Have you ever heard the saying, “If you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention?” After all, with all the suffering in the world right now, is the choice to stay calm and centered or happy the right response? How can we stay alert and aware of what’s going on in the Ukraine, with COVID, the climate crisis, rising food prices, etc. etc. and not feel motivated to respond with outraged action? Actually, there is another way. And that way is called the Tao. I was recently given an excellent reminder of that possibility when asked to review the book, The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher Ph.D. While I’m not exactly a stranger to the Tao, this book offered me clear instruction and insight as to why our inner peace is so very primary. And the more chaotic the circumstances in the world and in our lives, the more we need to access that inner peace. For it is only there that we can ever truly make a difference for ourselves and others. [Read more…]
Last week Thom and I held a discussion group with friends. Our topic was to share any quotes that we felt had influenced our lives in a long-lasting and profound way. It was harder than you think because all of us love quotes and like me, had hundreds to choose from. Then I found it. My quote was one that I read in an old, old newspaper column by Ann Landers (I said it was old, didn’t I?) It meant so much to me I cut it out and saved it all these years. The fact that it was by one of my favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson, made it even more special. But what has occurred to me since then was how it subtly influenced me all these years and how it became a tribute to what I hoped to be when I got older. I wonder how many of us take the time to consider the “messages” we absorbed when we were younger and how they continue to influence our lives. Did we become who we always hoped to be? [Read more…]
Twenty plus years ago I had a very close friend I’ll call Susan. Shortly after we met she invited me to lunch and I came right out and told her that while I knew a lot of people and had quite a few friends, I was really looking for a very close friend. Was she? In agreement, we then spent over five years talking, laughing, and sharing our lives. I felt closer to her than my own sisters. Then? She ghosted me. Of course, it wasn’t an immediate thing. I knew our circumstances had changes—that we had changed. The phone calls got shorter and fewer, and the times together dwindled. Sadly, it ended a slow death, and I never knew exactly why. I mourned that relationship for many years.
How I spend my time continues to be on my mind since writing the last blog post. So, my attention was triggered when I started listening to author Daniel Pink discuss his new book about regrets during a podcast. Is it possible that acknowledging regrets can help us spend our time in a more meaningful way—rather than events we try to avoid (or forget) as much as possible? That is part of the basis for Pink’s new book where he explains how and why our regrets can point us in the direction of what matters most to us. Not only can we use our regrets to create a better life, they can also teach us more about ourselves and help us make changes and choices that will lead to a more fulfilling future. And most important, how giving voice to our regrets can often help motivate us to take steps and absolve them for once and all.
At the beginning of every new year I face a big temptation to start planning how I hope my year will unfold. Even after COVID hit in 2020-21, I managed to chart out certain activities that I knew would be enjoyable and meaningful. Some happened—some didn’t. Now at the beginning of 2022, I find myself drawn to my usual pattern, but this year is a bit different for two reasons. First is because I found myself hesitating a bit when it came to travel planning this summer after my recent health scare in Mexico. Second is because I came across an interview of an author with a new book that challenged my perception of time and how we as humans often have a very dysfunctional way of dealing with it. Since listening to that first podcast and several others, I’m beginning to see time in a new way and how that can lead to creating a more peaceful and meaningful life in the future. [Read more…]
I believe that an ongoing focus on life-long learning is an important quality for those of us who want to live a happy, healthy and rewarding life. And what I’ve noticed is that if we pay attention, we can learn something from just about every experience (and yes, every person) we encounter. With that in mind, as some of you know Thom and I just spent over a month in an Airbnb in Ajijic, Mexico. Not only was it a very enjoyable experience, but it also got me thinking about a few life lessons I learned along the way and things I want to remember in the years ahead. [Read more…]
Happy New Year Everyone! For the last several years Thom and I have chosen a WOTY (word of the year). Recently I have read on a number of other blogs that the authors wouldn’t be doing one this year because the practice didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. We are the opposite. My word for 2021 has been on my mind all year long and I can honestly say it has helped to guide my days in a positive way. With that in mind, Thom and I decided to not only pick a word for 2022, but to do a new Vlog and share our words with you. It’s a short video and we hope you enjoy it and most especially, that it encourages you to pick one of your own. As a teacher and author I have followed for many many years named Alan Cohen recently wrote, “The energy you start the year with will be a big factor in the year you experience. Choose a word that represents the keynote experience you wish for your year, and let it resound through 2022!” May your WOTY do exactly that in the days ahead.
Imagine you’re a taking a late afternoon walk through your favorite woods. The distant chatter of birds and the tranquility of the late slanting sunlight is suddenly disrupted by the appearance of a large black bear. Upon seeing you, the bear raises to his back feet, lets out a roar, and starts eyeing you like a prime rib. What do you do?
When faced with such fear, there are likely four responses. First you run as fast as you can. Second, you freeze, third you faint, or four you try to fight (really?). What you probably won’t do in those first precious moments is to try to figure out when you will write your next blog post or how to resolve that issue with a friend/relative. That’s because when we are deeply stressed, all the blood from our brain drains away. While we might “think” we are thinking, all our energy and brain power is focused on survival. And even though you likely won’t be faced with a bear in the woods anytime soon, anything that triggers fear, anxiety, outrage or loss is reducing our ability to think clearly and react wholeheartedly. An antidote? Refuse to take most things so seriously. [Read more…]
Anytime I find a book, article or podcast that explains a new way to become more self-aware I can’t help diving into the subject. That was the case when a week ago I listened to an interview with author Diana Chapman where she asked, “In any given moment are you above the line or below the line?” If or how you answer that question offers great insight into our own individual awareness. It also reveals several paths to becoming more conscious and deliberate about your life and relationships. But what we tend to first think about living above or below that line isn’t quite what Chapman is after. Instead, it is the understanding, possible growth and acceptance of where we are in any moment that offers the greatest benefit of all—and then choosing where to go from there. Interested?
Ever felt like you were in the latest Matrix movie and like Neo, the main character, discover that the world around you is nothing more than a virtual matrix? Even if you haven’t seen the series of movies, it is enough to know that Neo gradually finds out that like most humans, he’s been kept alive in a pseudo reality rather than seeing and living a “real” life. I felt a bit like that this last week when I learned about a psychological behavior called The Drama Triangle that is very predominant in 90% of all our lives. Be it workplace, family, community, nationally or even within ourselves, most of us operate throughout our days within the three walls of that dynamic. Unfortunately, it is so habitual that we likely have no clue about how it defines us and limits us. But once we do know we do have the choice. Like Neo, we can choose to take the blue pill and keep on living comfortably asleep. Or we can take the red pill and start recognizing what roles we play in the triangle and how we have perpetuated the code for our own matrix. [Read more…]