Monday, July 26, 2010

discovering the universe

"Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it's important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn't just ourselves that we're discovering. We're discovering the universe."

~Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart


The way I practice this is by using my world as a mirror. When the reflection isn’t so pretty then I know that there is an opportunity to work on something in myself. If I am aware and awake to it, I can attempt to release the energy that is manifesting in a less than positive way and possibly remove deep seated emotional blockages.

This happened last week. I had an appointment with my eye doctor. You would think that would be benign enough, but there was a lot of tension between us right off the bat. He wanted me to get new glasses, and I was not budging. In fact the situation made me angry, and I could tell that he was miffed.

My anger had nothing to do with his suggestion to buy glasses and tapped into a lot difficult situations I have had with all kinds of health professionals. Specifically, it brought up one of the last such experiences I had on a visit to the emergency room for my son when I got “into it” with the head physician of the emergency room. Interestingly, when I left the emergency room, there was a tv showing the interview with the Dalai Lama that occurred in February. I couldn’t hear the sound, but just seeing his face gave me an incredible sense of peace and I was filled with so much gratitude for the gift of the Dalai Lama.

Instead of feeding the anger and creating more tension, I recognized what was going on and asked myself what I could do in the moment to release this energy. I took a breath and then began consciously sending the eye doctor positive energy and love with each breath. He had his back to me as he was entering information into a computer. With each breath, I said to myself ‘we are the same’ (I chose this mantra because I was sensing that the root cause of our issue was our differences). Within 3 minutes of this conscious work, the mood shifted completely and we ended up discovering something we had in common that was very important to both of us. The rest of the appointment was great until I got the bill (smile), and I recognized the eye doctor as the gift he is to world and was grateful for the opportunity I had to release negative energy in a gentle and loving way.


I feel that kindness is quite possibly the most important act we may encounter in this life. Imagine a day where we radiated nothing but kindness. Now of course, we are human, which means we all make mistakes…even un kind ones, however, if when we made those mistakes we stopped and became kind…could you imagine what the world could be like?!

The first step of this path lies within our selves. It’s a sticky path. It’s not always easy. As I have broken out of my shell, searching deep within for my own personal truth, it has been far from smooth sailing at times. Each step of the way allows for a great amount of kindness to grow. As we proceed, and fall back, it is so important to be open with ourselves, and trust that we are learning what we need to be learning in those moments. The situations placed before us are there with a great amount of reason and give us the opportunity to pause fully and think about not only ourselves, but our world as a whole.

The feelings we feel are directly linked with those elsewhere, on another level, and are being radiated by our planet and beyond. Once we fully accept our selves and our mission, we can use these opportunities to reach out beyond our own being and help others radiating truth and kindness the whole way. How cool is that?

Monday, July 19, 2010

pushing further

We need to push further, to take an immense leap all the time. Sometimes, looking back, we wonder why we are doing all this, and sometimes we think, why not? –Trungpa Rinpoche

This week as I was preparing to speak at a women’s retreat, I had a stream of questions going through my mind.  One of them was “who am I?”  And this was not posed as a question of one seeking out one's  identity.  This was my judge coming out in bold force to say “who do you think you are…what do you think you have to offer…do you really think anyone wants to listen to what you have to say.”  Ahhhh…my judge, I know her well.  At some level she is trying to protect me from being too vulnerable, but over the years I’ve learned to recognize her for who she is. She usually does not serve me well…so I responded to her with this small part of a quote  by Marianne Williamson and said more than once “who am I not to be?”

The judge continued, “You know you don’t have to do this.  Why are you doing this?”  It isn’t for fame, fortune, or even food.  So why are you doing this?”  She is often pointing out that many of my pursuits rarely provide these egoic rewards for me in a direct way.  It is often in the midst of preparing to launch something new that my judge torments me so.  Somehow I've learned to press through the distortion that this voice  creates.  It often isn't until I am in the midst of the project or looking back that I regain clarity about my purpose.  But having read the above quote earlier in the week, I had a new retort that I quickly adopted as my mantra in the days leading up to my presentation..."why not?"


So many times I have a really great idea for something BIG I’d like to do or change in my life. Then it usually seems that other people’s input or a visit from my own rationality interferes and I step back from it instead of pushing further. Eventually my step back makes sense to me just because it is what I chose in that moment, however, at first I always have an icky feeling in my stomach, one that seems to have a voice that whispers, why didn’t you follow through with your gut?

In other times when I have chosen to push further and follow my instincts I always amaze myself with the outcome. It is in these times when everything makes perfect sense, to me, with my idea, so I just go, rather quickly, into it, and it flourishes. These are the times that give me the courage to really strive to make a difference, and follow my heart, in not only my endeavors, but also with in my decision making process.

The biggest thing that holds me back from continually choosing to go into BIG ideas is the fear of what will be. The fear is not only of failing, but also of being successful. Fear of the unknown in general I suppose. The link that brings me to this part is trust. I feel that once I am able to trust completely with an open heart and let go of expectation of what the future might hold for me, the opportunities will be endless.

We have but one life right now as the ones who we are. I want to be one who achieves all that I can in this life instead of living in the wide world of what if’s and doubt. I trust that whatever decisions I make and paths I choose to follow; I will always be learning new lessons and making big strides to enhance who I am in this life. I’m learning…we all are, to delve into this giant leap of faith…faith in ourselves that is, nothing more, and nothing less.

Monday, July 12, 2010

the present as we know it

yesterday is ashes
tomorrow wood
only today does the fire burn brightly


Spending most of my days with a four year old it is quite easy to become less attached to time. Most four year olds have a very simplistic view of time. One day Jude asked me, “When will it be yesterday again?” This of course makes me smile, but it also makes me think like the quote above does.

Our past is of no use to us if we cling to it. Only if we take our past and use it in a transformed way can it help us like the wood ashes that we put in our compost to enrich the soil in our garden. It is only when we let our past go that it can actually strengthen us and become a gift to us.

Our thoughts about the future should be of the most positive intentions we can imagine. Fear and worry do not serve us well in this moment or for the future. When we start gently reminding ourselves when we start to head down a more negative trail of thoughts that we can stop that has huge transformative power for our lives.

And of course, being fully present in this moment is probably the best gift we can give ourselves….because those moments are expansive and timeless.


The past is only a memory...thoughts held somewhere in our conscience. Thoughts about how you remember an event and what you remember feeling then. Yet it is not something you can see now. It is only a memory.

The future is just a bunch of thoughts about what might be, but there is no concrete assurance that that is the way it will be. It is only a thought. The future will be how it is when you get there.

The present is RIGHT NOW.

It is happening right in front of your eyes. This is the only reality there is. Right now, what you can see, what you feel, what you hear, taste, and smell...this is the present reality. For all you know, nothing outside of that exists... it is only a thought or memory. The house next door is only a memory, until you walk up the stairs, look out the window, and actually place it in your sense of reality. Until then it is just an image stored away in your mind from the past.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that by living fully in the present moment, truly is a present to your self. By worrying about anything other than what is going on right in front of your eyes, is just worrying about a thought, one that you cannot truly prove exists, other than your thought that it does.

Monday, July 5, 2010

forest magic

"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit."

~Robert Louis Henderson


When I am feeling run down and my energy is really low, I try to head to the forest.  I am blessed to be surrounded by state forest where I live.  I don’t know how I would function otherwise.  I head up to the top of the mountain near my home at least once a week, usually twice.  When I feel like I don’t have the energy to walk or run, I force myself to go because it is usually so worth it.  And the forest and all of her creatures conspire to lift my spirit.  This week I was really low on energy and contemplated skipping my Friday evening run.  I went anyway and found two beautiful turkey tail feathers.  Finding feathers is always a good thing for me, and these two feathers seemed to infuse energy into me as I ran and walked.  

The forest is both grounding and inspiring.  In that sense, it is the perfect balancer for most anyone at anytime.  I notice that when my son is really antsy if we head to the woods his energies seem to settle.  Even if he has been asking me a million questions all day, he will be silent as we walk in the woods together.  It is as if he is completely absorbed by our surroundings and every question is answered without a word uttered.  The wisdom of the forest is beyond words.


My family and I spent this past week in a cabin deep in the mountains. We were surrounded by the sounds of nature alone. We heard the sounds of the flowing creek, wild bird song, and of rustling trees. It was a place to sit, and soak in the lovely gifts that nature has to offer, a place to run and play and recharge our batteries, a place to just be.

There is something so special that we receive when we submerse ourselves in nature; a form of energy that cannot be seen. As I sat basking my face in the sun’s warm rays early one morning, I knew that even if it cannot be seen, it can be felt so strongly within the heart. As I gazed up at the trees and felt their strength, I just breathed deep and felt so connected to all of the wonderful bits and pieces that surrounded me in that moment. Nature knows no barriers and has no judgments. It just is.

I feel humans have a lot to learn from nature and if we could all find ways big and small to reconnect with it, we can move into a better sense of love and harmony within and find a renewed path in this life time, one that is aligned with our earth and higher mission here.

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