. Life got busy.

Now I see many ways to introduce slowing down into the moments we’re already experiencing. This need to be slow lets me see opportunities to get to slow even in the transitions between activities, and even within the activities themselves.

Being slow at camp is a cherished part of my development. A really beautiful place to be. I wish I had fully internalized the lesson – i think my kids’ early lives would’ve been a lot more dynamic. Alas, I’m super happy to be slow now. I’m super happy to be talking about being slow. I’m super happy to think about it, to reflect on just. how. much. richness. it brings to my daily life and experience. how gentle it makes the hard spots.

Oh, so this post was going to be about sitting on the porch at camp. It’s an iconic image in my mind.

And when pain comes to visit me, whether emotional or physical, I never avoid it. I invite it in. and then we go through the house and sit on the porch. Me and the pain. Present to each other. In a safe and comfortable space. Sometimes there is smoking. Sometimes lemonade.  Sometimes there is talking, but remarkably rarely. it’s not quite camp, but i don’t know what the ‘vista’ is, but it’s every bit a vista, and me and my pain just sit there. together.

 

the elephant in the room

i like elephants. I LOVE ganesha. i am humbled by the strength and beauty. and if there is an elephant in the room, shower it with love. That’s my strategy. Honestly, I get that that’s not entirely an enjoyable thing because facing elephants is awkward and most people love to work around them and literally never address it. As a person who resonated with Disappointment Panda, the person who lays out the uncomfortable truth, I recognize that part of me holds the pattern of looking at what you want to avoid and reaching for it to put it right back squarely in the center of the room. as an elephant. I encourage us to use colorful chalks to embrace and decorate this elephant, but I simply, literally cannot ignore the elephant. Because I love elephants. And uncomfortable as it is, working through whatever is squarely in the center of the room opens up new, spacious fields of being. Freedom doesn’t avoid anything. and addressing the things we’re avoiding frees us from them. It isn’t even reverse psychology. It’s just a field of openness. And when you notice areas of constriction or elephants in the room, you at least acknowledge it, get curious about why it’s in awareness and how to be fully present with it. Comfortable or uncomfortable, taking a few breaths to open yourself to what you’re fully feeling and experiencing – that is raw, unbridled power. Scary as shit, I give you that… But it’s where all the juice is. God expressing herself to you through this thing dressed like a beggar that you want to avoid. Or an elephant. Or every single other thing in your life.

Lots of talk going on about growth oriented mindset or fixed mindset. and i don’t really get the benefits of fixed mindset. Fixed mindset says “I can’t because <insert any of one hundred million reasons, many of them perfectly valid>”.growth-oriented, which says “i can’t YET” and identifies resources needed to accomplish it. but you’ve got to care about it. you’ve got to tend it like a garden, not let it evolve feral. Gardens are not gardens if not tended. Isn’t that the very definition of garden? Nature imbued with some intention? When it isn’t tended it can be a forest or a prairie or a wilderness, but a garden is something with a human intent and hand.

i am all about growth oriented mindset. evolving. ever greater freedom, love, order. nature herself singing the song of it every minute of every day. When i see areas that are fixed, i want to unfurl them. and slowing down is deepening this capacity to both see the areas and apply evolutionary principles. And is blowing my mind. And opening up new ways of listening to my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual states. But for me it’s all through going *toward* the uncomfortable, not away from it. And perhaps it is an uncomfortable road, but it’s not about comfort or discomfort. It’s about growth. Embracing growth recognizes the need for comfort and discomfort. Seeking only comfort is a constant struggle. and an unachievable goal. the good news is, discomfort is temporary, too.

one thing i should mention

Slowing down, as a practice brings nothing but benefits. For real. But, one of the benefits doesn’t feel like a benefit. It makes you deal with your shit. But, it makes you realize you have everything you need. right now. in this moment. And it gives you the clarity to feel your personal north star. It is a journey worth taking. Do not be afraid of it.

But some stuff just seems so big. Guess what? you don’t have to contend with the big here in this moment. By attending to this moment, you are giving the big problems a little air, and they will come down in little problems that register a 1 or a 2 or a 3 on the scale of imposition/need for change. Do-able. And if you tend to that little stuff in the moment, pretty soon the big stuff distills itself into bite-size pieces you know you have the internal resources to master, and you don’t have these looming “issues” that really cloud your identity.

This is a little deep, but it’s an important concept in my right-now experience I’d like to distill more clearly.

Everyone I talk to actively expresses a need to slow down. except one guy at toastmasters who Really. needs to slow down but it’s repellent to him (like it used to be to me). And we try. but we are busy. and there are some problems that seem to be chasing us. and we keep the balls in the air as best we can. And when we get a chance to rest, to take a breath, how deeply are we really relaxing? If we can get really deep, really fast, just a moment can offer all kinds of benefits. As we develop our capacity (which is natural, we just don’t practice it very often) to slow down just a bit deeper in all the little natural breaks in our day it brings a whole lot of gifts in the exact same amount of time. Go for meditation and stillness practices as well and that opens up a whole new set of vistas.

But we must, through it all, stand face-to-face with our stuff. Our stuff is exactly the teacher we need to become our best versions of ourself. Your life knows how to do this. Flowers know how to bloom. Flowers don’t have the anxiety and the keeping score (that I know of, and it would be wildly sad if they did because we all deserve freedom to blossom – and it is happening. right here in this breath.

I’ve recently had a breakthrough in dealing with a few key patterns. My #9 or #10 triggering stuff (in the “I turn it up to 11/let out my inner sicilian” pattern) broke itself down for me into a series of smaller, more manageable chunks. I mean, I was willing to face the 9 or 10 stuff, but it’s much more digestable in, well, I guess archetypal stuff that recognizes a number of patterns at the same time. This is stuff that has loomed over my self and my identity all my life. stuff i really wanted to change, that didn’t feel true for me, but I continued to fulfill the pattern every time. This was the “big stuff” i didn’t know how to face, and this slowing down process really has been distributing the dismantling of it, often so painlessly I am shocked. So yeah. Don’t be afraid of dealing with your stuff. You are enough. right now. moment by moment. choice by choice. breath by breath.

Feminine Power

Claire Zammit’s Feminine Power course is absolutely and without question the best class I have ever taken in my life. No great college seminar, no sales training, no education at all that compares to this. Claire’s ideas are accessible and relatable, she’s a gifted teacher and an even better coach. She walked me through myself and set a context for nothing less than the highest expression of myself. And it’s working. It’s coming alive in my life. as my life.

I feel that the work she does in 7 weeks would have taken me 3 or 4 years and that’s if i had a skilled therapist and a lot of dedication. You know I’m the therapy-genie. I recommend therapy all the time. And it is good. But this is gold. It is simple and straightforward, not easy but not difficult, absolutely captivating philosophically and setting – tapping into the fact that life itself is organizing itself around your success. Integrating all of the people living in your body, every identity you operate through intentionally or not. Within yourself and then within your life and the world in general. Her practices are truly transformative – not exercises. Her insights are profound and supportive and uplifting. Top notch transmission.

Absolutely, if I had the expendable dollars, I would gift this program to every woman in my life. My mother. Sisters, nieces, friends. I believe this program is a kiss and embrace to any woman alive today, to fully express herself. Trust me, we want to see you in your fullness, fully taking up space and using your voice and shining the special glimmer of god that is your light.

So, please, listen to her free course. I hate to admit it, but you’ll need to unsubscribe from her website after you get the link because you’ll get a lot of email (although much of it is great), but do this. go here.

Free Online Class

 

traps abound

I want to address this feeling I have because I’ve told a couple of people about this blog now and that’s a little uncomfortable. Especially because I’m feeling called to write throughout the day, which is quite wonderful, and I’m really enjoying it. And it’s got a whole bunch of weird stuff in addition to some gems. And I really have to do the practice without attachment. And right now, sharing is the practice. But I really don’t want to  get attached to people’s responses (which have been very kind, but for good or ill, i have to be in the center of it and it’s ok). I am happy doing this, documenting this process even if it is neigh unto unreadable by literally everyone else. And that’s the beautiful thing about choice. We don’t need to be into everything. curating our lives, activities, interests, practices – this is the play of life, the dance. selection. cultivation. towards what we want. unafraid to leave what we don’t want behind. Practice and non-attachment is pretty much the magic formula. The Bhagavad Gita spells it out. May I now please recommend Eric Klein’s 40 days of meditation with the Bhagavad Gita. It is outstanding. I carried around a bhagavad gita i literally got in an airport, but could never bring myself to string together a paragraph or two. Getting into Vedanta, I realized it was all about the translation, but still found it boring and the classes on it (sorry, Swami) tedious. Enter Eric. The beauty of a conversation between God and an altruistic soul… A combination of 3 excellent translations so insightfully expressed as to make the daily practice of life your spiritual practice. Fully.  eric at wisdomheart dot com. Email him. beg him to take it. (it’s a little thing i have with Eric – I’ve tried to convince him to sell his programs in the can whenever someone wants to start).

Happiness, Inside

Happiness is nice. My typical experience with happiness tended to be 1) surprise and delight, 2) sharing it; having an almost frenetic energy of needing and wanting to connect with people about it, and 3)wondering where it went.

Today I’m going to try a different approach. I’m happy about 1,000 little things and it has a surge of energy and my habitual behavior would be to find channels to share it. But, today, I am going to sit with it in stillness. Instead of wanting to bring it to my outside world, I’m wanting to invest it into my inner world. This process maybe is doing both. But I’m going to go sit, and bring the happiness to stillness the way I bring all the other emotions to stillness. I’m kindof excited about that. It doesn’t feel particularly natural and I’m not sure this is my new habit, but maybe I don’t want to develop a habit. Choose your habits wisely, right? That is what the whole slowing down thing is about. Slowing down as a habit has been a very nice practice, and now applying it to this is going to be interesting.

I spend a lot of time thinking, and a lot of time feeling my body (which is another profound new habit I had zero capacity in before), and a lot of time sitting, being. But I also spend a whole bunch of time in the world, in activity. And the stillness fuels the activity in harmonious and adventurous ways (whereas without the stillness, activity was mostly frenetic and trying to prove something/solve something/’do my best’). And here, with this happiness, I want to jump into activity but I can feel it wouldn’t be connected to the root. It would just fly away. Taking it inside, I think I may have a new experience. And because it’s new, I don’t know what will happen, but I have a feeling it is going to be *very good*

Once I told Danielle LaPorte, “I have happiness inside me, but I can’t seem to bring it to the surface.” My day-to-day of my life had foundations of happiness but the experience was full of self-doubt and striving and keeping score and contending with what came my way. And then this intrusive neighbor who deeply wanted to be my friend kept telling me, “You’re not happy!” and I was like, “look at my life, yes I am” Actually, that happened first. And the introspection it caused brought the rift between the happiness I felt on the inside and it’s not lurking at the surface of my life.

Today it feels that way. That happiness feels like it has the freest, most open channel to the day-to-day that it’s ever had, that I am having the experience of the whole experience, not levels of it.

So, cool! I’m going to go be still!