My friend Carol, who’s absence is an ache in my heart, loved the word RESPECT.  Carol played seriously and learned playfully, continually calling on me to Re-Spect or “look again” during countless staff development days when I was her teaching colleague.

What does it mean to look again? It means that there’s always an opportunity to become more there for what’s here.. for a moment, for a person, for a situation, for a problem, for a feeling.

It means that what we thought was true about that moment, that person, this problem, that situation, this feeling, might have something else that’s true about it, too. Or, our interpretation might morph into one entirely different from what we thought at first pass.

Looking again might require a quick shift, a question, a breath between thought and action – or pause. Or, it might require a longer commitment to practices that help us suspend judgment so we can listen more closely to deeper truths… whatever they might be.

Looking again might apply to worrying, or some other habitual thought process like judging others, or some other default mode we use to comfort ourselves or to numb our wounded hearts. Each time we look again we add another droplet, our droplet, to the greater lake of humanity, becoming more…

Yesterday,  I was watching an older man with a very young girl in the pool. The older man was gruffly exhorting the 5-year old to swim faster and farther. To my horror, as the girl swam closer and closer to him, the man put his hand out and pushed her tiny head underwater and then stepped backwards, waiting calmly for her to resurface and swim an even greater distance.

I blazed with indignation on the girl’s behalf. I pretty near vibrated off the chaise with self-righteous parenting and teaching knowledge. Luckily, I knew to say nothing.

Moments later Dmitri was sitting next to me telling me his story. This child is his joy,  his grasp at a life beyond grief after the loss of his first- born adult child who died in an accident one week before college graduation. This little girl loves to swim and Dmitri makes time every day to play in the pool with her, sometimes twice a day. He adopted her recently. Dmitri loves her with his whole old-school heart. Well, crack mine open.

If you struggle with not enough time, now is the perfect moment to look again. What do you think about time? Does it rule you? Do you allow the unimportant to derail you? What’s really important to you, anyhow? Do you believe you have to manage time by doing 5 things at once, or by berating yourself for not getting through #99 in your To Do list?

How willing are you to look-again at what gets in the way of being in time, in sync, with your priorities, the true ones?

We all have the same amount of time each day – everyone one of us, the Dalai Lama, Oprah, the bus driver, the hoodied guy at library searching online for jobs, the jogging mom balancing a latte while pushing a double-wide stroller, and the twenty-something on her way to work at Walmart headquarters.

So today, what will you re-pect? Will it be you?




Meditation Monday Day #86: Now

Even though it’s still cold, spring is here. I see the crocuses and the daffodil shoots aiming toward the sun, a sun that feels warmer on my cheeks than just a month ago. When I awaken early, the birds are singing their spring song, and I am reminded of the continual renewal around me; a wheel that keeps turning whether I acknowledge it or not.

Soft curving melody, bird song lifts my morning mood.

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday. It’s been a tough week for meditation practice. When the moment came each day, it seemed like everything, er, anything, was more important than doing it. What’s going on here?

I’m going to approach answering that question keeping the larger commitment I’ve made to myself – out of which Meditation Monday grew – to treat myself with as much compassion ( = love) that I can stand. Here goes:

  •  “What’s going to happen when the 100 days are over?” I’m hearing that  I’m in the car, when I wake up, before I sit to meditate… ahhh…there it is. Ahead of myself. Expectations. Thinking I have to know something I don’t know yet.
  • And, there’s a hint of sadness, too. Will something be lost when the commitment 100 Days 100 Breaths is over? I can sense the desire to rush in and protect myself from feeling it. Hello there default mode.I see you.
  • Truth is, I don’t know what this is right now, I only know what I think it is from before. I can go there and watch it with 100 breaths.

I’ll go now.

How’s it going for you?

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Wednesday Words

natural-gas-stove-topIs there something you’ve put on the back burner for so long, that soon might not even be on the stove?     


Delicious Persimmon

I step into my closet, I’m just going to put on some clothes. The shelves overflow with t-shirts, leggings and tank tops. A pole holds sundresses, billowy summer skirts and skinny jeans doubled over hangars. Those shoe things that look like cubbies -they’re stuffed with sandals, sneakers, wedges, pumps, and…you get the idea.

It’s the day after Labor Day and, once again, I’ve barely worn half these items, showing up instead, in the same eight pieces daily rearranged. What of the other clothes? Saving them.  Saving them for… what exactly?

For “when.” For the time that my mother called “special.” Save it for special.

I can’t tell you how many outfits I outgrew (or that became woefully dated) because special never came, or when it did it somehow wasn’t special enough.

But, this isn’t really about the clothes (who cares if I don’t wear all my clothes) or my mother – well, a tiny bit about my mother – it’s about waiting for “when.” It’s about holding back. It’s about  holding out because now isn’t enough or I’m not. It’s about thinking we need to be something  in order to___________(your thing here).  My friend Megan writes, “I get fully into summer and vacations just as they are about to run out, the power of loss making them sweeter.” True. Loss. Regret.

Why is it that it that we are waiting to live a better moment when the moment is here? We squirrel away what we have and hold it close until… summer is over.

Clients come to me, wonderful people looking to make room for meaning in their lives, to enjoy their food, to like their bodies, to listen to themselves, to use self-control, express their purpose, or to simply just take a break. We start with chewing persimmons, I mean, choosing permission.

George Balanchine is famous for asking his dancers, “Why are you so stingy with yourselves? What are you saving for-another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now.

What happens if we give ourselves permission to wear, to be, to try, to stop, to go, now? Delicious persimmon, I mean – permission. Yum…