Monday, November 25, 2013


 I've been participating in an online meditation challenge the past couple of weeks. These are always hugely transformative. 

Today's thought was so timely. In the practice of learning to be present, one must learn to let go and trust that things will work out they way they should for everyone involved. This means I don't always get my way and I have to be ok with that. There is a huge amount of trusting the unknown in this practice. That is really challenging for me because my mind wants to know what is ahead and to be able to lay a path to get there. Rarely is this possible. Often this approach sets us up for disappointment that things do not go as we had planned. 

Here's what Deepak Chopra said in the lesson today. (And if you are following this same meditation, I'm a couple of days behind .)

"When we hold tightly to a goal, we often find it to be elusive. We may say to ourselves, “I want this so badly. I can see my goal. Why can’t I reach it?” The answer lies within the fine art and practice of detachment."

"As we detach from the outcome of whatever we desire, we let go and gently surrender to the wisdom of uncertainty, which holds our freedom from the past, the known, and the limitations of any preconceived notions. In our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we give ourselves over to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe, trusting that what we desire will come to us."

Some of us have expectations and plans for a lovely holiday this week. We hope that Uncle Ron doesn't hit the wine too hard, that our mother-in-law will be a gracious guest, that the tension between family members is lessened, even for one day. We hope that all our loved ones will be well and happy, that the men are all strong, the women are good looking, and the children are above average (with a nod to G.Keillor).  Detachment says, don't try to orchestrate this, just let it unfold as it will and love it for what it is. 

There's our focus for the week, and weeks, ahead. It's about letting go of our own expectations to allow it to just happen. This is important stuff. Time to show up. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Must Be Present to Win

This past week, a friend made an observation that was pretty powerful for me. I was told that I was "present."

What exactly does that mean? It can mean being readily available, in the moment, not thinking of the past or the future, open to whatever comes next.

One of my best skills has been to leverage the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you can do it, you can. If you want it, you can work for it. There's no such thing as luck, but making it happen. Taken to extreme, this can be seen as controlling or even manipulation. For me, it has been my way of getting things accomplished.


I've been working at being present these days and for me, that's no small feat. This requires a willingness to be open to opportunities as they present themselves rather than focusing on my personal agenda. It requires letting go, of being detached to an outcome, and that involves trust that things will work out for the best. For me, this spells out as vulnerability, which when chosen intentionally takes a great deal of inner strength. (Dr. Brene Brown has a lot to say on that subject.)

I have come to realize that my willing things to happen, making things happen, and yes, forcing things to happen, has been an effective defense mechanism that has provided a very false sense of security. This approach has not entirely served me well because crappy things still happen and the adage, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" rings very true.

I'm not saying that working hard for goals and going for what we want in life is wrong. Far from it. Motivation and hard work is the sweat equity we put into what we achieve in life. Nothing is handed to us and doing what it takes to make it happen is important.

But there is a balance, like everything else. When I focus with laser-like intensity on my own agenda and I don't allow myself to be present to possibilities, I am viewing the world through the peephole on my front door and keeping the door closed.

Being present is also being mindful of the little everyday miracles that life provides. The beautiful frost on the window this morning. The warmth of my little house. The comforting smell of brewed coffee.

Being present is a gift. If you are struggling with finding something to be grateful for in this week of gratitude, see where you can open yourself to the possibilities that surround you. You may be very surprised by what you find when you allow yourself to just be.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Super Powers

It's that time of year. The full court press to New Year's Day is truly underway and to me, it just seems to add a layer, a heavy sodden woolen blanket, on top of the usual everyday march through The List of Things to Do.

Reflecting back on the week that was, I continue to be struck by this notion of my own super powers. Granted, sometimes, super powers are truly needed. This week good people of the beautiful City by the Bay where I think my whole family left its collective heart this summer, truly did not disappoint. When the going gets tough, the tough turn out to play with a darling five-year-old boy named Miles who wanted to be a superhero.

Didn't see the tape? Oh, my. Stop everything and do so right now. Here's just one of a million links.

Honestly, I think he avenged evil simply by being adorably cute.

The SFPD Commissioner deserves an Oscar, no doubt, and even the President of the United States PLAYED along with Miles on Friday afternoon along with thousands of his neighbors. Incredible.

Thing is, this little guy has been a superhero all along. And yesterday, everyone who played along became one, too.

You have superpowers of your own. You know that, right? It may not be as extravagant as what Make a Wish pulled off yesterday - but even small acts of kindness delivered in the right way can have enormous influence. Let Miles and all his playmates inspire us to realize that we each can make a difference in someone's life every single day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The world will keep turning. Must remember that.

Oh, crud.
Maybe there needs to be chocolate chip cookies?

It is a Monday in mid-November. Remembrance Day/Veterans Day, to be exact, and I am feeling unwell. Fighting off a sinus headache and general malaise while drinking ginger lemon tea with
honey and watching snowflakes the size of quarters rain down is just not what I had in store for today. And it was such a fun weekend, too!

"Glass half empty" days are gratefully few and far between for me so when I do feel cruddy and unsettled by some physical ailment, I know that I will push myself through it as quickly as I can. It is a chink in my armor. When I am not feeling well, I tend to question all kinds of silly things and contribute to the half-empty outlook.

It is hard for me to realize that the world will keep on turning if I take a day of rest. I know, I go on and on about how important it is for us to take care of ourselves, but geesh, it is hard to actually DO it at times when you don't want to, isn't it?

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Many Christian traditions celebrate All Saints Day on the first Sunday of November. Some saints live among us today and some have gone before us.

I have Julian of Norwich on my mind today and her reassurance that "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing, shall be well." It is a mantra for me to resist the temptation to worry, a truly useless activity.

From neighbors and teachers, to co-workers and friends, we all know someone whose life and the way it touches ours is worthy of remembering and honoring.

Who will you honor or remember today?