Archive for December, 2012


Summarizing a story here from Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, followed by how I put it into practice:

Jacob was 70 years old, he’d been meditating for 20 years and occasionally he taught classes to students of Buddhism.  He finds himself in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s.  There are times when he is quite lucid and aware of what is happening.  However, at other times he does not know where he is, how he got there, or why he is there.  It is on one such day that he leads a talk to fellow students of Buddhism.  This is what transpires:

“Jacob looked out at the expectant faces before him … suddenly he did not know what he was supposed to say or do.  He didn’t know where he was or why he was there.  His heart was pounding furiously and his mind was spinning in confusion.  Putting his palms together at his heart, Jacob started naming out loud what was happening: Afraid, embarrassed, confused, feeling like I’m failing, powerless, shaking, sense of dying, sinking, lost.

For several more minutes he sat, head slightly bowed, continuing to name his experience.  As his body began to relax and his mind grew calmer, he also noted that aloud.  At last Jacob lifted his head, looked slowly around at those gathered and apologized.

Many of the students were in tears.  As one put it, “No one has ever taught us like this.  Your presence has been the deepest teaching.”  Rather than pushing away his experience and deepening his agitation, Jacob had the courage and training simply to name what he was aware of, and, most significantly, to bow to his experience.  In some fundamental way he didn’t create an adversary out of feelings and confusion.  He didn’t make anything wrong.

Perhaps you will take a moment as I did, to pause and reflect on the enormity of what this man accomplished with pure unconditional acceptance.  And, with no eye to actually accomplishing anything at all.

I tried this myself on several issues.  I have been in conflict with a government agency that provides services for my son.  I made an inquiry, which is another tool that Tara Brach gives in her book: What is really happening here?

Story about not being in control, feeling afraid.  I am just naming the story, not building on it, while acknowledging how I feel in that moment.  In that space of allowing, it’s no longer a me against them.  It’s a story with a feeling, that’s given the space to simply be.  Nothing to fix, here nothing is wrong.

I have to make a call to an insurance company that I’ve been dreading.  Story about lack, and on this occasion, it’s a story about “not enough time”.  Feeling tense, frustrated, and not breathing freely.

Lastly, reading an email today that upset me.  A story about rejection and not being lovable, the feeling is sadness and once again not breathing freely.  Several conscious breaths don’t seem to move this rather sticky one.  So I stop and just sit with it, remembering the aim isn’t to move, change or fix anything.  I stay with it for a few hours, I continue consciously breathing, consciously noticing the thoughts and feelings rise up and move through me like so many waves in the ocean.  After a time, the breath leads me gently to that place where it’s all held lightly in unconditional acceptance.  No longer having any meaning, pure experience in the moment, that is finally allowed to just simply be.

“How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races—the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses.  Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage.  Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Namaste my friends.

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Adventure begins with you, personally.

It is in the way you look at things.

It is the mental stance you take as you face your day.

It is finding magic in things.

It is talking with people and discovering their inner goodness.

It is the thrill of feeling a part of the life around you.

The attitude of adventure will open things up for you.

The world will become alive with new zest and meaning.

You’ll become more aware of the beauty everywhere.

Nothing will seem unimportant.

Everything will be revealed as having pattern and purpose.

~Wilfred A. Peterson~

When I remember, I like to move about my life as if the Universe, God, whatever name you want to put to it, is always in conversation with me.  Frankly, it is, whether I acknowledge it or not!  Your body and mine is downloading it’s exquisite, finely tuned guidance, even as I type.  It’s not just that though, when I’m fully here and present, I am most open to this conversation.

We are intrinsically endowed with Its bounty, nothing ever to pursue.

It’s a daily offering sprung from the depths of the Divine One, presenting itself to us ceaselessly.

It’s miracle after miracle unfolding before us.

Each an opportunity to notice, to marvel, to commune with.

It is communion with Spirit!

Every instant this vast sea of renewal, beckons us to awaken, to engage with this adventure on purpose.

“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance … I hope you dance.” ~Tia Sillers/Mark Sanders

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“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism.

There is no such thing as not worshipping.

Everybody worships

The only choice we get is what to worship.”  ~David Foster Wallace

I was so struck by reading those words.  What a unique take on the concept of worshipping.  Another way of understanding that, is everybody has faith and trust, it’s just a matter of where you place that faith and trust.  You can have faith that nothing works out, you can trust that no one is trustworthy!  The spectrum is broad and endless on what we choose to worship, where our faith and trust chooses to land.

I have an old tape that plays in my head, it comes in various flavors, but it’s basic posture is not good enough in one way or another.  When that tape is playing, I am a worshipper at the altar of not good enough.  When I look at it that way, I can hear the alarm bells sounding their wake up call to live consciously.

Take this precious gift, these senses, this body, this vehicle to worship at the altar of how much I love this life. How much I adore the sounds of my youngest daughter playing her guitar and singing in the next room.  The sleeping, snoring content sound of my dog at my feet.  The open window to my left and the sounds of our swollen back yard stream.  The occasional birdsong dotting the air.

My heart sings to the tune … “my work is loving the world.” (Mary Oliver)

Writing this to all of you now, a tad jet lagged.  I read an entire book on the plane ride last night, start to finish: Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Business, which was wicked good!  So, of all places, I will quote her on faith:

“Love is a leap of faith.”

Leaps of faith are not the ones that stem from habit or conditioned mind.  They’re as new and fresh as this day is, a true “present”.  This new day I am invited to sit at the altar of loving this world and myself in it.  How about you?  What do you choose to worship today?

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Short answer: you don’t.

The question is not how do you live with mistakes. It’s: how do you live with courage? How do you live with stepping out on a limb? How do you live with taking risks? How do you live with moving out of your safety zone? How do you live with the backbone to say: I think I can try this new thing that I’m not quite comfortable with, but I’ll try it anyway. How do you live with that kind of adventuresome spirit?  How do you live with determination? How do you live with pluck and spirit? How do you live with tenacity? How do you live with just pure spunk?

Oooh, let me gather courage, risk taking, backbone, adventuresome spirit, determination and pluck and spirit, tenacity and spunk. Let me gather them at the helm of my sleigh and with a jolly glee say: on courage, on risk taking, on backbone, on adventuresome spirit, on determination and pluck, on spirit and tenacity… and spunk with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight!

Zig Ziglar once said something that floored me at the time. I had been raised with the old adage, if you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all. A good many inventions we make use of today, not the first of which is the light bulb, might never have come about if it hadn’t been for the persistance of one man to hold a vision of what he wanted and let nothing deter him from that. That’s courage, that’s determination, that’s pluck and spirit…It’s all of that. Back to Zig Ziglar, he said: ‘anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly, until you can do it well’. Don’t you just love that?!

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