The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper-
From an early age, I was led to believe that I needed to become a “better” and “improved” version of myself, even if at first I didn’t exactly understand why. When I was young lad, I found myself inured with the basic belief that the main underlying issue to all my problems was – Me. I’m what’s wrong in the world. These thoughts have stayed with me my entire life, even now, writing to you with an open heart and mind. I have traveled the world far and wide; taken to heart many self-help books, sought out the best doctors and healers, consulted spiritual folks whose motives were unclear at the time. Everything and anything else you can imagine, all in an effort to make myself just good enough.
Many of you reading tenderly this early Spring morning, may be thinking that mindfulness, spirituality and self-help are one in the same – the latest trend to follow or a conversation starter at your local yoga studio. I don’t believe they are. Using myself as a relatively small sample size, I believe they are fundamentally different. Our society is currently in the process of turning mindfulness into an endless stream of self-help profits – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction seminars and many other method(s) for correcting our life long ailments. What these programs do, is to misrepresent the awakening that discovering our own spirit offers.
Mindfulness is not about “fixing” anything even remotely spiritual or becoming spiritually better off than anyone else. There is no price tag attached to mindfulness. For myself, mindfulness is freedom. Freedom from the belief of my unworthiness in our mad world … Mindfulness is about acceptance. Mindfulness, when I find myself at the edge of tears after a bad day, is about meeting (again) who we really are, and allowing ourselves to experience this amazing world, in this raw, unsettling moment.
My deepest apologies for being absent Dear Readers. May all your hearts be filled with warmth and happiness this weekend – Take care!
Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that-
There are many misconceptions about the role “results” play in achieving our goals (whatever they may be.)
We should define a couple of words before we move on – outcome and process. An outcome is centered on results, beating others and posting it on social media. A process involves focusing on what we need to do perform our very best, such as how we prepare and nurture our souls, training, or even practicing mindfulness. Notice how an outcome is focused on “things” outside of you. While in contrast, a process is focused entirely on you?
Most of us think that (myself included at times), in order to get the results we want, we need to focus on those results. Wanna get better at yoga? Gotta be more flexible! Loose a few pounds before summer begins … When does the outcome of a competition occur? At the end of course. If we become obsessed on the outcome, we are not focused on the process – What we need to do to perform our best from the start to the finish. What makes you nervous before yoga class or a big ride, the process or the outcome? It’s the outcome, and more specifically, a bad outcome such as not performing well or tumbling over trying to reach your “peak” pose. When we focus on the outcome, we are far less likely to get the outcome we want.
When we pause to focus on the process, we increase the chances of achieving the results we so richly deserve.
Sometimes, I can’t shift my heart from the outcome to process, the best thing I can do when this happens, is to get out of my mind completely. In other words, I go for an early morning walk, bike ride, or like yesterday morning – yoga practice in a quiet park. These moments gently take me from thinking about the outcome to, feeling the process.
It has always seemed that a fear of judgment is the mark of guilt and the burden of insecurity-
I ask of you on this lovely May morning – Are you really curious how the next five, ten, fifteen years of your life will look like?
Possibility and wonder flourish in the wide open spaces of uncertainty. If we were absolutely certain about how everything would turn out in our lives, we would have no room to consider what might happen if we choose a different direction, a different path altogether. Imagine how “life” might be like stuck in an endless one-way street, on a set deserted railroad tracks with rails so straight and narrow, we would never be able to see beyond our next step.
When we pause to think about it, like our beautiful lives, a seed is both fragile and dense with endless possibility. Provided with the proper conditions, a tiny seed can grow to be a beautiful tree or a plant that bears yummy fruit, flowers or those things called vegetables! In our hyper connected world it pays to remember that a seed grows at its own pace. For that seed to be its absolute best, it will need plenty of love, compassion, kindness and care.
Friends, we are no different, anticipation of what could be possible, is what makes life exciting. In order to breathe possibility into reality, we need fertile ground, a stable environment and a warm, kind and compassionate heart.
May a dose of uncertainty grace your lives this morning … What will become of this seed, your life? Only you possess the magic, that is your frigging awesome life, in the palm of your loving hands.
*It’s good to be back with you, my Dear Readers, after finishing the Citizens Academy of Omaha’s Future last night. There are many stories and new topics to share with you, until then – Take care and be well! And before I forget – Its National Bike Challenge Month!*
“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.
Standing impressively upright, she
raised one leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.
I lay on the floor, exhausted.
But to be a lotus in the pond
opening slowly, and very slowly rising–
that I could do.
The air was soft, the ground still cold.
In the dull pasture where I strolled
Was something I could not believe.
Dead grass appeared to slide and heave,
Though still too frozen-flat to stir,
And rocks to twitch and all to blur.
What was this rippling of the land?
Was matter getting out of hand
And making free with natural law,
I stopped and blinked, and then I saw
A fact as eerie as a dream.
There was a subtle flood of steam
Moving upon the face of things.
It came from standing pools and springs
And what of snow was still around;
It came of winter’s giving ground
So that the freeze was coming out,
As when a set mind, blessed by doubt,
Relaxes into mother-wit.
Flowers, I said, will come of it.
The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter-
Yup, Gotcha! Seriously I already know patience is totally valuable for dealing with the long lines this time of the year, soccer moms searching for the one true parking spot at the mall, or interacting with “disagreeable” folks ordering a coffee. Seriously! I’m keenly aware that true inner change takes time, and why am I becoming frustrated talking about impatience?!? Oh – Maybe it has something to do with not seeing the instant results we desire in life?
My lack of patience stems from a false sense of belief about myself. I think I should be able to handle everything in the world, myself. I think there is only one way to achieve my goals and when “things” don’t quite work out? … I become increasing impatient.
I try so hard not to get discouraged when my progress is slow.
True change takes times.
I am gently walking my path to recovery from bad habits that have defined me for a better part of my life. I’ve come so far, there’s no way I can quit right now!
If we foster and nurture patience, if we can wait for ourselves to arrive in this inspiring moment, anything can happen.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana-
Often, in our self-absorbed naiveté, we believe time to be infinite in nature. Oddly enough, time as we are experiencing it, right now in this wonderful moment … Is the one “thing” in our lives of which we can be absolutely certain of (I am deeply grateful for you being here with me right now). Why then, do we insist on spending our precious time consumed with how many followers we have on WordPress, or perusing the latest “Likes” on FaceTube, rather than being engaged in our lives?
The past few weeks I have been paying more attention to the virtual world, instead of the real world. Rather than being fully engaged in the fleeting moments before me, moments that, for their own nuanced reasons, are even more precious than most. A none too subtle slap upside my head brought me back in time, and this abrupt moment prompted me to begin thinking about just how much distraction we volunteer for on a daily basis, and how much it impacts what we have come to consider “meaningful” in our lives.
The end result of my introspection is a simple question I often fail to ask when I’m distracted – “What’s important in this beautiful moment?!?”
The scrambled priority of our lives keeps us from savoring each sip of our morning coffee, or enjoying conversation with a dear friend, or going for an early ride/walk/hike and enjoying the sun rising gently on the horizon.
… The view that we no longer notice.