Posts Categorized: Noticing

Subtracting Insult from Injury

Instead of adding insult to injury, I’ve been learning to subtract. Three weeks ago I broke my collarbone in the middle of the night on Day 2 of a long-anticipated tropical vacation with my husband. I slid on some slippery Mexican tile and catapulted down three steps to land on my collar bone. At three a.m. on a Sunday morning. The story of How I Spent My Vacation starts with that event, with riding a ferry from the island to a hospital and harnessing myself into a splint for the next two weeks.

“Aha’s” on Epiphany

Jan. 5th (or 6th) is my favorite holiday. For years I thought I had it all to myself. Having already failed at whatever New Year’s Resolutions I had thrown at the dartboard, I would try again to envision my next year after the decorations were put away and the rich holiday foods were consumed or thrown away.

When I was raising a family, this would hit after the kids were back in school and we were once again held by familiar routines. I discovered that arranging some time for myself and myself alone on this day was the last and best day of the holiday. It was like my own personal clean-up, my revisioning time.

Later I was giddy to learn that there was a date on the liturgical calendar called “Epiphany,” and that it coincided with my private holiday.

Building a Kinder World

There’s a line in the recent Sherlock Holmes movie that grabbed my attention.

“Give me some evidence, Holmes. With a little mud I can build bricks and from there I can build a case.”

I’m struck by how often we use the evidence we have to wall us into a world view that isn’t kind to us or the people around us. Someone cuts us off in traffic and we take it personally. Our kids are acting out. Proof we’re a bad parent. And so it can go, if we believe our case that we’re failing or not measuring up, somehow.

What I’ve been discovering as I work with my own mind and assist others in inquiry is that there’s another choice.

Hitting Refresh

Have you ever wished you’d come equipped with an Auto Refresh button? If I had one, I’d use it today. Where was I before the weekend? Oh, right. There. A place to start on Monday morning. A place to Begin Within. This is the time of year when Things come up. Things to prepare for. Things to complete. Friends and family, too. Their things. All of those things we call life with others, life of community.

I’m one of those people who needs to stop and listen to my own directions before I can go into the world and do my thing.

Simply dropping in to a deeper level of connection with my own needs, wants, and inner promptings can be….well, a little more difficult than hitting Reset. There are days I’d give anything for a little curvy upward arrow that I could click and magically reset my screen, putting me back in the loop of my own deeper thinking/knowing.

Baja: A Whale’s Eye View

I just arrived home from a pilgrimage to the birthing lagoon of the gray whale in Baja. I had heard rumors about mother whales there who introduce their calves to humans, much as we take our offspring to meet other species. This image had lived in my imagination for several years, increasing its ranking in my bucket list. But my watery imaginings didn’t begin to match the experience of being in their presence—the power of a whale’s eye view.

“Exploding Head” Remedy

Last week I co-hosted a cross cultural dialogue with Balinese visiting San Francisco. The focus was on Tri Hita Karuna, the ancient principle of balancing relationships with community, spirit, and nature. When I asked a beautiful Balinese singer to share. she said,

“All this talking and talking makes our heads explode.”

Then she led a long, lovely chant. A sense of connection with each other, with the world, with spirit, saturated the room. We were singing our world back in balance.

Truth Serum

Some moments, even some entire days, I can catch myself in the judgements and lies that keep me from the truth. There’s such grace in that kind of clarity, that kind of peace. That is, when I can catch the lies.

And then there are the other days. The days I actually believe that “they’re” at fault. By “they” I mean anybody (or anything) out there that I can judge or blame. Like my dog for barking too much, my husband for not shutting the door, the weather for not being warmer or drier. Not to mention the theme songs I play in my own brain. Number one right now is There’s something wrong, and it’s because I’m not enough or there’s not enough.

These are the days I need a truth serum. Or some loving but stern Zen master to rap me up the side of the head. One question can usually do that: really? Is it true? When I’m aware enough of that feeling of shrinking inside, the way I’m living from a small self, that’s usually enough to bring me back.

Sometimes Truth shows up in harsher ways: the illness or death of a loved one can take me right there. To an opening of the heart big enough to embrace and allow the beauty around me to teach me to heal. What a shame that this is what it would take.

When the Outside Messes with the Inside

I was just so proud of myself a month or two ago. I was fairly convinced that I’d figured out the major puzzles of my life. Or at least one major puzzle, the tendency to put stuff in my mouth when I wasn’t hungry.
I honestly believed that attending Geneen Roth’s residential retreat and living the Women Food & God Way had brought such a bolt of enlightenment that I would never eat compulsively again.
That was before I started moving everything out of half of my house for a long-anticipated remodel. Before I began traveling and celebrating the freedom of summer. Before I started working on a book project, or at least before I experienced my favorite procrastination technique.