Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday, Feb. 28: Healthy Backs, 2

HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY BACK, 2: The Middle of the Back
Sit on a chair. Sense your relation to gravity and to your breathing. Repeat the last essay’s suggestions: rock forward on the pelvis and push out the belly, rock back on the pelvis and pull in the belly.

Now do this from the point of view of the middle of you. As you rock back on the pelvis, think of the middle of your back and think of bringing it backward. As you rock forward, think of the middle of your front, say around the bottom of your breast bone, and bring that forward.

Think of bringing the middle of your torso easily backward and forward, very gently as the belly fills and contracts.

Experiment, as before, with two ways of breathing while you do this. In one mode, breathe in while the belly comes forward and breathe out when the belly comes back. In the other, breathe in when the back comes back, filling the back of the ribs and the chest with air, and breathe out as the belly and the breast bone come forward.

This might seem exactly the same as what was mentioned before, except it has a slight shift: putting your attention on the middle of your back coming back and putting attention on the bottom of your sternum coming forward. This middle of our self is usually lost and foreign to us, and if we get familiar with it, tomorrow we can begin to do something wonderful with this center that while continue to improve our backs.

Remember: going slow is against our habits, and paying attention is against our habit. If you want to stay the same, do some “exercises” in the calisthenics mode. If you want to learn and have a chance to change, try this: slow and with attention to yourself. Really: you are worth it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday, Feb. 27: Healthy Backs, and the joy of Breathing

How to have a healthy back ? Have a healthy brain. Wow. What does that mean? It means to have a brain that is paying attention and is learning. This is what brains/people really like to do.

Paying attention to what? To the usual, if you’ve been reading these essays: to breathing and to gravity. At every moment from plopping out of the womb we have these two oceans in which we swim, the ocean of air and the ocean of gravity. As a newborn we don’t cope with gravity, we are just a blob, but right away we can feel a certain “heaviness” as we lift and move our arms and legs. Welcome to the world, kiddo, it takes some effort to lift up these arms things and legs things in the world of gravity. Breathing, though, we better get with that program right away, and so we do.

Now, as you either sit, stand or lie there listening to or reading these words, various parts of you are pressed down into whatever is underneath you, floor, chair, bed, grass, couch. This is nice to pay attention to. This is the place we need to press into if we are ever going to be any place else in the world. If we don’t, we are stuck here, forever. And when we press to move, we are going to have to take our heads along with us, convenient for seeing where we are going, listening to the birds singing and yapping out anything we have to say. Between the legs which will move us, most of us, and our heads, is our backs. So a nice thing to pay attention to is how our backs are holding up our head if we are sitting or standing, and how they are connecting our head to the pelvis if we are lying down.

Breathing is happening, too, whether we sit, stand or lie down. Breathing can begin to be a great friend of a healthy back if we learn to breathe a couple of different ways and get to some enjoyment and interest in this very necessary breathing thing, and also, while we are at it, let the breathing be a fun way of getting some mobility in our pelvis, that oft forgotten, magnificently necessary globe between legs and spine.

So, breathe away wonderful humans, and let’s have some variety. Like this, puff out the belly a little and arch the back and let the butt come back a little and breathe in. The come to straighter and breathe out. Do that a few or many times and let the sternum rise a little while the belly comes out and the air comes in.


Notice the way the pelvis rotates during this, especially if you are on a chair. Notice the rolling forward on the sit bones as the belly comes on. But, let’s not get stuck in this habit. Let’s check out the other way around, belly out and breathe out, with all the other good stuff staying in action, pelvis rolling, chest coming forward and up, spine lengthening. Just blow the air out while we do this. Confused? Cough while you are going about this and you’ll see just how to do it.

Fine. Rest. Be happy, sense gravity. Notice breathing.

And now tuck the belly in and push the mid back backward, and let the chest sink a little and the sternum come down and forward and let the pelvis roll back. (Slump, if you are in a chair). Try this with an out breath. As if you are squeezing all the air out of you as you lean forward. Fine. As you straighten, let the air back in. If you want to rock the belly forward as you fill in air, go for it. That’s pleasant, too. If it’s not pleasant, do less, go slower, make it feel good.

Rest, be happy to be breathing and then explore this one. Belly in, back going backward in the middle, and think of breathing into your back, so you are breathing in now, as the belly comes in. The lungs have to expand, too, to let the air in, and that’s fine. Air doesn’t really care, as long as it gets to come in and join the party, bringing you the oxygen you know and need.

Belly in breathe in, and come forward, belly out breathe out. Try that and have some fun.

If you really want to get fancy, explore this: belly in, breathe out, belly out, breathe out, with the in breath just sneaking in on the sly between the too.

Will this cure all back woes?

No. But it will start you on a path of happy breathing and freedom from habit, and down the path of exploration and learning. This will make your brain/you happy and from there the skies the limit as far as improvement goes.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday, Feb.25: Happiness

One of the great heresies is this: happiness can come now. You know the story, the myth: the pursuit of happiness. Chase that happiness: go out and buy a bunch of crap, maybe you’ll be happy at the end of that. Or, try to lose weight, maybe you’ll be happy then. Or, get a boyfriend or girlfriend, and then the misery will end.

Nice story, and the truth, at least for me, is that if I’m not happy on the way to where I think I’m going, chances are that when I get there, I still won’t be happy, because there’s always another place to go. Of course, when I get to Hawaii and can walk, lie and swim on the beach, okay, that’s going to be nice. But what about the plane flight? Is that throwaway time, time that doesn’t count because it’s on the way to somewhere “better?”

Car time is often this, throwaway time, time to listen to the radio ( the only time I listen except for Saturday night with Prairie Home Companion and the reading of the short stories), or to spacing out, or now, the big rage: yapping away on the cell phones.

And when we talk, are we happy, unhappy, or just wasting time? Oh, wait a minute, we have important things to say, like: I exist, I’m dong okay. Or, I exist and things are awful, feel sorry for me. Or, I exist and I’m doing great, admire me. Whatever, you get the underlying theme: I exist.

And how to know that without yap, yap? Without sucking other people in to validate our existence?

Breathe. And know we are breathing. Sense our relation to gravity and sense our bodies and know we are here. Look around and know what we are seeing. Listen with our ears and know what we are hearing.

Is that enough to make us happy? Often, yes, just waking to awareness is a huge leap to happiness. This leap occurs via the back door, not by trying to be happy, but by ceasing to be unhappy. When our attention is on the present, unless we are in pain or danger of starvation or some state like that, we can usually be quite content, if not happy, because our attention is off what usually makes us unhappy: the yap, yap stories in our mind, that tell us that life is rough, that we don’t have enough, that so and so isn’t treating us right, or that we aren’t getting our fair share.

You know the stories. That’s what the work of Byron Katie is all about: finding out how we are making ourselves miserable. The process of her work is this: notice if we are in emotional pain. Find the thought associated with that pain. Write it down. Ask four questions. Turn it around.

Take the pain as a cue to learn, which gets us interested in learning. Take the pain as a chance to give ourselves options to believing in and wallowing in our usual misery.

Same with physical pain and the Feldenkrais work. Sense the pain. Notice how we are moving to create that pain. Do the movement a slower and a different way. Create some variation. Create a lot of awareness. Come back to experimentation and discovery. And then we might end up happy and not even knowing it because we are having such a good time participating in life.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Just having those options out of unhappiness makes me happy. How about you?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday, Feb. 24: The Importance of Laughing

The first thing I need to remember to laugh at is myself. The Chris Elms project. The Chris Elms story. I am this and this and this. I can do this and this and this. Yes, maybe that’s true. Maybe not. But what am I really?

Someone who can sit and type and breathe and listen to another person and hug another person, and fix myself breakfast and walk around the block. It is these simple and wonderful aspects of life that I have in common with everyone that make me special, only when I know and appreciate them as they are happening. Then I am special, to myself. Here I am typing. Here I am eating. Here I am doing yoga, or Felden-Yoga, or whatever. It’s just a human in a body with a mind, being present.

This is simple.

This is wonderful.

When I concoct stories about how other people should be different, I am making myself God. And they should be different, drive less, eat more healthy, care for the planet, learn about how their bodies and minds work. And is it true that they should? Not, until they do. And here’s the laugh, the laugh’s on me: I can do all these things, and if it makes me happy, great. And if it doesn’t I can learn what will make me more happy. This is too simple.

I have to laugh at myself when I make life too complicated, when I make myself too important, when I get all worked up about how others should change. Even with a ghastly President, it’s not my job to waste my energy wishing he were intelligent or humane. My job is to be intelligent and humane as often and as easily and as pleasurably as possible.

Did this say anything, this little tidbit? I hope so. If not, the laugh’s on me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday, Feb. 23: Interruption

We watched a movie that we got from the library last night. American Rhapsody. In it a family escapes communist Hungary, and comes to the US, but in the rush to escape, they must leave a baby daughter behind. When she is six, this daughter comes to the US, and reunites with her biological family, two fine people that she doesn’t recognize as her parents. She must learn a new language, abandon her attachment to the “parents” who raised her, and fit in as a new person.

Then she gets to teenage and becomes Scarlet Johansen, and she is wild and a trouble to the Mom. In fact, she and the Mom are in almost total warfare, and life is almost out of control for both. Then the girl asks to go back to Hungary, to try to make sense of things. She does, learns things and returns.

To tell any more would be to deny you the pleasure of this excellent film. The point is, she got herself out of her jam by interrupting what she was doing ( being a miserable and rebellious teenager) and did something else.

One way to think about the advantage of this is like this: if you are doing something that isn’t working, if you do anything different, you might have a chance of getting some insight or progress. In Feldenkrais, this is used often. Sometimes we move in a way that makes the action more difficult, such as rotating the head to the right while extending the right arm forward. Sometimes we mix up things, once extending the right arm with the right hip forward, and once with the left hip forward. Sometimes we’ll do something that seems a total tangent, like moving the eyes one way and the nose the other. But with each variation and exploration, we can usually make the original movement clearer and easier and more graceful.

And within the movements themselves, we interrupt the pattern of doing something the instant it comes to our mind, either by imagining the movement and then doing it, or honing down our attention on exactly when and how we start a movement.

And then we rest between movements. We interrupt the big fun of just cranking away at something. I like to stop people after they’ve gotten to that nice cranking along phase, where they’re over the hump of figuring out what the movement is, and relieved to be just doing it. We take an early rest. Now imagine, I say, doing this with more mindfulness, more connection to other parts of yourself. What would that be like? Now do it.

This can be a model for any time we are in trouble. Instead of redoubling our efforts to once more do what hasn’t worked yet, we can pause and think about how to do it slightly differently. And once we’ve figured and tried that, we can stop and imagine doing the variation more mindfully. Then we can do that.

This could serve in work, in couple’s arguments, in our sports, in taking a walk. Maybe there’s even different ways to read a book or watch a video one brings home from the library. Who knows, the possibilities of improvement and learning seem limitless with this approach.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wednesday, Feb. 22: Waiting

Waiting can be torture. We all know that. Someone is supposed to pick us up, someone is supposed to meet us, someone is supposed to call; the minutes take forever, and it is as if we won’t let ourselves breathe until the awaited arrival occurs. And there is the waiting for something to be over, a boring lecture, a boring movie, a boring family reunion ( recurring theme these days), a boring day in school, a boring class. You get the idea: watching that clock tick ever so slowly when we were in grade school. Waiting for the release from our seeming prison.

And then there is the waiting for something to stop. Like a cold. Or an illness. Again, we seem to think nothing can be right until this thing is over. This is often one of the worst aspects of being sick: this wishing we were not sick anymore.

Or wanting to fall asleep, and anxiously awaiting that, which, as in being anxious to be well, often undermines the result we want.

And then there are the physical discomforts: Of being too cold. Or being too hot. Or being hungry, though sometimes that is just phantom hunger and sometimes we really are hungry. Or needing to go the bathroom, and not being able to leave the situation. These are more simple to remedy, usually, and if they aren’t, a whole population starving say, are among the most cruel predicaments of the human lot.

But what of the old fashioned waiting for someone to show up, or for the light to turn green again, or for the letter to arrive?

These have the other side, of course, the side of while I am waiting, what if I just come into the present and do very little? Since I’ve got to sit here and wait, what can I do to be present and happy and absorbed in the moment? Then waiting isn’t a torture, it’s a vacation from the rush. This seems worth exploring, don’t’ you think?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Yes, and Yesterday

Yesterday was a “good day.” If I am a fool, I’ll try to make today like yesterday, so it , too, will be a good day. But then it won’t be, because I won’t be living today, I’ll be trying to recreate yesterday.

Yesterday is did, dead, done. Over. What made yesterday good was a sense of being present and enjoying whatever came up. It was a commitment to being present in speech, which worked great when Marlie, my sweet partner, slipped into some of her grouchy moments. Not many, but I enjoyed every one of them. I’d repeat back what she said as a question, keeping my attention on being present to my speaking while I asked her.

Being present was much more fun than worrying about whether she was annoyed with me or finding out what was bothering her. I was just enjoying using sounds and words with her, looking at her, enjoying her beauty. Since I was in this state, she couldn’t take her grouchy remarks too seriously and they passed.

I had another conversation with a client who wanted to explain to me something I’d done wrong, according to her view. I agreed with her, that it was wrong from her point of view, and lured her into recognition of the present, and of how, she herself, in another matter, was treating herself exactly the way she had been complaining about me. This wasn’t a ‘let me show you how you are wrong’ conversation. This was a delighting in our fallibility as human beings conversation.

I like those. That’s what I’ll set out to do today: to delight in the moment, and to take all potential stress and turn it into a chance to see mutual fallibility. Yes, and then yesterday is useful, even if it is dead, done, gone. It’s a reminder that when I am in the moment, life is very good. Learning is fun. Being of good cheer is wonderful.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday, Feb. 20: Attention, Learning, Like/Love

Where is my attention now?

What am I learning now?

What do I like/love now?

These, I am realizing, are three questions that can always get me back on course, can always bring my life and awareness back to the moment and to what is important. “Where is my attention now?,” not only brings me to the present, but makes me responsible for when I get in a funk. Because if I’m in a funk, I can be damn well sure that my attention is on some split milk I’m crying over, some unwanted way that I was treated, some fallen apart expectation that wasn’t met.

“What am I learning now?,” again focuses me on what’s best about human beings, our ability to learn and change and grow. It also helps me out of rigidity and stuckness. If I don’t’ like something, I can complain, or I can learn how to change myself or the situation so I can like what’s going on. Even mean people, if I don’t like how they treat me, I can learn ways of being calm inside, or of talking with them in a way that directs their attention and behavior to another path than their habitually mean one. (This coming up big time from the family reunion; lots of meanness there. Lots of learning I still need to do to be able to divert and reroute situations and behaviors to more kind and positive channels).

“What do I like and love now?” If I’m paying attention to what I don’t like, that’s my life, a sinkhole of feeling deprived. If I’m paying attention to what I like, then I’m rolling with the joy of life. And if I do the work of Byron Katie, I can get back to loving what is, which means whatever is going on, I can like/love it. If I’m not in this state, then, goody, I’ve got something more to learn.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday, Feb. 17: Early Morning. Awake?

Here it is early morning, and I’m so called awake. But awake to what? When I ask that question I begin to sense my breathing and fingers as I type away at this silly machine. What would our lives be without a computer? Sweet, if we were off in the country, waking to the dawn, getting up to do tai chi, or to go milk the goats, or stroll through the woods. Here in this mini-city, and having taken an aim of writing into the blogosphere once a day, I guess a computer is a necessary evil.

And when I get into speculations, mental masturbation of a sort, I lose connection with my fingers and my feet on the floor and my breathing. And when I write about them, I have the story: this isn’t very interesting to write about.

And it probably isn’t that interesting to read about. (More speculation; my business is being interested in what I’m interested in. Your business is being interested in what you are interested in. If I’m happy to be alive and to be interested just now, I’m pulling my weight, at least in a room alone.)

But to do this now thing, with fingers, breathing, hands, spine, toes, what light is coming in my eyes. That feels good. That feels awake. So what if it’s five thirty in the morning? Life as sensed in the moment is always sweet, even looking at a silly computer screen as one letter at a time pops up into view.

One moment at a time, and how much can I fill my life with awareness? That’s a nice question for me. How about you?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thursday, Feb. 16: An Aware and Improving Life

What’s keeping us from be peaceful now? Often it is our minds, grinding away wanting something not here, not now, and we are lost to the present. How to come home?


Sensing gravity. What is under our feet, under our butt, how are we connected, as this moment to the Earth.

And that can bring peace? It’s a huge start. Start where we are, knowing where we are as we inhabit that space. We are in a body this time around, as they say, (and whatever that means), and since that’s the case, being aware of ourselves as physical beings brings a sense of calm to us. A sense of who we really are, these two legged, two armed, long spine creatures, the creatures of five lines. What if we could sense those five lines most of the time, if we knew where our arms and legs and spine was as we sat at our computers, or walked to the next room, or took a stroll on the bike path, or opened a door? I’m not speaking of “knowing” as an abstract operation, but as a concrete sensation: here are my arms, right now, here my legs, here my spine. Here they are and this is how they feel as real, and wonderful parts of me.

Yoga is pretty good for playing around with our five lines, if you can just find a teacher that doesn’t confuse it with calisthenics, and who doesn’t try to whip you into a shape that you really can’t reach quite yet. This is where Felden-Yoga™ comes to the rescue. Any shape and all shapes in F-Y are designed as chances to play around and explore what it’s like to be you, right now. Especially, what it’s like to be you as a person whose center is right down near the belly button, called hara in some systems, tantien in others. We breathe with the rotation of the pelvis in a lot of postures, and thus clarify our center, and get used to using the power of this core part of us. To say nothing of the joy of breathing with awareness.

And by moving within postures, instead of cramming ourselves into some solid, rigged state, we keep alive that characteristic of human beings which is one of our most valuable: our ability to move. What else is valuable? Our ability to think, and our ability to be aware, both of which are cultivated constantly in F-Y.

Sometimes in good yoga, awareness is heightened, but rarely are we given an opportunity to use our brains to really figure our things in a new way. When the Feldenkrais parts of F-Y are activated, we might be moving our heads left and our eyes right, or heads up and eyes down, or concentrating on breathing in as we arch the back and then concentrating of breathing out as we arch the back.

The goal isn’t to get things right. It’s to learn. Learning is fun. Here’s some differences between Feldenkrais and most body systems, and between Felden-Yoga™ and most yoga systems.

It’s a learning system , not about “fixing” you.

Awareness is what counts, not correctness.

The key is to improve moving, and from that posture, not looking at posture on its own.

Vitality is what’s improved, and strength can improve with that; but there isn’t an emphasis on getting “strong.”

Discovery and playfulness, not rules and regulations, make the process fun and the learning huge.

Comfort not calisthenics is how we keep from hurting ourselves, how we stay kind and peaceful in this moment.

These, indeed, are all traits of an aware and happy life. How cool is that?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Wenesday, Feb. 15: Fire Your Therapist

If your therapist has not taught you to kick self-pity in the butt and to live radically and happily in the present: fire them. Come to me, or go inside yourself and take responsibility. Your pain in not from your mean mom, your bad dad, your sad friend, even your molesting uncle. It’s from your response inside yourself when you attach to the delusion that the past can be any different than it was.

The past is past.

It’s over. Any therapist who allows or encourages you to wallow around in the past is keeping you out of life as it is happening, and also keeping you available for endless therapy. Any therapist who leads you out of the present with concepts such as “the pain body,” “the wounded child,” even “ego,” or “my feminine/male side,” is doing you a disservice. Attention not in the present doesn’t have any traction. It’s standing on concepts.

Concepts can be useful. A concept like trying something a different way. But the concept of some subset of you in trouble, my bad shoulder, my wounded child, this takes you away from understanding and learning about yourself as a whole and complete and functioning organism.

The assumption in huge batches of therapy is that there’s something wrong, that needs to be fixed. Yes, and no. The so called wound/ abuse/dysfunctional family, isn’t what needs to be fixed. But, there is something wrong: we don’t live in the present. And something else wrong: we confuse mean mom with our unhappiness.

Mean mom, past or present is simply that: mean mom.

If there is no mom in the real world in front of me right now, and I go into a mean mom funk, then I can be honest and realize that thoughts of her are coming up and my response to these thoughts is bumming me out. If the sky is blue and beautiful and I’m busy feeling bad about mean mom forty years ago, it’s my allowing my attention to get ripped off that is wrecking my life.

And if she’s here, now in the real world, being mean? If she’s standing in front of me, telling me how awful I am., that’s her business. If I buy into her words, or her tone, that’s my business. My unhappiness is never from mean mom or bad dad, but from my response to their behavior. When I’m young, okay, I don’t know better. I feel bad.

If I see a mom in front of me saying nasty things, and I really look at her, I will undoubtedly see a miserable person. (This is the power of the fourth question of the Bryon Katie work. See earlier essays for what it is). If she wants to be miserable and say miserable things, what’s that got to do with me? If I take responsibility for my own attention, her behavior is hers and has nothing to do with me.

If I really want to move things along, I follow the three principle of good relationship: touch, truth and fun. Touch might be this: Hey, Mom. You look so unhappy when you are lashing into me. Do you need a hug?

Truth might be this: I hear you saying that I’m selfish and stupid. You are right, some of the time. And it looks to me as if you are unhappy while you are saying that. Do you want to tell me how you are feeling now?

Or truth might be this: I hear you want me to come spend my summer with you, and I love you, and the answer is no. I want to spend my summer doing….

Truth is not: you are hurting my feelings. I am the one who hurts my feelings by my response to what someone else says.

Fun could be this. The mean mom starts to tell you what’s wrong with you. You listen, breathe, enjoy her going through her bit. Then you ask, Can you think of some more things wrong with me. Let’s make a list.

Fun could be smiling as she lists your crimes, telling her you absolutely agree, and that sometimes you think you stink, too, but then you snap out of it and decide to enjoy life anyway. Ask her what she’d enjoy doing once she’s through chewing you out.

Fun could be listening, smiling, agreeing, and then saying: What you are really trying to tell me is that you love me and sometimes it’s hard for you to realize this.

Then you are free.

That’s fun.

If your therapist isn’t teaching you stuff like this, fire them. Look at Byron Katie’s books ( Loving What Is and I Need Your Love. Is that true? ) Check out her website, thework.com. Get out a pencil and paper and do the work. If you think it’s too hard to do the work on your own, do the work on that. If even that seems too “hard’ hire me to coach you a little if you want to think you can’t do her radically simple work on your own. But stop buying into myth of yourself as victim.

There is one person who causes my unhappiness: me. There is one person who can choose for me to be happy: me. From this point of view, life is a vast field of opportunities, to be in nature, to enjoy people, to help people, to learn things, to be at ease and in the present, to…. You fill in for you. That’s your responsibility.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tuesday, Feb. 14: Happy Valentine's Day

February, the day is sunny, the chill is coming back though and it’s the day of either love, or commercialized love, or feeling bad your aren’t in love, or feeling pissed off you aren’t in love, or blaming the world you aren’t in love, or scoffing at the commercialization, or taking advantage of a mass ritual to do something nice with your sweetie, or wishing you had a sweetie to have something nice to do with.

And what to make of all that?

What do you love right now?

This can be your first valentine, first one your list, what you think of first when you think of what you like. I like writing something when I haven’t really thought about it and am scared that nothing will come up and something does seem to emerge. I also like writing when I’ve got thoughts rolling around and want to tell someone, and writing them down means I can tell a lot of people, if they get around to reading what I wrote. Apparently writing this stuff is my first Valentine. And then?

I like moving and learning new and easier ways to move. I like learning and teaching Feldenkrais.®

I like, love my sweetie, and that is a nice story. Where did she come from? She came after I did the work of getting clear of the ones before, of seeing what I’d done wrong, and where I was holding on. When I got clear, I was able to see Marlie when she came into my life. The Work of Byron Katie was of immense help. With one earlier woman friend the story she shouldn’t leave me was huge and then, with the work, I realized loving her meant loving her being with someone she preferred to me. With another woman, realizing that loving her didn’t mean I had to stay in a scene that was argumentative night after night. With myself, I realized that the story that there was something wrong with me since relationships had ended was not a true story, and was not serving my happiness.

When I learned to find and be responsible for my own happiness, I was only looking for a friend, with whom to share my happiness and interests. I wasn’t looking for someone to make me happy. I was already happy. I was looking for someone to share being outside and gardening. It turned out, as I returned to learning about using my body in sweet and more kind and intelligent ways, I was looking for someone who was interested in that. Someone who liked themselves and loved nature.

Marie was all that and more. We met. Hung out together. Spend our first night together in an outside setting. Got to know and like and love each other. Sometimes we are annoyed. Usually we come back to the present and get unanoyed. Sometimes we have to do the Work to get unannoyed. We love to touch and to roll around naked in bed together. Sleeping naked is good for people. Laughing is good for people. Doing things that are fun together is good for people.

Marlie and I have a good time, and sometimes we don’t, and then we have work and if we don’t do the work, then we suffer. Then, sooner or later, our suffering wakes us up and we shift attention off of blaming and back to learning and the present, and love comes seeping in, as if it is the natural state. As if that is what is there, always, underneath and surrounding everything.

This is sweet.

I hope sweetness for you and if you don’t have a sweetie, I hope you are clear that you can be wonderfully in love with yourself and life without a sweetie. If you aren’t, I hope you do the work on whatever story is stopping you from loving yourself and life. Learning is such an important part of being happy. I’m deeply interested in the Feldenkrais approach to learning. These is all the same journey: getting more whole, living a rich and full life, being present and happy, and learning and in love.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday, Feb. 13: Love and other Four Letter Words

Love is good. Love is hard. Love is live, or it is not. Take note. Love is live, or it is not. The story of love is one of the best stories, especially an “I love ….”story. The story that …. love me, may or may not be true, but actually it’s a good one to believe, to operate on a positive delusion perhaps, but one that would bias us to be of good cheer and kind and happy behavior.

Real love, though, inspires action. A kind tone of voice. The attention to actually look at , actually listen to, to kindly touch the other person. This is fun. This is why people have dogs. Dogs adore people and aren’t about to hold back on their love and affection. What a way to think about life: be as loving as a dog.

Oh, well. It’s the year of the Dog as I write this, 2006, so might as well learn from our furry four legged friends. But try not to get a dog, because another four letter sacred word is land, and huge amounts of the Earth’s resources go into feeding cats and dogs, so lonely people don’t have to feel quite so lonely.

Why do we feel lonely? We are disconnected from our real self. Real self. Land. Love. Take. Note. Be aware, and neither of those are four letters. Land and love, this is a big part of what life, another four letter word is about.

Even fuck, the bad, bad, or overused word, is four letters and all that means, in the messy old English, is to get together two people are have some fun and maybe make babies. Baby is a four letter word, but these, too, for the planet’s sake: we don’t want too many. Hold the line at two children if you can. Let your wish to for… ( (whatever it is children provide) be filled with two kids. For the rest: love your self. Self, four letters, the core of us. Core. Self. Love. Land. Take. Note. Love the land, land in love, have a good life. Good.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sunday, Feb. 12: Behind the Doors

from behind the door
a door very near
sounds of happiness
laughing children
the splosh of rain on a waiting puddle
the tinkle of a bell around the ankle of a woman
about to see her lover again for the first time
in years

the door is asking us:
When are you going to open?
Never? Sometime?

And another door
or is it the same
with scents of love
wafting thru the keyhole
sweaty dancers, in love with their moving
dripping lovers, in love with their love,
the Daphne blooming in the spring
inviting us to live in joy and rapture

And that door, too, is asking:
When are you going to open?
When you’ve got more time?

Touch the handle.
Feel the trembling behind the door,
life pulsing
the throbbing of hearts
the clanking of railroad wheels
the thunder of a river on delighted boulders
the ocean caressing the sighing sands

And this door, too asks:
On your next vacation?

Listen, the murmur back there,
behind the doors
(Or are all the same one),
The murmur, the whisper, the sweet chant, the tremble, the scents:
We are waiting for you.
What are you waiting for?
When will you come home?
How about now?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Saturday, Feb.11: Woundedness, Two

I was clearing through my filing cabinet yesterday and found a section I hadn’t looked at for a long time, the health section. In it was an article about Caroline Myss, the medical intuitive who has focused some fine understanding on what holds people back from healing. She’s even writing a book on this, called, appropriately enough: Why People Don’t Heal. In the article, written awhile back, she talks of being surprised to discover that people, at some level, really didn’t want to heal.

They wanted to hold onto their wounds. This cocoon of woundedness was so comfortable, that they preferred their suffering to the radical shift that healing would create.

Compare Feldenkrais’ definition of health: the ability to recover from shocks to the system. Whether it’s a cold, or an accident, or a mean boss, or a bad day in traffic, health is the ability to snap back to being interested and excited by life. This last is my embellishment, but if we aren’t happy with our lives in the moment, whose job is it to change that?

If it’s someone else’s, then we are sunk, we are a skunk, the whole world is going the smell bad to us, unless we are around some magical mommy/sucker who will sacrifice and keep us feeling cared for. This is the purpose of woundedness. It’s a con racket to get someone, either in imagination or reality, to come to our add, and service us, make us feel good, compensate for whatever imaginary or real harms that have come our way.

What’s an imaginary harm? A mate leaves you. This hurts your image of how life should be and reinforces doubts about our lovability, but the harm is all in the mind and heart and story of how reality to should. A real harm: someone punch you. Someone molests you when you were young. Someone bombs your village, or comes and steals your land and burns down your house.

Whether the harm was real or imaginary, we can get weak and wounded over this, and wait for the world to fix us as a compensation for whatever we went through. Or, we can come into the present and see that this isn’t happening and look around in the present and find something more interesting to do.

Like take a walk.
Or talk to a stranger.
Or talk to a friend.

Or talk to anyone and stay conscious while we talk, instead of going over and over all our old tapes. This is where life gets interesting: can we be present around other people? This is the life of intense awareness.

The life of the wounded is the opposite: we wait for the world to feel as sorry for us as we do for ourselves. We obsess and focus on our woundedness. We might even look for a mate with similar wounding and then use this as our bonding. Poor me, poor you, let’s huddle together against the big mean world.

And so what’s the way out of all this: choose to be happy. Choose to be present. Choose to be as healthy as we can be. Learn to move and live and speak with more and more awareness and ease. What a nice pathway, don’t you think?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Friday, Feb. 10: Being Awake as its own Reward

One of the great frustrations in my life is offering amazing classes that almost no one comes to. This is great for my Byron Katie work. I get to dive in and work with the thoughts that “Everyone should try Feldenkrais.” Or, “People should be taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

Is it true? Not yet.

When should they be taking advantage? When they do.

Is their something wrong with people for not having time, or interest in trying something new? No.

Whose business is it if they are open to trying this amazing path to inner awareness? Theirs.

And still: I’d love to have hundreds of people taking advantage of these lessons that allow not only the body to feel wonderful and learn to move with ease and grace, but for the brain to learn to solve problems in a new and gentle way. Perhaps my brain needs to learn how to solve the problem of getting people to come to Feldenkrais classes. If they only knew how much change and growth could happen from going slow and paying attention.

But they want loud music and hoping up and down. Or they want to be in a rush of activities that distract themselves from really paying attention. Or they are doing something, yoga, horseback riding, Pilates, and that is so much more than a sedentary life, they can’t really imagine improving these aspects of their life. Improving them hugely by a deepened sense of awareness and exploration.

So what am I to do?

Keep offering what I offer. Stay happy. Be awake while I ask other people to join me in waking up. This is huge, this idea of waking up to every moment. The whole world is structured to keep us to sleep. My job: not to fall asleep with stories about how and when others should “wake up.” Waking myself, now, and now, and now, joyfully: that’s my job. When and if others join me: that’s their business.

This is the great work: to wake up. To connect with nature. To be awake when it’s fun and easy: walking on a beautiful day. To be awake when it’s hard: when I open my mouth and invite people to join me in this work. If I give a hoot, if I can’t love them no matter what they say, I haven’t finished my work.

Life is so fair and amazing that way.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday, Feb. 9: Habits vs. Learning

Many of our troubles can be traced to a pattern that could be portrayed this way: we want to walk to the next room, so we bash into the door, and if that doesn’t work, we bash harder. This seems strange and silly, but it’s the way we are. If something isn’t working, but we have a habitual way of going about trying to get it to happen, we are much more comfortable repeating our failing way of going about our effort than experimenting around and trying something different.

There is the famous cliché, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but in much human behavior, the phrase could be, “If it is broke, keep pretending it isn’t.” Or, perhaps: “If it isn’t working, keeping trying to old ways that don’t work.”

What to do about this?

What to do about anything, is to get more clear by being present to what we are actually doing. Instead of focusing so intently on getting into the next room, what if we focus on what we are doing: just how do we approach and bash that wall?

And then the next step, is to go to curiosity instead of effort and begin to explore the possibilities. What is this door thing? How do the hinges work? What is this handle all about? Which hand can hold the handle? Which ways does it turn?

This all seem obvious, to us as “adults,” but once we had to learn all this. We had to learn how this door thing work. Within ourselves, this can be equally true. You can see person after person who is just as silly with the use of their shoulders, say. They feel they have “sore” shoulders, and when they reach forward, nothing moves but their arm. The shoulder blade barely moves. The ribs certainly don’t. The spine doesn’t. And the powerhouse of real potent movement, the pelvis, is miles out of the picture.

No wonder their shoulder hurts. It’s supposed to be part of a team and it has been abandoned. So is it a “bad” shoulder? Should people push the arm farther and harder? Does it need massages or a cortisone shot?

No, no, and no. The shoulder is just fine, the brain is “bad,” or rather, more accurately: the brain is ignorant, or the brain is lazy, or the brain needs to relearn how to co-ordinate a body that is moving as a body should move. A shoulder that moves from and with the pelvis and ribs and spine is going to be a very happy shoulder, a “good” shoulder, and what is going to make it good and happy is our using more of ourselves in a fluid and connected manner.

And what has this to do with habits? The brain, the lazy brain, has gotten into allowing the shoulder a habitual pattern of working in isolation from the rest of the organism. To notice this pattern and then to create variation is a wonderful way to begin to become a more free and complete human being. And to vastly increase the our enjoyment of moving and being in our bodies.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday, Feb. 8: The Advantages of Now

The main advantage is for the impatient:: you never have to wait for the now. Isn’t that fine? What a gift. What a present.

I once gave my son a Christmas present. It started as a big box, and inside it was a smaller box, then smaller, you get the idea, until it was a little tiny box, and inside that I had a small piece of paper on which I’d written: The Present.

He was about 14 then, and he’s twice that now, and he still remembers. To anyone we love in our lives, this is the best present we can offer, the present of our presence.

And to ourselves! This is the best present we can offer: the present.

All the get a round 2’s in our life, such a drag, and this we never have to put off. We can always be in the present. We do, of course, put it off: tomorrow I’ll slow down and pay attention to the roses tomorrow, or later, when I’m on my vacation, or on the weekend, but today I’m in too much a rush. Hmm. And what happens to the days we rush through? Lost, gone, missed, neglected. And what happens to our lives in the days we rush through without being present? Our life in those days is the same: gone, missed, neglected.

Do we like ourselves enough to give ourselves the present of the present? I hope so. Then we can begin to be free. Then we can be happy in that secure base of being, being ourselves, being in the moment, being connected to life as we are living it.

So easy. So easy to forget. And when’s a good time to re-remember again?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tuesday, Feb. 7: Mindful Yoga, Mindless Yoga

In theory, yoga is about become quiet and still inside. “Yogas chitta vritti nirodah”. That’s the second of the Patanjali yoga sutras. A basic translation: “Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.” There are a hundred and eighty or so sutras in Patanjali, and 3 are about the body postures.

So what do we have in the West? Lots of body, lots of body pushing, lots of body efforting, lots of yoga for weight loss, yoga for getting in shape ( though all the “get in shape” people drive a car to yoga class, even the ones around town who only live a ten or fifteen minute bike ride away). This is a step up for many of these people from total denial of being in a body, but we have been so trained to confuse pain with awareness, that unless the postures/poses/asanas hurt, we don’t think we are getting anything.

And yoga in the west is all about getting. There is some better shape, and strength and we have to get it. Now, as mentioned in the last chapter, improvement is actually a lot of fun and way cool, but only when we are improving on the wave of learning as fun. When we are efforting to improve so someone will like us more, or we’ll like ourselves more, or – more frequently – hate ourselves less, then the improvement becomes one more mindless task, one more job for our long day.

So you run across them all the time. The “my plate is full” people, who not only talk in clichés, but think in them as well. They are “busy,” indeed, since their life is centered around getting more, living up to others, keeping up with others, doing the right thing, fitting in.

Anything it would seem except being in the moment and experiencing now, just this now. For this, yoga done slowly and with attention is exquisite. Too bad so few take advantage of that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday, Feb. 6: Kind vs. Harsh Improvement

In one kind of improvement, we feel deficient and want to get better so we won’t feel deficient any more. This kind of improvement can be a drag because we are rating ourselves and hating ourselves, we are falling into the old, “I’m not good enough story.”

Now, the Byron Katie work is always, always good when we start to beat ourselves up with our ideas.

And understanding is good, too. Clarity. “Not good enough for what?” That’s a great question to ask.

This morning Marlie was wanting to avoid going to something because she felt as if she weren’t very good at it, a certain type of Feldenkrais work. First of all, she’s good at it, but more important, this is a great example of something we all do for ourselves. I sign up for a drawing class, and want to quit because everyone else is “better than me.” But notice what the thinking is here: the thinking is that I have to be instantly “good” at something I’m trying to do.

This is why we so often quit what we start. We want Performance. We want an A plus. And if we can’t be instantly good, then forget it.

But that’s the kind of improvement that isn’t really improvement, it’s instant genius. Maybe some of us have it in some things, but most of us in most things, improve only in stages, and the more we can get “into” whatever stage we’re at, the easier and the happier the learning is going to be.

So, improvement that says, this is my first drawing class, make me Picasso, or I’ll quit, is silly, and it’s how we act, a lot. The goal is the goal: I’ve got to “draw good,” or in yoga, “do this pose really deep and great,” or in music, “play this piece really super.” This is being mean to ourselves.

But what if the goal is to understand the process on the way to the goal. The goal is to understand how we do something, not what it is we are trying to perform. To be kind, and to have a good life, and to improve in reality, we can slow down and get fascinated by the process. We can find little stages of learning, and get excited about them, then we can learn. If we can find the stage at which we are right now, and then can advance from that in a little and fun way, then life becomes a joy.

This is why I’m inventing Felden-Yoga™. I want a way for people to approach every asana as a game, as play, as a way to understand their breathing and their spine and their sensing better. To be in any shape is not important in Felden-Yoga™. What is important, is being present and learning little bits every time you go about it. This brings delight and improvement all in one and this is what real improvement is about: delight, presence, and learning. What a gift, a life full of this kind of kind and joyful improvement.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday, Feb. 5: Improvement, Being Now, Poem thoughts

Are we ready
To improve the moment
Of knowing that this moment
Is good enough, or better,
That this moment is the now
Is the time to wonder just how wonderful
Our life could become?

To improve a moment
All we need to do is prove to ourselves
That this breath is the real thing,
And take it in
All we need to do, is sink down
Rise up, the Earth pulls, the bones lift
It’s such a delicate balance.

And we need the songs
And we need the dance
And we need the laughter
Or just the peace, the smile at myself
Right now, wanting to be singing and dancing
And I’m just writing these words.

Yee old story:
This should be better
I should be better
Don’t want that kind of improvement
Just want more joy, more skills, more options,
More fun
More peace
More now

More now?

More now?

Holy cow, how
Can you have
More now?

Isn’t now
Just about all the ….
It/you/I/we can be?

I don’t know
And that, sometimes
Is sweet
A good place to be: I don’t know.

More Now?
Seems like a contradiction
Since the only time to get to the now
Is now
And it can never be more
Always either on
Or off
Remembered or forgotten

Remembered: Peace.
Forgotten: stress and worry and un-ease, dis-ease

Come on home
Little mind,
Mind your in and out breath
That’s enough
Improve in that world
The now in and out and now knowing about now

And actually,
That’s the key,
Isn’t it?

The only place we can really change.

And the world is still fucked
Kids starving dying
People living in shitholes, taking drugs, hitting shooting stabbing
Being mean to each other
Crying over spilt milk
Stealing food from babies
Partying while the ship sinks
Running the environment
It’s all fucked up

And I can either follow my breathing and be peaceful
In this fucked up world
Or forget my breath and be agitated in
This fucked up world

That’s a choice.

When I’m aware
I have a choice.

That’s good, wouldn’t you say?
Whether or not “More Now,” is a contradiction,
If I can breathe and smile about the contradiction
Be happy
Even though the world is crappy,
That’s a start,
Of sorts.

How to improve without strain stress
Fuss or otherwise beating the shit out of ourselves
That’s the

Isn’t it?

Are we ready to improve?
Willing to improve?
Maybe, that’s a question, meant to
Be asked happily,
With the answer swirling up in the
Moment of awareness.

And the answer coming to us
Maybe tomorrow or so.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Saturday, Feb.4: Are You Willing to Improve?

That’s the lead on my latest leaflet, which I hand out and people barely look at. Oh well, they’ve seen lots of leaflets and to pay attention to something other than what they are habitually paying attention to is hard. The habit of staying stuck in what we are stuck in is why the question, “Are you willing to improve?” is such a good one. Because people all will say, Oh, yeah. Yes, indeed, I want to improve, but inside they are murmuring the fine print.

The fine print is this: I want to get better , but I want to stay exactly the same. I want to change and feel better, but I don’t want to do anything different. That’s the human condition. It’s funny, or sad, take your pick, but it’s the boat that keeps us stuck, stuck, stuck.

So someone is in a relationship, and it isn’t so hot, and they really want things to get better. And they really want to blame and demand that the other person changes. If the other person would just shape up, they could have a good relationship. Which is to say: they want change but they don’t want to change.

Or someone has a sore shoulder and they want it “better,” so they go to a chiropractor: fix me. Or for a message: make my feel better. Or a physical therapist: fix me. Or even most yoga classes, where they are told the “Right” way to place their shoulder in various asanas. ( If you think this heals shoulders, you don’t know all the yoga instructors with sore shoulders and backs and necks.) In Feldenkrais, the way is the way of learning: what does my shoulder have to do with my ribs, with my breathing, with my pelvis, with my neck, with my eyes? Then learning can happen and when learning happens a person can improve, and doesn’t need to be fixed over and over again.

How many chiropractors does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, but it will need a thousand adjustments.

This then is the way out: to explore within ourselves, how we are creating our sore shoulder, how we are creating our sore relationship. Then we can begin to improve. And once we begin to improve one thing, the effects are cascading, a snowballing of change, because when one habit loosens, it can begin to nudge and loosen whole other hosts of habits. This then is the glory of the Byron Katie work, you aren’t fixing yourself or the annoying people in your life, you are learning to understand, and love and laugh at, and change/free your mind from its addictions to the stories that have caused you so much misery.

This is the glory of the Feldenkrais work: you don’t fix yourself, you don’t strain or stretch, you move slowly, you come back to mindfulness, you learn how wonderful and amazing it is to be in a human body, and you begin to learn again as you did when you were young and learning to hop or crawl or speak. In other words, you are returning to the time in your life when you were a genius. Then improvement is not an effort, it’s a joy, it’s play, it’s discovery, it’s creativity. It’s wonderful, full of wonder, as we are once we let go of the fine print and really find the self in use that loves to learn and be present and improve.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday, Feb. 3: To be alive and to improve: way cool

To be alive is a miracle, and then the other miracle is that we aren’t thrilled with this every second of our lives. What dopes we are! We look out into a Universe full of rocks and air and clouds and water, and we are alive, and we know we are alive, a Universe of space dust and empty planets, and we are alive and we can know we are alive.

And we forget to be happy.

Or we set up situations where some people are poor and diseased and being shot at and bombed and it’s very hard for them to be happy. What are we thinking, making a world with hungry people and marginalized people, and people grinding away in factories on the other side of the world so we can have fancy shoes and the latest stuff, with which we stuff our lives? We’ve got to be bonkers, and how to solve the world situation is a huge one, but I think a start is to buy less stuff, and to think about what do we really need to be happy:

The conditions for a good life seem quite simple:

Some people to talk to and touch, also known as friends.

A place to sleep. This is usually a house, but in mild climates sleeping outside is one of life’s sweet treats.

Something meaningful to do with our time. To be creative. To be useful. To engage is some work or activity in which we learn and use ourselves fully.

Some good food, organic food, grown local food.

A way to get around that doesn’t ruin the Earth or drive us to the poor house. Here I could go into the car addiction thing, but I won’t. Take a walk. Take a bike ride. These are fun ways to be.

How to solve the world situation?

I don’t know. Encourage less addiction to oil in our own lives, encourage a shift to slowing down and enjoying life as it is happening now. Love the moment. Love our friends. Love learning.

Feldenkrais, the work of Byron Katie, both are sweet and amazing ways to learn. In both, we take habits that lead to unease, be they habits of tightening as we move, or habits of blaming when we feel bad. We discover what the habit is. In the Feldenkrais work we might do a movement five different ways to discover habitual and non-habitual ways of doing something as oblique to our awareness as sitting down and getting up from a chair. In the Byron Katie work, we write down the thoughts that we waste our time rolling over and over in our mind. ( So and so should have washed the dishes. So and so should appreciate me more. So and so shouldn’t be such a bossy person.). Then we give ourselves, in the Katie work, options to the old way, the way of believing our thoughts.

One option: question if this is really true.

Another option: become aware of the consequences of attaching to this thought.

Another option: imagining, however briefly, that we are living without attachment to that thought.

Another option; trying the “turn-around.” What if it is just as true that “I should listen to so and so better” as it is true “So and so should listen to me better?”

In both the Feldenkrais work and the Byron Katie work use our awareness to expand up and out of our habitual unfreedom. This is a good way to start on the path to ongoing happiness.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday, Feb. 2: the Woundedness Racket

Yesterday on the radio a successful therapist was touting his latest book, a book on the problem with the world. Our original nature is love, he claims, and yet we have so much trouble loving. Why? We are wounded by parents not loving us for who we really are, and so we carry around grievances and can’t love.

The solution—big surprise—is to take his workshops where you can get “into” your grief about the wounds of your past. Then you will be free to live in the present.

Me, I say: why not just go for the present and see what gets in the way? If it’s a story about the past, do the Work (Byron Katie work) on the story. If it’s a mind full of whirling words, see what you can do to slow down and put your attention back to the present. But this added problem, the problem of our wounds, seems to me just one more layer of abstraction that takes us away from this moment.

If I’m not being loving to Marlie, it’s because I’m stuck in myself. Selfish is the word. The reality is: I am not in reality. I don’t see her. Or I see an annoyed face and hear and angry voice and I get frightened, and stop being in the present. In the present, her angry voice and annoyed face is her business. ( This does happen to her occasionally, not to imply this is her normal state, in case you know how fine she usually is. But anyway, we all have our crappy moments, usually most often with the person with whom we are living.)

In the present, I can just watch her and follow my breathing and wonder what’s going on with her. That’s who I am when I don’t attach to the story. This is the fourth question of the Byron Katie work:: Who would I be without my story? In the present, I can notice what the effects of having the “Marlie should be different” story. I can notice the tensing of my breathing, or the yammering of my story, which I guess could be called my grievance.

Is this grievance/yammering because I am wounded? That’s a theory, and a great theory to have if you want an endless supply of therapy clients, but what is the reality? The reality is that I’m yammering in my head and out of touch with my breathing. Reality is painful when I’m out of touch with the present.

This seems fair enough, whereas the poor-me, I was wounded when I was young world, seems a burden.

Oh, well. How to explain the bad Republicans and their wish for war. Wound man says, they are wounded and want the stern father to straighten up everything. Actually, he says, in our woundedness we split off the good parent and bad parent, and don’t see the bad parent, and so we project this onto the world. Okay, the projection thing happens all the time. I can discover that by doing the Work. If I think someone is a jerk, I can “turn it around” and discover where I’m a jerk.

Fine. That gives me a way out. I’m not wounded, or unwounded, I’m just living in a world where I forget that I, too, am a jerk. In that world of doing the work and doing the turnaround, I have room to laugh at myself and be happy. If I project bad this, and bad that, and I’m too good, I get myself painted into a moralistic corner (something I am won’t to do, actually, in the world of riding a bicycle instead of driving a car). That feels lonely if I am in reality.

If I am out of reality, being Right seems like a substitute, but it’s not. It’s fake food. Okay, why does George W. Bush have to be Right? Because 9-11 took away the life he really wants: fishing and golfing and screwing around on his ranch. He is scared and wants to be big (all theories, which could be as much nonsense as woundedness), so he tries to be some picture of big and strong, and being right helps him fit into that picture.

Wound man would say it’s because he was wounded. I’d say, bad habits. He never learned to be in reality. Now, actually, as a sales pitch, getting G. W. Bush to buy the wounded story might be easier than realizing that he has lived his whole life out of reality, but if he were to do the Work of BK, he’d find out that all his Bad Enemy stories are just that. He could come into reality.

That might be nice, or at least that’s my story.

So, were we wounded? Sure, if you want that story. Are we asleep to the present.? Seems so to me. What do we do next? If you are wounded, buy Wound Man’s book and start grieving. If you want to be in reality, come on, right now is waiting right now. Still annoyed with your past?

Do the Work.

Or not. It’s your decision. Just don’t blame feeling bad on your wounds. Blame it on between the ears, the organization of your attention. This sounds so harsh, as if we are responsible for how we feel. What a concept! We are responsible for how we feel, which means if we are suffering, that’s our responsibility and so, if we want to undo our suffering, that’s our possibility. Without any need to be wounded. Only a wish to be present and to do the Work on the stories that keep us out of the present.

But that’s too easy.

Well, then, you can always go in for a couple more years of therapy.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wednesday, Feb. 1: This Moment's Possibilities

Any moment is as good as any other moment.

Isn’t that weird?

Isn’t that fabulous?

That means this one, this now right now is just as good as anything else in the entire rest of your life. Wait a minute. What about good sex? What about Hawaii? What about laughing? Well, that’s a deep subject. ( Joke: well in the ground, think old fashioned well with water down there. Deep. Get it?)

In any moment there is a sweetness. Some moments have this sweetness more obvious. Like biting into the first peach of the summer, if it’s just ripe and warm and off the tree. That’s sweet. Kissing, hugging, sex with someone you love: that’s sweet. The warm beautiful ocean in Hawaii. My does that feel good.

And what’s stopping us from feeling that good now? Lack of comfort, perhaps. Lack of sweet and easy breathing. Lack of being right here and enjoying this breath, and having the moment yield up something of the non-verbal world, the taste, the touch, the feeling of ourselves as a complete and living being.

This is why sensing is good: it’s a chance to touch ourselves from inside. This is why touching the people we know and love is good: Then we are connected in a real way, in the primary mode of flesh to flesh. This is what every good mother does, what every good friend does, what all animals do: come up close to, touch the ones that they like.

This is a good way to get to the sweetness of any moment. Touch ourselves from the inside with sensing. Bring awareness to all those places we are touching the world right now, with our skin, and through our clothes and shoes. And the touching out from our eyes; what is coming in right now? And the touching in from our ears.

Just to let the fullness of the world be in our awareness and to recognize our ability to be aware and to turn on ourselves on at any moment to this feast. Touch, truth and fun. That’s what it takes to have an amazing relationship.

Touch, truth and fun will go a long way to having an amazing life, moment by moment. If this moment isn’t fun: what’s the truth of what’s going on? Do I have words is my head that are blocking out my connection to reality with some story, some story of poor me, or My Important Schedule, or a yammer imaginary conversation that doesn’t have anything to do with getting me in touch with this breath, getting my in touch with this touch, right now.

What am I in touch with right now, that is real and present? What is the truth of how I’m using my attention.

And what fun things could I do with my attention, what could I do that I enjoy? How could I listen to and look at the world in ways that I enjoy, what amusement could I have by looking at and making fun of myself if I’m lost in some story that is cutting me off from being able to touch my world right now, as it is happening? What thrill to being to wake up from that dream?

What is my moment right now? What is the truth, how can I touch my reality right now? How can I enjoy my life and learn and play a little with doing something in a nonhabitual, or enjoyable way, right now?

Right now is always the good time and it’s always right here. Halleluiah!