Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Knowing Where You Are

Course Correction is Easier That Way...

I had such a great time putting my "Convergence" show together this month. As I was tending to the studio, what caught my ear on Sunday, and again came to mind as I was contemplating our Solstice 2012 ceremony this coming Friday, was a moment in my "Spirited Conversation" with HeatherAsh Amara (author, student, and co-facilitator with don Miguel Ruiz).  

We were talking about the power that comes with releasing "the Judge" and harvesting the gift that remains - the gift of "Discernment" (Listen in here at about 59 minutes in).

We talked about how, with Discernment, we can see where we are, and, once we can see where we are, we can understand where to go next.

And then, "...accepting where we are..." 

Once "the Judge" is released, remember, we no longer judge where we "should be", and instead can accept where we actually are.

HeatherAsh set this discussion up with a stunning, powerfully relevant reference to heat-seeking missiles, and how they're off-target 99% of the time.

The upshot: when we can a) discern and b) accept where we actually ARE, instead of resisting that in favor of where we think we should be, we can make our course corrections much more effectively. Change comes sooner, and it sticks.

And that's much more satisfying.

(Listen to the whole show, or tune in for my "Spirited Conversation" with Heather Ash, starting about 36 minutes into the show. )

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Convergence: Contemplating Isa - the Rune of Ice

As I'm working on my December Convergence radio show, coming up this Sunday on Firefly Willows L*I*V*E!, I'm contemplating Isa, the norse rune that represents "ice".

Along with all the typical associations that come with Isa -- cold, slippery, brittle, dangerous -- a thought came to me this morning that I don't find in the literature; an aspect of Isa that is not mentioned. Ice - frozen water - is less dense than liquid water. So the transition from water to ice is actually an expansive one. It is also one that introduces a kind of order. An expanded, ordered matrix is formed in this transition.

This is the first time I have imagined that Isa represents an expanded, ordered state. A state of stillness, to be sure, but also expanded, and ordered. Mystically speaking, something, under the influence of Isa, becomes "lighter". What might that be? And what is released in this process?

This solid, expanded, ordered state is as natural as the "flow state" of water, just not as "comfortable" to our warm, flowing, sanguine bodies. An "edge state" for us, as human beings?

Expanded, and Ordered, and Still... Hmmm. Interesting.

What are your thoughts? Let's explore. Join me for Convergence this Sunday at 10:30 AM pacific time for more.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Green is Good!

I've been eating more and more raw foods. While my darling wife makes a trusty and savory ham-egg-cheddar on buttered toast sandwich for herself, I find myself trending towards something like what I made this morning:

1 Banana
1/2 Pear
1/2 Apple
1/2 Mango
1 Orange (fresh from the tree!)

4 Kale stalks - leaves, really, but the stems are so sturdy! (fresh from the garden)

4 Swiss Chard leaves (fresh from the garden)

1 handful of Goji berries
1/2 handful of Sesame seeds
1/2 handful of Sunflower seeds
1 generous scoop of Green Superfood (Chlorella, Spirulina, etc., etc.)
1 raw Egg
Generous splash of Apple juice to make the blender go...

WOW! Yummsville!

And, I probably won't be hungry until well into the afternoon....

Good stuff.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pollen: Irritant or Medicine?

A Lesson In Letting Go

There's a lot of pollen out this week. I had a tough day on Monday, and today is a bit challenging, too. As I was sitting there "suffering" on Monday, trying to fight off the itchy eyes and sneezy nose, my dear friend and colleague Suzette Marie said,
"Maybe it's not an allergy. Maybe it's medicine for you. Maybe it's helping you to release something."
 Well. Hmmm. That sounded like an interesting perspective. I was totally game for turning something very annoying - indeed, debilitating - into something good for me, if only I could pull it off. 

Here's what I did.

First, I contemplated what pollen does in a plant. When pollen reaches the stigma, it embeds itself and creates a "pollen tube" - it basically tunnels its way from the surface down to the "womb" of the plant.

Then, I contemplated what pollen does in a human - it triggers the release of histamine. Histamine dilates blood vessels and makes the vessel walls extra permeable. 

Then, I examined what I was experiencing. Of course, it was the histamine reaction - the "symptoms" of the "allergy".

But what was that, really? What if it was medicine? Suzette said, "'s helping you to release..."

To figure this part out, I sat quietly and closed my eyes. I calmed myself enough to notice my fierce resistance. Resistance to what? To the feeling of "swelling" in my eyes, nose, and sinuses. I was fighting hard against it. 

I took the time to feel my way through and into that resistance. I let go of "sensing the itch" and embraced "sensing the resistance".  This part is hard to describe, but I think it's useful to share.

It was as if I was blasting away with a weapon - a weapon of light and heat - that I was applying to the area all around my head. And all that light and heat was making the area around my head hot and full of a kind of fiery plasma that was "stuck" in that area. Almost like I was firing this weapon into a heat shield that was between me and the rest of the world. 

Now, I can't tell whether I was the one blasting away, or I was the one holding the heat shield in place. I just know that I was in the middle of it, and it was not a happy or productive scene.

Once I got a handle on the dimensions and depth of the resistance, I began to try to release it. To "let go". The first phase of that process was to stop seeing the situation as an antagonism. The pollen, the reaction, the "motion", I said to myself, was appropriate. It was an OK thing. A good thing. Nothing to fight. Rather, it was a release of something. (What, I didn't know).

The second phase was to drop the shield. To let down my guard and "allow" what was happening to happen.

What I found was that if I was very still, and did not try to do anything else but "allow", the feeling of "discomfort and resistance" transformed into a feeling of "quiesence and permeability", through which "something" was being released from me out into the ether. I could feel it passing out of me. 

What was this "something"? 

I'm not sure I totally know, but here's a clue: The stillness that I had to adopt was a meditation of sorts. It required me to be completely present to myself and the moment. I could not read. I could not write. I could not plan or think or be in the future or the past. Fretting about my "to-do" list only made it worse. I had to be fully present.

What I felt dissipating through this process was the compelling urge to be "doing". All the items on my to-do list, my sense of having (or wanting) to engage with the world and experience something resulting from the application of my own volitional force onto the world had to go. 

Instead, I had to be completely receptive and, I guess in a way, vulnerable.

What evaporated out of me was attachment, desire, action, drive. What was revealed in its wake, in its absence, was clarity. 

How odd that a hayfever reaction would lead to clarity.

They say that allergic reactions are more pronounced in those that lead an unhealthy lifestyle - smoking, bad diet, etc. And also in those that lead a "hyper-sanitary" lifestyle - everything sprayed with disinfectants and very restricted encounters with the "dirt" of the natural world.

I think if a histamine reaction makes one "more permeable", and an unhealthy or hyper-sanitary lifestyle exacerbates the reaction, then perhaps what pollen is doing is offering us the opportunity to reconnect with the energies of the natural world, and cleanse ourselves of those things in our lives that are impediments to doing so.

Bee pollen is know in naturopathic circles as very strong medicine. Perhaps the bees and the flowers have something to teach us about the healing power that comes from intimacy with the natural environment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bee Medicine

What were they up to?

It was a fine Sunday morning. We'd just finished the Firefly Willows L*I*V*E! radio show for the week, and Deb and I were home, out in the front yard, enjoying the sunshine, and doing a little gardening. (OK, we were pulling weeds...)

We noticed that the bees in our tree were pretty active, going about their busy-bee business.

After about twenty minutes or so, a neighbor and his kids were out for a walk. They stopped and we chatted. Suddenly, Deb looks up over the big cherry tree and says, "Hey, look at that!"

A big cloud of bees!

Now, bees normally swarm when the queen decides to leave the current hive (either because she's a new queen who needs to establish herself, or there's something undesirable about the hive's current location). But this hive, this gang, already had a home - and they swarmed right back to it!

So we're not sure what was going on. I spoke to a beekeeper, and he said, "Huh. That's unusual."

I'm content to have had a beautiful experience, and to have shared it with my lovely spouse and delightful neighbors (who were, under the circumstances, remarkably calm...)

Love that Bee medicine!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Reflections on Entering "Area 51"...

First, I'd like to say, "Thank GOD I've made it this far!"

Second, I only have one thing on my birthday "gift registry", and all of you who stop by are welcome (indeed, encouraged... ;-) to give me one of these:
  • ITEM: One moment over the next three days in which giver deliberately and gently cultivates beauty.

So, that's it!

Oh, wait. I never write blog posts that are that short. So, here are some observations.

At 51, some books are now incompatible with my eyes. And/or the length of my arms. I found a little pocket bible on the sidewalk this morning as I was taking a stroll. Couldn't see a thing. For all I know, it wasn't even a bible. (But it looked like one...)

I'm increasingly delighted with my life. I have blessings too numerous to articulate.

I have a very cool wife.

The best defense is a good offense. Over the last two days, I've gotten up early, and upon going out into my back yard, I've discovered an army of snails (both days!) on my fennel and coriander. Rather than try to "evacuate" them by tossing them in the garbage or something, I've decided that they'll live a life of plush luxury for the next seven days, eating fine greens. And then, they will become verrrry intimate with garlic and butter. The irony is, of course, that over the next seven days, they'll be eating lettuce from my garden. Go figure.

I'm still pretty agile. Trimmed the overgrown trees on the fenceline the other day. My neighbor was impressed with my monkey-like antics as I clambered around the tree.

What I'm afraid I look like...on a GOOD day!
I have one vanity for sure. I wish I hadn't lost so much of my hair. See left and below for a sampling of my consequent self-image. You can see why I would love to spontaneously manifest my former... hirsuteness... as a birthday present.

The bees are happy and busy. The cherry fruit-set looks to be very generous. Anticipating a delicious June and July.

Life can be fun when you're not all serious and grouchy and pressured. Who knew? (Besides Deb, of course...sheesh!)

I'm finally realizing that I'm OK just the way I am, even if I am a little unfinished.  That doesn't mean I intend to stop growing, of course. But I can take a little of the pressure off now and then. Achieving isn't everything.

There are moments when I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing - with my life, my career, my family, my obligations - everything. Then, something happens (small, big, serendipitous), and then I feel like maybe I'm not so lost after all.

I'm grateful for the beautiful home and garden that we get to live in. And for the weather here. Ahhhhh....!

I love redwood trees.

I love my dogs. I'm getting much better at relating to them. Really, it just takes a bit for me to relax into their vibe, instead of being all uptight and demanding. They're pretty cool. And quite willing to share an experience.

I could go on an on, but I have a million things that I get to do today, and this is only one of them. 
Uh oh...

Enjoy my birthday!

My "John Larroquette" look

The elder Keebler Elf
"SYNDROME" from The Incredibles (or, Jack Nicholson.)
Looking a bit like my older brother
(...oops! Sorry, Joe!)

I think I've tortured you all enough now...and now that I have not the tiniest shred of dignity remaining, I'm off to do...something else.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Boys Are Back In Town!

(cue Thin Lizzy music...)

I know, I just wrote a post yesterday after a hellaciously long break, and here I am posting again less than 24 hours later.

But this one is short, I promise.

Mars is back.

Mars went direct last night. After 13 weeks in retrograde, he's back from vacation, and ready to come off the bench. Back into the game. I felt it. BOOOM. Like a muscle-car in high idle dropping into gear, but without the clanky lurch. It just felt like IMPULSION brought on line. But with the emergency brake still on. A horse, bridled but aching to run.


And, my birthday is on Thursday (Thor's day...). So me, Mars, and Thor are gonna have one rip-roaring, high-energy, kick-some-ass kind of launch for -my- second half. I turn 51. 

I'll keep you...ahem...posted :-)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Success - It's all in the Physics...

I spoke to a life coach this morning, Dr. Liz Zed, recommended to me by my dear friend and colleague Ana Maria Sanchez. I had to admit it - I'm starting a new career (or, several) and it's just possible that I might need some help sorting things out and getting the traction 

I need to make my new life sustainable.

I've experienced a lot of healing and growth since I left high-tech at the end of 2009. So I'm a little more than 2 years into "whatever is next", and, frankly, I feel like a two-year old. 

Which is to say, I feel grand, healthy, and a little out of control, but very determined.

Lately, the realizations and clearing of old patterns has accelerated. I'd say since last May when I first had the opportunity to meet with Dakota elder Chief Golden Light Eagle, and then REALLY accelerated since the Winter Solstice of 2011.

So there I was this morning, talking to a life coach.

What did I learn? Well, it was a meandering conversation, as first "get to know you" conversations often are, but something subtle emerged that I wouldn't have been able to hear not that long ago. 

The nugget is this: Success is all in the physics.

Success isn't about doing a bunch of things you don't really want to do, gutting it out through pain and sweat and frustration. All that stuff feeds the ego - either the "I deserve to be punished" or the "I have to earn it through hard work" or the "I have something to prove" or any number of other mis-wired messages.

Rather, it's about discerning what one really, truly wants, and then setting up the scene so that doing what you want brings you success. All the moving parts are keyed to align with the effort that comes naturally for you, so once you engage the system, it's like the system sings along with you.

Sounds simple, right? Well, the second part is, I think, pretty simple to folks with a mind for mechanics, physics, the dynamics of power, cause and effect, and so on. That's the physics. Sure, you might need some trimming and tuning by folks with domain expertise, but generally speaking, it's a system of pulleys and ropes and levers. 

The life coach said something like, "It's the difference between doing while having uncertainty about whether you're going to succeed or fail, and having a program that you know you can follow, and if you follow it, you'll succeed."

Why wouldn't we all sign up to a program that we can follow, and follow it to success?

Ahhh, the multi-million dollar (literally) question. 

I think it's because we're afraid of really understanding the first part -- understanding what we love, and letting go of what we don't. We have tapes that say "success looks like this..."(see stressed-out working stiff at right), and we're not sure we want that. Or we have tapes that say, "You can't just do the things you love - life is hard!" Or we have tapes that say, "That's a stupid, low-value, low-esteem profession."

All those tapes block us from understanding what we really want. What we really love.  And when we build a process that includes all those tapes, the physics is not working with us at all. In fact, we're setting the physics up to work against what comes naturally to us. And then sheer force of will, willpower, determination, stubbornness, stress, and heart-attacks are required to achieve the goal.

Not very enticing, is it?

Nope. Not for me.

I want the physics to work in my favor. Not boring, or even necessarily easy (no "slacker" goals here), but certainly working with the momentum of my soul, rather than against it.

Thoughts? Comments? Have you set up your Rube-Goldberg success engine to leverage the momentum of your soul?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sharing with the Honeybees

Timing is Everything...

I've been thinking about getting a bee hive for several years now. We have a reasonably roomy yard. We have lots of fruit trees. In particular, it's important for us to have a healthy supply of bees around when the big cherry tree out front blooms. When blooms and bees connect, we receive a beautiful harvest.

Well, so I'd been thinking about getting a hive box, and learning how to keep bees, mostly because of the fruit trees, but also because - Bees are cool! And…honey!

So imagine my delight when, sometime this summer, a queen and her hive took up residence in a hollow in our maple tree out at the front of our yard. Very discrete, by the corner of the lot.

I was grateful for their presence, doing the work among the flowers. But I also wondered - would we somehow have a chance to receive a gift of honey? (I have done nothing to "prepare" to actively harvest the honey. No bee suit. No smoker. I was content just to have them there.)

We enjoyed watching the bees all last summer and fall. Winters, being mild here, don't really deter the bees.  So I would go out occasionally and say hello.

Then, some time last week, I went out to see them... and they were gone! There were no buzzing sounds, no little bodies busily doing bee business. All quiet. A fly or two. Some crawly bugs.

No bees.

I was a little disappointed and sad. I know bee hives don't last forever, but I thought, "Geez, at least it would have been nice for them to make it through to the cherry blossoming." But they were gone.

So I bravely grabbed a ladder out of the garage and propped it up against the tree.  I clambered up and peered inside.

Definitely no bees.

I reached my hand up and into the hole, and touched the comb. It was very light feeling. I grabbed it, tentatively at first, and then more firmly. I pulled and a piece broke off into my hand.

I pulled it out of the hole and examined it. Wow. Amazingly cool to see this really miraculously precise layout of hexagons built "by hand" from "hand-made" wax. Just stunning.

So I found a large plastic container and started pulling the comb out, a piece at a time. Beautiful beeswax. We would melt it down to make candles, I thought.  Mostly, the comb was empty. Here and there I found a chamber filled with pollen.

Then, as I reached further in, the comb had real heft. And as I grabbed and pulled, it became slick and sticky!

What an amazing thing. Big chunks of comb - two-sided, back-to-back chambers - filled with honey. Woo hoo!

So I pulled it all out, and began researching how to extract honey from the comb.

By the way, the honey is marvelous. Delicious and golden and sweet and tangy and raw. It's an amazing experience.
Yesterday was a beautiful day to be outside. So I went out front to pull some weeds. I looked over to the maple tree, fondly remembering the bee-ful activity and thinking again about the wonderful gift.

Wait! What's that? I looked again.

They're back.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Sound of Mars at Play

Find Him Playing in the Crashing Surf

Last week I wrote about Mars in Retrograde, drawing the conclusion that it's really the effect of "Mars on Holiday" that we're experiencing - the "absence" of Mars, in a way.

In December, I pondered Mars at Play, but didn't really have a good handle on what kind of experience that would be.

But as I was getting the low-down on Mars in Retrograde, I received an additional bit of illumination. I was listening to Psychologically Ultimate Seashore, a 60 minute recording of the surf, and I realized - "There he is! And he's PLAYING!"

Contemplating it for a moment, and feeling into it, I realized - the POWER in the crashing surf is rambunctious, carousing, adventurous, and COMPLETELY without conflict. It's actually basking and rolling and expressing itself in the gentle, loving, and life-affirming container that is the water.

So there he was, playing in the surf. Relaxing, laughing, enjoying himself. Restoring himself. 

Mars on Holiday.

Interestingly, I've been feeling the need recently to grab my wet suit and head up the coast to Linda Mar (Spanish for Cute Sea) to do some body surfing. The cold Pacific on my hands, feet, and face. The roiling waves. The crashing tumult in my ears. The taste of salt water. 

Sounds like it will get my blood pumping, and I'll feel invigorated and refreshed, without the least bit of conflict or stress.


By the time night falls, I'll be ready for a deep, sound sleep.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Retrograde: Mars Takes a Holiday

Anger Erupts as Discipline Wanes

Last night I was doing some deep journey work and got a bit of a surprise. I wasn't thinking particularly about Mars, nor was I seeking guidance from him, but apparently, he had something to share.

I've written recently about Mars, and Mars at play. (I've still been contemplating Mars at play - I hadn't really discovered anything solid until last night. More on that in my next post.)

More topically, we've all been contemplating Mars in Retrograde. Mars went retrograde on January 24th, and will continue in retrograde until April 14th.

This astrological moment is described as very significant. I've read some information from a few sources, but the information hasn't really "met" me in a way I can use.

Here's what Mars taught me last night. It's a little different from what you'll find in the books.

Mars in retrograde is Mars on vacation, seeking restoration, relaxation, and play.

What does that mean for us? I perceive that when Mars is on vacation (or resting), that HIS warrior discipline is withdrawn from our lives. Which means that we must rely on our OWN warrior discipline.

Where and when (and how) does HIS warrior discipline affect us?

Imagine that there is a warrior song being sung by a virtuoso. It's always being sung, so whenever you need to hear it, it's there. Whenever you run close to the edge, nearly slipping out of warrior discipline, you can catch the strains of the song, consciously or unconsciously, and it can help you get back into trim.

That means we actually battle with each other LESS often, and work our internal battle more completely, when Mars is singing.

What happens when the song stops?

We see an eruption of undisciplined, destructive, testy, angry, aggressive behavior. That awful "remainder" I wrote about begins to foul the room, our auras, our relationships.

Mars helps us develop our warrior selves, and in so doing he helps us work through our weaknesses - our dishonesty and lack of discipline. What we don't work through, we tend to hide - from ourselves and others. 

When Mars is no longer there to help us be warriors, these tawdry characteristics suddenly spill forth, sometimes billowing, sometimes leaking, depending on how impeccable a warrior we have been.

A friend noted recently that she's seen (and her friends have also reported) an eruption of anger among their circles of friends, families, and acquaintances, starting a few days ago.

I perceive that it is precisely the result of Mars on Holiday.

Are you feeling more angry? A little less in control? A tad more helpless in the face of obstacles, and more inclined to rage against them?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In the Beginning, There Was the Signal

Science's Digital Chickens Come Home ( the Library) to Roost

For those of you who know me well, you've probably heard some of my metaphysical and "deep physics" ideas about the structure of the universe.

Here's one of my favorites: The true fundamental building block of the universe is Information.

When you peer down, deeply down, into the fundamentals of matter (and energy) you find…nothing. Nothing concrete, that is. Quantum physics - the most successful theory in the history of the science* - tells us that elementary particles are not particles at all. The "Copenhagen Interpretation" (Neils Bohr & company) states that "there is no deep reality" beyond the illusion of the particles and waves (and they are illusions). Pretty weird.

I have always felt that there was something amiss with the Copenhagen Interpretation ("Gee, really?").

I've pondered this gap for a number of years, starting early in my career in the network technology business. Back then, I learned about something called "Information Theory" - actually the theory of how information (and how much information) can be stored or carried using certain technologies. And one part of it (the Nyquist Rate, for those who care) caught my attention, and looped me back to this problem of deep reality.

I got this crazy notion that deep reality, that which was beyond the illusory "material" world, was actually information. A probability wave is not an object, but an aspect of design, a blueprint so-to-speak. A field is not a "thing", but an expression of an effect (perhaps, of an "intent").

When you dig down deeply enough, you go beyond matter and quantized energy into a domain of description, of information. Of design. From there, one might say that all the blueprints of the Universe are stored in that mysterious vault often called the Akashic Records. Physicists just might agree.

For you science folks who are still with me, here's a snip from Wikipedia:
The Akashic Records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos.
The other day I saw an article in the Februay 2012 issue of Scientific American.  Craig Hogan and a crew at FermiLab is digging around in just this domain.

From the article,
"Physicists have, over the past couple of decades, uncovered profound insights into how the universe stores information - even going so far as to suggest that information, not matter and energy, constitutes the most basic unit of existence."
Ahhh, that feels good! And from here, the first words of the Gospel according to John make a whole lot more sense.

*Quantum Theory has never failed to accurately predict an experimental result (even when the predictions are so screwy that the physicists dread to discover that the universe actually works that way...)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Feeling As Competently As I Think

Rodin's "The Kiss"

I've set for myself a worthy goal: To have as much awareness, confidence, competence, and refinement in my ability to feel as I have in my ability to think.

I will be working on this goal assiduously for however long it takes.

I've always been confident in my thinking skills and capacity. I love to think. I love to extend my knowledge, build bridges between concepts, and extrapolate into rarified cognitive air.

Thinking about thinking, too. Philosophy. Justice. Art. Compassion. Mysticism and science. Lots and lots of domains of intellectual exploration.

Detail - See the book in his
hand, not being read?
Recently, I realized that feeling - not "thinking about feeling" or "analyzing my feelings" was a treasure trove of growth. It helped me banish some encroaching depression. It helped me increase my cardiovascular capacity. It taps into an (apparently) infinite universe that I've really just begun to understand.

And there's an interesting difference, for me, between thinking and feeling. If I'm doing it right, feeling is effortless. Exertionless, even. And yet its harvest is extraordinary.

The down side is, of course, that I'm really a babe in the woods on this half of my consciousness, compared to the 50 years of intense focus on my thinking machinery. I may have a long road ahead of me.

The good news is that it's an amazingly rich and colorful, sensuous and sensory road. I can see that already.

What a cool journey.  Anybody want to join me?

(Anybody willing to help?)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Breathing through Resistance

Exploring Inner Sustainability - From Grand Schemes to Innermost Choices

I've know for a while that a major breakthrough is waiting for me through the mastery of breath. 

But there is resistance in me - in many dimensions, including resistance to mastering the breath, even though I know that my life will be better on the other side of it.

I think I've discovered how to break through that resistance. 

I examined the sources of the resistance, and I saw how the resistance was being reinforced. That was actually the more important element in the whole mix. 

Oddly, surprisingly (or...perhaps not?), it was reinforced by self-judgement. This self-judgement was non-verbal. It came in the forms of...Pressure. Disgust at failure. Anger at inadequacy. Not-enough-ness. 

Describing it with words is difficult.

What to do...? I felt my way into the resistance (and the judgement) and let it sit for a breath or two. Then I began to breathe into it and through it, and it began to break up and become smaller, lighter, less like dead weight. 

Here's the key: I did this in a way that was "sustainable"

I didn't try to make it all go away at once. I didn't judge myself for going slowly and feeding myself along the way. 

It has become clear to me that a fundamental impediment to my progress is that I push too hard. Pushing too hard means that the push isn't sustainable. Apparently, that applies on every level, from grand schemes to the innermost choices. Posture. Breath. Right Action. Truth. 

I combined this realization with something I learned in yoga. Using the mind to push the body past its comfort zone into pain and exhaustion (and injury) leads to the body not trusting the mind to do the "self-sustaining" thing. And that, in turn, leads the body into resistance, which actually SLOWS progress. And resistance leads the mind into judgement. And judgement leads to stagnation. 

So, I woke up this morning and did just enough QiGong to make me feel good, at a pace that reinforced itself. I look forward to feeling that way again. 

Now that's sustainable.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Buddha Whispered In My Ear

In the wee hours, while I was lying in bed, the Buddha whispered to me. He said, "The pain of holding on is worse than the pain of letting go."

The pain of holding on is the pain of attachment. It leads to disease and stagnation, resistance, and suffering. Ultimately, it kills you.

The pain of letting go is the pain of detachment. It leads to freedom. To healing. Ultimately, to rebirth (see the seminal case of Caterpillar v Butterfly).

I've been known to say to my clients, "There are two kinds of pain. The pain where healing is occurring, and the pain where healing is not occurring. Which kind would you prefer to feel?"

I know this to be true deep inside myself, and yet I cling. Purging remains a deep challenge.

Old habits, it seems, are hard to shake.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why are there Two Wolves?

Cherokee Fable Points to Serious Design Flaw

I received a letter recently, from someone whom I care about. It was not a happy letter; it was quite critical of me. That's all I'll say about it, because, interestingly, it's not the content of the letter that bothers me.

I'm actually puzzling about my reaction to it. I don't feel hurt, particularly (OK, if I'm honest, I do feel a little hurt, although not that long ago I might have been devastated). 

No, rather I'm pondering why a constructive reaction is not my first impulse.

It's a simple thing. You get negative feedback. What do you do? Fire back a tightly-worded counter-attack? Sure seems like it would feel good. But what purpose would it serve?

Or, do you construct a delicately-worded response designed to soothe and engage with love and compassion?

Sounds like the later would be the better option.

So why does the former beckon?

I'm reminded of the old Cherokee story of the Grandfather who counsels his grandson about the two wolves fighting inside him - the "good wolf" and the "angry wolf". The grandson asks which one wins. Grandfather replies, "The one I feed."

It's a beautiful tale, and among many on the web, this version matches what I remember from my childhood.

But what I really want to know is - Why are there two wolves?

Seems like a bad design to me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: The Year of Action

Welcome to the action. Claim your piece.

Early in 2011 I got the message that 2011 would be the year of Authenticity - the year where doing what wasn't true would be hard, and discovering what we truly are would be paramount.

I hadn't given similar thought to 2012. It seemed like there was already so much written and said about 2012 that I would have little to add.

Then, last night, a quiet, gently foggy night, I got the message.

"2012 is the year of Action."

Action vs. Taking Action:
2012 will be the year of action whether we as individuals choose to act or not. As the saying goes, "No decision is a decision." Similarly, choosing not to act is a choice to have others direct your actions. In this case, I suspect we will be compelled by circumstances to be actors in the grand drama, however uncomfortable that may be at times. Better to participate in choosing the course.

Selfish Action vs. Community Action:
One can argue that a selfish act can be an act in support of the community, and that an act in support of community can also serve the self. I like this perspective, because it suggests that we have a choice to bring these two courses, which on the surface seem so antipodal, into a kind of harmonious alignment.

When contemplating an act, consider what aspects of it are selfish, in a community-damaging way. Then see how those aspects can be eliminated or mitigated.

How can the "selfish" act become "sustainable"?

My favorite call to action of this type (one that I've heard probably thousands of times) is, "Put on your own mask before helping others…"

The "Good", the "Bad", and the "Bridge":
The notion of taking action can conjure thoughts of political and community activism, and working toward our objectives (and against the opposition's). I will no doubt be pulled to "Support the Good" and "Resist the Bad". There is the aphorism, attributed to Edmund Burke, that "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing".

But there is a third course of action - the act of relentlessly pursuing understanding, communion, and communication. Being a bridge.

Jesus broke bread with the sinners. And he did not judge them.
"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
(Or, from the Aramaic, "Blessed are they who make peace…" Note how that feels very active...)

I am committing to more regular publishing of thoughts here at the Firefly Willows blog; I'm also committing to another course of action: The Swallowtail Project blog. There you will find my more "activist" writings, and, I hope, my successful exertions at being a bridge.

Welcome, 2012. Welcome to the action. Claim your piece.