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Showing posts from February, 2020

Time #1

What time? Is there enough time? How much time do you have? Questions and concerns about time seem to be more prevalent these days. There’s no place you can go without being reminded or made aware of the time. That includes taking the metro to work, the minsule time your allowed/alloted with a doctor, catching a flight to a foreign country, timer on wrist for your daily or yoga session, the abbreviated time of cooking a meal you order online, or simply picking your child up from school on time, lest you be charged for every minute you’re not on time. There’s a variety of reasons to point to explain or blame the overwhelming prevalence of time restrictions, parameters and sense of urgency for all things. Regardless of the cause or causation, mindfulness can help balance some of the frustrations associated with society’s pressures around time. Whether it’s a leap, holiday season or Daylight Savings, a regular mindfulness practice can help you better balance your time and feel better bala

Time #1

What time? Is there enough time? How much time do you have? Questions and concerns about time seem to be more prevalent these days. There’s no place you can go without being reminded or made aware of the time. That includes taking the metro to work, the minsule time your allowed/alloted with a doctor, catching a flight to a foreign country, timer on wrist for your daily or yoga session, the abbreviated time of cooking a meal you order online, or simply picking your child up from school on time, lest you be charged for every minute you’re not on time. There’s a variety of reasons to point to explain or blame the overwhelming prevalence of time restrictions, parameters and sense of urgency for all things. Regardless of the cause or causation, mindfulness can help balance some of the frustrations associated with society’s pressures around time. Whether it’s a leap, holiday season or Daylight Savings, a regular mindfulness practice can help you better balance your time and feel bet

Decision

How do you know? How do you know when something is right for you? How do you know if you're making the best decision? How do you know? Life will always be full of opportunities to make decisions and choices. And the hope is the more you make choices and decisions, the better you get at it. Nonetheless, there will come a time when it seems you don’t know how or feel as though you know what decision or choice to make. This is a life guarantee. And it's no fun. No one likes to feel lost, unsure or confused. Once again, you’ll discover mindfulness is a great asset. Mindfulness as a practice will help hone your decision making. Mindfulness as practice can complement your choices. As I often state, mindfulness does not work as magic or a even a quick fix. On the contrary mindfulness like most things that make your life better requires your dedication. Mindfulness can help with your decision and choice-making because the practice brings clarity which clears the way for you to receive

Surrender #11

You didn’t get the password. You forgot the tickets. You missed the flight. Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Acceptance. Sometimes things happen in life and we just want to scream! It may be something we’ve planned for a while or something we need to do but just don’t have what we need to make it happen. This can be absolutely frustrating. You may curse and kick, but nothing will make it come to pass. Then the sadness sets in and you just want to curl up like a baby and ball your eyes out from the disappointment. And yet sometimes all one can do is acceptance. It's not defeat nor submission, it’s the kind of surrender that springs from mindfulness. Mindfulness may help you relax if you need to remember a password, which can fix that particular issue.  However, if you’ve left the tickets on the kitchen table or you’ve just watched the plane take off without you, mindfulness doesn’t change those circumstances, yet mindfulness can help change the way to experience those disappointments. A

Interchange #17

Do you always say it?  “Thank you.”  “You’re welcome.” It’s a two way street and sometimes we forget this. Sometimes when you may help someone, provide a service or do a kindness and you’re presented with a “Thank you” but may forget or feel it’s too formal to say “You’re welcome.”  Certainly, we can all appreciate a “Thank you” and yet the gesture becomes even sweeter when reciprocated with “You’re welcome” which complements the interchange.  It’s not without reason I chose the word “interchange” rather than “exchange” because it defines the interaction between two (or more) people. Applying “interchange” supports the idea that mutual interaction is for the benefit of both parties.  Saying “Thank you” and receiving “You’re welcome” as a reply implies that both parties appreciate and respect the reciprocal exchange.  That’s is no one has to give up, replace or substitute in order to get the benefit of the interaction.  This is what I call reciprocal gratitude, a mindfulness thought. Su

Bargain Days #20

  Can you remember the last time you had one of those good bargain days? No, I’m not speaking of one of those annual, monthly or weekly “spend more than you think you’re spending" days for bargain sales. These are bargains days when all you seek is a break - from whatever! On days like these you bargain with the powers-that-be imploring "If this happens...then I’ll do this” because you just need a break! I know the feeling, and yet I don’t do bargain days such as these. However, I can recall those days when I bargain, “Something has got to change” - please! There are similarities in days like these because each calls for faith. Days like these are a pleading, a request, a prayer, when we cry out for a little help, preferably in the form of change; noticeably positive change. In my case, when it comes to days like these, through mindfulness, I’ve learned to affirm rather than bargain. Mindfulness does not guarantee any particular outcome or change I seek. As a practice, mindfu

Bargain Days #20

  Can you remember the last time you had one of those good bargain days? No, I’m not speaking of one of those annual, monthly or weekly “spend more than you think you’re spending" days for bargain sales. These are bargains days when all you seek is a break - from whatever! On days like these you bargain with the powers-that-be imploring "If this happens...then I’ll do this” because you just need a break! I know the feeling, and yet I don’t do bargain days such as these. However, I can recall those days when I bargain, “Something has got to change” - please! There are similarities in days like these because each calls for faith. Days like these are a pleading, a request, a prayer, when we cry out for a little help, preferably in the form of change; noticeably positive change. In my case, when it comes to days like these, through mindfulness, I’ve learned to affirm rather than bargain. Mindfulness does not guarantee any particular outcome or change I seek. As a practice,

Ask #7

It can be challenging to ask for help. Sometimes when we need help, we won’t ask. We find it hard to simply “ask” for what we need. Instead, we may blame others, either individual, an agency or a business for being unwilling to provide the help we want. Rather because we are uncomfortable asking, feel ashamed or have, believe it wrong to ask for help, we must “ask” if we want help. No matter what is happening in my life, by grace I know there is help at hand if I but only ask. Undoubtedly, in times of challenge asking for help may seem like one more thing added to pile of difficulty. If so, mindfulness may provide a way to see the difficulty differently. Mindfulness can help calm thoughts and open heart to grace. Grace is an opportunity to experience love in its many forms. This can include the help you may need when you ask. Mindfulness leads a way to the help we need to create balance as we move toward a path of progress and peace. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you wil

What Rules #23

An adage, especially an old adage remains alive and well, apt and applicable because there’s something to be said in what the adage says. Have you ever had the opportunity to help someone, but didn’t? Not because you didn’t have the necessary tools to do so or because you didn’t know how to help. Rather, the reason you didn’t help was because of a rule. The adage “rules are made to be broken” probably has an equivalent in most languages. This adage is often used by someone requesting something be done differently, requesting special consideration or a special process (instead of the established). Recently I heard "rules are made to be broken" used by a customer in a store. As the conversation went back and forth between the customer and customer service agent, I wondered about both sides of the query.  What did the customer want (so badly) that a rule needed to be broken to accommodate? More importantly, why was the rule so necessary that the attendant couldn’t serve the cust

Dimensions #10

Usually when I propose an idea, open a perspective or share an insight it’s a straight aim (although my style of writing may have peaks and valleys).  This address is unusual as it questions love. I was thinking about the many dimensions, definitions and detours we take to make love. Moreover, if there are so many aspects of love, can love truly be the end-all, the be-all the answer when all other “answers” fail us. Who is love when a child hurts and no one is there to love the hurt away?  Where is love when an elder is left in a nursing home to fade away as children, grands, great-grands don’t come with love?  What place is love when a person is suddenly without a job, loses their home, their dignity and often their hope? Which dimension, definition, detour can we take to make love in these circumstances.  As I said, this is an unusual address; still there is mindfulness. It would be unwise of to submit mindfulness as a solution was all the ills of life.  However, a practice of min

Dimensions #10

Usually when I propose an idea, open a perspective or share an insight it’s a straight aim (although my style of writing may have peaks and valleys).  This address is unusual as it questions love. I was thinking about the many dimensions, definitions and detours we take to make love. Moreover, if there are so many aspects of love, can love truly be the end-all, the be-all the answer when all other “answers” fail us. Who is love when a child hurts and no one is there to love the hurt away?  Where is love when an elder is left in a nursing home to fade away as children, grands, great-grands don’t come with love?  What place is love when a person is suddenly without a job, loses their home, their dignity and often their hope? Which dimension, definition, detour can we take to make love in these circumstances.  As I said, this is an unusual address; still there is mindfulness. It would be unwise of to submit mindfulness as a solution was all the ills of life.  However, a practice

Sound Advice #81

“No,  it ’ s   not  a  Reggae band .  Yep, that’s a she not a he singing that song.  And no it’s not a devil worship song, it’s just the way the artist expresses those feelings. ” Yes , I  am  out of  touch  when  it   comes  to  new ,  different  and  popular music .  Admittedly so. I   love   music , all  kinds  of   music   (except, honestly, Opera  is  beyond my  embrace ) .  Nonetheless, I will give a listen to most any music.  And yet, as the years have passed what I listen to is slowly but surely falling into the category of “oldies but goodies”  (in accordance with my age group music era) .  Although most certainly people, including younger folks would know the artist I like, remember and hold dear.  I realize I’ve put up a barrier, a wall, a partition when it comes to new music listening options.  In doing so,  it   makes   it  difficult to  say  “ I   love  all  music ” when in  fact ,  I   only  listen to my “ oldies  but goodies” familiar  music .  Here again I find mindful

Sound Advice #81

“No,  it ’ s   not  a  Reggae band .  Yep, that’s a she not a he singing that song.  And no it’s not a devil worship song, it’s just the way the artist expresses those feelings. ” Yes , I  am  out of  touch  when  it   comes  to  new ,  different  and  popular music .  Admittedly so. I   love   music , all  kinds  of   music   (except, honestly, Opera  is  beyond my  embrace ) .  Nonetheless, I will give a listen to most any music.  And yet, as the years have passed what I listen to is slowly but surely falling into the category of “oldies but goodies”  (in accordance with my age group music era) .  Although most certainly people, including younger folks would know the artist I like, remember and hold dear.  I realize I’ve put up a barrier, a wall, a partition when it comes to new music listening options.  In doing so,  it   makes   it  difficult to  say  “ I   love  all  music ” when in  fact ,  I   only  listen to my “ oldies  but goodies” familiar  music .  Here again I find mindf

Fish for Life #16

Give a person (man) a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person (man) to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. Chinese Proverb? Maimonides? Lao-Tzu? Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie? Italian Sentiment? African Adage? Native American Saying? Mao Zedong? Biblical Story? No one really knows where this adage originated, but most people have heard it and know that in general it relates to charity.  More importantly it relates to a deeper understanding of charity. The adage of “teach them to fish” suggests that giving and/or sharing one’s talents, information or financial support is good, yet that the greater gift is giving in a way that will enable a person to become self-sufficient.   Certainly charity is a necessary kindness in the world and an expression of love.  However, if charity lacks mindfulness, it can rob people of freedom, motivation and drive to do and be greater selfs.  Mindfulness in all things helps balance the way we live our lives, as well as the way we live and r

Fish for Life #16

Give a person (man) a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person (man) to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. Chinese Proverb? Maimonides? Lao-Tzu? Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie? Italian Sentiment? African Adage? Native American Saying? Mao Zedong? Biblical Story? No one really knows where this adage originated, but most people have heard it and know that in general it relates to charity.  More importantly it relates to a deeper understanding of charity. The adage of “teach them to fish” suggests that giving and/or sharing one’s talents, information or financial support is good, yet that the greater gift is giving in a way that will enable a person to become self-sufficient.   Certainly charity is a necessary kindness in the world and an expression of love.  However, if charity lacks mindfulness, it can rob people of freedom, motivation and drive to do and be greater selfs.  Mindfulness in all things helps balance the way we live our lives, as well as the

Little Lives #8

I feel like I’m a character in a book and everyone knows the plot except me. And then I realized that’s how everybody lives their life. Nobody knows the answers plot, we’re all just plotting along. I related so well to this paraphrased image as described by a character in a recent book I was reading that laughed out loud. In effect, I suppose most people can relate. Sometimes life can seem as though we are living “little lives” inside little lives. In such a scenario, life may show up as layer on top of a layer on top of a layer and we become vulnerable. Layers of “little lives” may show up as overwhelming school loans, caring for children or children caring for an aging parent or divorce, or loss of a job or a home; loss of loved one or any combination of these issues. And it’s during these times it's good to have a helpful friend, a loving partner, a supportive parent, a trusted therapist or religious counselor and a mindfulness practice. The struggle of growing up and finding a

Little Lives #8

I feel like I’m a character in a book and everyone knows the plot except me. And then I realized that’s how everybody lives their life. Nobody knows the answers plot, we’re all just plotting along. I related so well to this paraphrased image as described by a character in a recent book I was reading that laughed out loud. In effect, I suppose most people can relate. Sometimes life can seem as though we are living “little lives” inside little lives. In such a scenario, life may show up as layer on top of a layer on top of a layer and we become vulnerable. Layers of “little lives” may show up as overwhelming school loans, caring for children or children caring for an aging parent or divorce, or loss of a job or a home; loss of loved one or any combination of these issues. And it’s during these times it's good to have a helpful friend, a loving partner, a supportive parent, a trusted therapist or religious counselor and a mindfulness practice. The struggle of growing up and find

Anger Away #37

Hurt people, hurt others. Because of their pain, they feel justified in their anger and hate because they were hurt. The hate becomes a replacement for the hurt and investment in staying angry. Nonetheless, anger takes a lot of energy. And for a while the anger can recharge and fuel the hate. However, at some critical point, perhaps a health issue or an emotional disease, they realize the hate is being internalized and as doing no good. Enough is enough. Cultural experiences like travel, traditional book education, or even making online friends are healthy ways to divest anger. Indeed, it takes time to recover from personal hurt, however, with mindfulness the balance improves with practice. Mindfulness is a way beyond the hurt, into forgiveness, toward love and a path of progress and peace. Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm.    Psalm 37:8 (BSB )

Teach Love #32

What do you  love ? A  favorite  food? A  favorite  place? A  favorite  car? I  love   teachers . I  love   teachers  for a  myriad  of  reasons .   Not the least of these are the lessons of reading and writing which provide the basic tools so we can go out and “do things” in the world. I used cringe  when  I heard people put “ love ” in front of a pair of shoes, a sports team, a movie, a cell phone, a TV show, a beer because “ love ” is such a special word I thought it wasted  when  attached to things.   Yes ,  I   know , sounds  silly ! Silly   because   I   realize  the  use  of “ love ” in  association  with our  favorite  things  is  a  figure  of  speech .  More importantly, I know it’s silly because “love” is abundant!  Silly because there is always enough “love” to go around!  Truly, whether we attach “love” to things, ideas, thoughts, feelings, places, pets or people, “love” is abundant. Believe  it or not, this how the  practice  of mindfulness can  help   create  better bala

Amour #46

This year’s Oscars, which I didn't watch, have come and gone. In fact, although I’ve loved movies since I was a kid, I haven’t watched The Oscars in many years. I wondered about the last time I saw an “Oscar worthy” movie; again it's been several years. Interestingly, it was a movie I wasn’t excited about watching because of the subject matter. I cringe when I hear myself say something like this because I want to be open to the opinions and ideas and thoughts of others which often a way to gain new insight.Thankfully, I pushed past the stop-gap and saw the movie (online) and the critics were right (with this movie).  Having received great critical acclaim, “Amour” (French) is a movie about being old(er) and how older folks must make it the world that does not want old people; or at the very least, don’t want to be reminded of getting old(er). Moreover, I was surprised to discover “Amour” explored aging as it relates to romantic love which is something not often portrayed on the

Color Scene #21

The vast openness hypnotized me as  I   stood   looking  out the tall sixteenth floor window at the dark gray dull blue sky.  What a dreary day.  I turned away from the gloomy view to prompt Michael, my lawyer that I had indeed confirmed the appointment to talk with him about the car accident.  Once more, he  mouthed  the  words  and motioned with his  finger .  “Half-second.  Please? ”I feigned a  smile , turned away and  began   pacing  in  silence , impatiently waiting for his  full  attention.   Undoubtedly our experiences color our thoughts, and maybe that’s why I was in such a sombre mood that day.  Granted, the  car accident , a  fender bender  wasn’t a joyous occasion, yet there was  cause  for  celebration  as  I  had  not been  hurt .  This  is  just  goes to show how sometimes what  we  perceive is short-sighted as in the c ase  of stereotypes and prejudice.  With stereotypes come generalizations which  definitely  color how we see and interact with a neighbor, the community

In Love #16

Anyone who has  fallen in  love  will  agree  it’ s  an incredible experience  enhanced  by  hours  of tender telephone conversations, long  loving  stares into each other’s  eyes , slow soothing walks, and secret smiles that  create  an extraordinary euphoria as you  fall   deeper  and  deeper  in  love .   Soon  the  desire  becomes insatiable, and the  time   spent   together  is never enough.   We  are  each divinely created to  love  and  be   love .  This  is  why we can  appreciate  the  smile  from a  stranger  for the  sake  of that shared moment, the cuddle of a  child , a rub or nuzzle of a  pet , as  well  as that intimate walk on a  beautiful  beach.   It’s all about  love , and the  practice  of mindfulness  reminds  us to honor  love  in its  myriad  of  expressions ;  as we move forward on a  path  of  progress  and  peace . Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14  (NIV)

A Kind of Love #5

As a nation, we still suffer many societal ills. Among these is institutionalized racism, growing homelessness, being overworked and under-paid, drug abuse, random violence, complacency and cultural ignorance just to name a few. Those who can afford it try to escape problems with money: others through religion, angry rhetoric, politics, food, drugs, and sex without responsibility.  Moreover, despite all the technological, scientific and medical progress that has been made, when it comes to how we treat each other on a person to person level, too often we are still enslaved by rage, fear and negative energy. Instead of offering a hand or a hug (literal or symbolic) there is so much unnecessary exchange of embittered words and destructive deeds. This only serves to intensify latent disharmony already looming, while compounding toxic fumes of disease, discord and disrespect.  Clearly, other communities around the world have their share of social and political problems.  Yet if this is to

Forever Young #3

Although today people are living longer and finding better ways to "do" life, it’s still a widely accepted western belief that anyone over age 30 has already lived the best part of their lives. Today’s image based, high-tech society applauds youth and resents age. The dominant culture has an unhealthy preoccupation with remaining forever young. Commercials bombard us with “look good, feel young” clothes, diets, hair dyes, creams, and even deodorant all claiming to keep us young and beautiful by covering up or hiding the natural effects of aging.  Indeed, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look one’s best at any age, and it’s even better when we feel our best. However, the reality is that most of us spend far too much time trying to hold onto our youth. We fight the truth of aging and often miss lessons learned of our youth. We look back and say, “Those were the good ole days!” Maybe it’s a natural process of aging, or perhaps this society’s pervasive focus on looking youn

Nature of Love #2

There is much written about how we can look to nature for answers about “human nature,” “the nature of life”and “the nature of a person” as a way to help understand each other. Indeed, I am certain my love of nature guides, supports and informs my personality. For me, creative expression has oftentimes been inspired by the simple meditative practice of watching a pebble ripple across the surface of the pond. Likewise, I’m of the belief that at some time or another, humans incorporate, embrace or express a love of nature in ways we may not even realize. Whether through heartwarming meals shared with family and friends, or in our creative ideas at work, in teaching, medicine, law, science and technology.  Not surprisingly, through mindfulness we readily see that nature of love, balance and peace. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.   Song of Solomon 2:12 (ESV)

Box of Chocolates #27

When you think of you a dear friend do you think box of chocolates, roses and big red heart balloons? Probably not. Although most of us appreciate, care deeply and love our friends, chances are we don’t associate the big love holiday with our dear friends. Yes, I know your husband/wife/partner is your best friend, which is a good thing.  And yet, when “The Big Love” holiday is upon us, most of us picture an intimate partner.   Well after a recent conversation with a dear friend, I realized how much I appreciated the person being there; listening, and holding my hand (albeit metaphorically).  We talked, we laughed, we shared old memories and I got past the pain. Thing is there was no big discussion, labeling or identifying the problem causing the imbalance. And yet, it felt safe to be vulnerable; to need a friend.   So maybe this year there’s a dear friend (or several friends) you will want to remember when it comes to the “The Big Love” holiday; I know I will.   Just by being there, m