Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy, or What?


Studying Happiness

Sometimes we are happy.

Sometimes we aren’t.

What if happiness were more or less our birthright, and when we are unhappy, we have a grand and glorious chance to learn just how we take away ourselves from our birthright?
How we throw away our happiness?

So today, make a study: when are you happy?
When are you unhappy?

Notice three things:
1. What kind of thoughts you are having when happy and unhappy.

2. What is going on in your body in times of happiness and times of unhappiness.

3. Are you present when you are happy and are you present when you are unhappy.

Actually, notice four things: when you discover yourself unhappy, do you get more unhappy about this, or do you get curious?

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nice vs real, or ?????


Or something like that.

To be nice. Ah, we all like “nice” people, and then again, most of us who live in the world of reality, have noticed the tendency of some, if not all, “nice” people to have an undercurrent of “something” not so nice. This undercurrent might come out when they have their period, or a “bad” day, or get “tired,” or …. You name it.

And the “something” could be rage, or gossip, or self-righteousness, or getting really sick.


That’s almost beside the point.

The point is to wake up in our lives to the moment.

Tons of “being nice” has to do with pleasing other people, which has a lot of do with socially arranged parameters of what other people “require” to keep their comfortable “sleep” going.

All this is conceptual frameworking on my part. Search around and see if there’s any truth in there for you.

For starters, though, let’s try some distinctions: Nice vs. Kind. Kind means of “kin,” which means treating people like family, assuming the family is a good one. Sometimes being “kind” isn’t so nice, means saying, “I love you and no.” No, you can’t borrow the car. No, you can’t have the money. No, you can’t keep trashing the living room.

And again, the point is to be present, paying awareness to ourselves in the present while we have awaring on the person outside of us.

This might bring us to “nice” behavior. It might bring us to noticing, “This person is really acting weird,” and asking, “What’s going on? Something seems to be really bothering you?”

Being “nice,” might mean hiding this. Being kind might mean trying to find what’s bothering them.

And being present might be just being curious: what’s going on here? Is my guess about outer reality right.

Being present might be looking at the person and seeing an unhappiness.

Being present might be realizing that when we are present, we are relatively happy.
We don’t have to drown, or to feel like drowning, or to even “feel bad” about another person drowning, to save them, to be of use.

This is a sweetness to being present: we might find ourselves being useful, even in ways that are new to us, that aren’t “nice,” in the keeping everything as it always was way.

What would life be like if we were present and “real” (whatever “real” means) instead of “nice?”

This is the question today.

Just be present and let it be in the background and see what happens.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

This is my life, 1

River near the house I'm staying in Gunnison, CO

This is my life in gravity, this is my life in…

This is my life right now.

This is today’s game/ exercise/ meditation/ activity. Throughout the day, say to yourself, aloud or not aloud, “This is my life.”

This moment, while you read or hear these words: This is your life. The moments on the toilet, in the shower, getting into your car, getting out of your car, “thinking” about what you are going to or “have to” do, this is your life.

The time spend worrying or arguing or regretting or planning or gossiping or talking mindlessly, or mindfully, on the phone or in the grocery store: this is your life.

At work, you are looking at a computer, talking to someone, pounding in a nail, lifting a rock, soothing a child: this is your life.

And let’s make it bigger and more concrete: as you say, over and over, “This is my life,” sense your skeleton, especially arms and legs and spine, in gravity. And sense your breathing in air. And notice sounds coming in your ears. And light coming in your eyes.

This is our life.


What is the tone of it, as we say this each time? Shock? Delight? Horror? Gratitude? Fear? Anger?

Those feelings are an indication of something, of a lot.

Don’t analyze them during the day but you might want to journal a bit about your discoveries as you go through the day saying, “This is my life.”


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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who am I?


Without the story, and the froth: who am I?

We are all real and amazing at our core.

But who are you are your core. Those are just words: real and amazing. Can you sense yourself in the present and add on being aware of what you are hearing in this instant, and add on light coming into your eyes, and from the fullness and stillness of that, discover/ sense/ feel/ understand/ experience who you are?

This is today’s assignment. Discover yourself when you aren’t being who you really are.

And then get quiet, get present, slow down, sink in and experience: who are you?

And ask, throughout the day, at work, in car, on foot, on bike, preparing food, eating food, sitting, reading, talking, do little, doing more: keep asking: who am I?

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Be of good Cheer


The present is always here

The present is always here. Today’s game is to be present, as is the game of every day. To be present in your body, noticing both arms and both legs and spine and breathing.
And to be of good cheer.

Walking in and out of your house, sense your arms and legs and spine. Notice your breathing. Be of good cheer.

Talking to people, even awful people, be of good cheer.

Driving a car, walking, riding a bicycle: be of good cheer.

Making your food: be of good cheer.

Hint: slowing down, being present, not falling into the rushing to the next thing way of being, this will immensely help this game.

The game, even as you read this: be present in your sensing, and

Be of Good Cheer.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Be angry but do not sin

Be angry but do not sin.

This is from the Bible, which I don’t read, except sporadically, but when I’m visiting Gunnison, Colorado, I go to the church of my host, my old high school buddy, Mark Ritter. And in one of the reading today, from Ephesians 2:26, was this bit of pleasant and useful wisdom:


What does this mean?

Somehow this invites us to be real, since human beings all get angry, and to distinguish between having and feeling and even being a little or a lot shaken up by our anger and acting it out.


That’s the basis of upgrading ourselves, via learning, via the brain, via making real connections: learning differences that make a difference.

Be angry: feel it.

Do not sin: don’t punch another, swear at another, use the “tone” on another. Don’t even gossip behind the other’s back.

Just be angry, and if you want, find our where that really came from. And guess what: not expressing it and acting it out, keeping it inside ourselves gives a hugely better chance that we’ll wise up and discover what is really bothering us

Later the Work of Byron Katie will be offered as part of our 108 days feast of opening to an aware and happy and useful life.

For now though, today’s work, part one, is the feel our anger and annoyance, and not act it out. Even in our heads, even the going over and over and over about how wrong/ bad/ stupid/ inconsiderate/ etc. the other was.

Just feel the burning.

It could mean being curious about what is bothering that other person.

It could mean simply (simply!) coming back to the present of sensing arms and legs and spine and breathing and feeling / sensing what the anger “does” to us physically. (The quotes are to imply, we could more honest say: “What we do to ourselves by believing the thoughts that make us angry.” More on thoughts and anger/ upset/ emotional pain when we come to the work of Byron Katie).

For now: don’t be too good. Admit, feel, taste our own anger.

Be wise and don’t act on the anger.

And the second part of today’s awareness and waking and transformation project:


If you live with someone, before you go to sleep, get clear with them so you don’t even have the anger any more.

How to do that?

Lots of ways. We’ll start with this: ask, without demanding, for what you want. “I wish you’d talk in a nicer tone of voice to me.” “I wish you’d spend more time with me.”

No complaining.

No attacking.
No demanding. (The difference between request and demand is huge in a relationship and will be the game/ exercise all on it’s own some day down the line.)

Just ask.

Think about this, and practice ending your day clear and no longer angry today.

This is a big lesson: first, to distinguish between anger and not acting on it, and two: to let the angry rest before you get into bed and sleep. There are certain religious communities that set out to be truly Christian, not just word Christian, and this is one of their main practices: to clear up all anger toward anyone else in the community before they go to sleep at night.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Turning with awareness and sensing

Turning around to look behind ourselves.

We are in a human body. In yesterday’s meditation/ activity, we discovered how difficult the game was of keeping attention and awareness (sensing) in our arms and legs and spine.
Hopefully you had fun, too, and will try that many days of your life.
Or all the days.
And for now, let’s take a game/ activity/ mediation from my training in the Anat Baniel Method and the Feldenkrais Method. What are they? Amazingly useful ways of feeling, moving and thinking better by taking advantage of the brain’s plasticity, it’s ability to keep learning all our lives.
What does that mean?
Let’s learn something now. Sit, please in a firm chair or on a bench and sit at the front edge of this, so your back is free.
Begin to easily look around behind yourself to the left and to the right. Do this with great ease.
Then just look to the left and come back to the center. Many times, like six, or eight, or twelve.
Many times with ease and curiosity, what are you sensing in arms and legs and spine and neck and ribs and toes and face and all of you as you do this.
Rest. Just sit and feel yourself in the world, in this moment.
Now put your right hand on your sternum, touching gently, and turn to the left a number of times and with your right hand gently guide your sternum to the left, too. Feel your ribs now contributing to your turning to the left. Do this a number of times, so that each time you feel this more fully and with more pleasure.
Now put the back of your right hand on your left check, and turn to the left a number of times, once again feeling your spine and ribs and neck as you rotate to the left and come back to the center.
Rest. Feel your body in space. Feel and sense your arms and legs and breathing and spine. Sense as much of yourself as you can, as easily and as enjoyably as you can.
Give yourself this present of being present to yourself.
Now as you sit on your chair rock your weight slightly to the left side of your pelvis and then to the right. Do this a number of times, with ease and being present and curiosity: what can you sense of your entire self?
Now shift your weight to the left side of your pelvis and move your right knee forward and back, so that your pelvis rotates to the left and back to the middle. Get excited and aware as you do this a number of times.
Now turn to look to the left using your ribs and your pelvis as you do so. Go slow. Many times. Sense how turning to look around ourselves is a great gift of being in a human body. How does your body feel as you do this? What can you sense?
How can moving like this, slowly and with specific awaring on specific interconnected “parts” of you help you be more present.
Go about today experimenting with what it means to turn to look to the left and what it means to turn to look to the right. No longer take these gifts of granted.
Be present.
Be curious.
Enjoy the adventure of lifelong learning.

Friday, August 07, 2009

for love of love

how to have a great relationship:

look at your partner
with curiosity
to be as happy
and awake
and alive
as possible

watch them
with wonder

at what they
are saying
and doing

be thrilled:

this is you
this Earth


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108 days of nowing, day one

1. NOW
Breathing, sensing, 5 lines

As long as I am alive, I am breathing. Can I have the richness of life, where many times in the day, I know I am breathing, when I feel the sensation of my breath coming in and out.


This is the word for feeling myself physically. For you feeling yourself physically. Can you sense right now where your right arm is, and the shape of it and the feel of it from the inside and outside, the bones and muscles and skin and aliveness of your arm?


This is the way to wake up to now. To sense our breathing while we are breathing, to sense our body in its particular shape. Right now.

What is the shape and sensation of my arms and legs and spine?

What is the sweet feeling inside my spine that connects my two arms and two legs.
Can I sense the five lines of myself, two arms, two legs, and spine?
And follow my breathing while I do this?

There is more to being an awake human being, but this is a good start. Would you like to join me on this journey?

The journey will last 108 days. Each day will offer something small or large to follow in our awareness, in our waking up to now.

Today is one of sensing: two arms, two legs, our spine, our breathing? Can we do this while eating and working and reading and resting and even talking?

Even a minute or two of this can change our lives forever.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

hi sweetie

morgan and bella
you are apparently
over there
"other place"

and i am
"over here"
which seems
here enough to me
and could
be there
to you

and then
so often

we know

that we are exactly


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