Monday, November 30, 2009

Day Thirty: Down and Dirty, or Not: Being Present, Again, and again and...

More exploration of the present

We are all real and amazing at our core.

And yet we can go through our days without any realization of that, so wrapped up are we in the details of doing one thing after another, or having one thought after another, or having one conversation after another.

Whatever we are doing, we could be “there” with ourselves as well as attending to our task.

Sometimes we do that.

Sometimes we don’t.

And so, once again, let’s glory in being present, with this addition: one or more times today, let’s go “outside” and walk and see if we can take ourselves in this walk, in the present.
We can follow our breathing as we walk.

We can be aware of seeing what we are seeing as we walk.

We can leave our cell phones behind, so if we are talking it will be either to ourselves and we can notice this, or we can be talking to a real person at our sides.

We can sense our arms and legs and spine and notice just exactly what we are doing with each other them.

We can be listening to the sounds of nature, or our footsteps, maybe even the sounds of our breathing.

This might be a nice way to be all the day, but hey, for a walk, this is a great way to be, and a great start to being awake and aware and present in our lives.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

DAY TWENTY-NINE: WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND Don’t take it personally:

Don’t take it personally:

Things don’t work out sometimes. So be it. We can learn from our mistakes. We can ponder how to “do it better” next time. And we can take it personally, as if there is something “Wrong” with us, that it didn’t work out.

This is an interesting distinction.

Because, much too often, various people around us might be all too willing to point out “what we did wrong” in a tone that there is something “wrong” with us.

Ah, this is their business.

This is their path in life.

This is their way of helping us to love ourselves in the face of something like a hostile attitude.

Oh, well. They think there is something “wrong” with us, and we have performed something that didn’t work out, and we have put some attention and awareness on how we could improve next time.

And now: we can let go and not take it personally.

We did our best, or maybe not even that, but to take it to heart that we are a failure because something outside of us seems a failure is not kind.

Being kind to ourselves is always a great step.

When we get to the Byron Katie work (soon, soon), we’ll explore the Turn Around, in several forms. One of its most useful and amazing forms is like this. The thought/ belief/ opinion/ idea that “so and so should be nicer to me” does a TURN AROUND to “I should be nicer to me.”

(Also in there: “I should be nicer to so and so,” but the “nicer to myself” is the essence of not taking things personally.)

And that’s our gig today: our grand scheme falls apart: don’t take it personally. Someone has an issue with us. Listen, learn, see it from their point of view, and don’t take it personally. Someone can’t get excited about what you wish they’d get excited about, don’t take it personally. Things aren’t going right: don’t take it personally. Or are going right! Don’t…

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT Standing up straight

Standing up straight

We have practiced standing with our arms out and rolling everything forward, so we slump/ curl in on ourselves, and come to something like a little ball.

Then we “unfurl” and become arched, bellies out, backs forward, sternum up, head up a bit, pelvis tilted so our rear end is seeking out the back of our head, and our arms rotate back upward, thumbs coming toward the sky and then toward the back.

And so, now, put down this book, and do this a bit. This is grand for the whole nervous system. Curl in and round the back, feeling the arms come in and forward. Uncurl and arch the back and let the arms and hands rotate back.

Okay, now for the brain. Do the curling forward with your head and belly in and pelvis tilting toward your face, but with this allow your arms to rotate backwards, with the thumbs going up and then towards behind us. Make this easy at first. Go slow. Sense what’s happening. Less effort rather than more for something new. Take it with delight and ease.

Then from here unfurl the most of you, with back arching and pelvis and back of the head moving toward each other, while bringing the arms in the rolling forward way.

Go slowly for the sake of the brain

Go slowly for the sake of the shoulders.

Go very slowly for the sake of discovering all about you.

Really do this, don’t just read and think, “yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to that later.” Try it now. Notice and sense any “resistance” and breathe and then try it out. If confused by the words, go slowly, you can figure them out. Go really slowly and don’t demand instant success and encourage and delight it a lot of discovery.

After you’ve done this, go back to the easier furling and unfurling, and then think about and sense your spine all day.


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Friday, November 27, 2009

DAY TWENTY SEVEN On the way to heaven: slow down, do nothing, do everything

On the way to heaven: slow down, do nothing, do everything

Doing nothing means this: look up from these words, and empty yourself of all words. All schedules and beliefs about who you are and what you should be doing or should have done, or what size or shape or age or “type of person” you are.

Don’t be so rich in beliefs and ideas.

Be poor.

Be empty.

And in this emptiness fill up with experience.

What is your experience of gravity, right now? The weight of your body, is it pressing through your pelvis onto a chair, through your back onto a couch or bed, through your feet onto the floor or the earth?

What is your sensing of your arms and legs and spine right now? The shape of you, the feel of the shape, the length and heaviness and position of these wonderful arms, and also our wonderful legs.

And the spine in between. Feel, sense, aware about, notice, pleasure in, all at once: spine two arms and two legs.

Don’t forget the fingers the toes.

And the nose: feel the breath coming in and out.

And the belly: breath coming in and out.

Empty of all our old riches, we fill up on the richness of ten fingers, ten toes, belly eyes ears and nose.

Eyes to see: what is in front of us. Look up from book or computer screen. Experience that, right now.

Ears to hear: what are the sounds coming in while we sense arms and legs and spine and fingers and toes and feel the breathing in the belly and the nose.

And no words telling us we have to do this.

Just give it a try.

Feeling the hugeness of now when we sense look and listen. So much in every moment, every now, all for us, always.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day Twenty-Six: Gratitude without "have to"

The gratitude thing, without “have to”

On Thanksgiving, and any other day of the year we want to feel more happy and clear in our lives we can be grateful. I will contend later that this gratitude is a side benefit, a fall out of being present and of doing the Work of Byron Katie. Which is to say, once we let go of our commitment to our unhappiness, and once we come out of the words that pull us away from the present, we are home to our “real” selves, and those “real” selves cannot help but be happy and grateful.


Be that as it may, today let’s just play in these two fields, the field of Now, and the field of gratitude. This can make life a simple minded thing, but a very happy simple minded thing.

When we sit on the toilet, be there with that and be grateful for the toilet, or our ability to get rid of that stuff, or for the food we ate, or the body that knows how to do what it does, or for our bathroom or whatever one we are in.

When we walk down a street, notice now and our feet, and be grateful for the ability to walk, and our two legs and our eyes that can see and what we are seeing and what we are hearing and the ability to know what we are doing now and the gift/ miracle of awareness and our breathing, and so on.

When we read this book be grateful for knowing how to read, and sensing our body, and the idea of sensing while we read and the playing around with attention we can do when we come back to sensing and our breathing and these ideas and anything else you want to be grateful for.

If you want to write down a gratitude list, cool, and see if you can be aware of your hand and eyes and breathing as you write down the words and the sensation in your chest. Good.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day Twenty-five, What if we didn't "Have to..."

What if we didn’t “have to”?

We sometimes go through our days, one event / job/ tasks to the next, all propelled forward by what we “have to” do next. It sometimes seems that half the time at least, we are lost from the present in what we are doing because as we near the end of one “have to” activity, we focus inside on “getting to” and then “how are we going to do it” about the next “have to” activity.

This is pretty easily seen for the missing out on the present it is, but in today’s aim, I’d like us to focus also on the burden of the “have to” that is lurking in our feelings all day.

What would we be like if we “just” did thing, or didn’t do things, without the nagging, or reminding, or persistent voice of this is what we “have to” do.

This writing now. I’m setting out to do so much today. I could be doing it to get rid of the “have to” voice that was coming up earlier. Then I realized that I could just write and let that voice be silent. Maybe I “had to” do this writing to fulfill a goal I’d set for myself. Maybe I didn’t.

All that seemed like a waste of energy as I was getting in a car to drive in the rain. I could leave the voice behind and just get into the car, sense myself on the seat, follow my breathing.

And now I’m writing.

Feels such and such in my arms and legs and spine.

Maybe I have to do it, maybe I don’t. The Universe will get along just fine if I don’t, and I’m enjoying do it, and what can you feel in yourself right now.

And what if, after you’ve read this chapter and imagined a day without the “have to “ voice inside, you took a little “rest” after reading this chapter. A little pause where you “did nothing” and didn’t think about what you “have to” do next, or “have to” do today. You just sat, or stood, or walked, or lay down, or lay down and moved around. Then you got up and discovered yourself doing what you did next. Have that day.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day Twenty-four: Moving with Attention

Movement meditation and learning #4: Turning to the left, with eyes moving habitual and non-habitual

Please sit more or less upright at the front edge of your chair, sensing both arms and both legs and your spine and breathing, and slowly and deliciously turning your head to the right and left quite a few times, each time feeling it as if it were brand new.

Rest. Feel the depths and details of who you are, in the moment, in your body. Now. Feel the thrill and ease of being in the now.

Begin to turn your head to the left and number of times. Then rest. Then using your ribs with your hands on them, turn to the left a number of times with the head and the ribs as “friends.” Then rest.

Now turn to the left about half way, and stop. Keep your head and chest pointed this way, and move your eyes slowly right and left. Breathe. Be easy in this. Come back to the middle and rest.

Now, again, turn ribs and head about halfway to the left and stop. This time keep the eyes in this direction and move your head, slowly, slowly, gently right and left. Rest in the middle in a way you feel is a way to learn about your learning.

Again, halfway left with ribs and head. Now, eyes one way and the head the opposite. Make it small. Very slow. Very gentle. Make sure you are breathing.

Take it as a learning game. Do this many times, and then rest.

Now, turn your eyes to the left and then your head and then your ribs, and then your pelvis. And come back in the same order, eyes, head, ribs, pelvis.

Then try pelvis, ribs, head, eyes and back the same.

Notice these all day, the pelvis, head, ribs and eyes. Notice turning and being you in the middle of all this.

Notice your noticing. Enjoy that.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Twenty-three: Sensing our five lines

Sensing our bodies as we “do” our day: arms and legs and spine

On the first day, we “tried” to keep our awareness both inside of our bodies and outside as well.

Specifically, we made the effort to “sense” our legs and feet and even where the legs meet the pelvis as we went about talking to others and eating and walking to the car or bicycle, and driving the car or riding the bicycle.

Sensing our legs as we got ready for bed, or paced the office floor wondering what to do next, or went to the market to get some sweet food with which to fed ourselves.

Legs are down there. Grounding ourselves in the reality of the ground.

This was the first awareness as sensing game.

Then we added on our arms, the fingers, the wrists, elbows, shoulders, bones, flesh, weight and shape and flesh and blood and feel of the two of them.

Then we added on our spine, and maybe the ribs holding the shoulder blades holding the shoulders.

And maybe the pelvis where our legs come into our hip joints.

That’s a lot of us. So, whether you’ve taken that on as a daily “background” practice of extremely “grounding” nature, or whether you haven’t, today it’s back to concentrating on and sensing and being rooted in our five lines:

Two arms. Two legs. One spine.

This is a game.

Enjoy it.

Don’t feel badly when you forget. Feel ecstatic when you remember. Good.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Twenty-Two: 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 people we give the story of "troublesome," or "awful," (and of course, what's the turn around there?) 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.

Now, now, now.

That’s the goal.

And what happens when we “fail,” and get in a grumpy mood. Well, to hell with the whole project, right? We suck, life sucks, this is too much positive thinking crap, doesn’t the writer know about mean ex-mates, and financial troubles and health problems, to say nothing of global warming and slavery and abuse of women and pesticides and all the other “bad stuff.”

Well, actually, the writer rides a bicycle, and borrows rather than owns a car, and tries to grow or buy local most of his food, and still: the game today is to be of good cheer.

And so when we find that we’ve “messed up,” which is to say, “forgotten ourselves,” and have drifted out of good cheer, so what? The world isn’t over. We get an A+ for just playing this game, so why not be of good cheer about forgetting and remembering again. What a miracle to remember the present.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Twenty One: First time through: Awake while talking

Sensing ourselves, arms and legs, even when talking

We are programmed over and over and over to put our attention “out there” when we are talking. And that attention has a huge amount to do with spending a lot of time “up here” in our heads, preparing our next batch of words.

Usually we are preparing our next batch of words while the other person is still talking.

Usually we listen to but the first sentence, or maybe even less of what another person says before we go “up here” into our heads, to find the right tape loop, the right prerecorded offering that we will send out as our next bit of talking.

And even when we don’t do that, the words, as we speak them represent ideas we are so attached to, or feelings we are so attached to, or phrases we’ve said over and over and aren’t really attached to at all, we just spill / recite / spew / unwind them out.

This may seem a harsh view of human communication.

Oh, well. Sense your arms and legs as you “think” in your minds, what’s wrong with this.

And speak out loud to this page, to this book, speak out loud your objections in at least two different ways.

One just speak them out.

Two, as you speak, sense your arms and legs.

Three, see if you can think of something else to awaken your awaring to while you speak these words aloud.

And then, as game, as play, as practice, see if you can sense your arms and legs while talking to other people and while listening to other people talk to you.

See if you can catch your preparing your spiel halfway through their talking, and see if you can drop that talking inside and sense yourself and “just listen.”

“Just listening” is huge. Give it a try, “just listen” as you sense your arms and legs and hear their words. Then sense your arms and legs as you talk.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Day Twenty: This is My Life, 2

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

This is my life right now.

We’ve “done” this before.

Good, we can do this again, with the results you will discover for yourself.

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, the five lines of it all, of you all, the legs, arms, spine thing.

Want to really know it’s your life?. Aware yourself of the sound coming in your ears. And light coming in your eyes.

This is our life.


It’s a big and interesting world, and as we move in it and interact, and act, and stop and start and speak and be silence and eat and walk and sit: this is our life.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

DAY NINETEEN Arms, and legs AND spine

Arms, and legs AND spine

If a child draws a person, they draw five lines with a head on top. Two legs coming together in a cone shape, then the spine going up with the head on top and two arms sticking out. Sometimes a dress is drawn on this, far easier to draw than pants and shirt.

Let’s add the spine to sensing our arms and legs.

This is a good step, a sweet step to having an ongoing sense of our skeleton as we go about our day.

This is a fantastic way to be present.

Also fantastic to be aware of when we your slopping ourselves around in our sitting and standing and moving and not taking advantage of the miracle of having our skeleton and awareness as a sweet unity.

And as always, when is a grand time to “do” these sense our legs meditations? These sense our arms and legs meditations? And now this one, this sense our arms and legs and spine meditation?


Yes, now. As we read this page on this book, our legs are in some position in the world and so are our arms. Somewhere in between them, connecting to the pelvis, is our spine. Somewhere holding our arms via our ribs and shoulder blades: our spine.

For fun, lets round our spine a little, right now, no matter where we are. And then arch it. And breathe easily and freely with delight and ease.


And then some rotating, head to the left, ribs to the left, pelvis to the left and back to the middle a few times. With ease and delight. Then some rotating to the right. That’s right.

All day, best we can, spine, arms and legs. And breathe.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


On the floor, moving eyes and head and pelvis

Lie on the floor, on a rug or carpet. Put your feet standing and just enjoy this, this you on the ground, sinking in. Feel where you feel supported and where you are lifted a bit or a lot off the floor.

Sense your five lines, spine, both arms, both legs. Sense your breathing.

Now begin to gently, gently ease your legs to the right and then back to the middle. Just to the right, and back to the middle. Many times. Feel what this does in your spine.

Rest. And enjoy just this little bit of movement.

Now, let your legs go to the right and back to the middle and turn for three times your head to the right as your legs go to the right, and for three times turn your head to the left as your legs go to the right. When your legs come back to the middle your head comes back to the middle in each case.

Go very slowly. Sense and enjoy yourself. DO NOT go to any limit. Be slow. Be soft. Sense what is going on in the now. Enjoy the sensation. Feel the differences in your sensing here and now self between the head to the right version and the head to the left. Get interested. Be soft and easy on yourself.


Now, again, legs with knees up, drop your knees to the right and come back easily to the middle and take your head only to the left and back to the middle as your legs go down and come back up. This time add on this: for three times as your head goes left, take your eyes to the left. For three times as your head goes to the left, take your eyes to the right.

This is quite hard at first. Go slowly, make less movement than you think you should, find a way to breathe and sense your five lines and really do this.

This will expand your awareness and make your brain younger and soften your neck. Lots of soft, easy times, then rest. And now pay attention to your spine all of today.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Seventeen: Emotions minus the inner words

Emotional choosing, sense the feeling, leaving behind the words

Into all lives some rain must fall. Good for the garden. Good for the soil. Good for the soul.

Yesterday we played with the idea of sipping through the straw of sweetness and not the one of bitterness. This was either easy or hard or a little of both.

Let’s give this a little more help.

Later in the book, we will spend lots of time, playing in the fields of Waking Up from Emotional Suffering, via the “Work of Byron Katie.” This is an amazingly simple and powerful tool / gift / offering, sprung forth for humankind’s benefit in 1986.

For now though, today, we are going to play a slightly different game. We are going to notice our emotions.

Notice and name. Unhappy. Sad. Happy. Worried. Afraid.

We are going to notice the sensations involved with whatever emotion we are feeling. Often “feelings” will bring stuff to happening in our chest and stomach and torso area.


Usually these words are of the “So and so should be different toward me” sort. Fine. That’s the way we suffer. For today, sensing legs all day and our breathing, when emotional “feelings” come up, we are going to:

A. Name them

B. Sense what they bring about

C. Skip the words

D. Sense our legs and gravity, and our breathing and air as the anchor into being alive in the moment, no matter what feeling we are having.

E. This is hard, huge, amazing, give it a try.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Day Sixteen: Sweet Sixteen, sweet and bitter straws of life

Sweet sixteen, how to sweeten our day

We can sip our day through a straw of bitterness.

We can sip our day through a straw of sweetness.

This is our chance for an amazing exploration, if we are but willing to be honest with ourselves. Because sometimes we just suck away at the bitter straw, as if that is all that life has to offer us.

So, this is our job today, to watch what is the flavor of life we are sucking: sweet, bitter, worried, hurried, in a trance, tense, free, curious, excited, happy, fearful, confused.

See if the flavors come closer to the sweetness of life, or a sort of bitter coat, or a distracted, not even their kind of feeling and flow to our lives.

Some people recommend forgiveness as the way out of bitterness, and we will, in our Work of Byron Katie time, explore the premier way to forgive (my opinion, not fact.)

Other people recommend gratefulness as a path back to the sweet straw, and you could try that if you want to.

Other’s recommend just being in the now, and in this book that means sensing arms and legs (so far, more to come), and breathing in the moment. You can try that.

You can try coming out of that bitter swirl of words and back to sensing our bodies in the present.

And then seeing what kind of shift might take place to a straw of sweetness to sip our day.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day Fifteen: Take a Nap

Take a nap

Sometimes we feel great when we slow down and lie down.

Often this can be as little as five minutes of lying on a firm but slightly yielding surface, such as a lawn, or a wood floor or deck, or even better, a wood floor or deck with a rug or thin mate of some sort.

Sometimes if requires a twenty minute or so period of shut eye that turns into sleeping.

This is known as a nap.

We all know, or most of us do that have allowed ourselves to indulge in naps, that if we let the naps go “too long” we wake up quite groggy and it takes us a long time to get back to normal. Then we often feel great, with the minor problem that we keep going and going way into the night and thereby cut ourselves off from have the night’s sleep be as full as we would like it to be.

Oh, well.

This is the occupational hazard of taking naps, they can be “too long.”

However, the other end, the end of no nap, is many a times too short.

Now, we don’t need a nap every day, or maybe we do. Winston Churchill, under the stress of leading the British in World War II, was famous for getting two days out of one by taking a long nap.

So, what are we to do today?

Take little two breath pauses, mini naps, where all that matters is being present and our breathing and know we are alive. Closing our eyes if it’s safe. Letting our faces swing easily in the sun for those two breaths, if there is pleasant sun around.

And, if the day is that kind of day, play with a “real” nap.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day Fourteen: the neck starts in the Pelvis

The spine, the whole spine, and all the rest

We are humans, designed to be tall cylinders. We rise up on two legs, which as aware beings we can sense and know we are sensing. The legs hold up the pelvis which holds up the spine. We can sense that.

Now, we can, and sense the ribs held up by the spine and the shoulders held up by the ribs and the arms held by the shoulder.

Head on top.




And now, today, we will think of our spines and our necks as the same thing. When we turn to the right, we can sense and feel that as coming from all the way down to the bottom of our spine. We can even rotate our pelvis a little to the right when we turn to the right, to get all of us in on the turn.

When we turn to the left, we can add in some ribs, some eyes, and some pelvis.

Now, get this, and try this in your chair. When you turn to the left let yourself come over to the left side of your pelvis so your right knee can come forward. Help all this along by pushing out your belly and arching your back a little.

Now, turning to the right, transfer your weight to the right side of your pelvis and move your left knee forward and push out your belly a little. Enjoy this whole body turning.

Take some time today to take time out from your official and regular routine and play around with this turning that comes from all of us. You can try it standing and lying down, too. See what it is like to be long and cylindrical with a spine in the center.

Sensing arms and legs and spine and noticing and our shape throughout the day: a fine and amazing prospect. Good.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Day Thirteen: Keep Rotation with Learning and Waking

Keeping moving, but with awareness

Animals move. People move. Gyms are full of people “getting in shape” by moving and lifting and all sort of groovy things. And in this book, we are after waking up and being happy and living useful and alert lives.

So, let’s move some more, with lots of awareness. As a chance to increase and improve our awareness. As a chance to improve and create ease and understanding in our movement. As a chance to be happier in the moment and feel younger and better in our bodies.

As a way to be in the present.

Sit again, and turn to the right a few times as the starting move. Go only as far as easy and then back, and do this just a few times.

Now put your hands on your ribs, right hand on the left side, left hand on the right ribs. Turn now to the right, letting your ribs join the fun. Ribs to the right; head to the right.

Now just go an easy distance to your right, and let your head stay pointed that way, and bring your ribs to the left and back to the middle, as if head and ribs were two friends that needed to learn about being separate and equal. From here, bring your ribs to the right and your head to the left, so they pass each other and your head ends up pointing the way you are sitting, and your ribs and chest ends up pointing to the right.

Do this awhile, softly and as easily as you can, noticing your ribs and your sternum and your breathing and what your head wants to do and your spine. Go back and forth, head one way, ribs and chest the other.

Then rest and feel and sense yourself.

Then turn ribs and head together to the right, noticing both of them and see if the turning is more clear and easy.

Try something like this a number of times today, to both the left and the right. Notice your spine all day. Good.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day Twelve: Coming to Ease via Aware Moving/ Learning / Waking UP

Coming to “Ease”

Lots of life can be made so much sweeter by finding an “ease” in anything and everything we do.

The quickest way to start this is to learn to move in easier and more clear ways. We have been moving since we came into existence, in the womb and out; and along the way we stopped increase the skill and ease of most of our movements.

So let’s take a simple movement, and get some ease and awareness and clarity and enjoyment as we go about it.

Sit or stand and turn your head right and left. Do this only a few times, and notice if you try to “crank” to some imagined limit, or you just flop, flop back and forth to get it over.

Now, again, just once, slowly and with awareness, turn your head once to the right and once to the left and notice what it is like and what, if any, difference is there, right and left.

Now, again just a few times with slowness and awaring, turn your head just to the left and back to the middle.

Rest and bit and see how you feel.

Now put the back of your right hand on your left cheek, and thinking of the hand and right shoulder and ribs as “friends” of your neck, turn your head and its “friends” to the left and back to the middle, a bunch of times, Go slowly. Don’t go to any limit. Find out about your ribs.


Now, take the same position as above, and turn to the left with head and hand and right shoulder and ribs, and come back a bit and stop. Now let another set of “friends” turn to the left. Let your eyes go to the left and right from the nose pointing direction, many times.

Come back to the middle and rest. Not from fatigue, but to rest your brain and allow it to integrate any learning. And to sense yourself after movement and notice any changes.

Now turn to the left with your ribs, and your head and your eyes. See if this is a different experience than the first time. All day, be aware of turning and ribs and eyes.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day Eleven, Kingdom of Heaven, 2

The Kingdom of Heaven, again

Let’s see if being “Now” and the Kingdom of Heaven are pretty close.

Or the same.

Or one is the doorway into the other.

And how are we going to go about that today?

First, like this: any time we feel as if “things are so great,” come back to the present, come back to sensing our arms and legs and spine, come back to our breathing, and see if that creates a grand shift.

This is not a rule.

This is a chance to experience for ourselves the effect of shifting back into present reality.

Add on looking at what is in front of us, for our present reality.

Are we actually seeing what’s there, as we sense the five lines and follow our breathing.

Does this seem like it begins to open the door to the Kingdom of Heaven?

This may require we actually stop the ongoing activity, and give ourselves a little slow time to come into the now this fully.

And is that little “stop” another doorway to the Kingdom?

Is that Kingdom of Heaven always there, and we are just so busy rushing around that we don’t have time to enter, to come home.

As they say, “Slow down and smell the roses.” In a rush, we don’t have time for the roses. In a rush we don’t have time to open the door to our soul, whatever that is. But the Kingdom of Heaven, we have a sense of what that might be.

Let’s go for that, via the now and sensing doorway, today.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day Ten: "Acture" and living the real life

“Acture,” ah, good old "acture,"
a word that hasn’t caught on yet

Moshe Feldenkrais was a fun and feisty genius of a guy. He had a saying about posture, that “Posture is for posts.” Which is to say, only posts in front of a building, or at the corner of a fence are “supposed” to stand up perfectly straight and unchanging.

Life isn’t shapes and poses, it is motion. So here’s the word fun and feisty Feldenkrais came up with to talk about what our bodies needed: “acture.”

Acture is the optimal shaping of ourselves so we can move easily and freely, without preliminary shifting around, to another position. Six directions. We are ready to move easily in six directions when we have fun and feisty and fine acture: up, down, right, left, front, back. Obviously we could scoot off on the diagonal either in a forward diagonal of many possibility trajectories, or a backward one.

In sitting, if we were to sit so we could hop on our bottoms a couple of inches to the right, and a couple to the left and a couple forward and a couple back, this would begin to clue us in to our sitting “acture.”

The usual slumping to the back of the seat would definitely not do, and yet what most people usually call “sitting up straight” might have us too far back in this rigid idea of “vertical” to move easily in this bottom hopping way.

What works best in coming to standing from sitting?

Life is about being present, and one of the things we do a lot and don’t notice is transition from one set place or position to another. These transitions, lying to sitting, sitting to standing, the other way around, we usually take for granted until something goes wrong.

But they are amazing.

Spend the day noticing transitions and thinking and sensing what feels like it would be good “acture” for you.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Day Nine: Loving Our Spine

Loving our spine

Yesterday’s idea: sense your posture all day. How did you do? What did you do?

Did you combine it with sensing arms and legs? And thinking, “this is my life now?” You can keep the previous activities going any and every day you want.

Find your own way in adding as much exploratory wakening into your life as you can enjoy and benefit from. That is a purposefully vague statement.

Today, in as many ways as you can, sitting, standing, lying down, talking on the phone, walking, riding a bike, making love, reading a book, round and arch your spine.

Which means, rounding into a little ball, with your nose coming down toward your belly button, and your pelvis rotating toward your nose. This can be felt as slumping. It can be felt as curling up in the fetal position. (Do this lying on your side. It’s a lot of fun).

And then unfold, uncurl, expand out so that your chest and ribs rise away from the center, your back arches so your belly comes forward and the small of your back comes forward, your sternum (breastbone) lifts, your head tilts back a little, and your pelvis rotates so that your bottom pushes toward the back of your head.

Do this now, in a chair.

Do this now, standing, with your hands on your knees, if you can. Feel as if this may do wonders for your “posture.”

Mess around today doing this while driving the car (just a little bit), while standing in line at the bank (even littler, people will think you are weird). Do it in your room, do it even, somehow, on a walk.

Keep your spine rounding and arching and wake up to its glories, to the lengthening of you.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Day Eight: Getting Straight

Getting straight.

Many of us, at one time or another, get the idea into our head that we want “better posture.” Often this idea was drilled into us in teenage years, with some adult saying, in usually not so pleasant a voice, “stand up straighter,” or “stop slumping.” Or some such commandment.

Whatever the baggage and past conditioning, it does feel better to stand with a fuller and longer spine. Much of yoga works toward this, and we’ll go for a sort of brain yoga as this book unfolds. I am trained in what is called the Feldenkrais Method®, named after a man, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) who was a physicist, engineer, judo master and student of babies and human development. He wanted to heal something in him that medical surgery couldn’t repair at the time, and he did, discovering along the way a system of attentive moving that awakened awareness and propelled people into all sorts of improvements in their life.

I’m also trained in the Anat Baniel Method, developed by, not so surprisingly, Anat Baniel, a student of Moshe Feldenkrais who has spent 30 expanding and deepening his system.

Be that as it may, stand in this cross of ours, as per yesterday, and begin to roll your arms forward, so the thumbs orient from up, to forward to down. And as you roll your arms forward, bend your knees, and let your whole upper body round toward your pelvis, as if you were curling up in a ball. Then uncurl yourself and rotate your hand and arms backwards, so the thumbs come back to up, and rotate to point to the back.

While this is happening, arch your spine and let your head look up a little and soften your belly and let your belly come forward as your lower back comes in a little.

Go back and forth like this. Read the directions several times, and figure it out. DON’T SKIP IT. DO IT. SENSE YOURSELF IN MOTION, SENSE THE SPINE ROUNDING AND ARCHING.

Breathe as you do this. Sense both arms and legs.

When you finish doing this, sense your “posture” all day.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Day Seven, the Kingdom of Heaven

The Kingdom of Heaven

Is within. The Kingdom of Heaven is within, saya Jesus in the Bible. Within. Not up in the sky. Not some high grade Santa Claus’s reward for being good little boys and girls in our life.
Within ourselves.

Within our own bodies, these temporary shells, in there, right Now, is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Maybe now IS the Kingdom of Heaven. To be explored later. For today, let’s look within our bodies.

Arise to standing. Sense your feet pushing down and your skeleton pushing up. Feel the fullness of being a human being with two arms and two legs and a spine on this planet Earth.

There are a lot of humans, but not many creatures that can stand on two legs, even less that can live and walk this way.

This is your life, right now.

Sense your arms and legs now and stretch your arms out to the side , making yourself into a human cross. Sense your spine in the middle of all this, carrying your arms, carrying your head.


This is you, a human being in the shape of the cross. Sense the five lines of being human: two legs, one spine (with head on top, pelvis at the base), and two arms. Be in this cross and sense where the horizontal line of your arms, would cross the vertical line of your spine.

Somewhere in the heart region.

Sense the heart region today. See if you can detect something like the “Kingdom of Heaven” in there, especially in times of less talk and inner chatter. See if it’s even more in times of no inner words, though those time are hard to find. (And all the more precious for it.)

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Day Six: This is my Life

Looking at this beautiful bark, this is my life.

This is my life. “This is my life.” This is my life.

Sometimes we have this funny idea, as if we are in some sort of rehearsal, and that later, “sometime,” our real life will start. Almost as if we are in some sort of prison, or suspended animation, and the “real thing,” is going to come along a bit later.

Or a lot later.

If we really are in prison, then we could definitely fall into this kind of thinking: when I get out of here, then I’ll start to live. And when out of prison, a person has a lot more options, and still, even in prison, that moment is that person’s life.
This moment in our life.

Right now.

Reading this book, or hearing this book, right now, this is your life.

Say it, if you would like, “This is my Life,” right now.

And as you say it, sense your arms and legs and sense your breathing, and be aware of what is in your visual field. Something out there we are pointing our eyes toward. The words on the page of this book. Notice their shape. Notice the shape of the white in between. Notice your hands holding the book. Notice what’s around as you read the book, or what’s in front of you as you listen to it.

Sensing, looking, breathing, noticing to yourself: “This is my life. Right now.”

That’s the game today, the “this is my life” game. The seeing what’s in front of us game. If we don’t like what we see, maybe we can fix it up a little, a new coat of paint, a new kind of light bulb, a bit of weeding in the garden, a walk to a nicer spot.
And if it’s somewhere we wish we weren’t, oh well: This is my life now, and sense and breathe and at least be true to the inner you in this each and every moment.


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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day Five: Arms and Legs and making Sense of Life

Day Five:More alive: sensing our arms and legs all at once.
This is “hard.”

We’ve spent a day sensing just our legs. If you go something from it, I hope you’ve continued it off and on during all the days.

And now, let’s bring in more of ourselves: let’s sense our arms and our legs all together.

This is a lot, a lot of us, a lot of attention, a lot of pulling back from our usual slavery to the outside world.

Oh, well.

This book is about waking up, to all our moments.

Even this one, right now.

Have a little fun.

Sense the right arm and the right leg. Fully. Follow your breathing, too, as you sense.
Now sense your left arm and left leg and leave the right side out. See what that is like.

Interesting, eh?

Now sense the left side breathing in and the right side breathing out.

Yes. Fun? Who knows? Give it a go.

And now, all day, sense both arms and both legs as much as you can.

Don’t worry when you “forget.” Welcome to learning how out of the now we usually are.

Oh, well.
Smile, breathe and come back, come back, come back to now.

And sense both arms and both legs as our grounding and waking up call.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 4: What if God were around?

two versions of God: William, and raw chocolate pie

Open the Door:

What if there is a God? What would that or it or Her or Him be like?

If you have a god, or God in your life, spend today connecting with God as much as you can.

Explore how being present to breathing, or to sensing your legs and arms and sensing might calm you and bring you to a place where you are more free to turn toward God.

If you are not a God person, imagine something “like” God, and look for that throughout your day.

Don’t get fancy.

Just what could be “like” God in your life, whether that might be nature, or the smiles on other people’s faces, or happiness, or artistic or musical beauty, or a good cup of soup. Doesn’t matter. Keep your awareness open for moments of that and see what difference this makes in your day.

What if God is too big or amazing for words?

Then what would the wordless big experience of God be like?

What if your God, is a “something really great and good” in the Universe kind of God. What would experiencing that for a day be like?

“By God,” as the saying goes, what would that be like?

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day Three: A possibility, emotional choosing

As we go through our day, let’s keep sensing our legs and sensing our breathing and noticing along with that: how are we feeling?

When do we feel happy?

When do we feel sad?

When do we feel angry, afraid, worried, and so on.

Can we just notice that and come back to sensing our legs and our breathing?

Maybe we can.

Maybe we can’t.

Maybe we sometimes can and sometimes can’t.

Consider this in a strange and very revealing way. After each emotion, let us all play with the idea, the possibility of ourselves as having CHOSEN that emotion.

Don’t think about this.

Just notice and come back to the now of legs and breathing.

That’s “all,” and that’s a lot, and it is a “lot” to live in this miracle of the present.

Play with noticing our feelings.

Play with the idea of having chosen them.

Play with the coming back to the ongoing reality of legs and breathing. Sounds so humdrum compared to the drama of all our emotional “stuff.”

So what?

Come on back to now, and see how powerful that this really is.

This now, too, always this now as we read, as I write, as we put down the book and go about our life.

And at the end of the day, in bed, before going to sleep, each day review the game/ lesson/ meditation of the day.


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Monday, November 02, 2009

Day Two: Sensing Breathing, Too


This very breath, the one you are taking right now. Can you feel and enjoy it in all it’s entirety? This breath comes, goes, and then the next.

Usually we aren’t aware of our breathing.

Today that will be our focus: to be aware of our breathing, while we sense our two legs and go about our day.

And it was hard enough yesterday, right, to keep attention on remembering to keep attention on our legs and feet and knees and skin and bones and all the way to the hip joints.

And now breathing.

We are alive.

Air and gravity. This is the stuff of life.
This is enough to bring us to awaking.

And hey, it’s hard, isn’t it?

Maybe better to give up ideas of awakening, just keep drifting, just keep doing the best we can. And yes, keep doing the best we can, and underneath that to give ourselves the present of the present, the gift of now.

This is it.

This is the moment, and if we are following our breathing, we can know we are really there.

If we are sensing our legs, we can know we are really here, right where we happened to be, right now.

Where are you?
What does sensing your breathing and your legs tell you about being where you are right now?

This is something that we can do while walking, while showering, while making breakfast, while making love (it will make us a much better lover), while working, while playing, while praying. We can be present in breath and legs. Yes.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Day One: Sensing Legs

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?

Now sense your left arm.

How did you make that switch?

Who made that switch?

Now sense your right leg. Now sense your left leg, filling in all that you can, your toes, your ankles, your knee, your calf, your thigh, all the way up to your hip socket.
Where is the hip joint?

Sense and see if you can find it

Now sense your right leg, all of it.

Now sense both legs. See if that brightens your sense of yourself, bring you back in a concrete way to NOW.


This is an extremely down to Earth / can’t-fool-yourself way to wake up to now. It’s easy enough to say, “Oh, of course, I’m being present,” and to just be saying words without any ongoing anchor in the present. To sense ourselves, we have to be present to ourselves.

Sensing our legs, both right and left, that is the game for today. Give it a try. Have fun. Keep coming back and back and back. To now. To sensing. Even now, as you read these words.

Right now.

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.

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