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 #78: Stepping Out and In Again

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Oh man, just when you think you’ve “got it,” the next bit of learning beckons. Usually it comes in some form of an obstacle. Today, its name is frustration.

After a week of smooth meditation practice in which breaths came and went in variations on the theme of Hello, Goodbye, today’s practice started out like a night of tossing and turning. All over the place and no place at all.

First, I try reining myself in with an image of a horse at the bit. That feels harsh and my body contracts. Next I imagine my breaths as a rabble of butterflies captured in a net for observation. Somehow, even though the net is gauzy, it feels wrong and damaging to the butterflies’ wings to boot. The butterflies are flinging themselves at the confinement of the net and seem more agitated than before. Yikes, I’m creating resistance to the very thing I want.

What is it I want? I want a butterfly to alight and then settle on a flower, calm. In order to have that, I can’t capture it, I must invite it. I must unfold petals and offer Presence*. I’ve forgotten Presence; no, not forgotten – stepped out of it. Presence is the opposite of force.Narcissus unfoldingI can step into it again, remembering that a flower doesn’t question its ability to be a flower.

* Presence: The state of being that includes all experience with awareness, gentle curiosity,  and compassion (taken fromFocusing work).

How’s it going for you?

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You might want to check out too. That’s where there’s info about coaching and coaching with me. Go… and then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

P is for…

It seems like so many of my favorite words start with “P.” Here are some, in no particular order:

  • Peace        Play         Perseverance
    Patience    Plenty      Possibilities
    Paradox     Poetic     Pleasure

The list is way longer than this, but I’m stopping here for now because I want to focus on the first two.

Recently, I came across the above quote from Brene Brown (if you haven’t checked her out yet, I suggest you do).

“I don’t want someone who loves me – I want someone who practices their love for me every day.”

Who wouldn’t say “yes” to this? Yes, yes, yes and YES!

One thing I love about this quote is that it implies, without actually stating it, that there’s a way that some people love that isn’t a practice. We feel love, and it’s a great feeling- the best.  However, doing love is whole ‘nother thing. Feeling love for a specific person but failing to practice it consistently in ways that are recognized by that other person = 0 relationship. I’ve been there, I’m guessing you have too.

Seems obvious -yes? But somehow we can fall for the reassurances of  “but I love you,” when other people can’t or won’t practice, or, we use those same reassurances ourselves when we can’t or won’t (guilty). Notice that “perfect” isn’t on my list. And notice too, I’m not questioning anyone’s feeling of love, or the purest of loving intentions, only observing that practice is different. And yes, it’s also true that telling someone you love them is regularly part of practicing love.

Which brings me to this: How often do I practice love for myself?  What about you? What are all the ways you’d recognize you loving you?

Any ideas?

Here’s one from me; listening.  It’s the most loving thing we can do for us, and for the people we love. And, If you have children, then listening to them with your full on presence is the finest practice, a magnificent gift.

If cultivating a bigger stronger listening presence for you and your children interests you, click the photo.