Do Good Work

In my office right now – among other things – are two dogs and a wilted iris. As far as doing work goes, the iris is finished, but the rest of us are very able to do more.
The question is, “are we willing?”

The dogs are easy. They are. They are waiting for the opportunity and eager for a chance. In the meantime they are being their best selves. That’s what they do.

I, being the human in the mix, have choices. I can be excited for the next moment like the dogs and the iris when she was a bud, or I may succumb to any of the temptations my flesh is heir to.

In my favor, in the myriad possibilities, lies much pleasure. Same for pain, though that wouldn’t be called a plus although it might bring me to happiness if I let it.

I don’t have to change my world to get happy or sad, I need to change my mind. In order to do great work I can be here – wherever I am – and, as the dogs, be the best I can be right here right now.

Going to a place far away or even near, changing my life or keeping it the same is not the matter of great work. I can make a difference, change my attitude and create opportunities without changing my shirt.

“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?” Douglas Adams

Up to you (me) – is that good news?

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At bottom, the reason why we’re scared of rejection, failure, intimacy, embarrassment, abandonment, loss, the unknown, being judged, being alone, losing control, expressing our true feelings, and so many other things is that we’ve mistakenly identified ourselves with our limited ego self. When we know ourselves to be one with the ground of all existence, then nothing is separate or foreign to our nature and all of our unhealthy fears dissolve.

From Deepak Chopra’s “Awaken to Happiness Replace Fear with Love”

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I have loved you
Through fear and rainy days
Long summers of sunshine
And sometimes boredom caused
By anxiety from too much abundance.
Birds have flown in unison
As my heart’s involvement turns
On a dime. I am benevolent and unkind
Trained in no jurisprudence but the flat
Feet of the ego, mine, steps uncannily
On searching toes, on my heart as it (I)
Divide, not meiosis, but some momentary
Clamor in my brain that I believe.
The best I can do is know I am lost,
That I am found and, stunningly,
There is little difference between.

 

“My Heart is Green and Growing”   painting by Pam White

This Time of Year

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Whatever you are doing right now, it probably has something to do with family and friends.  So many stories, so much love, longing, regret, and joy. I love the cold and the coming of the light. The stars’ light falls on us all. We are all touched by the beauty of the dark and light surrounding, contrasting, memorializing all we experience. It feels as if there is more quiet, more smiles, more shared music.
When I think about what’s important, what feels right in my heart I am grateful for those who help me understand who I am and grateful to myself for taking up the challenge.

From Brene Brown:

“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

May you gather support from all you feel, from all you touch and are touched by.
May your dreams come gladly to you and leave quietly.
Let light be your angel and the dark your comfort.
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The Road More Or Less Traveled

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There is a morality joke about walking down a street and falling into a hole. Walking down the same street and falling into the hole. Walking down that street and waiting to fall into the hole. Yep. Walking down the street and looking for the hole to fall in to.
We get used to our patterns. They are more than familiar. They are comfortable. We get good at breathing through the stranglehold they have over us. Of course it’s our stranglehold. My strangle, myself.
The teaching is to walk down another street. Or to get agile, unattached and aware.
Paying attention is helpful if it’s part of a willingness to change. My late and ex-husband, in an attempt to loose weight, used to count calories and write down everything he ate. He had small notebooks filled with copious amounts of food usually counting upwards of 5000 calories in a day. It may have made him aware, it never helped him lose weight. Knowing the enemy is not strategic.
Knowing yourself is.
It’s possible if those notebooks had contained how he felt before and when he ate, he might have been healthier. He would have to accept responsibility for the eating instead of choosing to feel helpless and doomed.
Above the temple at Delphi is written, “Know Thyself.” Still the best strategy for any move. With self knowledge it doesn’t matter if I trust you – if I trust me. It doesn’t matter so much where I walk, I can take the terrain or step away. Knowing myself can allow me to feel calm and slow time so I can give myself a choice that works for me.
My nephew David’s son David is a 17 year old whiz at slowing time. I watched this video of him and could feel the time span out so he was in complete control, making it look easy.
He does this because it’s all he’s doing at the time and he’s gained confidence and trust in himself. He’s in the moment, not zoned out doing the same thing. He’s not phoning it in, he’s right there, right now. Full disclosure is he’s been on a motorized vehicle since before his 3rd birthday. That gives him a good 10 + years of experience and an edge on most of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are As We Are

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“Your value to those around you hinges upon only one thing: your personal alignment with Source.”    Abraham via Esther Hicks
After he became the person we know as Buddha, Siddhartha was welcomed as a wise man and story teller. He travelled far and wide at a time when speaking was what there was; we were years from leaflets, books and blogs.
The story in the symbols atop Buddhist monasteries ( I took this in Bouda, one of the Buddhist sections of Kathmandu) is that Siddhartha meditated to study the wheel of life and when he was able to find words for all he had learned, the deer were the only creatures who would listen.
These sweet creatures helped him hone his mind and heart, gave him courage to be who he was, as connected as he was. No more, no less, just as they are. Siddhartha was able to realize his own nature in the study of the natural world. He couldn’t expect the deer to understand or go forth with his lesson. He couldn’t blame them for not or praise them for what they were doing. He could recognize them for who and what they were. And he could do the same for himself.
Basically that’s it. The beginning and end of Buddhist philosophy. Simple and really really hard – lots of attention to what is present, no making up stories, check your facts over and over with your heart, say only what is true and useful. The useful bit implies intention. If you notice your intention, you probably won’t hurt anything and the deer will want to be with you.
20130830-155609.jpgPlease let me be the person my dog thinks I am.

My Mother Myself

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Animals are so wise:

this one is called, “When I was pregnant with my mother.”

I think we are called to families where it is often hard to see why we are there. It’s a lifetime for me of wondering and awe how I came to make the choice I had to make to end up where I am.
All choices, all angles, all around.
As much as I always wanted to be somewhere else when I was young, I never could really fathom what that would be like and tended to cling to what I knew no matter.
What would I do in your family? No clue.

So I’ll take a moment to revel in mine. It does kind of fit by now. Yours too?

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Eli is just yawning

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distance, when there are no words to fill the space, no time-lapse to give my heart some heat, is cold distance where the eyes are closed to the sound of love, where the mind hurtles into space free falling. love is distant. love is space. no heat in my heart.


This photograph of Eli yawning looks threatening to me. I’m not the only photographer who takes advantage of a thing looking like a thing but it isn’t.
I used the photo and wrote the text which made the wordle in this time of loving our daughter and not being able to do much. In my heart I think I know who she is and that she’ll come around, but looking at what is happening is scary and I am deeply affected.
Things like Wordle help a lot. So do friends and all the love there is – which is a lot.
I am love, love is what there is, and I know that’s the truth and the truth will out.

Speaking Tips

Have something to say.
I notice my dogs don’t say much until they need something. Then they do everything they can to get my attention.IMG_9647IMG_9683

 

Have an ear. Use it. Listen. You’ll know what to say next – i.e., how to respond.

Not good to be thinking about what you want to say next.
No. Bad.

DSC00034Tell the truth. Show up. Don’t leave without permission. Wag your tail.

When Problems Persist

IMG_9619IMG_8131When I first moved to Boston – just after the Red Sox had won the pennant and lost the Series – I lived in a duplex underneath the landlord who was in her 80’s and worried. It felt safe every night to sleep with my two young children because Mrs. Felton paced room to room upstairs all night long looking for trouble.

We did enjoy each others company and often she would ask me for help with some household thing. One time she complained to me how hard it was to light her gas broiler. She had one of those inconvenient ones at the bottom of the oven, a separate place to open that had to be lit at its top.
Kneeling down and then bending her body up to see the little hole where the match had to go was a hardship for her and staying there to make sure it was lit was further insult. It was for me too but I was 22.
I quickly showed her that if she put tin foil on the bottom of the boiler she could see the reflection and would only have to stoop to light, not twist to check the flame.
I remind myself that I was 22 and perhaps too quick about the whole thing but I could see her not wanting it to get better. I could see her wanting the problem to go away and yet being unwilling to do anything about it.
Since then I have witnessed my own process and that of so many others and I have always remembered that moment when a solution was discarded. Could I have said it better? Could she have been eased? Would she?

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