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Baseball and Grief

March 26th, 2020

I had tickets for today’s Opening Day Mets game at Citi Field with my brother-in-law. Given everything happening right now, this seems really trivial. But the Mets remind me of my family, especially my dad. He was a huge fan and raised his daughters to be as well. Every season my dad and I would talk about the Mets roster and line-up. You could always find a Mets game on his television at home and even in the hospital as he grew increasingly ill. After his passing, I placed three flowers on the field by third base on the last day of the 2018 season in his memory.

The Mets have provided a form of comfort and relief throughout my life. After my mom passed away in the summer of 2000, I would watch games on the weekends. It would be the most beautiful Sunday and all I wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch the Mets.

So missing Opening Day is more than just missing a baseball game — it’s about my connection to my family and missing my parents. It’s losing a place of joy and comfort and an outlet for grief. I really miss baseball.

And my hope is that we can all bring baseball back by staying home.

Please take time to notice where grief is showing up for you and know you are not alone. 

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

A Time to Love

March 13th, 2020

In Ecclesiastes there is a call to plant, to love, to live, to work, and then to enjoy the fruits of all one’s labors. The passage reminds us that there is a time for everything. I went back to Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 to savor the words:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Right now, it feels like we are all of this. And it is a great time to ask ourselves, “What is it time for in this moment?” What are we called to be with ourselves and one another?

There is a time for everything. And I can think about is how this is a time for us to care for those we love. This is a time to be more kind, more compassionate, and more forgiving. This is a time to be generous and loving. This a time to love – more than we ever have before.

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Posted in Toning the OM | Toning the Om

Curate More Love

February 12th, 2020

My morning meditation gave rise to notion of curating more love. More peace. More joy. More laughter.

Following my meditation, I wrote in my journal, “My heart is curated and narrated by the love that lives in me.” I began to just sit with that — in that. I questioned where in my life am I curating and narrating more love.

How am I curating and narrating the love that lives in me? How am I expressing the love that lives in me?

Curating and narrating love is a daily practice; one I am not always good at sharing. Each moment and each breath gives me a chance to curate more love.

What are you curating more of in your life right now?

This month, this day, this moment is an opportunity to curate more love.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

When Birds Squawk, I Listen

January 23rd, 2020

One of the things I love about the winter is looking out my window and bird watching. It is especially beautiful this time of year because the trees are bare, so the birds are easier to see and find. The cardinals hang out in my backyard and the blue jays sprawl to the highest height to look around. The mockingbirds hang out on the utility wire and the small sparrows find their way to the bottom of the bushes. I like to think they are “hunkering down” when the winds, rain, and snow comes blowing their way.

I have noticed that there have been less birds this winter. As I sit with my coffee on the weekends, I look out my window and notice that the sky is quiet – not a single bird around me. I wasn’t sure what had changed from last winter to this one until a hawk appeared a few weeks ago right outside my window. Now I know why the birds were hiding – they are afraid of the hawk!

This past weekend the birds returned to the front and back of the house. I love watching their behavior. Suddenly, a blue jay started screaming. It was clearly an alarm to the other birds that there was danger nearby. It began to imitate the red-tailed hawk. The loud screams and distressed cries were a warning to other birds. Quickly, birds began to flee and disappear to get away from the hawk.

I began to think about the birds and their survival techniques. I thought about how they support and defend one another (not always, I know). But I was reminded how the blue jays quickly began to warn the other birds when they knew danger was coming. I admired that the blue jays knew when and how to cry out for help and the other birds listened. Sometimes, I too, have no words when I want to cry out for help. Sometimes I want to scream out when I see other family members or friends in danger or sense their pain. Sometimes, I too, want to hunker down and feel the protection of the shrubs and the miracle of nature.

I haven’t yet mastered the wild call of the blue jays to warn others nor have I mastered my ability to cry out when I need more support. Maybe the blue jays will show me how. Maybe the birds will give me the gift of knowing when to appear and when to hunker down. For now, I listen to the call of the birds as a reminder that everything will be alright.

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Posted in Letting Go | Toning the Om

Flickering Light

December 19th, 2019

Our light goes in and out.
We find ourselves again and again.
And we lose ourselves again and again.

Sometimes we need the darkness to find our light.

Our light dims and love helps us find it.

Our light shines bright and love shows us how to share it.

Our light glows and other people notice it.

We sometimes see the light in others before we see our own light.
We shine and celebrate the light in others.

Oh, and their light flickers too.

As our days grow shorter, may we find our inner sun that is always shining light.

May we remember that light emerges from the darkness.
And that the most holy darkness is the deepest darkness.

Let our flickering light and holy darkness be our teachers.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Practicing Gratitude

November 26th, 2019

This is the time of year where we make plans for a big meal with family or friends, for volunteering to serve others in need, and for expressing our thanks. After some reflection about this time of year we call, “Thanksgiving,” I have realized that each day is an opportunity to live from the place and space of gratitude. We have a choice of living from scarcity and complaints (isn’t there enough of that on the news?) or we can live from a sincere place of gratitude. I choose to work, collaborate, and hang out with folks who are thankful for what is in their life – even the painful experiences. I see such liberation when we open to gratitude in every form, even walking in the rain without an umbrella!

By expressing gratitude as a daily practice, I have discovered that gratitude is an attitude and that once you have it, you can make it a regular practice like brushing your teeth. There are many gratitude attitudes practices that can be incorporated into everyday life. Here are a few:

As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, say thank you.

Thank at least 3 people every day for something (from holding a door to being in your life).

Start a gratitude attitude journal – write down each day something you are grateful for.

Take 3 minutes each day, close your eyes, inhale and exhale the words “thank you.”

Each night say out loud at least one thing that brought a smile to your face.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let us take this spirit and energy of the harvesting of the past and bring forth more fruits into the world. Let us all bring “Thanks” and “Giving” to all we know.

When I am grateful, the world is grateful.  Happy “Thanks-Giving!”

What are your gratitude attitude practices?

I am grateful for my spouse, my family, my friends, co-workers, books, meditation, nature, sunsets, health (my knee getting better!), the ability to travel, my spiritual teachers, my faith, and my ability to hold space & so, so much more!

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Posted in Gratitude | Toning the Om

The Things We Save

November 14th, 2019

I recently participated in a 14-day writing project focusing on one word or phrase. The word “home” has been on my mind. My sisters and I have been going through our childhood home the past few months in order to clean it out. Most of our weekends have been spent packing and wrapping, tossing and filling boxes for donations. It’s been very emotional. As I come across various photos and old objects, I found myself laughing and crying. This is the home I grew up in. It’s the home my mom and dad raised their family in. And gathered with friends in. And welcomed strangers. So much of my mom and dad are still in this home. There are so many memories and collections of belongings that fill “289.” As my sisters and I go through closets and dressers, cabinets and clutter, it has been difficult discerning the treasures from the trash.  We often must look at some items a few times to decide what to keep or give away. We angst over things to toss or take.

I don’t always know the meaning of things my parents kept – some of it was just for sentimental reasons; some of it was passed on from their family; and some of it was saved as gifts to pass on to their daughters. As I look through the stuff in the house, I often feel like none of it belongs to me. And yet, I feel like my parents wanted us to feel their legacy through the things they saved. Every photo, every piece of Irish crystal, every teacup, every vinyl record is their way of passing down their stories, their dreams, and their hopes of a better life for their daughters. Perhaps we won’t have to struggle as much as they did.

This was more than a house my family lived in. This was a place full of love and loss. This was my home. And it always will be. I don’t always know the meaning of the things they saved. I only know the things they saved help me remember them. My heart is grateful for the things they saved.

Home is more than a place of arrival and departure. It’s a journey. It’s finding our home again and again. And it’s an outreached arm, saying, “Welcome Home.”

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

Let It Be

September 24th, 2019

What if you could be just this moment?

Rather than let it go, begin a new practice of letting it be.

Just let it be.

Let it be and notice.

Then what?

Be just this moment and notice what happens inside.

Be just this moment and this moment and this moment.

Let it be. In this moment, let it be.

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Posted in Letting Go | Toning the Om

The Kindness of Others

September 16th, 2019

Leaning on other people is not always easy for me. I prefer to give help rather than get help. I don’t like feeling like I can’t do something. And lately I have found myself relying on the kindness of family, friends, and strangers. I have been tending to a sore knee and getting support in many forms for it. Of course, I waited a good few weeks before asking for help thinking I could take care of it and do it “on my own.”

I finally had to tend to my knee and get support through physical therapy. Then, after a few sessions when I was still in pain, I thought maybe asking for help wasn’t a great idea. I nearly gave up, but I kept hearing that I ought to rely on kindness, rely on others, and be willing to ask for help. And I realized that kindness is often an exchange of connecting. Kindness allows us to tune into other people and share who we truly are.

I relied heavily on the kindness of others to help me with stairs or the subway or lifting things for me. And I have relied on my physical therapist for helping me slow down and relax while doing both easy and challenging exercises.

I get to notice other parts of my life that need tending. And I get to notice the many parts of my life where relying on kindness is really a daily practice. Kindness is an opportunity to establish a real connection.

Notice all places in your life where kindness appears. Notice how kindness shows up from those we love and those we have never met. Notice where you give kindness to others. And notice how it feels to receive kindness.

Fully experience what it means to be kind. Just be kind.

And thanks to everyone who has showed me kindness the last few weeks! Still healing my knee and grateful for all the acts of kindness.

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Posted in Learning | Toning the Om

Curate More Love

August 21st, 2019

My morning meditation gave rise to notion of curating more love. More peace. More joy. More laughter.

Following my meditation, I wrote in my journal, “My heart is curated and narrated by the love that lives in me.” I began to just sit with that — in that. I questioned where in my life am I curating and narrating more love. How am curating and narrating the love that lives in me? How am I expressing the love that lives in me?

Curating and narrating love is a daily practice; one I am not always good at sharing. Each moment and each breath gives me a chance to curate more love.

What you you curating more of in your life right now? How are you narrating yourself to others and to yourself?

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om