January 2022 – How Do You See Your Year Shaping Up?
Our New Year 2022 has indeed begun. It’s become a common theme as each New Year begins, to enter it with hope, intentions for being better, stronger, kinder…anything that we want to improve. And still, we are facing challenges, health concerns with the pandemic, uncertainty with climate change, and for many of us, tremendous loss as we start the year. So, let’s take a moment together to create…
July 2021 – Resistance Revisited
Have you ever been accused of ‘being resistant,’ for example to change? For me, though, resistance has often been a good thing. It gets my attention! It comes in fast and loud, making enough of an entry to stop the momentum and get me to reconsider and question just what is going on. It ends up being both a clarifying presence as well as one that often foretells that I’m right on the precipice of an important discovery…
June 2021 – The Gift of Rest
I recently had a precious friend of mine tell me that she experiences herself as having difficulty resting. At just the mention of the word “resting,” my body expressed a long sigh remembering how precious it is to rest. My friend and I didn’t pursue the topic at length, but since then, I have been pondering the gift of rest in my life. I thought about what rest means to me, how I do it, and what it offers me throughout the day. Day-resting is an essential part of my health and healing energies and something I rarely have to discipline myself to do anymore. It comes naturally at this point, except…
May 2021 – 50 Years of Sunny Days
Yes, I’m talking about the Sesame Street documentary that aired in April this year. When Sesame Street first started, I was a teenager, so I didn’t exactly tune into it like so many of my friends who would soon be watching it regularly as they started their families. Because of having such close friendships though, I did get to view several segments of Sesame Street for the first 10-15 years that it ran. I liked Bert and Ernie the best, as I remember, mostly because they were different and yet had a tender way of respecting their differences and allowing one another’s strengths to shine.
I watched the 50-year retrospective over 3 separate…
April 2021 – Get Moving and Save Your Sanity
Instead of plopping in front of the TV all day, seeking out medications, or turning to alcohol, take a serious look at using physical activity to help you through the rest of this crisis. It’s free, there are no adverse side effects, and it’s proven to help.
Uncertainties are still difficult to deal with: What activities can I safely engage in now? When can we travel again? Can I really get back to my Friday routine of dinner and a movie?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress…
March 2021 – Root-Bound? Move into a Bigger Pot
If you’ve ever been the caregiver for potted plants for a year or more, you know what happens to a plant when it’s root-bound. The roots keep growing and getting denser in the pot–consuming whatever nutrients are left in the soil. The plant is trying desperately to survive on less and less of what she needs.
In life, we all need to be aware that we ourselves may become root-bound.
February 2021 – Please Pass the Magnetism…
Our trusty computer thesaurus tells us that magnetism is synonymous with charisma, appeal, allure, and enticement, among others. All of these words draw me in and make me want to be around people who have it, and I’d like to hang onto a fair dose of it myself. What’s good about it? Magnetism can be a powerful influencer; it usually makes people lean in and listen even if they don’t know they’re doing it. And let’s face it, if people are listening, our statements will be more persuasive when we deliver them.
Let’s take Amanda Gorman as an outstanding example of someone who is…
January 2021 – Why Can’t I Stop Screaming?
Dr. Juli Fraga, psychologist and Hilary Jacobs Hendel, trauma psychotherapist wrote an essay on the stresses of Covid-19 and the emotional toll that it is taking on Americans.
“Why can’t I stop screaming at my partner?” “Why do I always feel on edge?” These are common questions posed by their psychotherapy patients. For many, the unending pandemic, political unrest and racial injustice are worsening their mental health, write doctors Fraga and Hendel.
While these professional women are uniquely positioned to be exposed to the specific horrors of how Americans are impacted by the ongoing stresses we are enduring, we all probably have experienced moments ourselves or with someone close to us who has reached the end of one’s proverbial rope. What the heck do we do with all these feelings?
December 2020 – Connection is Everything
A Chinese Proverb tells us succinctly about the power of Connection:
“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”
Ever since childhood and playing with my sisters, I understood, even if primitively, the importance of being connected to other people. As I grew, I realized that connection doesn’t just happen once and stay forever, it takes nurturing and learning and, at times, compromise.
November 2020 – Curiosity Cultivates Smarts
Studies have shown that curiosity positively correlates with intelligence. High novelty-seeking (or highly curious) toddlers would have higher IQs as older children than toddlers with lower levels of curiosity. High levels of curiosity in adults are connected to greater analytic ability, problem-solving skills and overall intelligence. All of which suggests that cultivating more curiosity in your daily life is likely to make you smarter.
October 2020 – What Do You Need to Keep Going?
I can hardly keep count of the numbers of people I care about who are sharing their stories about being tense, sad, unable to sleep, anxious, agitated, or filled with rage. Bottom line, we are losing hope and feeling the dire circumstances surrounding us. We are pushed to our limits. We need strength, support, and wisdom to get through this time of crisis, and we’re not sure how to get there efficiently and securely. It made me curious to delve deeper into what we are really looking for…
August 2020 – Touch Me If You Can
“As humans, we are driven to connect. We have a fundamental motivation to belong… The simple act of being with people can help boost self-esteem and provide a sense of meaning and purpose.” We also have a need to touch and be touched. And unless you are living with people and have created “a bubble of connection” already, touching is really not something that’s widely available. In my experience…
July 2020 – Can You See Me?
We’ve all heard comments about how wearing masks makes it hard to recognize people, especially if it’s someone we weren’t expecting to see. Perhaps even members of your family and closest friends might not be easily recognized. Some people who have been hospitalized with the virus have commented on how difficult it is to see their care-gives approach their bedside all covered up except their eyes, and they can’t really see who it is. Masks or no masks, it is crucial as a part of a staying healthy to be…
June 2020 – The Dawning of the New Normal
My friend of many years, Sam, who passed several years ago was a unique being, an accomplished whistler, and a prolific writer. When we became friends, introduced by his daughter, who herself was quite extraordinary, it was a gift to both Sam and I. I saw him as a very wise man, humble, honest, and wide open. He had very few rules, he might say none at all. And those who knew him, loved him, and too, often talked of him as “odd.” He surely was never ‘ordinary.’
April 2020 – Good News, Bad News, Who’s to Say?
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the lessons from a Zen Buddhist Fable, or as I remember it, the story of an enlightened farmer. As the story goes…
One day in late summer, a farmer was working in his field with his old sick horse. The farmer felt compassion for the horse and desired to lift its burden. So, he let his horse loose to go the mountains and live out the rest of its life. Soon after, neighbors from the nearby village visited, offering their condolences and said, “What a shame. Now your only horse is gone. How unfortunate you are! You must be very sad. How will you live, work the land, and prosper?” The farmer replied: “Who could say? We shall see.”
Two days later…
March 2020 – Is Wisdom Gone?
Everything – or almost everything – is done on the run these days. Does the topic of “wisdom” even get mentioned in primary education anymore? I remember a time in my childhood, around age 6, when I sat with an older, much older friend and he would tell me stories about life. Being that young there were things I didn’t fully understand, but he was patient with my questions. At the end of each or our discussions …
February 2020 – Through the Looking Glass with Kindness
The Power of One is a novel by Australian author Bryce Courtenay, first published in 1989. Set in South Africa during the 1930s and 40s, it tells the story of an English-speaking South African boy named Peekay. My impressions as I slowly ambled through the book some 20 years ago, included exquisite pleasure with the delicious characters that Courtenay animated across the pages, the extreme challenges that Peekay endured multiple times throughout his life, and the unlimited adventures that one life can afford. I often return to the lessons this book offers on how we must discover our own power again and again to stand up—sometimes alone—and forge our own path, listening ever-so-closely to the voice that speaks only to us.
January 2020 – Typhoons of Change — with Family, Teams, Friends
“Yes, by all means, let’s find new vision to create better communication, find balance after a change, and appreciate what each person adds to the whole.” My experience is that people are usually eager, after a tangible shift, to sort through the old or original patterns and generate fresh connections and revitalize mutual understanding. This is true whether dealing with families, coworkers, or friendships. What is required is a deep, honest, vulnerable look inside oneself, followed by a willingness to share what you noticed or learned. This is an essential beginning to inspire any group to approach commitment, open communication, and heartfelt appreciation.
December 2019 – Radical Acceptance
Twice in one week, I had someone remind me of the importance of being fully open to what actually IS occurring and not to get preoccupied with the way we want or wish things to be. Both times, I saw the immediate and incredible truth that they spoke. When things get challenging, dangerous, profoundly unprecedented, and starkly impossible to be happening before our eyes, it’s not uncommon for us to go into utter resistance and simply ‘make believe it’s not true.’ With all the turmoil in our country right now, as well as worldwide, it is demandingly tough to see the veracity of a situation and honestly look it in the eye.
November 2019 – The Endowment of Ebb
Peter Russell, author of the book, Waking Up in Time, recounts research about the extraordinary rate of growth in our accumulated body of knowledge. Humanity first doubled its knowledge by AD 1500. Today, human knowledge is estimated to be doubling every eighteen months. These staggering statistics subtly influence us to believe our ability to integrate and utilize this knowledge should be expanding at an equal pace. Herein lies an assumption that demands a closer look.
October 2019 – Why Do We Cry?
I watched the season opener of “This is Us,” an NBC block-buster hit in its fourth season. It’s known for making grown men cry, and fans tease about how difficult it is to keep watching, all the while knowing its compelling nature and poignant stories make it impossible not to watch. I’m prepared for the emotion. I watched it strategically knowing I had plenty of time and no immediate responsibilities afterwards. In the first 20 minutes, I was simply getting to know the “new characters” of this season, and then, BAM I got blind-sided…
September 2019 – Who Packs Your Parachute?
Most of us need a variety of people to provide what it takes to fruitfully make it through the day. We may think we are independent because we generate enough money to live, we do our own shopping, cooking, cleaning, or even pay someone to do these things for us. But when we look closer, we see there are countless others on whom we rely to make our lives work well. It was Charles Plumb, a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam that gave us this question: Who Packs Your Parachute? He points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes…
August 2019 – A Hiccup in My Worldview
“A worldview is a mental model of reality—a comprehensive framework of ideas and attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life.” See, isn’t that soothing? As I read more about worldview, I learned that it is a system of beliefs, of personally customized theories about the world and how it works. Also comforting because to me it implies that it might not remain the same in the midst of change. I am in a bigger-than-life transition in which I notice that the way I think about things is changing! What?
July 2019 – Pick Up the Tiger – Embrace What is Terrifying
I have a deep connection to tigers. It started when my Mom died, and I was sitting on the front porch, allowing myself to slip into the comfort of a trance state. My eyes were open as I stared softly down the block to the very end. And slowly, a vision of my Mom appeared walking hand-in-hand with me as a little girl…
June 2019 – Belonging Imperfectly
I’m currently in development for a camp for young people, aged 11-17 who belong to Village of Promise (VOP). Each summer, this being our 10th, myself and a small team of 3-4 adults create a new theme and all the workshops and activities that will showcase the theme—and give Villagers an experience of hope, fun, vision, and continuity. This summer…
April 2019 – Honor What You Don’t Know
I listened to an interview with author and philosopher, Jean Vanier, in which he described the importance of ‘honoring what we don’t know.’ As I pondered that, I felt a sense of relief. It tells me there is something good and meaningful in all that I do not know. Thank heavens, because what I don’t know encapsulates a vast amount of information!
March 2019 – Pondering Your Existential Weight?
It was one of my teachers and healers, Antonio Barros who first spoke to me about “existential weight.” I was not familiar with this term before, but when he named it such, it was instantly resonant for me. I’m sharing it with you now and asking you to ponder it with me.
February 2019 – On Being Vulnerable and Spontaneous
What definition do you choose to define vulnerability? … Being vulnerable is a weakness and is something you do not want to be or feel. Spontaneity is our ability to act voluntarily or with undetermined action or movement. Can you see any commonalities in being spontaneous and being vulnerable? They both imply freedom and the ability to be …
January 2019 – Entirely New Social Connections
Happy January 2019 – I’m back with you to share my first dawning of something entirely new that I promised I would write about this month. The focus surrounds what it feels like and how it touches us when we are connecting with new people and building a social support in a new place. I walked into this move with my eyes wide open about leaving a rich, supportive, stimulating large group of friends, colleagues, clients, and associates …
December 2018 – Standing on the Edge of Something Entirely New
When I’m onto something “entirely new” I actually don’t know it until later … when it dawns on me. This is especially true if it’s something that will have a profound effect on me and will be fairly permanent. (Nothing lasts forever, right?) When that dawning begins, if I’m really paying attention, I will pause, breathe deeply several times, and ask for clarity on what is occurring. I’ve had two such things happen since I moved to the Pacific Northwest just 3 short months ago.
November 2018 – Pain and Merriment
So often in today’s technology-focused world, when we need something fixed, or we want to make sure we have the right replacement part for the kitchen faucet, we snap a photograph and bring it with us to enhance the merchant’s understanding of the problem and the exact solution we seek. More often than not, the photograph speaks volumes—especially if it’s hard to articulate the precise issue we are facing. When it comes to pain, however, it can be a little trickier.
October 2018 – Taking Distress Out of a Bee Sting
As I shared with you in the July TIPS, it’s oh-so valuable to consent and let healing advance on its own route with no “help” from us. Yes, of course, we need to love ourselves, and make wise choices, and too, healing is a NATURAL part of our humanity, which is such a gift! So, hello and welcome back after my short sabbatical in August and September. I made a large life change, and moved 1200 miles away!
July 2018 – The Paradox of Healing
As I write this, I am experiencing a paradoxical event in my own healing. Usually, my journey is to perform my workout diligently and focus on each movement, exercise, and stretch to keep my body flexible and strong. However, last Friday, my body started to rebel a bit — or probably more accurately, it spoke to me to “stop working so hard.” Drat, that meant I had to slow down, listen, and rest for a while. Mind and body at odds is never a good thing. So, I brought myself back to basics.
We humans have a big problem: We have trouble communicating. For the most part we “want” to communicate clearly, listen intently, and be understood. But in the workplace, the community, the household, and the primary relationship, high quality communication doesn’t come easy. We all know this but we fight it everyday. Why? We can banter about various reasons why this happens, but our time is probably better spent …
May 2018 – Healthy Leaders = Productive Leaders
I love bridges. There might be an element of risk involved when crossing a bridge. However, for me the risk is worth it, because the purpose of a bridge is to connect two things that might not otherwise ever get connected — or at least not without a great deal of meandering around. I’m endeavoring to bridge my love and expertise working with two separate groups — high tech professionals whose leaders want teams that trust one another and generate healthy conflict — with workers that have personal goals for health and vibrancy. While not a new concept …
April 2018 – Two Sides of Healing
I recently decided to talk to my doctor about trying a series of Physical Therapy (PT) treatments to decrease the discomfort I felt walking. She was well aware of my having a childhood event that left me with random weakness in both legs and hips, so she whole-heartedly supported my request. I had a clear goal of learning new ways to stand, sit, and move through space more efficiently and with …
March 2018 – Body Delicious
One of the many things my body has taught me is that it likes to keep things in balance. When there’s a challenge in one part of the body, every other part is put on notice. Subsequently, the shift or change undulates throughout, so the balance of the whole can be restored. This remarkable, instinctive skill is what makes the body so good at …
February 2018 – Juices Flowing
We are a society that sits – a lot – and the experts have written piles of articles about how bad this is for our posture, our ultimate comfort, and our frame of mind and attitude. When I examined my patterns, I saw that my work did indeed steer me into a chair with one client after another, so I created an effortless routine to change that… and get the juices flowing!
January 2018 – Vibrancy at its Best
I have to admit, I have pretty good energy on a regular basis. I awaken quite early every day, and I move right into activity—for me, I enjoy a 90-minute routine of stretching, yoga, and meditation to start each day. Admittedly, however, there are some days when I am drained from the get-go, and I have to alter my routine to accommodate my lack of energy. I look to myself and query “what will it take for me to return to vibrancy?“
December 2017 – Cultivating Metta – 5 Minutes A Day
As you may be aware, metta is often defined as “loving kindness” or a practice of loving kindness. Specifically, loving kindness towards ourselves, towards those we love, those we care about, those we know, those we find difficult, those we do not understand at all. It begins with ourselves. And if we find difficulty with that, practicing loving kindness towards that difficulty. It’s a practice to bring spaciousness. It’s a practice to be connected.