March 9th, 2014
In a recent planning session with a wonderful group of volunteers spanning five decades, I was struck by both what we have in common and what unique gifts we can offer each other. Although on the surface our lives may look very different, this group has the ability to appreciate what we have in common.
This ability to appreciate what we have in common is an invitation to all of us to see the humanity present in every situation in which we find ourselves. Beneath the packages of race, gender, age, body type, nationality, and myriad other differences is the person. The person, devoid of roles and expectations for performance, exists in all of her or his splendor for each of us to discover. Sometimes we are so stuck in expectations of others based on our needs, desires, fears, and unconscious upbringing that we fail to connect with the humanity underneath, the desire to be welcomed and seen, accepted in the nakedness of who we are at our core—as opposed to what we can do for someone. Read the rest of this entry »
March 2nd, 2014
I have only watched the Olympics in brief spurts. Although many people are impressed by the big match ups, as in hockey, figure skating, and the like, my favorite moment so far was none of these. My favorite moment occurred when a Canadian coach ran out to a skier from another team whose ski had broken and fastened a new ski on the skier so that he could finish the race. Read the rest of this entry »
February 23rd, 2014
Like most of the East Coast, my home was buried in snow recently. When I got home, after being away for two storms, I arrived to find inches of ice beneath a few more inches of snow.
The next morning the sun came out and I decided to try to shovel. Armed with shovel and ice chopper, I set about chopping as much ice on the drive as I could. I seem to be the only one on the street who uses an ice chopper. Most seem content to simply drive over the snow until it is relatively packed. Read the rest of this entry »
February 16th, 2014
I was at a wonderful Thai restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently with a group of friends, three of the five gathered have allergy-related diets. One is quite severely allergic to certain foods.
Our server brought drinks and then gave us plenty of time to relax together. In fact, he only came to the table after we signaled him that we were ready to order dinner. The member of our group with the most severe food allergies explained her condition and asked about various options to know whether the server could guarantee them to be free of all substances that affect her. Read the rest of this entry »
February 9th, 2014
Sometimes writing this blog reminds me of taking piano lessons as a child. I loved the idea of playing the piano. I loved the music. I just didn’t love to practice. Somehow I just did not make space for a half hour to practice piano each day. AND as a result, I would invariably have two and a half hours of practice saved up by Saturday and would need to do it all at once. Read the rest of this entry »
February 2nd, 2014
I was on hold yet again on the line of a favorite retailer while waiting to talk with someone in customer service. AND I realized how much I enjoyed the music. It was a wonderful piano instrumental.
In the moment, it became quite clear that I could either get frustrated that the world was not responding immediately and according to my schedule OR I could listen to the music. It was so beautiful as to offer me a pause in my day and a free meditation, while waiting to accomplish something else. AND the music could only be enjoyed if I let go of expectations for how I thought things should go and stopped to participate fully in how things were going in that moment. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26th, 2014
There are teachers who wander this earth and show up in people’s lives at the right moment. My Dad is one of them.
The simple wisdom of this man and other teachers like him is that he inherently understands that life happens and we do not control it. Some find this idea terrifying. They thrive on predictability and use an inordinate amount of energy expecting and requiring life to show up and people to behave and react in specific ways. Such people then live in a kind of scarcity where they anticipate all that might go wrong and internalize the fear of that happening.
What Dad does is harmonize. He focuses on what is working, rather than what is not. He does not give his energy to things he cannot change. Looking for how he can help a friend, share a moment, enjoy a laugh, and celebrate with others allows him to harmonize with what life brings him.
One eye can only see vague outlines of light. So he looks at life through the other one. Hearing aids magnify all sound, so when he wants to enjoy whatever he can hear without it, he sits closer to someone and enjoys whatever he can hear, with no concern for what he may be missing. He’ll tell you that he can’t run a marathon these days. He can get around. It just takes longer. So he gets to whistle longer as he does whatever he wants to help friends.
To celebrate with friends he helped pay for entertainment at a regular gathering, told people his birthday was coming up and was thrilled when over a hundred people came together. The fact that he misread the calendar (his birthday was a week later) was of no concern. He merely chuckled and decided to celebrate friends being together. AND he was thrilled to share the occasion with people he loves.
Life is the melody. It is already playing. We don’t control it. We can use all of our energy trying to drown out the music we don’t like, or refuse to hear the beat that is already present. Or we can listen carefully to the melody and rhythm and joyfully add our voice to harmonize with opportunities life presents, creating a richer experience effortlessly.
We all have these people in our lives. I am one of three daughters, many family members, and myriad friends of one particular teacher for whom I am most grateful. Thanks for teaching me to harmonize, Dad. Happy Birthday
January 19th, 2014
When I left the house, it was just starting to snow. On my way to do several errands, I noticed that the roads were covering very quickly. In no time, the driving conditions were quite slippery. I turned on music that I love. It was soothing and beautiful.
In the context of beautiful music in the car, I watched as a winter wonderland appeared before my eyes. Even as the beauty of the scene registered, I was notified by the car’s warning system that the roads were slippery and I was sliding. Time to slow down, pay attention to the road, AND be grateful for both the beauty surrounding me, and the car’s warning system. Read the rest of this entry »
January 12th, 2014
In conversations with clients this week, I noticed that people seem to be feeling overwhelmed and wanting a vacation, or reenergized and ready to meet a new day. AND I find myself noticing how our personal relationship with our own mental, physical, and emotional health underpins which camp we find ourselves more inclined to inhabit. Read the rest of this entry »
January 5th, 2014
With each New Year comes talk of whether to make resolutions for changes desired in the New Year. They usually come in the form of something we want to improve, rather than dreams we want to live. AND that got me thinking about the ways we measure our lives and choose our dreams.
Life doesn’t happen in years. It happens in moments. AND I wonder how much our focus on years causes us to miss life itself. We celebrate birthdays annually. Why not celebrate people in our lives and special moments when they happen, however frequently those moments appear? Read the rest of this entry »