Saturday, March 29, 2014

What is it you plan to do with your one and precious life? Love.

Spring has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. The blanket of snow has lifted, Mother Nature is busy watering every day, buckets even, and the birds' excited songs can be heard from the moment dawn cracks open.

Spring reminds us that even during the darkest and most dismal time, there is light and life at the end of the darkness. All that was once seemingly gone returns with renewed vigor.

Happy Spring!
May you sing your song as the birds do, without hesitation;
May you proudly wear your perfection as the rose does: blooms, thorns and all,
May you always look for the light, as the daffodils do that push up through the soil to find the sun.
May you abandon fear and reach for the sky as the young seedling does,
May you know you are already good enough and are unconditionally loved, as all things in nature know by virtue of the fact that we have been given life,
May you feel your connection to all living things through our common pulse that beats in you, me and even the fruit fly.
You are a miracle.

This is a summer poem but couldn't resist sharing, after all, what's wrong with coloring outside the lines every now and then?

The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
The one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand.
Who is moving her jaws back and forth
instead of up and down
Who is gazing around with her enormous
and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to
kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll
through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one and precious life?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fear of the Arena: What we all have in common

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar - Thich Nhat Hanh 

This quote by Theodore Roosevelt (as seen in Daring Greatly, Brene Brown) is powerful juice for silencing the critics and the voices of those people who would rather you sit on the sidelines with them instead of in the arena where we belong. Dr. Brown says the biggest critic is ourselves and she would be right. 

As someone who has been laughed at in front of millions, whose debut book was at the top of Jimmy Fallon's Do Not Read List (all in good fun Jimmy!), I can tell you this, there is no better place than in the arena - even if everyone is pointing and laughing. And if you wait until you are perfect to go inside, it's never gonna happen. If you think it won't be uncomfortable - you are wrong, it will be. But it will also be rewarding and without regret. 

To stumble, to fall, to be vulnerable and to get back up again when you've been knocked down,is a helluva lot more fun than sitting on the sidelines. "Vulnerability is the doorway to courage," - Dr. Brown.

You are glorious and worthy and I am cheering you on every single step of the way. Come into the arena. You're stronger than you think you are and, you just may find that playing with a lion's testicles isn't so crazy after all*.

Adventures Await,

*A South African expression that means to take chances.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms. the great devotions; who spends himself in worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..." - Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Impossible Theory of Happiness

The other night two of my fellow TED Talker Trainees presented the topic of happiness and it's been occupying my limited grey matter ever since.

Could it really be this simple?

According to decades of research, money has nothing to do with it. In fact, the magic annual income number is $50,000. Anything above that only marginally increases our happiness.
Yeah Right. I can already see this article is a crock with a capital C - move on to the next website people, you are wasting your time here.

Oh, that little 'voice' is EGO, he'll be writing in italics. He's co-writing this article along with God. Whoa now this is getting weird (that voice may be your ego). EGO named this article because he won the coin toss. Had I won, it would have simply been titled, Four Paths to Happiness, or something like that.

I should define who my 'co-writers' are.
Ego is best known as,
Or just F.E.A.R for short.

God is, well, we all have our own definition of GOD and that kind of goes along with the thought that God is everywhere and everything. To keep things simple (I like 'em that way), I'll just refer to God as LOVE. Phew, I think I tiptoed through that subject O.K.

So back to this happiness crap - see, there's EGO again.

Researchers say we achieve true happiness by practicing four things or four ways to practice love, my lovelies - that's Love, he'll be writing in bold.
Or more like four ways to waste your time like you're doing right now reading this stupid *ss article. EGO always likes to have the last word.

So here they are with practical examples because I like to bring it home with simplicity. That's because you are simple. Shut up EGO. Then stop writing this crap. Forgive and move on. Thanks Love.

1) Exercise
Any old kind will do. If we start by just parking far away then that's something to celebrate because exercise makes our human brains give off 'feel good' chemicals.

LOVE: You are not your body, it's just a vehicle for you to spread the love and get around this earthly plane. It's the most advanced machine you will find on earth and it's all yours. Be good to it and it will take you wherever you want to go and when you're ready to come home you'll leave it behind.
EGO: Alright, I guess we're doing this crap.
Yeah, you need to exercise because that body IS you and you need a lot of work if you're going to win this competition. But you're also lazy so don't bother. Feeling bad? Perfect I win. AGAIN!

2) Gratitude.
Practicing gratitude can be done anytime and anywhere. Blue sky, sunshine, rain to clean the air, fresh snow. If you can't find anything to be grateful for, focus on the one thing that is always there for you until you don't need it anymore: your breath.

LOVE: You are loved unconditionally. Your suffering is part of the human experience. Be grateful that you are here, on earth, for a blink of a celestial eye, experiencing it all. If you can see gratitude even in your darkest moments, then you will see me.
EGO: This is a joke right? Be grateful that a giant bird is about to swoop down and poke your eyes out so you don't have to read this article anymore.
I'll be grateful when I've actually got something to be grateful for like this article coming to an end.

3) Random Acts of Kindness.
A friend recently said to me, 'But I am kind. I'm kind to everyone and I'm still suffering!'
And I said, 'Yes you are one of the kindest people I know. But are you kind to yourself?'
'Good point,' she said.
Most of us have a hard time being kind to ourselves because EGO has convinced us we're not worthy of kindness.

LOVE: The very fact that you are here on earth means you are worthy and you are loved.
Forgive yourself in every moment of doubt or transgression and replace it with unconditional love.
EGO: Practice some kindness by stopping the madness with this touchy, feely, AKA WEAK article. Everyone reading it is thinking that you have totally lost your marbles.
The only smart thing you said was, one has to be worthy to deserve kindness and, uh, you know you're not worthy. None of you humanoids are.

Guess what EGO - without me, you don't exist.
I am you.
No you're not.
Yes I am.
Overcoming F.E.A.R. and making EGO work for you instead of against you will be one of your greatest and most rewarding challenges in this human experience.
Pfffft? Me work for a human?  
See what I mean? EGO always likes to have the last word.
Bite me.

4) Meditation
I've always struggled with stilling my mind but the one type of meditation that has opened the door to practicing other types is Guided meditation. Guided meditation is like putting a leash on your EGO, it tames him. He'll pull at times but over all you will find moments of silence. What has worked for me is Kelly Howell's guided meditations.

LOVE: If you can silence the screaming demands of EGO, only momentarily, then you will hear my whispers of love.
EGO: -------------------------------------------------------------
See what happens when I'm silent? You panic. And I get bored.

Good luck in your pursuit of happiness. I hope this fun article has shown you that it is an on-going practice for most of us having this human experience.

Thank me, this bogus 'article' has finally come to an end.
It's a practice.
One thought at a time.
Fearful thought.
Forgiving thought.
Unconditional Loving Thought. 

With practice the moments of unconditional love last longer and longer - and there is nothing that makes us feel happier than that.