Don’t go Unconscious

Pema Chödrön is one of my favorite people.

She’s the only American Buddhist nun, a renowned speaker and teacher. But she started out as typical as you and I.

Born Deirdre Blomfield in New York, she grew up a 60’s girl, and experienced life the way that many others did; marriage, children, divorces, substance abuse… After her last marriage had failed, as she searched around for some answers, she stumbled across an article written by a Buddhist monk, that was talking about using emotions for growth rather than trying to get rid of them or shut them down. That struck a chord with her, so she got interested and followed that path and ended up Pema Chödrön.

While doing a project yesterday this particular talk came up on rotation on my music. I’m glad that I keep stuff like this because I can listen now and have a different interpretation as opposed to years ago when I first caught wind of her and her lectures.

It’s about practicing remaining present enough with yourself during a highly emotional circumstance so that you can recognise that brief 1 or 2 second moment before you react.

In this split-second, you can as yourself, ” Wait a second.. I feel that I’m getting upset”. I’m feeling anxious, or triggered or whatever it is. It’s about taking that brief moment and noticing that you’re about to react.

Its in that moment that lies your choice. You can just stick with whatever you’re experiencing and ride it out, try to separate yourself from what you’re experiencing or you can fly off the emotional handle and go unconscious about it. Just the few seconds that it takes while you’re registering this process can be enough to begin to gently dissipate those high-energy emotions and allow a much clearer response to whatever the situation is.

If you’ve ever noticed a stone dropped into a lake; the initial “plop” it makes is one thing; but the subsequent ripples that the stone being dropped in the water make can actually be bigger than the initial stone created in the first place. If the stone is large enough, the ripples it makes can rock a rowboat on the other side of the lake.

Something that I thought I’d share in case it resonated withsomeone else. Your inner peace is definitely worth preservation.

#sunday #choices #innerstrength #peace#pemachodron

What do you do with a Chance?

This is one of three short books of the NY Times Best-Sellers’ set called What You Do Matters by Kobi Yamada.
This particular book shows us how our inner dialogue can affect us acting on an opportunity that is before us, and what we can do to overcome it.

Highly recommend! 

Thank you to Sgt. Vierk of the Clawson Police Department for doing such a great reading job!

A Mother to the World

Mothers ~

Those that brang us into the world

Also those that perform the act of Mothering.


To be a Mother to the World, one needs to look no further for example than to the person that sacrifices parts of herself or himself in order to give the next generation a good chance; a better chance maybe than they had themselves.

Things like planting a tree, and knowing full well that you’ll never get to enjoy the tree’s shade or fruit. Still, you plant the tree for the next generation to enjoy.

Like this. You are careful to consider your words and your actions, and how they might affect someone else. Because you have this little life that depends on you now. Little eyes that look up to you to build their foundation from which they’ll see their world.

Being a Mother to the World is no different. You experience the connection between you and someone you’ve never met, someone you don’t know at all. And know that from that point on, you keep those connections in mind when you make decisions, and when you act, as you’re carrying out your life. You realize that you are a part of something much bigger than yourself. It becomes much more fulfilling and worthwhile.

Thank you to all the Mothers, and to the Mothers of the World. We literally owe our lives to you, and we’ll promise to give the next generation a good start-off.

#mother #mothersday #mothertotheworld

Earth Day 2020

Kennebunkport, ME 2015

Observing Earth Day and battling COVID-19 aren’t too far apart from each other.
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Both require attention to be taken away from ourselves and placed on something else. This is a good thing to do.
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It helps to realize our connection to each other, and our shared planet. That we’re all a part of something much large than ourselves.
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Becoming more conscious and aware of this connection can open a whole new dimension, perspective and a way of doing more than just existing here. A decision to step in and help where one can becomes a non-issue and an automatic response.
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So let’s do our part in both situations; lets all help to contain and understand this new threat to our lives; and at the same time that we’re becoming more aware of the virus, let’s also place awareness on our surroundings and our live. What is really needed and necessary and what no longer serves us. How we can live more simply, without so much stuff, and how we can lessen our footprints on the only home we share with so much other life.
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The future is coming soon.
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#earthday #protectthis Earth Day Network #coronavirus #covid_19 #futureiscoming KennebunkportMaine

Slowing Down

It’s no accident that oil lamps have been used for centuries to create a sense of stillness in a room. The flame of an oil lamp is much steadier tv than the flicker of a candle, lending to the environment of still and healthy quiet contemplation.

If you’re ever someplace and walk into a room where an oil lamp is lit, you will see. A certain “slow down” will happen naturally within you before too long.

Lets slow down on the inside as we also slow down on the outside and lets see what happens.

#oillamp #flame #steady #still #bestillandknow #meditation #quiet #home #catsofinstagram #cats

Protecting your Mental Health during the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Doreen Marshall, Ph.D.

Human beings like certainty.  We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us.  When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it’s normal to feel stressed.  This very reaction, while there to protect us, can cause all sorts of havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us.

A large part of anxiety comes from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t.  Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19, known as the “Coronavirus”.  We may feel helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.  The uncertainty might also connect to our uncertainty about other aspects of our lives, or remind us of past times when we didn’t feel safe and the immediate future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental health can suffer.  We don’t always know it’s happening.  You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, helpless or sad.  You might notice that you are more frustrated with others or want to completely avoid any reminders of what is happening.  For those of us who already struggle with our mental wellness, we might feel more depressed or less motivated to carry out our daily activities.

It’s important to note that we are not helpless in light of current news events.  We can always choose our response.  If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty:

Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those.  Wash your hands.  Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news (Do you really need to know what is happening on a cruise ship you aren’t on?

Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others.  It’s ok if you’ve decided what makes you feel safe is to limit attendance of large social events, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it’s part of depression.

Get outside in nature–even if you are avoiding crowds. I took a walk yesterday afternoon in my neighborhood with my daughter.  The sun was shining, we got our dose of vitamin D, and it felt good to both get some fresh air and quality time together.   Exercise also helps both your physical and mental health.

Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment.  Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.

Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support.  You don’t have to be alone with your worry and it can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with those trained to help.

We are in this together, and help is always available.  If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Moving from Untruth to Truth

A few days ago, a friend asked me if I had a favorite quote, or mantra or something I said to myself every day. I thought I’d share my answer in case it resonated with anyone else.

Asatoma Sadgayama is Sanskrit; roughly translated to English it comes out as “from untruth to truth.”  

Not a religious text, and even though it originates from the east it isn’t eastern either. If you think about the translation, moving from untruth to truth is pretty much applicable to anyone, anywhere.

It means working on dropping what we’ve gathered; perceptions, ideas, habits; anything that is acquired unconsciously and moving towards living more consciously. Letting go of what we’ve accumulated so far in our lives and moving towards what we really are. Which is a conscious being.

That’s a pretty universal idea, isn’t it? Faced with the question, would you really want to hang on to some automatic behaviors instead of stopping and saying “wait a minute’, why do I think this, or why do I do that?” 

There was a song that was popular a few years ago that had a line in it that went “I don’t know why I say the things I say, but I say them any-way”

Reminded me of some words I read recently where the topic discussed was the 28-30 year cycles in life; the idea being that we run through cycles during our lifetimes, repeating behaviours and situations until or unless we wake up one day and stop. And, that we really don’t begin to have an idea what life is all about until we’re in our 70s or 80s, after running through these cycles.

The whole idea of intentionally working on oneself is to shove a stick in the wheel of repetitive behaviors and say “hang on a minute here”, and look a little deeper at what we’re doing (or not doing) and try to see why it all is so that we can make the decision to continue or stop and do something else.  

Asatoma Sadgayama. Moving from untruth to truth. Sounds to me like something worth repeating to oneself every day.

#qotd #asatomasadgamaya #clarity #life #conscious #choose

The Hero’s Journey

There is no such thing as a Hero’s Journey that doesn’t involve entering a dark thicket, battling savage beasts and facing your own despairs.

After all, the Kingdom can only be entrusted to someone who is willing to die for it. In order for any kind of growth to occur, you must be willing to kill off the part of you that is no longer serving you so that something new can grow in its place.

#growth #personalgrowth #evolution #evolve #herosjourney #josephcampbell

Veterans Day

On this Veterans/Armistice Day we salute all veterans and active military personnel, with appreciation for their tremendous service to our country.

But not all Veterans have had such a welcoming homecoming experience.

The transition from civilian life to one of military is tough enough. But returning home after duty is a completely different kind of transition for many Veterans.

No more rigid environment. Nobody setting your schedule for you. No more camaraderie with the other troops. You’re in charge of your own life again. And if you saw combat, it can be much more emotionally devastating. It can be very difficult to make that psychological transition back home and back into civilian life again.

If you see a Veteran, not just on Veterans Day but any day; thank them for their Service but also sincerely ask them how they’re doing? Your question may spark a need for support. Below are some resources available:

In the Detroit area, Veterans support can be found at:

Detroit Regional Offices of Veterans Services

https://www.benefits.va.gov/Detroit/veterans-services-orgs.asp.

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, which connects Vets to Benefits and Resources

https://www.michiganveterans.com

The Michigan Veterans Foundation offers support in the form of:

  • Veteran Rescue Program
  • Transitional Housing
  • Vocational and Life Skill training
  • Health care services
  • PTSD Counseling
  • Transportation, meals and clothing
  • Substance Abuse Intervention
  • Legal Assistance and Housing Placement

http://www.michiganveteransfoundation.org.

The Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars provides assistance will filling out and submitting VA forms and processes, and also offers a Buddy to Buddy program that can pair up Veterans that can support each other to help handle the transition back to civilian life.

https://vfwmi.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=8899

Painting info:

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “The Homecoming,” 1945. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” May 26, 1945. Norman Rockwell Museum.

Autumnal Equinox

A snail knows who he is and what he needs to do. Doesn’t have to question anything, his instructions and destiny are already programmed into his DNA.

People on the other hand, have the ability to discriminate; to choose this or that, consider outcomes, weigh consequences.

Today is an Equinox on the planet. At 3:50 in the morning today in the Northern Hemisphere, time was equal for a moment. But now in the North, the days will grow shorter and the nights longer. Generations ago, this season began the gathering work from the fields and gardens. Harvest. Stocking the cellars for the winter months, ensuring that enough exists. Preparing the outdoors and indoors for the forthcoming seasonal changes.

And internal preparation as well. For our interiors, the Equinox is about weighing and finding balances. What is useful, maybe meaningful and therefore kept, and what has served its purposed and needs to be released?

All this is a great reminder that time is not linear, but cyclical. With each day becoming more and more short, the hope of returning light happens; which is exactly what happens in the Southern Hemisphere, where days are getting longer, warmth returns, seedlings begin to sprout.

We enter and leave seasons just as nature does. It’s important to remember that things like Equinoxes support our internal questions of what is true and real for us. What is present, right now. And are we on a path that supports whatever that is for us?

Because our interior systems are synchronized with the heavens, times of year such as this and certain others offer a natural support mechanism for such interior inquires. Its a good thing to clear out clutter as one season leaves to make room for the next season coming in. This is a good time to ask yourself if you’re carrying around anything that needs to go.

A snail knows who he is. He doesn’t have to question anything; only where his next meal is coming from. We have the ability to look deeper at life, but only if we choose to be a little more conscious about it and less accidental.