Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Importance of Now

Pretty Apples on a Tree

Apples in the Garden (R. Dale)

If we want to heal, where is our most powerful place: being now.

If we want to be happy, where is our most important place: now.

If we want to let go, forgive and get on with our lives, where is the place to be: now.

To be alive is a miracle, and we forget in our rush and our hurry.

To slow down, even in this instant and recall and notice our breathing is to begin to return, right now, to a life of sanity, peace and pleasure.

When we sense our bodies in the present and notice our breathing in the present and pay attention to light and sound and the wonderful world outside of us (or maybe a room that needs cleaning), we are in reality.

Reality is our greatest gift, if we will only be so kind as to give this gift, this present, to ourselves.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Giving thanks to:

  • Life

  • Earth

  • Air

  • Breath

  • Marlie

  • Friends

  • Family

  • Feet

  • Eyes

  • Lungs

  • Trees

  • Flowers

  • Forests

  • Oceans

  • Streams

  • Rain

  • Sun

  • Light

  • Laughter

  • Love

  • Soil

  • Silliness

  • Sorrow

  • Song

  • Learning

  • Unhappiness

  • Happiness

  • Awareness

  • Now

  • Yes

  • Life

  • Yes

  • Life

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Conversation with Gub, #7

Me: So, what's it all about, Gub?

Gub: Haven't we been through that?

Me: Well, today's a new day.

Gub: Now's a new now, wow's a new wow, weeee's a new weeee, and so on.

Me: Yes, and what's it all about?

Gub: What do you think?

Me: Your turn to answer first.

Gub: It's about enjoying yourself, in a certain context.

Me: Like, being good.

Gub: No, no, no. People have been killing each other and themselves for centuries trying to be gooder than they really are.

Me: So, what is the context.

Gub: Making the world enjoyable for Nature and other people as well.

Me: As in, not having tons of goodies while your neighbor is starving.
Gub: As in, moving to set up a world where everyone can enjoy themselves.

Me: What if some people enjoy themselves by going to war, or snarling at other people, or hating their parents.

Gub: That doesn't really sound like enjoyment, does it.

Me: I guess we should define enjoyment.

Gub: I'm bug backwards, lower than the dog backwards Dude ( or Dudess, with the modern folk). I don't have to define.

Me: Ah, so. But enjoyable has an element of simplicity in it, correct?

Gub: If your enjoyment too fancy, then you are going to end up wrecking the Earth or some other people or person to get your enjoyment. So going for a walk, planting a garden, talking to a new person, talking to an old friend, watching the sunset, these aren't likely to use up and wreck the Earth.

Me: But what of the people that just have to rush off to Costco to buy another something?

Gub: Start with you. See how awake you can be in talking to other people. Master that and then worry about converting the world.

Me: But that's hard.

Gub: So is stopping their habit. See if you can wake your heart and your awareness while you talk to other people, all other people, especially the people you take for granted. This is enough.

Me: So, for me, learning this is what it is all about?

Gub: It seems like that's so.

Me: Ah, then life is work.

Gub: Life is a miracle. Waking up to that seems like work, and it's worth it, wouldn't you agree.

Me: Yes.

Gub: So, there you go. It's about learning and waking up and simple enjoyment and being awake when we are around other people and stopping our taking for granted of each other.

Me: Ah.

Gub: Ah, indeed. Pretty good for a bug backwards, eh?

Me: Yes.

Gub: Yes, indeed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The Sun is shining.

I haven't been outside yet.

I haven't drunk my wheat grass juice yet.

I've been doing some yoga and some writing and now….

I'm doing some following of my breathing.

Marlie is in the next room doing yoga.

Life goes on.

It's a Saturday.

Life is good.

It's 8:33 in the morning. I woke at maybe 5:30 and got out of bed at 7:07. I guessed it was 7:07 and then the clock agreed. So what, eh?

Lying in bed without getting up, to breathe, sense, think, not think, sense, not sense, move and breathe and meditate and sense and be warm, ah, what a nice way to start the day.

Especially if you recall one of my pieces of advice on how to have a fine relationship: always sleep naked.

Now, though clothes on, almost time to get off the computer for the rest of the morning.

Ah, life back on my own two feet and outside. Good. Is yours good?

I hope so.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Bones hold us up. Without them we would splat on the ground, we would be helpless blobs, life would be dull and boring.

Bones hold us up, so we can float through the world, two feet moving us in any direction and eyes and ears picking which directions we might like to go.

This is a good scheme, a wonderful scheme and someone in there could be aware of the possibilities. Now. Which way would be easiest to move? Which the hardest? Hmm.

Not this now, surely.

Well, actually, yes, this now: which ways could we move easily and which would be difficult, this is worth knowing. In some situations this could save our lives. In other situations, we might get profoundly more clear just who and where and how we are in the world in this very wowie nowie moment.

Ah, time to take in a breath and enjoy this possibility, the possibility of being more clear in our life and our moments.

In this moment, of all things.



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Importance of Love

Love is good.

The only thing stopping us is.....

well, it's most of how we live. So, let's say, what's stopping us,

is not slowing down

enough to realize we are alive

and to look


and realize

the same about these other humans

teaming all about

on this beautiful planet

which we are too busy, once again,

to slow




Thursday, November 09, 2006

Keep Sonoma a Small Town

Beauty gardens hollyhock
Photo: Richard Dale

I was pleased with the results of the recent election, and much to my surprise, I found the election of Aug Sebastiani a bracing delight. I wrote him a congratulatory letter extolling his willingness to say, "I don't know," and the parallel willingness to go find out new information and ideas; praising his eagerness to meet as many people as possible; and lauding his passion about keeping Sonoma a real small town.

To me, this last was a more effective presentation of the Slow Sonoma campaign I was running two years ago, and the strong response I got when I brought this up. One of the nice things about blogs, is you have a record, and in a posting of September 6, 2004 at slowsonoma.com, here's what I had to say: (For the whole thing, try 4 Campaign Pillars, or for amusement the whole month of September 2004, via Sept 04 Archives.)

"Happiness comes from being in the present and being aware of the world. It also comes from learning how to get out of habits that are producing unhappiness, whether it be an uncomfortable movement, or a harsh time in a relationship, or a life that is too busy. If we are in a rush, we miss happiness.

"Slow down traffic, slow down our minds, let’s pause, breathe, enjoy, live a good life!

"Slow down building. We are putting up too much new housing, too fast, too crammed in tight. Human beings are not meant to live like sardines. Make sure there is some open space around all building projects and lower the allowed rate from 100 units a year to 40-50 units per year.


And I had the all caps thing back then. I think most of us feel that if we keep pushing Sonoma too hard it's going to end up Marin or Carmel, and I think Aug's success is a reminder of how strong and deep that feeling is.

I want to begin to raise a concept that I think can be extremely useful. I'll articulate it more in the future, because I think it's a crucial idea in the whole density debate, and was hinted at in the third paragraph from my September 2004 posting. The concept is this: HALF HIGH DENSITY.

This has been called other places "cluster housing," and what it means is this. You have 3 acres to build on. You don't do A: put 12 really swank places, each with their own little semi-kingdom. You don't do B: cram in 40 units so you've gotten the most use of the land ( and here in Sonoma a bonus of ten so-called "affordable" unit).

Instead you build on half the land, and that includes the parking. So you make however many units you are going to make, 12, or 20, that's the density decision. BUT you leave and landscape the other acre and a half to be gardens and wild, so that there is open space not just out at the edge of town, but right there as part of every development so children can play in a place with trees and mud, and people can go out and putter in a garden or read a book or roll in the grass and it's part of their direct housing experience, not some park way down the way with swings and everything too tidy.

So, this is an idea that could have made every development of the last 10 years far more appealing, and kept Sonoma a small town instead of a suburb, as some of the developments created, or, as a recent letter suggested, a crammed tight city, as the egregious across from the post office place has done.

Think about it and talk to your council people if you agree: half high density, and half: open space, land, trees, freedom to breathe and move and be a real human being.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Earth, Breath, Smile

Wenonah, Chris, Marlie
Wenonah, Chris, Marlie and some rose petals. Photo by Wenonah Elms

Earth, Breath, Smile.This is going to be the name of my official website, if and when it ever gets up, this blogger thing being so easy.

Why Earth?

Uh, like, we come from the Earth, it is always there, gravity is there, all the land based food comes from the Earth and the stuff of the sea, well, hell, that’s part of Earth, too.

So it feeds us, and grounds us, not just blah, blah “I’m so grounded” talk, talk grounded but the real deal, down there under the house or the car wheels, or the asphalt, there’s the Earth.

If we sense it and sense our skeleton hold us weightless r thereabouts in gravity then we are on a good path toward being really present to our life.

As in? Now.

Now, I breathe in. Now. I breathe out. Now I pause between the in and the out. Now I pause between the out and the in.

Notice that and we are well on the way toward an inner heaven of being in the moment.


Sure, why not. Big grin, little hidden smile no one knows about but you, makes no matter. That sense of joy of existence, that’s a good friend to be bubbling in all of our moments.

Earth, breath, smile. That’s all.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Cactus Beauty

( Photo: Wenonah Elms)

Now comes along once in a lifetime. Over and over again it is this once in a lifetime, which means…..

We don’t have to think about it.

We can’t really think about it to experience it, because once we start to think in the usual way, words come to our mind, and all of a sudden we are talking in our heads or out of our mouths about the “cactus,” or even the “beautiful cactus,” and while we are doing that we are missing the cactus. The CACTUS. The cactus that was there if seen by a cat or an eagle or a mystic with an empty mind.

That is us, in the now, we are all mystics with empty minds, if only for the moment.

Ah, but what a sweet moment, eh?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Undo Deficits, Enhance Excellence, Wake Up to the Present

This is my idea of WakeUp Feldenkrais.

Because Feldenkrais work is modeled on how we, as genius babies, learned from blobs to crawling and walking and talking, it is the premier approach for people who want to come to a higher state of organization and use of themselves. This could be the undoing of deficits. Deficits could be in childhood, as with cerebral palsy, autism, or various learning difficulties. Dyslexia and the normal reaction to the confinement and rigidity of even a ‘good’ school system create possibilities for waking up to options to learn and grow.

Deficits could be in adulthood, strokes, pains in the back or neck, shoulder, hands, stuff that happens from accidents, recovery from surgeries. These are troubled times, with one good aspect: people decide it’s finally okay to do something besides what they’ve always done.

In desperation they return to one of the most wonderful aspects of human life: learning.

But this work is not just bringing back of deficits. We want people to recover from a stroke or an accident or a sore shoulder or back and keep learning and end up functioning better than they have since they were a child.
This is learning, not fixing.

So, another use I’m interested in is the enhancing of excellence,helping people who are already good at teaching, or some sport like golf or skiing, or are excellent at an instrument or singing or acting, helping them, by getting them to tap into learning and learning about learning in new ways, to become even better at what they are already good at.

And finally: my work, the work of WakeUp Feldenkrais, is about Waking Up into the moment.

This is where we learn, this is where we are happy, this is where we love, this is where we love life.

A good place.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 3: Haappy Birthday, Marlie

Loving Life

November 3 is a birthday for Marlie.
A lover of life,
a lover of yoga,
a lover of gardens,
a lover of people,
a lover of knitting,
and nature,
and good food,
and laughing,
and loving life.

The Beauty She Creates
The Beauty She Creates

Her hands on creation
Her hands on Creation

Wouldn't you feel taken care of?
Wouldn't you feel taken Care of?

With one daughter, Sari
With one of her daughters, Sari