Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

To thine own heart be true.

It's year end review and the successes are being touted through short speeches and thank yous. Down to business. What lies ahead? We are asked to describe our vision for the future.

It is an exercise in wish lists and promises. Some responses are very concrete, describing team awards and human resources. Other responses are very abstract, unfolding as a feeling or atmosphere. Integration is key.

But what is the point? What is the point of all these big dreams and concrete steps? Why are we doing what we are doing; why are these dreams important to us collectively and individually?

As I sit listening and questioning whether anyone feels I am valuable to this organization, I chuckle and then ask, why is it important to me to be valuable to the organization? I want to be important, needed, loved. Am I asking how I can love and support this big organizational machine or am I only focusing on what I want and need?

Can I value my own work for the sake of what I believe in even if no one else sees it? Ahhhh... there is happiness and love.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Seeds of love

"Can we have a playdate?"
The plan is in place - ride the skateboard and the scooter to Point Pleasant. The skateboard was not cooperating, veering dangerously off in one direction seemingly on it's own.
Anger and frustration arise. "Great, I'll just get hit by a truck." A cry for help.
I did not hear it at first, my own anger resisting his.
Then I did hear the cry of distress. "Do you need a parachute." I ask as my body softens. Giggles and smiles - love is sprouting.

Dinner over store bought pizza and friendship.
The nutrition is in the relationship. There is a choice to share experience. "I realized everyone's distress is them same to them whether I think the situation warrants it. The situations are different, but both people wore the same distress in their faces. I realized I should not judge. I wanted to come home. I realized my life is so beautiful."
My response, "Judging is human. Thank you for sharing."
Responding with a desire to soften the distress is love. 
So many opportunities to do a little planting everyday in little ways.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crafting love

Does anyone else have an 8 year old who wants to spend his money on a leaf blower so he can build a hovercraft? I do. Actually, not just one leaf blower, 2 leaf blowers. He washed windows to earn enough money. I was non-committal.

I was negotiating my way around saying no. I realized I was holding something about this. I had always wanted to invent stuff as a kid. I built rafts and took apart dolls and TV's. I always got in trouble for my curiosity and creativity. I did not want to do that to my child. I also did not think it reasonable to spend $ on leaf blowers that would be used for a homemade hovercraft that will probably be forgotten when the next creative inspiration hit.

Finally I just said no to the leaf blowers. He can use the shopvac and still make a hovercraft. I was inspired by wanting him to create AND to learn how to distinguish the hungry ghost desire from the hearts desire.

Sometimes love is about teaching a different lesson.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An act of love for myself

The negotiations of summer holiday time is in full swing. Actually it was supposed to be decided. I was looking forward to 2 weeks with a teacher in Colorado, getting to deepen my own Yoga practice.
The new suggestion - me missing my mid summer visit with Fynn and my second week of Yoga.
I mistakenly replied trying to negotiate. I knew as soon as I sent the email stating that I would miss the second week that I was not happy. I was questioning why I always miss what I want, why I don't get to take summer vacation from work.
It hit me --- because I don't let me.

Fortunately my suggestion was not good enough and an opportunity arose to restate my intention for myself. I will go to those Yoga Intensives. I will have some time with my son this summer. I am the only one with the power to really take care of me; to truly love me. So thankful I see this now.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1000 acts of love

So I heard about this blog - 1000 Awesome things. I love it. It is all about things that are awesome. It inspired this idea to write about the random acts of love I can identify. Here goes.

I come in the door to a cat meowing, a dog prancing, dry clothes waiting to be folded, dinner to be prepared, consumed and cleaned up within the next 75 min before we head back out to lacrosse.
"Fynn would you mind taking your bike and riding up the road with Tour so he gets a jaunt?"
"How far?"
"As far as you are comfortable. He needs a walk and I have to get dinner ready for you so we can get to lacrosse on time."
"Thank you."


Fynn wakes up and begins immediately to interrupt my thoughts as I ponder my day.
"Mom"..... "Mom"
"Morning Fynn"
"I'm hungry"
This is the demand for food and me to get it for him. An expectation comes with it that I will carry it upstairs for him so he can enjoy it in bed while watching his show.
What is loving here? I could get up and get the food and take it too him while I consider that really he is old enough to get his own breakfast and quite capable. And that I do love him and would love to have someone bring me breakfast in bed. Conversely, I could remind him that he is quite capable of getting his own breakfast and please come downstairs and do so. I am not a slave.
The answer with love, the skillful choice lies is what feels right for me. There is not just the answer to his need, but also the delivery of the answer. What does feel right? Can I deliver the food without feeling negative judgment?
Ahhh... when I do something I cannot do with absolute positive love and offering, I should not be doing it because I am not loving myself. The tricky business here is that I love my son and want him to have a healthy breakfast and I feel compelled to ensure that happens  AND I also believe it is important for him to learn how to take care of some of his own needs.

It's all in the delivery.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Trust Yourself

The morning birds are chirping and the dogs wait somewhat impatiently at the back door. Another day has arrived and soon enough will depart. Yesterday I was not noticing the birds. I was planning for the session I was to deliver, hoping that I had everything together enough to make it all make sense. As I opened my email, I read the message, "Trust yourself." Ahhhh.... perfect.

As I moved through surprises, challenges and discussions during the session, what I watched was the continued desire to move back to details and not to rest in the intention of why each person was running this business. "How do we get the instructors to not act like police?" I would guide them back through the maze of why and then how that might look different, "how can I support my instructors in maintaining safety and building relationship with our clients?" and then they would move back to a detail. "We get them all to test one specific method." The method may work, but does it add to the experience of the customer?

I do this too. I want to be compassionate, playful and joyful, yet I hear the voices in my head telling me that I should go for a run or I shouldn't buy a coffee pot. My face tightens, my shoulders lift as I roll into a dialogue about finances, aging and health. In that moment I am stressed, dissatisfied. "Trust yourself." The focus shifts to HOW do I want to be right now, relaxed, joyful... I don't care about the coffee pot - it is not in front of me. I am not running, I am writing. A smile creeps onto my face and the shoulders drop - just a smidge. Maybe now I will choose a run and it will be because I want to play in my body that way, surely that is the only way to run.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Spring has arrived and there is beautiful evidence of rebirth everywhere. The sun rises and the sun sets, life continues. So too with each breath there is a beginning and an end and then there is the next breath. In a sense a rebirth in each moment. Yet it is so very hard to look at each moment as each moment. I carry into the next moment all the history of the past moments.

I remember when I was learning to surf - I had no idea what would happen next. I could not predict when I would catch a wave, I could no know when I would find the right balance to stand and it was all happening so fast there was no time to think, only to act. I could only paddle as hard as I could, then push down on the board and pop up to standing. Then I was either on the beach or in the water, swimming to the surface.

One day I missed catching the wave and the water pushed me face first hard into the ocean floor and held me there. Surfing was never the same after that. I paddled and yet never quite hard enough. I resisted the force and flow of the water. I carried the memory and fear of that fall into my next moments with the waves.

Can I look at each moment with a beginner's mind and paddle as hard as I can, fearless of the outcome? Or at least with enough courage to try as hard as I can and know I may still be pushed to the ground? What do I tell the students in my Yoga class when I ask them to be courageous? "Stay with your breath, focus your attention on the rhythm of your breath; breathe all the way in and out." Practice. Sounds so simple, but not all the waves are as apparent as the ones in the ocean.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Not Knowing

Once in the Orient, a seeker talked of suicide with a sage, whose clear and gentle eyes seemed to be gazing at a never-ending sunset.
"Dying is no solution." the sage affirmed. 
"And living?" the seeker asked.
"Nor living either," the sage conceded, "but who tells you there is a solution?"
~story from If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him

This says to me that when we look for solutions, we miss the moment. And it is only in this moment that we can know the correct action. The choice to live is a moment by moment choice. Even if you choose life, you can only choose it for THIS moment, because you do not know what comes in 100 moments from now.

I started this blog as a way for me to drop my teacher voice and relate to myself as a vulnerable human. Initially, I didn't tell anyone so I could stay courageous and honest. Since I started telling people about this blog, I have seen myself move into my teacher voice again. My shield is up and I stick to discussing ideas. If I am the expert, I affirm my knowledge and my value to you. The problem is, it is a lot of work to try to be important to someone in every moment. I am dependent on an audience - a kind and generous audience.

If I drop the shield, what do I need or want right now? I want to know I am of value, my life has some meaning - that their is a solution. So what happens when is none. At one point my life was built around a marriage - it didn't last. There was no solution.

Funny isn't it. None of you can give me a sense of meaning until you are with me and even then it is only for that moment. It is temporary, roles, meaning comes and goes just as my role as wife was came and went as will my role as a mother continue to change. There is no solution - no end, there are only the moments, each moment as it comes.

Can I choose to value myself in this moment and the next and the next and the..... even when no one is telling me, even when I am making mistakes - even when there is no reference point? I guess that is the real practice. 

Who do I want to be here in this moment? I want to be open to all of you. I want to be courageous. I want to be able to love when hurt, I want to be able to be brave when consumed with fear. My experience is that even by questioning - as I have just done in this writing, questioning why I am preaching, I can see what is behind it - my fear of not being good enough for all of you. (And as I am editing this, apparently I still need to practice being enough for myself).

Seeing beneath the surface, I can hold this moment less tightly and it feels lighter. Now I can focus on being open and brave. Thank you for listening.