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Archive for February, 2013

Breaking Through…

Friday, February 15th, 2013

We need reminders that to dare ourselves into the deep unknown is to create a force so compelling it breaks through control of fear.

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Deep Dive into Your Heart

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Take a deeper dive into your heart center.

Say I love you with generosity.

Share your joyful heart more.

Spread a kind heart with each encounter.

Love with deeper vulnerability.

Expand your wild, cosmic heart.

Listen from the depths of your heart.

How do you want to share your loving self today?

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From Failed Book Reports to Book Reviewer

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

I remember the first day of English class in my sophomore year of high school. The teacher gave us a test on the summer reading books. Usually I was able to get by because the tests were in essay form. This test was multiple choice. I was in trouble. When the teacher gave me back my test with a 33% circled at the top in red ink, she said I was lucky she drops the lowest score. It was clear that I had not read any of the books and that I had just guessed the answers (not so well, apparently).

Actually, I had never read one summer book throughout high school. Back then I dreaded reading. I often received a failing grade on my book reports. Reading books was as dreadful as eating vegetables. It wasn’t until college that I began to read a lot and started to enjoy books. I had a college professor who made novels come alive and made learning about stories of the past into lessons of the present. I read so much that I became a tutor and declared myself an English major.

My love of books continues today. I am an avid reader who has now become a book reviewer. Starting in the New Year, I began to write to publishers about sending books in exchange for book reviews on my website. The books I review are ones I believe my readers would enjoy.  I am thrilled to share books that I think are inspirational and informative.

If back in high school, someone told me I would have been an English major or would be reviewing books, I would have told them they were crazy. There is always a chance we can grow and expand. Who we are now is not who we always have to be forever. We can take chances, try new things, listen to fresh ideas, and create more possibilities. I know change is possible – I live it (I eat lots of veggies as a vegetarian too!).

Sometimes all it takes to be open to change is an invitation. You are all invited to try on something new in your life. Let me know how it goes (no book report required).

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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The Dude and the Zen Master

There is an incredible new book out, The Dude and the Zen Master, written by what many might think is an unlikely duo – an actor and a Zen Buddhist. Yet, this book by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman takes a look at life through the lens of The Big Lebowski. The book is part mystical, part Zen, part humor, part journey, part compassion in action. What I loved about the book is that throughout their entire conversation (on many topics), there was a deep sense of the importance of showing up, being present, and staying true to oneself.

One of their dialogs includes Glassman sharing with Bridges his insight about how to have a mindset without having expectations. He says it can be summed up with these words:

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

It is all about going with the flow, staying in the present, and doing it merrily. The song doesn’t say go down the stream crankily. It reminds us to row our boats, change our oars when we need to, and to be gentle with ourselves. As Glassman says, “There are different streams. Sometimes you come to a fall and sometimes you come to white water. Your rowing has to adapt to the situation. So gently is really important. Don’t power yourself or blast through; rock with the way things are.”

The book gives you the sense you are sitting in the room listening in on a profound conversation and you get to bear witness. You will feel grateful for being able to listen to the conversation and Bridges and Glassman’s insights from acting to Zen Buddhism to sacred activism.

Row, row, row your boat is a way of looking at life in the present, being gentle, and changing shores. As Glassman say, “Take care of yourself right now. Befriend what’s happening, not just who you’re supposed to be or what the world should look like. This is where you are now, so how do you care for yourself this minute?”

Treat yourself to this powerful exchange between two incredible human beings.

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Sit. Just Sit.

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Meditation is a practice of unknowing. When you just sit, you let each breath teach you. When you allow thoughts to flow through you, you learn from each moment.

Breath by breath.
Moment by moment.

Sit. Just sit. 

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Everything Is Meditation

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

I’m not going from here to there. I’m going from here to here.


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Loving Our Whole Self

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

How can we show our vulnerable self more? How do we share our gifts even when we are terrified? How can we take down the walls around heart so we can be seen in the world?

How do we courageously love our WHOLE self?

We find our voice and we show up vulnerable.
We share our gifts as kind acts of service.
We let go of judgment and we welcome struggle.
(And we welcome fun too!)
We raise our hand and engage in a new conversation.
We tell our stories.
We celebrate the sacred in each other.
We take down walls and open our hearts.
We embrace courage.
We listen deeply.
We allow for profound transformation.
We connect inner and outer worlds.
We make a commitment to create our art.
We savor profound inspiration.
We live wholeheartedly.

 We show up to life and we keep showing up.

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On Vulnerability

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

What makes us vulnerable keeps us connected.

Recent experiences concerning my health and other big changes in my life has opened me up to conversations about vulnerability. My heart-centered work is changing and evolving – and that means letting go of things I have done for years so I may be of more service in new and unknown ways. It is scary and exciting at the same time. I have changed my mantra to clients from “Do it afraid.” to “Do it brave and afraid.”

As I sat and contemplated vulnerability, I was blown away listening to an interview by Krista Tippett with Brené Brown at On Being.

Here are a few snippets from their conversation:
“I just say think of the last time you did something that you thought was really brave or the last time you saw someone do something really brave. I think, without question and I can tell you as a researcher, 11,000 pieces of data, I cannot find a single example of courage, moral courage, spiritual courage, leadership courage, relational courage, I cannot find a single example of courage in my research that was not born completely of vulnerability. And so I think we buy into some mythology about vulnerability being weakness and being gullibility and being frailty because it gives us permission not to do it.” 

“So I think vulnerability is kind of in my DNA. It’s kind of who I am and I am very hardheaded about some things and I think being vulnerable has made me a lot stronger and a lot tougher because, when I reflect back on times where I’ve shown up — one of the reasons that I use the Theodore Roosevelt quote for book titles and I use it as kind of the arc to talk about vulnerability, this idea of daring greatly, is because I think there’s something incredibly brave and daring about showing up and putting your ideas — I don’t care if you’re raising your hand at a PTO meeting, or if you’re putting your pottery on Etsy.

Whatever your daring is, however you’re trying to show up in your life, I think there’s something incredibly contagious and powerful about it. I think it makes the people around us a little bit braver and I think it helps us get very clear on the ideals and values that guide our lives.”

“It starts by an openness to seeing ourselves and seeing kind of how we’re protecting ourselves from vulnerability. I think that’s where it started. I think for me at that red kitchen table, even for me today, I am the most successful doing this work and trying to be real and transparent and me and feel good in my own skin when I stay very aware of what kind of armor I’m throwing up or when I feel afraid.

Maybe the definitive piece of knowing that has helped me with this is that I was raised in a very kind of binary culture. If things were good or bad you were brave or you were afraid. You were courageous or you were fearful. And I think for me, one of the definitive moments in my life was realizing that most of us are brave and afraid in the exact same moment all day long.” 

When are you vulnerable? What are you doing brave and afraid?

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Do Work That Matters

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

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The Buddha Within

Monday, February 4th, 2013

The light and the shadows are both our teachers. They both show us the Buddha within.

{Photo by Mary Anne Flanagan} 

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