Thursday, December 13, 2012

Empty Time

If at all possible, plan in some time in which you have no responsibilities.  Feel how that feels.  In a place where there is nothing all possibilities exist, all choices are available, all conversations are surprises.  Where there is nothing you will find everything.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Aura bubble

I am surrounded by a bubble of energy that is created through me.  Sometimes when I'm riding my motorcycle [well I guess I really do it EVERY time I ride] I consciously imagine a bubble of safety around myself and my bike.  I say to myself "I am safe here in the light.  My ride will be safe, and everyone around me on the roads and the sidewalks will respect that and be safe near me.  I invite anyone who comes near me to enjoy this light and safety."  Then I just smile and nod to everyone I see or pass.  Today while I sit at my desk, I feel larger than life.  I feel that I am wrapped in a sort of cocoon of light/energy.  It's cool.  I invite you all to join me in this safe and peaceful place.

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Favorite Movies from 1971

Harry Nilsson's "The Point" and "Harold and Maude".  I watched them both last night.  If you haven't seen them lately, or at all, I recommend that you do.  You can catch Harold and Maude on Netflix [Maude: Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much. ]  I don't know where to find "The Point" [Oblio:  It seems to me that the pointed man is just about the only person we've met here (in the pointless forest) who doesn't have a point."]  I got a copy from Amazon because I just had to.

It is apparent that these movies, my friends at the time, and the things I was involved in as a person of 18 near the end of the Vietnam war, have colored my entire world view.  Let's look at what we're allowing our teen and young adults to experience now and be more aware of just how important these years are to their happiness later in life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Join the Conversation

I am delighted to have been found by someone from my past who is nearly a complete stranger.  The best thing about this is, she is willing and able to enter into conversation that goes beyond 'what's up?'  Or maybe I can say that she is willing to discuss the "what's up" that's a bit more important than what we've been doing for the past two+ decades.  As we enter into this conversation about each of our own life journeys I am pleased that the words 'spiritual life' and 'truth' and 'study' are being used.  Each of us is learning to live... it is a lifelong study of the apparent, the invisible, the possible and the real.  Where are the commonalities?  Everywhere.  How are we alike?  In more ways than you might imagine.  I bask in the possibility that there are more people out there who are hungry for the conversation.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Edit Thine Own Words

How many times have you caught yourself being self-indulgent, whiny,  pathetic, dreary, tiresome, boring, or uninteresting and changed something you wrote?  Words.  There are so many.  Let's spend the day keeping the language positive, helpful, and uplifting.  Let me know if you catch yourself being all powerless.  You know better.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Summer time in December

This is just about the weather.  I'm in Carson City, NV.  For those of you who don't know where that is, go east from San Francisco, across California, bump into Lake Tahoe and drop yourself off just at the bottom of the Sierra Nevadas before you head into the no man's land that is most of Nevada.  It's nice here.  In the winter, much of the snow falls 'up there' [see me pointing toward the mountains that circle Lake Tahoe] and it can be very windy and cold 'down here' in Eagle Valley.  Carson Valley is south of us, Washoe Valley is north, and just past that is Pleasant Valley and the Truckee Meadows [in which one finds Reno].  It's beautiful here, and I encourage people to visit at any time of year.  Lots to do outdoors, and there's legal gambling in Nevada.  Today it's warm and a breezy, almost like September, but with all the leaves off the trees.  Freaky.  I enjoy the weather here, very much.  Except when it's snowing sideways in Washoe Valley... those days it's best to just stay home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blast from the Past

Sometimes the completely unexpected happens.  From out of nowhere, a picture arrives of you from 26 years ago.  You barely look like you do now, but something is familiar in that face/that body/that outfit!  You remember!  When this happens [and it will] take time to think about what it was like in your world at that time.  Who was there, what were you doing/learning?  Do those lessons still apply?  Is there something you were doing then that you would like to do now?  Are there people from that time with whom you'd like to get back in touch?  Thanks, Margaret, for sending the picture of the softball team.  How did you know I was just thinking about them?  Again, the universe has impeccable timing.  I so appreciate that.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Unexpected Mentor

I have one.  I hope you have one, too.  This is someone who appeared in my life when I wasn't expecting anything...and when I didn't think I needed it.  But, as the saying goes; "when the student is ready, the teacher appears."  I guess I was ready.  Let's just say that I have a deep appreciation for her and her presence in my life.  She is one of the best gifts I've ever been given.  I feel that she 'gets' me and there are no strings, hidden agenda, demands, etc. other than that I should bring the real Joan to the moment... and by some miracle, that's enough.  I feel free where she is.  This feeling is not isolated to those times when we are in the same place, or even when we're talking on the phone or in e-mail; it happens whenever I think of her and it bleeds into all the time.  

My wish for the world would be that everyone receive a gift such as she has been for me.  I can't think of anything better.  It can happen at any time.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Peaceable Kingdom Questions

Community.  Communication.  Commitment.  Three important ingredients for peace.  Values based around these three ideas will determine the quality of our lives.  Do people in your life feel a sense of community with each other?  Is there something you can do to expand that feeling?  Do people in your life communicate with you and each other?  What is the nature of this communication?  Is it validating, accepting, encouraging?  Is it abusive, degrading or insulting?  Which do you prefer?  Is a shift needed?  What is the level of commitment that members of your community have to each other?  How much 'glue' is there... how apt are your people to stick with you through the good and the bad; to help you out by listening, or playing, or just being quiet with you?  Do you feel alone most of the time, or part of something larger?
How peaceable is your kingdom?
[The Peaceable Kingdom is a gift store in Ann Arbor.  In the 80's, they sponsored the softball team on which I played.  I loved wearing that shirt, being part of the team and playing with my friends on other teams.  This message is dedicated to Maggie and Lori and Cherie and Nancy and Joanne and Vanessa and Linda and Kathy and all my Ann Arbor peeps.  Thank you for making a safe place for me there when I needed it.  If you Google the Peaceable Kingdom, you will get other results, but this is the important one for me.]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am grateful!

For new technology and old friends.  For the opportunities I have and will continue to have.  For my sweet Tuck who keeps me company.  For my family adoptive and birth who keep me alive and growing, and in complete amazement and love.  A friend once said to me "Wherever Joan is, there is abundance."  That changed my life.  Thank you Lyn.... you are so right.

Getting To It

Get to those things you need to take care of.  DO them.  By dealing with the stuff you've got hanging over your head now, you can open the door to other things.  Procrastination is just another word for fear.  What would happen if that laundry was done or that counter cleaned off?  Would you feel better?  Would you have a clean place to prepare your meals?  Would you have clean underwear?  Those things are beneficial for your general health and safety, and when we are healthy and safe fun stuff happens.  You know I'm right.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Woman's Words

OUR WHOLE LIFE COULD BE A RITUAL
"We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea."
(Wisdom of No Escape) Pema Chodron.

This showed up on Facebook for me yesterday.  Not a tea drinker, I will apply this to doing the dishes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Synchronicity

It's good to have a word for it.  Things coming together.  People having the same conversations in every little nook and cranny of my life.  Wow.  We are headed somewhere interesting, that's for sure, and it seems kind of odd to me that for the first time in my life, I have the makings of a plan about what I want to do for the next 10 years.  That is some kind of weird.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sweden

I just checked the statistics on my blog traffic.  I have had 4 page views from Sweden, and one each from Canada and Germany.  Hmmm.  Wow.  Oh my god.  I am very happy that anyone is reading this, and I do have blog naggers who get on me now and then to write more.  That is something for which I am very grateful.  I wouldn't say that I have fans outside my close circle of friends, but getting 'hits' from other countries points out something that I've always known at some level.  Whatever you say has a larger audience than you might expect, and you will never know how much your words may help or hurt another person.  I can only hope that whatever it was is serving the reader well.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pea Soup

First snowy day this year.  It's winter.  It's November.  I am reminded of Kathy's Amazing Vegetarian Split Pea Soup and nor'easters.  Comfort food on a cold day.  I am so fortunate to have this life.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If you want to sing out, sing out

Cat Stevens, Yusef... love his music and the messages of peace, love and freedom.  Make your choices.  Check the words to "If you want to sing out, sing out".... all on your own.  Or get out your ancient copy of "Harold and Maude", watch it and figure out where you are.  Harold was floundering.  Maude showed him what life is about.... what's important, and it's not money and position... it's not related to greed or hoarding or keeping anything close, no matter how big or small.  It's about appreciating, and cherishing and knowing that everything is temporary by design.  This is the lesson in all transitions.
You can make it undo, you see.  You only need to know.....

Passwords

So, one of the benefits of blogging every day is that I don't have to log back in each time.  That's a treat, because it seems like I'm logging in to things all the time.  Each thing I log in to has a different password, that password expires after 90 days or 120 days, or not at all if I'm lucky.  Even Yahoo, with whom I had the same password for over 15 years made me change it... make it longer and more complex.  Yikes!  AND everyone recommends that the password be unique for that application, site, program, etc.  Unique my butt. If I had to come up with and remember unique passwords for everything, I'd need a secure database that I'd need a password to get in to.  So, against all recommendations and reprimands, I keep a list on a device that has no password.  I won't even recommend this to others as I know we live in a world that may be unsafe for you at any moment.  The big question is not where Joan's passwords are, but why she needs them in the first place.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doing the right thing is generally good policy

Bob Schiefer said that last night while talking about how the president handled the Sandy situation.  Working with the Republican governor of New Jersey to get aid to those most affected by the storm.  This should be how things operate all the time.  Our leadership at all levels have a responsibility to work together to benefit all those whom they represent.  I now "all" is a big word, but maybe, just maybe those issues that don't affect everyone aren't issues that should be dealt with by the government.  Maybe we should stick to the big things there... basic food, clothing and shelter for everyone, health care, local and national safety and relationships with other countries on the planet.  Maybe doing the right thing is staying out of people's personal lives, like staying out of religion [we KIND of do that], staying out of marriage customs, not criminalizing drug use... Maybe I'm simplifying, but it should at least be considered.  In each of our own lives, doing the right thing is generally good policy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leftovers

There is nothing wrong with leftovers... unless they are too old to be any good any more.  Do the 'sniff' test if the thing still looks OK.  Lift up the edge, just in case.  Maybe if you can scrape off the top, the stuff underneath will still be edible.  Apply this to the relationships in your life.  Are they still edible, or are do they just need to go?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Waiting

Sometimes the thing we need to do is wait.  It's irritating, frustrating, full of lessons.  There is really nothing we need to do while we wait.  It is a time when we can meditate or problem-solve.  It is a time when we can look at lives and wonder.
Waiting is OK.  Sometimes the wait tells us that we really do want the thing we're waiting for.  Sometimes we find that we don't really care any more.
Sit and wait.  Just that.  See what appears.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Late Night

Since taking this job, I have not had the late nights/no lunch sort of day until this week.  In a way, it's refreshing... to be working so hard/intensely that the hours go by without noticing.  The kind of day that you don't realize you have to go to the bathroom until you stand up.... for the first time in hours.  It feels OK.  I don't like working this way for long periods of time, but once in awhile for a couple of weeks, it's OK.

In a way, the singular focus and concentration is a peaceful place.  There is no room from drama, or gossip, or anything unproductive.  No day dreaming or distractions can be allowed.  Ahhh, the peace of hard work, and the satisfaction it can bring.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I want to hold your hand - in German

This morning, my alarm clock - which plays my iPod music as the alarm - is playing the Beatles singing in German.  Even the little I know having taken German myself in high school, and traveled there once tells me John is singing in a distinctly British accent.  But to the point.  We tailor our message to our audience, to sell the item or the point.  And that's not all, we tailor our personal messages to friends and family to meet their needs and our agendas for them.  Take a moment to think about what you say to others. Is there some underlying agenda?  Is it aimed at being a better friend/spouse?  Is it aimed at getting something you want without regard to others?  Thich Nhat Hahn said somewhere that the best gift is the one the receiver wants to get. Be mindful with those words.  Words can create affinity or division.  I'm sure the teens in Germany were very happy to hear those Beatles singing in their own language.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The lost art of holding hands


I was able to visit briefly with my mother over the weekend.  She is 93, and I am so grateful that she is still on the planet.  We held hands in the car on the way to the airport.  I've never held her hand for so long, and I tried to imprint that feeling somehow…. Knowing that it will not last as a physical impression, but will only last in my mind.   It is such a small thing, and we didn't speak about it, or even look at each other.   It is amazing to just be that present.  Holding hands was the right thing to do and the only thing needed.

Expectations

Or lack thereof.
When I'm most anxious or worried, it is about having expectations.... or the expectation that someone else may expect something s/he isn't communicating.  Aarrrgggh.  I like the void.  The place where there is freedom to do what comes up at the moment.... to feel the feeling that arises and to let that go to make room for the next.  Sometimes there seems to be complete emptiness, and I treasure those moments.  They are still and peaceful times. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friends Who Nag

OK!  wow.  I'll do it.  :)
I really can't guarantee that I'll be completely faithful and write everyday.  What I will do is write when I think to write.  That could end up being more frequent some days, and less frequent others.  I am human after all.  Thank you thank you thank you.
I am so grateful for the people in my life, who mostly seem to love me and bear with me.  You are all amazing!
More on friends who nag later.  You know who you are....

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Great Blue Herons

Amazing, graceful, quiet.  Calm company.  Reminders.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Power of Now

Hard to explain that every moment is RIGHT NOW, and that, realistically, nothing in the past exists any more, and nothing in the future is real.  For things in the past, we have physical structures or objects that persist, of course, and the moment during which that thing came into being is gone.  We may think that as human beings, we persist as we age.  Yet we really don't.  The person I was yesterday is physically different from me today; even my thinking is a bit different.  The current moment is completely empty.  This very second is blank, so this very second.  During one of those, I typed one of these letters, during one of those my finger was moving away from the key.  None of those physical activities persists, they are past.  I can't take them back, undo them.  Those key strokes are part of history.  When I enjoy my life in each moment, when I disregard what came before and stop trying to predict the future, I can bring my whole self to my life each of these moments.  That is where truth and love appear.  Lies and fear belong to other times, and are completely products of our imagination.  Breathe into this moment.  Feel the safety and the love that is here for you now.  See those around you in each moment and appreciate the amazing complexity that is your life.  I am thankful for each moment.  Nothing else matters; I am here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What Happened Then?

So, after the disaster, what happened?  After the breakup, what happened?  After the departure of a loved one, what happened?  Were you surprised?  Were you amazed? Were you paying attention?  The things we take for granted continue.  A new day begins, possibilities still exist, opportunities still knock.  The world just keeps on turning.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happiness

Yep, you can have it whenever you want to have it.  Bring your thoughts in.  Abandon worry about things out of your control.  Stop thinking you have control.. :)  Look around and find things that are calm, or neutral, or still.  Breathe slowly.

Friday, August 17, 2012

you don't have to do everything

Pick your battles.  Don't bite off more than you can chew. Pace yourself.  Do one thing at a time.... lot's of ways of saying this.  Sometimes when you just wait, the need for action disappears, or someone else steps in to take care of the thing, maybe not the way you would.  That's OK.  There's lots of room in the world for each of us.

New Beginnings

Every day is a new beginning.  When you wake up, the day is ahead of you and you have many opportunities to make new decisions, act in new ways, stretch yourself.  Each person you meet, whether or not you already know them, can be different, too; having decided on their own to make today different from other days.  Everyone is changing all the time.  Enjoy your new self today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot August Nights

The crickets are singing, the air is still.  The dogs are restless and so am I.  I feel ambitious and tired.  A bit at a loss for direction - adrift.  All possibilities are open, all opportunities available.  Cool and unsettling.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Empty Time

You may not have much of this.  I seem to have a lot.  The busy times come in spurts that may last a week or two. I can be lazy, yes, and not fill up my own time.  By that I mean keeping myself occupied doing 'something productive', like my mom used to suggest.  :)  I used to talk myself into doing things, or out of doing things that I'm supposed to do.  Now I try to pay more attention to whether or not my first inclination is to do the thing or not do it... then act on that. Of course, I can talk myself out of things, like going to the gym.  Still, I try not to do things because I am afraid.  Not a good idea to fill up your time with fear motivated things.  Better to leave that time empty.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Simple things

Making my Mom laugh, being reminded of a good friend when I hear a certain song, looking out into the yard and seeing the bunny.   Knowing there is peace here now because everywhere I go I am safe in the moment... and if I am not, the unsafe moments pass and are replaced by safe moments.
The right things happen at the right time.  Trust this.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Old Friends

Old friends are sometimes not that old, and they are sometimes not even people you've known very long.  As I get older my oldest friendship gets longer - more than 40 years now, and I still feel as close - maybe closer - as I always have.  Recently I was able to re-connect with a few people that I haven't known that long, but fit into the 'old friend' category anyway.  Connection is important.  Take the time to show up for them now and then and they will be there for you.  Sometimes, not of course.... but if that person is really your friend, you will feel it.  We are all busy and the small extra effort it takes to call or write [a letter is great!] or e-mail or even text... will do your heart good.  Even if you don't hear back from them.  "Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, and the other's gold."  Ancient wisdom from the Girl Scouts.  :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

As it should be

Whatever happens.  It is supposed to be that way.  What you did or didn't do was exactly perfect, you always did the right thing.  Of course, you might do it different another time, and we have the freedom to do that.  We have the ability to learn as we go.  Our responsibility is to see what has happened, really see it.  Evaluate things.  Ask questions.  Remember that each moment is another chance to change the world, however big or small that is for you.  Stay awake. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Home

What is home?  Is it a place, a person, your pets?  How do you know that you're 'home'?  Does just coming into your community make you feel like you're home?  Is it being with your family?  Home is where my dogs are, yes.  Or my kids, or all my stuff.  These things are not all in the same place at the moment, so I have lots of places I call home.  Where my friends are.  Well, that's all over the map.  I have communities of people who love me in many places.  I am so fortunate!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Therapist Joan

When I look back on it, the peace that came over me when I figured out that the rant was not really about me was nothing less than miraculous.  At first I was stuck on that 'resentment' idea, and then when I was able to start listening again, it was apparent that the beef was not really with me.  I have never in my life run across someone so thoroughly encased in fear.  More than encased; permeated.  Attempts at reassurance met with denial, so I settled into therapist/facilitator... and gently pushed for as much as could be said and waited for the energy to run its course.  Whew!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Resentment

Really?  Me?  Unbelievable.  I even looked it up.  So why does it bother me?  I think because I got stuck on the idea and missed what it is I'm supposed to be resenting, which means I wasn't really listening.  But I got back to that.  To the listening part, and being able to listen and hear the real issue was helpful.  It became clear that whatever was going on did not require a change in my approach or behaviour, it required compassion and presence.  It required acceptance and non-judgement.  So that's what I'm trying to do...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Things I Don't Know

There are many things I don't know.  Mostly those have to do with the answer to the 'why' question.  It is hard enough to see the thing itself that getting to 'why it is the way it is' seems completely impossible.  Lots of people spend lots of time looking at the 'why' so they can figure out how to change the thing.  We could just look at the thing the way it is now, really look, and understand how to make it different.  We don't have to go back to how it got that way in the first place.  We say we like to do that so we 'understand'... but it turns into just learning the history of the thing and rarely sheds light on what to do to make a change.  So, start with what is now and go from there.  When you do that, it doesn't matter what you don't know, it just matters that you can see what is in front of you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thinking

Woke up early thinking.  Don't know why, don't remember what I was thinking about.  I was just awake and couldn't get back to sleep.  Did the body inventory to see if anything hurt or was awkardly arranged.... the dogs weren't up and they didn't notice I was awake.  My mind was active, so I tried to calm that.  Breathing in I notice my breath, breathing out I notice my breath... and fell back asleep for a couple of minutes.  So, then the mental inventory... am I worried about something I need to do today, did I forget to do something important yesterday, is there someone I need to talk with about something?
No clue.  So, I accepted that I was awake, thinking randomly and that allowed me to go back to sleep.  I have no idea how this works....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Music from the 70's

Ah.  Early Elton John, not Crocodile Rock... Daniel, Tiny Dancer.... Jefferson Airplane, not Starship.  Grace Slick, Mary Travers, Christine Perfect, Carla Bonoff, Joan Baez.  Music matches the times.  I'm so happy that I was around when I was, and I can't help thinking that my kids will look back on the early 21st century and say, 'Ah, early Snoop Dog.'.....  :)  I'm glad they also have an appreciation for Adele, who to me sounds like late 60's London Beat.  Go figure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

Turn and face the strange changes.....  Impermanence is Buddha Nature.  I see that, and I see that Buddha nature or not, we can't stop change from happening.  There's a book called "If the Buddha Got Stuck" by Charlotte Kasl.  It's a great little book with lots of good information on what to do when you find yourself just not able to adjust to change, or even see that it's all around.  The idea of the buddha getting stuck, when what he's about is NOT getting stuck on anything is sort of funny.  But, I suppose there was a time when even he wasn't all that enlightened, and figured the world was a specific way and it would stay that way.  Maybe it's just growing up or growing old, but I find that I expect fewer and fewer things to be the same the next time I see them.  Of course, to stop moving is to die, and death is just another change.  And then what happens when we die?  We continue to change... our bodies change, our spirit is released to new lessons, our chemicals and moisture are returned to the world, and what we leave behind in others evolves as they need it to evolve.  So,we can't 'count' on anything.  OK. I can live with that.  Thank you David Bowie.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Don't try to save the pizza

Here's what happened.  The boys and I went to a restaurant where they served stuffed crust Chicago style pizza.  We ordered too much.  It was one of the best pizzas I've had in my life [next to Pisanello's in Mt. Pleasant, of course - one can never match that college town pizza], and I wanted to take the three pieces we couldn't eat right then.  So, they get wrapped up by the waiter, and labeled and we each put a piece in our backpacks.  Luckily, we checked on them before they leaked all over our stuff.  In the end, we threw them away, as we were too full to just eat them, and not willing to keep them and have the mess.  For me, the lesson is; if you get more than you need and can't use, let the rest go, even if it may seem like a waste.  Holding onto something that 'might be' useful at some unknown future time can backfire on you and make a mess in the present.

Listening

I find myself sitting back and listening.  When I listen I hear things that make me smile.  When I smile I feel connected with the message I am hearing.  The other thing I'm finding is that I hear beyond the words that appear in my ears, that messages about the speaker and those who respond come in at another level.  Which makes me smile more, and feel more connected.  Keep talking, people, you're making me happy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Take a Lesson

My grandmother on my mother's side used to say this to me when I was a child.  At the time, I didn't really get the WHOLE message.  What I got was "listen to me and do what I said."  It occurs to me today that she might have really meant that there was something to learn in what had just happened; that taking a lesson meant that I could do things differently next time.  Because my grandmother used that phrase a lot, I think of it as old fashioned and almost archaic a term.  Some people feel that way about the word 'groovy'.... poor things.  Anyway, 'Take a Lesson' might just be another way to suggest that we can learn from our mistakes and faults when they are brought to our attention.  Notice everything.

Mirror mirror

There are people in our lives who are mirrors.  Whenever we talk with them, think of them or see them across the room, they have something to offer us, some sort of feedback we can use.  The things they do or say that irritate us are lessons about how we may offend others.  They can nonchalantly say things that strike at the heart of our fears and insecurities, leaving us like a puddle on the floor - and they don't even know what's happened.  Be grateful for these friends.  Thank them for their honesty and candor.  Take the lesson and understand more about yourself.  I am happy that I have a number of mirrors in my life even when they make me want to scream.  :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Resting

There are a lot of ways to rest.  Sit still.  Close your eyes.  Imagine your breath as you breathe in; imagine seeing it leave your body when you breathe out.  Lie down, close your eyes, imagine your body completely relaxed... start with your toes and do an inventory of each muscle group til you get to the top of your head.  Imagine there is no tension anywhere in your body.  Be completely with yourself for a few moments.  Do it every day.  Sleep well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peace Within is World Peace

This morning, I am thinking of my friend Mabel Katz, who I first met in Mexico, and may have blogged about before.  That said, I watched the video I've linked below and was reminded of so many things about being human and what we can do when we change our minds about our situations.  The Toltecs/Four Agreements folks talk about stopping the movie.  Mabel understands.  The movie is something we run or let others run for us every day, and it's not the truth.  The truth isn't what goes on outside ourselves, it's what goes on within ourselves.  Inner peace can be found when the movie is off and we can see the truth.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piRRM_rJSQ4&feature=player_embedded

Monday, March 26, 2012

Time away

Vacations can be a time when we can relax, do or see something new or different, travel, or stay home.  They are times when we visit relatives or go to weddings.  They can be peaceful times or times of turmoil.  No matter what happens on vacation, it is still up to each of us to determine how we are going to react, and therefore how peaceful these times away may be.  I am adding a new picture to this blog that shows the boys swimming in the lake where I grew up on March 21.  It is a peaceful picture I have in my mind, the sun going down, the boys enjoying the water, the gently sound of small waves reaching the little beach by my feet.  It was a family visit with my mom who will be 93 this spring.  She 'doesn't feel death around' her, and she doesn't see any reason to die. She's in good mental and physical health and gets outside every day.  She made it clear that she loves us.  One of my better 'times away'.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brave little bunny

There is a rabbit that visits my back yard in Carson City in the mornings.  He/she is sitting out there now.  I'm not sure why, or what's so appealing about the yard, but there you go.  He looks cold just sitting there, all bunched up with his front paws tucked under his belly.  The dogs are completely unaware.  The are resting peacefully on the couch.  Sometimes they notice and give chase, but at the moment our bunny is safe.  I suspect there are more than one living in the hill behind the house.  It makes me wonder what life must be like for them.  Do they have rich emotional lives?  Do they care about much?  How simple their lives must be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Surprise Mornings

On the way to work this morning, I saw a rainbow over the Sierras to the northwest.  When I turned the corner, I saw sunlight streaming through a break in the clouds to the east.  I thought to myself, "god is out playing today."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weather

At one time, when I was spending a lot of time outdoors in the mountains in Maine and New Hampshire, I could predict really accurately how long it would take a storm to reach me.  One of my disappointments as I've gotten older has been that my circumstances have taken me from those places and activities to a situation where weather prediction isn't necessary.  I miss the energy of a good thunder/lightning storm, the sight of a rainstorm approaching across the lake, the roll of the clouds over the mountains bringing snow; signals that shelter should be sought, the hike abandoned - or at least retreat below tree line.  I have watched a thunderstorm from above the cloud line, I have seen snow fall up, I have felt rain blown onto the side of my leg.  I miss that.  Maybe I should spend more time outdoors.  :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Take the First Step

The longest journey starts with a single step.  I don't know who first said that.  Probably someone from 'way back' like Aristotle or something.  It sounds like something he'd say... and it's true.  When we know how long the journey is, or when we don't that first step must be taken.  It did not occur to me that we might get stuck at the start, and it seemed slow at first, but that first step is now taken and we can move on.  Sometimes that first step takes a LOT of preparation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Play all the Music

Every once in awhile, I try to play through all my music.  Sometimes I skip the holiday stuff.  The idea that I can actually have it all together in one place [iPod] used to just amaze me.  Now I rely on it.  When I think back to when I was young and had one album, the Rolling Stones first record sold in the US, that I would play over and over, and not with head phones... my whole family had to listen with me as there was one record player in the house.  Playing all the music then took a lot less time than now.  I can listen for days and not get through all my music.  I can do it privately, at work, in the car, while I'm dropping off to sleep, to wake me up in the morning.  Surf music and Italian pop, rap and country, folk music and hip-hop, with a little disco thrown in of course.  Its all music I picked myself.  Its all a reflection of something about me.  It all speaks to me.  All the music is me.  I am all the music.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Let the Games Begin

Some tasks have lots of lead-up.  Planning work that lays the path for the work, people to wrangle into cooperation and paperwork to be submitted and approved... then gone over again when some small detail changes.  Eventually everything comes together and the project just sort of magically begins to roll.  Items are where they need to be at the time, people perform as expected, things start taking shape, money [if involved] shows up just when it's needed.  Ahhh.  Enjoy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Illness

Sometimes when you're sick, it's just your body saying "slow down already!" Maybe there has been a lot of stress, maybe you just had a massage and your body remembers what it's like to relax again, and it wants more, maybe you got so run down, your body couldn't fight off another stray sneeze. OK. Pay attention. What's the lesson? Our bodies give us clues all the time, and we ignore them. I am especially adept at that. :) Every cell in my body is engineered to be healthy and function correctly. Sometimes I feel bad that I get in the way of that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kathy's Dad

When I make toast, butter it and put a little jam on, I think of Kathy's dad.  He owned a little coffee shop/cafe/diner in New Haven.  I never went there.  One morning he made us breakfast at home and talked about buttering toast and about how much jam to use.  He said that when you have less, you taste it more.  At the time I was 18, had just met this man, and was quite occupied with other things going on.  I did not expect that this simple idea would become some sort of constant thread through my life.  This morning, when I made myself some toast, I thought of Kathy's dad.  It occurred to me that that has been happening without fail for 40 years, and that makes me very happy.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day!

Picture out my office window.  That line in the clouds isn't a UFO.... it's a light fixture reflected in the window.  I love these clouds.  Leap Day.  A day to do something a little bit different.  :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sleep

There is something great about a good night's sleep.  We all need it.  We all feel better when we get it.... we regain our resilience, energy and sense of humor when we get enough.  When it's hard to sleep, or we are interrupted during sleep, it's harder to manage even little things.  Calm your mind when you lie down.  Imagine a bubble around you where nothing can come in unless you want it to.  There are gentle guards outside your bubble, turning people away so you aren't interrupted.  thank them for helping.  Relax in your bubble, knowing that for at least the time you are lying there, you have nothing to do but sleep.

Friday, February 24, 2012

nobody but you

You are the only one who can do it. Whatever it is that you need in your life, it is up to you. Make it, heal it, break it, leave it, change it beyond all recognition. It's your life and your power. No one can do it for you. Seek a good helper, someone who can point you in the right direction, someone who can facilitate your work. It is your job to do that work.

Today

I hope that everyone who reads this today has a day full of miracles, love and kindness.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Becoming Neutral

The universe is a big place, and when you take it all in, each of us may seem small.  In a way, that could make one think each of us is unimportant.  When you really look at it, though, there is no 'large' influence in the universe... what happens here is a collective effort by individuals.  We create our own reality and contribute to the reality of others.  No great unknown power creates what we think of as big events... they all start small and grow from one individual idea that influences something else... and then the ball gets rolling.  We could judge things as 'good' or 'bad', when in fact everything that occurs in the universe could be considered 'neutral'.  Only when we add human assessment and value assignment, do things become good or bad.  Together we also create peace and safety and compassion, which are basically neutral things.... they aren't loaded with judgement.  These are words that are used to describe acceptance, non judgement and lack of influence on others, allowing the individual or event to exactly and only what s/he or it is. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Concrete vs. Abstract

Some of us are comfortable with theory and conceptual constructs that are neither verifiable nor specific in nature.  Others are not.  If you can't touch it or smell it, it can't be real.  I exaggerate of course.  Many of us take certain things on faith, and things like gravity leave evidence, but you can't use your senses to verify it.... well I'm wrong about that.  We know it's here because we can feel our weight, and we see that we are kept from flying off into space.  Hmmm.  Another example then... Maybe it's more about things we can quantify or document vs things we know in our hearts to be true that can't be adequately expressed in words or figures.  Two people with two different definitions of what/who god is for instance.  Do we take spiritual writings as litteral or figurative?  Actual fact or illustrative lesson?  Does it matter if we agree with our peers on anything if our intentions are to be honorable and accepting?  Does the concrete thinker have the right to judge the abstract thinker?  Are either of their positions correct?  Who decides what is correct and what's not?  Who says THAT'S ok?  Ow.  makes my head hurt.  In short, the lesson I learned this week is about love and the possibility that it can and does transcend time and space, and concrete vs abstract mean nothing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perfect Moment

I found myself driving north on the I5 near Longview, Washington, where the road is near the river.  It was late afternoon, and sunlight reflected off the river from the west.  The mountains, covered with pine rose away from the highway on my right.  No rain clouds were in sight.  On my iPod Judy Collins was singing "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants".  Perfect moment of peace and beauty.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Allowing

Let it be.  Whatever needs to happen will happen in good time.  No need to rush.  Even that plane that you're trying to catch.  There will be another one.  Think of life as infinite possibility.  There is no lack of resources - especially time.  Sit back a minute and breathe.  Appreciate the things around you, the people you see and how it feels to be there.  Allow the world and the people in it to be just the way they are for the smallest of moments.  Find yourself smiling. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Feel Old

Not old, like aged or aging, but old like ancient.  Today I feel like the thousands of years of human existence on this planet is all collecting in my head and heart.  I feel connected to the world in a different way today, not so much about just now, and more about being the recipient of ancestral understanding.  It's not about knowledge.  It feels like absorbed awareness, and it's not just limited to humans, but all the things that sentient beings experience and process.  Its quiet and sure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aging and Work

We are all getting older all the time.  At least, the number of years, or the amount of time we have experienced in this life keeps getting larger.  Does that mean we are aging?  What is 'aging' anyway?  It could be a totally false idea.  What would it be like to never grow old, or mature socially, or turn lessons into personal changes?  I still feel young, whatever that is.  I certainly don't feel old.  And as I pass more birthdays, my idea of 'old' has changed dramatically.  It helps that my mother is still alive and quite well in her 90s.  I remember a time when I thought 45 was old, then 60, then 80.  Now I'm not sure I think we're old until you get past that.  Retirement for my parent's age peers happened pretty regularly at 60.  That's in two years for me.  I can't imagine.  Of course, by that time, some of them had worked in the auto industry for nearly 40 years.  My dad worked into his 70s. Sometimes I think he did that just to have something to do every day.  My grandfather died when he was 74; Dad was 82.  So, I guess the upshot for me is that maybe I'm aging along with everyone else, and as long as I feel like working, I'll work.  Just to have something to do.  My retirement years will just have to wait.  I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of them.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Peace in the Eye of the Hurricane

Life swirls around us.  Social and family responsibilities are numerous and frequent.  There is always some incomplete project or upcoming event or plan to have a plan.  Yes.  Of course.  Along with that is the present moment where in each instant we are alone, quiet, at peace, centered, knowing, calm, here.  In each moment, there is no where else we can be and we have all the options.  We can learn to string these present moments together for longer periods of time where life is suspended.  In that quiet, our own personal bubble of peace, we see clearly and are encapsulated in love.  It seems to take a string of these moments brought together for us to have sufficient time to notice this feeling of peace and safety.  We create the hurricane, don't forget that we also create the peaceful eye.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sitting on Planes

When you travel as much as I do, you spend a lot of time sitting on planes, in airports, in cars driving to and from the airport, and I once joked about the most exercise I get is walking from the car to the gate.  In Las Vegas, if you're flying out of the "C" gates, you can take the long way and have yourself a good half mile walk.  Of course, that means you don't take the moving sidewalk or the tram and you check through security the old way, by the "D" gate security check. But to my point.  Sitting on planes is completely empty time that can be used to sleep, read, play games on your mobile device, or talk with your neighbor.  It is up to you.  There are no demands except to follow the crewmember instructions, put your seat back and tray in their upright and locked position, and move out when you can.  Not too hard.  It can be easy time, or tough time depending on your outlook and attitude about families with small children.  Whenever possible, I make it easy time.  We're all on the same plane, we'll all get there together, and we can be loving on the trip.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Working with Intention

Sticking with something until you get it right takes time and focus and intention.  Heck, sticking with something until it's complete is sometimes hard to do, let alone getting it 'right'.  When we do accomplish something, get through it, wrap it up, or pass it along, we can always do the best we can do.  Of course, we can NOT do that; we can take shortcuts, make compromises, delegate to others.  How does that usually feel?  Unsatisfactory.  We let ourselves down, we let our family down, we pass along something incomplete and ask someone else to pick up where we left off.  In some case, of course, it's not our job to be the finisher, and when it is our job and we do it, there is satisfaction, confidence and peace.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Your Circle of Friends

We all have social connections, and I don't mean Facebook or other social media [like blogging... ;)].  We all have people in our lives who are family, or who knew us when we were younger, college roommates, people we went to AA with, 'drinking buddies', best friends, new acquaintances, teachers, partners, all that.  Every day we may or may not interact with one or more of them.  There are hundreds of people who populate our lives.  Take a look at who they are, what they bring to your life, what demands they place on you.  Tend to this group of fellow souls as you would to a garden.  Nurture and feed those that offer the most, and weed out gently those who offer nothing that you want or hinder your progress.  Keep those closest to you who fill your heart and lift your spirit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My own special judge

Yep. I have one. Its a personal, special part of myself that I let run rampant at times, telling me what the think or do, or what to believe about something someone else said. As much as I dislike this part of me, it's part of me Sometimes my judge has good things to say, making me feel special, and sometimes it has less than productive things to say, urging me to feel like I'm not so bright, too much something or too little something else. All these opinions/judgements based on something I can't even identify with the same mind that has created the judge in the first place. I can see [meaning, I can understand] that this is fiction, and yet I can't really take that fiction to heart and just plain fire the judge altogether. As much as I love my life, this continues to haunt me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Man Who Lost His Leg

Yesterday I met a man who had lost his leg in an auto accident.  A small car with a young mother and a child had hit him.  He was driving his truck and he remembers the child's eyes looking up at him when the car hit.  "Eyes so wide."  He said, holding his hands up to his face, making big circles with his fingers and thumb in front of his own eyes.  I asked him if his leg hurt.  He described that mostly it was OK, that when he locked the knee on the artificial leg it was better, and he has to be gentle with it when he jumps down from the truck.  I'm not sure how he drives; it's his right leg.  He expressed appreciation for how the people in his life came together for him when he was hurt, and that he's a cat person.  He said that part of his job is to be responsible with the resources he comes across and to give back to the people he works for and the community.  He spelled my name "Jone".  I don't even care.  You can re-build a house, you can't re-grow a leg.  We all have something to be thankful for.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Words

Choose your words carefully.  There is power in them.  When you find yourself listening to things that make you feel sick, upset, anxious; excuse yourself from the conversation.  No need to explain, just politely back out.  When you find yourself spreading rumours or communicating your judgements about someone to another person, stop yourself.  As much as you can, use positive words that open up conversation, not shut it down.  Be able to disagree with words that state your opinion and allow other opinions as well.  Start with words like; "for me..." or "from what I know...." and end with "what do you think?" or "how does that seem to you?"  Now there's a conversation.  Now there is a space for open communication.  Now the words are working for you, and a better relationship is possible. 
On the topic of "actions speak louder than words".... What you do, how you act can totally negate what you've just said.  "Walk the Talk".  Don't say what you don't mean.  More on this another time.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blue Skies

Where I live now there are lots of days with blue skies, or at least some part of the day, you can see blue sky somewhere if you look for it. Very rarely do the clouds hang around, low and menacing, all day. There are places where people aren't so fortunate; where clouds hang around all day and often leak rain or snow [especially this time of year]. Sometimes life feels like a really cloudy day; you can't see very far, there is a heaviness in the air around you with no blue sky above and no forcast for sunshine tomorrow. Well, maybe we just have to provide that sunshine/blue sky for ourselves, and for those around us. Maybe we just take that "nothing day, and suddenly make it all see worthwhile" by bringing a smile to strangers, a gentle word to someone we rarely speak to, or simply holding the door for someone whether or not they 'need' it. Start the blue skies where you are, the weather will change quickly for yourself and everyone around you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stress and the Centered Being

We have all heard the phrase about being grounded, or feeling grounded.  What does that mean, really?  Does it mean that our feet are firmly planted on a solid surface from which we cannot be moved?  Does it mean that we feel really certain about something?  Does it mean that we are just plain sure of ourselves and our position in life?  Is being centered the same?  I don't know, and I've heard the two terms used to express similar states of being.  So if we are centered/grounded, then our stress level must be low.  As centered persons, we know who we are [our solid ground], we know that certain things are true for us, and that we hold our spaces in the world with love, integrity and compassion.  I challenge anyone to have a high level of stress, and know those things at the same time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Simplify for peace of mind

Less is more. More space, less clutter. Room around you. Fewer things to dig through to find what you need, and to put back wnen you're done. Fewer domestic choices; fewer things to change your mind about or cause confusion. Places where your eyes can rest, where your legs have room to stretch. I love having those dust bunnies in clear sight so I can sweep them up and have the clean line between the floor and the wall restored.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Show up

When you say you're going to be somewhere; be there. When you begin to call someone a friend; be there. When you make the decision to bring children into the world; be there. Let things that keep you from being present fall away from your life. It isn't easy. It's not even intuitive. It won't feel 'normal' for awhile... We aren't taught yet how important and powerful our simple, loving presence can be. Teach you children.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Another Day

Things continue to happen in the world, and the sun continues to rise and set.  The stars come out at night, and the moon goes through its phases.  These constant events change ever so subtly each day, not that we would notice, just like people do.  Every day is another adventure and set of challenges to meet.  Each time we wake up, we get to start over in some small, or large way.  We get to make different choices and try something new.  Every day we are alive is amazing.  Remember.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Easiest Way

OK, so I'm borrowing this phrase from my friend Mabel Katz and Ho'oponopono.  Thinking about that annoyance from yesterday, recognizing that it really is just an annoyance, and understanding that right now there is enough going on around me that this thing doesn't have to take up one extra bit of my time and energy.... I know what to do.  Doing it with love is going to be the interesting part.  I guess sometimes, the person that recieves the love is yourself.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life's Little Annoyances

So, I'm not sure what the real value of having really good communication tools, things on record that should be shared and known lines of communication [some prescribed by law] if people don't use them.  I am also amazed at how quickly people and organizations are to sue others in court, when no harm has truly occured.  I suppose it's all about somebody deciding, based on something real or imagined, that instead of dealing directly with the person who has supposedly done the harm and working things out in a win-win situation; involving attorneys and courts is a better idea, or the only recourse.  Now, I'm not talking anything really big here, the part that hurts and angers me is worth less than $500 and in the greater scheme of things, that's just piddly.  So, I take my deep breath, and try to figure out a way to feel calm about having to pay for a mistake that was not mine, and for which I have already made what I consider to be a reasonable settlement.  Apparently there is disagreement.  I am completely responsible for unknown errors made by unknown corporate others which I attempted to correct as soon as it came to my attention.  My current challenge is to remain calm, centered and articulate when I write my letter, and remember that I am dealing with more than one set of expectations, more than one person making judgement and more than one set of community values.  I will also give this a day or so and write that letter when the initial hurt has subsided a bit.  My apologies to all the good attorneys out there; this feels like money-grabbing, pure and simple.  I guess for this, I have divine justice or karma in which to place my faith.  This is a test, this is only a test.  If this were a real emergency, I would be completely alone in the world.  I'm not, keep breathing. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dig Deep

In each of us is infinite wisdom, generosity and compassion.  We are all capable; those who seem smarter or more sophisticated, and those who have difficulty.  We can all find within ourselves a well of love and a unique way to express it.  At different times we are called upon to bring our true selves "to the table" and to set aside our own interests in order to serve others.  On these occasions we have the power to change the world and express our love [our wisdom, generosity and compassion] for individuals and communities.  Knowing that there is this to offer, that this power is ours to use, how can we say 'No'?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hmmmm

No two days in a row are the same.  I try to keep that in mind.  You never know what is going to present itself.  And even in the same day, all at once, two very different things can be working to change your life.  You might not even know it.  There you are, bad day at work, hard sad time, and secretly working behind the scenes is a gift from a stranger that will, in its time, bring you happiness.  Life is full of surprises, things we label as 'good' or 'bad'.  In truth what life brings is adventure and opportunity to exercise all of our emotions, intellect, heart and soul. 

The Dogs Know

It is obscenely early.  The dogs are up with me.  I'm wide awake and thinking.  The news is bad.  My friend has lost her home and her two wonderful cats to a wildfire.  Some things remain that were outside and in the barn.  Inside the house is nothing but burned out metal objects, broken dishes, and ash.  Even though I once lived there, I don't now, and I can't imagine how it feels.  She was able to joke yesterday about the outpouring of love and things variously called 'juju', 'mojo', prayer, good vibes, etc. that describe what she has been receiving, and her willingness to be open to all the spiritual approaches to healing.  She must find her way again, where so many things remain and a huge piece of her life is suddenly missing.  I can only watch and love.  Maybe that's what the dogs know.  Maybe that's why they are up with me now, watching and loving.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sleepless

It is late; or early.  I'm not sure which.  I couldn't get to sleep, and when I finally decided to get up, I looked outside.  The sky is so clear, I can see Orion without my glasses.  I can also see a million other stars.  There is no moon.  It is still.  Somewhere, not too far away, somone I love is in pain and I can't help.  I don't know how to reassure.  I can't repair what has happened, or even make it better.  It is what it is.  What can I offer right now?  Nothing tangible, really.  I can pray that a miracle has occurred and that our worst fears do not come true; that in the light of day, loved ones are safe and whole.  Where can we find peace in this?  What is the lesson and why must it be so harsh?  My only consolation is that my friend is not alone tonight.  I hope that she is resting in preparation for whatever news we hear in the morning.  Maybe that's all I can do as well; maybe all I can do to help, is to be ready.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Old Friends

Old friends are something special.  As I get older, so do they.  The years add up, and we discover that we have been friends most of our lives, where at another time, we had only been friends for a year.  The time passes and we drift in and out of touch.  When we see each other, there may be more grey hair in the room, or more family members to talk about; the friendship may need a bit of refreshing.....and it's still there.  It is so amazing to me that I have a person in my life who has been my friend for over 42 years.  She always contacts me on my birthday, and I rarely remember exactly when hers is, I just know that it's coming up soon, it's in January and is on one of the 20 days.  This message, today is for Margi, whose name I will always spell like that, who taught me to walk slowly somewhere in New Haven the day we went to see "Yellow Submarine", and with whom I have spent time on no more than 6 occasions.  She is always in my heart, and I am so happy knowing that she is in the world somewhere. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Commitments

One way to keep our personal peace and integrity is to honor our commitments. Put aside the urge to break or bend the promise until the reason is thoroughly considered. One huge commitment is having children. Nothing I can think of compares to the responsibility we take on when we bring children into our families. When that happens, the adults involved have to make decisions based on how the child/children will be affected. This includes, moving to a new house, having other children, changing schools, breaking up of the parents [should there be more than one involved], or bringing a new adult into the family. It also means that we now have people in our lives who will challenge us on a daily basis, and demand honest answers. Children know when we are lying or hiding something, just as other adults do, and no one should have to suffer knowing half the truth and being left to make up the other half. In my case, for a long time, I would always assume the worst possible scenario was playing out. Ow. That caused a lot of misery and misunderstanding. Then as an adult in my 40s I learned to ask questions and to find clarification, to not just make assumptions, but to be courageous enough to get to the real issue. It ALWAYS helps to know what commitments are yours, and where others stand on their commitments. For good lessons on not making assumptions, I recommend the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz [link is on this blog]. We often don't consider promises to be commitments, and they are. Be mindful of them, they have meaning and impact on yourself and others.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Frustration-Expectation

There is a directly proportional relationship between your level of frustration and your level of expectation. When you find yourself expecting something, ask yourself; 'Why?' Where did the expectation come from? Did you make it up yourself? Did you agree with someone outside you that the 'thing' you expect is reasonable, fair or right? What good is that expectation doing you? What do you hope to gain? Is there another way to get the result you want? Lots of questions. One more: Is placing an expectation on someone/something outside yourself, really taking responsibility for the result?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do the Thing

It's important to learn about yourself, to find out what makes you happy and to get great ideas about how to rid your life of misery. It's an entirely different thing to take action on those ideas and inspirations.... to actually DO what you know in your mind will help you. Whenever you catch yourself using the word "should", you know you're in trouble with the doing part. Thinking doesn't take any time. Doing does take time. Take time to meditate, take time to be with your children, take time to call you parents or your friends, take time to go to the gym or just take a walk. If you're not willing to Do the Thing, saying you 'should' just sounds like whining. And nobody wants to hear that.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The power of a good conversation

I know this has happened to you. You run into someone you haven't seen in a really long time, and after the initial small talk and catching up, you pick up your friendship right where you left off. The details of each of your lives is there for discussion, but the conversation turns to what's going on now, and connecting in the present. Some friendships seem to go on 'hold' during the times apart, then the 'play' button is pushed and it feels like no time has passed. Laugh with your friends, be serious, share what's going on today. Then when you part again, you will know that the connection is still there, and that somewhere in the world, someone is keeping your conversation on hold, patiently waiting for the next talk. These people are part of us, and we are part of them. Remember that they are there.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Anger and Responsibility

A couple of references for this morning: A Pema Chodron YouTube clip and a quote by Krishnamurti.

As I am not a sophisticated YouTube video imbedder yet, you'll have to copy the following into your browser address and access it that way:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA&feature=player_embedded

"Want to know my secret? ...I don't mind what happens!" ~ J. Krishnamurti

There is another option. We can change our minds.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More passings

It seems like each day I hear about another pet who has passed.  Our non-human friends who live with us and love us are so amazing... I love my dogs, who are almost 13 years old, litter mates and such sweet companions I hate to ever leave them.  Of course, after their first greeting when I come home, they disappear to the couch or to sleep on my bed, and come out to eat and drink and answer the call of nature.  Once in awhile they get distracted by the neighbor's dog, or a bunny in the backyard.  They are gentle creatures who roam my house when I'm not there, sit with me and snuggle when I am, and make little sleepy sounds when I'm late going to bed.  Sometimes its hard to find a large enough spot in the bed to sleep, even though they are not large dogs.  How much space they take!  In my heart, and in my home and in my life.  They let me rub their chins together and look into their eyes.  They are forgiving when I need to move and it disturbs their slumber.  I am so fortunate and grateful for them, my Tuck and Patti, who love to play squeaky-toy with their Carrie.  :) 

For my friends who are grieving, I love you.

From the website:  www.peaceablekingdomac.com:
HEALING:
Given time, healing will occur for the bereaved owner. However, there are several things that the grief stricken owner can do to help speed up the healing process:

  1. Give yourself permission to grieve.  Only YOU know what your pet meant to you.
  2. Memorialize your pet.  Makes the loss real and helps with closure.  Allows the bereaved to express their feelings, pay tribute and reflect.  Draws in social support.
  3. Get lots of rest, good nutrition and exercise.
  4. Surround yourself with people who understand your loss.  Let others care for you.  Take advantage of support groups for bereaved pet owners.
  5. Learn all you can about the grief process.  Helps owners realize that what they are experiencing is normal.
  6. Accept the feelings that come with grief.  Talk, write, sing, or draw.
  7. Indulge yourself in small pleasures.
  8. Be patient with yourself.   DON'T let society dictate how long mourning should last.
  9. Give yourself permission to backslide.  It WILL end and your life WILL be normal again.  Grief is like waves in the ocean: at first the waves come in fast and hard, but as time goes on, the waves become less intense and further apart.  Don't be surprised if holidays, smells, sounds, or words trigger a relapse.
  10. Don't be afraid to get help.  Pet loss support groups, grief counselors...
  11. Be sure to consult your own "Higher Power."  Either religious or spiritual.


Anxiety and Informed Choice

I find myself saying the words 'so we know we did it on purpose' a lot.  The events of our lives can be anxiety-producing and overwhelming at times, and we can handle that.  We become afraid that the decision we're making or the conclusion we just came to might not work out in the long run.  I suggest we add a little bit of information to the equation, and see what happens.  Drop the urgency down a notch, take a breath and go after some new information, or a deeper level of understanding.  Turn the reaction to something into a response to something; do the next thing 'on purpose', not automatically.  Let's use our hearts and brains every day in every decision we make.  Take control.  Say 'Yes' or say 'No', and make it really reflect what you want as the outcome.  Every time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Traveling

Some say that I'm always packing to go somewhere. That would be true. Hard to pin me down. On any particular day I could be packing for something or unpacking. My house is usually in some sort of disarray, unless you are seeing it when I am on my way out the door. I like to come home to a tidy place. The point being... Even though it seems I'm never sitting still; I am always present where I am. I do not worry about things that are not in my immediate environment; it would be overwhelming. By remembering that I can really only be in one place at a time, and that whatever needs my attention will come to me, I can relax. I've also figured out that there are stores everywhere and if I forget something, it's no big deal. The weekends I don't travel are special gifts, and the travel takes me to people I love. And so, I am happy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tesla

 In 1900, Nikola Tesla [the inventor of the AC current and radio] wrote:  "We are all one.  Metaphysical proofs are, however, not the only ones which we are able to bring forth in support of this idea.  Science, too, recognizes this connectedness of separate individuals, though not quite in the same sense as it admits that the suns, planets, and moons of a constellation are one body, and there can be no doubt that it will be experimentally confirmed in times to come, when our means and methods for investigating psychical and other states and phenomena shall have been brought to great perfection."  We now have greater understanding of how connected we, as humans, truly are to each other.  How is it that a species so closely connected at a molecular level can have so much conflict within itself?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Peace of the River

Its a song. Of course. The words are: Peace I ask of thee, o river. Peace. Peace. Peace. When I learn to live serenely, cares will cease. From the hills I gather courage, visions of the days to be. Strength to lead and faith to follow, all are given unto me. Peace I ask of thee, o river. Peace. Peace. Peace. I had the amazing good fortune to learn this song at a young age. It has been with me most of my life. Words are powerful things.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Peace, Justice and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Last week I was able to see the new MLK memorial in Washington DC.  Part of this site is a long wall with several quotations.  I'm not sure how one would go about deciding which parts of a man's life to represent on a wall, but there they are. 14 of them.  I was reminded of this one today:  "True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." (Martin Luther King Jr. 16 April 1963, Birmingham, AL).  This doesn't feel to me like a statement about personal peace, but one about global or at least community-level peace.... something broader than just having peace in your heart/mind/body.  However, I think we can make this personal; apply it to ourselves as singular beings.  How often do we create tension within ourselves?  How often are we unjust with ourselves, either short-changing or embellishing?  When we are just with ourselves, we know the truth is present.  Is that all it takes, being honest with ourselves? 

Peace and the end of the Mayan Calendar

Next December we will experience the end of the Mayan calendar.  Some people in the world have no idea what the calendar is or what it represents.  Some people do.  If it really is considered significant for the whole planet, it won't matter whether you understand it or not, your life will be affected.  If not, then what's the fuss?  I have been reading more about the end of the Mayan calendar lately, and seeing the wide variety of predictions about what will occur.  What I think is that the change will be very personal for everyone, and that we have already begun to change.  Something about that particular winter solstice will somehow push us all 'over the edge' into something subtly different, and that we can chose what that will be.  We are the creators of our own lives, and are able to manifest many things using our minds and hearts.  If every person on the planet set his/her mind to spending more time with a peaceful heart, there would be a huge shift in attitude, cooperation, compassion and abundance.  At least that's what I think.  I am open to your comments, please share.