Archive for the 'Earth' Category

Unlearning Useless Lessons

Friday, February 8th, 2013

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” -William James

 

Most people would probably agree that if all they needed to remember about giving and receiving love, they learned in kindergarten, they might also add the caveat that most of what they need to forget is what they learned in high school. I have noticed in my dealings with the many teenagers that I find myself around lately, through the Positivity Club I helped launch in our local high school, as well as the strained relating with my own teens, that there are a few consistent behaviors that disrupt relationships and impede emotional development that are worth forgetting. In the Valentine’s Day spirit of opening up to all the love that surrounds us, here is a short list of useless habits of the heart that will only enhance your feelings of being loveable by letting them go.

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The Beauty of Waking Up

Friday, January 25th, 2013

“One day a monk spoke bitterly to the Buddha. All he wanted to talk about was the unbearable sorrows of the world. The Buddha remained silent while the monk talked, then a faint smile appeared on his face. He pointed to the ground below his feet and said,“On this earth I have attained awakening.” -Buddhist Mondo

 

It is easy to become bitter by the weight of so much unresolved sorrow in life. I feel my heart get hard and my attitude towards life turn sour sometimes when I spend too long scanning the newspaper or fixating on the CNN newscasts while at the gym. Bad news travels faster than ever and the continuous in-your-face coverage of the unceasing violence from seemingly endless human conflict and its destructive aftermath can overwhelm me to the point of withdrawal, or worse still, indifference. But my indifference doesn’t stick; over and over I am pulled back into the stories of suffering from around the world with an earnest desire to know what is happening and to find my way into being part of the solution. I know that I am not alone, struggling to find center in this pendulum swing in my relationship to suffering.

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Rethinking the Truth

Friday, January 18th, 2013

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”   -Fyodor Dostoevsky

As I read the caption “disgraced” under Lance Armstrong’s photo documenting the interview of him finally admitting to drug use throughout his notorious cycling career, I wondered if he would walk away finally relieved of the enormous burden of his deceit or in the planning stages of his next role as the repentant star. Now, after 13 years of denials and false accusations, there is no simple truth that he can share that will reckon the years of aggressive manipulation of the truth in which a single lie became an extravagant lifestyle that he forced onto everyone and everything he touched. Apologies at this late juncture feel puny and almost like adding insult to injury. What we want instead when people are finally willing to speak the truth is a true reflection on the whys; a window into the slippery slope of lies that consume us whole.

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Rethinking Our Fear

Friday, January 11th, 2013

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” -Franklin Roosevelt

 

Insecurity is a natural consequence of our mortal human experience. The most primal hardwired function of our brain is driven by a survival instinct, which is governed, to a large extent, by a negativity bias that operates without our conscious awareness. Negativity bias creates thinking mechanisms steeped in our worst fears and limits our view of the world with rigid judgments.  This natural closing, left unchecked, translates into a defensive posture that impacts our capacity for relating, especially within our most intimate relationships. Re-thinking the source and experience of safety in the world is one of the most powerful shifts of intention we can bring to our relationships to life, as well as to the people we love.

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A Blessing of Gratitude

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

“May the nourishment of the earth be yours.May the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.”

- John O’Donohue

Losing everything you have is a reality that is hard to fathom and a fear that drives many.  In the month since Hurricane Sandy, this reality has come to tens of thousands. We all stop to pause at how incredibly fragile and inevitably fleeting the edifices of our security actually are. Natural disasters are so common now, that it is more a question of when than if. And although most people reading this can’t relate to bombs wiping out every recognizable corner of your neighborhood, this is the reality in many places on earth. It is easy to confuse our sense of self with the comforts that we build into making a home, holding a job, maintaining our health, even driving our car. Who are we when all the trappings that define us disappear?

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Universal Truths

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

“Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.” –Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We live in conscious universe. I spent the weekend immersed in The Science and Non- Duality Conference, exploring the depths of the ultimate truths of existence. It was quite heady and surprisingly reassuring. The conference featured several panels of world-renowned quantum physicists sharing Powerpoints of the immensity of the universe in which our visible universe that goes on for 100 million light years makes up less than 2% of the whole. This new science of quantum physics and its latest breakthrough of Super String Theory leave no question that our Newtonian conception of the material world only reflects the surface layer of reality. What we perceive as solid matter, when studied closely, disappears on the molecular level into energy waves, which envelope us and even lives through us. Science has proven what mystics have been saying for thousands of years: we are not separate, individual beings; rather we are truly all connected.

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True Story of Leaving

Friday, August 24th, 2012

“If you tell a true story, you can’t be wrong.”   -Jack Kerouac

 

I would bet that for every couple that falls in love each day there are at least two couples who leave each other in deep and hurtful ways. Just this week, I was caring for one of my teenage daughter’s oldest friends whose boyfriend, who had been her friend since elementary school, broke up with her in a text that read“I just don’t have that warm love feeling anymore.”This experience followed one earlier in the week as I listened to a longtime business friend who had recently managed an incredible feat of agility, courage and perseverance to save his business from an investor group gone bad, speak  in a hopeless and uninspired tone about losing the feelings required to do the work to revive his 33-year marriage.

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Soul Soothing Truth of Feeling Love

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

“All it takes to feel loved is to love. We always have the power to feel love. As soon as we stop loving we often don’t feel loved anymore.”  -Betty Peralta

 

For all the years that I have thought and written about love, it is remarkable to me that I only just recently learned how my own thinking has prevented me from seeing the love in my own life for decades. We all create a storyline that our life mirrors and although it is hard to tell whether the events and circumstances of our life create the story or whether the story attracts the events, the story line becomes so deeply ingrained in our personal history that we often don’t witness its operation. For me, as for most of us, this history began in childhood with my emotionally dysfunctional family, which only grew more overtly unhappy as I aged. By the time I was 13 and the divorce escalated the collective pain into impenetrable defense mechanisms my storyline was set and the filter of my experience of  life was measured by an ever present sense of being excluded, abandoned and alone. These emotional drivers of my life were powerful forces of attraction, as well, and it took years for me to see the choices I continuously made to keep the filter intact.

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A Beautiful Urge

Friday, July 6th, 2012

“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” -Christopher Morley

 

Beauty is one of the essential graces of living a human life on earth. Beauty is around us everywhere and entraining our own capacity to notice and recognize its presence and its power to transform us begins in our heart. Culturally, we are constantly being mis-directed to a specific, and arguably, limited type of beauty, which parades as fashion in youthful perfect silhouettes, airbrushed wide-eyed models with chiseled features and long wavy flows of hair. This commercial beauty is the kind that drives us either to despairing feelings of not measuring up or seduces us into buying this one more thing that will bring us closer to that exclusive experience of beauty. Yet, most people when asked about where they witness beauty rarely mention Glamour’s cover of the month. Instead, what we hear is about how the evening light transforms the trees in their yard, or how the scent of fresh bread wafted around a corner or the remarkable rose light that canvases the skyline before dark.

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Soluble When Listening

Friday, June 29th, 2012

“When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to perceive my world in a new way and to go on.  It is astonishing how elements which seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens.”   -Carl Rogers

 

Lately, I have had the honor and privilege to create and deliver a workshop on love and positivity for a handful of cancer patients and survivors. Our weekly curriculum is a combination of my years of love contemplation layered with the positivity training about which I have become passionate. It is the most deeply rewarding work I have done in years. I have given up the idea that I have anything to teach anyone, finally understanding that there is no telling anyone anything that they do not wish to know. Instead, I am in awe of the learning that happens within the shared intention of listening deeply both to ourselves and to the sacred intimate connections that emerge without effort, even among strangers when we ask authentic questions about who we are. Increasingly, I am convinced that any idea of planning how things will go is nothing but fiction that I busy my mind with and which ultimately distracts me from the moment at hand.

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