Tag Archives: zen

Don’t Settle for a Ho-hum Life

screen-shot-2013-11-16-at-2-36-15-pm

At a young age, we begin the habit of limping in order to harmonize with friends, our family, a job, a social order.  By the time we’re adults, it’s become so much a part of us that we do it unthinkingly—automatically. To stop doing it now would be jolting because we’re used to it. But it’s limping. And limping doesn’t make us happy . . . it does the opposite.

My friend, Pat, limped for the greater share of her life.  Instead of warmly accepting herself—enjoying her uniqueness—she spent most of her days hunkered down, feeling inferior, seemingly ashamed of who she was. Fearful of others’ negative opinions, she was careful about what she said and did. Submerging her true essence, she presented everyone with a watered-down version of herself.  But something happened that changed all that. I call it a gift—so did Pat. Click here and read her heartfelt story.

Well-being is the reward for doing the things that feed our spirit. When circumstances prevent us from doing that, we need to very quickly tackle those roadblocks to the ground. Everyday we struggle for our life. Not necessarily because we might die … at least not physically. Our essential self—that spark within each of us—fights to stay alive.

Let me know your thoughts!

Once again, I thank Tracie Louise Photography for another stunning image.

2 Comments

Filed under Contemplations, Get Free

Fear the Small Stuff

bug swarm

We’re all aware of the big and obvious things that rock our existence. But it’s the small—oftentimes invisible—things that can prove to be most destructive.

Here’s an example. While at Cape Cod, Don and I took a nature walk, enjoying the beauty of the wetlands. But something unseen was putting a damper on things. Call  it gnats … some people  call them no-see-ums. I call them nuisances. For Don and I, the experience was akin to being aggressively attacked by a battalion of biting mosquitoes.

Interestingly, earlier in the day at our seminar, Thomas Moore suggested we look for animal sightings and explore their symbolic meaning. Sure enough, those bothersome little creatures qualified.

At some point in our nature walk, exasperated and miserable, Don and I woke up and remembered our assignment.  A shift in consciousness occurred. Instead of seeing those tiny little creatures as the enemy, we now saw them as innocent. “They just want to survive,” Don said.

Those little buggers didn’t know it (or maybe they did), but they were teachers. They taught us that:

  • Life’s small irritations have the potential for eroding wonderful experiences.
  • Small, unseen, or seemingly insignificant things make their presence known by their effect on us. Therefore, it’s wise to tune in to how we’re affected internally by things.
  • Gnats are a subtle threat. The opposite is true of a grizzly bear. There’s nothing subtle about that threat! In a way, we’re better prepared for an obvious threat.
  • Small issues can grow into big problems if not attended to.

Don said,

“If I see an issue as a bear, I’m more likely to seriously deal with it. I don’t want obvious pain! On the other hand, I’m more likely to bypass the smaller issues. The truth is, both have the potential to be very destructive.”

The moral of the story:

If you don’t want the big issues in your life, you’d better be willing to deal with the little issues on an everyday basis.

I invite your insights. Thanks!

1 Comment

Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Caring for Our Soul

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I spent an exciting week on Cape Cod! The adventure included a five-day seminar led by Thomas Moore entitled Psychotherapy, Spirituality and the Soul.  (Not to worry … the sessions were over  at noon every day. The rest of the day was play!)

Thirteen years in the monastery seasoned his  wisdom, but so did his experience as a university professor and a psychotherapist for 35 years.

He’s written several best-selling books including Care of the Soul and the recently released Care of  the Soul in Medicine. A large measure of  his work has entailed illuminating the connection between our psychological self and our soul. He doesn’t see a separation between the two. In fact, on the first day of  the seminar, he explained that psycho is a Greek word meaning soul. So it’s no surprise that he maintains that psychotherapy should be invested in the caring for the soul. I agree.

Moore described the soul as “who we are at our depths.” He had more to say about it which is summarized well in Care of the Soul. Here it is:

“Soul is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. I do not use  the word here as an object of  religious  belief or  as something to do with immortality.”

Moore points out that the soul is usually hidden from view—from our surface consciousness. Details  of everyday life, such as filling out forms, driving to work, fixing lunch, parenting kids, cleaning the bathroom and heading off the onslaught of constant problems, prove distracting.

All of these things can rob us of our peace,  trigger  anxiety, disrupt relationships and make us unhappy. Such symptoms, Moore says, are ways our soul communicates to us. If we listen closely while emptying our mind of preconceptions, we’ll discover what we truly want and need.

I have a personal example of how stress  was my soul’s method  of communication.

Picture this: You’re sitting in the passenger seat, whizzing down the road at 75 miles per hour, passing and being passed by cars, trucks and anything else that might be coming down the toll road. And what are you doing? You’re trying to write the next post for your blog. The words aren’t  coming … not even a topic!

That was me coming home from  the seminar. My friend, Don, was driving.

After four hours of driving, we decided it was time to take a break. We stopped at a lush picnic area. No highway bustle or noise here—just tranquility.

With the green of nature all  around us, we sat quiet for several minutes—soaking it up, rather letting it soak us up. The key was in the letting.

The birds  were singing. A cat wandered along a nearby path. The breeze was cooling …  I knew I was experiencing what it means to be attuned to my soul—what it means to  care for the soul.

Through that experience, I learned firsthand that solutions—call them soulutions—aren’t about changing or fixing things on  the outside of us, but on  the inside. A shift.

When it was time to head back to the car, I took the lush oasis with  me. As a result, the words—for the blog—came with ease, and the topic was a no-brainer.

I welcome  your thoughts.

2 Comments

Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

The Latest Wow: Waste Your Time

Dandelion at Sunset

Carlie is  an  over-achieving teenager. She’s  driven to excel academically, athletically and socially. She has trouble with that word “relax.”  But in a moment of clarity, she wowed me with this:

“I would like to know my future to see if I’m wasting my time, because if I am wasting my time, I want to waste it better.”

It’s sad that a stressed-out state can feel normal to us, so much so that it feels wrong to  be free of it.  Let’s face it, our culture values and encourages busyness over taking time to smell the roses. Busyness is easily equated with productivity, purposefulness and meaningfulness. To do otherwise is  deemed wasting one’s time.

This is all wrong! Squirrels are incessantly busy—aimlessly darting here and there—but I wouldn’t necessarily call that busyness productive, purposeful or much less meaningful. The same applies to us humans.

In contrast, soaking up  a sunset can be one of the most productive, purposeful  and meaningful things we can do.

Let’s get busy wasting some time!

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality

Leave a comment

Filed under Get Free, The Latest Wow!