One day some people came to the master and asked "How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness, and death?"
The master held up a glass and said, "Someone gave me this glass, and I really like it. It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch it, and it rings! One day the wind may blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it incredibly."Read more
Perhaps it is too much excitement, all the transatlantic travel, or a hormonal imbalance, but on some days, meditation feels to me like a royal waste of precious life units. What's the point of sitting there, thinking thinking thinking?
Since I'm rarely able to transcend the human condition and dissolve into bliss (with no side effects), on those other days I resort to micro-practices. Can you guess what they are? Well, exactly what the name says: very very short periods of paying attention. Really short, like three, five, ten, or fifteen seconds at a time, but they are done early, and often.
Me, I like to pay attention to sensations: they are the secret language of Life. Even when my mind feels like a washing machine in a power cycle (you know, extra agitation), I can manage ten seconds of uninterrupted presence. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, I am micro-practice, and so can you.
Wanna try? Take the next ten seconds to sense your hands. Are you holding a latte, a slice of pizza, a gadget? Close your eyes--unless you're driving--feel the texture of that thing you're touching, let it touch you, and then come back to reading. Take a sip of that latte. Really smell and taste it, feel how it wants to be drunk by you.Read more
During my unending pursuit of the perfect filing system, I recently came across a quote I copied years ago. Paraphrased slightly, it goes like this:
Grown-up living requires conscious tolerance for high anxiety, a measure of audacity, and the courage to love in the face of inevitable loss. Sometimes this means holding onto your sanity and calming yourself while your anxiety is high--and then moving ahead anyway.
Ways to do it include breathing consciously, opening your mind to a real, rather than dreaded event, saying out loud the very unspeakable truth you learned in childhood should never be uttered, convincing yourself that catastrophe is manageable, and meeting life's energy with your competent, adult self.
That's quite a list, huh?
Honestly, how much of the time do you feel you're operating from your competent, adult self, especially when emotional stakes are high? How often are you aware that anxiety is running your choices? able to tell the difference between a dreaded vs. real event (that was then, this is now)? willing to claim your projections--like owning the very behavior you hate in your partner (or parent!)? brave enough to speak your previously unspeakable truth?
It has become clear to me (via my experience and students' reports over the last twenty some years) that awareness of inner process can catalyze profound shifts toward alignment with the deeper desires and dreams for our lives. And that a long term learning circle offers uniquely powerful tools and conditions to support lasting transformation.
If you are a parent, friend, teacher, family member, and generally a human interested in relating to others, you know that sometimes love is not all we need. Most of us could also use a few extra resources, capacities, and relational skills to actually be able to show up for ourselves and each other.
Past BALP participants without fail reported significant life changes: reclaiming a sense of worthiness, belonging, and hope. A new career direction, a move across the country, a difficult decision regarding health care for an aging parent, sustained weight loss, sibling reconciliation, forgiveness, self-care, a new trust in life, deeper commitment to love.
If you are a coach, therapist, movement teacher, or body worker, you know that you can only take your clients/students as far as you have gone. You want to continue your own journey to embodiment and grow your capacity for attunement and compassion. Here's how we can help.Read more
Have you ever felt afraid when about to step across a threshold into a new possibility? Stood there, jittery, nauseous, clammy with sweat, telling yourself all the reasons why you should not do what you're about to do?
I am at a threshold now, about to commit to a new direction in my work that reveals what I most love. Listening to Radio Freakout, I am convinced I shouldn't do this. We know how this ends: derision, humiliation, and the worst of it all, aloneness. I am sweating even as I write this.Read more