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Showing posts from June, 2020

PATH

“I’ve been on the path for a while.”   I vividly remember my first true spiritual teacher sharing this as I sat in a conference trying to figure out whether connecting with that spiritual community was a good thing,  The fact is, I was terrified that I was crossing some forbidden boundary that I feared being struck down sooner, rather than later.  The spiritual community was so different from what I had known and been taught growing up that I thought I would be breaking a  law, becoming a sinner, heading for down into the darkest depths, never to return to safety.  And that was the issue, the problem, the torment because even though I felt such a sense of upheaval, never in my life had such truth touched my heart. Which is why I knew this too was the path. It’s over a decade and now when I reflect on that meeting, I  smile at the wise, patient, unbiased counsel my spiritual teacher gave.  I smile because I remember thinking, How can you know all this stuff...we’re practically the same

AWARENESS

Awareness is a significant component of creating better balance in your life.  It’s a concept, idea, state of mind that begins the journey.  Awareness can also be difficult for people to understand perhaps because it falls within the spiritual realm.  Likewise, awareness has to do with a higher state of consciousness which may also cause people to overthink awareness.  In a short, it’s the “Ah ha moment” or the “Oh, I understand moment” or the “I see moment” that explains awareness. This is not to say that making the connection to awareness is easy; it takes practice.  A daily practice of  mindfulness is one way to connect to awareness.  I also think it helps to understand why awareness can help.  Again, in simple terms awareness helps bring things to the surface so we can see may be blocking our balance.  Once we are able to see, we have clarity and know better how to move forward. This is why mindfulness is practiced in quiet, in order to open to awareness.  Like most things that hel

LOVE

What new can be said about love? In truth nothing new can be said about love. And somehow that’s the point: love is, has always been and will remain as love. Although sometimes a reminder is a good thing. It helps sometimes to hear about love from a different perspective. You know how it is when you know something so well it's as familiar as your own name, you give it little thought. Such as your favorite food, best book, or the music you listen to most. It may seem off-handed, yet when we connect love to something, we better understand love. That’s the very interesting nature of love, we must connect to love to feel, experience or know love. This is not to say we must be in love because the wonderful mystic of love is that we are open to love. How incredible it is, that even if you were in the middle of nowhere, with no one, you can still know love, as long as you are open to love. I’m sure I’m not the only one who, from time to time has had to work to wrap my head around

FUN

We need more of it; fun. I sometimes wonder if the lack of fun in the adult population is the reason for so much imbalance in the world. It’s a short word and a simple concept, but it can still hold difficulty for the best of us. In fact, we have set aside time for fun. Likewise, scientific research has provided support that fun is part of good health. Ostensibly, weekends were dedicated to fun. However, the harder, faster people chase “the dream” (wealth, fame, perfection), the less fun there is to be had, even on the weekend. It’s not a new happening; society has been slowly but surely building up to having less fun.   Can’t say we don’t have enough technology, media and methods to have fun. There are hundreds of theme parks, easier for people to travel to different and far off places.  Of course the web provides all kinds of opportunities from mega people participant board games to creating your own world from the bottom up.  Really when you think about it, having fun doesn’t requir

YOU

Unique. Uno. Ultimate. Sometimes when I’m singing a verse from one of my most popular songs, “Why are YOU like this?” I’ll see something so silly, so curious, so life affirming I have to stop and be still.  Blessedly, I stop singing that popular but crummy song and start clapping.  Sometimes a visual clap and sometimes it’s actual hallelujah, give praise, put your hands together clap.  Those are times I relish, revel, rejoice and return to the realization...YOU are you because you are YOU! Mindfulness at the best of times helps keep me healthy.  Mindfulness at the worst of times helps to give me a better perspective.  Indeed, when dark clouds threaten, pity-party wants an invite and stinking-thinking whispers grow louder, mindfulness is the safest place to be to help YOU. Although mindfulness has a reputation of less scientific and more mystical, there is no magic to why and/or how it helps.  Mindfulness is very much a matter of daily practice so that  you invite, allow, open your head

UNLIMITED

Do you ever forget that love in “unlimited” with enough to share and spare? It’s a feel-good, encouraging and even liberating truth. Of course it can only be this way when you believe. Either way, whether you embrace this principle or not, you’ve heard chances are you’ve heard it or something similar before. Somebody is always writing books, screenplays or giving advice about love. Often, it's about how to keep love, not share it. Unfortunately, that’s what called my attention also; remembering love is unlimited. You’ve heard the cliche 2 is company and three is a crowd? So there I was watching a modern day “B” (as in a badly made movie) about this very topic on one of “those” channels.  A popular, smart, spread-the-love-around friend wants the old best friend and the new best friend to meet at the 20 year high school reunion. Obviously, this means the those involved were by now parents of high school children or at the least qualify as adults.  Nonetheless, the icky feelings betwe

OTHERS

We live in a world where so many people are connected to so many other people in so many other places.  And yet, it’s becoming increasingly clear that people are indeed connected, but not making not making real, true, authentic connections with others. It would seem, as the cliche goes that he more people you have access to, the more connections with others.  Case and point, there is a building in my neighborhood with 24 floors, twenty-four floors, lots of floors with who knows how many units on each floor.  That’s a lot of opportunity to connect with others.  Nonetheless, I’d wager many, if not most of those people, aren’t embracing that “right in your own backyard” opportunity to connect with others. I’m reasonably sure about this perspective because when I lived in a tall building with lots of tenants I did very little to connect with others.  Granted it wasn’t a 24-floor building, but there were enough floors that I might have made a new connection on any given day of the week.  I

GOALS

I’ve been feeling like I need to make a confession, an apology or at the very least mia copia.  I think I’ve pinpointed the source of this angst after having yet another conversation with a parent about his/her child.  This was not a confession about how wonderful the child has been doing, or the cute little thing the child had recently done or even ‘yes the do grow up so fast’ conversation.  This was the “no goal” conversation.  This was the conversation about my child having no goals.  My child has not decided what she/he wants to do with their life.  My child is driving us crazy not having a goal conversation.  This was when I told my child, “pick a goal, any goal...we’ll support that goal” conversation.  I’d a few of these recently in quick succession.  Interestingly, I found myself chiming in with my own story about “my child” with no goals.  As I shook my head in agreement and poised my face in understanding I offered my tale of woe about my god-child (well not officially, but cl

ORDER

My friend and I had a good laugh-out-loud recently while I listened to  her excitement about the services she purchased to help bring order to her home office. In actuality, I laughed-out-loud as she tried to explain (justify) why she paid someone to tell her to buy different color bins to help keep her home office in order. And when I was finally able to stop laughing, I told her I would have given her that advice for free as well as personally put her office in order. Well with that offer came her laugh-out-loud opportunity. She said, as only a friend could say, “I don’t want prison, I want order” and we both laughed. I was reminded we had this discussion before about my “relationship” with order. Yes, my friend had a point.  As it turns out during the many years of our friendship we had a few (maybe more than a few) touch-and-go as well as laugh-out-loud moments with regard to my "appreciation for order" as I like to explain it. You know the type of person who lifts your g

THINKING

Thinking, thoughts, perceptions, mind all are in our head yet considered differently. There are tons of books and articles in every field from psychologists to philosophers, from medical professionals to mind readers, clergy to clairvoyants, from scientist to spiritualist. They all have definitions with nuisances which attempt to explain our thinking and yet thinking about the nuisances can get confusing. However, there is one thing I know for sure thinking, thoughts, perceptions and mind are all connected to how and who we are. Moreover, and most importantly this is the reason we must be mindful of our thinking. One thing that’s coming to light is the very real connection between our thinking and how we manifest our life. That is to say, how and what we are thinking affects our mind, body and spirit. It is more than “mumbo-jumbo” to say “Your are what you think” which is now understood by mind, body and spirit practitioners all over the world. The revelation of this connection that ph

THANKS

Of course I wanted to use the title “Thank You” however in keeping with the challenge of one word, “Thanks” is where I begin. Undoubtedly, some will consider, "thank you” and “thanks” the same thing. Certainly, “thanks” is a word of gratitude just as “thank you” are words of gratitude. Yet, like many things in life, people do appreciate when you go the extra mile for them. And I think a lot of us perceive and receive “thank you” as the extra mile, but appreciate thanks. These ponderings come in the course of a work day or in the whiff of a passing conversation or in full display while waiting on the ridiculously long lines on a day I decided to treat myself to special coffee. And as I watched the barista put the coffee on the counter, ring the transaction and finish with a “thanks,” I wondered if it was all part of a day's work. Because let's face it; many of us have jobs we don’t exactly love, we may not get paid as we feel we deserve or get the points we feel we deserve

MY

Who knew two little letters could say so much. Together these two letters m+y create a powerful word which is among one of the first we learn after mommy and daddy.  It’s official place in the language rules is as a possessive; denoting one is speaking about something they own and/or belongs to them.   Technically the language explanation gets a little dicey when trying to explain how anyone can own a country, a park husband or wife or children for that matter.  However, that’s a totally different discussion with regard to the proper or inappropriate application of the word  my . What I was thinking about was how much I actually use the word my.   As I listened, it seemed the word rolled off my tongue and out my so many, maybe too many times within the span of a 5-minute conversation.  I’m not sure what called attention to it, in that particular conversation, yet I did realize “You’re saying ‘my’ an awful lot.”  Indeed, it may have been the nature of the conversation and quite unavoida

COURAGE

Getting beyond the fear and fighting the good fight is what comes to mind when I think of courage. Doing something that commands you to use all your strength and then some to move toward the thing you fear deeply. In essences it's a picture of strength, grit and bravado that I most associate with courage. And then I realized the other side of courage. Courage is a type of love. Consider 1 Corinthians 13 which states: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” A much repeated verse, but its strength, power, and courage of love is never lost no matter how many times, the verse is quoted. Oftentimes represented in allegory by Great Kings, Great Queens, Great Rulers of power demonstrate great courage through compassion and love.  More and more people of politics, relationship advisors, revered spiritual teachers and respected community leaders are speaking the message of courage as love. The courage to have compassion for diversity in whateve

DONE

Have you ever turned the last page of a good book and had that peculiar pang that comes with the end, finished, done? It really is a peculiar sensation because on the one hand there’s that sense of accomplishment; but on the other hand tangible elements of that book linger even when done. Occasionally a good book stays for weeks, even after I've started another book. I wonder if marathon runners have that peculiar pang, or if they’re just glad when they make it to the end. What about architects? There must be tremendous elation in building a structure, a house or a skyscraper. Yet, I wonder if they have just a little pinch of that peculiar pang once the building is done. Maybe it just happens when books are done. I’ve heard lots of readers share about this peculiar pang when they’ve finished reading a good book. No doubt there’s some kind of psychology term for this novel sensation that comes with having reached the end. Undoubtedly, it has to do with the very idea of “the end” whi

FEELINGS

Feelings aren’t facts.  You’ve heard that one before I’m sure.  It’s a thing people say now.  I guess it’s supposed to help.  However,  truth be told it never helps when someone says MY feelings are unimportant.  Because that’s exactly what that sounds like, as if facts stand stronger than love, patience and kindness.   Yes, I know saying “Feelings aren’t facts” was coined to help people who are having a tough time with their emotions and/or feelings. The phrase is supposed to be a tiny pinch or like the prick of pin to help bring a person back to reality.  Indeed, pronouncing “Feelings aren’t facts” might be a panacea, like hemp; an easy, available, harmless “medicine” that anybody can prescribe.  And if there’s one thing our society believes in, it’s taking “quick” harmless medicine.  No one wants to allow the time or take the time needed to work through feelings.  Can you imagine employers giving HR the go ahead to approve a 3 month, 6 month or even more leave time so that an employ

VISION

The Vision Board is another one of those New Age secrets, formulas or promises  that if practiced “the right way”  will bring you all the success, desires and dreams of your vision.  The idea is to collect pictures from magazines, personal photos and from online photoshops that represent all the good things you want for your life.  Once collected these picture representations are glued to a cardboard.  Presumably the size of the board reflects the size of your desires.  After you’ve collected, arranged and glued your pictures you hang the board some place central to your vision.  In this way you will be able to keep an eye on dreams, see what you want and ultimately have a clear vision of the life you want. Interestingly, although it may have little or no bearing I peaked online to find many versions, many different people explaining their version, in varying lessons from 5 minutes to 2 hours. Why not...they say seeing is believing. Right?   In point of fact, I like the idea of a Visio

CHOCOLATE

There are some days you just want chocolate. There doesn’t need to be a break-up, depression or a minor crisis to imbibe the deep, dark delicacy without guilt on these days. Perhaps you have a better relationship with chocolate, unlike some of us who can’t stop eating at one bite or one piece. Chocolate is also one of those sweet edibles for which the confectionary aroma actuates anticipation of the pleasure. Moreover, even in these sound-bites of delicacy represents an opportunity for mindfulness. A craving can be a quest to hear and answer a call from self. Granted chocolate might not be as detrimental as some other need for awareness, and that’s ok. It’s rich, creamy and even comforting which is exactly why some days you just need chocolate. PBS had a program about chocolate a few years ago and it was delicious. Who knew there was such history and even controversy behind chocolate. There were connections with royalty, covert operations and not surprisingly passions connected to choc

PROGRESS

Progress not perfection  is one of the healthiest self-talk tools I’ve ever heard. I think I came across it in Alanon during the many years I clung to “The Program” to save my sanity. Ironically, it was this self-talk tool that told me it was time to let go of that program when I felt I had progressed enough to balance sanity without the meetings. To be clear, I was no way near perfect, (who is) and in those rooms I learned I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever be perfect. In those meetings I learned that progress is the healthiest way. I will always be grateful to Alanon because it is an amazing program and it does work, when you work it! And if I’m not mistaken, I believe that’s one of the tenets of “The Program”...progress. Sometimes I look at my little niece, who is the joy of my life, and I think how small and tiny she once was. Born tiny, she remains a bit smaller than most children her age which means squat; because she is such a big girl in her mind and spirit. Her mom has done a great

ADVENTURE

I’ve always thought of myself as adventurous. Dreams of going to new and different places. Thoughts of meeting different and interesting people. Ideas about doing different and daring things; just because. And then life became life; doing the things we need to do to pay bills, eat and keep internet service on. You know: job, car, partner, kids, dogs, cats, in-laws and mortgage. Not all of it happens in that precise order and some doesn’t happen at all. Yet, I think at a certain age (the number is different for different folks), many of us look up and go, “Hey, what happened to that adventurous self?”Or you might ask “Was I ever adventurous or did I just crave adventure?” Nobody asked, but they must have read my mind when they created The Explorer Channel. Obviously a channel dedicated to exploration, however, I find the fundamental viewpoint is adventure. As the channel has developed, hosts went from reporting on the travel, discovery and adventure of others to being the adventurer rep

TRUST

Initially, I wanted to  consult a diplomat manual; perhaps reread Markings or uncover a “How To” essay by Dag Hammarskjold (Swedish Diplomat 1953-1961, Nobel Peace Prize 1961). Or maybe read up on the thoughts of Billy Graham, crowned the “Presidents Preacher” because he’s had the trust of almost every president of the last 50 years until his recent death. Alternatively, more timely insight on trust might be discovered watching Super Soul Sunday or consulting my copy of What I Know for Sure because if anyone has gained the trust of millions, from all walks of life, consistently for decades, it’s Oprah Winfrey.  Ultimately, I decided to trust my own experience and lessons, as well as what I’ve learned from these spectacular sources about trust. In my lifetime one of the greatest breach of trust came when President Clinton violated the truth he was sworn to uphold as leader of the country. No need to rehash the salacious details of his marital infidelity which can be found with a Googl

BITTERSWEET

If ever there was a word that went straight to the heart of the matter, “bittersweet” is that word. It says exactly what it is, leaves little to question and touches something in spirit that makes you feel exactly that “bitter” and “sweet” which is practically impossible. Suffice to say that’s the meaning and intent of the word. Don’t cry is the sweet part of the word, inexplicably attached to comfort where there is no comfort to be found. And yet you know between the words bitter and sweet there was once something good.  You want to remember that always, because it's gone and will never be again. I checked out a film, and was almost half way through before I realized it wasn't  Danish. Instead the was movie German, perhaps the first from this country I'd watched. Not to labor the point, thinking it a Danish film I was expecting something a little different. Nevertheless, what I got was the simple, solid, unsaturated perspective I anticipated from a Danish film. Regardless

IMAGINATION

I can remember wanting to be a scientist when I was a child. I loved finding out new things. I loved the adventure of a walk; picking up a rock and wondering what made it this or that kind of rock. I remember watching the grass, the sky, a leaf and paying attention to the nature of change and evolution. I loved discovery. I asked questions -  a lot - and it often got on grown ups nerves. But of course the world was a different place then - children were taught to be seen and not heard. And this is why now as a grown up I love when children ask me questions.  I welcome it. Indeed, I can almost feel the power of their young minds working when they ask questions and it's invigorating. No question is too embarrassing for a child who has a desire to discover and exercising imagination. In a real sense, I know that I’m giving children the attention, freedom and super-power they need to grow and expand imagination. Admittedly, I don't read many biographies, however, I've noticed t

CITIZEN

Perhaps the first association that came to your mind was also “Citizen Kane” the much applauded Orson Welles movie of 1941. Orson Welles is said to have completed one of the all time greatest movies of the industry. Interestingly, I’ve watched the movie several times, and I still can’t figure out why the movie is so highly regarded.  Anyhow, when a unlikely word floats into mind, I know it’s intentional and best to go with the flow; which if I think about it...isn’t that the behavior of a good citizen? I won’t even pretend to be able to form a good definition of the word citizen without consulting the dictionary. Per Dictionary.com the word citizen is defined as: a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protection. For what it's worth, the exact wording of this definition bears little resemblance to my abstract understanding of a citizen. Vaguely I understand a citizen as one who exists. First associations incl

BREATHE

It’s the first thing we do.  Always. The first way we know we are alive.  Breath.  It’s natural.  It’s automatic.  It’s life itself.  So how is it there are so many books, videos, podcasts, programs, exercises on and on and on “instructing” us about how to do something that’s natural. Literally, if we don’t breathe we don’t exist.  It’s mind-blowing when I think of all the “stuff” aimed at teaching something that is the very element of life.  For without breath, when we cease to breath, we no live.  We can no longer breathe. So by all means breathe. I guess I had to get that out because even as I sat down to write about breath, I had to be mindful to breathe with intent.  Breathe with the intent of sharing something healthy, healing, and helpful on a subject I think is implicit in all I write.  Much like a musician, who no matter how far the music may stray from that first tune you heard, they remain consistent in the “spirit” of their music.   In this case the “spirit” of the message

OPTIMISTIC

Lovely! Lovely! Lovely! A lovely word, optimistic. Why then do I use it so infrequently? Possibly never. Well rarely ever do I use such a lovely, hopeful and supportive word as optimistic. Certainly, I’m all about being supportive when things appear challenging. Likewise, I think I do my fair share of uplifting affirmations to ward off downtrodden thoughts when friends and family are in dark places. And I dare say you’ll find someone who hasn’t heard lovely and look on the bright side leaves my lips at least once a day. Certainly, I’m all about being supportive when things appear challenging. Still, I’m not so sure that’s the same or even close enough to what it means to be optimistic. I say a lot of prayers. Do a lot of meditation. Recite many mantras. I do these practices as a way to envelope my mind, heart and spirit in the light. These practices I do every day, often and most days all day throughout the day to support me in the light. And yet, in an introspective moment I wonder if

GRACE

Does naming something you can't see make it real? Does explaining something you can't touch make it real? Does providing examples of something unique make it real? Grace is real. Moreover grace exists in the community of others I write about such as faith, synchronicity, serendipity and prayer which defy human need for precise classification, characterization or definition. Still, I imagine it helps us recognize, believe and appreciate grace if there is a definition.  The best definition I heard and have embraced for many years is that “Grace is God’s love in action” for us, with us and within us. It’s the definition I’ve shared with many in response to many different experiences when asked to explain grace. Yet, what I know to be the simplest explanation is that grace “just is” grace.  By way of example I point out the “invisible hand” that pulls you back to the curb just in the nick of time, saving you from that crazy driver racing through a red light. Or the phone call that

FAITH

Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real” as I once heard in spiritual context. Eventually, I came to understand there is no other context for fear. This is not to say the fierce grip, cruel clutch and stifling effects fear has on the mind, heart and spirit isn’t an identifiable phenomenon. Fear can seem very real especially if it catches you by surprise like a brutal punch from behind and in doing so completely knocks you off balance. However, when you are able to understand, accept and believe that fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real” you empower yourself against that heavy blow that can take you down.  Empowering yourself against fear can take many forms such as authentic spiritual/religious connection, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, reading, counseling and above all faith. It’s impressive growth that people are coming to understand that a spiritual/religious practice is not about a specific building or even the “leader” who conducts services. An authentic spiritual/religious con

SYMBOLIC

Obviously symbolic derives its meaning from the word symbol. Accordingly the meaning of symbol states “(especially in semiotics) a word, phrase, image, or the like having a complex of associated meanings and perceived as having inherent value separable from that which is symbolized, as being part of that which is symbolized, and as performing its normal function of standing for or representing that which is symbolized: usually conceived as deriving its meaning chiefly from the structure in which it appears, and generally distinguished from a sign.” (Dictionary.com) All of that definition was tough to put into one or two words without losing the meaning, so I went to the source. My best attempt at the abbreviated definition would be to say “a symbol is a representation; it stands in place of something similar, comparable or close to the original it's intended to represent.” And yet, there are times when it seems the symbol, the symbolic just can’t do justice to the original. I don’t

SILENCE

Nothing.  Chances are that’s the first impression that most people have of silence. A void. No sound. It’s almost like air, there, yet not visible. At least not visible when practiced in the best of balance. Because just like too heavy air blowing from a vent, the noise of silence can both be heard and felt. There’s a reason the old wise says “Silence is golden” continues to speak volumes. Silence like the air can bring calm soothing comfort or cold callous discontent. In this way silence can be as loud as words. Consider the classic example of the sulking partner of an intimate relationship. Perhaps there has been a disagreement and the two people can not come to a place of balance to let it go. However, when one person finally comes to realize it is time to let go of the disagreement, the argument, the grudge, the other partner may be unwilling. When pushed, that partner may agree to “let it go” but instead the room fills with the silent noise of discontent, anger or ill will. Typica

EMPATHY

The other day I was watching an interview with a celebrity talking about her very public divorce. The divorce happened several years ago, and the celebrity had not talked, tweeted or done any public disclosure about the divorce. However, I could see, although this is a celebrity, accustomed to public performance, that the pain and scars were still tender. I don’t know what convinced the celebrity to do an interview after so many years, knowing the divorce would be a topic of discussion. Perhaps she just wanted to get it out, tell her side at last, or felt her child is now old enough to deal with any backlash from the interview. Nonetheless, I could “feel” her pain, but it didn’t seem as though the interviewer could “feel” the pain because she kept talking over and taking over what the celebrity wanted to share. A popular interviewer, I never noticed this aspect until watching this video. And it caused me to think about how my empathy shows up? Or not. Sympathy is a shared feeling of so