Archive for the 'Life that Works' Category

Life that Works: It Begins Inside

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

“Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that’s true.  Most people however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.” -Peter McWilliams

The world transforms itself to match our inner world. If I have learned only one thing over the last 390 days, this is the essential takeaway.  This knowledge, sometimes deeper than my own name, has come to me through practice.  Its truth is documented in thousands of books, including some of the oldest scriptures on the planet about the power of the mind to transform our lives.

There is no more powerful life practice than meditation to find the spaces between your thoughts.  At first, it is just about learning to pay attention and watch the endless thought parade without needing to act. Just learning to allow thoughts to go by and not needing to do anything but watch them is transforming. It provides a space cushion in daily dealings so that we trust that we have time to respond.  Learning to feel the stillness that exists under the thoughts is where the practice of meditation becomes a retreat. Silencing the chatter even for minutes at a time allows you to sometimes hear the quiet, clear voice of acceptance and love.

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Life that Works: They Are All Small Moments

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

“Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us un-summoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live.”  -Anna Quinlen

It is the small moments in life that create our relationships, form our personalities, and eventually become the foundation for our memories. I learned this today at the memorial service for Conner Ausland, one of the boys who was recently swept into the ocean and drowned. Everything that was conveyed about the warmth of his attention, his genuine curiosity and expansive talents were all shared in the anecdotal stories of the many moments that he shared with people he loved.

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Life That Works: In Praise of Rest

Monday, February 14th, 2011

“Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are.”  ~Chinese Proverb

I am relearning who I am and reveling in the quiet simplicity of not trying to be or do anymore.  Folding wash, baking cupcakes,  sleeping until I wake myself- these are the pure pleasures of living. This weekend was pure bliss; in pajamas late into the morning and back again early in the evening. What a lovely retreat to settle into home without any pressure to get anywhere.

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Life That Works: The New iPhone

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Like millions of other people I have been waiting on the Verizon version of the Apple iPhone.  Like millions of others, I grumbled about the long wait, while simultaneously anticipating the glorious day when I would get my own iPhone.  Well, the day was yesterday- I  finally got my iPhone, only to re-learn that stuff really doesn’t ever change our life.

While the iPhone is a  great device that may make me more productive or even dare I imagine, more organized, it will probably not change my existence.  Stuff rarely ever changes our lives the way we anticipate they will. New cars, new technology, new clothes, new phones, even new houses are all things we look forward to; we even start to believe the advertisements that shows us happier for having it. In the end  we realize that our stuff is not us.

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Life That Works: Friends of All Ages

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

“It takes a long time to become young.” -Pablo Picasso

Maybe one of the most rewarding aspects of being a mother of four kids who span a decade is that I have always had the opportunity to know and love the friends of my kids. I am a Jewish mother that has enough mother in her for a hundred kids; many kids could use a second or third mother looking out for them. These kids like that I love to love them and when they are headed for trouble, I am not afraid to tell them yet am also willing to bail them out. It’s a safety net that I feel honored to provide.

Watching the kids grow up and become more of themselves is a privilege and builds distinct friendships that are connected to but also separate from my kids’ friendships with them. Although I don’t hang out with them, our parties become more and more inter-generational and I can usually find someone to help lift boxes or figure out the latest app.

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Life that Works: Perseverance is the Winner

Friday, February 11th, 2011

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  -Calvin Coolidge

Tonight I heard Meg Wheatley talk about the power of persevering.  She has been working at the challenging tasks of social change for decades.  Her work has brought her into situations with people who were fighting for decades for what they believed.  Social change is a slow process, one that is measured in lifetimes, and is funded by people who have one single quality above all others: the ability to stay with their vision even when it is not fashionable,  even when it is dangerous and could cost their lives.

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Life that Works: A Tribute to Love

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Life that Works: Remembering the Warrior

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

“A warrior thinks of his death when things become unclear…. because the idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit.” -Don Juan

I was 19 when I met my husband. He was reading Carlos Castenada books daily then and often would quote Don Juan’s teachings about the life of a warrior. This spiritual direction was one of the deepest attractions that I had to him at the time; even if he was repeating someone else’s words, he was speaking the truth to me.

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Life that Works: Many Faces of Grief

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

“Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love.” ~Terri Guillemets

Grief is a complicated emotion that easily overwhelms. It can look like anger, numbness or pure heartbreaking sadness. Especially among young people, grief can be delayed and even full openness to the experience does not hurry it. Grief is one of the most honorable and time consuming experiences that life offers.

The pure heart of grief is sadness, a much misunderstood space that is too often avoided. Emerson reminds us, “Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” It is not hard to see why we avoid the depth of this vulnerable place. But there is no winning it over, there is only the journey through. Avoiding the pain of life cuts you off not just from the difficult experiences, but the positive ones, too. It is a form of sleepwalking that often turns into a self-medicated, vacant relationship to everything.

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Life that Works: Letting Go and Holding On

Monday, February 7th, 2011

“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” -Albert Einstein

It is hard to believe that last night was the first night in 22 years that there were no children at home. It seems like it should have happened sooner, or been more of a celebration or at least notable, but there was really no fanfare at all and if anything- the experience was a little anti-climactic. Most of life has this quality; the events that we expect will bring big life changes happen to us gradually, and often by the time they arrive we realize that it is just another day; not that much unlike the one before.

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