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<Drums Rattle Djembe Doumbek>

“Hey Irish”

October 3rd, 2017

My father-in-law, Don, had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. He would come up with funny names and phrases. I was no exception. My nickname from Don when he was calling me was, “Hey Irish.”

Don was an incredible photographer. He not only took wonderful pictures, but also kept detailed notes on the back of them. He always tracked who, where, and when the photos were taken. He had an amazing eye for taking pictures. Don had been a part-time wedding and newspaper photographer when his children were growing up.

In the late 90’s, Don realized how much of an interest I had in photography and he offered some advice on how to frame photos using various viewpoints. He taught me how to see with a new lens. It’s not easy – seeing with a new lens. He liked to show me how to breakdown the parts of a picture: the foreground, the main view and the background. See the whole thing. When he showed me how to capture an image or a person, he would often advise me to see the whole picture – take in the whole scene. Don wanted me to see more than the photograph I wanted to take. Rather, his advice was often about opening myself up to the larger view, the larger lens, and the larger frame.

I have taken many photos for the past 20 years with new eyes thanks to my father-in-law’s wisdom of seeing through new eyes and a new lens. And now when I photograph a moment using his technique of viewing, framing, and capturing, I always think of him. He was a good teacher.

I don’t think I ever got the chance to say thank you. Don, thank you – I see the world with a bigger lens because of you.
Love, Irish

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

If Only You Knew

September 6th, 2017

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

 

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Posted in Letting Go | Toning the Om

Imagine

August 31st, 2017

Imagine three plus days at a summer camp for adults. Image a summer camp for creative souls, entrepreneurs, and change-makers. Imagine a weekend of connecting, listening, learning, playing, creating, laughing, crying, painting, meditating, hugging, experiencing, and living with the fullness of our being. Imagine showing up as is – raw, vulnerable, happy, sad, worried, emotional, curious, anxious, hopeful, and playful. Imagine a weekend of community building, deep learning, reflective meditation, mindful conversations, and new friendships. Imagine a weekend of homecoming, soulful humanness, and joyful play. Imagine a weekend of being with allies of love, connection, and community. Imagine all of this – that’s Camp Good Life Project (CampGLP).

Imagine a weekend where conversations can be about loss and longing, place and space, love and liberation. Imagine a weekend where our day can start with meditation and end with a collaborative puzzle. Imagine art as a way to connection. Imagine art as a form of contribution and celebration. Imagine uplifting murals of hope. Imagine learning about how art can heal. Imagine a community mural with 400+ campers. Imagine getting a piece of that mural to take home. Imagine the other half of the mural going to an art project with refugees.

Imagine noticing what gives us purpose. Imagine noticing the hard things in our life right now. Imagine noticing what keeps coming back and letting it be. Imagine noticing the struggles and what makes it worth it. Imagine noticing what we can do to serve. Imagine possibility. Imagine creating possibility for others. Imagine showing up. Imagine shedding what no longer serves us. Imagine being in the home of our heart.

Imagine a conversation on race and liberation. Imagine knowing our whole and complete truth. Imagine giving up something in order to belong. Imagine belonging. Imagine settling down into being uncomfortable. Imagine beginning with our own liberation. Imagine reconnecting with our humanity. Imagine being curious about what we have lost. Imagine reclaiming our wholeness. Imagine not being defined by place. Imagine touching into the suffering of our own being. Imagine the desire to know ourselves. Imagine taking care of ourselves.

Imagine listening. Imagine where conversations can lead. Imagine being seen. Imagine celebrating. Imagine mourning. Imagine releasing. Imagine inviting. Imagine welcoming. Imagine welcoming ourselves home.

Imagine asking, “What If?” Imagine living with openness.

Imagine celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with 400+ people from around the world at a summer camp for adults. Imagine CampGLP.

Imagine.


Much love and gratitude to Jonathan and Stephanie Fields, the Camp GLP team, crew, and volunteers for letting us live all of this and more.

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Posted in Gratitude | Toning the Om

I Sat with an Egret

August 22nd, 2017

I sat with an egret for a moment – just a few moments.

I watched as it sat still letting the breeze blow its feathers.

Slowly the egret reached down into the water and snatched a fish.

I watched as the egret sauntered lifting each black foot up and out of the water without a sound.


Its slow steady movement was meditation in action.


Each step reminded me to be present.


I sat with an egret and was reminded to be still.


I watched an egret for a moment and realized that’s all we ever have – this moment.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

All Are Waves Are Water – Book Review

August 18th, 2017

All Are Waves Are Water by Jaimal Yogis is an expansion of his previous memoir (Saltwater Buddha) about his spiritual journey. Yogis, a surfer, journalist, and spiritual seeker, revisits his quest that blends his search for surf and enlightenment. Descriptions of surf sessions in Indonesia, Mexico, and San Francisco are beautiful pauses into the insight of the beauty of water and lessons of waves.

The depth and power of the book comes in Yogis’s description of “the seeking mind” caught in its own currents—and occasionally transcending them—in places such as the Himalayas, a Franciscan friary in New York, and the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Yogis lets us in on his personal struggles of relationships and spiritual doubts all while weaving together connections to the mystic, the magical, and the ordinary moments we all experience. Yogis shares scientific research, thoughts from religious scholars and poets, and the wisdom of surfers and monks. Each one has a lesson. From a Tibetan monk he learns how to reside in his own sadness. Later, he discovers that even a “tropical beach in Mexico with a beautiful woman, nothing much to do except surf, be creative, meditate, and eat tacos” won’t bring him lasting peace. On Ocean Beach, he seeks balance between life as a journalist and his spiritual path. Through all the struggles, doubts, and uncertainties, Yogis is able to find wisdom everywhere. Yogis reveals that the search for enlightenment is not much different from the search for the perfect wave.

The deeper you get into the book, the more you may find yourself asking some of Yogis’s deeper questions. Are waves deeply connected to both universal waves and the ones we surf daily within our mind? Ultimately, we discover that surfing proves a powerful metaphor for a Buddhist worldview, showing that life’s most turbulent waves are part of nature—and that wisdom means learning to ride the waves in each present moment.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Posted in Book Review | Toning the Om

Have You Checked the Expiration Date Lately?

August 8th, 2017

I found a Metrocard in my wallet last week and swiped it to see how much money was on it. The machine read, “Please see an attendant.” I walked over and asked the MTA attendant if she could check how much was on my card. After she swiped it and checked her computer she said, “Ma’am, this was a 30 day unlimited card that expired in March.” I thanked the lady and walked away with my expired card. After discarding it in the recycling bin, I realized that I had been carrying around an expired card for over five months.

Later, I decided to look through the rest of my wallet for other expired or outdated cards. As I finished reorganizing my wallet, I decided to check what else in my house had expired and could be thrown out. As I sat down feeling proud of getting rid of unnecessary items, I decided to check inside and see if anything within could be discarded. What else has expired in my life? Were there any thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that have expired that I am still carrying around? Could I let go of my disappointment and frustration? Am I carrying around anger that expired last month?


I invite you to check in and see if there is anything you are carrying (inside and out) that has expired. What has expired that is still living inside you?


Start with today. What are you still carrying around that you are willing to let go?


It’s time for a new 30-day pass.

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Misty Moment

July 25th, 2017

As part of a writing program I am in, we are given daily prompts and write without having our pen leave the paper – just write without editing. It’s a wonderful spiritual practice to experience something without editing. One of the prompts was misty moment. Below is my edit free writing…

The words describe the metta view of looking at life through misty moments – the ones that capture us at our core. The moments that draw us closer, allow us to be feel vulnerable, and fill us with tears. It’s the misty moments that keep us connected rather than those moments where we fall to our knees. I love the misty moments where I am so full of love.

 There is also the macro view misty moments like the ones I see at the end of my street on City Island when I watch a sunset. It’s the moment right before the sun rises and the water reaches the sky and we are drawn in. We lean into misty moments hoping they pass so we can capture our moment of light. The misty moment is the in-between place – the breath between breath – the sound between sound. We know this view because it’s often the place we live our life. Misty – not devastated or elevated. Moment – not a life time.

We view our world through our lens, our filter, our eyes. And these are our misty moments meant to be shared, meant to be expressed, meant to be lived.

Metta.
Macro.
Misty moments.

 

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Leaving the Station

July 13th, 2017

Next stop – the Bronx. I often wait a long time at the Pelham Bay station for my train to leave the station. How long have I sat scrolling social media or reading or meditating or listening to a Podcast while waiting to leave the station? Over the years, I have left many stations behind – some that I have not returned to in years and some ever again. Leaving the station of people and places often means letting go and moving on.

Leaving and arriving are daily practices. It’s when I am stuck in the station that negative emotions arise. Leaving the station can mean a good-bye, a travel away, a travel towards, a moving on, a welcoming, a grieving, a homecoming, a shift in perspective. I have learned that we all leave the station at some point and each time is different. What are we really leaving?

Everything changes. And in the end, I have learned that everyone leaves in some form. It’s the inhale and exhale of life. Breathing in and breathing out. We meet each other in the in-between breath.

We all leave the station at our own pace. Welcome the leaving.

Soon the conductor will shout, “Leaving the station.”

Next stop…

This is dedicated to my mom who passed away 17 years ago. Glad we had time together to share the in-between breath.

This essay was inspired from the Prompt a Day Program with Cynthia Morris.

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Summer Sun Meditation

July 6th, 2017

Sit quietly…with your spine straight…breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Allow the exhale breath to last a little longer. Keep breathing until your whole body relaxes. Breathe through each part of your body. Notice what area of your body needs more attention and send your breath there.

Allow an image of the sun to come into your awareness. Allow whatever color of the sun come to you that feels really good. Sense its presence just above you. Invite the rays of the sun to come into you. Allow the sunlight to brighten every thought and feeling. As you breathe in, sense the warmth of the sun and as you breathe out, sense the light of the sun. Bathe in the sun.

Connect with your own sun – the light that is you. Imagine sending this light out to someone you love so they can also bathe in the light. Spend some time bathing in the sun. When you are ready, slowly let the imagine of the sun go. The light is always there within, ready to shine. Bathe in the light of you in all ways.

Bring the light into your heart. Know that the light is always available, always there, and always ready to be shared with those around you.

Welcome Home. Welcome to your light.

Happy Summer!

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

If Only You Knew

June 29th, 2017

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

 

 

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om