Posts

Tailgate

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I don't know whether it’s illegal or just bad.  I do know it has potential to cause destruction. Sometimes it’s almost like I want to be in the same seat as the other person.  It’s too close. Oh, I’m a good driver.  Thankfully I’ve never caused an accident.  But this word... "tailgate"came to mind when I tried to pinpoint the cause of the heavy heart that wouldn’t lift.  Tailgate.   Notably, I don't like to drive - and have recall of driving "tailgate"  - still the principle seems to fit. You see, if I’m not mindful I can be one of those people who sees my life through other people’s rear window - and that’s never the best view. No matter how close I get, looking at my life through other people's lives is never going to be healthy. In fact, it’s such a distorted perspective it’s destructive.  I can crash or more to the point crush my own heart.  Fortunately, most of the time I don’t drive my life (and never drive a literal vehicle) so as to tailgate. Min

Purslane

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Believed to be a native to North Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, Purslane  reached Europe by the late 16th century. It now grows in most parts of the world, preferring tropical weather and/or warm temperatures. Cultivated more than 4,000 years for food and medicinal use, this weed still serves both purposes today.  Considered very nutritious, Purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids (like those in fish and flax seeds), with other health properties such as vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium and antioxidants.  Both leaves and seeds are edible and Purslane is prominently used in cuisine around the world. Writing a series of essays on weeds is about finding hidden meaning, uncovering nuisances and discovering purposefulness in unexpected places.  In many ways it is a metaphor for how I’ve found ways to dig myself out of some the muck and mire circumstances in living life.  It’s a salient reminder about the intent of the practices I embrace to help

Nettle

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Nettle has a lot, a lot of bling. Or more appropriately a lot of bite, referring to sting of nettle leaves. Although nettle has heart-shaped leaves, with pretty yellow or pink flowers, the stem is covered in tiny, stiff hairs that release stinging chemicals when touched. The history of nettle stems from Egyptian antiquity, to the Roman Empire to the Scots soups. Its biological name is "Urtica Dioica" associated with the Latin word "uro" meaning "I bite" which has stuck with nettle. Still both bling and bite fit this intense, multipurpose herb. Those "biting" leaves of nettle can be dried and used as powders, tinctures, creams, teas, beer and even cloth found from the Bronze age. As a medicinal nettle i s high in nutrients and may help reduce inflammation, manage blood sugar, lower blood pressure, hay fever as well as other conditions. There's a lot to nettle; more medicinal, culinary and that which has yet to be discovered for those willing

Softly

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Softly, softly. I can’t remember where I heard that phrase.  A popular movie line?  A famous poetic refrain?  A great speech?  It will come to mind when I go “softly, softly” releasing the effort to press hard for recall.  I’m guessing that was the context of the original phrase; embracing the concept of easily moving toward the goal.  Paradoxically, the concept that "harder gets the results" is more widely accepted. Perhaps it depends on the situation which concept is appropriate. Indeed, in mindfulness it's not how hard you work, it's how committed you are to the practice.  I can remember first being introduced to mindfulness practice in a group setting and how several people were hard pressed to “get it” and get on to the next steps.  However, the facilitator explained “softly, softly” (that was not the exact phrase) was the approach for best benefit.  I for one, was very glad to hear that; it suited my spirit and I’ve way continued the practice in many the years s

Beyond

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Maybe the acting is bad. Maybe the Director of Photography didn't get the lighting perfect. Maybe the plot was absolutely implausible. So what! And maybe if  Steele Wool  would have had half the budget of one of those failed superhero serial films (especially those of the last decade); it might have succeeded where those films flopped. Yes, a budget of $200 million dollars might have made this indie movie “better” for some; those unable to see beyond the “indie film” label to its success. In this dark comedy, a deaf wife (Cameri Valera as Wool) gets rid of her abusive husband without getting caught. When the leader of a professional assassination group finds out who interfered with their hit and their payment, they make her an offer she can’t refuse. As it turns out, Wool is excited to take the deal and without checking, she ropes her old ex in as her partner for her new gig as a professional assassin. Yes, the plot is a bit tangled, but so were movies such as “Get Shorty” and “Pul

Park

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  A walk in the park and I thought, “Oh, yes!  That’s why they call it a park!” and “Oh, yes, That’s why they call it mindfulness!” Where would we be without parks?  In a vacant lot?  Trying to walk leisurely over rocks and boulders?  Holding the breath passing filthy landfills, instead of breathing in fragrant lavender of a park garden?  As I strolled the park one early morning, taking in the green of the grass, the tall trunks of the trees, the beautiful colors and fragrance of the blossoming flowers, I realized not only why we have parks, I felt how important it is “to park” our mind.  That is to go to the park, to be in the park , to park a nd just be.   The concept that comes to consciousness is “stop and smell the roses” (or any other flower that might be in your space).   Mindfulness, I thought, is also be an opportunity “to park” - a time to stop, focus on breath and embrace awareness. In the still presence of my park experience came an insight and simple truth about the nature

Alternatives

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 If it works like magic ... why do it?  Why not do something that works quicker and yields more fun like bar hopping? Why not just get a prescription? If something is bothering you, the quicker the relief, the better is the general reasoning. Why bother with mind exercises when you can take something to make you feel better in an instant...poof! Like magic - what ails you is gone. It's a legitimate question and the answer  is simple: We have a choice. Mindfulness is an option, optional, and for a great many people a healthy alternative. I'm not a doctor and have no medical training, so I refrain from saying mindfulness is a healthier choice. Nevertheless, the move towards healthy alternatives continues to gain momentum. Moreover, because we're all becoming smarter about self-help as well as self health, more options like healthy diets, regular exercise, meditation, yoga and mindfulness are becoming "the" choice alternative. Mindfulness is a practice, and practice