BOO! Leaving Your Comfort Zone

If we don’t push ourselves to move and explore outside our comfort zone we can become like the walking dead, eating other’s flesh. (I thought a bit of a Halloween/zombie theme would be timely). Life can be quite spooky if we don’t step outside of our comfort zone. Spooky dull. Deficient. We become hungrier and hungrier, but eating the same diet just doesn’t satisfy. And, too often in our states of dissatisfaction and comfort, we live off the lives of others. We become frighteningly zombie-like if we give into letting our routines and habits live our life for us. A favorite quote of mine that is … Continue reading

Habit-Forming Words (How Conscious Writing Transforms the Page)

In our writing and in our relationships, habits can interfere with a genuine expression of our ideas and our emotions. Habitual ways often handicap our ability to understand others and to be understood ourselves. On the page, as writers, we rely on habitual words. In our daily life, as people, we rely on habitual behaviors. Unless we are willing to identify these habitual patterns, we will remain a bit duller and flatter in both arenas. Recently I resumed work on my novel. When I had stopped working on it some weeks ago, I inserted the word “here” at my stopping … Continue reading

Here, Take This Gift of Relationship

Mutual influence is the fundamental foundation, the hallmark, of a healthy, dynamic relationship and each conversation within our relationships. Marriages, friendships, work relationships are all dependent upon this quality. In its highest expression, mutual influence depends on both participants being ethical, truthful, and open. A willingness to be influenced is dependent upon a vulnerability and curiosity toward the other, a genuine motivation to understand the other and then be influenced by what the other has to say—give and take, a back and forth. Read more at:  Is Your Boss A High Function Sociopath? Here, take this gift, I was reserving it for … Continue reading

The Dangers of Distraction

Whatever we give our attention to in our daily lives is what we cultivate, and as a result, becomes manifest. Whatever we nurture through attention grows; unless what we nurture isn’t “real.” This would be like watering a plastic plant. This plant can appear to take in all the light and water you give it but it will never grow. For me, too much attention to “searching”on the internet, television, to consumption, or other activities that really don’t result in anything, draw energy from that which will bring genuine happiness and fulfillment. Too much clutter is a huge distraction too … Continue reading

The Simplicity of Happiness

Keeping things simple makes us happy. The centipede was happy, quite! Until a toad in fun asked, “Pray which leg goes after which?” This worked his mind to such a pitch He lay distracted in a ditch, Considering how to run.             (Zen poem memorized from childhood)   All these are proven methods to generating happiness by keeping it simple:       In a big project, focus on the next step close in. (We tend to put our attention on 3 to 4 steps out.)  In a difficult situation, practice an ethical or spiritual principle. … Continue reading

Talk To Me: Family Gatherings & Sacred Dialogue

Many of us will gather with family this week. Artful conversation with our self and others can make for a safe and uplifting experience even in the more edgy encounters. Here I share with you an excerpt from my book, The Zero Point Agreement on sacred dialogue. It’s the stories we tell and the conversations we hold, and how we hold them, that determine our experiences of each other. In each conversation we hold with someone there is a story being told. When we let our conversations be more an exchange of stories rather than of ideas–something beautiful happens. “Everybody … Continue reading

Ajatashutru’s Freedom from Anger and Attachment

This is the fifth piece in the Venerable Geshe Lhundup Sopa’s introductory teachings, the “lessons before the lessons.” Commentary and spiritual writing prompts follow his lesson. Ajatashutru, who was a cousin of the Buddha, was under the influence of very strong attachment. This story is a good example because it shows us how even a relative of the Buddha can be under the influence of a strong mental delusion. He began to compete with the Buddha for recognition. In this story Ajatashutru met up with a companion in evil, Devadatta, who ignited more aggression and more anger in him, until he … Continue reading

A Skeptic Awakening at the Foot of One Sage

I consider myself a willing skeptic at the feet of many sages and yoginis. I am willing to explore and to reach for meaning while being given spiritual instruction. During various teachings, rituals and empowerments that I attended over the years at Deer Park in Oregon Wisconsin, I was deeply inspired by the Venerable Geshe Lhundub Sopa’s introductory teachings. I admit that these “lessons before the lessons” often held more meaning for me than the primary teachings. I was able then, and now, to use these teachings in a more practiced way, integrating them into my daily life. After hearing … Continue reading

How to Be Who You Already Are

Life is a journey of discovery and belonging. It is about making meaning from our experiences for ourselves while allowing the meaning we have made to change.  The active life is about being able to create and discover meaning in an ongoing way and not hold on to one meaning or we may miss an opportunity at hand. As Joseph Campbell put it, “If we are hanging on to the form now, we are not going to have the form next.” When we review our life and recall times that we experienced an awakening or an epiphany (either through someone else’s teachings … Continue reading

Six Signs of Suffering

  “As long as we live in the misperception of being a separate entity, we encounter frustration, confusion, difficulties and turmoil.” –Ken McLeod, Wake Up to Your Life All of our suffering can be linked to the illusion of separation that we experience on a personal level. Every separation we “see” in the outside originates in some inner belief of separation. Although this original belief took root from some life experience (a narcissist parent, a trauma, a lack of intimacy or bonding as a child, abuse, neglect, etc.,) it has now become part of our inner landscape. When our history teaches … Continue reading