Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thoughts on self-compassion

Okay, it’s been a week since I last posted on the Pigasus Project. But, I’m not going to berate myself for this.  Posting here is intended to be a joy, a learning, an understanding through writing down and sharing thoughts and ideas. Getting angry at myself for not doing this is the antithesis of the intention.
Over the past week or so, at the advice of a very amazing counsellor, I am focussing on self-compassion. Whenever she asked me about giving myself compassion, I would draw a blank. Finally, I came up with one, I would not get angry at myself for losing or breaking something.  Now, that’s a small step towards not deprecating me for making a mistake. When I came up with this one and I really got it, I was stunned.  I, like most of us, is far more compassionate to everyone then self. On the back of a worksheet about self-compassion vs self-esteem, I wrote these words.  

Sadness is being experienced; I am not sadness.
Depression is being experienced; I am not depression.
Self-compassion invites the feelings to be experienced and run their course while holding space for a knowing that what we feel is not who we are.  Feelings are tools for understanding the human experience. Self-compassion encourages self-awareness and a call to wake up to our true nature.

There, as I ponder this, I try to integrate, beyond knowing that a turning inward with compassion and love helps to create a sense of equanimity that permeates the external world of our day-to-day existence. Being compassionate to one’s self includes self-forgiveness, nurturing the body with healthy food and exercise, thinking kind thoughts while reflecting on the infinite nature of who we really are. 
Perhaps more than anything else it is cultivating an equanimity suffuses our entire being. This holding of balance that can be dipped into when experiences are difficult and when they are exciting. Like I’ve said here, ‘everything comes and goes’. We are indeed verbs. We are always changing. It is this change that I need to make peace with. 

Now I'm going to have a bubble bath.

Monday, October 7, 2013

One Love; one heart

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of skepticism. It’s a flavour, a shade of life that sometimes denies the goodness of us as human beings. It’s especially easy, if one looks up, from the downward spiral of depression or the red, reactive place of anger. Our perception will always be reinforced by our beliefs and our experiences. 
Regardless of outer appearance, the nay-sayers, the negative forces, the careless attitude that some believe about the value of our species, we all have the opportunity of choice. I know, you may point your finger at those who are impoverished, imprisoned, ravaged by war and circumstances and ask how do they have a choice? There is a choice of how to respond to circumstances. 
Those who, by choice, have risen above circumstances shine a light on this path. They’re not always famous, sometimes they have walked the walk of addictions, illness, violence, shame and blame and so on.  Anything that can defeat a human being can also be turned around to empower. This isn’t to say it’s easy. 
Remind yourself that you are the physical manifestation of consciousness.  All of us are, as one form manifest from consciousness. The journey is how we create relationship with one another. How we practice not just tolerance but coexistence. 
It’s an inside job. I have a practice, as I move through this life, that when I see what appears as other, I say there I go, in the form, of that mother pushing a stroller or the baby in the stroller, or the man ravaged by addictions.  There I go. The journey of this short and precious life of ours is to realize how short and precious it is. It is waking up from this dream to know that we are all in this together.  All of this is us. 

This isn’t asking us to turn a blind eye to injustice or violence, it saying that we respond to this behaviour not with more injustice or more violence but with its opposite.  All of the terrors we inflict on one another when truly looked at come from a place of fear. We have a choice to realize that what is committed on one is committed on all. 

Small acts of kindness ripple out. 

As Bob Marley sang, “One Love! One Heart!
Let's get together and feel all right”

We are all in this together!  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Looking Through Fresh Eyes

Until a couple of days ago, in fact, for the last few months, depression has been a constant companion.  Albeit, an unwanted one, it whispered in my ear and harped in my brain that the world was a large and lonely place, that no one cared, that I was of no use. Unfriendly chemicals in my brain were doing a not so happy dance and there were many days when I barely dragged myself out of bed. Always tired, always doing battle with myself, each day was like a dark and lonely night. The depressed eyes I was looking through saw a depressed world. 
Most people know me as a friendly, kind, compassionate soul and to some degree I have been able to maintain that facade through these dark days.  Mostly I isolate so others don’t have to witness this side. And I isolate as many do not know how to respond to this kind of illness that can’t be shown on x-rays or blood tests. 
Unknown to many the depression side of me was not so kind or compassion to myself. There was always this sense of hopeless helplessness, victimized by genetics, by environments, by who the heck knows what. Just as firmly as that depression set hold, its tentacles are now loosening. 
This morning I woke up, refreshed, the birds yet to migrate sang songs lingering from the last days of summer sweet and melodic. The fresh air coming through my open window was revitalizing. Some pink roses are blooming in my garden, one fully open and two pink buds opening up to the world. Sparky and I walked up to the Moss Street Market this morning and I bought the beautiful extra large farm fresh eggs that I am fond of but have not purchased all season. A basket of organic garlic called to me and some lovely jewel yams. As the season changes and I wake up life is good and love is abundant. Sparky and I walked home and we stopped and chatted with fellow market goers and Saturday morning dog walkers. I feel alive, vigorous and deserving of this beautiful life as I write this. 
The lesson realized today though is that not if, but when a depression returns, I must remember that the small little sorrowful me also needs compassion and kindness. I must learn to listen to that wisdom that knows for itself. 

It is in this realization that I must speak out about how we closet mental illness;I prefer to call it emotional illness. Depression is the number one illness in this world. Yet there is shame, a denial, a shiny face that those who suffer must show to the world. We cloak it in the words, “I’m fine.” To be ashamed of an illness that is not only so debilitating emotionally, socially, financially
is the shame. Many folks struggle with anxiety, depression, mania labelled with fancy psychological terms such as borderline personality disorder, bi-polar and others. Every one of us is in relationship with at least one someone who is suffering. We may not “know” but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. 
I really believe that what exacerbates emotional illness is the denial, the minimizing and the patronizing of it. To recognize, acknowledge it, accept that it exists and like everything in this world is transitory is the much needed attitude change. Everything changes. 
How can you be of help? Don’t counsel, don’t offer just be happy platitudes, listen.  Gently ask the friend or loved one if they’ve sought medical advice and kindly suggest that you would support their decision to see a family doctor, a counsellor, a psychiatrist.  Empathize but above all do not take on their suffering, do not blame yourself, understand that if they blame you it is the mental illness talking. It is neither good for you nor your friend to become mired in the confusion and sorrow mental angst can bring. This is disempowering. All you need to do is be there, make space for what is happening not because it should or shouldn’t but because it is. Seek out resources for those like you who are supporting friends or loved ones with emotional illness. 

Above all be ever vigilant, not fearful, but aware that you too may at some time experience a depression that feels never-ending, a lonely space to be. If this happens, speak up and seek support. Remember this and always, always be kind and compassionate to you. 
Today, I look through fresh eyes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The D Word; Depression

Okay. I'm back.  Struggling with depression. And suffering. Hey that's my story and I'm NOT sticking to it. 

I need a routine. It's been difficult to do when it's tough to roll out of bed in the morning. My mind tells me that I should be able to think myself out of this. My psych tells me it's about chemistry. Still there is this lingering guilt that I am doing something wrong. That I should be able to get a handle on it. I can, at times, put a shiny, smiley face on but for this while there is this underlying sadness and hopelessness. 

I have a strong feeling that I need to let go of this need to control. After all everything to this point, good and bad, if one were to put a value judgement, has turned out okay. I "know" this too will pass and everything comes and everything goes. The little depressed poor me has difficulty rising above. Sometimes it's a sense of loneliness; sometimes it's waves of grief that wash over me. 

Everything is just as it is. The fog rolls in, the fog rolls out.  This mental thang, depression,  hidden in the recesses of the psyche, often ignored by society is the number one illness of our time. Ever prevalent, often denied, hidden by fear of rejection yet so debilitating. 

In this instant world with quick fixes, impersonal communication, pop fads that come and go with the blink of an idea, we forget about one another. Families are scattered, friends busy. We all need to feel that we belong, that we are not simply individuals bobbing around in an impersonal world motivated by the almighty dollar. We need to push ourselves away from computers, from Facebook, from texting and start connecting face to face. 

Let's reignite the value of making new friends, greeting neighbors and smiling at those we don't know. It can be a lonely world when you feel alone. We're all in this together.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Useless Thoughts

What exactly are usless thoughts? To my mind, pun intended, they are thinking that is repetitive, nagging, nasty, focussed only on past grievances and future expectations. In other words, these nonproductive thoughts are not utilizing our wonderful brain power to enhance our understanding and enjoyment of the present.  Useful thoughts are those that solve problems and initiate creativity.
In our Zenwest chanting “Affirming Faith Mind” the words “Cut off all useless thoughts and words and there’s no where you cannot go. Returning to the root itself you’ll find the meaning of all things.” To seek our source we only need to look where it is.  Here now.  

Rumi wisely wrote, “The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” When the workings of our sense organ the mind become a chatter box of past woes and future worries there is no space at all for the openings, the wisdom and the presence that is always here in this moment, right now. The joy of being alive is deadened by words trying to describe and experience that which can only be experienced. 

“Affirming Faith Mind” continues with “Just let go now of clinging mind and things are just as they are. In essence nothing goes or stays. Be one with the nature of things and you’re in step with the great way thus walking freely, undisturbed.”  The chant goes on to cherishing opinions of right and wrong and good and bad. This is more monkey mind and words away from the essence of the present moment which cannot be described with words. 

Not caught in the mental meanderings of the mind we can be present for the mystery and wonder of each moment. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Reasoning The Unreasonable

Caroline Myss with James Finley in an audio offering called “Transforming Trauma” is gift for those who are seeking to befriend and explore the inner experience of existence. Essentially, the teachings are grounded in the premise that we can never really heal our trauma, however, we can transcend trauma. The transcendence becomes the gift of the trauma. Caroline talks extensively about an antinomial truth, two seemingly opposing ideas that can not only coexist but are both the truth. She says of life’s tragedies, traumas and challenges, “Something impersonal personally happened to you. Both are true.”
Investigating this curious paradox can baffle the brain. On the one hand we have the temporal existence (time and space), where we experience personal suffering that seems to be inflicted to us personally.  Yet, on the other hand, what happens, easier to examine with natural disasters are able to be understood as impersonal. The greater truth to this is that the universe doesn’t care about you. How can it,  we anthropomorphize. We attempt to give human attributes and values to the non-human. 

Yes, what animates all of us is energy. Energy is not human.  Perhaps, the root of our misunderstanding and suffering comes from our natural inability to separate the thinking human mind from that which animates us all.  Call it God or energy or being or light or whatever your nomenclature. Trying to think our way to understanding of the universal truth is a most erroneous and illogical way. It is a slippery slope of reason that is totally unreasonable. I think of it as “the more we think we know we know the less we know.” Or from a Buddhist prospective we are talking about “prajnaparamita,” the wisdom that knows for itself. 

In understanding this fundamental paradox of being human, we can go beyond it. Transcendence is not an exterior journey. It is an inside job. 

This Rumi quotes sings to my heart as a way we go beyond the dual nature of human existence to the isness of this moment.  

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” 

I would be remiss in not saying that the words are just words; it is what they evoke which is the true teaching. They beckon us to go, look beyond. That beyond is within. The mind separates, the heart and soul finds unity. In being aware of the vagaries of the mind, as another sense organ, we can learn what arises from the ego and what arises from our “true nature.” With what we intuit we practice moving in this world both from a place of “i” as an individual and I as one. With this “knowing” we then use one of our greatest gifts, the gift of choice. 

A rambling brought to you by the mind through the heart and soul. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

And It Has Been So Long

And it has been so long alone
Since I have known the love of one
Our arms and bodies deep entwined
Lost thought and wanderings of the mind
This thought brings flutters to my chest
But when I put my mind at rest

The longing soul so deep so near
Leans in and whispers in my ear
That nothing's lost yet still remains
This desire ignites, sparks and flames
That love loved is loves only matter
And even if love leaves heart shattered
Each shard a shining diamond bright
Still lights up the soul's darkest night

In the dreariest of hours 
The yearning for True Love devours 
The ego's victim pity cry
Full moon; light night sky

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A question; a response

The question, what do I do when I meditate? The response, not an answer, because seriously I’m not the one qualified to tell you what to do or what not to do.  That, my dear reader, is your life’s exploration. There’s nothing to do when you meditate. Simply be.  Be curious about the thoughts that wander into your mind, the ones that cause you to jump on a thought train on a wild goose chase. Thoughts come and thoughts go.  In meditation, I observe them. Greet them. Then bid them  farewell. 
I sit still quietly in meditation and listen closely with inner ear, gaze softly inward with inner eye, compassionately with open heart watch feelings and emotions arrive and leave. Something will always arise. Without judgement, without categorizing, simplifying or complicating, clinging to or pushing away, I try to be with what is with effortless effort using the simple tool of breath. 
This from Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness. 
“The first exercise is very simple, but the power, the result, can be very great. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath.”

I love Eckhart Tolle’s observation that as “when you realize you’re not present, you are.” This is very true for seated meditation. The moment you notice that your mind has been writing shopping lists and making plans, congratulate yourself. You noticed. Then bring awareness back to the present moment and breath. Over and over again, find solace, stillness and presence in breath.

Yes, meditation may, theoretically, be easier to describe then to practice. My friend, only and always remember it is just practice. Invite curiosity into your practice. I believe this helps dispel the notion of perfection. With curiosity you never know what will arise. In sitting meditation it is useful to make a daily date and set an amount of time you will sit. In walking, there are more happenings arising but again the suggestion is simple, just be with. Be mindful of all that fills the senses.  There comes a point when we may realize that this great adventure of living is a meditation. 

Why meditate is a different question, a different blog entry, see the Pigasus Project, November 12, 2012 for “To Meditate Or Not.” I believe, if you are seeking something more then the trappings of a noisy external life of wants and disappointments, the direction is inward. The path of meditation may be your guide on the way. As always, don’t believe me. If you’re curious try it. Sit and see. You may experience what you’ve always been seeking.  

In joy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Mysteries of the You-niverse

At one time I used to believe that I needed to know everything. Really, I still have to keep in check an inquiring mind that believes there is a right or wrong, a yes or no to everything. Now, I’m learning that perhaps the most important mature thing I can do is to let that notion go.  
Not only is it completely impossible to know everything but why would I want to know everything. To appreciate the unknowns, to feel comfort in not knowing, to be able to let go feels “right” to me now. Not only does it feel right, it feels far less of a burden on heart, soul and mind. And, it opens up the greater possibility for surprises. Yes, admittedly, when we attach a value judgement, there are good and bad surprises. When I step out of the need to place a value on an experience, I can simply be present with the experience and then respond or not in the most appropriate way.
This journey of waking up doesn’t guarantee that we won’t have challenges.  It seems challenges are more frequent. I notice I have plenty of opportunity to practice digging into my resources of being centered, tuning into the breath and coming into the present moment. Life is a pendulum, it swings from one extreme to another and in balance, it still hovers. There is never a time when we can say, “Ah, ha, I made it here I am.” The star feature of living in a you-niverse governed by relative time is that change happens, all ways. Yet, at the same time, and this is the paradox. In the absolute timeless sense, what never changes is that which animates all beings. Call it energy, call it soul, call it God; call it Love, call it what you like. It is impossible to word the wordless. 
What I call the you-niverse, you in the universal  sense of the word is on one hand a collection of beings in bodies learning to navigate all that happens. On the other hand, the you-niverse, us as one, is unfolding exactly as is needed. This cosmic one soul in the absolute evolves from the relative perspective of individuals making relationship to that which we perceive as separate.
All we need do, you can call it doing, is listen to that sacred inner voice that neither judges nor prescribes. This small voice of our conscience sometimes whispers and sometimes shouts.  But if we listen quietly and closely there is the possibility to realize we are always wholly holy whole. 

Friday, May 31, 2013


I believe one of the biggest stumbling blocks to emotional and spiritual freedom is holding grievances against events or people.  In this blog I’ll talk about grievances against parents.
Grievances of past not only harm present familial interactions but invariably do deep damage to one’s self. Holding a grievance is a way of saying what you did has power over me; my choices and behaviors are dictated by that.  In short, I have no free will, my fate has been predetermined by what you did or didn’t do.
My response to this would be, grow up. Let’s assume that most of us try to do the best we can.  Even our parents.  Let’s even go a little further and with grace admit that everyone can only act in the spirit of their own level of consciousness.  Let’s take this even deeper and say if others are not aware of how they have taken on the patterns of past generations then those behaviors likely will show up in how they relate to the world. Inside each of us, for our entire lives, is the archetype of the child. Our parents may have been wounded children as well.  Without the knowledge of archetypes or an understanding of the multileveled aspects of our being they could only act from their own place of knowing. 
Let’s ask a question.  Do I really believe my parents deliberately tried to harm or emotionally scar me? Honestly, no.  I think they were doing the best they could to their abilities and with their social and generational conditionings. None of our children nor us were born with a manual of what our soul’s needs were. Knowing exactly the depth of my love and my good intentions as a mother, I can imagine my parents felt the same. 
What is the remedy for harboring grievances? Forgiveness. Understanding.
I understand my parents made mistakes; I, as a parent made mistakes. Believe me, I am only too well aware of it. I have beat myself up and carried that monkey of guilt on my back for far too many years. I forgave my parents many years ago; it is now time to forgive myself. 

One step further. Can we look beyond the veils of our sense of injustice and admit that maybe we caused our parents emotional harm and grief?   Did we mean to harm them? No. We are here in these meat suits to learn. The soul contract we had with our parents can be seen as a gift rather then a grievance. If we can turn our childhood grievances into gifts of power and strength through adversity then we all win. 
Let’s start today with a clean slate. Let the past be passed. Let this moment be filled with forgiveness, understanding. Love. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Counting Blessings

It is easy to be grateful, to count blessings when life is flowing with ease.  Caught up in a world of dramas and traumas, woe-is-me and he/she/they caused me grief , it is more difficult. Sometimes, even when life is effortless, we take for granted all we have and who we are. The challenge and the practice is to see the goodness in life when our trials and tribulations are front and centre. 
Practice daily, morning and evening, three gratitudes. They don’t have to be as lofty as my 6-year old granddaughter’s, “earth, God and love.” Sometimes just being grateful that I woke up breathing is  a start. Challenge yourself by being thankful for those who give you the most grief. They are a gift, a mirror of lessons you need to learn.
Practicing gratitude is a way of nurturing our interior and at the same time acknowledging that the values we cherish on the inside are those we project externally. All the while knowing that stuff does not guarantee happiness but without the necessities and many comforts life would be a struggle. 
Sometimes we can find gratitude in our haves in relationship to others have nots.  I am grateful I have clean water, fresh air, quality food, a roof over my head and safety. Many of our fellow human beings would consider our basics as luxuries. 
A simple life with gratitude leads to cultivating an appreciation of what is most important, this moment, each other, this planet. When we can be grateful even for our woes we begin to see the preciousness of this existence.  And, it’s fleetingness. 
As my granddaughter reminds me, “everything comes and everything goes.” If we can truly be thankful for every priceless moment as it happens then gratitude permeates our being. Don’t believe me. Try it for yourself. At first, it may take a daily reminder; you may find it difficult to name three gratitudes. Be patient. Be grateful for your patience. Experience for yourself how the complexion of life changes when you are thankful.

In joy. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Pig As Us ~ The Pigasus Project

Today is Victoria Zen Centre's Annual Buddha's Birthday Celebration.  This was the impetus for The Pigasus Project blog. The blog grew from humble beginnings out of a project I was assigned ~ to make the pinata.  I chose to make the pig.  Here are a few pictures from the archives.

Thanks to all of you for the many page views of this blog. 

Nine great bows.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Whole World Is Watching

“The Whole World Is Watching," chanted by antiwar demonstrators outside the Chicago Hilton Hotel during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago*  became an iconic slogan of the time. It was a time when journalists really made a difference.  Truth was paramount. A war, the Vietnam war, MUST be stopped. A friend of mine who demonstrated said that to mock and humiliate protestors they were dumped into garbage trucks full of garbage and taken to jail. This did not stop the protest. We know the outcome, the war did finally end. How the Vietnam vets were treated is a whole other story of disrespect and shame . The difference was that how the protestors responded to inhumane conduct empowered whereas many vets disempowered took on what was really the whole nation’s shame.

Once again, in a different medium, we have the opportunity to connect as a whole world watching, listening and sharing. Social media closes the borders of time and distance and allows us to come together as one. It is our choice to turn and look a lie in the eye. 

We have the power to wake up to and become a wave in the ocean of transformation. It is us who can choose change. Beginning with respect for all things sentient and non-sentient, “all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful.” And yes, all environments, all the shadows and all the light that is life. 

The biggest disrespect we do to one in another is to say you, they or I don’t count. Your voice. Your vote. Your action. Every choice you make or don’t make counts. Every time we turn and look a lie in the eye, we make a difference. We disempower by indifference, by turning a blind eye to injustice, by not voting, by not speaking up. We don’t have to be big to make great changes. 

We make a difference every time we say “No” or “Yes.”We make a difference when we sit in meditation or prayer. We make a difference by what we choose to eat, what we choose to buy, what we choose to wear, how we choose to care for ourselves and others. Every behaviour either affirms or denies this whole existence and how we are all in this together, as one. 

This, my friends, is what being present, waking up is all about.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Human Beans In Pale Green Pants

We humans are strange creatures.  As Caroline Myss says, we are so fearful. Afraid to die. Afraid to live.  So true. Yet, at the same time, these words are an invitation to wake up. A prod for us to examine what is this thing we call fear. What are we really afraid of? Seems to me it is either the unknown or something known that we have allowed our mind to exaggerate bigger then life. 
 Dr Seuss ~ What Was I Scared Of?
We also live in times where leaders of countries and religions manipulate and restrict the freedom of its own people with a media massaged message of terror from beyond its borders or with a prescribed morality. Can we stand up to these contrived or hyped up threats with a response of courage? Show us these boogie monsters.  Prove to us how someone else’s life style or belief system is a threat. Show us our differences. We can show you our commonalities.

Fear feeds our greed, our inhumanity, our disregard or blatant contempt for those we label “other”.  Fear is a shadow that when exposed to the light of consciousness shrivels and dies.

Fear itself is not an enemy, it can help us move wisely where caution is indicated.  Fear of known dangers is also a healthy, life preserving response.  Fear that goes unchallenged, unquestioned is an evolutionary throwback, the instinctive response of flight, fight or freeze. 

However, when fight and fear become companions, when we strike before looking closer, our actions create the fear response in others.  A fear that feeds a vicious never ending loop of no resolve. If we do not investigate our irrational responses to fear it may lead to us as has-beens.  

In Dr Seuss’ story “What Was I Scared Of?” the fear is over a pair of pale green pants with no one inside them. The narrator admits, "I do not fear those pants with nobody inside them." I said, and said, and said those words. I said them but I lied them.”  

Resolve comes when, 

“Then a strange thing happened.
 Why, those pants began to cry!
Those pants began to tremble.
They were just as sacred as I!

I never heard such whimpering
 And I began to see 
That I was just as strange to them
As they were strange to me!” 

It may indeed be that our ways are strange to one another. But strangeness only needs a closer look to lead to understanding, to curiosity, to interest, to awe in our unique expressions of humanness. Let us examine that which we so fear through the heart of compassion, the eyes of wisdom, the knowing that we are not separate. We are one planet. Many human beans; one being. Whole-in-one. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life Itself

 `Earth is the place where choice & destiny meet.' Caroline Myss

Today’s Angel Cards; willingness and commitment.

Both one word gentle reminders inviting me to participate in life.  Instead of being a spectator, truly engaging in what is present now. Being with.  We are buffeted by the winds of change, by challenges, by indifference, by choice. It is the difference between fate and destiny. 

As Caroline Myss says, “Fate is how your life unfolds when you let fear determine your choices. A path of destiny reveals itself to you, however, when you confront your fear and make conscious choices.”  When we are willing and committed to knowing that we are destined for greater goodness then the paltry ego can think, we can begin to allow the blessings of this existence unfold. 

I am willing to let go of past grievances.  I am willing to retrieve my spirit from where I have so heavily invested it in past sadness, shame, anger and grief.  I am willing to let go of a fairy tale ending and come back to this moment, all ways.

I am committed to shining a light of awareness on my thoughts, behaviour and judgement. I am committed to seeing each moment as an opportunity for practice carefully navigating away from the notion of perfection. 

Willingness and commitment invite grace. I could not word this better then Caroline Myss in “The Gift of Seven Extraordinary Days of Grace (Part 1)” *

“Grace comes in many expressions. It intervenes in raging arguments, calming your anger so that you do not say what you can never take back. Grace whispers thoughts of hope in desperate times, giving you the stamina to hold on through the storms of life. And grace delivers inspiration, awakening creative resources deep within your being. The power of grace is endless, silent, and powerful.”

When I glance back with the eyes of victim, I see that this being has been dealt some very difficult experiences.  Instead of celebrating the resilience of the spirit and the lessons these “gifts of grief” have given, I have wallowed in a pity party. When I truly acknowledge, that I was gifted with each and every difficulty, each one, a chance to grow compassion, expand beyond the sad stuff with choice breath by breath. Sure I have slipped and fallen, found myself in dark holes and scary places but grace has always been there.  Patiently waiting for me to take a hand, make peace, let go of control. 

I do not have a life, I am life itself; we all are.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Found In Notes

First day-night in Mexico at the Marival 1551

Here in opulence   Submerged in an illusion. All is.well. Yes perhaps.  In compounded saccharin sweet niceties with the paper carrot currency. Jump how high. I have my dignity. For god's sake don't give me yours. We all know this illusion is but a dream. And when we wake up I will serve you.

A big helping of self serving sanctity dressed up in sexy. Oh if sanity were as neatly groomed as your hair and fresh pressed uniform with a pretend air of the casual cologne. This agreed separation can only float on a pink cloud of delusion for so long. Then we both dance; share the lead. You my teacher; I your humble servant. Let us not forget our roles. This charade.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Simple Kindness

“This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.”  ~ Dalai Lama XIV
Kindness does not need to be big to create an enormous ripple in this world. Kindness echoes from the giver to the receiver to all those who witness it to all who hear of the story and  to all who share it with others. 

The hallmarks of kind deeds are that they are offered with humility, utmost respect, directly from the heart and  with no expectation of return.   Small kindnesses make a big difference in the world.  It is a simple statement that we are all in this life together. That we value sharing and generosity whether it is a smile to a stranger on the street, a hand up to someone who has fallen down, a hug for a broken heart.  It is the generosity of the world uniting together because one little girl, Rachel, who wanted to offer the gift of water to those who were thirsty  Or a young man, Aaron Collins, who upon his death, had a wish to give a large tip to a waiter or waitress.

From small beginnings, the world responds in kind. The outcome mirrors the largeness of the heart that set it in motion. Such generosity goes far beyond the monetary value of the deed.  It is the generosity of the heart and the spirit.  It is a gift that keeps giving. Kindness is the harmony of souls. It brings us all closer together, to knowing the truth that we are one.  Bob Marley sang his gift to all of us, “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right.” 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Dawning of the Duh

Well, I was god-smacked when I finally got it.  I mean I’ve talked about it on an intellectual level. But while I was sitting still this morning I got it on a gut level. G.I.G.O. Duh. If you remember in the dawning of the age of the computer, G.I.G.O. was the acronym created for the explanation of why programs wouldn’t run. It means garbage in, garbage out.  Program the computer with nonsense and that’s what you get, more of the same or nada.  Since computers were created in the image of the mind of man (in the non-generic delineation) to be a super mind the acronym is also completely appropriate for our bodies and our human manipulated environment. 

This body as a laboratory of exploration and discovery has been telling me, no showing me for years, that what I eat, what I allow to permeate my mind, how I move my body, who I associate with and when and where all these things happen is intimately synchronized with the quality of my life. Really, IS the quality of my life.

What we put into our mouths, the food stuff to nurture these meat bodies, and what comes out the other end is our ground zero for good physical health.  What we expose to our grey matter either supports positive change and cooperation or it promotes fear and anger. 

So many questions arise?

In this seemingly soulless culture how do we discern between commercialized spirituality and who we really are? How do we nurture our attitude? Are we mindful of our emotions? Do we treat the body with kindness? How do we create a congruent state of existence? 

At the same time, and this is the art of juggling and balance, we begin to realize the vast difference between self care and narcissism. If you hadn’t noticed, take a look around, we seem to live in a world that like the seagulls in “Finding Nemo” cry ‘mine, mine.’  When it’s all about me or those like me we have a tendency to separate ourselves from our fellow human beings. Experientially we know, just listen to a newscast, that when we otherize, our fellow species and the environment, we separate and demonize. We create hell from this heaven on earth. 

One basic truth, and it’s difficult to disagree, we are all in this together. Whether we like it or not we are co-creating the world as it is now. Sorry, but the victim card, the I didn’t know ticket, isn’t valid any longer.  With social media, we do know. We know what we are doing to each other, we know how we are treating ourselves, we know what we are doing to the environment. We know and although at times we may feel helpless and alone we are not.  Checked your friends list lately, and their list and so on?

Most importantly we have all been graced with the gift of choice. We choose every time we do or we don’t, every time we deny or affirm, every clinging, every aversion Naturally, the most obvious question is, “how do I know if I’ve made the right choice?” 

The answer is not that complex; in fact it’s simple. We have been equipped with a wonderful tool called feelings.  Feelings help us monitor our state of mind, body and soul. Check in regularly and check out the information your natural intuition provides. Then run it through the mind and make the necessary tweaks to change your health, change your thoughts, change your relationships. If you find the choice you make supports your integrity well, pat yourself on the back.  

Now back to GIGO, how do we check in with feelings that we may not know we have, may not be able to identify or darn well have stuffed for years.  That takes me back to the beginning. Still your body, still your mind. Let the external world fall away and nurture your inner space. All that needs to be done is to be with what is. Then in the midst of the roar of fear, anger, opinions, a veritable garbage dump of information, it will become self evident. It’s not about more control. It’s about giving up the need to be in control.   With a metaphorical smack to the forehead, coincidentally the third eye, we will awaken to that which has always been here, this moment, this life, each other. Buried under all the GIGO is who we truly are. The beauty. The mystery. The divine grace of life. 

Afterwords: In which, the non-linear and the linear collide and create a tasty word soup much to the delight of this writer.  She laughs.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eye of the Storm

Always change.  Sometimes slow and dependable like the breath. Long slow flow on the inhale. Long slow flow on the exhale. Sometimes churning and tumultuous, a vortex of energy swirling and twirling, engulfing. Most off though with this natural always evident, every present phenomenon, we deny it’s existence. “ I can’t believe this happened.” “She died.” “The motor just stopped.” “They broke up.” “The movie’s over.” 

Our language echoes our denial. We are so detached from the present moment that like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights we are surprised by the ever changing flow of existence. The quote, “This too will pass,” is a truism that can change our relationship with not only the present moment but our existence in this body. 

Every thing comes and every thing goes. Even this is only a pointer to actuality. We, this is not a thing, in the relative sense of the word. All that is contained in this moment is a verb, it is action, every changing. The mind, our left hemisphere understands, craves opposites. We need to know. We find our comfort in a simplistic, dumbed down, dualistic view of the world. If it’s not good; it must be bad.  If you’re not with us; you’re against us. 

To acknowledge that there are absolutely no absolutes and that no thing is one thing always is very uncomfortable. My motto for many years has been “Just say know.”  I am a product of this age of reason.  As I season, I sense, intuit, embrace, “I don’t know.”  Because I really don’t. Perhaps I am certain of only one, this body I inhabit will after some time cease to be. In knowing that, a great gift is revealed. I, we, get to play and be played by the mystery of this moment. 

So together, as one, let us befriend this moment. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wherever, whatever, whoever!

Wherever I go
Wherever I roam
Wherever I am
Is always my home

Whoever I meet
Whoever I see
Whoever I greet
Is still always me

Whatever I say
Whatever I hear
Whatever is present
Is music to my ear

One home, one heart, one voice
Wherever, whoever, whatever
Be still with what is
One always has choice

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Key To Success

Seems to me that we measure success with excess. Excess of the almighty dollar. Excess of stuff. Excess of activated grey matter. Excess of status. Excess of opinions. Excess of that stuff that makes you a legend in your own mind. I’ve been thinking perhaps the key to success can easily be measured by the number of keys you have on your key chain. 

Is your key chain dangling with success?  Multiple keys to safety deposit boxes or storage facilities, keys to numerous vehicles or a variety of domiciles, key to the office...               Is success in the sweet sound of the jingle in your key chain dangle? 

I have very few keys.  Until recently, home, bike lock, now a car key. Now, the key to the yoga studio. In my heart and soul, I don’t need to feel successful, all I need to do is love more and fear less.  For me that is the key. 

One key I forgot; here, the key to my heart.
I offer it to you. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happiness is...

Remember, way back when, perhaps in the early seventies when it was somewhat of a fad to construct sentences, aphorisms that began with Happiness is... They were on t-shirts and posters and cartoons.  Just about everywhere.  Question is, were we generally happier back then?  Answer in one way, not definitive or absolute, may simply be that we were younger and there was less to worry about.  Us tail end of the baby boomers, generally didn’t have children or huge debts to be concerned about. Yes, there was the Vietnam war but it was over there and very vocal student demonstrations and protests showed us how the mass media and a great group of loudly committed folks could put an end to war, at least that one. 

Now, well we’ve got Facebook and Twitter, are they as effective in creating social change? Perhaps, more people are aware of more injustices. Are those officials we elected to serve us sitting up and noticing the numbers?  More to the point would be are these elected politicians happy with how they serve? Do they take regular integrity checks? Do they really care? I don’t know.  

But, I’ve digressed here.  Happiness.  Happiness. So many questions, is happiness a right?  The world hasn’t always been a happy place, times were tough, people struggled to find sustenance, be safe and most died relatively young. Some parts of the world are still like that. Perhaps, the definition of happiness has evolved and changed like everything...

However, I believe, although happiness is an inside job, it also ripples outward. Anger and happiness don’t tend to occupy the same space and time. Really, what exactly is this state called happiness?  For some happiness hinges on the accumulation of stuff and status. For others community grows happiness.  

For me, right now, in this moment, happiness is this. Happiness snuggled closely in the arms of love. Just this. Exactly as it is. There’s nothing I can do or would want to do to make this moment any better then it is. 

Is it my right to be happy?  It’s my choice.  

“Love is but a song we sing. Fear’s the way we die.”
“Come Together”, the Youngbloods, was an anthem of the sixties.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Change ~ All Ways

Even though all is changing all the time. At spring the slowly changing changes quickly become apparent. The plum and cherry trees bursting with pink and white.  At first light and at night, they emanate a shy, yet perceptible fragrance that says spring is here. Yet how often do we really pause to appreciate this moment and know that this too will pass? These two are implicit, the appreciation and the knowing. This moment is not exactly like the last nor will it be like the next.  Perhaps, we are moving so fast in this world, the simple day-to-day, moment to moment changes are not top of mind.  We are often too caught up in what’s going to happen next or what happened before.

Here now, what ‘s happening in this moment? Wind chimes, the voice  of the wind,  sing a gentle lullaby. A gray squirrel forges for whatever outside in the garden. I see him, belly flat against the shingles on the asbestos garage roof, quickly skirting on his journeys. Beautiful crystal ball, rainbow fairies dance around my room as sun’s rays shine through the french doors. Inside, I bring attention to my breath. It is easy and relaxed. Belly rise; belly fall. I still get a whiff of the fragrance of this morning’s incense blended with the scent of beeswax candle. My fingers tap, tap, tapping harmoniously on the keyboard. This moment. Exactly as it is is perfect because it is exactly as it is.  Yet, so often we are distracted away from the present perfect. 

Yesterday morning, already the taste of freshly juiced orange, apple, kiwi, strawberry and ginger juice was on my lips, even before the taste.  In my haste to get from the clean up to the sip up, I knocked the glass off the counter.  I watched it shatter colours of juice and glass shards all over the floor. I lost connection with the moment and found myself looking at a mess. Now, a golden opportunity arose for me.  I could berate myself for being stupid and inattentive. I could be sad about the waste.  Instead, back in the moment, I chose simply to clean up the spill. 

From an accident, an opportunity arose, two actually. Experientially, I learned the value of being in the present moment. And, I also took the opportunity to be kind to myself about this mistake.  Not to get a angry; not to self deprecate.

This incident reminds me of the wonderful Eckhart Tolle quote, “The moment you realize you’re not present, you are.” 

As I ponder, I often reflect on how perception determines the quality and the experience of our life. For as this quote of an undeterminable source says, “We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.” When I wake up feeling hopeful, infused with love, positive, I view and experience the world this way. 

Is there a point to this exploration? The point is a pointer to the simple idea that every thing is always changing and we always have choice about how we perceive these changes. Thus we can change our minds. We can turn sweet into sour. We can choose to come back to this moment fresh and open to what is offered. This. Here. Now. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How To Make A Difference In The World Breath by Breath

Breathe and smile
Breathe and accept a compliment 
Breathe and accept a correction 
Breathe and say thank you
Breathe and really listen
Breathe and offer a hug

Breathe and look deeply into someone's eyes
Breathe and say I'm sorry
Breathe and cry
Breathe and laugh
Breathe and sigh
Breathe when you want to hold your breath
Breathe when the pain feels unbearable
Breathe when you meditate
Breathe when you do yoga
Breathe and count each breath
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe the cycle of life.
Breathe!  Fill up your nostrils! Fill your lungs down to your belly! 
Breathe into every part of your being and remember; 
You have the gift of breath and you are alive!