8/29/14

who is laura munson:

Commencement: A Mother’s Guide to the Extra Stuff
I can never remember if the word “commencement” means beginning or ending. My knee jerk reaction is to think that it means ending, though my writer’s mind quickly corrects it. 
That’s probably because graduation ceremonies are called Commencement, and I think of graduation day as an ending—leaving the known behind:  a good reputation, dear friends at a stone’s throw, families whose refrigerators and bikes and kitchen tables are yours for the sharing… the dismantling of decorated walls soon to betray you for guests, or someone else with new photo collages, new tapestries, new blue ribbons. I have never been good at leaving the familiar, and I usually mark it with a little hidden graffiti—Laura Munson lived here, and the dates.
But it’s not my turn this upcoming Commencement. It’s my daughter’s. Now it’s she who is dismantling her room, coming down to the end of her check list, five more days of school to go, graduation invitations in the mail, college deposit in, orientation dates in stone. There is a new timber in her voice; something dire. “Mom, can you do something with my Breyer horse collection?” 
“Can’t you just leave them on your shelf?” I ask, vignettes reeling by of mock horse races on the lawn and barnyard feedings with tiny plastic apples, and that one coveted palomino paint that became real one Christmas. 
“I need room for my stuff.” 
“What stuff?” 
And then I realize that the stuff that has been strewn all over her room for the last four years of high school actually could have had a home in her bookshelves if we’d been more able (or willing) to pack up her plastic horse collection. I’m not sure whose job this is. Please Lord, not mine.
I look into her eyes. And I see…it’s my job. Some things are just too hard.
Suddenly, I feel a desperate need to give advice in fast forward. “Have I taught you how to make hospital corners?  And to never leave a wet towel on a bed?  Or leave a glass directly on wood?”
“I know. Respect the wood. You’ve told me.” She’s tolerating my Mom-ness much more than usual lately. She’s in the bittersweet of Commencement while I am bursting into tears in pathetic public places, like at the bank drive thru, catching myself in the video screen looking miserable. Will her roommate know that when she needs a hug but is too shy to ask, she makes tea? Will she know that she likes to sing in harmony and that all those eye-ball rolls don’t really mean anything? Will she know that she acts street-tough sometimes, but is deeply sensitive and if she’s playing the ukulele along with Jack Johnson, something pretty rough probably happened at school that day? 
“Mom, why are you crying?” she says, bringing me back to the grim task of packing up her happy childhood. 
“I’m sorry. I’m just going to miss you.”
Last week was when it really hit. I was doing laundry and I heard from her room in that new dire timber, “How do stamps work?”
“Stamps? Like postage stamps?”
“Yeah.” This from a 4.0 student.
I went into her room. She was sitting on her bed addressing graduation party invitations. “Really? You can program a computer, but you don’t know how stamps work???”
“My generation doesn’t really use them.” 
I was sure she was playing a joke on me. Stamps? But she wasn’t. She really had no clue that you use the same stamp for a local letter that you do for one that goes all the way to New York City.
Geez—what other glaring omissions have there been in my mothering? I’ve tried so hard to fill in every blank, taking every single second possible as a teaching moment. “Maybe I should write you a survival handbook for college. Would that be helpful?”
“I know all the basic stuff. But yeah…maybe the extra stuff.”
I wracked my brain, taking inventory. The extra stuff. If stamps are “extra” this could get ugly! I decided to do it room by room, compartmentalizing life in cross-section, like the dollhouse we spent hours decorating and playing in. 
Kitchen: 
I start with How to boil water, tell if pasta is ready, smell a gas leak, turn off the water main…but suddenly it turns into a different kind of “extra.”
  • If you’re having a bad day, leave the dishes. But do soak them, or you’ll really be in a bad mood when you get around to cleaning them.
  • If you’re having a really bad day, don’t adhere to the utensil slots. Just chuck ‘em all in and let them fall where they may. Actually, if it’s a really bad day, just leave the dishes alone. They can wait.
  • No matter what kind of mood you’re in, make yourself a nice meal, especially if you’re lonely.
  • Always eat some fruit in the morning and some veggies at some point in the day. Keep bananas, carrots, apples, and potatoes around. They do the trick when you’re not feeling inspired.
  • Keep a granola bar in your purse. (Tip:  Use only small purses—lest you end up with a Mary Poppins carpet bag, coat rack and all. Read Nora Ephron’s essay on women’s purses.)
  • Splurge on really good jam and really good bread.
  • Always have a flower or a piece of greenery in a vase on your kitchen windowsill. It really helps.
  • If you see evidence of mice, set traps immediately. This probably will not apply to 99% of the places you’ll live, (we live in Montana), so take it metaphorically: See  s*** for what it is and get rid of the source before it gets out of control.
  • Always smell fish before you buy it. If it smells like fish, it’s no good. Also, look into its eyes.  They should be clear. This also applies to boyfriends.
  • To cut goat cheese, use dental floss. (Unflavored! Duh. Don’t roll your eyes.)
  • Learn how to make homemade chicken broth. (Ask your mother)
Living room:
  • Splurge on nice candles. Light them for yourself daily. Light the not-nice ones for guests. Not the other way around.
  • Lie on the couch and do other things than watch TV. Like read a book or listen to classical music.
  • Watch old movies. You know…back when people used stamps, and women dressed for travel. There’s a lot to learn from the “olden days.”
  • Listen to NPR. Especially opera on NPR. Pretty much everything you need to know about life is in operas.
  • Make sure to have musical instruments and keep them within eye-range so you’ll actually play them. Guitars and pianos welcome group jam sessions.
  • Always have a drum somewhere for that person who claims they “aren’t musical.”
  • Have board games and cards in a drawer or on a shelf. Play them. Especially Scrabble, backgammon, gin rummy, Farkle, and Scattagories.
  • Have guide books and binoculars. It’s good to know your birds and flowers and other critters.  Even in the city, there are hawks.
Bathroom:
  • Have nice hand towels and nice soap in your powder room. Your guests should feel special.
  • Use your powder room. You should feel special too! 
  • Always have an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. 
  • And a plunger. (Replace plungers every-so-often, unless you are the type to wash and disinfect toilet plungers. Dirty secret: I’m not. That’s what the second flush is for.)
  • Don’t forget to wash the toilet flusher handle when you wash your toilets. They are dearly overlooked. (Try not to think about that too much in hotel rooms.)
  • Put nice art in your bathrooms. And magazines. You can learn a lot about a person from their bathroom.
  • Supply room spray.
Bedroom:
  • Don’t be a slob. Pick up your clothes. If they’re not dirty, put them somewhere to wear again during the week, like in a hamper in your closet. NOT on a chair. And definitely NOT on your treadmill. Like your mother. Who then forgets she has a treadmill.
  • Wash your sheets at least once a month and splurge on nice sheets and feather pillows.
  • If the person/people with whom you are sharing your room snore, make sure you have earplugs by your bed.
  • Supply your nightstand with books that you want to read when you grow up: a book of poetry, a spiritual text of some sort, a classic novel, something on the bestseller list that is not written by a celebrity.
  • If you eat breakfast in bed, use a tray. Crumbs are worse than bedbugs in some cases, especially if you’ve listened to your mother and splurged on good bread.
  • Eat breakfast in bed, but not lunch or dinner. That means you’re depressed.
  • Sleep in every-so-often. Like till eleven. This will get harder and harder the older you get.
Office:
  • Virginia Woolf was right—you need a room of your own, even it’s in an eave, or a closet under a stairway, or (if you’re lucky enough) a whole studio over your garage, or an unoccupied bedroom, or a renovated garden shed. Claim space for yourself!
  • Don’t allow people to come and go without knocking.
  • If you have children, always have an available chair in it for them. It’s important to have your own space, but it’s also important that they know that your work does not take away your motherhood.
  • This one is really really important: Whatever it is that you do in that office, whether it’s a vocation or avocation, make sure it’s something you love. NOT something that you are necessarily good at. If you happen to be good at what you love, then that’s a bonus, but not a rule!   
Outside:
  • Have a communal outdoor space that feels like a room in your house, but isn’t exactly…like: A screened porch, fire escape, hammock, hot tub, front stoop, garden or terrace. It doesn’t have to be big. Just a place where you sit at least once every few days and dream a little.
A few extra extras:
  • Write handwritten notes on nice stationary to people you love. That’s where the stamp comes in…
  • Try not to kill bugs. If they’re inside, put a mason jar over them and take them outside. They do elegant things like lick the wax off the peony buds so that they can bloom  (I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there.) (Mice are a different story. If you’ve had one die in the walls, you’ll know what I mean.)
  • Practice Yes and Possibility instead of No and Not Possible. Positive begets positive and negative begets negative. You don’t want the latter.
  • Have fun, for crying out loud! Life is beautiful and heartbreaking any way you slice it so you might as well enjoy the ride!
  • There is no such thing as cool.
  • Judge not.
  • Don’t mistake a full schedule for a full life. If you find yourself saying, “There’s never a dull moment,” you should probably make it a goal to have at least one “dull moment” every day.
  • Take walks. (especially in the rain)
  • Sing. Dance. Read poetry.
  • Have dogs. Grow a garden.
  • Travel.
  • Create the sacred wherever you are.
  • Be kind to old people and remember they know a lot more than you do. Ask them to tell you their stories.
  • Know that there are saints everywhere. Look for them. They’re often where you least expect it.
  • Call your mother. Texting is a challenge since she can never find her reading glasses.  Plus, she likes to hear your voice. It reminds her of lying in bed with you when you were little, reading books, singing, praying, watching the moon, dreaming. 
And she loves you no matter what, which is hard to find.
~ Laura Munson
http://lauramunson.com/
Supportive
Protective
Loving
How Billy Crystal described Robin Williams as a friend.

pema pearls:

STEADFASTNESS
Were encouraged to meditate every day, even for a short time, in order to cultivate steadfastness with ourselves. We sit under all kinds of circumstanceswhether we are feeling healthy or sick, whether were in a good mood or depressed, whether we feel our meditation is going well or is completely falling apart. As we continue to sit we see that meditation isnt about getting it right or attaining some ideal state. Its about being able to stay present with ourselves. It becomes increasingly clear that we wont be free of self-destructive patterns unless we develop a compassionate understanding of what they are. 
~ Pema Chodron

8/25/14

"Striking the right balance between our physical and spiritual beings is one of the most challenging aspects of existence. We are dualistic by nature, spiritual entities bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. Yet while both aspects of the self are deserving of honor and respect, there is a tendency for people who are more spiritually focused to ignore, avoid, or dismiss their bodies. Similarly, many individuals are entirely ensconced in the carnal realm and pay no attention to the needs of the soul. In both cases, an adjustment is in order. We are whole only to the degree that we embrace both sides of our beings. 
If the soul is the inward manifestation of our consciousness, the body is the living, breathing expression of that consciousness. The physical self provides the home in which the spiritual self takes root and flourishes. Just as we must tend to the seed of the soul to ensure that it grows strong, so, too, must we care for the protective shell that is the body. Though there will no doubt be times in our lives when we feel more comfortable focusing on the spiritual self or the physical self, denying the fundamental importance of one or the other can lead to ill health, emotional distress, and a sense of incompleteness. Both facets of the human experience play a vital role in our well-being. 
The body and the soul are the yin and yang of our current reality. They are, at this point of human evolution, irreparably bound together, and many spiritual teachers agree that the body is one of the greatest vehicles through which to access the soul. In fact, many believe that our spirit has chosen to be embodied as an essential part of our spiritual development. Consequently, it is the responsibility of each person on the planet to forge a marriage between the two, so that these disparate aspects bring out the best in each other, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and workable whole."
~ Madisyn Taylor

8/23/14

september renewal with carol ferris:

YOU are invited to share an afternoon with renowned astrologer:
Carol Ferris
Saturday
September 6, 2014
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Workshop Description:
Traveling Through the Light and the Dark 
Astrology studies nature's rhythms in time: as it says in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  
In this workshop, we will look at nature's simplest rhythm: how the journey of the Sun and Moon create light and dark, the cycles of growth and rest.  
In order to better understand these potent seasonal rhythms, we will explore the impact on each individual horoscope.
Those confirmed for the workshop will receive a copy of their personal horoscope and lifetime lunation cycle.
$55
Added Benefit:
Soft Stretch
11:30 - 12:30
$15
$65 special
full day of renewal
reservation only
Filling Fast through word of mouth
To Reserve:
503-780-4964 
(text or vm)
Laureredmond@mac.com

who is beau redmond:

8/20/14

We don't sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we'll become more awake in our lives.
- Pema Chodron

what taylor hackford says about his wife, helen mirren:

To Explain Her Broad Appeal:
"It's a function of her mind-set, Helen has an innate sense of who she is, and a confidence and directness. She doesn't play it safe. What's sexy is how she is in the world even more than how she looks, though she certainly looks beautiful."

who is angela bowen:

The Break-Up Letter I Never Wrote
"My love,
I don’t hate you. That might make it easier for us both, to splinter apart, forever shattering each other into separate pieces of what once was whole.
No, I still find you as wonderful as the day I fell in love with you. You are not other — I know this spiritually. But you are different — I know this viscerally.
You may not understand or accept when I say I’m not angry that we are no longer on the same path. I’ve shown my fiery side, so my regret is in confusing this result with that reaction.
Yes I know, love, there is a molten core in me that usually flows as quietly and calmly as a lava field and you and I always agreed it was my passion-filled heart that steamed and bubbled and kept our love alive.
It was as enticing to you as the heat was strong.
But, at times, it erupted and this is what you never seemed to understand: it was only because that passion was sanctioned with the harshest of penalties. It was ignored. You took my heart for granted.
You, in your day-to-day practical way, unconsciously tossed your dirty laundry on my heart, smothering it. It would go for days, weeks, unnoticed and smoldering, and rather than flowing freely as you yourself once so lovingly appreciated, it finally erupted.
A fire demands reverence and attention.
You thought I had changed; I hated to hear that.
And now, my love, I say to you, you were right. You see, I simply returned to me — the one you fell in love with and were drawn to like a moth to the flame.
I embody the idea that it’s all an illusion and so I flex into something new and different at times, vacillating perhaps, but always looking with an empathetic eye to what is other than me.
How many parts of you have I seen and tried on as my own?
I regret that you didn't try on parts of me.
Remember how I tried to describe myself when we first met?
You were pleased with how easy I made it for you to get to know me because, as you soon discovered and also derived pleasure from, I am a bit enigmatic. Anyway, remember, I told you: I am a Pisces woman born in the Year of the Pig.
Not because I necessarily believe the star signs make my life unfold, or my personality is categorical, it’s just that when you Googled those descriptions, it effectively, concisely, told you about mercurial me.
I knew you would love having a map, and admit it, you did.
And then I told you a bit of my life story; just enough to explain the ugliness in me that I knew you would discover. It was my way of marking a nice big X on your map Here is an obstacle!
Dad left. Mom died. Everything else is rather inconsequential, and you comforted me, acknowledging — and don’t you dare deny it, my love — you had fallen in love with the tragedy of it all.
You fancied yourself my hero.
Just for fun I related the remarkable nature of my name and how I have come to love it like I love my long tresses and green eyes because they suit me so well. I’m named for angels — mom said I looked like one when I was born and remember how you said I was one?
And my middle name, I’m sure she had no idea is derived from Dionysus. What a perfect accidental name for me, and a delicious contradiction. You also loved this tiny detail, found it provocative, even.
I was your devilish little angel.
Do you remember? You once marveled at my gentle giving nature in love, at my desire to talk deep into the night about the meaning of life, while softly stroking your tired body. You thought my thrift-shop style and messy mane of hair was charming.
You were exhilarated by my preference to be outside, under the stars, with dirt under my nails and sweat dried on my skin after a long day of work. You found me to be authentic, a wildly sexy woman because of these unconventional ways that I evoked your wonder.
So once we ended up on the couch, in front of the TV, staring blindly at a box side by side, was it really that surprising that I grew restless?
You stopped seeing me.
Or, did you just think I was cool with coasting since I wasn’t overly demanding or clingy or controlling? The snapshot of love was safely tucked away in the scrapbook; you had proven yourself capable of catching this silvery, slippery little fish. Was that all you required?
My love, I am not a souvenir.
This is why I’m writing. I am and always have been a kaleidoscopic dance of shifting color and rhythm. We both know that’s how I caught your eye. I am ethereal. Yes, hard to understand at times, ambiguous for sure, maybe overwhelming or even contradictory.
But I told you all this way back at the beginning. Rather sheepishly, even, because I knew then what you now have realized: I am hard to comprehend. And you, my love, loved me for it then.
Now, though, you gesticulate at me, the mess, as if I crept up on you, as If I made this happen!
My love, I say this: I am not a mess. I am merely a vision of what you yourself claim to want so badly to attain. I am a reflection of the world, and of you, and sometimes that makes me confusing.
Most people want to find the brightest sun or the most exquisite shooting star because those breathtaking heavenly bodies definitively illuminate them, as well.
I am awesome like the moon.
I have learned to embrace the ambiguity of me and I wish you had too. But, you couldn’t figure me out or solve me or capture the essence of waxing and waning me. With my intuition — that you once revered — I refused to accept that this mess was just mine.
So, you sat on the couch and waited. You waited for me to explode at the silent neglect of our love, and then you pointed your finger at me, pontificating, dripping with such self-loathing that you couldn’t even accept your role in this tumultuous thing we called us.
So I’m sorry, my love. You did not honor me by reciprocating or even communicating with any vulnerability or honesty. You simply sat in silent indignation, glorified by your own clever justification. Thus I swim away. As gravely wonderful as you are, I must go.
Perhaps you thought loving me would require work: it requires action of course, my love, but not work, at least no more than waking and breathing is work. Respect for the other that you keep cradled in your heart is never work. It just is.
That is how I loved you."
~ Angela Bowen
Dear Blog ~
Miss YOU.
me
p.s. Got so much to say ~

8/13/14


8/10/14

stretch appeal schedule info:

NO Stretch Appeal Dance practice this Tuesday, 8/12/14
YES Stretch Appeal Dance practice this Thursday, 8/14/14
YES Stretch Appeal Soft practice this Saturday, 8/16/14
photo taken @ our soft practice on saturday
How to stay connected:
Blog:
stretchappeal.blogspot.com

8/5/14

SUSPENDED 
I had grasped God's garment in the
 void 
but my hand slipped on the rich silk of it. 
The "everlasting arms" my sister 
loved to remember 
must have upheld my leaden weight from falling, even so, 
for though I claw at empty air and 
feel 
nothing, no embrace, 
I have not plummeted. 
~ Denise Levertov

8/1/14

7/31/14

thank you jean!

what is bodhichitta:

"Bodhichitta exists on two levels. First there is unconditional bodhichitta, an immediate experience that is refreshingly free of concept, opinion, and our usual all-caught-upness. Its something hugely good that we are not able to pin down even slightly, like knowing at gut level that theres absolutely nothing to lose. Second there is relative bodhichitta, our ability to keep our hearts and minds open to suffering without shutting down.
Those who train wholeheartedly in awakening unconditional and relative bodhichitta are called bodhisattvas or warriorsnot warriors who kill and harm but warriors of nonaggression who hear the cries of the world. These are men and women who are willing to train in the middle of the fire. Training in the middle of the fire can mean that warrior-bodhisattvas enter challenging situations in order to alleviate suffering. It also refers to their willingness to cut through personal reactivity and self-deception, to their dedication to uncovering the basic undistorted energy of bodhichitta. We have many examples of master warriorspeople like Mother Teresa and Martin Luther Kingwho recognized that the greatest harm comes from our own aggressive minds. They devoted their lives to helping others understand this truth. There are also many ordinary people who spend their lives training in opening their hearts and minds in order to help others do the same. Like them, we could learn to relate to ourselves and our world as warriors. We could train in awakening our courage and love."
~ Pema Chodron

7/29/14

Dear Stretch Appeal ~ I love you ~ Thank You! 

7/27/14

7/25/14

Rise
Up

7/22/14

If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint. 
~ Edward Hopper, painter (1882-1967)

7/19/14

"I free you with my loyalty"
(beautiful wedding vow)

7/17/14

who is pamela love:

Where do you find your inspiration? From travelling around the country, particularly the south-west United States. I love Native American and Mexican design. 
Describe your aesthetic. 
A mix of masculine and feminine. I think a lot of people assume I am a goth, but I actually really love florals. 
Who wears your pieces? 
Someone who appreciates design, detail and is looking for something that they can wear for the rest of their lives. 
What's your background? 
I studied film at NYU and spent a while working with [the painter] Francesco Clemente. I was also doing a lot of styling, which is how I started to get more involved in creating my own jewellery.

7/15/14

Sky-Circles
The way of love is not 
a subtle argument.
The door there
is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn that?
The fall, and falling,
they're given wings.
~ Rumi

my mantra today:

When we take control of our thoughts by focusing on the breath, we are able to stay present. Our thoughts are products of the mind. When we bring our focus to our breath, we engage our mind in the present and free ourselves of extraneous thoughts that may not be serving us. When we become rooted in our bodies, all that matters is whats in front of us rather than worries over what might or might not happen. We are able to be fully present and engaged with whatever we are doing. Calm any worries by paying close attention to your breath and you can effectively and successfully meet your obligations.

7/11/14

7/9/14

pema pearls:

 If you can live with the sadness of human life (often called the tender heart or genuine heart of sadness), if you can be willing to feel fully and acknowledge continually your own sadness and the sadness of life, but at the same time not be drowned in it, because you also remember the vision and power of the Great Eastern Sun, you experience balance and completeness, joining heaven and earth, joining vision and practicality.
~ Pema Chodron

7/8/14

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security. 
~John Allen Paulos

7/6/14

c h a n g e:

"If you are feeling stuck in your life and are ready for change, take time to declare to the Universe that you are ready.
There comes a point in most of our lives when we feel ready to experience a change weve had trouble carrying out. Maybe weve been stuck in a home, a relationship, job, or a town that hasnt felt right for a long time, but weve been unable to shift our circumstances in the direction we want to go. At times like this, it can help to declare to the universe that we are ready for a change. Think of it as informing a helpful friend that you need her assistance to move to the next level in your life. If the time is right, the universe will respond with opportunities and offers designed to help you create the change you wish to see.
You can begin the process of making your declaration by getting clear within yourself about what exactly you want to change. Whenever we ask anyone for help, they can assist us that much better if we are specific. The universe also appreciates our clarity and has an easier time answering a direct communication than a vague yearning. When you are clear on what you want, write your declaration on a piece of paper and place it on your altar, if you have one. If you dont, you can also place it under your pillow or in a box on your nightstand. Set aside a period of time every day to be silent with your wishes for change, repeating your declaration like a mantra. This lets the universe know that you are ready to change and will be receptive to its efforts.
Feel free to continue to refine and redefine your declaration, and remember to be open to the many different ways in which the change you seek might come to be. Remember also to be active in your own efforts, taking opportunities that come your way, watching for signs, and always taking responsibility for your intentions. If things dont happen quickly, try not to be discouraged; it might take time to free up energy that has been blocked and possibly serving a purpose beyond what we can understand. If you continue your conversation with the universe, declaring yourself clearly and openly, you cannot help but experience the magic of changing and being changed."
~ Madisyn Taylor

7/3/14

The body is our vehicle of awakening. Through the body we receive the wisdom, love, and compassion that animates us. All we are, all we know, all we feel, all we experience is via the body. Listening with our whole being is wise indeed.
~ Cheri Huber

7/1/14

i heart my community:

"Assessing the people we spend the most time with allows us to see if they add something constructive to, or subtract from, our lives. Should a friend sap our strength, for example, we can simply set the intention to tell them how we feel or simply spend less time with them. We will find that the moment we are honest with ourselves about our own feelings, the more candid we can be with others about how they make us feel. While this may involve some drastic changes to our social life it can bring about a personal transformation that will truly empower us, since ! the decision to live our truth will infuse our lives with greater happiness. 
When we surround ourselves with positive people, we clear away the negativity that exists around us and create more room to welcome nurturing energy. Doing this not only enriches our lives but also envelopes us in a supportive and healing space that fosters greater growth, understanding, and love of ourselves as well as those we care about."
~ Madisyn Taylor

6/29/14

maria popova ~ creator of brain pickings ~ shares her top 7 :

1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind. Cultivate that capacity for "negative capability." We live in a culture where one of the greatest social disgraces is not having an opinion, so we often form our “opinions” based on superficial impressions or the borrowed ideas of others, without investing the time and thought that cultivating true conviction necessitates. We then go around asserting these donned opinions and clinging to them as anchors to our own reality. It’s enormously disorienting to simply say, “I don’t know.” But it’s infinitely more rewarding to understand than to be right — even if that means changing your mind about a topic, an ideology, or, above all, yourself.
2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. As Paul Graham observed “prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.” Those extrinsic motivators are fine and can feel life-affirming in the moment, but they ultimately don’t make it thrilling to get up in the morning and gratifying to go to sleep at night — and, in fact, they can often distract and detract from the things that do offer those deeper rewards. 
3. Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.
4. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken. Most importantly, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment, dictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?
5. When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you.
6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living — for, as Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
7.“Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” This is borrowed from the wise and wonderful Debbie Millman, for it’s hard to better capture something so fundamental yet so impatiently overlooked in our culture of immediacy. The myth of the overnight success is just that — a myth — as well as a reminder that our present definition of success needs serious retuning. As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.

6/27/14

6/25/14

to
all 
of 
my
spiritual
teachers
What is transmitted from a spiritual teacher to a student? The possibilities of love and freedom, of living in a joyful heart. Extraordinary spiritual teachers empower us, pointing us towards our own awakening. In their presence, we can feel the qualities of enlightenment rather than just hearing about them, and we are inspired to see in a new way.

6/21/14

spiritual meaning of the summer solstice:

6-21-14
The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and within each and every person, and to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to achieve its own awakening.
The progress of the sun throughout the year symbolizes the process of attaining enlightenment, and the summer solstice is the apex of this journey as the day of most light in the year.  It symbolizes the ascension found in many great spiritual teachings – the return to the Great Father Spirit, the triumph of light over darkness in the individual, and the return to wholeness in which the Son, Mother Goddess and Father God become one great consciousness.
The Druids, ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Essenes, Romans and many others have aligned their sacred sites to the summer solstice and conducted ceremonies on this day. At the Great Pyramids of Egypt the summer solstice sun crowns the head of the Sphinx; the Druids celebrated the marriage of heaven and earth and the defeat of the dark god of the year just as the Egyptians celebrated the defeat of the dark god Seth by Horus, the sun; and in Rome the festival of Vestalia continued a Druid tradition of guarding the sacred fire.
~ Mark & Angela Pritchard
Pay Attention:
How you do What you do?
and
Why do you do it?

6/20/14

paul levy explains quantum physics:


  • There is no objective reality independent of an observer.
  • We live in a participatory universe. The observer affects what is observed by the mere act of observing.
  • Quantum entities exist in a multiplicity of simultaneous potential states (called a superposition), hovering in an abstract realm between existence and nonexistence prior to being observed.
  • There is no independent quantum entity separate from its properties. Its properties are a function of our observation. This is to say that these quantum entities aren’t real in the way we ordinarily think of something as being real.
  • The act of observation is the very act which turns the potentiality of the quantum world into the actuality of the seemingly ordinary world.
  • Our act of observation not only changes the present state of the universe, it reaches backwards in time and changes what we can say about the past. This turns our conception of linear time and causality on its head.
  • The questions we ask make a difference.
  • The universe is a seamless, undivided and instantaneously interconnected whole. This is to say that each part of the universe is interrelated with every other part in an immediate and unmediated way.
  • An expression of this wholeness is the universe’s nonlocality, in which every part of the universe is related to and in communication with every other part. Our universe doesn’t play by the typical rules of third-dimensional space and time.
  • Quantum entities can jump from one place to another without traversing the path in-between.
  • The laws of physics are not written in stone, but are mutable.
  • The quantum universe is not separate from consciousness; rather, it is an expression of consciousness. Mind and matter are no longer seen as separate.
  • Our ordinary, day-to-day universe is quantum through and through.
  • Quantum physics literally changes and transforms our mind, as it introduces a new way of thinking. It also helps us see the world differently, which helps the world to manifest differently.
  • Quantum physics is showing us how we ourselves are moment by moment playing a key role in the creation of our experience, as well as in the genesis of the cosmos, in this very moment.
  • Significantly altering Descartes’ famous principle, “I think therefore I am,” quantum physics would instead say, “I choose therefore I am.”
  • Quantum physics is a revelation in living form: it is showing us the dreamlike nature of our universe.

    The creative spirit cannot be discouraged, otherwise it would not be creative.
    ~ Carl Jung

    6/18/14

    what is shenpa:

    Not Biting The Hook
    In Tibetan there is a word that points to the root cause of aggression, the root cause also of craving. It points to a familiar experience that is at the root of all conflict, all cruelty, oppression, and greed. This word is shenpa. The usual translation is attachment, but this doesnt adequately express the full meaning. I think of shenpa as getting hooked. Another definition, used by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, is the charge”—the charge behind our thoughts and words and actions, the charge behind like and dont like. Heres an everyday example: Someone criticizes you. She criticizes your work or your appearance or your child. In moments like that, what is it you feel? It has a familiar taste, a familiar smell. Once you begin to notice it, you feel like this experience has been happening forever. That sticky feeling is shenpa. And it comes along with a very seductive urge to do something. Somebody says a harsh word and immediately you can feel a shift. Theres a tightening that rapidly spirals into mentally blaming this person, or wanting revenge or blaming yourself. Then you speak or act. The charge behind the tightening, behind the urge, behind the story line or action is shenpa
    You can actually feel shenpa happening. Its a sensation that you can easily recognize. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. Someone looks at us in a certain way, or we hear a certain song, or walk into a certain room and boom. Were hooked. Its a quality of experience thats not easy to describe but that everyone knows well. 
    Now, if you catch shenpa early enough, its very workable. You can acknowledge that its happening and abide with the experience of being triggered, the experience of urge, the experience of wanting to move. Its like experiencing the yearning to scratch an itch, and generally we find it irresistible. Nevertheless, we can practice patience with that fidgety feeling and hold our seat.
    ~ Pema Chodrin

    6/17/14

    great answers from arianna huffington:

    1. What advice would you give your graduating self? 
    In college, just before I embarked on a career as a writer, I wish I had known that there would be no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and my ability to do good work. I wish I could go back and tell myself, Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion. 
    2. What advice do you have for this year's graduating class about holding on to your passion when you are met with the real world reality of having to find a job? 
    Remember that your first job may not be directly linked to whatever it is youre most passionate about -- and thats ok. Happiness in its full sense -- what the Greeks call eudaimonia -- is thriving and flourishing. This full definition of happiness includes moving beyond our own personal passions and pleasures and being part of something larger than ourselves. 
    3. Because of this generations deep relationship with technology and the instant gratification that comes with it - what advice would you give to those who are seeking the same instant gratification with their passion? 
    There are benefits -- not only for our careers but for our lives -- to experimenting, taking risks and failing. I failed many times in my life. I watched HuffPost come alive to mixed reviews, including some very negative ones, like the reviewer who called the site the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar, and Heavens Gate.” But my mother used to tell me, failure is not the opposite of success, its a stepping stone to success. So at some point, I learned not to dread failure. I strongly believe that we are not put on this earth just to accumulate victories and trophies and avoid failures; but rather to be whittled and sandpapered down until whats left is who we truly are. 
    4. If someone graduating college now wanted to start their own business - what advice would you have for them? 
    I would advise them to pick an idea that differentiates them from others and put their heart and soul into it--but not at the expense of their health and well-being. There was a recent piece on Forbes.com by Michael Thomsen connecting the fact that three-quarters of startups fail to the prevalent burnout culture in which sleep deprivation is a badge of honor. As Thomsen wrote, "How can any work ethic connected to such dimming of cognitive function produce anything worth having?" Dont fall into the trap of chasing only the successes built on money, status and fame. When this happens, we miss out on the happiness, purpose and meaning that come from reaching out to others, pausing to wonder, and connecting to that place of strength and wisdom within us from which everything is possible. 
    5. Many times people become successful later in life because they spend their 20s and 30s distracted from what matters most to them. What advice would you give today's grads about staying focused on what matters most? 
    Staying focused on what matters most is ancient wisdom that has now been validated by modern science. One of the steps I recommend in my book Thrive is disconnecting from our devices in order to reconnect with our wisdom and focus. I love what Eric Barker wrote: "Those who can sit in a chair, undistracted for hours, mastering subjects and creating things will rule the world while the rest of us frantically and futilely try to keep up with texts, tweets and other incessant interruptions." 
    6. What would you say to grads who are interested in personal growth and living the Thriving life, but their peers aren't? What if they feel alone and like there's no tribe for them? 
    The worst thing you can do is give in to peer pressure and buy into our current notion of success, in which we drive ourselves into the ground, if not the grave, and in which working to the point of exhaustion and burnout is considered a badge of honor. Before too long hopefully before they experience a painful wakeup call -- your burned out, sleep-deprived peers will be begging to join your tribe! 
    7. What do you have to say to those graduating college that feel like they aren't wise enough to begin leading? 
    Wherever we look, we see a lot of smart leaders making terrible decisions. What they are missing is not IQ but wisdom. So it's time for each one of us to look in the mirror to find the leader within and make sure we stay connected to that place of wisdom, strength and leadership. 
    8. Finally, what advice would you have for today's grads to hold on to wonder? 
    Einstein defined wonder as a precondition for life. He wrote that whoever lacks the capacity to wonder, who ever remains unmoved, whoever cannot contemplate or know the deep shudder of the soul in enchantment, might just as well be dead for he has already closed his eyes upon life." Remember that while the world provides plenty of insistent, flashing, high-volume signals directing us to make more money and climb higher up the ladder, there are almost no worldly signals reminding us to stay connected to the essence of who we are, to take care of ourselves along the way, to reach out to others, and pause to wonder. One simple thing you can do is pick an image that ignites the joy in you. It can be of your child, a pet, the ocean, a painting you love something that inspires a sense of wonder. And any time you feel contracted, go to it to help you expand.